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

Name:
Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Own It


In 2000, Florida decide the presidential election in favor of George W. Bush.  If Ralph Nader hadn’t campaigned in that state, and won 92,000 votes; Al Gore would have won both the popular vote, and the Electoral College votes.
In 2016, third-party candidates again made the difference.  Donald Trump won Florida’s 29 electoral votes, Pennsylvania’s 20 votes, Michigan’s 16 votes, and Wisconsin’s 10 votes.  That is a total of 75 electoral votes.
In every one of those states, the number of people who voted for third-party candidate Gary Johnson exceeded the difference between Trump and Clinton.  Those 4 states saw Clinton losing to Trump by far less than the number of vote that went to Johnson, a candidate who had no real chance of winning.
People have a right vote for their choice, but it seems to me that it’s unreasonable to vote for a third-party candidate, who has no chance of winning.  If they want to affect the final outcome of a presidential election, they should simply vote for the person they want to be president.  Doing so would prevent our country from picking a president through unintended consequences.  It’s not the way to elect the leader of the free world.  If  Donald Trump’s presidency becomes a total disaster will they then boast that they didn’t vote for Trump.
I’ve been told of a couple, who prayed to God to help them make the decision of who to vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.  They ended up voting for Trump.  If things don’t turn out the way that they had expected, do you think they’ll blame God for giving them bad advice.
Unsophisticated voters aren’t taking responsibility for their vote.  They and people who didn’t vote have enabled Trump to become their president.  Own it!


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Darkest Days


After the 1929 stock market collapse, Republican President Hoover and Republican Senators insisted on a strict spending freeze that resulted in an unemployment rate of 25.9 percent by 1933, when FDR became president.

In 1932, a large group of WW I veterans pressured their government to change the date their bonus certificates would be paid.  Those certificates were promised to veterans in 1924 as a bonus for war service, but they were not payable until 1945.  A bill to pay those benefits early was rushed through the House, but blocked in the Republican controlled Senate.

Hoover became annoyed with the so-called Bonus Army of protesters, that had set up a large camp, they named Hooverville on the Anacostia Flats not far from DC.  He ordered the Army to clear out the protesting veterans.  Infantry and cavalry troops, under the command of Colonel Douglas Mac Arthur, fixed bayonets and hoisted sabers, and rolled over the Bonus Army encampment using tear gas, fire, and forceful persuasion.

Republicans have a difficulty explaining the fact that FDR, who eventually died in office, was elected president four times by a grateful electorate, so they’ve resorted to distorting history.  

After President Obama’s $787 billion economic stimulus package passed the Senate with the help of 3 Republican Senators.  Congressional Republicans attempted to rewrite history by condemning FDR’s New Deal.

Republican Congressman Steve Austria of Ohio criticized Obama’s stimulus plan by claiming: “When President Franklin Roosevelt did this, he put our country into a Great Depression.  He tried to borrow and spend.  He tried to use the Keynesian approach and our country ended up in a Great Depression.  That’s just history.”

The Great Depression followed the stock market crash of 1929.  FDR became president in March of 1933, when unemployment was already down to 24.9 percent. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Glimmers of Hope


President Obama will leave office with a high approval rating, a low unemployment rate, incomes that are rising, and a record-low healthcare uninsured rate.  Unfortunately, presidential approval is likely to collapse after Donald Trump’s inauguration on January 20.  

Hopefully, congressional Republicans will preserve a semblance of order, competence, and ethics by insisting that several Republican senators fill senior ranks of Trump’s administration.

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul told the Washington Post, that he’s inclined to oppose confirming Rudy Giuliani and former U.N. ambassador John Bolton.  Arizona Senator John McCain warned Trump that abrupt efforts to thaw relations with Russia are “unacceptable.”

Both McCain and Paul have just been re-elected to six-year terms, so they can use leverage over the Trump administration without worrying about near-term political costs. 

When Trump and his entourage first met with Obama and the current White House staff, it became apparent how unprepared they were for the enormity of the tasks ahead of them.  They were unaware that the West Wing was not permanently staffed, and that Trump would have to hire thousands of people to manage day to day functions of the White House and cabinet departments within two months.  The incoming administration needs to enlist experienced people to run things.  The door is closed to many of them, or they’re reluctant to knock.

Eliot Cohen encouraged foreign policy experts, who had worked with Condoleezza Rice to consider offering assistance to the incoming Trump administration.  Five days after reaching out to Trump’s transition team, Cohen suggested: “Stay away.  They're angry, arrogant, and it will be ugly.”

Trump’s Republican foes might choose between a strategy of hoping his government collapses rapidly, or praying, that people with experience will somehow worm their way into high-level jobs and prevent a catastrophic executive branch failure.


