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

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Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Trump Effect

During the second Presidential Debate, Donald Trump claimed that Hillary Clinton is: “She’s all talk.  It doesn’t get done.  All you have to do is take a look at her Senate run.  Take a look at upstate New York.”

Hillary responded by pointing out that 67 percent of the people voted to re-elect her when she ran for a second term.  She is proud of her 30 years in public service, because she has consistently support children and families. After law school, she went to work for the Children’s Defense Fund. 

She started off as a young lawyer working against discrimination against African-American children in schools and in the criminal justice system.  She worked to make sure that children with disabilities could get a public education.  One of her first jobs in politics was in south Texas registering Latino citizens to be able to vote.  Hillary still has a deep devotion to making sure that an every American feels like he or she has a place in our country.

Hillary is very concerned that a lot of people wouldn’t have a place in Donald Trump’s America.  She spoke about a woman, who wrote her about her adopted son, Felix.  She rescued him from Ethiopia when he was a toddler, and he’s now 10 years old.  America is the only country he’s ever known.  After listening to Donald Trump on TV, Felix asked his mother if he would be send me back to Ethiopia if Trump gets elected? 

Hillary explained that our children listen to what Trump is saying, and his comments have resulted in a lot of fear.  Some children are feeling very uneasy and expressing their concerns.  Teachers and parents are calling it the Trump effect.

As president, Hillary Clinton has promised to reach out to everybody.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Sensible Regulations

At the last presidential debate, Hillary Clinton insisted that she understands and respects the tradition of gun ownership that goes back to the founding fathers.

However, she also believe that there must be reasonable regulation, because her support of the second amendment doesn't mean that those, who threaten to kill you, or members of your family should have guns.

Hillary pointed out 33,000 people die every year from guns.  She is in favor of comprehensive background checks, and closing the online, and gun show loopholes.  She believes that sensible reforms like those would make a difference, and not conflict with the second amendment.  

The debate moderator Chris Wallace asked: “Secretary Clinton, you said last year, and let me quote: ‘The Supreme Court is wrong on the second amendment.’  And now, in fact, in the 2008 Heller case the court ruled that there is a constitutional right to bear arms, but a right that is reasonably limited.  Those were the words of the judge Antonin Scalia, who wrote the decision.  What's wrong with that?”

Clinton explained: “I disagreed with the way the court applied the second amendment in that case.  Because what the District of Columbia was trying to do was to protect toddlers from guns.  And so they wanted people with guns to safely store them.  And the court did not accept that reasonable regulation but they’ve accepted many others.  So I see no conflict between saving people’s lives and defending the second amendment.”

Ever year dozens of toddlers injure themselves, or kill people with guns, because not everyone with loaded guns in their homes takes appropriate precautions.  Hillary believe in the right to bear arms, which shouldn’t conflict with sensible regulations.  She wants people to come together, and agree to a solution that save some of the 33,000 lives that we lose every year.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Interpreting the Constitution

In the last presidential debate, Hillary Clinton was asked for her view on how the Constitution should be interpreted?

She explained: “You know, at the goings on about the Supreme Court, it really raises the central issue in this election.  Namely, what kind of country are we going to be?  What kind of opportunities will we provide for our citizens?  What kind of rights will Americans have?  And I feel strongly that the Supreme Court needs to stand on the side of the American people, not on the side of the powerful corporations and the wealthy.  For me, that means that we need a Supreme Court that will stand up on behalf of of women's rights, on behalf of the rights of the LGBT community, that will stand up and say no to Citizens United, a decision that has undermined the election system in our country because of the way it permits dark, unaccountable money to come into our electoral system.

“I have major disagreements with my opponent about these issues and others that will be before the Supreme Court.  But I feel that at this point in our country's history, it is important that we not reverse marriage equality, that we not reverse Roe v. Wade, that we stand up against Citizens United -- we stand up for the rights of people in the workplace.  That we stand up and basically say -- the Supreme Court should represent all of us.  That's how I see the court.  And the kind of people that I would be looking to nominate to the court would be in the great tradition of standing up to the powerful, standing on behalf of our rights as Americans.  And I look forward to having the opportunity.  I would hope that the Senate would do its job and confirm the nominee that President Obama has sent to them.  That's the way the Constitution fundamentally should operate.  The president nominates, and then the Senate advises and consents or not.  But they go forward with the process.”

Sunday, October 23, 2016

A Rare Phenomenon

Donald Trump announced: “When I talk about the press taking people with absolutely no case whatsoever and trying to put it on front pages, that in its form, it’s a media rigging of the election.  You look at certain areas of the country in terms of the voters and the booths and everything else and what’s taking place and illegal immigrants voting and people that have died 10 years ago voting.”
Trump hasn’t cited any specific examples to support those accusations. But, some of his surrogates have been insisting that he’s talking not about widespread voter fraud, but only about fraud that is taking place in “inner cities” where black people vote.
Rudy Giuliani suggested: “You want me to tell me that I think the election in Philadelphia and Chicago is going to be fair?  I would have to be a moron to say that.  I found very few situations where Republicans cheat.  They don’t control the inner cities the way Democrats do.”
However, Republican Secretary of State, Jon Husted of Ohio pointed out: “It is utterly irresponsible for Trump to push the rigged election narrative. We have so many safeguards in place in our election system.  It’s bipartisan, it’s transparent, and there is just no justification for concern about widespread voter fraud.”
Numerous studies have found voter fraud to be a rare phenomenon, including in inner cities.  Nevertheless, a recent poll found 73 percent of Republicans voters say the election could be stolen from Trump.
More recently, Donald Trump suggested rigging the election goes beyond the nation’s election officials, media, and it goes all the way to the top levels of government.  He asserted: “The Department of Justice, the State Department, and the FBI colluded, got together to make Hillary Clinton look less guilty and look a lot better.”

