Saturday, October 31, 2015

What a World

Curious, a Russian passenger plane en route from Egypt to Russia crashes in the Sinai probably killing all on board. Story here or below. I have questions. Sure, it could have been mechanical failure or weather events or even a bird but now that Russian bombers are working their magic in Syria and given the proclivities in that neck of the woods to be so utterly chaotic anything is possible. Yes, I do mean anything.

Simple answers are a thing of yesteryear and even then information was controlled. Remember the Maine, remember Gulf of Tonkin, remember the vanishing WMD of Iraq -- lies, lies, lies, and more lies. We the people of innocence pay the price. It, I am sure, is no different in Russia maybe even in triplicate.

The power brokers think they have unlimited control over every quixotic event in which they sink their boots. They don't. Others have a say in the matter and the innocent pay with their blood. Is that true in the case of the Russian passenger plane? I do not know but because the plane was flying from Egypt to Russia and Russia is bombing Syria to prop up Assad my warning lights of sabotage are blinking.

I could be wrong and proof with its revelations must determine the verdict IF one could only get at the truth.

As the wicked witch said in the Wizard of Oz as she was melting: "What a world, what a world!" What a world indeed.

Friday, October 30, 2015

CNBC Republican Debate Performance

The Republicans are kvetching (complaining) about the debate moderators and CNBC. The RNC as of this writing fired NBC.

I believe, however, the questioners must have planned the questions they would ask a bunch of carnival barkers who should never be near the oval office. I believe the moderators were dedicated to giving what they THOUGHT the Republican primary voter would want -- low on substantive policy (the most important thing for analysis) and heavy on gotcha sensationalist nonsense that has nothing absolutely nothing to do with how a candidate would govern and what, importantly, POLICY they would implement to perfect their vision.

This is a nation of about 350 MILLION human beings. Is it important for the questioners to stress poll numbers and insults? I think NOT but obviously CNBC came into the "debate" thinking that would make for riveting entertainment which translates into money. After all most news is entertainment.

If one wants hard hitting, smart good news, one should turn to "Democracy Now." That's an idea how about having Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales deliver the questions in the next Republican debate? Oh, of course not, God forbid presidential contenders should answer challenging questions even if they are not from the right wing extremist part of the spectrum!

Family Pride -- My Cousin with John Kerry

This is my cousin Jon Finer (second from the left) the great grandson of those who made it out of the pogroms of Eastern Europe and certain death for the Jewish people of that area.  He now stands with our Secretary of State negotiating with Iran to prevent nuclear war.  Imagine!  THIS is what makes our nation great.  Do not let a small hateful segment of our population ruin it!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Republican "Debate" -- The Vice of Extremism

The Republican Party cannot get its act together. It is impossible because they ARE what millions saw on stage -- Extreme, more extreme and most extreme.

One lonely Republican, Kasich, realizes the moderation and normality it takes to govern. The rest are trying to outdo each other and seek the most extreme right wing perch on which to land. Normality and moderation are not words in the Republican lexicon in our time. Even the extremists are split between more extreme and most extreme. Hence it is an impossible mix the views of which the nation itself does NOT reflect.

Moreover, the Republican extremist game on immigration, 11 million Hispanic Roundup, or a variation thereof will lose them the Hispanic vote and thus lose the election as Mitt Romney so astutely predicted.

Reality speaks. If Republicans do not wax right wing extreme they lose their base and the primary vote. If they win through extremism and enter the general election they lose it to the Democrat.

Republicans and Republicans alone have created the combative barbed wire prison in which they live and the key of moderation to exit they do not possess.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Baby Deer does not want to leave the man that saved her life :)

Scroll down. It has a happy ending.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Interview

Rachel Maddow's interview of Secretary Clinton was spellbinding excellent. I am smitten. Bernie Sanders is wonderful. I am not disputing that BUT he reminds me of the fervor progressives (including me) had for George McGovern. Up against any Republican McGovern was eminently superior. McGovern captured the base of the Democratic Party but that is all he captured and in the general lost every state with the exception of DC and wonderful Massachusetts.
Bernie Sanders is popular, even very popular, among the base BUT he simply, in my opinion, cannot win. Hillary can win AND I am predicting, she will.

Her persona on Rachel Maddow was as relaxed and informative as I have ever heard or seen her. If you get a chance to see the interview with Rachel, do so. She and Rachel too were superb. This is what excellence looks and sounds like. Secretary Clinton is seasoned, polished, articulate and ever-so-smart.

If any Republican in that Barnum Bailey Circus excuse for a Party crosses the oval office I am applying for Canadian citizenship.

Hillary Rodham Clinton is qualified and then some for the highest office in the land!

Friday, October 23, 2015


The Republicans created, though their 47 million taxpayer buck hearings on Benghazi and the latest 11 hour marathon questioning of Secretary Clinton, exactly nothing. The anemic Benghazi Committee made other committees like Watergate look like the Nuremberg trials. Thousands upon thousands of hours of testimony taken over the past two years about an event that took four lives less than were taken in the Lebanon bombing killing 241 marines during the Reagan years, the USS Cole which took 17 lives in 2000 or on 9/11 that took three thousand lives.

Republicans may have just handed Hillary Clinton the presidential victory she wants for their barbaric badgering of a very dignified witness under Republicans' own admittedly political questioning solely designed to take the presidential candidate down. Secretary Clinton handled herself with dignity, reservation, maturity and aplomb during 11, let me say that again, 11 straight hours of testimony. She more than stood up to the plate. She hit it out of the park.

This was an investigation in prime time that could have concentrated on issues surrounding the Benghazi tragedy that mattered and ones that had universal foreign policy appeal. The question should be how a nation – an exceptionally expansive one – protects its State Department officials in the war zones to which it sends them. How is foreign policy made, who orders it and at which desk does the buck stop?

The issue for me is why we are in Benghazi in the first place and why is the electorate so far removed from its nation’s war policy? Who ordered the Libyan overthrow of Qaddafi, why was it ordered and what can we do to safeguard our personnel in dangerous milieus like it?

Why is this nation involved in the taking down and propping up of regimes in which the indigenous people of those regions have little or no say? In short, why do we bomb them, take out and put in leadership like quarters in a slot machine agreeable to us but with no consent of the governed. It seems to me, historically, this nation has some experience with the idea of no representation.