P.S. Hillary Clinton was ahead in the popular vote by 2,332,814 at the end of this day.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Opportunities Lost


After she lost the election, Hillary Clinton pleaded: “I know many of you are deeply disappointed about the results of the election.  I am, too, more than I can ever express!
“I know this isn’t easy.  I know that over the past week, a lot of people have asked themselves whether America is the country we thought it was.  The divisions laid bare by this election run deep.
“But please listen to me when I say this.  America is worth it.  Our children are worth it.  Believe in our country, fight for our values, and never, ever give up.”
As president, Hillary Clinton would have continue to address the struggles for civil rights, women's rights, and worker's rights.
She would have appoint Supreme Court justices, who stood up for women's rights to make a choice, and on behalf of the rights of the LGBT community.  Justices that wouldn’t allow Roe v. Wade, or marriage equality to be reverse.  She recognizes that the heart wrenching decision, that a woman has to make regarding an abortion shouldn’t be decided by arrogant men on the Supreme Court.  It’s a decision that shouldn’t be left to the states to decide, because wealthy women would simply travel to a state that respects a woman’s right to make that choice.

With the help of a progressive Congress, Hillary had hoped to enable more young people get a college education.  She recognize that workers would be able to find higher paying jobs if our government would simply invest more money to improve our infrastructure.  She also had expected to bring the cost of prescription drugs down.

The money for those expensive programs would have come from those very wealthy individuals and the most profitable corporations, who haven’t been required to pay their fair share for many years. 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Psychotic Narcissism


Prior to election day, the Oneonta Daily Star published the following letter written by David Pearlman of Cooperstown.

“Having lived just outside NYC during the '70s and '80s, I considered Donald Trump little more than a rich kid narcissist playboy and a somewhat benign buffoon who was only a threat to the people with whom he did business.

“I had moved upstate when in 2011, Trump began questioning the legitimacy of our first black president as he championed the ‘Birther’ movement.  While this didn’t surprise me, it disgusted and frightened me.  I awoke each morning morbidly hoping that some birther-hyped racist hadn't shot the president.  And yes, I'm knocking wood as I write this. 

“So nothing Donald Trump has done or said particularly surprises me. What does surprise and horrify me is that 40 percent of Americans have remained loyal to this bully like a beaten dog to its master and his rallies are hate-fueled mob scenes.  This began with the rise of the far right, and Republicans are only now jumping ship as it starts to sink.

“Why did those who are leaving his side now wait so long, or join his march of narcissism at all?  Donald Trump has always been what he is now.  He hasn’t changed.  He is still the spoiled brat of Fifth Avenue, a man whose psychotic narcissism can only be satisfied by becoming the most powerful person in the world.  How could Republicans not see this coming?  Or did they?

“So when you go to the polls on Nov. 8, remember that Republicans chose Donald Trump over some good and decent alternatives, and it’s too late to disinfect their brand from his noxious sputum.  Yes, Hillary is a flawed candidate, but not nearly as flawed as most media would have us believe. And she will serve all Americans.  It is time to give her party the chance to move us forward.”
***BTW, The flaws are in our Constitution.  Hillary Clinton proved that she wasn’t a flawed candidate, because nationally she overwhelmingly won the popular vote. 

Two weeks after Election Day votes in many states are still being counted.  The tally shows that Hillary Clinton is leading in the popular vote, with Michigan's 16 electoral votes is still not determined.

On Thanksgiving Day, she is leading by over 2.2 million popular vote, due mostly to an influx of absentee and provisional ballots still being counted in California.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Dark Days


In 1835, Alexis de Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America” stated: “In a democracy, people get the government they deserve.”  Actually, we’ve never been a true democracy.  The Electoral College was specifically designed to negate the popular vote in favor of the less populated states.  Consequently, Al Gore and now Hillary Clinton have been defeated.
Dark days began in 1929, when the stock market collapse, while Republican President Herbert Hoover occupied the oval office.  The Great Depression followed with an unemployment rate that reached 24.9 percent.
Charitable organizations were completely overwhelmed.  My maternal grandfather was a hard working, skilled carpenter, who was too proud to ask for help.  My mother told me that her family survived the end of the winter of 1932-33, by mostly eating turnips and sugar sandwiches.
Most of the people that live in my congressional district voted for Republican candidates.  That isn’t surprising, because it’s a recently gerrymandered congressional district from Republican strongholds in 11 counties.
We’ll never know how many of the people in our congressional district, who voted for Trump are racial, or religious bigots.  Unfortunately, many white Christians and Catholics don’t realize the importance of separation of church and state.  The promise of religious freedom doesn’t include selfishly insisting every American must live by the teachings of Christianity.  
The emotions of fear and hatred contributes to poor judgement.  Fear suppresses reason.  Hatred is like acid, because it can damage the vessel in which it is stored as well as destroy the object on which it is poured.
Choices made by a minority of voters have made it likely that white supremacist, and religious extremist will make the lives of women, racial and religious minorities more difficult.  Therefore, I’m compelled to shine the light of reason to enable open minded people to recognize the truth.

