TRUMP, MAD AS HELL—DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION WON’T BE ABOUT HIM!

Once Donald Trump got off the stage last week—three personal appearances, and one video—his format was mostly focused on Secretary Hillary R. Clinton. Now, he didn’t seem to care that several GOP Congressional Committees found no evidence linking President Obama or Clinton to the four American deaths at the Benghazi outpost, or that the FBI and Attorney General could not find any laws that cited “Stupidity” as a Criminal Offense. Trump still devoted his whole week to Hillary.  “Lock her up?”

So naturally, Mr. Narcissism Gone Wild felt that Hillary’s Convention should be about him.  But no dice, Donald!  Hillary thought that she would focus on something that was truly lacking at his Coronation last week:  Facts; the Truth; and a repeated Apology, from her to America.  That’s something, by the way, that Donald Trump has never done, apologize for anything.  But, ordinary people lost considerable sums of money due to: his four bankrupt casinos[  condos which were never built and a faux-university.  Where you seem to make your real money by licensing yourself, Hillary actually does have some credentials!

Mr. Trump gave-up considerable prime-time TV coverage of important problem issues, just so that he could devote the lionesses’ share of his week to Madam Secretary.  Let me cite just a few of those blatantly omitted issues are:

Global Climate Change.  Just consider the wildfires that were burning, out of control, in our most-populace state of California—although it votes mostly Democratic—during the RNC Convention, and they have been  burning ever since.  In fact, there has been a significant increase in national disasters globally, over the past several decades, to include the current on-going dangerous drought in the Amazon Rainforest.

Racial Injustice in America.  The horrendous killings of police officers recently were emphasized in the RNC agenda, time and again; however, there was not one mention of the numerous killings of black men, and some women, at the hands of police officers, with some under questionable circumstances.  Such unwarranted deaths have been occurring regularly for a number of years.  If a Trump administration would truly want to solve the racial injustice problem, shouldn’t it be considered from both sides?

Although there were a number of other issues that you chose to evade, you surely could have outlined your plan to correct the complete obstruction on the part of Republican Members of both the House and Senate. That’s how they have confronted President Obama since his first days in office.  Don’t you believe that the Congress should be doing the People’s Business?  We, the People, certainly do!

Let me mention that I am a news junkie and, as a retiree, I have the time to watch the TV coverage while considering what the candidates—now down to Mister Trump and Secretary Clinton—have to say. Additionally, I like to review their respective policies, which they have posted on their campaign web sites. I’ll get to Hillary’s, in due time!

So far, I disagree basically with every one of Trump’s “stances” on issues.  Consider: I’m for a Woman’s Right Choose; Health Care cannot function without the Universal Mandate; If we let the climate get away from us, nothing else will matter—including us; Gun Rights is a sell-out to the NRA (read Gun Lobby); Trump’s Immigration Plan is not worth the (toilet) paper that it is written on; Quoting Pope Francis I on LGBTQ issues, “Who am I to judge?”; Privatization of Social Security is just the first step in its elimination; and Trickle-Down Economic Mythology is “Voodoo Economics”, as Candidate George H. W. Bush told Candidate Ronald Reagan, at a 1980 Primary Debate.

But don’t bother yourself with understanding Donald Trump’s stances on the various Issues.  As always, he just tells his audience what they want to hear.  And his views will merely change from day-to-day, like a piñata spinning in the wind.

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POLICE OFFICERS HAVE A COMPLEX AND DIFFICULT JOB—AND NOW THERE IS A CALL FOR AUTISM TRAINING, AS WELL!

You might have seen a video of a police officer wounding a man, who is a caregiver for another man who is autistic.  At the time he was shot, the caregiver was lying prone, with his hands raised in the air.  Luckily, the gunshot was only in his leg, and he reportedly has already been released from the hospital.  That incident occurred in North Miami, here in South Florida, and it was “filmed” by a bystander on his phone.

The 27 year-old patient wandered out of a neighborhood group home and decided to sit down in the middle of an intersection to play with a toy truck.  According to the National Autism Association, profoundly autistic people cannot process verbal commands from police, and they often cannot respond to verbal commands either.

