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Monday, November 7, 2016

The Trump Alphabet

Assault, buffoon, controlling, deplorable, exaggeration, facist, groper, horrific, insane, joyless, KKK, liar, misogynist, neurotic, obnoxious, predator, quack, racist, selfish, troglodyte, unaware, vitriolic, womanizer, xenophobic, yucky and zany. Dont forget to vote. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Friday, November 4, 2016

The Truth

This has been a sickening campaign. I stopped posting because of it. I have been emotionally and physically ill over what I have seen and heard. On Tuesday, the election isn't just about who is more experienced, who is less impulsive, who has the knowledge and capability to adjust and react to dangerous situations, who has shown the ability to compromise, who has paid their fair share of taxes, who has advocated for others, who has raised money to support important causes around the world, who has been in the toughest situations, who has been kicked to the ground and with dignity gotten up to fight another battle, or who is a woman or man. This election is about decency vs. indecency. Hillary Clinton used a personal email server that may have had some improper emails on it. She regrets it, apologized for it, said it was a poor choice but no one in their right mind can believe this woman tried to do harm or commit treason to our great nation. No one. Hillary has been investigated over thirty years by those who just don't like her or her husband. In a nation of laws and justice, which we still are, at least for the moment, you are either found guilty or not guilty, you are either indicted due to sufficient evidence of wrong doing, or not. If after the non stop scrutiny, unfair, politically motivated and vindictive that she has received, not a single act of guilt or lawbreaking has been discovered, this should dismiss the narrative of corruption that her enemies have obsessively tried to pin on her. Her enemies are so fiercely vindictive and vitriolic that they are already promising more obstruction after her election if she wins and even floating the I word, using handcuffs as props and continuing this path of hatred before the election is even concluded. This is not how this country works. From reports and widely known aspects of Mr. Trump, here is a comparison to consider. Donald Trump was born in Queens where I grew up and the Trump name was always couched in racist activities. Blacks were targeted as unwanted tenants and Jews were used for investment, while the family's anti-semitic undertones were always in evidence. From this upbringing of white superiority, Donald continued in his father's footsteps targeting Manhattan. His real estate holdings and projects have only been marginally successful despite the bluster. His holdings are over leveraged and his debt at skyrocketed proportions. His fame and fortune comes from reality TV more so than from savvy investment capability. He has avoided paying taxes going on 15 years and is the only candidate in 40 years refusing to release his taxes. He has refused to pay service providers, used bankruptcy as a tool to avoid responsibility and has a reputation of being an absolute thug, one that decent men refuse to do business with. He has admittedly judged women to be inferior, boasted about groping them. He is on trial for rape has been accused by 12 women of assault. His university has been a fraudulent activity continually under scrutiny and soon to have its legality judged. He has promoted a racist undertone as evidenced by the support he gets from the KKK and white supremacy groups. He boasted about having the tallest building after 9-11. He has lied about his level of charitable contributions, which have been made available for scrutiny. He lied about thousands of Muslims cheering on roof tops after 9-11. He has lied about financial links to Russia. He has disrespected our President through his ridiculous and proven to be false birther conspiracy. He has insulted our military saying they are in awful condition, has boasted about knowledge he does not have. He used excuses of spurs to avoid the draft on multiple occasions. He has insulted Muslims and Mexicans, lied about the extent of illegal immigration, lied about his net worth and his holdings. He has failed at marriage, was accused of rape by one of his wives and has cavorted with the criminal underclass. This is a very incomplete list. When you choose on Tuesday, there is only one choice if decency is what you want in a President. If you disagree with a President, you fight in Congress or within the rules of fair play and institutional processes traditional in a Democracy. If you pick someone who is as flawed, as pathological and mean spirited as a Trump, you not only defile the country, you set an awful example for your loved ones. Vote Clinton for decency. Where are you Americans for Reason and truth?

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Must Read

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/26/opinion/why-donald-trump-should-not-be-president.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0

Debate One

If you tune in tomorrow to watch the debate, you will be amongst an estimated 90 million people. This will probably break modern debate records in terms of viewership, but this is only because of the reality TV atmosphere created by a reality TV star. If you are tuning in to see him bully Hillary, or make another incendiary ridiculous remark that turns you on, or to see his hair, then you deserve his Presidency. If you are tuning in to see if either one of them knows what they are talking about, there is only one choice. If you dont like her, fine, but if you think he can run this country, you are void of any real understanding of the job of President. Be careful. Where are you Americans for Reason and Truth?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Ignorance is Not Bliss

