Eclectic commentary from a progressive voice in the reddest part of the red state

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

If you're not a racist but support Trump

So, you’re not a racist, but you accept Trump mocking the disabled.

So, you’re not a racist, but you accept Trump trying to insult an American-born judge by insulting Mexicans.

So, you’re not a racist, but you accept Trump insulting a Gold Star family because they are Muslims.


So, you’re not a racist, but you accept Trump wanting to register Muslims like Hitler did with the Jews in the 1930s before the Holocaust.

So, you’re not a racist, but you accept Trump conspiring with the Russians to rig the United States election with propaganda.

So, you’re not a racist, but you accept Trump continually lying, yes lying, about things that are he said, saw and did.

So, you’re not a racist, but you accept Trump assaulting women of all ages and grabbing their genitals.

So, you’re not a racist, but you accept Trump’s extramarital affairs as he represents the party of family values.

So, you’re not a racist, but you accept Trump as a good businessman, even as he stiffs people who he hires.

So, you’re not a racist, but you accept Trump as a businessman whose enterprises fail and he lies about it.

So, you’re not a racist, but you accept Trump committing fraud with Trump University.

So, you’re not a racist, but you accept Trump for criticizing outsourcing jobs while he does the very same thing.

So, you’re not a racist, but you accept Trump when he won’t read security briefings and lets his un-vetted children in on high level government meetings.

So, you’re not a racist, but you accept Trump appointing people to his cabinet who want to destroy the very agencies he wants them to head.

So, you’re not a racist, but you accept Trump and his children setting up a pay-for-access deal.

So, you’re not a racist, but you accept Trump embracing the support of white nationalists and the KKK.

So, you’re not a racist, but you accept Trump  . . .

So, if you’re not a racist, what are you?

Friday, December 23, 2016

How much is Trump like Hitler?

So rarely do I read something online that stops me in my tracks and immediately demands I take action as a result. But two friends, both of whom I know in real life, posted this linkand it arrived on my Facebook feed literally moments ago. It’s from Tablet, and the title is “What to Do about Trump? The Same Thing My Grandfather Did in 1930s Vienna.” It is a must-read, especially for those of Jewish, Muslim and non-Christian backgrounds and their friends and families.

About two weeks after the election, I wroteabout me and my family’s Austrian Jewish background. In short, despite being a baptized and confirmed Episcopalian, I am ethnically and by Jewish law, a Jew. Like Liel Leibovitz’s grandfather, my parents and some of the other family saw the Nazi genocide against the Jews — and others — coming and they fled Europe. The family members who stayed behind joined those as the cinders and smoke of Hitler’s ethnic cleansing.

Those in public discourse comparing and paralleling Donald Trump’s rise to the United States presidency with the rise of the Third Reich are correct. The fact is that people will discount Leibovitz and me and even assert Godwin’s Law. But the danger to the world is clear and present. I implore my readers to do two things RIGHT NOW.

First, go to this link and read Leibovitz again. Second, I beg you, circulate this blog post as widely as you can — not to aggrandize me, but to help people understand what we’re facing.

Leibovitz, directly tells us what we must do:

·“The first, and most obvious, is this: Treat every poisoned word as a promise.”

·“Do that, and a second principle follows closely: You should treat people like adults, which means respecting them enough to demand that they understand the consequences of their actions. Explaining away or excusing the actions of others isn’t your job.”

·“Which leads me to the third principle, the one hardest to grasp: Refuse to accept what’s going on as the new normal. Not now, not ever.”

Remember what we — the civilized world — said after World War II, “Never again.” Have we forgotten the Holocaust so quickly?

One final point and one final plea from me:

First, after much prayer, thought and consideration it deeply pains me to have to tell my real and virtual friends who voted for Trump for whatever reason or self-justification that you have endorsed an atrocity that transcends my friendship. I love to celebrate differences and, as many of you know, like civil discourse even though I sometimes get angry enough to be a bit crude. But, there is literally no discourse of any kind that can justify a vote for someone who borders on the anti-Christ. Whatever follows from that for us, so be it.