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Middle Out Growth

Donald Trump has been criticizing our government for decades.  In 1987, he took out a one hundred thousand dollar ad in the New York Times, to criticize President Ronald Reagan.  He basically claimed that we were the laughing stock of the world. 

Even back then Trump injected himself into situations by claiming that he alone could fix problems, just as he has been claiming in the recent presidential debates.

Technology has made it easier for companies to eliminate certain occupations.  Families began relying on two earners as women began competing for jobs in the workforce.  As a trickle-down ideology became more prominent, taxes were slashed for the wealthy, and investments in schools and infrastructure were allowed to shrink.  

If you examine the tax plans that Clinton and Trump have proposed, you’ll find that Hillary’s plan pays for everything that she is proposing.  Her plan doesn’t add a penny to the national debt.  She recognizes that our national debt is a serious problem, that both Congress and our future President have got to come to grips with.

Regarding Hillary Clinton’s plan to pay for college education, more investments in infrastructure, and how we're going to get the cost of prescription drugs down, she has been clear.  The money is going to be coming from those very wealthy individuals and very profitable corporations, who haven’t been required to pay their fair share for many years. 

There is no evidence whatsoever that requiring them to pay their fair share will slow down our economy or diminish job growth. 

Economists refer to the Democratic plan to pay down our national debt as middle-out growth.  It rebuilds the middle class, because that's where most economic growth comes from.  It's an alternative to trickle-down economics and the fairest way to grow our economy. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Tax Plans

The Tax Policy Center, a research arm of the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute analyzed Trump and Clinton tax plans.
Trump’s tax plan would cut taxes by $6.2 trillion over a decade (add interest and it’s $7.2 trillion), mainly for the rich and big corporations, and add trillions of dollars to the federal debt.

It would give the richest 0.1 percent of taxpayers (those with incomes of more than $3.7 million this year) an average tax cut of $1.1 million, for a 14 percent increase on average in their after-tax income.

The middle one-fifth of Americans by income would receive a tax cut increasing after-tax income less than 2 percent, on average, while the poorest fifth would get a break of less than 1 percent.

Americans for Tax Fairness Action Fund opposes Trump’s tax plan and his failure to release his tax returns.
Hillary Clinton’s tax plan would raise an additional $1.4 trillion over the next 10 years on high-income taxpayers, mostly on the top 1 percent and large corporations.  That money that would be used to make new investments to create an economy that works for us all.
Her plan would also on average slightly reduce taxes for middle and low income households.  However, the wealthiest households would face a 4 percent surcharge on adjusted gross income exceeding $5 million, a minimum tax rate of 30 percent, a 28 percent cap on deductions and other tax breaks as well as a higher capital gains tax on assets held less than six years.  Her plan would increase federal revenues $1.4 trillion over the first decade.
The chances of Clinton’s plan seeing the light of day depends of the Democratic party winning back control of the Senate and House.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Emily Popek

The Oneonta Daily Star recently published the following letter that was submitted by Emily F. Popek, who was the former assistant editor of that newspaper.  
“I was extremely disappointed, although not shocked, to read some of the comments on Facebook when The Daily Star posted its endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president.
“‘It’s not the media’s job to try and sway the public,’ one person wrote.  ‘Why would you give your opinion?  A true newspaper should remain neutral,” another person wrote.  ‘Isn’t this completely wrong for a published newspaper to choose a side?,’ wrote a third.
“The ignorance on display in these sentiments saddens me deeply.  Editorial opinions are part of the tradition of newspaper writing stretching back decades, and presidential endorsements in particular are part of that tradition.   In the 2016 presidential race, hundreds of newspapers, including long-standing bastions of journalistic tradition such as the Boston Globe, New York Times, Chicago Sun-Times and Baltimore Sun, have written endorsements.
“A newspaper offering an endorsement is no different from any other editorial opinion offered by the paper.  As a reader, I am perfectly capable of making the distinction between opinion and news, not the least because the section in which the content appears is clearly labeled as such.  It is perfectly appropriate for The Daily Star or any other newspaper to participate in a long-standing tradition of publishing editorial opinions — including those endorsing candidates — and I for one hope this tradition continues.
“I find reading the opinions of others — especially those with whom I disagree — to be a worthwhile intellectual exercise.  Further, it is one we must all be willing to embrace if we are to continue calling ourselves a democracy.”
Bravo for Emily!  Her last paragraph is also one of my greatest concerns regarding the future of our nation.
I’ve strongly disagreed with the Star’s repeated endorsement of Congressman Chris Gibson, but instead of complaining about the editorial board’s prerogative to make those endorsements, I publicly let them know the reasons that I disagreed with their decision.
Those letters were published by the Star with Jim O’Leary Delhi, at the end of every one of them.  In my opinion there is something cowardly about anonymous comments on line.