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, October 31, 2016

Trump’s Chances

Nate Silver is the founder and editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight.  He has presented the following 5 propositions regarding Donald Trump’s chances of becoming our next president.

#1 The conventional wisdom from the primaries — that Trump was unaffected by scandals or other negative story lines — hasn’t held up in the general election.  Trump is the most unpopular presidential nominee of the modern era, and furthermore, downswings in his polling correlate well with specific incidents, such as his criticism of Judge Gonzalo Curiel and Khizr and Ghazala Khan.  He’s also lost further ground to Hillary Clinton since the tape was released last week.

# 2: These events may affect Trump’s “ceiling” more than his “floor.”  At some point, though, one wonders how much lower Trump can go.  He’s getting only 39 percent of the vote in national polls, a low figure for such a partisan era.  Even if Trump gets embroiled in further scandals, each one may drive away fewer voters than the one before, as he’s already been involved in so many.  And Trump’s response to the accusations — such lashing out at The New York Times and other media organizations that reported his accusers’ stories — could play well with his base.

But 39 percent of the vote won’t be enough for Trump to win the election or come anywhere close to it.  At a minimum, he’ll need around 46 percent on Nov. 8, assuming that about 8 percent of the vote goes to third-party candidates.  Where he’ll get those votes from is hard to say.  Based on recent polls, I’d estimate that about 35 percent of Trump’s current voters are white men without a college degree, by far Trump’s best demographic group.  But only around 10 percent of voters who don’t currently support Trump fall into that category.  Trump will have to win over women, college-educated white men or people of color to win the election, and the events of the past week are unlikely to help him with any of those groups.

# 3: It’s plausible that the effect on the polls could be temporary rather than permanent.  There’s a complicated debate about whether election polls are essentially mean-reverting or instead resemble a random walk.  In other words, if Trump goes from being (for instance) 5 percentage points behind to 7 points behind as a result of some news event, is he more likely than not to rebound to 5 points after a couple of weeks?  Or is the 7-point deficit the new normal?  There’s even a third possibility — that polls are momentum-driven, so that if a candidate loses ground in a poll, he’s likely to continue losing further ground.

Without getting too deep into the weeds, I’d just remind you to be open to the possibility that the accusations could have an effect that will last for between a few days and a couple of weeks, but that could fade once other issues displace them in the news cycle.  Of course, with less than four weeks to go until the election and people already voting in many states, even a temporary change in the polling numbers could still be reflected in the outcome on Nov. 8.

# 4: We probably haven’t seen the end of this.  If Trump turns out to be a serial sexual abuser, there’s a good chance that other women will come forward with stories like the ones we’ve heard already.  And the women who have come forward so far may yet share additional details about Trump’s alleged conduct.  In the past, Trump has also shown a tendency to extend news cycles by refusing to admit wrongdoing and attacking his accusers, even when faced with accusations far less serious than these.  We’re already starting to see Trump repeat that pattern here.

Furthermore, opposition researchers have begun releasing information at a prodigious rate, with major new stories about Trump dropping every few days.  Many political operatives and campaign reporters believe that there’s more damaging information about Trump that has yet to be made public. While sometimes those guesses can turn out to be wrong, Trump has lived in the public spotlight for decades, leaving a long paper and video trail, and crossing paths — and swords — with many people along the way.  The probability of additional leaks is high, so Trump is likely to be off-balance for the stretch run of the campaign.

# 5: This probably won’t cost him the election — because Trump was already losing.  It’s important to remember that Trump has been running behind Clinton for almost the whole campaign, and he had fallen into roughly a 5-percentage-point deficit after his poor performance in the first presidential debate — and before the latest round of scandals.  That deficit is fairly hard to come back from even under the best of circumstances.  To make it to the Oval Office now, Trump would have to make one of the greatest comebacks in political history while navigating a minefield of scandals and leaks, making his task even harder.  But as far as FiveThirtyEight’s forecasts are concerned, the first debate still looks like the turning point in the race.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Truth or Consequences

For nearly 8 years the Republican Party blocked Obama’s attempts to help the American people, while claiming to be the party of family values.
Republicans nominated Trump, and most congressional Republicans endorse his nomination until their state polls showed that most voters didn’t plan to vote for Trump, so they began withdrawing their endorsement.  Republicans have resorted to misinformation for a long time.  They say things that aren’t grounded in fact, and it has back fired on them.
In Oct. 2012, at a presidential debate, Romney asked Obama a question regarding the attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi.
Obama replied: “The day after the attack, Governor, I stood in the Rose Garden, and I told the American people and the world that we are going to find out exactly what happened, that this was an act of terror.  And I also said that we’re going to hunt down those who committed this crime.  And then a few days later, I was there greeting the caskets coming into Andrews Air Force Base and grieving with the families.”

Romney responded: “I think it’s interesting the president just said something which is that on the day after the attack, he went in the Rose Garden and said that this was an act of terror.  You said in the Rose Garden the day after the attack it was an act of terror.  It was not a spontaneous demonstration.  Is that what you’re saying?”  

Obama: “Please proceed.”

Believing the Republican Party’s misinformation, Romney said: “I want to make sure we get that for the record, because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror.  

Obama: “Get the transcript.”  Moderator Sandy Crowley: “He did in fact, sir.”  Obama: “Can you say that a little louder, Candy?”

