Wednesday, November 22, 2017

JFK. I Remember . . . a reprise

Today is not a day to celebrate but to remember.  

I was very young and very idealistic.  But I have never been more in tune with or involved in government and what it was doing than those days of the Kennedy administration.  My generation believed that government could work back then; we believed in the Constitution, in equal rights, in the freedom of the press.  

We were warriors, we were involved; we were activists, we lived fervently, rebelled ostentatiously and loved freely; we fought back; we became consequential.  We did not "go along."   

We had a leader who inspired.

Kennedy's legacy through the years has been laced with a kind of blandness as though aside from his youth, his wit and charisma, his attractive young family, he really accomplished very little. This was blatantly wrong.

Now, however, appreciation of Kennedy's accomplishments grows with each passing year. And it should.  True, he allowed Khrushchev to get the upper hand (at first). Also true, that the Berlin Wall went up during his tenure. Indeed, he resided over the Bay of Pigs fiasco and we're all aware of his "indiscretions." But I believe today, that had that young president lived, he might have been one of our greatest leaders. Remember, he had only a thousand days in which to accomplish his agenda.
As for his accomplishments, take note: the Peace Corps, the Alliance for Progress, Civil Rights legislation, the Space Program and the introduction of the Green Berets. His major accomplishment, however, was a tight and tense little psychological drama between the USA and the USSR known as The Cuban Missile Crisis, which, without the successful maneuvering of the Kennedys, might have left the world in a state of nuclear disaster.

I guess his potential greatness will never be known which is what happens when someone takes you out before your time. But I think when all is said and done, his star will ultimately shine as one of the brightest.  

I remember and I am grateful to have learned my political abc's under your leadership. You never blamed others for your mistakes -- you took your lumps with calm and grace. You spoke decisively but with care for the feelings of your listeners, with admiration for those in the Press who covered you, with respect for those who opposed you and with dignity that matched the office you once held. 

You made us dream.

I miss you, JFK.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

"Being President doesn't change who you are, it reveals who you are." Michelle Obama

This is the President of my country: 

Someone who has led a life that began with power and money, who has learned he can buy his way to anything; someone who is lazy and lacks intellectual curiosity; someone with no sense of history, who has an untrained mind and who either cannot or will not read crucial briefings but instead must be mollified on a daily basis with adulation. 

Someone who (research reveals) has a history of corruption and money laundering with foreign partners, who admires autocratic and dictatorial regimes, who supports white supremacy and neo-nazism. This man has no respect for our system of "checks and balances," for the Press or for established norms of decency.  This man thinks he is king!  

This man who has become president of our country is embarrassing us in the eyes of the world with every stupid tweet and every garbled and inarticulate utterance. 

This is someone who moves within his world of privilege without contributing anything to it. He is a taker but he gives nothing back.  

This is a man who is unfit, both morally and intellectually. 

He should be removed from office!  

Speaker Ryan, are you listening? 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

When Will These Two Men Act?

Image result for sue mcghee these two men hold our futures
 Senator McConnell and Speaker Ryan.
You are there to represent US.  When will you begin to do that? 

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Complexities of the English Language -- a reprise.

With the undaunted and continuous reporting on every aspect of our world today, both political and personal -- as a result of the "twenty-four-hour-news-cycle," certain phrases appear again and again in our Media ad nauseum.  It isn't just the talking heads who commit the sin of "pundit drivel."  It's the supposed experts of all fields whom the pundits interview.
We are being proselytized on a daily basis to thinking in terms of the clichéd cliché.

Here are few that have come to make me cringe:  

“. . .having said that...”

“. . .that being said. . .”

“. . .at the end of the day. . .”

“. . .we’ll get to that on the other side. . .” (of the commercial break).

“. . .he allegedly. . .” (did something like cross the street).  

". . .whatever. . ."

". . . it is what it is . . ."  

“. . .what were (are) your feelings. . .?” (asked of someone who can hardly speak because of being choked up with tears after a tragedy in their lives).

". . .sorry for your loss  . . ."

". . .what was going through your mind . . .? (when the gunman shoved the gun in your face). 

“. . . be that as it may. . .”

“. . . so . . . “  (a word currently used to preface the answer to a question – Mike Morell should know better!)

“. . . like . . . “  (Oh, please, let’s get rid of this word used to begin a sentence or to fill a pause.  Like, I'd be over-joyed!)  

“. . . I know what the optics are. . .” The White House Staff uses “optics” a lot.  How about something like, “. . . I know how this appears. . .”

Appearances do matter and so do words.