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Golden Door


The inscription on the Statue of Liberty was authored by Emma Lazarus.  It says: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

The fourteenth amendment to our Constitution states: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.  No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Undocumented workers come to America to improve their economic situation.  Most of them are fleeing desperate situations in Mexico and Central America.  Those immigrants have children and become part of our economy.  That is not unlike those Europeans, who came to our shores over the past 200 years.

There are over 200 cities, counties, and states across America, who are considered sanctuaries that protect undocumented immigrants from deportation by refusing to comply with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers or impede open communication and information exchanges between their employees or officers and federal immigration agents. 

Immigrant-rich communities are much safer compared to the national average.  The sheriff of El Paso County insists that they don’t want to be enforcing federal immigration law because they want the cooperation of every single person in the community in which they’re trying to keep people safe.

The Obama administration made it difficult for localities which refuse to aid ICE enforce immigration laws, because it is the law.    

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Amusing Comparison


In a letter to the editor of an area newspaper, I was amused to read a favorable comparison of President Andrew Jackson to our future president Donald Trump.  The comparison claimed that Trump won the election because like President Jackson voters; Trump voters had also repudiated the influence of today’s media, academic and political elitist.  That comparison has merit, but historians might wonder if that comparison will eventually play out in a way the people, who voted for Hillary Clinton have feared.

I agree with those historians, who consider, Andrew Jackson the most amoral sociopath president, that our country ever had.  He personally killed many people in duels, and as a soldier, ordered his men to kill women and children when they raided Indian camps.

President Jackson pushed through the Indian Removal Act, which formally approved the ethnic cleansing that led to the Trail of Tears.  It was one of the most shameful moments in American history.  Jackson overruled the Supreme Court, and directed our soldiers to forcibly removed tens of thousands of Native Americans from the South.

The Trail of Tears was the relocation of members of the Cherokee, Creek, Seminole, and Choctaw nations, from their homelands to Indian Territory (present day Oklahoma).  Many Native Americans suffered from exposure, disease, and starvation while en route to their destinations.  Records show the death toll included 4,000 of the 15,000 relocated Cherokee nation.

At the end of his life, Andrew Jackson said that he had but two regrets. His regrets were, that he had been unable to shoot Henry Clay or hang John C. Calhoun. 

Daniel Webster, John Calhoun and Henry Clay were congressional colleagues, who became known as the “Immortal Trio.”  In 1957, a Senate Committee selected Calhoun as one of the five greatest United States Senators of all time.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Immigration Enforcement


A Pew Center report showed that the number of undocumented immigrants coming from Mexico declined after the recession of 2008.  In 2011, Immigration and Customs Enforcement removed 396,906 illegal immigrants, the largest number in the agency's history.  In 2013, another record high for deportations was set, with about 400,000 persons per year, many of whom were criminals.  Obama was criticized by Hispanic-American leaders for an overall increase in deportations of illegal aliens. 

In December of 2008, President Bush had signed the William-Wilberforce Trafficking Victim’s Protection Act, to ensure unaccompanied children from Central America, where thousands of children were fleeing violence were protected.  It’s a bipartisan law to protect children by giving them an immigration hearing.  Technically it applies only to unaccompanied minors, and it doesn’t provide automatic asylum.

In 2014, Congressman Gibson joined a chorus of Republican voices in opposing President Obama’s plan to extend protection to unaccompanied minors, as well as young immigrants brought into the country as children.  He accused President Obama of selectively choosing not to enforce the law, something presidents are duty bound to do by their oath of office.  Our representative in Congress didn’t understand the concept of prosecutorial discretion.

President Obama’s Department of Homeland Security has been “selectively choosing,” from 11 million undocumented immigrants to deport criminals, not families with children.  Gang members, not hard working mothers who are providing for their children.  They’ve been prioritizing, just like law enforcement agencies do every day throughout our nation.

Deportations of criminals are up 80 percent.  Obama deported more undocumented immigrants than Bush ever did.  The number of deportations each year has more than tripled.  During the first year of the Obama’s presidency the number undocumented immigrants deported was almost 100,000 more than during the last year of the Bush presidency.  Obama followed immigration laws. 