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Trump Is Unacceptable

The Oneonta Daily Star published the following letter to the editor that Joseph C. Stillman submitted.
“Donald Trump isn’t an honest person.  He’s not interested in the truth and likes to manufacture fictitious rumors about his rivals.
“He isn’t an individual who has ever been a senator, U.S. congressman, governor, state senator, attorney general, mayor, school board member or city councilman.  He’s never done anything for anyone other than himself.
“He’s does not work well with people to seek consensus to serious problems.  He isn’t a person who respects differences of opinion or people who disagree with him
“He isn’t a person who will release his tax returns, because he doesn’t pay any taxes and he knows this doesn’t make him look very good.  He isn’t disclosing his taxes because he doesn’t give money to charity as he claims and this would prove he lied about all the great causes he wants us to believe he has funded.  He isn’t releasing his taxes because when you declare bankruptcy six times and lose a billion dollars, it doesn’t make you look like the great businessman he claims to be.
“Donald Trump isn’t a man who respects women.  He mocks their appearance, calls them names, boasts that he has had numerous affairs and uses them as props to make him look good.
“He isn’t a substantive person.  He discriminates against minorities, is a racist and tried to delegitimize our president by saying he wasn’t born in this country and then admits he was after five years, all the while using that to draw attention to himself.
“Donald Trump is all show and not a legitimate candidate.  He has no experience that qualifies him to be the leader of a Boy Scout troop much less the free world or the distinguished office of the president of the United States.”

Friday, October 28, 2016

Disenfranchising Voters

Researches found only 31 credible incidents, of someone pretending to be someone else at the polls, out of 1 billion votes cast since 2000. 
The problem is the increasing number of elegible voters are being disenfranchised by new voting restrictions.
A federal district judge struck down a Wisconsin voter I.D. law, by explaining: “A preoccupation with mostly phantom election fraud leads to real incidents of disenfranchisement, which undermine rather than enhance confidence in elections, particularly in minority communities.  To put it bluntly, Wisconsin’s strict version of the voter ID law is a cure worse than the disease.” 
Federal courts struck down voting restrictions in six states this summer, but 14 states still have new voting restrictions in place.
Donald Trump is attempting to use voter fraud, and a corrupt election system as the reason, that he’s doing so poorly in the polls.  However, federal court have been pointing out, that if any rigging is happening, it’s Republican state legislatures who have pass laws that make it harder for people to vote, because they want to discriminate against people of color.
North Carolina pass a restrictive voter I.D. law, but also cut early voting, and eliminated the same day voter registration.  The fourth circuit court of appeals found that the law targeted black voters with: “Almost surgical precision.”
When the federal court asked the state of North Carolina, why they cut early voting, they claimed: “Well, some counties were using it more than others.”  So the court asked: “Well, which counties?”  And the state of North Carolina lawyer replied: “Well, counties that had a larger African-American population intended to vote for democrats.”  To which the fourth circuit commented: “You just admitted to us in court that you did this to disenfranchise people based on their race and their political affiliation.”

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Political Expediency

The choice is between Hillary Clinton who is totally qualified to run for the office of president, and has repeatedly proven that she understand the issues that working families are facing on the one hand.  And on the other hand, we have the Republican nominee for president, Donald Trump who every time he talks seem to prove himself unfit and unqualified for the office. 
Many of the Republican congressional candidates, who are running for office have recently started to withdrawn their support of Trump.  They’ve made that decision only after looking at the polling.  They recognize that it’s politically expedient to withdraw their support.  
Apparently, it was okay when Trump was attacking minorities, and suggesting that Mexicans were rapists and Muslims were unpatriotic, and insulting Gold Star mothers, and making fun of disabled Americans.  Why did they wait so long?
Voting for a Republican candidate for Congress risks giving Trump the congressional majority he’ll need to roll back the significant progress that that the Obama administration has made over the past eight years.
Most Republicans don’t think the way Donald Trump does, but the problem is that Republican politicians have been feeding their base crazy conspiracy theories for many years, primarily for political expedience.
For five years, Trump perpetuated a false claim that the nation’s first black president was not a natural-born citizen.  Obama’s birth certificate was produced in 2011, and he continued to question our president’s legitimacy in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015.  

Furthermore, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy recently told Sean Hannity on Fox News that the Select Committee on Benghazi, chaired by Rep. Trey Gowdy was essentially designed to take Hillary Clinton down in the presidential election.  After 16 months and more than $4.5 million, the committee gained no additional insight into the attacks in Benghazi.

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.   

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Our First Lady

Recently, our First Lady Michelle Obama explained: “And now, here I am, out on the campaign trail in an election where we have consistently been hearing hurtful, hateful language about women – language that has been painful for so many of us, not just as women, but as parents trying to protect our children and raise them to be caring, respectful adults, and as citizens who think that our nation’s leaders should meet basic standards of human decency.

“The fact is that in this election, we have a candidate for president of the United States who, over the course of his lifetime and the course of this campaign, has said things about women that are so shocking, so demeaning that I simply will not repeat anything here today.  And last week, we saw 
this candidate actually bragging about sexually assaulting women.  And I can’t believe that I’m saying that a candidate for president of the United States has bragged about sexually assaulting women.

“And I have to tell you that I can’t stop thinking about this.  It has shaken me to my core in a way that I couldn’t have predicted.  So while I’d love nothing more than to pretend like this isn’t happening, and to come out here and do my normal campaign speech, it would be dishonest and disingenuous to me to just move on to the next thing like this was all just a bad dream.