Why is this nation sowing upheaval in a part of the world filled with tribal conflict, fractured by internecine relationships and constant acrimonious religious war? Whose side are we on and why? What ammunition gets into the hands of those who ultimately kill us with it when loyalties shift like the desert sand? Finally, why should a nation let any bully on the block control its interests?

The Middle East has been saturated with those who think the west is trying to undermine its religion and its civilization. It is angry when in 1953 the US overthrows by coup a beloved Iranian leader, Mosadeq, because he wanted to nationalize the oil and keep the profits for Iranians. The American oil magnates did not like this particularly and its CIA put a friendly tyrant in place -- the infamous Shah with his deadly secret police, Savak, that wreaked mayhem on the masses and prompted the Iranian Islamic Revolution.

Western boots are all over the Middle East, all over their holy places and all over their deserts to collect the western oxygen -- OIL. That is what Middle East politics is all about post WWII -- drilling for, getting and selling oil, making billionaires more billions while the poor stay poor. That is why our soldiers die while poor people see little of that for which they die. Maybe Middle Eastern ire is incurred because western boots are on their holy lands. Why is this nation all over the Middle East like mud on the bottom of a shoe? Because we need their oil and we take it because we can.

Secretary Clinton could have been asked far more poignant policy questions than she was. The issue has been and always will be oil as long as it is the energy source de jour, vital to the western world’s life force.

Should we have deposed Mosadeq and put the Shah in his place, should we have deposed Kadafhi, Mubarak, Hussein and now depose Assad? All these strong arms kept the lid on their respective prone-to-warring nations. Now that they are gone an environmental vacuum of anarchy and continual war takes their place. Refugees flee to Europe and beyond by the soon-to-be millions. Ask Secretary Clinton about that why doncha? No, Republicans do not want to upset the American foreign policy apple-cart. They like it that way. They simply want to upset Secretary Clinton. Well, they failed miserably at that.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Benghazi Baloney

What a PILE of horse manure the RepububliCONS are loading on to Secretary Clinton. It's much ado about nothing only dedicated to ruining Clinton as their leadership has said. Guess what? She comes out smelling like a rose to have endured this tripe. Chairman Gowdy, et al look like the IDIOTS they are.

Does one think for one minute after ALL that was said from Republicon leadership that this was merely to get back at Clinton NOT to find out how better we can protect our agents? It is crystal clear and they are waterboarding the secretary FOR NOTHING now all day for the 8th time and 47 million bucks later! I cannot believe she takes it with such aplomb. I would want to take something and throw it at the RepublCONS in this faux committee! What a joke they are.

Keep doing it, Mr. Gowdy. I feel bad she has to go through this swill but she is strong as heck and is doing a GREAT job. Thank you, Sec. Clinton, the soon to be President of the US!


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Compassion -- "A Thousand Miles in Their Shoes"

"Syrian refugees risk everything for a chance at survival" see link  below

My heart breaks for them, the Syrian refugees. After the Holocaust I vowed and I thought it would NEVER happen again; that the world would not turn its back on those desperate fleeing for life. I put my feet in their shoes and can do that easily because I know, as a Jew, what it is like for the world (including this nation at that fateful time) to turn its back and through its inaction act as if we did not matter. But we DID matter.

Yes, in this context, ALL life matters ... ALL of it. We must try each and every one of us in our own way to say NO to cruelty, NO to inhumanity and YES, to our fellow humans who are in trouble and need our help. The refugees are in trouble and need many to help; to extend their hand and say I understand and will help you. We must put our feet in their shoes and if someday each one of us needs help it will be there for us too.

We are human after all, the species with the big brains capable of compassion. Nature put that ability to be compassionate in us for a reason -- we do better as a group when we care about not just a religion, not just a tribe, not just an ethnicity but we are better when we care about all who need help and we all do better if we lend a hand.

Be kind, says the Old and New Testament, to the stranger because you were strangers once in a strange land! Compassion is a lesson for the ages but it is especially a lesson for us now in our never ending atmospheres of violence and hate!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

My Letter to the Vice-President

Mr. Vice President. My sincere condolences for the loss of your son, Beau.  I am amazed at your special strength with which you deal with this tragedy. 

I will preface my opinion by telling you I am a STRONG (emphasis on strong) Democrat.  I have been so nearly all of my adult life.  It is because of this passion for humanitarian politics I place myself squarely in the Party that most reflects my views, the Democratic Party.  We have, I think I can correctly say, divided politics.  Democrats now stand for one set of principles and Republicans another.  The thought of another Republican in the highest office makes me want to run as far away from the country I love as possible.

It is because of this I believe your running for the presidency now is ill-advised.  The wait for your announcement has been too long; it is almost anger provoking long. Either make a decision or do not.  I do not think things will change all that much as Thursday I expect Sec. Clinton to knock the Benghazi hearings out of the park and the Republicans on their posterior.

I do NOT want one thing to upset the Democratic race as nightmares of the Bush presidency haunt me daily.  A Republican means loss of life, loss of treasure and loss of our ethical humanity. 

I believe at this time Hillary Clinton has the best shot (assuming nothing sinister is found in the emails which I doubt) of the ever-so-important reality to keep the presidency in Democratic hands.

I do not want your candidacy to create a threat of ensuring a Republican victory.  IF you do run please be mindful that Democrats -- and ONLY Democrats MUST win in 2016!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Climbing the Hill Toward Everest

Paul Begala, Democratic political consultant and commentator was asked prior to the Tuesday Democratic debate his feelings about Hillary's assent to the presidency. He said that he liked Hillary, he will vote for Hillary but, he asked, is he excited about it? His answer was no. He pretty well summed up my thoughts at the time. The Democratic Socialist, Sanders, as I see it, cannot win due to this nation's Maynard G. Krebbs-like allergy to the word "work" but this time to the Sanders word socialist (to understand this analogy see 1950's TV sit com Dobie Gillis.) What a difference a day and a debate make!

Hillary surpassed my expectations as she slid into home plate to win the game for herself and I would aver to the intellectual-superiority-by-far of the Democratic Party. Way to go, Hillary! She now at this time is, in my opinion, the Democratic Party's number one best shot to reach the presidential peak of Everest.

