Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Breaking: This just in from the Russian Bear

These are FACTS about the Russia-Trump Scandal

1)   The FBI is investigating Trump-Russian ties

2)   Russia released hacked info with the purpose of helping Trump win the election

3)   Trump successfully lobbied the GOP platform to exclude condemnation of the Russian invasion of the Ukraine

4)    Trump has consistently praised Putin, defended Russia during the campaign about accusations of hacking and even denied that Russia had invaded the Ukraine

5)    Trump has consistently criticized NATO and has threatened to defund it

6)   Trump advisor Carter Page was given permission by the campaign to travel to Moscow in the summer of 2016 to give a pro-Russian speech. Page has high level ties to the Russian oil & gas industry

7)    Michael Flynn special national security advisor with top security clearance to Trump lied about his contacts with Russian agent/ambassador Kislayek and was on the payroll of Rusian propaganda outlet RT

8)   Senator Sessions advisor to candidate Trump lied about his contacts with Russian agent/Ambassador Kislayak

9)   Paul Mantefort Trump campaign manager lied about his business interests with ousted pro-Russian Ukrainian leader Yanukovych a               close friend of Putin. He received $750,000 from Yanukovich disguised as payments for computers.

10) Rex Tillerson Trump’s Secretary of State has close business ties to  Russia and was awarded their Medal of Freedom

11) Roger Stone, long time Trump confidant tweeted about the dump of Russian hacked info on Wiki Leaks before it occurred and bragged about communicating with Assange during the campaign. He also communicated with Russian agent/hacker Guccifer2

12)Cabinet Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has $Billion investments with Russian oligarchs close to Putin and has a huge investment in the Bank of Cyprus which is notorious for laundering Russian money

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Real Fergus or Life After Death

Fergus was a man not
Many men mentioned
Alive was he
For a spotted spell
Winding his curses
Behind cemetery lots
 All Filled with
Wasted wanderers
Left empty beside the road

 From the moment they departed
They climbed through the portal
Not worried or rushed any longer
But Alive in movement
The same as before
But different now
Larger more secure
Welcomed in warmth
They were watched as
Favored actors
In a favored play
On the lighted stage
So smoothly
Like large swans
Across the lake
Wings folded close
Riding a current
No one could see

Friday, August 29, 2014

#UniteBlue Pressing On

#UniteBlue is a web site and a Twitter colony of likeminded users but more importantly it is a political and social revolution. Collectively, through multiple generations, we have changed the social landscape of the U.S. and greater progress is on the horizon. Today, there are seven main issues that galvanize us into a powerful force of progress:

1) Affordable health care for all

2) Raising the minimum wage

3) Ecological sustainability

4) Marriage Equality

5) Equal pay for women

6) Immigration Reform

7) Protecting the social safety net of Social Security, Medicare, Food Stamps and Unemployment Insurance

Of course there are many other issues that we have in common but for the sake of a coherent message that we can all rally around let us focus on these seven.

The Affordable Care Act more widely known as “ObamaCare” is the most progressive piece of legislation since Medicare rescued Seniors from poverty in the 1960’s. Before the passage of the ACA a Harvard study showed that over 45,000 Americans died every year because of a lack of health insurance. Today over 12 million Americans have coverage because of this law. Children 26 and younger can stay on their parent’s policies and insurers can no longer deny coverage because of a preexisting condition or because a clerical error was made on an application. A sliding scale has been instituted making health insurance to many previously uncovered. The law is not perfect but it is a wonderful first step in opening access to health care to everyone regardless of income.

Boosting the minimum wage would increase the pay of 16 million Americans and lift 900,000 of them above the poverty line. This doesn't just aid teens in designing a new tat as the rightwing is fond of proclaiming. Working single mothers would be helped the most by raising the wage. The 1968 minimum wage is worth about $9.40 in today’s dollars. That means that minimum wage workers are today making 23% less than they did 46 years ago. If we want to build an America that offers opportunity to all guaranteeing a living wage for everyone must be a priority.

