Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Okeefenokee on Steroids

So let me get something straight. Trump, during the campaign, and even now, enjoys riling up his audiences to cheer “ Lock her up!” about Hilary Clinton. Why lock her up? Because she allegedly was careless about possible security breaches in her e mails, and may have withheld certain relevant e mails from release which would constitute further evidence of the alleged cavalier manner in which she dealt with top secret information. Ok. Got that.

Fast forward to Jan 20, 2017 until now. The President’s son in law, who does not have the requisite security clearance to handle highly classified information, and never will, according to top Trump security officials, has been allowed on a daily basis to read the top secret daily briefing for his father in law, who WH aides claim, does not bother to read it for himself. Kushner, has also been caught by US Intelligence talking up his private business interests with high officials of the Chinese government, and failing to disclose those meetings. 
   He is viewed as highly susceptible to blackmail, as was the  dismissed and now criminally indicted and convicted felon, WH Security Adviser,  Gen. Mike Flynn. 
     Kushner is still there. He is still in the West Wing. Apparently he has been reduced to reading the comic sections of local newspapers, which is ok, because he doesn’t get paid a salary, and he is married to the President’s daughter, and is a “good boy”. 

Ok. Now , who should be chanting lock who up? The temerity, brazen bold faced double standard of the current occupant of the White House could not be more shamefully in display. The swamp he claimed he would drain has become the Okeefenokee on steroids. And the Republicans remain silent. 

Thursday, February 22, 2018


We are not safe. We are not united. We are not indivisible, and we are not capable of forming a more perfect union.
That is the sad state of our reality in 2018. It has taken us nearly twenty years to get to this state of craven insularity. Until 2004, assault style weapons like AR 25 rifles were illegal to buy, Illegal to own, and illegal to possess. No more. The NRA and its lobbying arm has seen to it that the second amendment is unbridled, unlimited, and unchecked. We have become a nation of the people, for the munitions industry, and without defense against the crazed Gunman. It didn’t have to come to this.
Most Americans who respect the second amendment rights of their fellow citizens to keep and bear arms, do not oppose reasonable regulations, such as background checks , before obtaining a firearm. There are some people who should not be allowed within ten feet of such powerful weapons. Finding them, and restricting the otherwise unbridled right to keep and bear arms is a challenge, but it is a challenge we can meet if allowed to do so. When even the mention of restrictions on firearms raises the ire of a powerful and well financed group such as the NRA, we need to find a way to meet and overcome the opposition. The united display of pain by the victims of this latest mass casualty might be just such a key. They are not babies. They can and do speak clearly, and eloquently, and their voices are being heard. They might just make an actual difference.
We need more than voices, however. We need money. Lots of it, to mount an effective and coordinated campaign against those who would otherwise be inclined to do the bidding of the NRA. We need to make them do the bidding of the American people, and failing that, we need to roust them out of office, and replace them with fair minded and reasonable legislators who are not bought, lock , stock and literally barrel, by the sinister forces of the munitions industry and their sympathizers.
Can this be done? Yes. Will it be done? That is the question of the hour. All things are possible if we remain true to purpose. It will require lots more than thoughts and prayers. It will require focus, fortitude and funding. Now, where to send a check?

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Regular order

As Sen. John McCain says, “ We need to get back to regular order.”
Indeed there is much wisdom in that admonition.
     The way government is supposed to work is when we identify a problem, we analyze the cause. And then try to fashion a reasonable remedy to address that problem. Unless , of course, that problem is massive carnage caused by our loose regulation of high powered guns and ammunition. In that case, we are told not to “politicize” the issue, and to simply pray instead. 
    I don’t disagree that prayer is powerful, and needed, but so is sensible gun registration and regulation. Our Legislative bodies are told by the NRA that any regulation is unacceptable, so Congress refuses to go there. That is far from “regular order”, and it is lamentable, because it makes us incapable of addressing a major issue, to wit: the proliferation of massive gun violence which is unique to our country. No other country is experiencing such gun related carnage. Clearly, they have problems created by terrorists with explosive devices and weaponized vehicles, but not from the guns which bedevil us. 
   Is it not time to try to draw new lines in the sand when a crazed wealthy gunman can shoot nearly 500 people like fish in a barrel out of a hotel window with legally obtained weaponry by the dozens, that may face been illegally modified? Their only sin was enjoying a country music concert, which , in America, we should be free to do without risking our lives. 
     Are we to simply observe a moment of silence, pray, and  and go about our lives as powerless eunuchs who cannot use “regular order” and common sense to do something about it? I think not. We have to take on the gun lobby to take back our country and restore sanity and “ regular order”. If we fail to do so, we have only ourselves to blame. 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

I am every bit as much a yankee doodle dandyish guy as anyone, and I always love to wave the flag on the Fourth of July , and any other patriotic occasion. I get a lump in my throat when I hear the star spangled banner being sung at the beginning of sports events , and my eyes mist up when Kate Smith sings God bless America during the 7th inning stretch. 
    This year, however, I have been getting a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach when I read tweets from the current occupant of the Oval Office which are inconsistent with our democratic values, and contemptuous of a free press and the First Amendment. His conduct is not just unseemly, it is downright un-American. I will still wave the flag on the Fourth, but my unabashed enthusiasm for the expression of my patriotism is tempered somewhat by the reality of the intemperate conduct of our current President. 
He does not make us proud to be an American . He makes us embarrassed by the reality of his juvenile tit for tat reaction, which is not only Un-Presidential, but Un-Christian as well. There is no  turning of the other cheek here. 
it's all about striking back at your enemies.
      I believe it was Richard Nixon who , at the end of his Presidency, famously said, 
Always remember others may hate you but those who hate you don't win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself.".
So hate not America. Love what is best about our country. And navigate around our current President. The best thing that could happen is that we simply pay him no heed. 
    May God continue to bless America in spite of it all. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