Second, for those of you of a like mind, please join me a fighting back in any way we can legally. While I don’t like the word “fighting” in the political context, in this case it applies because that’s what we must do. I also don’t like the notion of lumping all Republicans into this basket and I am saddened that I have to. So, my TRM — Trump Resistance Movement, which already exists on Facebook — includes Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas; Dan Patrick, the lieutenant governor; Ken Paxton, the crooked attorney general; and, other Republican elected officials who have stayed quiet about Trump.

In a little more than 24 hours, Jews and Christians will celebrate some of the most cherished and sacred days of their faith. And yet, we face something horribly antithetical to all of mankind’s faiths. Think about that.

Friday, December 16, 2016

John Cornyn – the whore for big oil

If there is any question about to whom John Cornyn is beholden, his letter to a constituent proves that
John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, whores for big oil and 
not for their Texas constituents.
bribery is alive and well with this senator from Texas. A Facebook friend wrote Cornyn about his concerns over the nomination of Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

Cornyn’s letter, clearly a form letter, makes it clear that he supports Pruitt and therefore supports pollution and dirty 
industries run amok. The letter contains the standard Republican talking points used whoring for the fossil fuel industrial complex. People who are objecting to Biff Tannen’s nominees because they are millionaires or billionaires are misguided; the real issue here is he is nominating people who are the very enemies of the very departments they seek to run. How fitting that Biff nominated Pruitt on “a date that will live in infamy.” Biff’s nominees will be tantamount to the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor because, when we’re done drinking Biff’s water, breathing Pruitt’s air and recovering for Cornyn’s frack-caused earthquakes, people will die.


Frankly, this is a form of treason. These people are sworn to uphold the United States Constitution and in destroying the very government they vowed to protect, they violate their oaths of office. The current political climate and the election results for Congress cast a pessimistic pall over the Capitol.

What form of protest is available for us, given we can’t outbid Cornyn’s political masters who so richly bribe him? I’d suggest taking a look at his contact informationand start flooding him with the viewpoints of decent people. And, if anyone seeing this has friends in Michigan, maybe they’d consider sending his office a bottle of Flint water with a note telling him to drink it.

Here is a copy of the body of Cornyn’s letter:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the nomination of Scott Pruitt to serve as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). I appreciate having the benefit of your comments on this important matter.
As you may know, President-elect Trump announced the nomination of Scott Pruitt on December 7, 2016. His nomination will be transmitted to the Senate, where the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will further consider his nomination. I take seriously the responsibility conferred on the Senate by Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution to provide advice and consent on presidential nominations.
I look forward to supporting Mr. Pruitt as his nomination is considered. Under the Obama Administration, numerous examples show the EPA has overstepped or abused its authority. Mr. Pruitt’s record and experience demonstrate that he is willing and able to rein in federal overreach, promoting economic viability while protecting public health.
I am honored to represent Texas in the United States Senate. Thank you for taking the time to contact me.
Sincerely,

JOHN CORNYN
United States Senator

Editorial Note: Associated Press style rules call for the use of titles or “honorifics” to indicate the roles of people covered in a story or commentary. These titles help readers understand how and where subjects fit into the scheme of things and they offer a modicum of respect. However, respect is earned and in my writings, I will indicate respect either overtly or subtly by using either titles or descriptors. For example, unless the Electoral College comes to its senses, I will not refer to the currently presumed president elect by name or title. When you see Biff Tannen or Biff, you will know to whom I refer. If you don’t, Google the “Back to the Future” films.


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Keep the pressure on electors

Each state has its own way of handling its role in the Electoral College. Here is a summary of law about presidential electors from the National Association of Secretaries of State. There is still time to convey your concerns to your state's electors. Here is what I wrote this morning:







Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Honorable Carlos Cascos
Texas Secretary of State
Capitol Building
1100 Congress, Room 1E.8
Austin, Texas 78701

By FAX 1(512) 475-2761
By FAX 1(512) 475-2811

Dear Mr. Cascos:

I am writing as a registered voter in the state of Texas and a retired journalist who is now working as a media consultant and blogger. I am aware that you are responsible for handling the meeting of the electors next week and running the meeting. (Tex. Elections Code Ann. §§ 192.002, 192.003, 192.004, 192.006, 192.007)
I am writing to ask you — no to beg you — to share the statement to the Texas electors as they vote in the Electoral College.