The debate itself was light years better than anything the two Republican debates put together had to offer. Republicans are a vessel of hate; maligning and impugning even nature's DNA roll of-the-dice composition of the faces and hair of their fellow Republican candidates. It was short, no it was minuscule if non-existent, on policy and long on looks and hair. It was an embarrassment to the nation if not to the world for its carnival barking stupidity in its quest for the highest office in the land better left by the Republicans to a Ringling Brothers circus.

I have never in my life seen such verbally moronic Republican "debates" in attack mode throwing each Christian colleague on their stage to the lions. The lesser candidates in the Republican field stood in glassy eyed catatonic fear of the pummeling egotist-in-chief, Trump, with his two other front runners making up stories and telling lies. No one in Republican land researches the truth as to what their candidates say. Why look for truth when lies work so well for them in Republican primaries?

The Democrats, the other party of American political pugilism, could not have been more opposite to Republicans if they practiced it longer than the Lion King performed on Broadway and to my eyes, it was just as entertaining. It was an enthusiastic but polite, multi-layered and detailed exchange with enough emotional excitement to light the lights of New York City. In my view Hillary Clinton won her Kentucky Derby well beyond my expectations. Will she win the triple or the quadruple crown? I do not know but my Las Vegas bet is on her to do so.

Hillary Clinton made me proud to be a Democrat as they intelligently and quickly shot out policy like an AK47 shoots out the bullets Republicans with their NRA mountains of cash propping them up seem to love so much.

In short, the Republican Party is not about most of us. It isn't even about most Republicans. Unfortunately the white, racist, nativist and extremist so called "freedom caucus" cannot figure that simple fact out for themselves. Republicans are about protecting the wealth of the 1% while they push for government control, they say they hate so much, with attacks on Planned Parenthood, a woman's right to choose the life she wants, the Republican repeal ad infinitum of the much maligned Obamacare, and lest we forget, Hillary's email. Why should Republicans hate health care for the American people so much and every other government policy that helps human beings in trouble? When it's the Party of hate that is what they do and they do it so well. Their uber loud voice for what they want is Donald Trump. As Bernie Sanders said: "Damn the email. Let's talk about policy!" Republicans cannot because they have none.

Republicans have not made it to even the Mountain’s base camp while the Democrat, Hillary Clinton, is climbing the presidential hill to Everest’s summit and I cannot wait to see her make it!


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

On A Positive Note

Despite PBS being Koch Brother influenced there are SOME things it does well and this is one.

My cousin recommended this documentary "How We Got to Now" that sheds light on how far we have come even in a mere 150 years. It is on Netflix too.

As one who sees the glass half empty more often then full it is good to realize how far we have advanced to live a life attempting to be free of disease and hardship that killed other generations early in life. It throws cold water (pardon the pun--you will see why) on us to sometimes accentuate at the positive. I began to watch it last night and positively hope to complete it all.

Here is the link or below:

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Yes, I blame him for the disastrous election of a war criminal administration that of George W. Bush in 2000 by taking votes away from Al Gore. What a different world this would have been. What is done, however, is done and we must play the ball where it proverbially lies. The following article by by Ralph Nader hits one in the face with its accuracy. Read and heed is what this nation should do but will it?

Article by Ralph Nader

The photographs in the New York Times told contrasting stories last week. One showed two Taliban soldiers in civilian clothes and sandals, with their rifles, standing in front of a captured U.N. vehicle. The Taliban forces had taken the northern provincial capital of Kunduz. The other photograph showed Afghan army soldiers fully equipped with modern gear, weapons, and vehicles.

Guess who is winning? An estimated 30,000 Taliban soldiers with no air force, navy, or heavy weapons have been holding down 10 times more Afghan army and police and over 100,000 U.S. soldiers with the world's most modern weaponry -- for eight years.

ISIS forces from Syria have taken over large areas of northern and western Iraq, including its second largest city, Mosul, and the battered city of Fallujah. ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria are estimated to number no more than 35,000. Like the Taliban, ISIS fighters, who vary in their military training, primarily have light weaponry. That is when they are not taking control of the fleeing, much larger, Iraqi army's armored vehicles and ammunition from the United States.

Against vastly greater numbers of Iraqi soldiers, backed by U.S. weapons, U.S. planes bombing daily, 24/7 aerial surveillance, and U.S. military advisers at the ground level, so far ISIS is still holding most of its territory and is still dominant in large parts of Syria.

The American people are entitled to know how all this military might and the trillions of dollars spent in Iraq and Afghanistan, since 2003 and 2001 respectively, can produce such negative fallouts.

Certainly these failures have little to do with observing the restraints of international law. Presidents Bush and Obama have sent military power anywhere and everywhere, regardless of national boundaries and the resulting immense civilian casualties, in those tragic, blown-apart countries.

The current perception of the U.S. in these countries is that of invaders on a rampage. Recruiting motivated fighters, including a seemingly endless supply of suicide bombers, is easier when the invaders come from western countries that for over a century have been known for attacking, carving up boundaries for artificial states, intervening, overthrowing, propping up domestic dictators, and generally siding with oligarchic or colonizing interests that brutalize the mass of the people.

It hasn't helped for these invasions to be supported by an alien culture rooted in the Christian crusades against Islam centuries ago, whose jingoism in the U.S. continues among some evangelical groups today.

But of course more contemporary situations are, first and foremost, the wanton destruction and violent chaos that comes with such invasions. With the absence of any functioning central governments and the dominance of tribal societies, the sheer complexity of the invaders trying to figure out the intricate "politics" between and within tribes and clans turns into an immense, ongoing trap for the western military forces.

When the U.S. started taking sides with the Shiites against the Sunnis in Iraq, or between different clans and tribes in Afghanistan, U.S. soldiers, not knowing the language or customs, were left with handing out $100 bills to build alliances. Our government air-shipped and distributed crates of this money. With the local economies at a standstill, public facilities collapsed, fear gripped families from violent streets and roads, and all havoc broke lose in the struggle for safety and survival.

Afghan soldiers, who are paid only $120 a month, will do almost anything to supplement their income, including selling weapons. At higher levels, bribes, payoffs, extortions create an underground economic system. The combination of lack of understanding, the systemic bribes, and the ensuing corruption has produced a climate of chaos.