39 states had their electoral databases hacked by Russian spies. That is a fact. The Attorney General has not been briefed on this? The President met 9 times with the head of the FBI, and never asked about the "Russian thing", and is photographed laughing and joking with Russians the day after he fires the FBI head, and only Russian photographers were let in to film that moment. Huh?
     I know. It strains credulity. But so does that Dear Leader cabinet meeting. And to think the President was thrilled by it and furious at those who mocked and criticized it. Unfortunately his world has become our world, and we are all upside down as a result. And the blind partisanship of the "see no evil Republicans" is Trumping our constitutional democracy. A sad state of affairs indeed.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Chicken Little Republicans

Chicken Little Republicans

The sky is falling! The sky is falling! So says a chorus of Republican Congressmen, convincingly. The problem is that the evidence for that claim is wholly unconvincing, and simply does not support that conclusion. Unless there is further sabotage to the health care program now known as Obamacare, the system will survive. It would even thrive with a few fixes and tweaks. Instead, the Republicans have figuratively hired dozens of crop dusting planes to seed the skies to produce as much rain as they can in the hope that the resulting torrential downpour will wash away what's left of the program. Political prognosticators always need a reliable bogeyman to rail against so as to advance their agenda. So, " Obamacare" became the bogeyman. 
     The real agenda? Cutting Medicaid by $880 billion in order to fund tax cuts for the top one  percent of our citizens. The stage has now been set for Republican tax reform plans. What? All of the rhetoric aside, the plan which takes away health care coverage for the poor, the elderly, and the disabled rewards the rich and punishes the poor. There is not enough lipstick in an Estée Lauder warehouse to cover up the fact that they are offering us an ugly pig. Repeal and replace has been a Republican hoax all along. They believe in repeal, but they have no sensible program to replace it. 
     The fact that the Republican House members were able to join ranks to finally pass something does not mean that that "something" is worth anything. The end zone victory celebration was a bit premature. They were cheering a half-time comeback, but the game is far from over, and one interception , spectacular as it may have been, does not a victory make. 
     The saddest part of this whole saga is the loss of integrity and credibility of moderate House members, many of whom reside in NY, and who have let their party loyalty trump their common sense. Seven of the nine New York Republican Congressmen voted for the bill. Dan Donovan of Staten Island and John Katko of Central New York were the only profiles in Republican courage. North Country Congresswoman Elise Stefanik offered a pitifully unconvincing rationale for her vote, and Congressman John Faso of the Hudson Valley reversed polarity on a direct promise to one of his constituents with a brain tumor after personally hugging her and telling her he would never vote to change the pre-existing condition exemption in the current law. They are two Congresspersons who should be given the bums rush for their timidity, insincerity and inability to stand up for their constituents against  their own party's leadership demands. 
     Simply put, they caved. They put Party above people, and that is not acceptable, in fact, it is contemptible. There are no winners here to be cheered. The Congressional win is only temporary. There is a Senate to contend with, and if these congresspersons attempt to further excuse their votes by saying they were relying on the Senate to fix what they had ineffectively crafted and passed, that is even worse. What happened when Mr. Smith got to Washington? Jimmy Stewart died. So did his fighting Congressional spirit. It has been replaced by political operatives who do the bidding of those special interests that fund their campaigns, and the average citizen be damned. Sad, but true. 

Friday, May 5, 2017

Abe Lincoln and the Affordable Health care Act

"When I find myself in times of trouble , Mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, Let it be, Let it be." Those are wise lyrics penned by Paul McCartney. It never hurts to pause and pray, and with the Republican Congress passing the repeal of the Affordable care act, it is time for contemplation and prayer. Pray for the Senate to see the light. Pray for the electorate to see through the pious platitudes of those representatives who assured their constituents they would not lose under this new Health care bill, knowing full well that that was not true, and pray for our President that he will be hoisted upon the petard of his own insincerity by the constituents who voted for him but could now be the biggest losers if the bill he supported becomes law. 
   Sometimes it takes radical action to awaken the public to what could really happen, and it is my sense that this "victory" for Ryan and Trump will be the rope from which the noose is fashioned , and from which they will all eventually be hung. 
     The irony here is that Trump's voters will finally come to realize that they have been had. They have been sold a bill of goods that will not materialize. Coal is not coming back. Building huge walls while letting our bridges crumble is not the answer, and squeezing those with meager resources to enhance the fortunes of those who already live in a world of plenty is doomed to fail, eventually. Whether this is the event that will turn the light bulbs on in those living in dimly lit quarters, only time will tell. But, the photographic evidence of a group of older white mostly millionaire men cheering their victory in the rose garden may finally galvanize voters as never before. It looked like a smug frat boy reunion, or a gala grand opening for a Trump golf course. In my view, the radical right wing's attempt to 
repeal " Obamacare" will not succeed, in large part because what they are replacing it with is a much more inferior product. Ultimately,  those who have shown their true colors will be shown the door., and given an unceremonious heave ho. "Na Na Na Na, Na Na Na Na, hey hey hey...goodbye!" And don't let the door hit you in the derrière on the way out. 
     And to my fellow Democrats, a word of advice: Keep your sunny side up. It may get a little worse before it gets better, but 2018 will soon be here. Stay alert. Remain vigilant. And don't let anyone forget what just happened. And remember those immortal words of the greatest Republican President ever: “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time”. Abraham Lincoln