I have taught about American politics and government for many years. I can say with a fair degree of expertise, that the greatest problem in our country is the perception by many that ignorance is bliss. Many believe that one word uncomplicated answers to complicated questions is enough for them. Many people lack the basic knowledge of how government works. It isn't easy to understand, and it takes time, time that many people do not have nor care to find. Its easy to have someone yell a cliche, a slogan, a 5 second rant, without substance, listen to it, and shut out the facts, the information and the detail required for a true and accurate assessment of what is real and not fake. Readers, ignorance is not bliss. It brings demagogues and self absorbed egotists like Donald Trump to the forefront. So a quick lesson in government if you can read past this one paragraph is in order. Government is all about influencing elected officials or appointed officials to carry out legislative or policy initiatives that a particular, person, group, business entity or nation supports. For instance, people give money to candidates they support in the hopes that they get elected and carry out policies of interest to them. People hire lobbyists to go to elected officials to threaten lack of support for their election or to educate officials as to the nuances of an issue or policy. An NRA lobbyist for instance. People may join an interest group that is powerful in number, the AARP for instance. People may use States Rights to avoid an intrusive Federal action or go to the courts for a remedy against a law or an issue, transgender bathrooms as an example. All of these are linkage institutions designed to influence government. If it can be proven, that money was given to an official who then did something because of that money as a quid pro quo, that is bribery and is illegal. There sometimes is a fine line. Sometimes it is obvious and we have courts, juries, judges, Congressional investigations and lawyers who make the judgement. So, giving a donation to a charity and asking for a meeting in return is completely part of the normal processes of how our government works. It may seem wrong and not pass your smell test, but it is how it works in America and other places as well. It is like the person who attends a fundraiser and gets to meet the official because of the size of the donation. A meeting, is a meeting. Now if it can be proven, that a government official did something specific in terms of policy or law because of the donation, we have a problem. Holding a meeting, means nothing other than responding to the request for influence. The Clinton Foundation has saved the lives of thousands, brought medicine to the worst areas of the world, helped to train people on basic first aid, helped with agricultural knowledge in areas of hunger, prevented aids, assisted in the ebola crisis, helped nations dig out from under an earthquake etc. It has done great work. 80 percent of its money has gone directly to those who need it with administrative costs relatively low. By collecting donations from the wealthiest people and dignitaries from other countries, it has made the world a better place. Those that wish to soil it, diminish it and stop it, are either too hateful or too ignorant to understand how government works. Lastly, most of the meetings in question over the last few days, before the emails are even published, took place when Mrs. Clinton was not Secty. of State. As we will surely come to find out as with every other attempt at the destruction of Hillary Clinton, nothing that violates the spirit of government happened under her watch. Nothing. Secretaries of State do not set foreign policy. The President does. The State department carries out the wishes of the President. Unless you can find an example of a donation, leading to a meeting with the Secretary of State, leading to an altering of foreign policy directly as a result of that meeting, this is all a bunch of pure baloney. The GOP knows it and so too must you. No people, Ignorance is not Bliss. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Words Matter

I can speak with some authority about the 2nd amendment. It has been firmly established and supported by President Obama, that the individual's right to own a gun is protected, not just groups (militias) as the language of the amendment may suggest. It is also factual, that with all the talk about Obama coming for our guns, gun sales during his Presidency have hit record numbers. It is also true, that the NRA is the most effective lobby group in all of America and every elected official in areas of the country where guns are more a part of ones way of life, are beholden to the wishes of the NRA. Nowhere, however, do I ever hear the most liberal or most aggressive supporter of gun control, suggest a repeal of the amendment or taking the rights of gun ownership away. When the Republican nominee for President says that Hillary Clinton will end the 2nd amendment, in keeping with his ignorance, he forgets that there is a process whereby an amendment can be repealed. The bar is high, and even were it true, a President cannot take away your guns. The most he or she could do is lobby for gun control advocates on a court, use executive privilege and speak out. We all see that even as aggressive as this President has been with all these strategies, the checks and balances of government have thwarted his efforts. So we have our guns, and will for a very long time. Having said all of this, it is important to recognize that invoking the second amendment to a group of ignorant citizens who believe anything they are told, would stimulate some to look to their guns to thwart government and to use them in the name of liberty in a violent and most unfortunate way. Even though today, the Republican spin operation is suggesting that Donald Trump was only encouraging 2nd amendment people to vote when he encouraged them to stop Hillary Clinton, it is important to note that in the past, such references have led to a huge and scary misunderstanding. This guy has encouraged hacking by a foreign power, lies about almost anything and yet still survives. In Schenck v US, 1919, it was decided that if your words encourage a "Clear and Present Danger", your first amendment rights are not protected. So it must be in this case. Words matter. Where are you Americans for Reason and Truth?

