Friday, June 24, 2016

TRUMP IS STILL TRUMP

Image result for donald trump images
A Very Spotty Leopard Indeed
        Call it wishful thinking, call it blind loyalty, call it naivety, call it sheer stupidity, call it what you will, for anyone seriously to think that Donald Trump’s speech on Tuesday represented any kind of instant metamorphosis in the Republican nominee is utterly ridiculous.
        It was ludicrous to hear Joe Scarborough on his program the next morning hail the speech as a turning point for a candidate whose arrogance, vulgarity, and superficiality have been disgustingly evident from the very start of his campaign.
        Trump was reading from Teleprompters a speech most of which others had written for him, quoting from the usual discredited sources. He was less awkward using the Teleprompters this time, and it will be interesting to see if he uses them more often in the future. Maybe, but I have a feeling we haven’t seen the end of the real Donald Trump, who will have a hard time keeping on script.
        Of course the Republicans were delighted to hear their nominee launch his barrage of lies about Secretary Clinton. They have been applauding their candidate’s more “presidential” persona and predicting that this new line of attack will generate the kind of financial support he needs to compete in the general election.
        But the fact remains that a leopard can’t change its spots (see Can a Leopard Change Its Spots?leopard), and Donald Trump is still Donald Trump, a very spotty leopard indeed.





Thursday, June 23, 2016

SHAME ON YOU, REPUBLICANS!



       The historic sit-in of the Democrats that is continuing in the House of Representatives as this article is being written is a powerful reminder of where the blame should be placed for the failure of Congress to deal with gun violence.
        Throughout the current campaign, political commentators and the public in general have been speaking derogatorily but erroneously of the ineptitude of our Ado-nothing@ Congress. It has been not Congress but the Republicans in Congress who are to blame for the Federal Government=s failure to deal with gun violence, immigration reform, our crumbling infrastructure, and other pressing problems.
         It is outrageous that Speaker Paul Ryan has refused to allow a reasonable gun legislation bill with recommendations approved by more than 90% of Americans to be put to a vote in the House.
         In the wake of the worst mass shooting in our nation=s history, for any elected official to refuse to act immediately on desperately needed measures to reduce gun violence is inexcusable. Shame on you, Republicans!
         You are the ones to blame for the problems we are facing in America. How clever of you, and how dishonest of you, to try to pass the blame to President Obama, or the Democrats, or anyone else. You have blocked every progressive piece of legislation that has come before you, refused to cooperate with your counterparts across the aisle, and criticized the President for taking executive actions within his authority to deal with the problems you refused to address.
        The Democrats who are protesting your obstinate and I must say cowardly refusal to deal with gun violence are putting you to shame. How can you live with yourselves?
        Again I say, shame on you!
PS    And with respect to gun legislation, shame on you few Democrats, too, who for fear of your pro-gun constituents have sided with the Republicans on this issue.  

Thursday, June 16, 2016

STILL FANNING THE FLAME

Bernie is still fanning the flame.
        In his live stream message to his followers tonight Bernie Sanders gave them no reason to want to support Hillary Clinton.
        If the interviews afterward with some of those who had gathered in groups to listen to the telecast are any indication of how his constituents are feeling, it is obvious that they are still enthusiastic about keeping "the revolution" alive, while some may be naively nourishing a vain hope that Senator Sanders can still somehow pull off a win at the Democratic National Convention.
        Regardless of whatever realistic acceptance they may be secretly harboring of the fact that their candidate was soundly defeated in the primaries, they exhibited no enthusiasm whatsoever for getting behind Secretary Clinton. Maybe it is too early to expect that of those who are still "feeling the Bern," especially when their leader is still fanning the flame.
        But it is not too early for Senators Sanders to change his rhetoric. His message tonight was just  another campaign speech, a kind of composite of all his other speeches. We've heard it all before.  Except for two or three brief reference to his recent meeting with Secretary Clinton, with whom he had to point out that he still has strong differences, and the need to defeat Donald Trump, there was nothing in his message to persuade his followers to think differently about his former Democratic opponent, of whom he had been so consistently critical.
        If the Senator from Vermont really does want to see Donald Trump defeated, he needs to change his tune. I was hoping it would happen tonight.
        It didn't.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