Friday, November 18, 2016

Please Listen


The Oneonta Daily Star recently published the following letter to the editor that was submitted by Duncan Smith, who I consider a very wise professor. 
“President Trump, if you want to govern for all Americans, please recognize that you won on the distribution of votes, not their numbers. 
“The very real dissatisfactions of the ‘Rust Belt’ do require attention.  There are genuine threats to our safety and prosperity.  But over half of the electorate had deep concerns about both your ability to implement your promises and the consequences of the changes you may make. 
“An expanding global economy and new technology has changed what, how and where we make things to the benefit of American consumers and many workers.  But these changes have also cost us jobs in basic manufacturing. Coal mining is being displaced by natural gas extraction, and both face a future of viable alternatives to fossil fuel.
“Progress for most, as always, is being paid for by some.  The majority hopes that you do not sacrifice the many good current and future American jobs created by these changes in your admirable desire to help the displaced.  As our economy cannot again mirror the post-war’s, the Cold War’s defense posture will not address current threats.  Faster jets and more atomic bombs may make us feel safer but will help little against terrorism. 
“We need to invest in building alliances and addressing the root causes of anti-Western ideologies.  Please listen carefully to your experienced defense, intelligence and diplomatic people.  The other half of America is also afraid of the huge economic and social consequences of your immigration and health care proposals.  They worry for our LGBT, minority, and Muslim citizens.  And, yes, climate change.  So, please listen.
“Please get the whole picture.  Please act smart.  A good start at demonstrating your intention to govern for all America would be to recommend the appointment of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.”

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Perhaps They’ll Listen Now


“Vincent” by Don McLean

Starry, starry night
Paint your palette blue and gray
Look out on a summer's day
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul

Shadows on the hills
Sketch the trees and the daffodils
Catch the breeze and the winter chills
In colors on the snowy linen land

Now I understand
What you tried to say to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free

They would not listen, they did not know how
Perhaps they'll listen now

Starry, starry night
Flaming flowers that brightly blaze
Swirling clouds in violet haze
Reflect in Vincent's eyes of china blue

Colors changing hue
Morning fields of amber grain
Weathered faces lined in pain
Are soothed beneath the artist's loving hand

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DD1ih3Q9otE

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Stop This Travesty


Our founding fathers wrote the Constitution without the benefit of a crystal ball.  Things have changed significantly.  Now, two Senators represent states with about the same population as Staten Island.  The number of “electors” a state has in the Electoral College is also designed to favors states with a smaller population.

In the 1940’s, my teacher explained that the Electoral College is the body that elects the President and Vice President every four years.  Citizens don’t directly elect the president or the vice president; instead they choose “electors”, who pledge to vote for particular candidates.  My teacher didn’t think the electoral college was fair.

The morning after the 2012 election, twitter users blasted the reelection of President Obama and the entire electoral process, because for a while Romney led in the popular vote.  

In his twitter post on November 7, 2012, Trump called the electoral college “a disaster for a democracy.”  He insisted the electoral process as a “total sham”… “The House of Representatives shouldn't give anything to Obama unless he terminates Obamacare...  “Hopefully the House of Representatives can hold our country together for four more years...This election is a total sham and a travesty... Our country is now in serious and unprecedented trouble... like never before.”

He encourage citizens: “Lets fight like hell and stop this great and disgusting injustice!  The world is laughing at us... We can't let this happen. We should march on Washington and stop this travesty.  Our nation is totally divided!”

Leading up to this election, Donald Trump repeatedly called the system “rigged.”  Ironically, without the Electoral College, he wouldn’t be our president-elect.

In the Electoral College, Trump won 289 to 228, but Hillary won the popular vote, by over 700,000 votes nationwide.  In 2000, Al Gore also, won the popular vote. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

America Great Again


Among the numerous reasons Donald Trump won the election was racial hatred.  Racial hatred goes much deeper than white Americans want to admit.  President Obama’s election to the presidency wasn’t a valid indicator of how attitudes haven’t change.

Trump preached hatred, and religious bigotry to eager listeners in white communities across our country.  They’re angry and many also want to restrict women’s rights, and those of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender citizens.

Trump said things Republican politicians have avoided saying.  Racial hatred and religious bigotry have become fashionable again.  It’s a fallacy that they’re committed to making America great again.

As a teenager, I witnessed an African-American Marine being tormented at Parris Island, South Carolina.  During Marine Corps basic training a White Staff Sergeant chased a terrified naked Black recruit, out of the shower room into the squad bay, while threatening to castrate him with a bayonet.  

Off base, I saw water fountains and rest rooms labelled “For Whites Only.”

On a bus trip north, a middle aged African-American woman boarded the  crowded bus, I offered her my seat, which was about 4 rows from the front of the bus.  At first she hesitated, but I insisted that she sit down.  When I got off  the bus in Washington D.C. two Black men, who had been sitting in the last row of the bus informed me that we both could have been kicked off the bus, because it was against the law for Blacks to sit in the front of the bus.

Back in the 50’s there were few, African-American judges, large business owners, mayors, or members of Congress.  Although, racial hatred persists, it’s much less than the so called “good old days.”

How far back does Donald Trump, and his hateful supporters want to go back?  