Sunday, July 31, 2016

A Lowlife

My mother, Lord rest her soul, used the word lowlife to describe certain types of people. The dictionary defines it as "someone who engages in disreputable and often criminal behaviors." With my mom, it was less subtle. A lowlife was the person who had a cart full of groceries while you only had one item, but refused to let you check out first. A lowlife was the person who refused to open the door to the building while your hands were filled because it would mess up their manicure. A lowlife was the parent that didn't discipline their child for being mean, or the bus driver who wouldn't wait an extra second for a senior citizen moving slowly toward the bus stop and a lowlife was the person who deliberately lied to avoid taking responsibility. For my mother, it was easy to define a lowlife. If she were alive today, she would be describing the candidate running for President from the Republican party as a LOWLIFE. The list that she would use is too long, but having grown up in Queens, the Trump name represented shady deals. I am in no position to judge the validity of such reporting then and now but as has been reported, there were lawsuits regarding discrimination against blacks, complaints about violation of tenants' rights and descriptions of sleazy real estate deals, but for those who want details, do some homework. It would also take too much time to list the more modern examples of why he is a lowlife such as mocking the disabled etc. I will let the opposition run ads and try and give America these examples through the rest of the campaign. I think the most recent, {only Friday to be aired on TV today} example, challenging the truthfulness of the Muslim parents who lost their son to war, assigning Hillary with the responsibility for writing the words of his speech, insinuating the mother's silence should be attributed to subservience and Trump offering examples of his personal sacrifices in his life of avoiding and dodging his military responsibilities, as "working hard and creating jobs" both questionable, do your homework, may have reached new lows. Since when is creating jobs a sacrifice? We cannot forget during such tirades of vengeance and hate, that he is best known for "You're Fired". Needless to say, Hillary is not a perfect candidate. As a lawyer, she has learned how to be ambiguous and as a politician she stretches the truth, how unusual is that? As a public servant for 30 plus years, her political enemies have had her onstage to boo and hoot and probe and mock for a very long time, thus successfully creating a narrative of unlikeability. By her own words on Thursday, she has always stressed the service aspect of her work rather than the public, thus being aloof at best and a "bitchy woman" at worst, but she is no lowlife. She has worked for children, the disabled, New York's first and second responders and if you do your homework, you can find out more about her efforts. She is a moderate Democrat, with left of center leanings and so am I, but aspects of character have become so crystal clear this election that there is no other choice no matter your views on Government. True Republicans must realize that it is better to compromise with a moderate Democrat for the good of the country. They must realize that working with someone who is competent and capable and genuinely interested in the job is the better choice. We do not need and cannot afford a Lowlife in Chief. Make my mother proud. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Homework

By every measure of research, students who do their homework, tend to perform better in school. Homework, if given strategically by a teacher, can help to reinforce knowledge, improve research and study skills and help students to explore information and determine its accuracy. As a teacher myself, I do not make it a daily ritual but whenever I give it, it usually is to force students to find information that is accurate, truthful and reinforces the concepts we are learning together in class. Here is some homework. If you do it, you will perform better as a citizen, if you do not do it, as often is the case, you will continue to be less prepared and perform less well than others. I would never say to students "Believe Me" just because I am the teacher and I know myself to be right. I do tell students when they suggest or believe things that are not true, to reconsider their viewpoints by doing some homework. I then proceed to give them valid and credible sources of information to help them perhaps alter their incorrectness. To those who support Donald Trump because you "Believe" him, your homework is to find out what specific plan he has in place to defeat ISIS. So far he has said he will destroy them and we should believe him. He ignores the hundreds of thousands of acres of lost land by them due to current government efforts against the extremists as well as a built coalition of dozens of nations assisting in their destruction, but whatever. The second part of your homework is to find out what Donald Trump's policy for Middle East peace is. So far he has said America will not butt in and that Israel and Palestine will have to work out their own problems. He also conveniently forgets that his love of Russia and Putin demonstrates a complete ignorance on his part related to Israel's security. Russia's history of anti semitism runs deep, to this day. Putin supports the very nations that have vowed the destruction of Israel such as Syria and Iran, but you do some research and find out the truth. Dont believe me. Part three of your homework is to find out what Donald Trump's plan for job creation is. So far he has said we will have so many new jobs, believe him. In fact, the job creation over the last 7 years has reached historic levels and his own company outsources jobs to produce the merchandise he sells. But dont believe me, do the homework. Your fourth and final part of the homework is to find out why Mr. Trump refuses to release his taxes. Now this one will be harder to do. He has said he is being audited and wont release them but the IRS has said an audit is irrelevant to their release. Trump also promised to do so after the audit but now has refused. You should find out the past practice of other candidates as it relates to their taxes and research why he is being allowed a different standard. He said there is nothing in them to be concerned about, believe him, but your homework is to dig a little deeper. On matters of national importance and fitness for office, other than screaming for us to trust and believe him, I have not been able to find any answers to the homework questions I have given to you. Perhaps you will do better than I? Or, dont do the homework. Choose to perform less well as a citizen and join the club of many others whose failure to do the work, left them with a failing grade. Or, just, believe him. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Monday, July 18, 2016

