Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Time Out. I Have to Move So I Can Vote in Pennsylvania.

First, the bad news.

To win the presidency, a candidate must win 2 of these 3 ''battleground" states,  almost all others being predictable. Here's the polling in those 3 and it ain't good!

Now the good news. I'm moving on Monday to Pennsylvania so I can vote against Donald Trump in November and thereby swing that entire state against Trump! Is that dedication to one's country, or what? Isn't that also considerate of the rest of the world?

Wish me luck in this move. At 80 it is hard. I have done most of the packing myself and made most of the arrangements. If you haven't moved lately, don't.

I'll be off-line for about three weeks. Don't let anything happen in that time! And be good to yourselves and the rest of humankind. Take care of the earth too.

See you in a few weeks, God willing and the crick don't rise, as we used to say in my rural Illinois childhood.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Wharever the Motive in Orlando, The Recurring Gun Massacres Are Largely Ronald Reagan's Fault

As governor of California in 1967-74,  Ronald enthusiastically pushed the closing of California's state mental hospitals. Tens of thousands of deeply disturbed people were sent into "community care homes" which were so inadequate that many of these psychotic people soon were on the streets — homeless, unmedicated, filthy and frightening. The head of the largest chain of the new "community care homes" gave a big fund-raiser for his friend Ronald Reagan.

Some of those turned out of the state asylums became epically violent. One became a serial killer, raping, slaughtering and cannibalizing female students, one after another, at the University of California in Santa Cruz. Six of these deinstitutionalized killers murdered at least 40 people in the years immediately following Reagan's closing of the state mental hospitals. Ronald Reagan's shameful legacy: Violence, the homeless ...  Across the country the toll is now unimaginable from those murderers who should have been hospitalized through the years since Reagan.

Enabling Reagan's insane budget-cutting method of dealing with the insane was a cadre of do-gooder "social workers" who were grievously ill-informed as to the danger the severely psychotic can pose. In the name of civil rights, they cheered on the closings and pushed a law making it virtually impossible to hospitalize the psychotic against their will. That California law, beloved and nurtured by Ronald Reagan, became the immediate model all across the country. Then, as president, he further  encouraged the disastrous closings nationwide.

Both ends of the political spectrum bear some guilt for the fact that crazy people roam our society and can kill fifty in a bar in Orlando, nine Amish girls at their school in Pennsylvania, dozens and dozens of high school and college students all across our country, fourteen fellow workers at an office Christmas party in San Bernardino, nine Sikhs in Illinois, and twenty-six little first graders and their teachers in Connecticut. There were even more.  No matter the immediate motive in the Orlano masacre, the killer was unhinged. Super-violent people are sick.

In announcing the guilty verdict in one of the most horrible of the California murders during Reagan's governorship, the jury foreman said:

"I hold the state executive and state legislative offices as responsible for these ten lives as I do the defendant himself—none of this need ever have happened….In recent years, mental hospitals all over this state have been closed down in an economy move by the Reagan administration. Where do you think these . . . patients went after their release? . . . The closing of our mental hospitals is, in my opinion, insanity itself."

Nothing more profound on the subject has been said since that foreman spoke so courageously over forty years ago. 

Nothing has been so ruthlessly and sadly ignored.

Instead, the death toll from the criminally insane just keeps rising with no attempt to undo the idiocy of our past. I am a devoted champion of civil rights and liberties, even helping secure a significant federal law prohibiting mass detention without due process. Civil rights, however, do not encompass the right to kill.

But that is the right that has been secured by the irresponsible laws of the 1970s that virtually prohibit institutionalizing the insane. Reagan was an enormously stupid man about health care issues, e.g. stonewalling aboiut Aids and also dumping the disabled off Social Security medical benefits. He is responsible for thousands of death in these two categories, plus those slaughtered by the criminally insane he put back on the streets.

Nevertheless, we are far more to blame than he for the victims of the violence because we now know what happens when the mentally ill aren't restricted in some way. We are criminally negligent in not acting as a society to protect our own people.

Added to this criminal negligence on our part is the current shoddy tactic of Donald Trump  in blaming Muslims. This is not only ugly and hateful. It too is criminal because it takes our eyes off the real culprit — our massive failure as a society to deal with psychosis. 