Monday, November 14, 2016

Culture of Dishonesty


Fox News host Bret Baier announced: “The investigation into the Clinton Foundation, looking into possible pay for play interaction between Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton and the Foundation has been going on for more than a year.  The Clinton Foundation investigation is a quote, ‘very high priority’.  They describe the evidence that they have as quote, “a lot of it” and there is an avalanche coming every day.  These sources said, yes, the investigations will continue.  There’s a lot of evidence.  And barring some obstruction in some way, they believe they’ll continue to likely an indictment.”

NBC’s Pete Williams reported: “Baier’s reporting is bogus.  There is no investigation to speak of.”

The bogus report was immediately loaded on to a teleprompter as part of Trump’s speech on the campaign trail with a few extra embellishments.

Trump claimed: “They say the federal bureau that it’s likely to yield a very, very serious charge or an indictment.  I’m just saying – that’s what the newspapers are saying.  That’s what the reports are.  Hillary Clinton has engaged in far-reaching criminal conduct, and in an equally far-reaching criminal cover-up.  She is likely to be under investigation for many years.  And also it will probably end up, in my opinion, in a criminal trial.  And already talking about impeachment.  I mean, it is remarkable.”

Bret Baier apologized for inaccurately reporting that the FBI’s probe into the Clinton Foundation was “likely” to result in an indictment.  Baier’s decision to walk back his claim came after several news organizations, including NBC News, ABC News and CNN rebutted it based on their own sources.

Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway boasted: “The damage is done to Hillary Clinton.  No matter how it’s being termed.”

The Republican Party has been infected by a culture of dishonesty for decades.

Young Voters


At 18, I enlisted in the Marine Corps but wasn’t able to vote until 21, as a college student and Korean War veteran.

I’m proud to have voted for JFK the first Catholic President, Obama the first African- American President, and had hoped that Hillary Clinton would have become our first female president.  

During the Vietnam War the draft was a major source of resentment among college 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.

Historically, America has one of the worst voting records in the free world. Nationally 46.9 percent of eligible voters didn’t vote in November.  In the general election four years ago, New York State ranked a pathetic 44th in voter turnout.  Minnesota voters had the best turnout percentage with 76 percent. 

Voter turnout in New York is lowest among younger voters.  California, Connecticut, Oregon, Vermont, and West Virginia automatically enroll voters at age 18.  Thirty- seven states allow no-excuse absentee voting, but New Yorkers can only vote early if they request an absentee ballot ahead of time and attest to a disability or being out of town. 

In an age of instant communication, there's no reason to require voters be registered at least 25 days before the next election.  The New York State Assembly passed a measure to allow early voting on 3 occasions, but it was repeatedly obstructed by Senate Republican.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Invisible Empire


Abraham Lincoln’s Vice president, Andrew Johnson was a racist, who after Lincoln’s assassination did everything he could to undercut the abolition of slavery, and angered northern abolitionist.  Congress would pass bills to protect freed slaves in the South, and President Johnson would veto the legislation. Then, Congress would override his veto and enact the legislation anyway. 
The 13th Amendment prohibit slavery, except in the case of punishment for a crime.  The 14th Amendment defined a citizen as any person born in or naturalized in the U.S.  It overturned the Dred Scott ruling of the Supreme Court, that had claimed Black people were not eligible for citizenship.  The 14th Amendment declared that all persons born or naturalized in the United States were American citizens including African Americans.
Those rights didn’t exist in real life, in the former Confederate States, it was a reign of terror.
In 1866, President Andrew Johnson traveled around the country campaigning against reelecting those members of Congress who opposed him in their congressional districts.  He’d try to convince people to vote them out of office, and narrowly avoided being impeached by the House.
Thousands of former slaves were killed in the South after the civil war, and the lead-up to the 1868 election.  The Republican Party elected President Ulysses S. Grant, who tried to control the violence, by signing the Enforcement Acts in 1870 to 1871.
Those Enforcements Acts were designed to fulfill the promise of freedom and equality, in the South.  One of the Enforcement Acts was the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871.  The Ku Klux Klan Act announced that if the Southern states wouldn’t do something about the KKK’s invisible empire of racist violence in those states, the federal government would.
Is it possible, that the invisible empire just won a national election?

Friday, November 11, 2016

For Better or Worst


Assuming that the election was fair, for better or worst, we will get the government that we deserve, after Trump is sworn in a president.

The following is an excerpt from Hillary Clinton’s concession speech.

“Last night I congratulated Donald Trump and offered to work with him on behalf of our country.

“I hope that he will be a successful president for all Americans.  This is not the outcome we wanted or we worked so hard for, and I’m sorry we did not win this election for the values we share and the vision we hold for our country.

“But I feel pride and gratitude for this wonderful campaign that we built together.  This vast, diverse, creative, unruly, energized campaign.  You represent the best of America, and being your candidate has been one of the greatest honors of my life.