An additional reason for concern in this case is the number of recent shootings of black men by police officers, for whatever reason.  Although the unnamed autistic man is apparently white Hispanic, the caregiver, Charles Kinsey, is black.  Luckily, this situation did not escalate any further.

Several years back, there had been several incidents where police had approached persons with various disabilities.  In one instance, a man with Down Syndrome was Tasered and, in another, an unruly, but severely autistic man, died when his heart stopped after police hog-tied him.  Miami-Dade County, however, chose to address this ongoing problem with education.

The County now offers a course in dealing with autistic persons, which is taught by two local police officers who have autistic children themselves.  Additionally, the executive director of the Autistic Society of Florida assists in these classes administering these classes. The National Autism Association, however, is calling for Federal funding for such courses nationwide, and it has also recommended that caregivers take autistic people to visit local police departments.

As with many confusing inter-personal situations, some understanding, as well as some direct familiarity, might keep minor incidents from becoming just another statistic on the nightly news/ 


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DONALD J. TRUMP’S ACCEPTANCE SPEECH—NO FACTS OR CONTEXT—JUST ASSERTIONS, INNUENDO AND LIES. IN ESSENCE, THE LATEST ITERATION OF SNAKE OIL!

Happily, tomorrow will be just another day, and one that I won’t have to endure the Republican National Committee’s Convention.  The list of speakers—political hacks, has-been actors, a racist police chief and, of course, the Trumpie kid of each day—just started to blur.  And through it all, Donald J. Trump seems to have been everywhere.  But, if one considers the haphazard way that the four days seem to have been organized, and the ineffective cover-up of Melania’s “borrowed” speech highlights, I wonder if this is how a Trump Administration would function?

There were constant reminders of the police officers who were killed in Dallas, Texas, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana; however, there was not one mention of the number of black men, and some women, who have been killed at the hands of police officers.  Trump’s entire Agenda, since he announced his candidacy, has been underscored by racism, hatred and violence.  Inciting divisiveness is not a rational solution to racial problems!

Just to point-out some of the mendacity in Trump’s acceptance speech, I would focus on three of the most often-cited points that he asserts were caused by President Barack Obama and Secretary Hillary Clinton.  These are: trade deals were the cause for the decline in manufacturing jobs; the deaths of four Americans at the State Department outpost in Benghazi, Libya; and Obama caused the formation of the Islamic State.

Manufacturing jobs have been on the decline since the 1940s, as America has transformed from a manufacturing to a service economy, and more recently to a digital one.  The several GOP-majority committees to investigate Benghazi, which were established to “destroy” Hillary Clinton’s Presidential aspirations; never found any evidence of a link, behind the deaths to either Obama or Clinton.  And, ISIS is the outgrowth of al-Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula, which was formed at the end of the Bush Administration.  It had previously been smoldering, for several years in Iraq, and Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s disbanding of Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi Army just strengthened it further, especially in providing military leadership.

Tomorrow’s newspapers should be a great read.  But, I intend to focus on the Fact Checkers.  The Washington Post had a copy of Trump’s speech—at least on the on-line version—at 6:40 PM today.  So, they are already lighting the proverbial midnight oil, as I write this.

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IS “BLACK LIVES MATTER!” A RACIST TERM?

Black Lives Matter seems to be a movement, which was started by people who feel that they have been left behind.  Left out of enjoying many of the benefits that America has to offer.  Whether that particular phrase is racist or not depends upon how a person, or group of people, cares to perceive it.

On one of last Sunday’s talk shows, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, an early supporter of Donald Trump for President, called Black Lives Matter a racist term.  Trump recently proclaimed that America is the most racist that it has ever been.  Furthermore, Mr. Trump has expressed sorrow for the deaths of police officers who have been killed recently, in several instances.  He has not once, however, expressed similar sadness for the numerous black lives lost at the hands of police officers, under questionable circumstances.  Might some of those deaths–on both sides– potentially been connected?

Why emphasize Black Lives?  Surely All Lives Matter!  Many of the descendants of the African slaves, who were brought to our shores beginning in the 1600s, bound in chains, seem to be the forgotten people.  Over the past couple of hundred years, numerous waves of immigrants have arrived here, from various countries.  Many faced discrimination at first, segregation, and then they eventually were assimilated into American society.  That same scenario hasn’t played-out for many of the blacks, and some of the Latinos. They have just not enjoyed that last, necessary step—assimilation.