“This is not something that we can ignore.  It’s not something we can just sweep under the rug as just another disturbing footnote in a sad election season, because this was not just a ‘lewd conversation.’  This wasn’t just locker-room banter.  This was a powerful individual speaking freely and openly about sexually predatory behavior, and actually bragging about kissing and groping women, using language so obscene that many of us were worried about our children hearing it when we turn on the TV.

“And to make matters worse, it now seems very clear that this isn’t an isolated incident.  It’s one of countless examples of how he has treated women his whole life.  And I have to tell you that I listen to all of this and I feel it so personally, and I`m sure that many of you do too, particularly the women.  The shameful comments about our bodies.  The disrespect of our ambitions and intellect.  The belief that you can do anything you want to a woman.

“It is cruel.  It’s frightening.  And the truth is, it hurts.  It hurts.  It’s like that sick, sinking feeling you get when you`re walking down the street minding your own business and some guy yells out vulgar words about your body.  Or when you see that guy at work that stands just a little too close, stares a little too long, and makes you feel uncomfortable in your own skin.

“It’s that feeling of terror and violation that too many women have felt when someone has grabbed them, or forced himself on them and they’ve said no but he didn’t listen – something that we know happens on college campuses and countless other places every single day.  It reminds us of stories we heard from our mothers and grandmothers about how, back in their day, the boss could say and do whatever he pleased to the women in the office, and even though they worked so hard, jumped over every hurdle to prove themselves, it was never enough.

“We thought all of that was ancient history, didn’t we?  And so many have worked for so many years to end this kind of violence and abuse and disrespect, but here we are, in 2016, and we’re hearing these exact same things every day on the campaign trail.  We are drowning in it.

“And all of us are doing what women have always done – we’re trying to keep our heads above water, just trying to get through it, trying to pretend like this doesn’t really bother us, maybe because we think that admitting how much it hurts makes us as women look weak.  Maybe we’re afraid to be that vulnerable.

“Maybe we’ve grown accustomed to swallowing these emotions and staying quiet, because we’ve seen that people often won’t take our word over his.  Or maybe we don’t want to believe that there are still people out there who think so little of us as women.  Too many are treating this as just another day’s headline, as if our outrage is overblown or unwarranted, as if this is normal, just politics as usual.  This is disgraceful.  It is intolerable.  And it doesn’t matter what party you belong to – Democrat, Republican, independent – no woman deserves to  be treated this way.  None of us deserves this kind of abuse.

“And I know it’s a campaign, but this isn’t about politics.  It’s about basic human decency.  It’s about right and wrong.  And we simply cannot endure this, or expose our children to this any longer – not for another minute, and let alone for four years.  Now is the time for all of us to stand up and say enough is enough.  This has got to stop right now.

“Because consider this: If all of this is painful to us as grown women, what do you think this is doing to our children?  What message are our little girls hearing about who they should look like, how they should act?  What lessons are they learning about their value as professionals, as human beings, about their dreams and aspirations?

“And how is this affecting men and boys in this country?  Because I can tell you that the men in my life do not talk about women like this.  And I know that my family is not unusual.  And to dismiss this as everyday locker-room talk is an insult to decent men everywhere.

“The men that you and I know don’t treat women this way.  They are loving fathers who are sickened by the thought of their daughters being exposed to this kind of vicious language about women.  They are husbands and brothers and sons who don’t tolerate women being treated and demeaned and disrespected.

“And like us, these men are worried about the impact this election is having on our boys who are looking for role models of what it means to be a man. Because let’s be very clear: Strong men who are truly role models – don’t need to put down women to make themselves feel powerful.

“People who are truly strong lift others up.  People who are truly powerful bring others together.  And that is what we need in our next president.  We need someone who is a uniting force in this country.  We need someone who will heal the wounds that divide us, someone who truly cares about us and our children, someone with strength and compassion to lead this country forward.

“And let me tell you, I’m here today because I believe with all of my heart that Hillary Clinton will be that president.  In our hearts, we all know that if we let Hillary’s opponent win this election, then we are sending a clear message to our kids that everything they’re seeing and hearing is perfectly okay.  We are validating it.  We are endorsing it.  We’re telling our sons that it’s okay to humiliate women.  We’re telling our daughters that this is how they deserve to be treated.  We’re telling all our kids that bigotry and bullying are perfectly acceptable in the leader of their country.  Is that what we want for our children?

“And remember, we won’t just be setting a bad example for our kids, but for our entire world.  Because for so long, America has been a model for countries across the globe, pushing them to educate their girls,
insisting that they give more rights to their women.  But if we have a President who routinely degrades women, who brags about sexually assaulting women, then how can we maintain our moral authority in the world?  How can we continue to be a beacon of freedom and justice and human dignity?”

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Fifty-five Percent Approval

Under the Obama administration America fought its way back from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.  Our businesses have turned devastating job losses into 15 million new jobs.  Our government’s bailout of the auto industry, with the backing of United Automobile Workers, has resulted in American workers making the best cars in the world, and we’re selling more cars than ever. 
Our country is no longer dependence on foreign oil, and we’ve more than doubled our production of renewable energy.  Last year, incomes rose faster than at any time on record.  At the same time poverty dropped by the largest amount since 1968.  The uninsured rate is at an all-time low, because 20 million people now have health insurance, who didn’t have it prior to the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act . 
More of our brave troops are home with their families, and justice has been delivered justice to bin Laden.  Today wherever they live in America can marry whoever they love. 
There is almost no economic measure by which our citizens are not substantially better off today than they were when President Obama took office. 
That is an example of what a hard working and determined American citizens, supported by a Democratic president and a Democratic majority in Congress can accomplish together.
According to a CNN/ORC poll announced on Oct 7th. Obama's approval rating stood at 55 percent, the highest mark of his second term, and matching his best at any time since his first year in office. 
On the other hand George W. Bush’s favorability rating was 22 percent and Cheney’s was 13 percent when they left office.  That legacy, was determined by those Americans, who endured 8 years of Bush's presidency.