Thank you very much,

Sincerely,









A Statement to Texas Electors

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I am well aware you are being asked to be what is called “faithless” electors and reject voting for the Republican ticket of Donald J. Trump and Michael Pence. I know I am one of those who wrote you individually with that request. I would now like to address you as a group and repeat my request to reject Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence as president and vice-president. And, I would like to do so by calling you patriotic electors in doing so.

I am sure you have followed the unfolding news that leaves little doubt that the Nov. 8 balloting has been compromised by a Russian incursion into the United States’ cyberspace. Vladimir Putin has himself admitted his direct involvement in this cyberwarfare. Mr. Trump’s public statements have also shown his direct involvement, if not encouragement. These revelations come from our nation’s professionals in the intelligence community — 17 agencies at last count — and are indisputable only if (1) you reject the competence of 17 different military and civilian intelligence agencies and (2) you accept Mr. Trump’s attacks on these agencies as legitimate and valid criticisms. I believe that these intelligence reports are true and I have stated publicly that the evidence leads me to conclude that Mr. Trump is a Manchurian Candidate. The evidence is clear that in collaborating with the Russians, he has committed treason.


I am putting aside any other arguments about Mr. Trump’s character, mental health and policies. I am not asking you to vote for Hillary Clinton. Instead, I am begging you to be patriots of the highest order and stand with Alexander Hamilton as protectors against demagogues and Manchurian Candidates. I beg you to stand with me and millions of Texans, regardless of political views, who consider the integrity of our voting to be one of the holiest of our national sacraments.

Do unto others

Think about this long and hard as you think about your family, friends, acquaintances and neighbors who voted for Donald Trump. Think about them when they say, "I am not a racist."


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Ask the Electoral College to be patriots

To Mac with love

Mac, these are for you. I’ve collected these memes because they reflect the Republicans and what you represent. You’re on several House committees that would give you information on the Russian hacking. You’re in a position to know the facts. You have never taken a public stance on your Donald Trump but now is the time to do so. We know McConnell tried to hide this and in my estimation that behavior makes him an accessory to the treason Trump has clearly committed.

Most of the people who support you in your district are good, decent people; and, most of them are honest and want honest government. You owe it to them to show some backbone now.


















And this is you, too, Mac.








































































Trumpenstein

A journalist colleague in New Mexico posed the question about the presumptive president-elect, “Who is this guy?”

Here is my answer:


I am guessing this guy is the corporatist tool of the Koch brothers and every other multi-national corroboration that wants to return the U.S. to the age of the Robber Barons. Everything he has done will hurt the poor and the middle class, destroy the parts of the government that levels the playing fields or that protects the populace from the consequences of corporate greed.

Taken to its ultimate extreme, there will be an entirely free market with the predictable results. Oh, and learn Russian as a second language.


Who is this guy? He is a Manchurian Candidate, a traitor. That’s who he is.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Trump National Anthem

Here is the Trump version of the  U.S. national anthem if he becomes president

We can still stop Trump

The Constitution affords us ways to stop Trump from becoming president. The most immediate, and
at this time the most effective, would be to get members of the Electoral College to not vote for him. The term “faithless” is unfortunate, but in context, accurate. A more persuasive and better term is “patriotic.”

If you all have either family or friends the states that went for Trump, you can contact the electors. Time is short, but if you could be part of this campaign and get information to family and friends in those states about contacting the electors for their state, it might help. I have provided a link to a site that gives anyone the tools to contact their electors and I have pasted in the body of the letter I wrote to 28 Texas electors. The original letter wasn’t up to my standards and, after learning electors have asked for an intel briefing on the Russian hacks, I made sure to include that issue in my letter.


We all have a stake in this. Please get this information to anyone else you know who shares these concerns. We have less than a week.