Many blacks and Latinos have continued to live in a vicious cycle of:  poverty; ghetto life; insufficiently funded schools; poor health care; discrimination in the labor force, etc.  And their children seem to be destined to follow in this same path.  Oftentimes, the younger generation’s only “role models” are parents laboring at minimum wage jobs, local gang members, or the drug dealers and pimps in the ghettos.  So, think of “Black Lives Matter” as just being another way of saying: “We are People Too!”

The Police and People of Dallas, Texas, recently demonstrated how race relations should be carried out, and maintained at their very highest level of true cooperation and understanding.  Several weeks ago, there was a peaceful Black Lives Matter demonstration on the streets of Dallas.  Police Officers, wearing their everyday uniforms—and without riot gear—mingled amicably with the demonstrators.  Unfortunately, one lone shooter—a non-participant with a rifle—shot and killed five white Dallas P. D. Officers

The whole City seemed to feel the grief!  On the day after the officers were killed, there was a public mourning, and a demonstration protesting the massacre.  Marchers seemed to represent all segments of Dallas society, and there was strong representation from the surrounding area.

Immediately, there was a call for support of Blue Lives Matter in many parts of America.  When we focus too much on any one segment of our society, however, aren’t we just putting the others down?  Dallas seems to have taken the high ground on this.

In the end, we should all agree that: “Life Matters!”

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“OPEN CARRY”—KEEPING THE OLD WEST TRADITIONS ALIVE! REALLY?

As I watched the events of the past several weeks on TV,  I was amazed at some of the people walking around, in Downtown Dallas, at a peaceful protest march one day, for “Black Lives Matter!”  And the next, there was a solidarity remembrance, for the five Police Officers who were killed by a shooter (not part off the protest), the day before.  All the while, I saw many men carrying Assault Rifles.

These events were in America, of course, where some people have a love affair with guns, and unfortunately they do not care to recognize other people’s right to safe and happy lives.  Now, I can understand someone who is going “Into Town,” for the evening or the day, taking a mental inventory—wallet, car keys, cell phone, tickets perhaps, condoms for the young men, etc.  But, AR’s or handguns?

Texas is one of our states where “Open Carry” is legal.  Gun owners can openly wear their handguns on a holster or sling their rifles over their shoulder.  Louisiana, where three police officers were shot and killed today, in Baton Rouge, the Capital, also has legalized open carry.

The Dallas Police had said that they were confused in trying to identify the shooter(s), since so many people in the area were carrying rifles.  One man, who had been stopped by the Police later told a TV reporter that he carried his AR-15 in order “…to exercise my Second Amendment Right.”  So, does that mean that I have to “exercise” my Constitutional Rights of Free Speech, Press, Religion, etc, in order to retain them?

This is the insanity of America. In many towns in the Old West, like the Dodge City, Kansas, that was portrayed in the movie, “Gunfight at the O.K. Coral,” the Marshall or Sheriff would make the gun-totting cowboys check their guns at the Jail, while they were in town.  Isn’t that what makes open carry so ludicrous—maintaining the traditions of the Wild, Wild West, when they never really existed?  There was no open carry then: Marshall Earp (or the like) made sure of that!

NOTE:  Ohio, the site of the Republican National Convention, which starts Monday, in Cleveland, is also an open-carry state.  That right has been temporarily rescinded for the next four days, as required by the U. S. Secret Service, but only inside the Arena and the immediate area surrounding it, which will be cordoned-off for protestors.

Various protest groups, from across the spectrum of Pro and Anti-Trump factions, will be attending—and some will definitely be armed.  White Supremacists and the New Black Panther Party will be just some of the extremists groups in the mix.  Keep in mind that open-carry will continue to be legal in all directions around the Arena.  I’ll be very happy to just watch on TV!

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WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE COMING ACROSS OUR SOUTHERN BORDER, AND WHAT DO THEY WANT ANYWAY?

This Presidential Election Year, perhaps more than prior ones, the political demagogues have been out in full-force, attacking undocumented immigrants—both current and ones that arrived even decades ago. Rather than consider the actual situation and trying to develop some sort of coherent solution, they are using Immigrants as the target at which to spew their hatred and racism.  Perhaps they even wish to maintain the status quo for the future election cycles!