MY MOST MEMORABLE MUHAMMED ALI MOMENT

        Muhammed Ali was buried yesterday in Louisville, Kentucky.
       The world has been remembering his remarkable life and mourning his death. Everyone who ever met him has a special story to tell. I never met Ali or even saw him in person, but I followed his amazing career, watched many of his fights on television, laughed at his antics, had mixed emotions about his changing his name and switching religions, was impressed by his sense of justice and principled stand against the Vietnam War, and admired his many contributions to humanitarian causes.
        But for me the most memorable moment of Ali's storied career was not the famous "rumble in the jungle" and his stunning knockout of George Foreman, nor any of his other victories in the ring, nor any of his quotable rhymes or defiant statements. For me it was his lighting of the Olympic flame at the start of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. 
        His participation in the ceremony had been a carefully guarded secret, and when he appeared on the elevated stand where the light was to take place, visible to all on the huge screens, held high the torch in his trembling hands, and then lit the Olympic flame, as his entire body was shaking from his advanced Parkinson's disease, the roar of approval from the momentarily stunned spectators was deafening. I suspect that among the millions around the world who were watching the event on television, many were struggling hard to hold back the tears.
        I was one of them.

Monday, June 6, 2016

HOW ABOUT IT, BERNIE!

Senator Bernie Sanders
        I know you are a sincere, totally committed, genuinely concerned public servant. You have a passionate sense of justice, and you care deeply about the glaring inequalities to which you have called our nation’s attention. You have been an articulate champion and an electrifying spokesperson for the causes you believe in, and have tapped into the critical idealism and the dissatisfaction with the status quo of many Americans, including especially the younger generation.         
        But it’s time for you to face the facts. If you really mean what you say about preventing Donald Trump from becoming the next President of the United States, why do you continue to attack the person who will be opposing him in the general election?
        Of course, you think that person should be you, not Hillary Clinton, notwithstanding the fact that she is leading you in pledged delegates, in total delegates (including super delegates), and in the popular vote count by some three million votes! That figure doesn’t include Secretary Clinton’s primary wins in Nebraska and more recently in Washington, a fact which you and your supporters conveniently overlook, when you boast about your big wins in those two states.
        Only 26,299 votes were cast in the Washington caucus, which you won by an impressive 72.7%, representing 12,019 voters. Compare that with the more than 660,000 voters who participated in the Washington Democratic primary, in which Hillary bested you by six percentage points and some 40,000 votes! Fortunately for you, the delegates had already been awarded, but you lost your bragging rights for that state, the majority of whose voters actually favor Mrs. Clinton over you!
        The same thing is true about Nebraska. You won the caucus by 14.2%; Mrs. Clinton won the primary, representing far more voters, by 19%! Again, fortunately for you,  the delegates had already been awarded in the caucus,  Maybe you shouldn’t complain so much about the “rigged system”!
        You keep pointing out that some polls are showing you with a bigger favorability lead than Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. That’s your main argument for thinking her super-delegates should switch over to you. Given her strong lead among voters and pledged delegates, plus the fact that you have not yet been subjected to the kinds of attacks she has had to endure from Republicans as well as from you and your surrogates, or the kind of scrutiny she has received from the media,  such a transfer of loyalty would be totally unreasonable and unfair. With all due respect for your desire to be President, you haven’t yet been through the vetting mill, and for all the enthusiasm of your young supporters, you haven’t earned the right to represent the Democratic Party, of which you have been so critical.
        So, how about it, Senator Sanders, why not do the right thing for the country and for your adopted party, and throw your support wholeheartedly behind the person who has actually won the right to be the standard bearer of the Democratic Party and who many people feel is far more qualified for the office of the presidency than any other candidate from either party —maybe ever!

[PS to my readers: For one of many lists of Hillary Clinton's qualifications click here and of her accomplishments click here.]
   