“I know how disappointed you feel, because I feel it too.  And so do tens of millions of Americans who invested their hopes and dreams in this effort.  This is painful, and it will be for a long time.  But I want you to remember this.

“Our campaign was never about one person, or even one election.  It was about the country we love and building an America that is hopeful, inclusive, and big-hearted.  We have seen that our nation is more deeply divided than we thought.  But I still believe in America, and I always will.  And if you do, then we must accept this result and then look to the future. Donald Trump is going to be our president.  We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.  Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power.”

A peaceful transfer of power is the reason that we have been and will remain the greatest nation on earth.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Peaceful Resolutions


The Declaration of Independence pledges to provide opportunity for every American.  Granted, it didn’t anticipate issues like, healthcare, equal pay, a first class public education for every child, and free tuition at public colleges.  It pledge that our most fortunate citizens would pay higher taxes to ensure, certain unalienable rights.  Racial, religious and women’s rights, need to be protected, as well as, those of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender citizens.

Our Constitution is a living document that outlines a political process to resolve our differences in a way that seeks to avoid bloody revolutions by compromising.  Revolution isn’t a solution.  

Extremist from both sides of the political spectrum have pushed the idea of a Revolution, but stop short of calling for an armed rebellion, to avoid being accused of treason.  We don’t need another Civil War that resulted in nearly 1,100,000 casualties and claimed more than 620,000 American lives.

On election day nearly 47 percent of eligible voters didn’t vote.  Change starts with informed voters participating in fair elections in which everybody 18 and older are expected to participate.  If everybody doesn’t participate, it’s very possible that we will not get the kind of government on every level that we deserve.  Change only requires fair elections, not a revolution.

The Voting Rights Act needs to be able to required pre-clearance of any changes regarding the way elections are conducted.  Voting should be made easier, not harder.  Americans should be automatically registered to vote on their 18th birthdays.  Every state should have several days of early in-person voting.  No one should have to wait more than 30 minutes to cast a ballot.

Our Republican political leaders have responsibility to strengthen our democracy by reforming a corrupted campaign finance system and restoring access to the ballot box in all 50 states.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Love One Another


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.”

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.

At the Democratic National Convention, Senator Cory Booker pointed out: “Look, I respect and value the ideals of individualism and self- reliance.  But rugged individualism didn’t defeat the British.  It didn’t get us to the moon.  It didn’t build our nation’s highways.  Rugged individualism didn’t map the human genome.  We did that together.

“And so this is the high call of patriotism.  Patriotism is love of country.  But you can’t love your country without loving your countrymen and your countrywomen.  Now, we don’t always have to agree, but we must be there for each other, we must empower each other, we must find the common ground, and we must build bridges across our differences to pursue the common good.”

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

The election is over, and Donald Trump will be our next President.  In January, we’ll begin to see how much that pledge actually means.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Voter Suppression


After the general election four years ago, New York State was ranked a pathetic 44th in voter turnout.  Obama won a second term in the White House, but less than 54 percent of New York voters cast ballots.  That was significantly below the 76 percent of Minnesota voters, who earned the highest percentage in America.

In 2013, the Supreme Courts ruled in the case, Shelby County v. Holder.  That decision will go down as one of the court’s absolute worst, because five justices ruled a key provision of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional.

Section 5 was referred to as the heart of the Voting Rights Act, because it required pre-clearance of any changes to the way elections are run in certain parts of our country.

Since 1965, Congress had reauthorized the Voting Rights Act four times, by huge bipartisan margins, but the decision, authored by Chief Justice John Roberts decided the formula Congress passed was unconstitutional.

Republicans decided that since they can’t beat Democrats on issues, they’d resort to passing laws that had the effect of suppressing Democratic voter turnout.  A year after Section 5 was declared unconstitutional, the Brennan Center for Justice estimated that more than 5 million voters would be affected by those laws.  That number is higher than the margin of victory in the 2000 and 2004 presidential election.

The vision that people have for our country is articulated through their vote.  Whether or not people will have their opinions considered is through the power of their vote.  And if Republicans deny or discouraged access to the polls, the very underpinning of our democracy will be weakened.  No matter how much Republican try to rig the game, TODAY we must elect law makers at every level of government, who will respect every citizens right to vote.

Monday, November 07, 2016

New Emails Reviewed


Yesterday, FBI Director James Comey told Congress, that the agency hasn't changed its opinion, and that Hillary Clinton should not face criminal charges after a review of new emails.

Twelve days ago, Director Comey informed Congress that the FBI had discovered emails in its separate investigation of Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin, that could be connected to its investigation of whether Clinton mishandled classified information by using a private email server.

The last-minute announcement, by Comey that the FBI is still not recommending charges against Democratic presidential nominee after conducting a review of the newly discovered emails.  The announcement could put to rest a controversy that had reportedly helped Donald Trump, in the closing days of the presidential race, by narrowing the polling gap nationally in key battleground states.