Why would anyone vote for a Republican candidate?

Monday, October 17, 2016

Encouraging Young Voters

During the Vietnam War the draft was a major source of resentment among college age students.  The age of the average soldier serving in Vietnam was 19, seven years younger than in World War II.  Young Americans were legally old enough to fight and die, but not permitted to vote.  Only after 58,000 Americans died in Vietnam, and four students in the vicinity of an anti-war protest on the campus of Kent State University were killed by National Guardsmen in 1970, did Congress pass the 26th Amendment in 1971, to allowed 18 year olds to vote.
America has one of the worst voting records in the free world.  In the 2010 national elections only 37.8 percent of eligible citizens voted.  About 144 million Americans didn’t vote, which is more than the population of Russia. After the 2010 election the Democratic party became a minority in the House.  Republicans refuse to bring the minimum wage up for a vote.  They also defaulted on our debt, which cost our treasury $24 billion.
Since 2014, Republicans have controlled both the House and Senate. Congressional Democrats proposed allowing student loans to be refinanced, because it could save families $50 billion.  Republicans rejected that legislation.
State colleges should encourage students to vote by having a voting district on campus.  Historically, the purpose of multiple voting districts in Delhi was to make it convenient for voters.  Voting by SUNY Delhi students is being discouraged, by requiring them to travel two miles to find the County Correctional Facility.  If most students vote for Trump, that’s okay, because their vote is at lease as important as ours.
Voter suppression and a gerrymandered congressional district from Republican strongholds in 11 counties, shouldn’t be necessary for an honorable political party to win elections.   

Sunday, October 16, 2016


First, we hear from Bernie Sanders and his supporters, that our political process in going to develop into a Revolution.  Now, we’re being threatened by some Donald Trump supporters, that if he doesn’t win the election, there will be a Revolution.  I find the use of that word offensive, and I’m reminded of the song by the Beatles, that was entitled “Revolution.”  The song was written by John Lennon regarding the Vietnam War protests.
“You say you want a revolution  Well, you know  We all want to change the world                                              

You tell me that it's evolution  Well, you know  We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction  Don't you know that you can count me out

Don't you know it's gonna be  All right, all right, all right
You say you got a real solution  Well, you know   We'd all love to see the plan                                                      

You ask me for a contribution  Well, you know  We're doing what we can
But if you want money for people with minds that hate  All I can tell is brother you have to wait            

Don't you know it's gonna be  All right, all right, all right
You say you'll change the constitution  Well, you know  We all want to change your head                            

You tell me it's the institution  Well, you know  You better free you mind instead
But if you go carrying pictures of chairman Mao  You ain't going to make it with anyone anyhow

Don't you know it's gonna be  All right, all right, all right  All right, all right, all right  All right, all right, all right  All right, all right”

Saturday, October 15, 2016

America’s Energy Needs

According to Donald Trump our fossil fuel energy companies are being killed by the Obama administration and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The price of coal is down worldwide.  From the beginning of Hillary’s campaign, she has been the only candidate with a plan to revitalize coal country.  She won’t walk away from coal miners, because they, their fathers and grandfathers dug coal down in the mines.  Some were injured, developed black lung disease, or lost their lives.  For generations they kept our lights on and provided the energy that powered our factories.  

For the first time our country is energy-independent.  Although, we’re not dependent upon the Middle East oil, the Middle East still determines a lot when it comes to the price of oil.  The price of crude oil continues to remain low, because there is a glut of oil on the international market, partly because of oil flowing from the Bakken region of North Dakota.  America is capable of producing 8.9 million barrels a day.  The world’s largest producer Saudi Arabia can pump out 9.6 million barrels a day.

The Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries, OPEC hasn’t agreed to limit production.  Russia, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Venezuela haven’t reduce their oil production, and that has had a damaging effect on a lot of the oil companies.  

We’re also producing a lot of natural gas, which serves as a bridge to more renewable fuels.  Remaining energy independent gives us the freedom to not worry as much about what is happening in the Middle East.

A comprehensive energy policy must include fighting climate change, because that’s a serious problem.  Hillary Clinton is in favor of moving toward clean, renewable energy as quickly as possible, because becoming the 21st century clean energy superpower would create millions of new jobs and businesses.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Stop Celebrating Oppressors

The Oneonta Daily Star published the following letter submitted by Rebecca Longabucco of Ossining.
“Re: ‘Let’s Not Judge History’s Heroes by New Standards’ by Chuck Pinkey: Chuck Pinkey argues against de-monumentalizing historical figures who are now associated with racism and bigotry, claiming: ‘Thanks to the left, there are no heroes anymore.’
“But what if our new standards are the right ones?  And why can’t the people we now admire as social justice activists count as heroes?  Why is it so offensive that officials in San Francisco want to take ‘George Washington’ out of a public school name?  Is it not more offensive that Washington owned hundreds of slaves, promoting the notion that black people were property?  How would one of the estimated 46.3 million black people in this country (BlackDemographics.com) feel about attending a school with this name in the title?
“And then there is the matter of replacing Andrew Jackson with Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill.  Who is more deserving of this recognition: the man who spawned the Trail of Tears, which resulted in widespread displacement and death among Cherokees — or the woman who helped lead thousands of slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad? 
“Even if a practice we now condemn was accepted in a former era, this does not mean the action in question was moral at that time.  We can all agree that slavery and Native American marginalization were wrong, so instead of clinging to a corrupt tradition, we should view our current standards as innovations.
“Why make black students attend schools whose namesakes would have liked to deny them citizenship?  Why make Native Americans carry around bills with the image of a man who tried to destroy their ancestors’ culture? We need to consider the message we are sending to historically oppressed groups by perpetuating omnipresent celebrations of their oppressors.” 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Patient Protection

Medicare is a single-payer system, which does a great job taking care of our elderly, and the people who were employed and working, but didn’t have the money to afford insurance and didn’t have an employer to help them.