Saturday, June 4, 2016

HILLARY CLINTON'S SEMINAL ADDRESS

June 2, 2016 - Hillary Clinton delivers foreign policy address
       Hillary Clinton knocked it out of the ball park this week with her deft demolishing of Donald Trump’s presidential qualifications, character, and demeanor. In her address on Thursday she masterfully used her Republican opponent’s own words against him, leaving scant room for rebuttal.   
        And to any reasonably objective observer what a contrast she presented between her own intelligent, decisive, rational style and the bombastic, barbarous, bullying braggadocio of the self-proclaimed multi-billionaire.
        While defining Mr. Trump as unqualified and unfit to be President of the United Sates, Secretary Clinton was herself quite presidential in her bearing and in the content of her message. Her remarks were substantive, specific, and well documented. Despite his screaming accusations to the contrary, fact-checkers have verified the accuracy of Hillary’s quotes from his speeches and interviews.  
        Republican commentators along with Trump himself predictably labeled Mrs. Clinton’s address a political campaign speech rather than a foreign policy statement, as it was billed to be. It was clearly both, political in that she was distinguishing herself from her Republican opponent, and foreign policy related because in pointing out the serious adverse consequences of her opponent’s expressed views, she was indicating her own positions on those issues. 
        The Hillary haters faulted her for not referring in her address to what they consider to be her own failings as Secretary of State, but the charge is ridiculous.
She feels no further need to defend herself against the false accusations of her opponents, nor was that ever the purpose of her address. Mrs. Clinton was on the offense and she had every right to be. Her purpose was to distinguish herself clearly and completely from Donald Trump and that she did most effectively.
       Secretary Clinton’s address was by no means a routine or ordinary political speech. It was seminal! It represented a turning point in the current presidential campaign. That is already evident in the way Donald Trump himself responded to her withering denunciation. His arrogant, blustering style was on full display and will continue to be whenever he speaks from now on. Every time he opens his foul mouth he illustrates Mrs. Clinton’s point: Donald Trump is not fit to be President of the United States!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

DID ANYONE NOTICE?

        Hey, did anyone notice? Hillary Clinton won the Democratic primary vote on Tuesday in Nebraska by a sizeable margin over Bernie Sanders.
        Neither candidate won any delegates, as they had already been awarded on the basis of the caucus held on March 5, when Senator Sanders won by double digits.
        But this was an important “moral” and symbolic victory for Secretary Clinton, for it further confirmed not only that she does better than her opponent in primary elections, but that she was actually the more popular candidate in a state her opponent had won!
        Hillary’s win throws a bit of a wet blanket over Bernie’s bragging rights, as it raises the question of how much larger her already substantial vote margin might be if all of the caucus states he won had had primaries instead of caucuses.
        Bernie’s victory in West Virginia yesterday fueled his desire to keep his campaign going full speed, even though his path to victory got even narrower, despite the win. The chances of his winning all the remaining states by the huge margins needed to catch up to his opponent are practically nil. If he wins less than 65% of the vote in any state, he loses ground!
        But Bernie will get the headlines this morning and keep on fueling the false hopes of his supporters. Hillary won Nebraska yesterday, but did anyone notice?
        I bet Bernie did!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

A TIME OF TESTING

        The integrity of Republican leaders is being tested, indeed that of all Republicans.
        How many of them are willing to put the good of the country ahead of their Party loyalty? Some have already failed the test. They know that to have Donald Trump in the White House would be a disaster for our nation. Yet they are switching their allegiance to him, in many cases despite their previous strong opposition to him.
        Meanwhile the Trump “reality show” roars on. The “Stop Trump” movement failed miserably. What a sad commentary on the I.Q. of today’s electorate that so many Americans can be completely bamboozled by such an unqualified, bullying braggart. It is disgusting to watch, and the consequences are frightening to consider.
        The media deserve a large share of the blame for the Trump phenomenon. Why have they not held this pompous peacock accountable for his wild words and baseless claims? Will they start doing so, now that he has become the Republican nominee and the danger to our country and to our reputation among the other nations of the world is frighteningly real?
        This is a time of testing for every political commentator, and indeed for every American. Our core values are at stake —freedom, justice, truth. It is a time of testing for our entire nation.
        And the rest of the world is watching.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

CAN A LEOPARD CHANGE ITS SPOTS?