#BoycottClevelandConvention

There are many good Republicans. Decent and caring men and women who debate the size of government, the burdens of taxation, deficit spending, the efficacy of government run programs and fiscal austerity. They care about their fellow man, have no racism or hate in their hearts and love America. These are not the people who are representing themselves in Cleveland this week at the GOP nominating convention. This event will be an all caucasian slugfest of anger, bigotry, symbols of fear and blame. It will be spearheaded by a man whose name I cannot speak. He is a reality TV clown, a liar, and a self absorbed egotist whose sole game is to win at all costs, destroy others and pretend to care about a group when he is in front of them, but never when they are in the background. He has challenged the birthplace of our President, has made fun of the disabled, advertised with symbols of hatred, tells everyone how great he is and how bad America is and the only person he cares about in this world is himself. He shows an absence of knowledge of world affairs and the Constitution that is frightening but he does do one thing well, capture the laziness of a restive electorate that is unwilling to research fact and who listens to bluster and fear mongering. This is a solid 35 percent of America who is so unmovable and so ignorant as to fact, that efforting to change them is a waste of time and energy. Let them be. Let them have their hatefest. It is striking how many decent and caring Republicans will not be in attendance and instead of really saying why, they give the politically acceptable excuses, but two living past Republican Presidents and two living past Republican nominees wont be there. Whereas I disagree vehemently with their ideas on the nation, they are four decent men, men who understand that running for President is serious business and what they see in their party's nominee is a man who is just not up to the job. They are not joining the apologists who pretend the candidate is actually not what we know to be true. They say he will learn, or he will adapt, or that he is going to grow into the job. Folks, this is just not going to happen. To see a man whose life has been to entertain and to be so self absorbed and morally bankrupt, change over four days, is like waiting for the bus that had its route canceled. Don't watch, don't hope for an impossible metamorphosis. Don't be deluded into thinking that this guy is anything other than a despicable, arrogant, misogynistic, dishonest and reprehensible man. Boycott this Convention. It will only make you sadder if you tune it. Just go out and vote either for his opponent, a third party candidate or not at all. This would be the only time I would ever suggest a citizen not exercise such an important civic responsibility but with this guy, not worth your effort. Where are you Americans for Reason and Truth?

Monday, June 20, 2016

Hijacking in the Senate

Hijacking is an act of terror. Today, the NRA hijacked the Republican Senate by stopping bills to control assault weapons, require expanded background checks and to deny guns to terror watch list individuals. This by itself is an act of Domestic Terrorism. It is therefore the responsibility of every one of the 85% who supported these initiatives to turn the Senate Blue in November. Where are you Americans for Reason and Truth?

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Berned

I think it is wonderful having competition in politics and as a teacher of an Advanced Placement Government class, it is refreshing to teach the nomination and elections unit with multiple candidates vying for the ultimate prize. I also teach students about the realities of governance and that to move anything forward in terms of legislation, it requires votes and a signature. It requires invoking cloture when you have an intransigent opposition and ultimately, some form of compromise. I also teach my students that regrettably, America's knowledge of civics, governance and politics is pretty dismal. I often sight my own personal experiences of travelling abroad and meeting students in foreign countries that seem to have greater knowledge of the American system than those within our own borders. With this in mind, it is therefore appropriate to study the Sanders candidacy. It is a candidacy built on a House of Lies. To provide free college tuition and medicare for all, would be estimated to cost in excess of two trillion dollars in additional taxes and without any specifics about taking more from the wealthy or breaking up banks and destroying Wall street, Bernie is light on specifics but full of bluster and anger. Bluster and anger may recruit the ill informed, but it will not get you 218 votes in the House or a filibuster proof majority in the Senate. With the very likely continuation of partisan stubborness no matter who becomes President, what is clear is that Mr. Sanders, a 25 year member of Congress, part of the establishment he claims to loathe, knows that his ideas are folly. He therefore is lying to his supporters and tarnishing the better candidate for President between Clinton and Trump. Don't get Berned. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

So What is it about Donald Trump??