Hillary Clinton has explained, that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was meant to try to fill the gap between people who were too poor and couldn’t put together any resources to afford health care, namely people on Medicaid.

Today, our country is at a record low for uninsured citizens of 8.6 percent.  Comprehensive healthcare has been talked about, since Teddy Roosevelt, and Democratic politicians are committed to getting it done. 

Hillary Clinton isn’t in favor of repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act.  She wants it fixed, and has laid out a series of actions to get costs down.

After Obamacare became law 20 million people were able to get insurance who didn’t have it before.  Furthermore, 170 million of us who got health insurance through our employer received several important benefits.

Presently, insurance companies can no longer deny coverage because of a pre-existing condition.  There are no lifetime limits, which is important to those who have serious health problems.  Women can’t be charged more than men for health insurance.   And, if you’re under 26, and your parents have a policy, you can be on that policy until you reach 26 years of age.

Hillary wants to get costs down by provide additional help to small businesses so that they can afford to provide health insurance.  She believes that if Obamacare is repealed, as Trump has proposed, and politicians starts over again, all of those benefits described above will be lost for everybody, not just the people who get their health insurance on the exchange.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Religious Doctrines

The 1960, Supreme Court decision in Engel vs Vitale ruled it unconstitutional for public schools to allow prayer, even though the prayer was non-denominational and students were allowed to abstain from the exercise.  President Kennedy announced, that he understood many people were angered by the ruling, but that there was “a very easy remedy -not a constitutional amendment but a renewed commitment to pray at home, in the churches and with their families.”

By making the above statement, JFK put to rest the fears, that our first Catholic president was going take his order from the Vatican.

Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Tim Kaine was asked by the debate moderator to discuss a time when he struggled to balance his personal faith and public policy position.

Tim Kaine grew up in an Irish Catholic household, and was educated by Jesuits at Rockhurst High School in Kansas City.  He has tries to follow the teachings of his church in his personal life, but he doesn't believe that in a first amendment nation, where we don't raise any religion over the other, and are allowed to worship as we please, that the doctrines of any religion should be mandated for everyone. 

For the former Virginia Governor the hardest struggle in his faith life was that the Catholic Church is against the death penalty, but as governor of a state where there was death penalties for crimes if the jury determined them to be heinous. 

Kaine told voters, that if you elect me I will uphold the law.  He was elected governor, and found it difficult to allow executions to go forward.  He still believes that it’s very important that politicians who have deep-faith lives don't feel that they should be able to substitute their own views for everybody else in society.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Deceitful Attack

The Oneonta Daily Star published the following letter that was submitted by Betsy Sywetz of Richfield Springs.
“Where’s a fact-checker when you need one?  There’s an ad appearing on local TV stations that attacks Zephyr Teachout, candidate for the 19th U.S. Congressional District.
“It’s designed to frighten you by linking Teachout to the Iran nuclear deal.  It says that the deal will give Iran access to $150 billion.  This distorts the truth because the money actually belongs to Iran and has been frozen for years in international accounts, much of it in China, Japan and South Korea.  Some of it will go to settle long-standing debts and some will actually be released to Iran.
“The voice-over claims that even John Kerry said that the money will be used to fund terrorist groups.  Politifact called this claim partly true.  Kerry did say the words, and Iran has been designated a supporter of terrorism, but it’s wrong to imply that preventing the transfer was a realistic option.  Court action was in process to force the release of that money.  The U.S. was also not in a position to unilaterally continue effective sanctions against Iran.
“Then the ad says the scariest thing: the deal gives Iran the opportunity to make nuclear weapons.  The fact is that experts were warning that Iran was already within weeks of being able to build a nuclear weapon.  The deal was negotiated by the U.S. and five other nations to stop that by shutting down Iran’s centrifuges and establishing inspections.
“If you want to vote for Zephyr Teachout, don’t be afraid.  The deal went into effect a year ago and will continue to be implemented for 10 years.  It doesn’t matter whether she supports it or not. The Republican Congressional Campaign Committee brought you that misleading advertisement.”
Actually, the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee knowingly produced a very deceitful advertisement.
The payments of $400 million were announced in January.  It wasn’t a secret and it wasn’t a ransom for the release of American hostages.  The money was flown to Iran on a plane carrying wooden pallets stacked with Swiss francs, euros and other currencies.  The payment were made with Obama's approval as the first share of a $1.7 billion settlement resolving claims at an international tribunal at The Hague.  Those claims were linked to a failed arms deal, when Shah Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi ruled Iran.  The Islamic Revolution toppled the brutal regime of the Shah of Iran in 1979.  Our country cut ties with Iran, and we were left with the disputed Iranian funds.
Iran had been seeking more than $10 billion in arbitration.  The Obama administration announced in January that it would pay $1.7 billion to Iran.  Cash was delivered in an unorthodox manner because Iran was still isolated from the international financial system due to international sanctions.
Last February, Saudi Arabia, Russia and other oil producers had agreed to a tentative deal to freeze output, so that oil prices would go up.  The cash sent to Iran is being used to significantly ramp up their oil output now that sanctions have been lifted.  The addition of Iranian oil is part of the reason that oil prices have remained low. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Mike Pence Lied

During the vice presidential debate, Tim Kaine repeatedly cited statements that Donald Trump made and asked, Mike Pence to defend those remarks.