The Presumptive Republican Nominee
        There has been much speculation about whether or not Donald Trump will start “acting more presidential”and begin speaking substantively about his policies regarding the issues facing our nation, now that he has become the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party.
        I watched him make one unsuccessful stab at doing so, when he tried awkwardly to deliver a speech from a prepared manuscript with the aid of a teleprompter. He was out of his element, and he could not constrain himself from departing from the text and reverting to his usual blustering, repetitive style.
        But here’s the problem with Mr. Trump: even if he could “act presidential,” that’s what it would be —an act! Being presidential is not something you pretend to be. You are or you are not presidential, and he is not!
        Can he hide his vulgarity, his bigotry, his arrogance, his mammoth ego? I doubt it. Why should anyone believe he would stop insulting people, and telling lies, and revealing his ignorance about foreign relations and domestic affairs and how the Federal government works?
        Can a self-serving deal maker suddenly acquire the art of diplomacy? Can an incessant braggart reflect the grace of genuine humility? Can a man who sounds more like an aspiring dictator than a presidential candidate comprehend the meaning of SERVANT LEADERSHIP?
        Can a leopard change its spots?   

Saturday, April 30, 2016

STILL FEELING THE BERN?

Still drawing the crowds ---but for how long?
        Bernie Sanders is still drawing large crowds, but how long will that last?
        Three factors might result in a decline in those numbers. College classes will be over soon. It will be interesting to see what happens when the students are dispersed for the summer.
        The second factor is the decreasing viability of the Sanders campaign, as people begin to accept the reality that there is realistically no chance of his winning the nomination. Will he be able to maintain the same level of enthusiasm?
        Senator Sanders has raised a remarkable amount of money and spent far more than his Democratic opponent, but still another reality is that people are not inclined to support a loser. At some point Senator Sanders and his surrogates will have to stop pretending he has a chance. How will that impact his fundraising efforts?
         The pundits have offered many projections regarding the Democratic race for delegates.
For another recent analysis that appears to be fairly objective click on the link below:
         https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/a-sanders-comeback-would-be-unprecedented/

Friday, April 22, 2016

IS BERNIE FEEELING THE BURN?

Image result for bernie sanders photos
Is Bernie feeling the burn?
         I have been on a long hiatus, having to attend to other priorities. I'm sorry about that, as there have been things to write about every day.
        But I had to take a moment to call attention to Robin Alperstein's recent article that is causing quite a stir on social media. Its title is reason enough for Senator Sanders' followers to hurl their Bernie bombs at the author. But truly open-minded or undecided voters will find it quite revealing.
         It's a lengthy piece but well worth the reading, because it is the most comprehensive critique of Bernie Sanders I have yet seen. Whether or not one agrees with the author, one needs to give serious attention to what she has to say.
          Senator Sanders' record has received very little scrutiny and his ideas and claims have not been  vigorously critiqued thus far in the campaign. He has been given a pretty smooth ride by the media. He has been rightfully commended for attracting huge turnouts at his rallies and for energizing the younger generation and engaging many new voters in the political process.
          But does he have the bearing and the personality to be President, or the political skills and  proven record to work with a divided Congress to achieve his objectives? Before you answer,
click on the link below and read Alperstein's entire article, then decide for yourself.
  https://medium.com/@robinalperstein/on-becoming-anti-bernie-ee87943ae699?curator=MediaREDEF#.h715619a