Then there is the reckless slaughter of civilians -- wedding parties, schools, clinics, peasant boys collecting fire-wood on a hillside -- from supposedly pinpoint, accurate airplanes, helicopter gunships, drones or missiles. Hatred of the Americans spreads as people lose their loved ones.

Our "blowback" policies are fueling the expansion of al-Qaeda offshoots and new violent groups in over 20 countries. On 9/11, the "threat" was coming from a corner of one country -- northeastern Afghanistan. The Bush/Cheney prevaricator frenzy led to local bounty hunters taking innocent captives, falsely labeled as "terrorists," who were sent to the prisons in Guantanamo, Cuba. These actions have damaged our country's reputation all over the world.

All this could have been avoided had we heeded the advice of retired, high-ranking military, national security, and diplomatic officials not to invade Iraq and their advice not to overreact in Afghanistan. But the supine mass media, and an overall cowardly Congress let the lies, deceptions, and cover-ups by the Bush regime go unchallenged and, as Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) put it, Bush/Cheney "lied us into the Iraq War."

It isn't as if the Taliban and ISIS are winning the "hearts and minds" of the local people. On the contrary, while promising law and order, they treat local populations quite brutally, with few exceptions. But the locals have long been treated brutally by the police, army, and militias jockeying for the spoils of conflict. Unfortunately, there is still no semblance of ground-level security.

All empires fail and eventually devour themselves. The U.S. empire is no different. Look at the harm to and drain on our soldiers, our domestic economy, the costly, boomeranging, endless wars overseas and what empire building has done to spread anxieties and lower the expectation level of the American people for their public budgets and public services.

Not repeatedly doing what has failed is the first step toward correction. How much better and cheaper it would be if years ago we became a humanitarian power -- well-received by the deprived billions in these anguished lands.

What changes are needed to get out of these quagmires and leave a semblance of recovery behind? Press those gaggles of presidential candidates, who war-monger with impunity or who are dodging this grave matter, for answers. Make them listen to you.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Why Ben Carson's Rant About Gun Control and the Holocaust Is So Dangerous

Read this link here or below from The Forward and learn "Why Ben Carson's Rant about Gun Control and the Holocaust is so Dangerous."  Know why the Republican Party's "presidential" candidates, this one in particular, Ben Carson, are SO idiotic, ignorant and border on the insane!  The article says it all.

Many Jews, when they heard Ben Carson’s recent remark that if Jews had owned guns, the Holocaust wouldn’t have happened, probably said to themselves (to use the vernacular): “WTF?”

Those familiar with Carson’s long history of bizarre, ignorant and just plain weird pronouncements were likely less surprised, but have probably chalked it up to just another Weird Carson Moment. The only mystery, they probably mused, is why 20% of Republicans think this guy should be president.

But both are wrong. In fact, Carson’s outrageous and offensive claim is part of a long crescendo of pro-gun rhetoric that invokes Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. That theme, unlike Carson, is deeply rooted in the Republican Party and the National Rifle Association. And it is profoundly anti-Semitic, immoral and disgusting.

Here’s what Carson actually said: “The likelihood of Hitler being able to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed,” he told CNN on Thursday. Today, he doubled down, explaining that “Basically, what I said is when tyranny occurs traditionally around the world, they try to disarm the people first.” 

On first blush, this statement fails the rules of rational political discourse in three ways. First, and perhaps this goes without saying, it is ludicrously false. If Jews in Nazi Germany had owned guns, they would have been rounded up, sent to labor camps, gassed and burned by an authoritarian regime with many more guns, and with the support of at least half the general population.

Even if said Jews had today’s advanced armaments, the Nazis would surely have had more advanced ones, including tanks, an organized army, and a machinery of death unprecedented in human history. In the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, for example, armed Jews killed roughly two dozen Nazis. The Nazis, during the same uprising, killed 13,000 Jews.

This is why the Anti-Defamation League has long called such claims “historically inaccurate and offensive.” 

Oh, and another thing, the Weimar Republic, which preceded Nazi Germany, actually had strict gun control laws . The Nazis relaxed them, for everyone except Jews. In other words, the Nazis sought to arm the populace in order to further their totalitarian, anti-semitic goals. Oops. 

Second, Carson’s statement is so offensive as to beggar the imagination. Most of my great-grandparents, and many of my grandparents’ generation, died when the Nazis and their Ukrainian collaborators rounded up entire villages and massacred them in the forest. So, Dr. Carson, what killed them was gun control?

No, what killed them was anti-Semitism, bigotry, hatred and extreme nationalism — all of which, incidentally, are far more prevalent on the Right than on the left. In the ADL’s words, “Gun con­trol did not cause the Holo­caust; Nazism and anti-Semitism did.”

To suggest otherwise is to desecrate the memories of my relatives. And non-Jews should know better than to invoke them in the first place. For shame.

Third, Carson’s statement is a perfect example of Godwin’s Law, which posits that once Hitler and the Nazis have been invoked in conversation, the conversation is over. Which really is the point: pro-gun zealots have long been completely unhinged from reality. Obama’s coming to take our guns, they say. And, in Carson’s words, “there is a reason that these dictatorial people take the guns first,” implicitly linking President Obama with the Fuhrer.

But we err if we suppose that Carson’s statement is just a WTF moment, or another example of the surgeon-candidate acting like the dullest scalpel in the drawer. Because this is an old, deep, and broad theme among America’s right wing.

Carson’s exact argument has been made by morons as disparate as Matt Drudge, Ted Nugent, Fox News commentator Andrew Napolitano, racist ex-ballplayer John Rocker (now a favorite on the Tea Party circuit), current NRA President David Keene and former NRA President Wayne LaPierre. 

Carson is one of the more prominent people to have openly made this argument, but to gun nuts, it’s as familiar as the muzzle velocity of an AK-47.

Amazingly, according to historian Neal Knox, it appears that this crackpot theory originated with Jews — in particular, the firearms dealer turned gun rights activist Aaron Zelman, who founded the fringe group “Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership” in 1989.

I remember getting the JPFO’s mailings back in the nineties. They resembled lunatic manifestoes, like the Unabomber’s or the one in the background of Dr. Bronner’s Soap packaging. And they made about as much sense.