On Trump’s position on nuclear proliferation, Kaine asked: “More nations should get nuclear weapons, try to defend that.”  Pence claimed: “He never said that.”

On immigration, Kaine noted: “I cannot believe that Governor Pence would sit here and defend his running mate’s claim that we should create a deportation force to—so that they’ll all be gone.”

Pence replied: “We have a deportation force.  It is called Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.  And the union for Immigrations and Customs Enforcement for the first time in their history endorsed Donald Trump to be the next president of the United States of America.”

Kaine asked: “So you like the 16 million deportations?”  Pence seemed to agree: “Senator, that is nonsense.”

On nuclear proliferation, Kaine stated: “Donald Trump believes that the world will be safer if more nations have nuclear weapons.  He’s said Saudi Arabia should get them, Japan should get them, Korea should get them.  And when he was confronted with this, and told, wait a minute, terrorists could get those, proliferation could lead to nuclear war, here’s what Donald Trump said, and I quote: ‘Go ahead, folks, enjoy yourselves.’  I’d love to hear Governor Pence tell me what’s so enjoyable or comical about nuclear war.”

Pence’s only reply was: “Did you work on that one a long time?  Because that had a lot of really creative lines in it.”

Regarding Hillary’s emails, Kaine explained: “The investigation concluded that not one reasonable prosecutor would take any additional steps.  You do not get to decide that the rights and wrongs of this.  We have a justice system that does that.  A Republican FBI director did an investigation and concluded—”   Pence interrupted: “That is absolutely false.”

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Veterans Suicide Rate

It was estimated by the Department of Veterans Affairs that as many as 22 veterans take their own lives every day. 

In Feb. 2015, President Obama signed a law aimed at trying to reduce the suicide rate among vets.  The legislation was named after Clay Hunt, a Marine Corps veteran who killed himself in 2011 after serving tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan.  The law is designed to make it easier for veterans to access mental health services and to get more psychiatrists into the VA to provide that care. 

Robert McDonald, who is the secretary of Veterans Affairs was asked if the VA has a better understanding about common traits or experiences of service members who take their own lives.

He explained: “Well, I think some of the things that are common are those who may take their own lives are disconnected.  They're disconnected from family.  They're disconnected from friends.  So outreach becomes very important.  Of those roughly 22 veterans that we say on average create - do take their lives each day, 17 of them, we estimate, are not connected to the VA.  And what we need to do is get those 17 connected because we know how to treat this.  It's an illness, and we can solve it.

The new law is designed to create a centralized website with mental health information for veterans, but also defer student loan payments for psychiatry students to entice them into careers at the VA.  That pilot program would only amount to 10 students a year over a three-year period, but it’s been an important first step.  The next step is referred to as the Choice Act.  It would be able to increase the amount of medical school student loans that could be paid off from $60,000 to $120,000.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Mental Health

In front of a room full of veterans, Donald Trump claimed: "When you talk about the mental health problems, when people come back from war and combat, and they seen things that maybe a lot of people in this room have seen many times over - and you're strong and you can handle it - but a lot of people can't handle it and they see horror stories."
Craig Bryan is a board-certified clinical psychologist.  In 2009, he was deployed in Iraq.  Today, he researches suicidal behaviors and suicide prevention strategies.  He’s a national expert on military and veteran suicide. 

Regarding Trump’s remarks, Bryan explained: “These statements perpetuate several myths about military and veteran mental health that are dangerous because they are contradicted by considerable scientific evidence as well as the experiences of service members and veterans who have grappled with psychological injury.

“The comments by the Republican presidential nominee imply that military suicide is largely a problem associated with deployments and combat exposure.  This perspective is common among many Americans and it may seem intuitive, but it has repeatedly failed to gain scientific backing.

“As early as 2008, publicly available military data indicated that service members who deployed were not more likely to die by suicide, and fewer than 1 in 6 service members who died by suicide had experienced direct combat.

“Year after year, this pattern has remained largely unchanged.  Several broad and carefully designed studies conducted during the past few years have similarly failed to find a correlation of deployment history with suicide among military personnel, even after they had left military service.

“Yes, some service members and veterans who die by suicide have been deployed, and some of them have experienced ‘horror stories.’  But this truth does not negate another important truth about military suicide: More than 80 percent of service members who die by suicide have never been in combat.

“Public figures who continue to perpetuate this storyline are barking up the wrong tree and distracting us from realizing answers that could save lives. We must acknowledge what the data have been telling us for years: Suicide is an issue that is related to far more than deployment.

But by far the more troubling implication of Trump's comments is that PTSD and suicide are signs of weakness.  This perspective is incredibly dangerous and harmful to veterans.  Multiple research studies have disproven this myth, showing that people who think about and attempt suicide can actually tolerate higher levels of emotional and physical pain than non-suicidal individuals.  Shouldn't individuals who can ‘handle it’ the best be the least likely to consider or attempt suicide?  Without a doubt, high distress-tolerance has many rewards, of which one is the capacity to endure despite considerable pain and discomfort.