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

THE BERNIE FAD

Image result for hillary in new hampshire today photos       It’s no wonder Hillary Clinton lost the New Hampshire primary, given the way her opponents and the media have treated her.
        With respect to the younger generation, she is confronted by a phenomenon that is predominantly irrational and hence difficult to combat; I call it political fadism. It’s the herd mentality. To young people Bernie Sanders has become a political rock star. He has struck a nerve and is playing it for all its worth. When asked why they like Bernie, they repeat back his campaign diatribes. It is no matter that his promises are unrealistic and lacking in substance. He is saying what they like to hear. It’s no matter that he cannot possibly deliver on his promises and that he has no real plan to pay for them, just the claim that he will make Wall Street and the wealthiest 1% of Americans pay for everything. And, don’t forget his admission there will be a tax increase on the middle class.      
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders        Here’s why I call the Bernie Sanders phenomenon a fad. It’s not “cool” for any young person not to be for Bernie. I admire those young people who have gone against the crowd, who can think for themselves, and who can stand up against the taunts and jeers of their peers. There is no reason that given the similarities of the two Democratic candidates on most major goals, there should be such a one-sided split in their preferences.
        Nor is there any rational reason why young women should prefer Bernie over Hillary. Some young women will, of course.  But why an overwhelming majority, given the incredible record of Hillary Clinton on women’s issues? Gloria Steinem was criticized the other day for saying that girls are just doing what the boys do. What she said was right. There is no logical reason why many if not most women of all ages should not want to vote for Hillary. She, not Bernie, is the one who has championed their rights for years. It's the herd mentality!
        Young women are defiantly declaring that Hillary has no right to expect their vote simply because she is a woman. She would agree! It’s not because she is a woman; it’s because of all she has done for women throughout her professional life. She has earned their support!
        The pundits are correct in praising Bernie Sanders for raising and stressing the issues of income inequality and campaign finance reform. But they are wrong to accuse Hillary of speaking to those issues simply because of Bernie. She rightly was not going to let him claim ownership of her own convictions. And by the way, who is influencing whom now? Bernie is now talking about issues he never mentioned earlier in his campaign. He touched on everything imaginable in his lengthy victory speech in New Hampshire tonight. He sounded like Hillary Clinton, only much more bombastic.
        Now it’s on to South Carolina and Nevada, and Bernie knows he has to make inroads into the black community. So notice how his campaign rhetoric has changed! He has already convinced some blacks to switch their allegiance to him.
         The press and Sanders’ supporters are accusing Hillary of taking the black vote for granted. What an unfair and ridiculous charge! She is smart enough not to take any demographic constituency for granted, but she has a right to count on her black friends to support her. She has every right to hope they will remember how hard and how consistently she and her husband have fought against racial injustice and what a champion she has been for minority rights, and women’s rights, and human rights.
        I will be sad, terribly sad if Hillary doesn’t win the Democratic nomination and go on to win the presidency. I would feel as if our country had missed a golden opportunity to choose a most  capable and amazingly well qualified person, who is highly respected throughout the world. It’s time to break the gender barrier, and she has the right temperament and the capability to be that person. It’s time for a woman in the Oval Office. It’s time for Hillary!    
         I don’t want a revolution. I want genuine reform. I don’t want to tear everything down. I want to build on the accomplishments of the current administration and work on the challenges that are yet to be met. There is a place for an independent rabble rousing socialist in the Senate. Bernie Sanders has served well in that role. It is easy for a politician who is not beholden to any party to attack “the establishment” ---the establishment of which he is part, by the way. But how can he aspire to lead a party he has never belonged to?  Yes, he caucused most frequently with the Democrats, but he hasn’t really walked in their shoes.  There’s no question that Bernie is a smart politician and an effective rabble rouser. 
        But that’s what bothers me. I don’t want a rabble rouser in the White House.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

IT'S TIME FOR HILLARY!