Starting from the idea of deporting 11 million people—if they could actually round them all up— would take many, many years and cost trillions of dollars.  It reminds me of the story about a small child, digging a hole at the edge of the shore, and then taking bucket after bucket of sea water, trying to put the ocean into their small hole.  Starting with impossible goals just never works!

The people who come to any developed country are seeking a better life for them and their families.  Just like you or I, they would want a job that pays a decent wage, a home, good health care, and an education that will prepare their children for the future world, which they will encounter.  We have numerous shuttered military bases at which questionable immigrants can be segregated, vetted, and they could perform most of the labor around the camps.

There are two linked articles, which I hope you will read.  One is about 14 year-old Elena (no last name given) who, along with her family, had been stopped at the southern border of Mexico, and they are waiting to learn whether they will be deported back home, or not.  The second article, about 19 year-old Larissa Martinez, is a much happier one where, during her high school Valedictory Speech, she revealed that she is an undocumented immigrant.

Back to the first vignette:  In the Central American nations of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, the drug gangs cannot be controlled by the police.  Young children are forced to be lookouts, young girls have no choice but to become gang member’s “girl friends,” which means a life of being a courier and a mistress. Refusal can mean death—both for them and their family.  Nicolas Kristof’s column, from the NY Times, is linked as follows:

Her mother brought Larissa Martinez, along with her younger sister, from Mexico, across the Rio Grande when she was 13 years old.  They were seeking refuge with family members, who were legal immigrants, in Texas.  Her mother applied several times to be placed on the waiting list for legal status; however, that takes 15 years.  Also, Larissa arrived too late to have qualified for the “DREAMer Program,” which enables qualified students to avoid deportation.  She worked hard in school, however, and graduated Number One in her high school class.  Larissa will leave for New Haven, Connecticut—Yale University—with a full scholarship, in August.  Her story, from Kera News, is linked as follows:

http://keranews.org/post/meet-teen-whose-valedictory-speech-went-viral

These two stories show the younger sides of what some immigrants have gone through; however, I believe that it is evident that these parents love their children and were willing to face perilous journeys, perhaps after weighing them against what their children’s lives would be back home.  No matter where you were born in the so-called developed world, you can realize that its was only a happenstance that we were born into a life of safety and a worthwhile future.  These children were not.  Would you trade?

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DID ARTICLE 5 OF THE NATO CHARTER—THE MUTUAL DEFENSE PROVISION—APPLY IN TURKEY YESTERDAY?

Yesterday’s “Attempted Coup D-Etat” in Turkey raises an important question:  Does Article 5, of the NATO Charter call for the Mutual Defense—an attack against one member nation is an attack against all—response in the event of an Internal Coup, or Civil War?  As yesterday’s events unfolded, I’m sure that that issue initiated considerable discussion in capitals around Europe.  In addition, the U. S, and other Member Nations, currently have Military Forces stationed in Turkey.

Turkey’s role within NATO during Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Administration has, at best, been tenuous. Founded in 1923,  Modern Turkey, had most always been a democratic secular state.  Since Erdogan assumed power in 2003, however, first as Prime Minister, and then as President, he has been converting it to an Authoritarian Conservative Islamic Nation.  He has drastically overturned much of Democracy, eradicated Human Rights, placed most media under strict Government control, and imprisoned many of his academic and political adversaries.

The question for NATO member nations—in particular France, Germany, the U. K. and the U. S–is: how to balance it’s guiding principles of “…democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law” (as cited in the Charter’s Preamble) with the value of including an Islamic nation, which is well-positioned geographically at the crossroads between Asia and Europe?

The potential powder keg, which never quite exploded yesterday, was totally an internal one.  Unlike Crimea and Eastern Ukraine, two years ago, and (former Soviet) Georgia in 2008, neither Russia nor any other external power, seemed to have played a role or participated in the situation, which has been simmering from within.  So, as far as I can determine, the situation in Turkey yesterday would not have justified invoking Article 5, or any other NATO Provision.  Given what happened, will NATO modify its Charter now?

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