“The downside is that such individuals can appear (and feel) okay despite experiencing extreme internal turmoil.  These veterans are less likely to ask for help and, because they seem to be doing okay, we are less likely to check in with them or offer assistance.

“Trump's comments do little to help the work of those trying to save our friends, family members, and loved ones in need.  Accumulating evidence shows that certain types of cognitive behavioral therapies can lead to rapid recovery from PTSD among military personnel and veterans.

“In light of these signs of hope, Trump's comments have understandably raised alarm among the mental health and veteran communities because they reinforce the stigma that serves as a barrier to these life-saving treatments.  The data are now clear: PTSD can be treated and suicide can be prevented, but only if we remove obstacles to effective, life-saving interventions.

“Service members and veterans do not die by suicide because they can't handle it or because they aren't strong enough.  They die by suicide because they have endured much more pain and suffering than most of us have ever experienced.  These veterans deserve compassion and support, not disparagement.”

Friday, October 07, 2016

Mutually Pledged

Our Declaration of Independence ends: “we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

In 1925, Clarence Darrow volunteered to defend John Scopes' right to teach evolution.  He also wrote: “I do not consider it an insult, but rather a compliment to be called an agnostic.  I do not pretend to know where many ignorant men are sure — that is all that agnosticism means.”

Belief and knowledge aren’t the same.  Atheism connotes what a person does or does not believe, agnosticism connotes what a person does or does not know.

I’m an agnostic secularist, who supports the idea, that our government and religion should be totally separate.  Unquestionably, various religions provide a great deal of comfort throughout the world.  However, righteous hypocrites haven’t been practicing the Golden Rule, and Republican politician continue to weaves piety with patriotism, while pandering to those hypocrites. 

By it’s very definition Religious dogma is uncompromising.  Tolerance isn’t enough to ensure that every American is a valued citizen.  Genuinely compassionate people understand that patriotism requires loving each other. 

Our Declaration of Independence pledges to provide opportunity for every American.  Our most Fortunate citizens are expected to pay higher taxes.  It requires that both black and police officers Lives matter.  It implies that racial minorities, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens will be protected.  It requires the mentally ill, elderly, disabled, sick, veterans and every citizen receive healthcare.  Our sacred Honor demands marriage equality, equal pay, abortion rights, a first class public education for every child, and free tuition at public colleges.

Trickle down economics and small government doesn’t worked.  That was made very clear by an unemployment rate of 24.9 percent during the Great Depression.  Big government rationed coffee, sugar, tires, gasoline and Hershey chocolate bars in order to win WWII.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Tax Documents

According to a New York Times report regarding Donald Trump's 1995 tax records, he declared a $916 million loss that could have allowed him to legally skip paying federal income taxes for 18 years.

That information highlights the controversy over Trump's refusal to follow a two decades old precedent of candidates for president releasing their tax returns.

Trump vehemently defended his position to not release his recent tax returns.  He claimed that it’s his "fiduciary responsibility" as a businessman to pay no more tax than legally required.  He also claimed that the report proved that the Times and the "establishment media" are merely an arm of the Clinton campaign.

The New York Times’ report contains the first detailed tax documents about Trump's financial empire that have been publicly reported.  The report was picked up by Clinton's campaign, which has been making Trump's refusal to release his tax returns a major issue in their campaign.

The Times' report shows that the year, Trump declared a $916 million loss and lists tax benefits he used after a turbulent financial period in the early 1990s.  The newspaper paper cited tax experts, who said Trump could have used his loss to cancel out an equivalent amount of taxable income for nearly two decades.

The Times insists that the documents were mailed to a reporter last month.  A postmark indicated the documents were mailed in New York City with Trump Tower being the return address on the envelope.

Trump has maintained that his tax returns are under audit and that he has been advised by his lawyers that it would be unwise to release them while that process is going on. However, there is no legal reason why someone under audit cannot make their tax records public while they are running for office.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Trump Loophole

 Should we die this year, we can leave our heirs up to $5.45 million and pay no federal estate taxes.  The estate tax collects about $25 billion annually compared to the $2 trillion collected in income taxes every year.
Hillary Clinton has proposed increasing the top estate tax rate to 45 percent and lowering the estate tax exclusion to $3.5 million. That change would restore the federal estate tax to 2009 levels.  Increasing the estate tax would raise an additional $106 billion over the next decade.
At the first debate, Hillary Clinton told Donald Trump: “But when I look at what you have proposed, you have what is called now the Trump loophole, because it would so advantage you and the business you do.  You've proposed an approach that has a $4 billion tax benefit for your family.  And when you look at what you are proposing...”
Trump interrupted: “How much for my family?”
Hillary continued: “As I said, trumped-up trickle-down.  Trickle-down did not work.  It got us into the mess we were in, in 2008 and 2009.  Slashing taxes on the wealthy hasn't worked.
“And a lot of really smart, wealthy people know that.  And they are saying, we need to do more to make the contributions we should be making to rebuild the middle class.
“I don't think top-down works in America.  I think building the middle class, investing in the middle class, making college debt-free so more young people can get their education, helping people refinance their debt from college at a lower rate.  Those are the kinds of things that will really boost the economy.  Broad-based, inclusive growth is what we need in America, not more advantages for people at the very top.”