        Of all the presidential candidates, Republican and Democratic, Secretary Hillary Clinton is in my opinion by far the most qualified, the best prepared, the most articulate about the major issues confronting our nation, the most detailed in her proposals, the most widely known and respected internationally, and the most presidential in her bearing.
        She has been fighting for worthy causes and championing human rights her entire professional life. She has demonstrated her outstanding leadership capabilities time and again, and she has proven her ability to get things done. Having served eight years as a former First Lady, she is well acquainted with the role and the routine of  the White House;  as a former United States Senator she knows the workings of Congress; and as a former Secretary of State she has exceptional diplomatic and leadership skills. She knows State government as well, having spent nearly twelve years as First Lady in the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion.
        Everyone knows how important is the role of the President’s spouse. What an asset Bill Clinton will be to Hillary and to the nation in that role. Hillary has already shown, however,  that she is her own person. She is not intimidated by anybody, including Bill, but she will value his experience and advice. What a team they will make!
        It is so exciting to think of having our first female President. And what a worthy representative of that gender she will be. One of the things I admire the most about Hillary is that she has withstood the insidious attacks of her opponents and the unwarranted and unfair insinuations about her “trustworthiness” and “likability.” The way her motives have been impugned, no matter what she says, is despicable, and a glaring example of the sexist attitudes she wants to eliminate..
        The best testimony to her character is the strong loyalty and enthusiastic devotion of her friends and colleagues and the esteem in which she is held by those who know her best. Before she announced her intention to run for President, she spent many weeks traveling the country and listening to people. She wanted to know their concerns as well as their hopes and dreams. People who are aware of her record know, and people who meet her and who hear her speak soon learn, that she has their best interests at heart.
         Hillary’s chief Democratic rival, Senator Bernie Sanders, as well as the current front runner in the Republic campaign, Donald Trump, are both talking about a “movement” (Bernie sometimes uses the word “revolution”). They are both right.  America is indeed ready for a movement, but one led by a different kind of leader, one who can and will really make a difference, a person who will champion women’s rights, and children’s rights, and gay rights, one who know that Black lives matter, one who knows the urgent need for criminal justice reform and tax reform and immigration reform and campaign finance reform, one who will preserve and improve, not repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, who is skilled in dealing with the intricacies of foreign policy, who is familiar with and prepared for the usual as well as the unpredictable responsibilities of the Oval Office, one who already knows and is known and respected  by the leaders of other nations, one who has the gravitas, the personality, the communication skills, the judgment, and the bearing to assume on day one the presidency of the most powerful nation on earth.
        Yes, we do need a movement ---a Hillary Clinton movement! It's the right time (and it's about time!) for a woman President! It's time for someone who can and will build on the accomplishments of President Obama, one with proven ability to get things done and to bring people together across ideological lines to work toward mutually beneficial objectives, one who balances idealistic goals with realistic pragmatism, one who wants to move America forward by building on the good things from the past. It's time for a genuine public servant and a proven leader.
        It's time for Hillary Clinton. She is the right person to be the next President of the United States.

Friday, January 29, 2016

BOTH HILLARY AND BERNIE HAVE EVOLVED

Sen.Bernie Sanders and former Sec. of State  Hillary Clinton
        Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have criticized each other for changing their positions on certain issues. So have the Republican contenders in their debates.
        Voters need to distinguish between flip-flopping, which is bad, and evolving, which can be good or bad, depending upon how a candidate has evolved and what the candidate’s position is now. It is perfectly appropriate for a candidate to change his or her position as circumstances change. What reasonable person has not been willing to change his or her mind on the basis of new information?
        The question is not where a candidate stood on a given issue “back then,” but where he or she stands now, and why. The question is not when a candidate made up her or his mind on a given issue, but how and why one has come to believe what one believes now. What were the circumstances that influenced his or her decision?
        The candidates have a right to ask each other why they changed their minds, when that is the case, but they should stop criticizing each other for doing so, unless they disagree with where their opponent stands now.
        Neither Senator Sanders nor Secretary Clinton is a flip-flopper, but the positions of each of them on certain issues have evolved. Good for them. They now agree idealistically on many if not most issues. Again, good for them! They disagree less about what is idealistically desirable than they do about what is pragmatically possible. So now we need to hear a really substantive debate on how they expect to achieve and pay for their respective goals.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