In a letter, Director Comey said: "The FBI investigative team has been working around the clock to process and review a large volume of emails from a device obtained in connection with an unrelated criminal investigation.  During that process we reviewed all of the communications that were to or from Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of State.  Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton."

Law enforcement officials explained that the conclusion was reached quickly, because thousands of the emails were duplicates of what had already been seen.  The laptop which was found was very old, around a decade, with lots of personal content on it not relevant to the investigation.

Clinton’s communications director Jennifer Palmieri said: “We are glad to see that he has found - and we were confident that he would- that he has confirmed the conclusion he reached in July; and we’re glad that this matter is resolved.”

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Recent Economic Data


The most recent economic data from the Labor Department showed 161,000 non-farm jobs being added in October.  That was a significant gain, but below the 191,000 jobs added in September.  Furthermore, the average hourly wages posted their largest annual growth since mid-2009.  Wages are up 2.8 percent over the last 12 months, and that is the largest increase since the great recession.
Our economy added 151,000 jobs in August, which was considerably less than the 275,000 new jobs in July.  Under the Obama administration we’ve continued the longest streak of overall job growth on record.
The unemployment rate is down to 4.9 percent, which less than half of what it was in 2009, when unemployment peaked at 10 percent.  Some experts consider 4.9 percent unemployment to be near the level consider full employment for our economy.
Regarding Donald Trump’s negative reaction to the Labor Department’s report, Bernie Sanders suggested: "Donald Trump suffers from a very serious disease called amnesia.  He seems to have forgotten 8 years ago we were losing 800,000 jobs a month"
Actually, at the end of the Bush administration the wealth of most American families had declined at a rate nearly seven times faster than when the stock market crashed in 1929.  Home foreclosures numbered in the millions.  Deficits were soaring because hardworking Americans, who had been paying taxes were suddenly unemployed.  We lost 650,000 jobs in December 2008.  An additional 700,000 jobs were lost in January, the month Obama was sworn in.
Twenty-four days after Obama took office the Recovery and Reinvestment Act was passed, without a single Republican vote in the House and only 3 Republican votes in the Senate.
Thomas Paine wrote: “To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.”

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Racial Discrimination Lawsuit


In 1973, both Donald Trump and his father Fred, were named in a racial discrimination lawsuit brought by the federal Department of Justice against their real estate firm.
The lawsuit by the Department of Justice claimed that the Trump management company systematically refused to rent to black people.  African-American New Yorkers would apply for an advertised vacancy in a Trump building and would never hear anything back regarding their application or they’d be told the vacancy wasn’t actually available.
The DOJ investigation would send an equally qualified white New Yorkers to inquire about the same apartment, and magically that same apartment would be back on the market and even though the black applicant had just been told that the apartment wasn’t available.
That DOJ lawsuit was ultimately settled when the Trump company signed on a consent decree that promised they would start renting to black people.
In the first presidential debate, Hillary Clinton raised the issue of the DOJ lawsuit.  And, Trump responded by claiming that the consent agreement reflected no admission of wrongdoing.  Consequently, newspapers and news outlets have been looking into those allegations, and the way that suit was settled, as well as other suits that were brought against Trump real estate properties.
An NBC investigation turned up an eyewitness account from Stanley Leibowski, who told NBC that it was his job to do the discriminating.  He was asked how that instruction came, and who was in the room when it happened. 
Stanley Leibowski explained that, Donald Trump and his father Fred came into the office, and he asked Fred Trump what he should do with an application from a black woman, who was calling him constantly.  Fred Trump answered: “You know, I don’t rent to the niggers.  Put the application in the desk and forget about it.”

Friday, November 04, 2016

Experience


Hillary Clinton knows first hand how difficult, and satisfying the job of being president can be.  In the late 1990’s she watched her husband take a $300 billion deficit and turn it into a $200 billion surplus.  During Bill Clinton’s administration 23 million new jobs were created, and incomes went up.  In fact, African-American incomes went up 33 percent.

After 9/11, as New York State’s Senator Hillary worked with George W. Bush.  She told President Bush what New York City needed to recover, and he never wavered in seeing that New York City got what it needed to recover. 

Hillary admires President Obama, because he inherited the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, at the time nine million people lost their jobs, five million homes were lost, and $13 trillion in family wealth was wiped out.  She recognizes that our country is back on the right track, and insists that if Donald Trump were elected president that he would send our country back into recession with his tax plans that benefit the wealthiest of Americans.