But this particular idea has thrived. It deflects what gun extremism is really about — compensating for a sense of lost control or impotence, plus fear, racism and paranoia — into Tea Party style patriotism. Guns are to protect us from tyrants, not black men from the ghetto. We are defenders of liberty, not property. We’re not paranoid, we’re proud.

And by now, it’s everywhere in the Radical Right, complete with false quotations from Hitler praising gun control (he never said them), false constitutional theories (the second amendment has nothing to do with individual gun ownership), false histories and false implications for contemporary policy. The lie has grown so big that it’s begun to resemble the truth.

Inside the right-wing echo chamber, that is. What Carson’s statement really represents is — rather like his and Donald Trump’s entire candidacies — a sudden outing of the Right wing’s crazy aunt in the attic. In the case of Trump, the cray-cray is a weird xenophobia detached from all notions of economics, sociology or morality.

In the case of Carson, it’s what “everyone” knows to be true about Hitler, the Holocaust, and guns. Thanks to Carson, now the rest of us now know what “everyone” thinks. And we should be very, very afraid.

There is a very decent Republican Party out there, that is fiscally conservative, strong on Israel and fundamentally reasonable. Likewise, there are actual gun owners out there, who may own a hunting rifle or two, or even a small handgun, but who agree that we ought to keep the psychologically disturbed from buying assault weapons as easily as they grab a case of beer.

But these groups are in the minority when it comes to the actual Republican Party, which is now (post-Kevin McCarthy in particular) increasingly ruled by the Fox News-is-too-liberal crowd. They, not a few smart Jewish Republicans inside the beltway, are what the modern G.O.P. is really all about. They are the ones enamored of Trump and Carson. And they all know that guns could have stopped the Holocaust.

Friday, October 09, 2015

A Trip Down Memory Lane

I am watching the PBS documentary Frontline about the Lockerbie terrorist bombing of Pam Am Flight No. 103 in 1988 over Scotland. It is looked at, in part, through the eyes of one of the brothers who was killed on that terrorist-struck plane.

I also took a trip down memory lane as I came across my high school year book from the Class of 1966. I read the principal's message and the message of the president of my class. Both messages were full of optimism and hope that our class would make a difference in the world for the better.

Everyone who was in the class with the exception of, perhaps, three were white. One of those three was an intellect and received no recognition for her brilliance. She ran for Secretary of the class and told me she would never make it because she was a Negro (the nice word in that era for persons of color.) I could not believe it then.

I looked at my own picture, of course, which described me as "openhearted and friendly. She will surely reach her goals." Well the openhearted and friendly part, perhaps, they got right.

Then I thought of our nation and how low it has sunk, how divided it is and how US foreign policy was Machiavellian in which political expediency is placed above morality more than it was humane and selfless as we, in our naiveté, were told it was. But I did not know all of those things then nor did I know anything about the Islamic world (or Moslem, the appellation of the time for Muslim) nor did I know anything about terrorism and how the two are so inextricably intertwined. I did not know those things then.

I wonder if the Holocaust had never happened and Palestine was shared or if the Jewish people did not create the Israeli state as a refuge for the millennia of anti-Semitism suffered by them that led to the murder of at least 6 million Jews, if the US had not financed a coup in Iran in 1953 deposing a beloved leader, Mosadeq, and put in his place, the brutal Shah with his murderous secret police, Savak, had not taken place, if we did not have to greet every single opposing nation with force, if Vietnam did not happen, if the burning of the Vietnamese country side with cancer-causing Agent Orange did not happen, if My Lai did not happen what would our nation – no what would the world look like now?

Are Muslims by nature simply beasts (see link below) no matter what another nation did to them? I wonder about all these things as I look at that brutal link entitled “The Islamic State (ISIS) Is Raping 8-Year-Olds. And the World Is Doing Nothing.”

Who would do such a thing to an 8 year old? Then again who would do such a thing as to bomb and kill doctors of neutral political stripe who save lives and risk their own in a war zone? Who would kill innocent patients bombed and burned in their beds? Who would do such a thing as to invade a nation like Iraq that did nothing to it and kill god only knows how many innocents? Who would do such things?

Those are the questions I ask. Could it all have been so different; so much better than the political decay we see before our eyes in our time?

Maybe if I write about this and send it to a newspaper it will give me another Warholian 15 minutes of fame. What if that, in the long run, will mean nothing and the world will keep on going on as it has for thousands of years and my principal’s and the class president’s messages were wrong? What if it all ends in a flash?

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Kevin McCarthy's Exit Came After Personal Threat Over Affair Allegations

Well I'll be damned! NOTHING surprises me coming from these utter hypocrites and utterly mean sicking Tea Baggies. AWFUL human beings. I am NO fan of Kevin McCarthy that is for sure but to hold an affair over his head by the extremist rightwingnuts of this putrid Republicon Party is DESPICABLE. But what can one expect of the Party of hypocrites and noxious anti-humans!  Only the fate of our nation they put at risk. Now the Party of many sins is floating Newt Gingrich to come in as speaker but Newt has had relationship problems of his own.  Hey, I know.  How about asking the Pope!

"Why not resign like Bob Livingston?”

In the hours before House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) abruptly withdrew his candidacy to be the next speaker of the House, he was sent an email from a conservative activist threatening to expose an alleged affair with a colleague. The subject line: “Kevin, why not resign like Bob Livingston?”
The email, sent just after 8 a.m. on Thursday, came from Steve Baer, a Chicago-based GOP donor known for mass-emailing conservative figures and Republican lawmakers. It was addressed to McCarthy and numerous others, including the personal account of Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.), who conservative media sites have suggested is tied romantically to McCarthy.

McCarthy has brushed off the affair allegation. After announcing that he would not seek the speaker's post on Thursday, he was asked about Wednesday's cryptic letter from Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), which asked that "any candidate for speaker of the House, majority leader, and majority whip withdraw himself from the leadership election if there are any misdeeds he has committed since joining Congress that will embarrass himself, the Republican conference, and the House of Representatives if they become public."

"No. No. Come on," said McCarthy. His decision to withdraw, he said, was to ensure that fellow GOP members didn't have a tough vote. "For us to unite, we probably need a fresh face," he said.