THE EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES

        In the idealistic world of Horatio Alger one can strive and succeed. That’s the theoretical advantage of our capitalistic free enterprise system.
        Because competition is an essential part of the system, there will inevitably be losers as well as winners. When the winners become so successful and powerful that they can stifle competition, restrain trade, and control the system to the detriment of consumers, then the Federal government steps in and passes regulatory legislation like the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, the Federal Trade Commission act of 1914, and the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.
        Under the communistic system free enterprise is abolished and the government controls and runs everything. In between these two diametrically opposed economic systems there is socialism, which is characterized by "the collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods" (Merriam-Webster). Those who are alarmed by the exigencies of the capitalistic system might find some aspects of socialism attractive.
        Bernie Sanders has called himself a Socialist, more recently a Democratic Socialist. He has struck a nerve with younger voters in his narrowly focused campaign diatribe against “Wall Street” and the wealthiest 1% of Americans. In every speech he hammers on the same theme, and in every debate he manages somehow to work that theme into his response, no matter what the question. There is no doubt his message has caught hold, because his campaign is surging, according to the latest polls. Americans should indeed be concerned about the disappearance of the middle class and the growing gap between the ultra wealthy and the swelling millions who fall below the poverty line. 
        Senator Sanders has yet to spell out the concrete details of how he expects to achieve his idealistic goals, however, other than his general promise to make the wealthy and major corporations pay their fair share of taxes. Tax reform is desperately needed, but shouting for it and actually achieving it are not at all the same. Supporters of his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, are quick to point to her ability to get things done. So it comes down to a choice between an angry idealist and a determined pragmatist, a dreamer and a doer.
        As the debate continues, here is a question Senator Sanders should be asked: “Do you, as a socialist, believe in the free enterprise system?” Voters should be interested in his reply! A negative response would spark a firestorm among those who view free enterprise as a sacred part of the American heritage. On the other hand, even a qualified affirmative reply would force him to deal with the paradoxical nature of success (its limitations and its excesses) in a competitive economic world.
        Capitalism has its flaws, but is Sen. Sanders ready to replace it with his own socialistic economic system?  And do his idealistic but perhaps naive adherents realize what they are really supporting? They had better take a closer look at the emperor’s new clothes!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

THE GOVERNORS’ SHAMEFUL REACTION

    Twenty-six governors, of whom twenty-five are Republicans, have announced they will not allow any Syrian refugees to enter their states. Shame on them!
    They are afraid that ISIS and other terrorist organizations might infiltrate the thousands of Syrians refugees seeking safe haven in other countries.
    Immigration authorities are well aware of the need for tight security and careful screening of immigrants. I would think there is far more danger from “home grown” recruited terrorists than there is from Syrian immigrants. But the terrorists have won, when out of fear we abandon our American values.
    The governors face a serious legal problem, as the power to determine immigration policy rests with the Federal Government, not with the states.
    In the meantime, the Republican presidential candidates are politicizing the situation. They are using the recent attacks in Paris as one more excuse to attack President Obama and now Hillary Clinton. Why must they play the blame game, instead of working together to deal with what is an incredibly complex and challenge problem?
    They should have listened to and learned from the President’s Monday morning address and press conference at the Summit Conference in Antalya, Turkey, and Secretary of State John Kerry’s press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on November 14, following the foreign ministers conference in Vienna, Austria.
    Regardless of what Messrs. Rubio, Trump, Cruz et ali are saying, the responsibility for our nation’s foreign policy is in good hands.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A VETERANS DAY PRAYER


We had a Veterans Day ceremony in our community this morning. There were many veterans of World War II, the Korean Way, and the Vietnam War in the gathering. I would like to share with all of  my blog readers the prayer I offered for the occasion:

       God of grace and God of Glory, we gather once again to honor the veterans, living and dead, of the many wars in which our nation has been involved.  We honor their service, their sense of duty, their sacrifice, their patriotism, their bravery, their esprit de corps. We pray for those who bear the physical, emotional, and psychological scars of war, and for their families and all who have shared their pain. Forgive our nation for the scandalous reality that thousands of our veterans are homeless and forgotten, and thousands more have been unable to get the health care they need.
        We lift up to you those for whom this day is a sad reminder of the terrible cost of war, and we pray that every member of our Armed Services may feel the gratitude and respect of all their fellow citizens, even of those who may have questioned the justification of any particular war.
        God of all nations, what a privilege it is to live in a land where people of good character and conscience may differ in their assessments of our nation’s foreign policy with equal loyalty to their flag and equal love for the republic for which it stands. What a testimony to the allegiance of our service men and women that they are ready to lay down their lives for their country, even when some of them may not fully understand the reasons for the war they are fighting.
        O Lord, as the rhetoric of the current presidential campaign heats up and the bitterness of the candidates and the electorate intensifies, we pray that you will help all of us to be more civil in our discourse, as we face the enormous challenges ahead. In your great mercy, heal the divisions in our land, and unite as a nation in our prayers for all who assume the risks of military service, and for those  bear the weight of public office, regardless of their party affiliation. Give to every office holder, at whatever level of government, the humility to acknowledge their limitations, the wisdom to discern the best solutions to the world’s problems, the good will to work in a spirit of non-partisanship to solve those problems, the integrity to put principle above expediency, and the commitment to live up to their campaign promises. In so doing, may they learn the fine art of compromise for the sake of progress.
        Most just and merciful God, we acknowledge  that we honor our veterans best by doing our best for them on the home front and by giving them the support they need during and after their time in the service. Keep us faithful to that task. 
        “We are living, we are dwelling in a grand and awful time.”  “Let there be light, Lord God of hosts! . . .  Let there be wisdom on the earth!  Let broad humanity have birth!  Let there be deeds instead of boasts!” And if it be your will, O God, "let there be peace on earth,” for your kingdom’s sake.