My latest peeve, however, is the use of “complex” when the speaker means “complicated.”  Yes, the dictionary makes it sound like they are interchangeable.  However, there is a subtle difference in the connotation of the words.  In the case of the word “complex” the connotation is and has always been one of the following: containing multiple interconnected parts; a composite; multi-faceted; a complex system of something.  

"Complicated," on the other hand, is not that complicated -- it connotes difficult to understand, analyze, explain or follow.

Am I the only one who gets rankled with the sloppy use of "I" and "me," "he" and "him" as well as "she" and "her?"  One should give it to "me;" therefore, one should also give it to "him and me" or "her and me."  Please don't let one give it to "her and I," since one would never give it to "I," would they?   I guess it's just me!  

Next up:  my rant on Pharmaceutical commercials.  I’ll bet you can’t wait! 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

“. . . the slow undoing of human rights. . .” Part II (JFK Inaugural Address 1961)

This week marks a new low – even for Trump.

May we recap the last four months or so?
          Since Trump took office, he has:
          Reduced crucial cabinet departments to bare bones and appointed obvious sycophants and liars to head those departments.  (eg; Michael Flynn as Nat’l Security Adviser even though red flags were waving from every direction.) We can add Jeff Sessions, Sean Spicer, Kelly Ann Conway, Reince Priebus, and now, unfortunately -- H. R. McMaster.  
          Fired Sally Yates January 30 (ostensibly for disagreeing with the President’s Immigration Order, but really to shut her up for information regarding Michael Flynn).
          Fired Preet Bhahra (along with 40+ U.S. Attorneys) a member of Justice who was doing an investigation of Trump’s labyrinthine financial conflicts of interest.  
          Dismissed our Press as purveyors of “Fake News,” as "the enemy of the people" and the Courts as “so-called Judges.”    

Discontinued the White House Visitor Log (effectively hiding from the People any controversial visitors’ presence and reasons for being there).

Discontinued press reviews following important phone calls or visits with foreign dignitaries to three or four word statements.

Threatened to discontinue White House Press briefings because of the criticism of White House spokesmen.    

Deftly shifted attention from major (unflattering) news items with other (juicy) news items in an attempt to create media distraction.   

Appointed Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, neither of whom have credentials other than being family members, to Special Councel to the President.

Weekend trips to Mar-A-Lago costing the taxpayer millions of dollars.

Personal business trips by Sons and Ivanka including Secret Service paid for by taxpayers.

Fired James Comey, the one who heads up an investigation by the FBI into Trump’s possible collusion with Russia.  (The audacity of this act is almost laughable if not so serious.) 

Demeaned the FBI director (a 30 year veteran of government service) by calling him a “showboat” and a “grandstander.”   

Today, we must add the news story from the Washington Post yesterday about our president’s casual disclosure of classified information to his Russian visitors in the White House (this is one day after Director Comey’s firing) after having barred the American media from attending but graciously allowing the official Russian press (RT)  into the Oval Office.

         Some tremendously generous commentators and supporters like to say that the president is simply on a learning curve and is to be forgiven.  I would say, that my 10 year old granddaughter would have known better than to divulge that information.  Some say Trump is slightly deranged with early symptoms of senility; others think he is just dumb.  

          I think he’s led a life that began with power and money, has learned he can get his way, is lazy, fat, lacks curiosity, has no historical perspective, has an untrained mind and cannot or will not read crucial briefings.  He moves within his world of privilege without contributing.   

          He’s a taker and will take more from us than he is capable of ever giving back.  
          Because our forefathers were astute enough to understand the dark side of human nature, they’ve provided us with a system of government that requires checks on the presidency -- Congress, the Courts and the Press.

Under Paul Ryan as Speaker of the House, and Mitch McConnell as Senate Majority Leader, the Congress has abrogated its duty and they, as leaders, should be removed. One is not surprised at McConnell, whose partisanship within the Senate is well-known.  Ryan might have been a statesman at one time, yet today, he’s become a lap dog to the President and his minions.

Fareed Zakaria GPS, Sunday morning on CNN discussed the situation – this was before the WAPO exclusive Monday afternoon.

      "So far, it appears that the Republican Party is losing any resemblance to a traditional Western      political party, instead, simply turning into something more commonly found in the developing world, a platform to support the ego, appetites and interests of one man and his family."
            I agree. However, we still have the Courts and the Press – and they are doing their jobs.

But it’s going to be up to us – the citizenry; WE are now the ones in charge and we must remind Trump’s enablers that they owe their jobs to us – not him. We, the voters, can fire them unless they immediately begin the process of forming an independent committee (outside of the Congress) that will not replace the on-going investigative congressional committees, but will instead supplement their findings. 