But the existence of the Baer email, passed to The Huffington Post by a source, shows that there were personal threats being made prior to McCarthy's abrupt announcement.

In the email, Baer linked to a Washington Examiner story published earlier Thursday with the headline: “Specter of sex scandal injected into GOP leadership race.” The article referenced Jones’ letter in the context of Speaker-elect Bob Livingston abruptly resigning in 1998 following a sex scandal.

Baer urged McCarthy to spare his family and congressional colleagues the ordeal of the allegations being raised, and suggested that concealing an affair would be a national security risk because of the possibility of extortion.
Few news organizations have touched the affair allegations, beyond the Drudge Report and conservative media. Charles Johnson, the conservative provocateur behind, reported them back in January. (Johnson, who is currently banned from Twitter, took a victory lap Thursday on Facebook.)
The rumors gained more traction in the last week in conservative circles, perhaps partly due to Baer’s multiple emails over that time, sent to a string of high-powered Republicans.

RedState editor-in-chief and radio host Erick Erickson wrote Thursday that someone sent links to blog posts about the alleged affair a few days ago to 91 people, including members of Congress and “highly influential conservatives outside Congress.” Erickson added that “there’s no evidence of the rumor being true.”

Erickson didn’t name the email sender, but The Huffington Post has confirmed it was Baer.

In Thursday’s post, Erickson wrote that a comment by Ellmers in The Hill, in the context of the rumors, further hyped the rumor mill:
Even some natural leadership allies such as Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) expressed doubts about promoting McCarthy to Speaker, a job second in line to the presidency.
“He has not spoken to me personally for my vote, and Jason Chaffetz has, so that’s where I am right now. At this point I will be casting a vote for Jason Chaffetz,” said Ellmers, who is facing a GOP primary challenger. “I can’t vote for someone who doesn’t ask for my vote.
“I’m apparently not high on his priority list,” she added.
 Major media outlets often are reluctant to amplify such claims and famously ignored rumors of John Edwards’ infidelity during the 2008 election. While cable news was all over McCarthy's decision to withdraw from the speaker's race on Thursday afternoon, no hosts or guests on CNN, MSNBC, or Fox News explicitly referenced the rumors.
Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin seemed to allude to them during an MSNBC  appearance, noting “there’s a lot of speculation” that McCarthy’s decision had “more to do with things outside of his professional life.”
A couple hours later, Halperin cryptically tweeted: 

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

A Clarificaiton

Mary Beth Sheetz in the Metrowest Daily News commentary section further clarified my opinion appearing in the News and the confusion surrounding the alleged papal meeting with Kim Davis, the Kentucky head clerk, who went against a SCOTUS mandate allowing gays to marry.  It is worth noting what Ms. Sheetz said:

The NYTimes is reporting in more detail how a county clerk came to be in a receiving line at the Nunciature. The Pope was set-up by the conservative Bishop Vigano,he had exiled from Rome for mis-conduct. The attorneys representing the clerk have been associated by the Southern Poverty Law centers' list of hate groups. The US press is now full of reports the Bishop, scheduled to retire in January, will be gone from the Nunciature sooner rather than later.

I further responded to her:

Thank you, Mary Beith, for the further clarification. It is amazing the lengths some in hate groups will go to bamboozle others to get their message of hate delivered this time to the most prominent, influential and highest leader of the Vatican, the Pope himself.

Your further explanation just serves to reinforce my first notion of this Pope as good as if not better than even Pope John XXIII decades before him who initiated Vatican II and began the necessary changes in Church centuries-long doctrine among them indicting the Jews for perfidy. That noxious doctrine had profound implications for the hitherto weak opposition even silent resignation of Pius XII to Hitler's Europe and the Holocaust. Pope Francis continues what John XXIII began. Why does this Jew even care? I care because there are 1.2 billion Catholics in the world that make every word the Pope says important especially to the oppressed.

Moreover, admittedly, I am in search of a leader to love who, indeed, promotes love, forgiveness and not hate. Though change often comes from the bottom up we still need leaders who advocate for humane change from the top down.

The violent, mean and often ruthless forces that occupy this beautiful planet must be stopped and we desperately need a strong leader to help us stop it.


Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Strike on Doctors Without Borders

The American media, it seems, when reporting on this American strike upon a Doctors Without Borders hospital make it seem it is in the hip pocket of the military behemoths and the corporations that make billions off eternal war. This was an ugly attack in Afghanistan on the Doctors Without Borders medical facility. In the many wars the US has fought so called “collateral damage” has happened many times but this was a Doctors without Borders facility which is recognized by the international laws of war as OFF LIMITS. Doctors Without Borders sent their coordinates to the Afghan and US forces allegedly many times. When the US bombing ensued burning human beings in their beds loud and desperate calls were made to the American military from Doctors Without Borders, a neutral party, to stop bombing their hospital. It went unheeded.

Doctors Without Borders treats EVERYONE – Taliban and Afghan forces alike – who may be in need of medical treatment. The wounded and the dying can get treatment from them. They make NO distinction between an enemy and others.

The policy of Doctors Without Borders treating everyone I have read was an irritant to the Afghan government who did NOT want them to treat the Taliban enemy at all and hence the bombing of them ensued by the US.

This strike, if it occurred by our military forces, on a Doctors Without Borders hospital killing many of the brave and humane doctors as well as their suffering patients is one of the most egregious war crimes committed by our military in a sea of war crimes in that theater of war.

I knew the questioning of Gen. Campbell by the committee set up to “investigate" this egregious action today would be questioning light and it was. The senators sitting on that committee should be pounding their fists asking WHY if the coordinates were given many times by Doctors Without Borders to the Afghan and American military, a request by Doctors Without Borders for a cease and desist order of the bombing of that hospital went unheeded.

If true, this is a huge black eye on the American prosecution of this never ending eternal war. It helps no one. War crimes should be levied against those most responsible for this utterly egregious act. Its action goes against the laws of war, is a crime against humanity and against the laws of human dignity that the Nuremberg trials against the war criminals of Germany mandated should be bestowed on everyone. When crimes like this go unpunished the words “Never again” is just a platitudinous phrase and means nothing.