In the last three days, Donald Trump has said the Muslim mayor of London can visit the United States, he would favor an increase in taxes on the rich, he would favor an increase in the minimum wage, that he may not support Speaker Ryan's agenda, that Hillary is responsible for Bill's infidelity, that Bernie Sanders is a great man for calling Hillary unqualified and thats just the last three days. Trump has called for isolationist policies in the Middle East, requiring those countries to fix things themselves, something Obama has pursued as a policy to a large degreee. Dick Cheney faulted Obama for weakness, yet that murderer will support Trump against a very hawkish Hillary. Trump has suggested a balanced approach to the Palestinian Israeli conflict against the soul of Neo Con conservatism and is much weaker on Israel than Hillary. He has suggested that the United States default on its obligations, against the Constitution, because that is how he dealt with his bankrupt casinos. He has not put forth one coherent or consistent policy position on anything except banning Muslims and building a wall, both without a plan to do so. Trump has said he wouldnt issue daily Executive Orders like Obama and yet history will show that Obama has actually used Executive Order privileges fewer times than all of his recent predecessors. So the obvious question should be, with this level of lunacy, "What is it about Donald Trump"? Well folks, thats not the question. The question is or at least should be, "What is it about the American voter"? Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Thinkable Unthinkable

That which was unthinkable has become thinkable. Donald Trump as President of the United States. If this doesnt scare the heck out of you, nothing will. The seriousness required to select a President has since been trashed and dumped into the garbage heeps of reality TV. We gobble that crap up, blame everyone around us for our woes, look to the vacant promises and one liners of a self aggrandized pathological demogogue, and think giving him the keys to the nuclear codes is not dangerous. After all, every great dictator promised somebody something. Instead, the day after Indiana, those trying to save the Republican party from irrelevancy, are actually rallying around this dangerous man. A man with no knowledge of or comprehension of the serious issues facing our world. If the label of your party, means more than your country, then we have truly gone off the deep end. Our only hope, is that party regulars stand up against this folly of a man. They go to the polls and support the sensible choice regardless of the D in front of her name. She can compromise, she understands the dangers of the world, and she is not a left wingnut unable to distinguish unreasonableness from practicality. If you wish to save the nation from a trip to Trump Hell, do what is right. Or else. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Making America Great Again

The lead candidate from the Republican party wishes to make America great again. I thought we were great already. Anyway, this is his plan. Use nukes against terrorists. Go after the families of the terrorists. Bring back torture as a method of interrogation. Condemn one billion Muslims as bad and block them from coming to the freest land on Earth. Build a wall. His competitor wishes to add surveillance and police in Muslim areas, much like Hitler did with the Jewish Ghettos before the Holocaust. Is this a plan for making us great or for becoming a terrorist nation ourself? Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Teaching Truth or Lies?

This is an interesting year teaching an Advanced Placement Government class to American High school students. Just when you think you are telling the truth, your lessons become lies. For instance, the President gets to nominate Justices to the Supreme Court with the advise and consent of the Senate. Pretty simple. But is it? Nowhere does it read in the Constitution that this applies only for 3 of 4 years of a Presidency. The argument about the Justice nomination needing the people to decide has already been accounted for. We voted for President Obama, twice. We picked him to pick Justices. Many Senators controlling the process have chosen to ignore this. These are new rules being written without any truth or precedent. The Supreme Court is considered the non political branch of Government due to lifetime appointments and selections that are made by Presidents regardless of party, whenever there is a need to do so. Now, with our current ridiculousness, this truth is becoming a lie. How about this one..It takes a majority of the Senate and House along with the Presidents signature, for a bill to become a law. Hold on. Not so. You really need 60 Senators to move forward with a vote. The filibuster isnt in the Constitution. Oops, another lie. Immigration reform, infrastructure repair and energy laws would have passed by Constitutional standard, but the never mentioned in the Constitution refusal to allow votes or to require more than a majority is now a new normal. There are many more. It seems as if the hatred of our current President by his enemies in the Republican party seems to have TRUMPED the truth. I may have to change me teaching strategies....or not. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Two things to know

I have been quiet with this blog, waiting for a single vote to be cast before resuming but today I have to remind the USA of 2 things done by the leading candidate for the Republicans. First he retweeted a picture of Bernie Sanders, a Jew, being put into a gas chamber by the Hitleresque candidate. Second, the same candidate boasted that he could shoot someone on 5th avenue and still keep his support. Just sayin. Where are you Americans for Reason and Truth?