In doing nothing, maybe we are as insane as the psychotic?  

Maybe we are even as stupid as Ronald Reagan?

"People", Churchill said, "get the government they deserve."  

If we want better, we must do better and must demand better.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Hillary Is Too Late For Us Women

Back in 1984 I was awakened by an early morning phone call. A woman friend was excitedly reciting a news bulletin: Geraldine Ferraro had just been picked by the Democratic presidential candidate Walter Mondale to be his running mate. After the call, while I lay there in bed trying to get fully awake, a little bird began to sing in my heart. I hadn't planned on this, hadn't been looking forward to a thrilling moment about a woman candidate. I hadn't even heard of Ferraro or that she was being considered. So it was a startling thrill out of the blue! This was wonderful, 
for me and for all women who minded being women in "a man's world". 

Sadly, in a few weeks the thrill was gone.The media discovered Ferraro hadn't filled out some financial disclosure forms correctly and that her husband allegedly had Mafia ties. The glow went. She began to weigh the ticket down.

Looking back now, how petty those charges seem as stacked against the baggage of Hillary Clinton and Bill, but those charges were enough to negate the great lift Ferraro might have given the ticket. 

This time—for me, anyway—there is no glow to begin with. It's too late. 

In 32 years I have moved way beyond needing a woman on some ticket or as president. America has too. It's not "a man's world" to the extent it was then, though it still tilts somewhat toward men. But we individual women did all the fixing by ourselves. We didn't need role models or heroes doing it. We don't need them now. Hillary is too late, 32 years too late. 

Without her or any women being on the top of some ticket we women took a measure of inspiration from women like Shirley Chisholm, Dolores Huerta, Rose Bird and Rosa Parks. Mainly we took inspiration from our own aspiration. Mostly we moved ahead because we damn well had to. It wasn't about glass ceilings and the other stuff  Hillary babbles about in her $12,495 Armani jacket. It was about feeding our kids, getting medical care, getting a credit card, and getting something as unglamorous as car insurance. Credit cards and car insurance were actually men's prerogatives in the bad old days. "No women need apply!"

If you weren't there you can't know what we  women confronted right through the 1970s.  Please learn. It's important to know what half the human race has been struggling with and to understand and appreciate the great strides women have made without someone doing it for them. As I called it in a column I wrote last year, it's "The Biggest New Story in The History of the World."  It is, of course, an unfinished story, but at least look at its beginnings. You owe us women that much. 

And by the way, a little bird did show up this election year and sat on the podium of Bernie Sanders. That sang in my heart too. A 74-year-old lefty who is adored by the young who will keep the dream alive. This world is indeed getting better!

The Biggest News Story in History

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Bernie's Job Has Just Begun. So Has Yours

Bernie Sanders' loss of the California primary yesterday did not mark the end of his journey. His job has just begun.

It's a two-part job. First, he must help his supporters to do as he has already vowed: prevent Trump from being president. The most compelling reason is the Supreme Court. One seat is now open; two more will be in the near future. I need not explain what a disaster Trump appointments would be for all the reforms Sanders cares about and especially for the environment. Further, regarding the environment, Trump has vowed to dismantle Obama's important steps to reduce global warming. That will kill the planet. I have every expectation that Sanders will keep his word and do all possible to keep Trump out of the White House. That means supporting Hillary Clinton. And we must join him in that effort. Too much is at stake.

Sanders' second job — and of equal importance — is to lead his forces into the reforms he demanded in his campaign. He said we need a revolution of politics, and he is right. Now he has the troops, the visibility, the communications system, and the fund-raising system to make that revolution possible. Further, the on-going news stories about Hillary Clinton's monies from Wall Street and her wheeling-dealing for money as Secretary of State support his call.

I hope Bernie Sanders can see that his real moment has arrived. He must now lift the spirits of his stricken young followers by pointing them again to the real castle on the hill, the real goal of his movement: reform of American politics. That's what he started out for and that's the call that inspired them originally.

They need him now to lift their hearts, especially after the clumsy and "rigged" way that Hillary and her cohorts in power have in some ways stolen this nomination. His troops need to be rallied with a cry of "Never again!" to insure, among other things, that the nomination process is more open and fair and not controlled by the likes of a Democratic National chairwoman who so blatantly rigs the process in favor of her chum.