Monday, October 05, 2015

Hillary in New Hampshire

Hillary this a.m. spent over an hour with voters in New Hampshire answering tough questions from Savannah Guthrie. One of the questioners asked her what her favorite book was. Answer: "The Brothers Karamazov" by Dostoevsky. Not only did she answer it she discussed it showing her gargantuan intellect. She was brilliant and some were asked later if they thought so. A resounding yes was heard even from those who were undecided or who were voting for a challenger. They changed their mind.

Now I ask you to compare and contrast that to ANY candidates in the Republican arena. Most especially compare it to the thank-God-she-did-not-win, Sarah Palin who could have been a heart beat away from an old man in the presidency. She could not even answer the question except she said "All of them" Yeah, right. Case closed!  Democrats are infinitely smarter.

The Republicans still have nothing. Out of 17 candidates none of them has the depth and gravitas no matter how many billionaires there are among them that Hillary Clinton has.

There is no question who is the most electable, has the most experience and is the smartest. I won't tell. You figure it out.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

‘Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS’ by Joby Warrick

Getty images/globe staff photo illustration
As its name makes clear, the Islamic State is after something far more permanent than its nihilistic, destructive methods might suggest. Over the past few years the movement has come terrifyingly close, confidently deploying modern tools of warfare and propaganda to establish a blood-soaked caliphate whose barbarity feels prehistoric. In his new book “Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS,” Washington Post reporter Joby Warrick sets out to explain how a motley group of criminals considered too unruly by Al Qaeda transformed into the world’s most successful and savage jihadi group.

Warrick’s account centers as much on American missteps as it does on the jihadi long game to build capacity. He telegraphs his disgust with ISIS without turning his book into a two-dimensional jeremiad and takes pains to include accounts of the group’s thinking, evolution, and internal political disputes.

The Islamic State, better known here by the acronym, ISIS, swept into American consciousness about a year ago when it conquered northern Iraq and almost toppled the US-backed government in Baghdad. But ISIS didn’t come out of nowhere. Inhabitants of the Arab heartland had followed the steady entrenchment of jihadi groups in the region.

Since Sept. 11, America’s counter-terror establishment has been obsessed with kill lists, personalizing Al Qaeda and its offshoots as the fiefdoms of a few easily demonized leaders.

Meanwhile, in Iraq, Syria, and on computer screens around the world, a vast, well-funded network recruited legions of talented and capable individuals, learned from its setbacks, innovated, and built effective institutions to buttress a durable reign of horror.

“Black Flags” tries hard to explain how ISIS came of age and why so many supposedly moderate or conservative forces in the Arab world have been willing to stand with extremists.
Most bracing of all is Warrick’s historically-grounded corrective, which blames the American invasion of Iraq in 2003 as the single most pivotal factor in the organization’s creation.

Warrick spends plenty of time on a riveting and detailed biographical account of the man who founded the group that became ISIS, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, a Jordanian thug whose commitment to violent religious extremism was forged in jail. Blithe prison officials allowed jihadis free reign and then carelessly released them to curry political favor for the new king.

The US government made Zarqawi famous by naming him as the link between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda, part of the spurious grounds to justify the Iraqi invasion. America’s mistakes were a bonanza for Zarqawi, who hired from the ranks of newly jobless soldiers and intelligence officials and capitalized on the disenfranchisement of Sunni tribes suddenly in need of a new protector.

Zarqawi reengineered the parameters of violence — no small feat in a neighborhood where despots like Saddam Hussein and the Assad dynasty in Syria already had spawned a vast torture complex. He personally beheaded civilians on video; directed suicide bombs at targets that other jihadis considered off limits like the UN, NGOs, and Arab embassies; and struck Shia religious targets with the ultimately successfully goal of provoking a destabilizing Sunni-Shia civil war. Even Al Qaeda thought he was going too far, Warrick notes, but Zarqawi’s methods proved to have enduring traction long after his death in 2006.

His successors built ISIS into an organization determined to go much further than Al Qaeda and implement a brutal caliphate immediately. Today ISIS runs oil fields, banks, and a formidable military. The group’s executions grab our attention, but ISIS applies equal zeal to tax collection, education, and indoctrination — all good reasons to suspect that it may remain part of the scene for years to come.

There are a few missing pieces in this otherwise fine book. Warrick neglects the rich context of torture, abuse, and extremism fed by Arab governments and international patrons, including the United States, in the decades before Al Qaeda and then ISIS came to maturity. He mentions but does not delve deeply into the widespread sympathy for hardline Islamist ideas among the Arabian peninsula monarchies and many supposedly mainstream Sunnis.

Also some big questions remain at the end of “Black Flags,’’ including the mystery of the group’s technical achievements. How did ISIS refine its training, military tactics, and administrative abilities so thoroughly that it could control a nation-sized swath of Syria and Iraq? Warrick’s account fills in important conceptual blanks, but doesn’t explain why this time around the same old cocktail of takfiri jihad, Gulf money, and impressionable testosterone-filled volunteers yielded an army and government-in-waiting more effective than any of its regional peers.

Overall, however, Warrick’s book might be the most thorough and nuanced account of the birth and growth of ISIS published so far. “Black Flags’’ is full of personalities, but it keeps its gaze carefully focused on the wider arc of history.

Thanassis Cambanis writes The Internationalist column for Globe Ideas and is a fellow at The Century Foundation in New York. His most recent book is “Once Upon a Revolution: An Egyptian Story.’’

The Hidden Holocaust -- Sixty Minutes segment

This is one of the most excellent pieces of investigative journalism I have seen. It involves the most moral and righteous among nations, a Catholic priest Father Patrick Desbois, who made it his life's work to uncover Jewish dead about whom the Nazis wanted no one to know.

I knew that my grandparents who came here at the turn of the 20th century could not have known what would happen to their friends, family and neighbors who were fellow Jews in Shepatovka, Ukraine and they could never have known that had they not left they would have been among those killed and buried in mass unmarked graves courtesy of the Einsatzgruppen, German death squads dispatched to Eastern Europe to kill Jews -- all of them.

I knew in 1941 that most of them were shot and fell into the killing fields of Eastern Europe while many who were not Jewish stood by and watched. I urge you to watch it and the extra segments including the one on ISIS and NEVER forget!