Many Republican presidential candidates love to call for the elimination of the EPA while loudly proclaiming that Climate Change is a hoax. Quoting the Bible to refute the findings of 97% of the world’s scientists would be laughable if the consequences weren’t so dire. A recent  bi-partisan report, entitled "Risky Business" was co-chaired by Henry Paulson, GW Bush’s Treasury Secretary. It declares that, “extensive property damage, severe flooding and serious disruptions to American agriculture” will all occur because of Global Warming during this century. There is still time to act but only if we make it a national priority.

Of all of the natural rights we possess none is more personal or fundamental to the pursuit of happiness than is the right to marry whom we choose. The farce that “small government conservatives” feel that they have the authority to pick our mates for us is the most ludicrous contortion of the word “values”. If you feel that your religious beliefs don’t allow you to marry someone of the same sex by all means pursue someone of the opposite sex but you have no right to bar others from that same freedom. Hopefully, prohibiting the marriage of same sex pairs will soon appear as silly as former prohibitions of mixed race marriages.

Twenty five countries in the world guarantee equal pay for equal work but the United States is not one of them. Many countries such as Hungary and Slovakia incorporate protections for women into their Constitutions. The President has done his part by signing an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay men and women equally but women still earn 23% less for their labor than men. In many states a woman can actually be fired for asking their male counterparts how much money they make. Of course, this discrimination is especially hard on single mothers and effects the retirement income for retired women. This past year Republicans in the Senate once again blocked the chamber from even taking a vote on the measure. Equal pay for equal work is another common sense guarantee for fairness, supported by the majority of Americans but it is consistently blocked by the minority Party.

More than a year ago the Senate by a 2/3 majority passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill and sent it to the House. Even though the bill would have added 20,000 new border guards and saved the country $900 billion dollars over the next 20 years the Republican House has refused to allow a vote on the bill. A tough 13 year path to citizenship was included in the provision and it was supported by such pro-business organizations as the Chamber of Commerce. Special visas were allowed for much needed high tech and low tech agricultural workers. The fact is that immigrants help the economy by providing labor, purchasing goods and paying taxes. We are a nation built on generations of immigrants coming to our shores seeking a better life for their families. Providing a pathway to citizenship for these millions is not only in our best interest, it is the right thing to do.

Programs like Social Security, Medicare, Unemployment Insurance and Food Stamps are vital programs that have been safeguarding the most vulnerable among us for decades. They were all championed and put into law by Democrat administrations. Ronald Reagan campaigned across the country to stop Medicare but LBJ signed it into law in 1965. The other programs were instituted by FDR over Republican objections. As enmeshed as these programs have become in our personal financial planning (Do any of you really want to buy private health insurance for your octogenarian parents? ) they are constantly under attack by Right Wing Republicans. Paul Ryan’s infamous budgets offer cuts to all these programs. We must stay organized to resist the forces that would destroy these societal safeguards that took so many generations to achieve.

Millions of individuals have spent countless hours developing these laws and programs, fostering an American sense of fairness and equality. It has been a long and arduous struggle on so many fronts. We have won many victories and many more are within our grasp. Let’s keep pressing on--- #UniteBlue

Link: Unite Blue

Friday, July 18, 2014

Our Haunted History of Refusing Refugees

In May 1939 the German ship St. Louis left Hamburg with 938 passengers. Almost all of them were Jews fleeing the Third Reich. They sailed for Havanna but only a handful found asylum there after local Right Wingers lobbied against their admittance. Being denied in Cuba they turned their hope to the United States. Desperate cables were sent to President Roosevelt urging him to issue an executive order that would have allowed their migration to the United States. However, FDR was concerned about winning a 3rd term and 83% of the American population opposed relaxing immigration quotas. Although numerous stories were filed in the American press, Roosevelt ignored their frenzied cries for protection. Earlier that year a bipartisan group in Congress, recognizing the virulent anti-Semitism manifesting in Germany, sought to create special status for Jews fleeing Hitler. The bill died in committee.