They need him to lift their spirits and move on to securing the monetary reform of politics where now the rich are buying our government, and to secure economic reform of the system that now allows big banks to squeeze students with a trillion in debt while paying exorbitant "speaking fees" to a Hillary Clinton.

Much is left for the Bernie troops to do.

Will they?

Or are they too young and dispirited to finish the journey?

In large measure that is up to Bernie Sanders. The young take disappointment hard. This is probably the first big knock many of them have had. Now they can have the great adventure of picking themselves up, dusting themselves off, and going on to win the war. Seasoned veterans! Or they can be left to the siren call of the more cynical and pessimistic who enjoy being underdogs and defeatists because it lets them be lazy. They could thus cast themselves as victims instead of warriors.

Come on, Bernie! Call out to those youngsters to lift their eyes to the real future,  the one they can — and must — make.  This is a future we can have no matter who is president. Bernie, you have said that real change begins, not from the top down, but from the ground up. Make them see that they don't need the presidency for their movement to succeed because they have each other by the millions, an excellent communications system, and the right ideas. Make them understand how the Progressive movement of Robert LaFollette and Hiram Johnson totally changed American politics and our economic system in the early 20th century, bringing reforms on a scale as big as the one we now seek. The Progressive Partty never won the presidency but it won America!

Now, Bernie, right now! Do it now before the rust of disappointment freezes them and the voices of defeat sour them. Show them the road now!

And the rest of you — step up to the plate now and start to organize for the longer haul. Meet now to identify your local and state goals. Much work needs to be done. You are the ones who must do it.

"People get the government," Churchill said, "that they deserve."

And the most important phrase in the American lexicon of democracy is "by the people". Indeed there will be no government "of the people" or "for the people" unless there is government by the people.

So go to it!  Warriors, not victims! And I promise you the Force will indeed go with you. Because in American politics you are the Force!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Hillary, An "Abominable No Man", and A Question of Character , Part 3 of Clinton's End

Hillary is tone blind.  CNBC has just now reported her wearing a $12,495 Armani jacket during a speech about income inequality. http://www.cnbc.com/2016/06/06/hillary-clinton-wore-an-armani-jacket-during-a-speech-about-inequality.html  (See the ugly Armani coat in the photo at the end of this posting.)

But for us to really decide about Hillary, we have to consider a vicuna coat. And we have to consider that a vicuna coat has a price much higher than an Armani.

You're supposed to say, "Okay, what's the price of a vicuna coat?"

The answer is: the second most powerful position in Washington D.C.

Back in Eisenhower's presidency his chief of staff and right-hand man, Sherman Adams, controlled access to Ike. Because of his ruthless refusal to let Congressional leaders and others see the president, Adams was called "the abominable no man".  Then this powerful man slipped up. He accepted a vicuna coat and some other gifts from a friend who was having trouble with a federal agency. Next,  Adams made some calls to the agency on his friend's behalf. The story leaked, and the second most powerful man in Washingon was out on his keister. Goodby, Sherman! Here's your coat and what's your hurry!

No proof was offered that he had knowingly and wittingly broken any federal laws. There was no proof of any quid pro quo agreement. No proof was even demanded.

It was enough that his actions had the appearance of impropriety. As my sainted Irish politico mother used to say, "The appearance of propriety is as important as propriety itself."

That's still true. So why isn't Hillary Clinton being held to this standard? If it has been applied to the second most important position in Washington, surely it applies to the most powerful position in the world. Yet Hillary Clinton is consistently being judged by the wrong standard. Unlike Sherman Adams, she's getting off scott free and for misdeeds far more serious than what Adams did. Instead of a vicuna coat Hillary Clinton, hand in glove with husband Bill, has taken huge contributions from businessmen and foreign governments that were conducting business with the State Department when she was Secretary of State. Hillary's Emails as Cover-up for Pay-to-Play. Part 2 of Clinton's End. She even signed off as Secretary of State on Russia's acquiring 20% of America's uranium, as reported in the New York Times. Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation Amid Russian Uranium Deal ...