Hillary wants to appoint justices to the Supreme Court, who will change the balance of the court.  Justices with life experiences, who actually understand what middle-class and poor people are up against.  She wants a Supreme Court that would reverse Citizens United to get unaccountable money out of politics.  She wants a Supreme Court that understands that voting rights remain a serious problem in many parts of our country, and will do everything, that it can to make it less difficult for people of color, the elderly, and 18 year olds to exercise their right to vote.  She wants a Supreme Court that will protects a woman’s right to choose, and one that will support marriage equality.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Endless Speculation


Donald Trump claim that the FBI's investigation of "Crooked Hillary" and the presidential election itself are "rigged," has resulted in FBI Director James Comey announcing that the bureau is reviewing newly discovered emails related to Clinton's personal server.

By doing so, he has again inserted himself into the presidential campaign.  The announcement means that the newly discovered email issue will move to front and center during the final days of the presidential campaign.  Voters will be subjected to endless speculation in the press and accusations from the Trump campaign.

Director Comey is a registered Republican, who was a deputy council on the committee investigating the Clintons in the 1990s, and a top official at the Justice Department under George Bush.

In July, Comey announced that the FBI had concluded its investigation regarding Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server in the conduct of official State Department business and that he would not recommend the lodging of criminal charges.

FBI Director Comey possibly feared that leaks would lead to speculation that a renewed Hillary investigation was underway.  In trying to get ahead of criticism of the FBI for jumping to a conclusion too quickly and closing the original Hillary Clinton email investigation, he only made matters worse by dropped a huge new issue into the presidential campaign, just 11 days before the election.

Hillary Clinton questioned FBI Director James Comey's decision to write to congressional leaders about emails uncovered in the bureau's probe into Anthony Weiner, saying: "It's pretty strange to put something like that out with such little information right before an election.  In fact, it's not just strange, it's unprecedented and it's deeply troubling because voters deserve to get full and complete facts.”  She urged Comey to "explain everything right away, put it all right on the table."

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Zephyr Teachout


“I’m running for Congress because I love this country, but I’m worried about it.  We’re at a crisis point where people feel shut out of the political process, and they’re right.  Powerful interests, lobbyists and big corporations are squeezing out regular people’s voices.  We need good jobs, clean water and a Congress that works for us, not the wealthy and powerful.

“We can build a democracy and economy that works for all of us, but to do that, we need independent people in Congress who are not for sale.  I’ve been fighting well-paid lobbyists on behalf of working families my entire life, and I will always put people before powerful interests.

“I believe in bringing jobs home, supporting local farming, and making things in America again.  That means standing up against trade deals like NAFTA and the Trans Pacific Partnership that offshore jobs.  In Congress, I’ll be a voice for local, independent businesses, not the big corporations.  I grew up in a dairy farming community and will work hard to support our dairy farmers, who are getting squeezed by prices so low that they have to go out of business. 

“We have to make it possible for people to work where they live.  Right now, the lack of broadband and cell service is holding back our economy.  Whether you’re a farmer, a brewery, a garage, or a small design firm, you can’t compete without affordable, high-speed internet.  More than half of our schools don’t have sufficient broadband capacity. 

“I’ve worked for years against the big cable company monopolies that drive up prices and provide weak services, and in Congress, I’ll work with rural representatives from across the country for universal broadband and cell service. 

“Our independent business owners and self-employed workers also struggle with high property taxes, unnecessary red tape and high health care costs.  In Congress, I’ll be a voice for the mom-and-pop, the small retail or mid-scale manufacturing company that has gotten shut out.” 

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

New York Voter Turnout


After the general election four years ago, New York State was ranked a pathetic 44th in voter turnout.  President Obama won a second term in the White House, but less than 54 percent of New York voters cast ballots.  That was significantly below the 76 percent of Minnesota voters, who earned the highest percentage in our country. 

Early voting and same-day registration are among proposals that have been floated, but have failed to gain traction in Albany.  The only way New Yorkers can vote early is to request an absentee ballot ahead of time and attest to a disability or being out of town.  However, 30 other states allow no-excuse absentee voting.  California, Connecticut, Oregon, Vermont, and West Virginia automatically enroll voters at age 18, using information from motor vehicle records and other public databases.

State Senator Michael Gianaris of Queens proposed a bill that would enrolled 18 year olds, and notify them that they can vote in future elections.  That proposal was obstruct by Republican lawmakers, who control Albany's upper chamber.  Gianaris has insisted: “They are constantly putting obstacles in the path of making it easier to vote.”  The total number of New Yorkers presently registered as voters stands at 11.7 million.  Gianaris predicts that automatic registration would expand New York's pool of eligible voters by more than 2 million people.

In an age of instant communication, there's no reason to require voters be registered at least 25 days before the next election.  The Assembly passed a measure to allow early voting three times, but it’s repeatedly obstructed by Senate Republican.

The director of the Benjamin Center for Public Policy Initiatives at State University campus at New Paltz points out: “As a general rule, voter turnout in New York is lowest among younger and less-educated voters.”