Linked below.

A priest is determined to find forgotten victims of the Holocaust whose bodies lie in unmarked mass graves in the former USSR

Kee Slapping Funny -- Hillary on Saturday Night Live

Hillary Clinton Saturday Night Live.  Val the bartender!


I still do not think Bernie can win.  So I say Hillary 2016!!!

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Pope Francis expected to fire the Archbishop who tricked him into meeting Kim Davis


After Pope Francis wrapped up a successful goodwill tour of the United States, he saw his that goodwill largely undermined when it leaked out that he had met with Kentucky marriage license clerk Kim Davis, who is considered by many Americans to be enemy number one when it comes to gay rights. This prompted the Pope to put out a statement clarifying that while the meeting took place, he in no way endorsed her agenda. And now he’s expected to go a step further, removing the Archbishop who set up the meeting.

Francis and the Vatican also made clear that while he was in Washington DC, the only official one-on-one meeting he had was with a former student of his, Yayo Grassi, who is gay. Instead they maintain that the meeting with Davis was part of a receiving line and that she was essentially slipped in by Washington Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò. The New York Times says that he is now “likely to be removed at the first respectable opportunity.”

It’s not immediately clear how far such a move will go toward repairing the sudden damage done to the Pope’s otherwise largely stellar reputation. Some may skeptically view the Archbishop as a designated fall guy amid unexpected public relations fallout. But the Vatican is stressing that no one within its Rome organization was involved in setting up the meeting in any way, and that it was orchestrated solely by Viganò, who was presumably carrying out his own agenda.

What may be most remarkable is that Pope Francis, who technically answers to no one in his religious role, is going to such great lengths to explain himself and try to atone for the meeting. And it’s becoming increasingly clear that he’s not a supporter of Kim Davis’ agenda in any way, shape or form. Read more here.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Before Meeting Kim Davis, Pope Met With His Gay Friend In Washington

"I don’t think he was trying to say anything in particular... He was just meeting with his ex-student and a very close friend of his."

<span class='image-component__caption' itemprop="caption">In this still from a video taken by Marisa Marchitelli, Yayo Grassi, left, and his partner Iwan Bagus, center, can be seen greeting Pope Francis, right, at the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, D.C.</span> In this still from a video taken by Marisa Marchitelli, Yayo Grassi, left, and his partner Iwan Bagus, center, can be seen greeting Pope Francis, right, at the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, D.C.
Pope Francis privately met with a gay couple last week while visiting Washington, D.C., according to several news reports Friday.

Yayo Grassi, an openly gay Argentine-American caterer who lives in the Washington area and is a former student of the pope’s, met with Francis at the Apostolic Nunciature one day before the pope met Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who has been at the center of a national controversy over her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Joining Grassi was his boyfriend of 19 years, Iwan Bagus.
The news was first reported Friday by CNN, which published an interview with Grassi and described a video of him embracing the pope. A partial video of Grassi's encounter with Francis can be seen below. The Associated Press reported Friday that the Vatican confirmed Francis had met with a "gay former student and his partner."

Grassi did not respond to multiple requests for comment from The Huffington Post.
Grassi, who studied under the pope when Francis taught at Inmaculada Concepcion high school in Flores, Argentina, in the mid-1960s, told CNN the meeting was arranged via the Apostolic Nunciature, which is the Vatican's embassy in Washington.

According to a Vatican statement on Friday, the embassy also arranged the pope’s meeting with Davis, which the Vatican said “should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects.” The Vatican said the pope only had one “real audience” while at the embassy, which was his former students.

Grossi’s description of himself as a former student would seem to match the Vatican’s.
In an interview with The New York Times, Grossi said that he did not think the pope was making a statement with the meeting, which reportedly lasted between 15 and 20 minutes.
“I don’t think he was trying to say anything in particular,” he said. “He was just meeting with his ex-student and a very close friend of his.”

According to a HuffPost translation of the above video, Grassi introduced Francis one by one to several of his friends from Argentina, Indonesia, Thailand and Bolivia.

One of the women, an Argentine friend of Grassi's, fell to tears as she exchanged greetings with Francis.
"Pray for me," the pope said, a phrase he is famous for.

"We've taken up too much of your time," Grassi said.
"No, by God, thanks for having me," Francis replied.

The pope, following Argentine custom, kissed Grassi and Bagus each on the cheek when saying goodbye.
The news that Francis met with a gay man in a long-term relationship within hours of meeting with one of the highest-profile opponents of same-sex marriage in the U.S. elicited surprise and applause from LGBT advocates, some of whom had said they were offended by the pope's meeting with Davis.

"Pope Francis never ceases to surprise us," said Christopher J. Hale, executive director of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, in a statement. "The news that Francis met with a gay couple should put to rest any notion that Pope Francis is held down by the narrow ideological divisions that plague the United States. He is first and foremost a pastor who is willing to encounter and engage anyone."

"Once again, this shows that the Pope meets with a wide variety of people on his trips," said the Rev. James Martin, editor at large of American Magazine, a Jesuit publication, in an email to HuffPost. "Of course it does not betoken any sort of papal approval of same-sex marriage. But if the story is accurate, I'm glad to hear that the Pope keeps in touch with old friends, gay or straight."

UPDATE: 2:15 p.m. -- The Rev. Thomas Rosica, a spokesman for the Vatican, issued the following statement Friday afternoon: "Mr. Yayo Grassi, a former Argentine student of Pope Francis, who had already met other times in the past with the Pope, asked to present his mother and several friends to the Pope during the Pope’s stay in Washington, DC. As noted in the past, the Pope, as pastor, has maintained many personal relationships with people in a spirit of kindness, welcome and dialogue."

President's Press Conference

He is simply a BRILLIANT man. His press conference was long, detailed and 100% on target. I wish he could be president for 8 more years. He is so far and above any of Republican so called leadership it is staggering!

Vatican Denies Kim Davis' Meeting With Pope Francis Indicates Support

At least he's trying to walk that nasty ovation to someone who in my opinion does not deserve it (link below.) What about the others she decimated with her ugly belief. Belief does not give one the right to torture others and that is just what she did.

I'm glad he clarified and I believe he should meet with gay people who have suffered immensely at the hands of those who bully them ALL the time!