Letter to Electors:
            I am writing to you in your capacity as a presidential elector. While I may or may not believe that Hillary Clinton’s popular margin of victory ought to convince the electors to vote for her, I am writing to ask you to choose her because the Electoral College was designed specifically to bar men like Donald Trump from the presidency.
            Our presidential system in place since 1804, empowers the electors to use their wise judgment to choose our president. Whatever we may think of this system now, there were sound reasons for it then and now. Alexander Hamilton’s Federalist Paper 68 explains the Electoral College is intended to protect the presidency from occupants “who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.” Donald Trump not only demonstrates he lacks the requisite qualifications, he has also demonstrates himself to be a liar, even in the face of documented written and electronic proof.
            If that isn’t reason enough, his mocking the disabled and open disrespect of women and others are also disqualifications. But, even if the two reasons I’ve cited aren’t enough for you, two other reasons are far more important. It is clear Mr. Trump has already perverted our laws and ethics by using the presidency to enrich himself and his family in violation of Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the Constitution.
            More importantly are the revelations this past weekend, in which the intelligence community confirmed what 17 agencies found this past summer: The Russians, at Mr. Trump’s invitation, meddled with the election, both with a propaganda and disinformation campaign and hacking voting machines. Whether Mr. Trump’s alliance with Vladimir Putin makes him a Manchurian Candidate or a traitor is irrelevant at this point. I beg with you to agree with me that our great country cannot elect a person about whom we have such serious doubts.
            I am grateful for your service to our nation as an elector. You may in fact believe that Donald Trump would make a better president than Hillary Clinton or anyone else. But if you share my fear that Mr. Trump would sell out our country to a foreign power, then I encourage you to exercise the power granted you by the Constitution. Please join the 156 “faithless” electors in our nation’s history by putting country above party and blocking Donald Trump from the presidency. Hamilton would have wanted you to do so.


Sunday, December 11, 2016

Trump's treason and the GOP accessories

About six weeks ago, Abigail Tracy’s article in Vanity Fair asked what is inarguably the most .
important question of the 2016 United States presidential election, “Is Donald Trump a Manchurian Candidate?” So did others.

It is a question everyone should have been asked months before — at least no later than then end of July after Wikileaks dribbled out embarrassing emails that set the Hillary Rodham Clinton campaign back on its heels. At least the nonpartisan “The Hill” did. But even before that, the British mediawere alert to Trump’s ties to Russian strongman Vladimir Putin. Those ties were not only emotional in the sense that the authoritarian TV celebrity admired Putin, but also, as we’ve come to learn, included business alliances. Why it took so long for some of the US big media to pose this question and try to answer it is a mystery.


However, the Vanity Fair article put enough of the pieces together that the public has a roadmap showing Russia’s role in this election looks stunningly to be the case. And, other events of the past few days make it clear that Russia has interfered with the election at the behest of the Republicans. The New York Times and Washington Post, with other outletsfollowing, reported Friday that the CIA confirmed the suspected Russian fingerprints on the election, with WikiLeaks spreading propaganda that embarrassed the Democrats. We have also learnedthe Republicans were also hacked but the information is not out there for unknown reasons. We also now know the intelligence community gave President Barack Obama enough information to prompt his orderingan investigation, which will no doubt include the electronic voting machines.

To what degree an investigation will definitively tie Trump or his apparatchiks to the Russians or WikiLeaks remains to be seen. And whether anyone can make the case that the propaganda and disinformation effort affected the outcome of the election may never be clear. Certainly, the pushbackfrom Trump and his surrogates over the weekend lends credence that he or his campaign are involved. After all, Trump, among many other character failures, is a proven liar that emphasizes his mental illness — or, worse, his role as the Manchurian Candidate. The attacks on the motivations and the substance of the intelligence community’s reports are right out of Josef Goebbels’ playbook in these situations and further confirm the worst suspicions.

Even without the deepest probe, we already know Trump’s organization, which cannot be separated from the thin-skinned narcissist, has ties to Putin and the Russian business community. The list of Trump’s choices for cabinet and other high officials add more weight to the notion that Trump and the Republicans would unwind a century of progressive reforms and return the US to the Age of the Robber Barons. Without exception, every announced nomination reflects a plan for installing a plutocratic, corporatist oligarchy. Saturday’s announcementof Exxon/Mobil’s Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State is no coincidence as Tillerson’s ties to Russia and Putin are well documented.