By comparison with Hillary, Sherman Adams was a cheap date, his vicuna coat being a nothing compared to the many millions of dollars poured into the Clinton Foundation and the milllions handed to Bill as "speaking fees". On top of this, Hillary ignored federal law when Secretary and used a private server to handle all her emails so that her financial shenanigans would be beyond the reach of disclosure. This second layer of misconduct put our nation's secrets at risk, something Sherman Adams never approached doing. She compounded greed and impropriety with virtual treason.

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's a duck! She looks and sounds like a duck to me.

In Ike's day looking like a wrong 'un was enough to get you canned. We expected people in high office to act properly, to behave themselves, to appear honest as well as be honest. This was still true even in the deplorable Nixon era. Remember please that Nixon resigned the presidency before he was impeached and even before any impeachment went to trial. What he had done looked so bad that even he realized post facto that he hadn't saved himself by going on TV and vowing, "I am not a crook!" The issue of being a crook should never even have come up, and he knew it. He knew his reputation, stature and presidency were done for.

Hillary Clinton saw the Nixon saga first-hand. She was on-site as a young attorney working for the House committee that was preparing the impeachment. But all she seemingly learned was that if you do something wrong it isn't enough to stonewall about the evidence as Nixon tried with the tape recordings that included a smoking gun. The Supreme Court ordered those tapes be handed over to a prosecutor, and thus the smoking gun was revealed.  From observing Watergate Hillary didn't learn to keep her nose clean; she learned to erase evidence. No smoking guns were going to be left lying around in Hillary's life. When she left the Secretary of State job, she erased 32,000 of her emails, claiming—on no evidence but her own statement— that these were all private emails, mainly about her daughter's wedding and her mother's funeral.

Such a wedding! Such a funeral! 32,000 emails worth of wedding and funeral arrangements! Yikes!

We don't have to prove the elements of a crime in order to conclude as a nation—and as a political party and in the media—that Hillary Clinton is unfit to be president of the United States of America. Inappropriately, the media and Hillary's spokespeople keep arguing there is not enough evidence of the "knowing and willful" elements that a criminal conviction requires. Baloney! She isn't being tried in a court of criminal law. There's no need for a court of criminal law. We have never had to wait for a criminal conviction to determine that someone is unfit to lead us as president or serve as a presidential aide.

She must be tried in the court of public opinion, held to account just like Sherman Adams, and—knowing what we now know—be deemed unsuitable for high position and our trust.

The following excerpt by Phillip Jennings in USA Today says it well. Now an author and commentator, Jennings was a Marine pilot in Vietnam and here has written about a young officer who did the honorable thing, owning up to a minor infraction of security rules even though he knew the disclosure could ruin his career. And it did. Jenning writes:

"Clinton is the antithesis of that young captain, [she is] someone with no honor, little courage and commitment only to her endless ambition. This has nothing to do with gender, party affiliation, ideology or policy. It is a question of character.....What we already know about her security infractions should disqualify her for any government position that deals in information critical to mission success, domestic or foreign. But beyond that, her responses to being found out — dismissing its importanceclaiming ignoranceblaming others — indict her beyond anything the investigation can reveal. Those elements reveal her character. And the saddest thing is that so many in America seem not to care."

But we do care. 

And we care about whether she is too stupid to be president. Is she stupid?  Yes! Because she never believes she'll get caught. She and Bill never believe that. And they thoroughly believe that, if caught, they can lie their way out of anything. Boston Herald editorial: Hillary Clinton's Endless Lies

They probably can't lie their way out this time. "Clinton Cash", a well-reviewed movie documenting her as being on-the-take, opens in major cities in July right at the time of the Democratic convention in Philadelphia. And of course Philly is one of the major cities with a scheduled showing.

Clearly it won't be just Bernie Sanders' folks making rumblings in Philadelphia at the Democratic convention. I'll bet a fair number of delegates will ask each other, "You want to go see a movie?"

That should produce a rumbling that's a roar!

For $12,495, Hillary got snookered. It's an awful coat! It hangs badly, has dreadful colors and a dumb neckline, is wrinkled, and makes her look like a bag lady who just got something cheap off the rack at Goodwill.  For all her millions, it's still poor Hillary.