Without the cooperation of the Congress, we, as voters, have no choice but to take back OUR house. Think 2018.       

Friday, March 24, 2017

". . .the slow undoing of human rights. . ." (JFK Inaugural -1961)


In slightly more than two months, our nation has been turned upside down by the inauguration of Donald Trump as president. Many of my friends and some family members told me back in October that Trump would be good for us.  A composite paraphrase would have sounded something like, “We’ve become complacent; we need a little shaking up. Trump is the guy to get us moving in the right direction; he’ll get rid of the bureaucrats, and ‘drain the swamp.’”   

Sadly, today, what we’re thinking is “Oh, my God, how they lie,” and what we’re feeling is incredulity . . . and fear.  He has not drained the swamp, I fear he’s filled it with billionaires whose immediate instinct is:  “what’s in it for me?”

Our congress is like a limp dish rag being flopped in the face of its constituents. Our congress people – many of them -- no longer work for the people; they care only about keeping their jobs, their life-time pensions, physical security and health care.  They don’t answer to anyone but “the Party.”  Shouldn’t our decision making processes be ruled by conscience first, then country and then party?   Apparently not today.

Today, we are faced with a president who has so many conflicts of interest, that any one of them should have been enough to disqualify him from running, much less taking office.  Why does he get by with it?  Why, because of the Congress who wants to keep him in office in order to advance their “agenda.”  

He’s flatly refused to produce his tax returns which could enlighten us as to possible illegal gains and unlawful deals.  Perhaps there is nothing illegal or nothing to hide.  But we should demand to know and should have known before the election. 

We, the tax-payers, pay for his frequent weekend stays at Mar-a-Lago. We, the tax-payers also pay for travel and security for his children’s business trips across the world.  They are spending this weekend in Aspen, along with an entourage of one-hundred or more security details and secret service people.  How nice for them. 

I repeat! We pay for it.   

Secretary Tillerson does not feel the need for the Press to accompany him on his trips abroad. He can live without the Press, he says. But can we?  

We know our election has been manipulated by a foreign power with more and more evidence indicating that it wasn't just Clinton they undermined but other challengers to Trump. If the president is complicit in this, he is a traitor.

Speaker Ryan has proven to be a spineless enabler – not just with the president, but with the congressman who recently revealed himself as incapable of non-partisanship by revealing sensitive information to the president who is under investigation by the very committee he chairs.  I speak, of course, of Congressman Devin Nunes, who has disgraced himself and has no choice but to resign. In addition, he’s cancelled a scheduled meeting on Tuesday with crucial witnesses who may have crucial evidence.  Why?  Could it be to cover for the president?

A special non-partisan committee MUST be appointed by someone other than the Speaker of the House to investigate this president, his campaign, his white house and perhaps beyond.  It must come from outside our Congress because, unfortunately, our Congress is complicit in the reign of what I believe may be an illegitimate president.

Someone has to say it!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Autocracy is on the Horizon

We have elected an authoritarian, a liar, a womanizer, a tax evader, a sly manipulator, a con artist and a dishonest business man who obviously would like to be rid of the Press.

We live in a dangerous world full of eager and power-hungry leaders. We all know about Putin, of course, and his encroachment into Ukraine, but look at Assad of Syria, a butcher of his own people and publicly supported by Putin. Erdogan of Turkey, who promised to be a beacon of democracy in the Middle East is now cracking-down on the media, the intelligentsia, and throwing dissidents into jail, helter-skelter.

Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel is craftily leading the Israeli people into an apartheid, by boldly allowing settlements to continue; recently he gave his blessing to allow 2500 new “outposts” in the West Bank and 566 settlements in East Jerusalem. All this activity is in response to a Trump presidency and perhaps to deflect attention from a series of recent interrogations by the police into allegations of bribery and graft. Will the settlements begin before he is asked to resign?

Conflicts of interest abound, accusations that he and his wife received expensive gifts and travel from businessmen whose purpose was to influence his decision making.  And, Sara, apparently likes pink Champagne – a lot.   

The cases against Netanyahu are numerous:  one of the charges of bribery results from two recorded phone conversations between him and the editor of one of the most respected newspaper in Israel – the Yediot Ahronot .  

According to an article by Ruth Margalit in The New Yorker, January 13, Mr. Mozes is  heard saying:    
          “I will do everything I can to keep you around for as long as you want.”

Apparently a deal was never agreed upon however, and Mozes continued hitting Netanyahu hard all during the campaign leading up to the election.  And as recently as last month, a headline in the Yediot Ahronot read, “Netanyahu Leads to Disaster.”