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Most Qualified Person Ever

The following excerpt is from and article written by Isaac Saul, who originally was an adamant Bernie Sander’s supporter. 
“I’ve spent almost every waking hour of every day following this election, reading about Hillary, Donald Trump, both parties’ platforms, and the under-qualified Libertarian and Green Party candidates running.  During these months of obsessing over my choice, I’ve watched my position slowly shift.  I’ve felt myself start advocating for Hillary more than advocating a vote against Trump, culminating in last night’s debate when she finally, totally, completely won me over.
“In an election that features one of the most well- documented liars and scam artist businessmen to ever run for public office, much of the attention has been on him — how we can’t put him in office, give him keys to a nuclear warhead, trust him in the most powerful position in the world.  Some of it has been more positive: how he’d turn the system on its head, be a Washington outsider, completely rewrite the script.  While it’s easy to make the case for voting against Trump, it occurred to me during the debate last night how much we’ve taken Clinton for granted.
“Let’s start with a simple but important position: Hillary Clinton is the most qualified person to ever run for president.
“Measuring qualifications, of course, is somewhat subjective.  She’s never served in the military and never run her own business, something previous candidates have done.  But she was a secretary of state for four years, a U.S. senator for eight years, a first lady who lived in the White House, saw the challenges of being president up close and personal for eight years, a first lady of Arkansas, and a law professor to boot.  If she were elected, she’d be the first former cabinet member to become president in almost 100 years.”

Monday, October 03, 2016

Clarifying Issues

Presidential debate moderator Lester Holt asked: “Mr. Trump, for five years, you perpetuated a false claim that the nation’s first black president was not a natural-born citizen.  You questioned his legitimacy.
“In the last couple of weeks, you acknowledged what most Americans have accepted for years, the president was born in the United States.  Can you tell us what took you so long? ”
Trump spoke about President Obama’s birth, but never answered Lester Holt’s question.  So, he asked again: “I just want to get the answer here.  The birth certificate was produced in 2011, you continued to tell the story and questioned the president’s legitimacy in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015.  So, the question is, what changed your mind? ”  
Trump never answered that question, because he doesn’t have an answer.
Trump also provided Hillary Clinton with an opportunity to clarify another issue, when he said: “I don't believe that Hillary has the stamina.”
She replied: “Well, as soon as he travels to 112 countries and negotiates a peace deal, a cease-fire, a release of dissidents, an opening of new opportunities in nations around the world, or even spends 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee, he can talk to me about stamina.” 
She also mentioned: “He loves beauty contests, supporting them and hanging around them, and he called this woman Miss Piggy.  Then he called her Miss Housekeeping because she was Latina.  Donald, she has a name.  Her name is Alicia Machado, and she has become a U.S. citizen, and you can bet, that she’s going to vote this November.”
The next day, Donald Trump said: “She was the worst we ever had.  She was impossible.  She was a Miss Universe contestant and ultimately a winner, who they had a tremendously difficult time with as Miss Universe.”

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Irresistible Impulse

Donald Trump seems to have an irresistible impulse to speak before considering the consequences of his words.  It’s also known as running off at the mouth, before putting our brain in gear.
During the first Presidential debate, Hillary Clinton suggested: “Maybe he doesn’t want the American people, all of you watching tonight to know that he’s paid nothing in federal taxes.
“Because the only years that anybody’s ever seen were a couple of years when he had to turn them over to state authorities when he was trying to get a casino license, and they showed he didn’t pay any federal income tax.”
Trump interrupted: “That makes me smart.”  That interruption confirmed what Hillary said was true.  That evidence doesn’t help him with voters, who have paid taxes for decades.
Hillary explained: “So if he's paid zero, that means zero for troops, zero for vets, zero for schools or health.  And I think probably he's not all that enthusiastic about having the rest of our country see what the real reasons are, because it must be something really important, even terrible, that he's trying to hide.
“And the financial disclosure statements, they don't give you the tax rate. They don't give you all the details that tax returns would. And it just seems to me that this is something that the American people deserve to see.  And I have no reason to believe that he's ever going to release his tax returns, because there's something he's hiding.
“And we'll guess.  We'll keep guessing at what it might be that he's hiding. But I think the question is, were he ever to get near the White House, what would be those conflicts?  Who does he owe money to?  Well, he owes you the answers to that, and he should provide them.”

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Freedom of Speech

The First Amendment to the Constitution reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

An anonymous person has used the Oneonta Daily Star’s “Sound Off ” concept to claim that the paper was being called a “rag” and that editor Sam Pollak is “not being fair and balanced.”   

I have subscribed to The Oneonta Daily Star for 45 years, and never considered it a “rag” even after the newspaper’s editorial board unanimously endorsed Congressman Gibson for re-election.  Venting anger and frustration is something that we all need to do occasionally, but I prefer to use my full name, while providing accurate information in a civil, persuasive manner for readers to consider.  

At least one conservative Republican is attempting to vilify The Oneonta Daily Star, and intimidate it’s publisher, and editor.  Apparently, that person, or persons would prefer to remain misinformed, rather than consider the truth.  Obviously, they don’t support freedom of speech, and become angry whenever someone attempts to provide an alternative viewpoint for them to consider.

For 12 years, I’ve tried to provide area newspaper readers, and those, who read this website with accurate information.  It’s not as if any of my recent letters to the editors will eventual change the outcome of the next presidential election in New York State.  Hillary Clinton is going to win our state’s electoral votes.  

Over the past 13 years, I’ve appreciated the opportunity of having my letters published.  It’s sad that some people who prefer to remain anonymous don’t appreciate the opportunity that the Sound Off section is now providing them to be persuasive.