        Amen.

Monday, November 9, 2015

TWO AMAZING MIKES

Here come Mike! Photo by J. E. Berry
 
     If you haven't already heard about either or both of these individuals, let me introduce you to two amazing men named Mike. They are to be admired for their athleticism as well as their patriotism.
Mike Ehredt
     Mike Bowen Ran a mile a day for each of the 58,282 service men and women killed in the Vietnam war. It took him 31 years, including a bout with cancer, to fulfill his mission. You can read his story here.
     Mike Ehredt's story may be even more amazing.  He ran from Minnesota to the Texas gulf coast, a marathon every day for 81 straight days, planting American flags along the way for each American killed in the Afghanistan war. In 2010 he ran from Oregon to Maine to honor Americans who had lost their lives in the war in Iraq. If you haven't seen this brief video of his remarkable tribute to our fallen heroes, clerk here. It is definitely worth watching. Click here to see the YouTube video.
     You will be equally impressed by the photos of Mike Ehredt's exciting odyssey. Click here.
  

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

WHY SHOOT TO KILL?

    There have been 962 persons killed by police officers in the United States so far this year, according to an extensive project being conducted by the British newspaper The Guardian. The project, known as The Counted, has been tracking such killings in the US for several years. 
    As of the end of August police had killed 776 people, of whom 161 were completely unarmed at the time of their death. By far the majority of deaths (680) were the result of shootings, with another 39 deaths resulting from Tasers, and 26 after individuals were struck by police vehicles. Click here for further information.
    The interactive, continuously updated database maintained by The Counted is the most reliable source of information available. Photographs and information about every individual killed by the police is available on their web site (click here).
    With regard to the growing number of police shootings that have been taking place each year, am I being naive to wonder why law enforcement officers always shoot to kill (or so it seems), instead of seeking just to disable the person they are arresting, or who as often as not is running away from them?
    I’m not talking about situations involving a shoot-out, where there is an exchange of gunfire, or where officers’ and/or other people’s lives are in obvious and immediate danger. I’m thinking of the many cases where individuals have been needlessly shot and killed by police officers.
    So many times the victims of police shootings are unarmed and not dangerous. Even if investigating officers are fearful for their  own lives, why can’t their first shot be aimed at the suspect’s legs? 
    Does the police training manual say they have to shoot to kill?
   
 

Saturday, October 31, 2015

THE THIRD REPUBLICAN (DEBATE) DEBACLE

Image result for CNBC debate moderators photos
CNBC debate moderators Quintanilla, Quick, and Harwood
    Now that the dust has settled following the most recent Republican debate, and the political commentators and pundits have had their say about who won and who lost, I feel the need to make a few observations of my own, not only about the debate but about the commentators themselves.
    CNBC moderator Carl Quintanilla and his two colleagues Becky Quick and John Harwood have been widely criticized about their handling of the debate. I agree that they lost control at times, that when challenged by some of the candidates they did not always seem to have their facts at their fingertips, and that some of their questions were less likely to evoke a good debate on the issues.
    Most of the blame for the debacle, however, should be directed not at the moderators but at the candidates, who evaded the questions, impugned the motives of the questioners, and played to the audience by attacking the network, the “liberal” media, and the moderators themselves. They complained that they were asked “gotcha” questions that had nothing to do with the issues, and contrasted them to what they described as the non-threatening kinds of questions asked of the Democratic candidates in their first debate. Anyone who watched that debate knows that charge is utterly false. Anderson Cooper and his CNN colleagues minced no words at all, and the responses and the interchange were substantive, though one candidate wasted time by complaining about not getting equal time.