Nevertheless, it is obvious Netanyahu attempted to illegally entrap a rival and threaten him: According to the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, Netanyahu was heard saying, 

“If you rake me over the coals before the election, I’ll deal with you.”   This is the prime minister of Israel threatening a representative of the free media in Israel. 

President Trump has only been in office for four days.  Already, he is excoriating our media from his podium and instructing his press secretary to mindlessly do the same.   If he is criticized, he will attack. If his ego is threatened, he will whine as he did in front of the CIA’s wall of honor. He is a disgrace to our country.   

And today: a media blackout was imposed upon the EPA and other federal agencies.  
The VOA (Voice of America) formerly broadcast to citizens outside the U.S. and an unbiased source of news, is now being managed by Trump’s pick for a CEO.  

As Israel Hayom is the voice of the Prime Minister of Israel, so are Breitbart News and Sean Hannity of FOX news, the voices of Trump’s nascent autocracy.

Dark clouds have already begun to obscure the sunshine.   

Monday, January 2, 2017

Don't Cancel Pure Genius!

I loved this show.

I am so sick of the blood letting, the car chases, lovers flopping into bed after banging against walls and tearing their clothes off -- ugh -- the utter disdain for originality AND the constant use of the F-Bomb! This little show is something different with fresh ideas and fresh faces.  It is hopeful and inspiring. The writing could improve, but the over-all concept is hope.  Whether the fictionalized cures could be realistic some day or not, I wouldn't know. Some say yes and some say no.

Nevertheless, we need more shows on Broadcast TV that our children can watch. And this is one with a theme of goodness, generosity and beneficence, rather than greed, arrogance and utter lack of morality,

Israel's Apartheid

I am an American woman and U.S. citizen – a staunch supporter of Israel. 

I’ve admired the Israeli people for years -- long after I got over my teenage infatuation with Ari ben Canaan (Exodus, 1958).  I fervently believed in the courage and fearlessness of the Haganah (now, the IDF), the inherent romantic ideal of the Sabra and the immensely sensible structure of the Kibbutzim.  

The Israeli people brought forth a veritable garden from the dry and rocky Negev Desert. They elected the miraculously astute Golda Meir as their Prime Minister long before most countries would take their women seriously as political leaders. And, they allowed their women to fight!  This is a country to be proud of, I remember thinking – they were resourceful, brainy and courageous.

But then, they elected Benjamin Netanyahu as their Prime Minister and I began to doubt. Netanyahu appears to have no desire for the peace process.  I believe he descends from an innate hatred of the Arabs and thinks the only thing they understand is force; to wit, the long-standing wars and the continued illegal settlements or “outposts” on Palestinian land.  

He is taking the two state solution down the tubes and his answer to Kerry’s reasoned speech on December 28, expressing sentiments that most of us agree with, is to have a temper tantrum and behave like a child.

Of whom does he remind me?   

With doubts about the myriad financial conflicts with our own president elect, we now hear that Prime Minister Netanyahu may himself have been involved in inappropriate financial dealings – graft – which is currently being reported in Israeli newspapers.

He is not satisfied with the newly published newspaper owned by Sheldon Adelson blaring support for him and given away for free seven days a week; he is said to have been recorded in an attempt to “negotiate” with the editor of Adelson’s major competitor to be less critical of his administration.  

It is a sad thing to see this brave and exceptional country with a history of brainy and gutsy leaders, languish in the devious grasp of this pompous prima donna.  I have come to despise his muscle-flexing and his interminable fear-mongering over Iran, his lack of respect for our current president Obama and his underhanded attempts to influence our president-elect.

Bradley Burston, an English language journalist for Ha’aretz says of Netanyahu, “. . . he has poisoned his country. Israel is broken and battered and weak with fear . . . His legacy is decay."
Not only that, but in 2015, this same respected newsman wrote that the Israeli policy now amounts to apartheid, stating: "I used to be one of those people who took issue with the label of apartheid as applied to Israel. . .Not anymore . . . Our Israel is what it has become: Apartheid."

Apartheid!  And blatant apartheid supported by the Likud government and many readers of Adelson’s free Israel Hayom.  

We Americans will never be far from our greatest ally – Israel.  However, Benjamin Netanyahu and his extreme right-wing government are a plague to our long-standing positive relationship. I sincerely hope that he is forced to resign as it would not only be a blessing for Israel, but for the U. S. as well.    

May God bless both countries today, the second day of this new year and beyond. May we remain watchful that our Democracies do not descend into autocracies, led by spoiled and pampered demagogues, whose own self-interest is their number one goal.