Because America would not open it's doors to these refugees the ship was forced to return to Europe. The Jews were resettled in England, Holland, France and Belgium. As the Nazis overran the continent the Gestapo hunted the 532 former St. Louis passengers who now lived there. They managed to torture and murder 254 of them.

Today, Thousands of children are fleeing Central America in fear for their lives. Dangerous narco gangs control schools and entire villages threatening children to join or die. I personally talked to a family last year who were taking in their nephew from Honduras. He made the treacherous trip to the U.S. after a narco gang had killed his teenage brother when he refused to join them. Sonia Nazario wrote this excellent piece in the New York Times describing the chaos in these countries:

This is not a question about aiding illegals. It is a moral question about protecting the most vulnerable among us. Truly, if we can't agree to aid these defenseless children what good are we as a nation?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ending Abortion Politics

Stump your frinds with this bit of trivia. When Roe V. Wade was decided in 1973 by a 7-2 vote, the Supreme Court consisted of 6 Republicans and 3 Democrats. Five Republicans (Burger, Blackmun, Brennan, Stewart ,Powell) and two Democrats (Marshall, Douglas) agreed with the decision. One Republican (Rehnquist) and one Democrat (White) dissented.

Since 1973, Republicans have held a majority on the Supreme Court. For three terms 1991,1992,1993 they had a 7/2 majority (Scalia, Blackmun, Souter, Thomas, O'Connor, Kennedy, Rehnquist) and yet they never tried to overturn Roe V. Wade. So why are millions of dollars raised every presidential election for the Republican candidate from anti-abortion groups with the sole purpose of overturning Roe V. Wade?

Add to this the fact that overturning Roe V. Wade would not make abortions illegal, it would simply throw the issue back to the states. This would mean that after over 30 years of fighting over this issue what we're arguing about is adding a $200 bus ticket on to the price of an abortion because states such as California, New York and Illinois show no signs of wanting to make abortions illegal.

I propose an alternative to this senseless political wrangling. Since both sides understand the negative consequences of having an abortion, why not work together to have less of them. Easy and free access to condoms for teens is one simple solution we should all be able to support. Likewise, since the pressure to have an abortion is often exacerbated by poverty, passing legislation for a living wage could help reduce the practice. I'm sure there are dozens of good ideas out there if we could focus our energies on achievable results instead of the quadrennial dead horse beating contest.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Pictorial Essay on Love

I use to see couples

and I'd say, "Awwwwwwwwwwwwww"

Then It was my turnand I said, "sweet"

But when my turn was over

I was

Until I remembered that the Source of

is actually always

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Talking to Myself Again

Love is not our property. We can summon romantic love by our openness to it but we can’t direct to whom it will attach. The given receptors and transmitters of our hearts have only a finite number of individuals to whom they are fitted for interchange. Just because we have desires to love and be loved does not mean we can pick out anyone in the stream and make the magic happen even if they check all the appropriate boxes on our profile sheet. Nor can we revisit the past and recreate a flow whose time has passed. The Source of Love knows the available fits and both the byways by which to access them and the right timings for when to do so. Trying to manage or control that dynamic only leads to frustration. We are doing our small part by simply being open to the experience.

Finding that match is the work of the universal consciousness which is the Source from which Love flows. This is no chance endeavor since ultimately all of our deep personal experiences come in the service of our own development. To this project the Universe lends us all of its resources. We are predestined to grow and our experiences in romantic love are a rich means for that growth.

Simply put---RELAX---BE OPEN---TRUST. The Universe will provide all that we need at the moment most beneficial for us to receive it.

Now let me get back to trying to follow my own advice.

Sung better than I could ever say it: