Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

“Fourscore and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
“Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure.
“We are met on a great battle field of that war.
“We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live.
“It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
“But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground.
“The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.
“The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.
“It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.
“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.”
Memorial Day is an occasion for us to reflect on the patriotism and sacrifice made by those, who have served honorably in our military.
However, since Donald Trump became President and with the Republican party controlling the House, Senate and Supreme Court, we should be very concerned every day that our government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the Earth. 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Robert Cairns

Delhi’s Bob Cairns is the sections editor of The Daily Star.  The following is an excerpt from his most recent column, that is entitled: “The First Amendment to the Constitution matters, as well.”
“Alex Jones, the blustery face of InfoWars, has admitted in civil court that his on-camera rants are all an act.  He was recently forced to publicly apologize for telling lies about the Chobani company.
“And yet, Trump, during an appearance on Jones’ internet show, said to the host, ‘Your reputation is amazing.  I will not let you down.’
“It seems Trump would like to toss out the First Amendment and have a state press, under his control, and a populace afraid to speak out against him.
“Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un — dictators for whom Trump has expressed admiration — enjoy those things. 
“For those who think the outcry against these actions (and this column, for that matter) are nothing more than liberal whining, I urge you to consider how you’d react if a Democratic president threatened to jail some of your favorites from Fox News or The Washington Times.
“A free press and a free-speaking populace aren’t a benefit to any one ideology.  They’re a benefit to all of us.
“It’s popular to dredge up quotes from Thomas Jefferson to support points of view these days.  So I’ll end with this one, from a 1787 letter Jefferson wrote to Virginia statesman Edward Carrington: 
“‘The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.’”

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Robert Mueller

After The New York Times reported on a memo FBI Director Comey wrote last February, that claimed President Trump asked him to drop the FBI investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, congressional Democrats demanded the Justice Department appoint a special counsel or prosecutor to oversee the case. 

Consequently, former FBI Director Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel to oversee a federal investigation into Russian interference in our 2016 election, including potential collusion between Trump's campaign associates and Russian officials.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller to the position, because Attorney General Jeff Sessions had recused himself from any involvement in the Russia investigation due to his role as a prominent campaign adviser.

According to the Justice Department order that Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein signed, as a special counsel Robert Mueller is "authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising from the investigation of these matters."  

In a brief statement, former FBI Director Mueller said: "I accept this responsibility and will discharge it to the best of my ability."

White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters: "There’s, frankly, no need for a special prosecutor.  We've discussed this before.  You have two Senate committees that are looking into this, the FBI is conducting their own review.  And, I think if you even look at what Acting Director (Andrew) McCabe said last week, he made it very clear that they have the resources that they need and that the work continues."
Later, President Trump insists: "As I have stated many times, a thorough investigation will confirm what we already know, there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity.  I look forward to this matter concluding quickly.  In the meantime, I will never stop fighting for the people and the issues that matter most to the future of our country."

Friday, May 26, 2017

Hard To Believe

Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff is the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee.  Regarding, President Trump’s claim that FBI Director Comey told him that he is not under investigation, Rep. Schiff noted: “It’s hard to believe honestly anything the President says on the subject of the Russia investigation.  But even if you accept him at his word, it’s breathtaking because Comey wants to keep his job, and in the context of Comey wanting to keep his job, he asked Comey, am I under investigation?  Comey supposedly tells him, no.  And when he wants to know whether he’s going to stay on as FBI Director, the President says, we’ll see.” 
Trump was asked by Lester Holt about involvement in Russia.  He responded: “I have no investments in Russia, none whatsoever.  I don’t have property in Russia.  I am not involved in Russia.  No loans, no nothing.”
With respect to that quote, Congressman Schiff explained: “Look, I don’t think we can take the President’s comments on this at face value by any means.  And I think we need to do a thorough investigation into whether, for example, among other things, the Russians used tactics they have used in Europe where they try to financially entangle people.  I don’t want to read too much into the President’s comments.  He seems to be very focused in his statements and his tweets on the lack of his investments in Russia.  He seems to say very little about the Russians’ investments in him.  His own children have said publicly that the Russians were major contributors or leaders or participants financially in their business enterprises here.  So I think even taking the President for what he said, a very perilous thing to do, he has said very little about the Russian investment in he and his family.”

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Revised Version

Notably, President Trump praised Australia's universal health care system during a press conference with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.  He said: "It's going to be fantastic health care.  I shouldn't say this to our great gentleman and my friend from Australia because you have better health care than we do.”

House Republicans' initial attempt to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was named the American Health Care Act (AHCA).  House Republicans passed the AHCA before the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) was able analyze it.  That bill was actually a corporate welfare bill disguised to be a health care bill.

President Obama’s Affordable Care Act provides healthcare to more than 20 million low and middle- income Americans by having the very wealthy and very profitable healthcare corporations pay more in taxes.  Obamacare was specifically designed to decrease economic inequality and improve our the nation’s healthcare. 

House Republicans decided to revised the AHCA to improve its chance of being passed in the Republican controlled Senate.  The official analysis of the revised version of the AHCA by non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has been released.

According to CBO analysis the revised American Health Care Act, would reverse the progress that had been made under the Affordable Care Act.  Trumpcare would cost 23 million Americans their healthcare by 2026.  

Furthermore, Trumpcare provides a $663 billion in tax breaks for millionaires, billionaires and powerful healthcare corporations. Those tax breaks would be paid for by slashing Medicaid and gutting financial support to help working families to purchase health insurance. 
Premiums would go up an average of 20 percent next year.  Costs could go up so high for individuals with pre-existing conditions that they would not be able to afford insurance at all, and 23 million more Americans would be uninsured.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Linda Chavez

Linda Chavez is a former official in the Reagan and Bush Administrations.  Recently, on national T.V. she said that President Trump is “endangering his own agenda.   He is endangering the Republican party, and ultimately he’s endangering the country.
She reminded us that the Trump famously said he could walk down 5th Avenue and shoot somebody, and he wouldn’t lose support.  Chavez finds that worrisome because congressional Republicans, who are supposed to have courage as elected official, just don’t seem to have that kind of courage, and she’s concerned that it’s going to destroy the Republican party.
She wants the Republican party to stand for something and not just for Donald Trump, but for principles, one of which is the rule of law.  
Linda Chavez explained: “We (Republican supporters) believe in the resources of the FBI.  We believe that they’re going to get to the bottom of this investigation.  And we’re going to ignore it until they’re finished with that investigation, and we’re just going to move forward with our agenda.  If the President were capable of doing that, the country would be a whole lot better off and certainly, the Republican Party would be.”
In his first week in office, President Trump proved to be liar, and very eager to attack the fundamental institutions of our democracy.  We should all be concerned, that Trump lies repeatedly, in order to distract citizens from the real issues of health care, jobs, our fundamental civil rights. 

We have real issues with voting in America, that doesn’t include the lies that Trump made up.  The fact is that we have voter suppression laws in North Carolina, that have been declared as unconstitutional. 

Congressional Republicans and their supporters stand for the principle of rule of law only when it supports an agenda that benefits the very wealthy. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Backbone and Leadership

Dan Gomes of Schenevus wrote: “Where is the outrage?  Just like the monkeys in the ancient proverb, Congressional Republicans  — with few exceptions — continue to ‘see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil.’
“Having hocked their souls to the devil for control of Congress and the presidency, Republicans now find themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place.  Desperate and bereft of the political capital necessary to redeem their reputations, they are now showing themselves to be not only nebbish cowards, but unpatriotic hypocrites and an embarrassment to all conscientious Republicans.
“For months, bolstered by ongoing Russian dezinformatsiya, President Trump has been branding our mainstream media as fake news, undermining our intelligence agencies and firing anyone whom he judges to be a threat, offering one obvious lie after another as justification — especially when it comes to his administration’s ties to Russia and his opaque business dealings around the world.
“What is it going to take to convince Trump supporters that they made a mistake, that they’ve been betrayed?  If the Trump-supported shameful GOP Health Care proposal didn’t do it, legislation that would rob the poor to fund massive tax breaks for the rich, I can’t imagine what will.
“Nevermind that it was pushed through at Trump’s insistence, not because it was good, well-considered legislation, but because Trump needed a ‘win.’
“Nevermind that it would be a short lived dubious win that will prove very costly for those who voted for it and the Republican Party in general… House Republicans, as if to provide an alternative to the discredited lemming’s myth, all willingly and gleefully marched off to the cliff — their naked emperor well behind them (if they would only look).
“Thankfully, print journalists are doing their job and providing the backbone and leadership missing in our Republican Congress.”