It is a mystery why Obama waited this long to launch a look into the intel findings that many already had telegraphed. In fairness, second-guessing that decision is less a reaction of my leanings and more a consideration that other legitimate actions, such as confirming information, were occurring in a needed sequence.

Finally, consider a quote, often but perhaps erroneously attributedto Joseph Stalin, that brutal dictator that it’s more important to know who controls counting the votes than anything about casting them. And, Stalin was what nationality? Right. So, Putin, the child of the KGB, would well know that mantra. From the recent evidence as well as scandalswith the Dieboldvoting machines, it is more than likely that the vote counts in this election are tainted.

That leaves the US facing the horrid possibility of a bloodless coup d’état at the hands of an alliance between Trump, Russia and the multi-national corporations. Should various investigations find and confirm the worst, that Trump is indeed the Manchurian Candidate, then it follows that he and others are guilty of high treason. Some Republicansare calling for an investigation of the hacks. But any Republican who is now silent in the face of the crass corruption and foreign power meddling in one of our nation's most sacred acts is complicit in Trump’s treason.

Timing is everything and if results confirming the intrusion come after the January inauguration, the corporately owned Republican House of Representatives would have no choice but to impeach Trump. The Senate, also in the hands of the GOP, would then try him. Such a process would leave us with Mike Pence unless he, too, is tied to the scandal. And then there would be Paul Ryan, one with the same ideology as Trump and Pence. With the GOP in control of Congress and the leadership — such as Mitch McConnell, Ryan, Rand Paul and several untrustworthy and Trump and corporately allied Texans such as John Cornyn, Ted Cruz, Louis Gohmert and Mac Thornberry — an impeachment is doubtful even in the face of evidence. We could anticipate that many others would join me in considering those resisting justice to be accessories to treason. McConnellmay be more than an accessory already.

On the other hand, should the findings come before the inauguration, the nation has options. We could “redo” the election, either with a nationwide recount or with an entirely new election. Such a scenario is unlikely, in part because it would take an “act of Congress.” The GOP’s win-at-any-cost using the politics of personal destruction shows Americans willing to see it that the party already puts itself ahead of the good of the country.

Finally, the best option that would avoid the constitutional crisis would be the Electoral College rejecting Trump’s election and naming Clinton president. The college has that right, and given the scenarios, the obligation. It is precisely what the Electoral College was set up for. Adding to the justification for such a move is Clinton’s overwhelming victory in the popular vote. Of course, the Republicans will scream bloody murder. But in the face of the anticipated evidence, where is their portfolio to do so? After all, for all the accusations of corruption leveled at the Clinton machine, none involved her being a pawn of a foreign power.

Dystopia and Russian language lessons or normalcy? The clock is ticking.

Editorial Note: Associated Press style rules call for the use of titles or “honorifics” to indicate the roles of people covered in a story or commentary. These titles help readers understand how and where subjects fit into the scheme of things and they offer a modicum of respect. However, respect is earned and in my writings, I will indicate respect either overtly or subtly by using either titles or descriptors

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Congratulations hospital industry


Less than a week after the bigwigs at the American Hospital Association and AHA and the Federation of American Hospitals praised Biff Tannen’s transition team for its plans to nominate Tom Price (R-Ga.) as Health and Human Services secretary, they might have to explain how they got that
brown stuff on their noses. The AHA is the major trade group for hospitals hiding their enormous cash flows behind their nonprofit status while the FAH represents hospitals hiding their licentious greed behind the term “investor-owned” instead of “for-profit.”

In a joint letter to leaders on both sides of the congressional aisle, these two trade groups voiced concern, if not panic, that killing off the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, would immeasurable hurt hospitals and the entire health care system. These are same consequences this Cassandra-like blogger voiced last month with Price’s announcement. Here is the key point in that Nov. 29 post, “Dismantling those insurance programs — and don’t for a minute call those programs socialized medicine because they are not — will cut off huge cash flows to hospitals, doctors and other providers. Supporting (Biff) Tannen’s and the right-wing agenda will, and there is no other way to put it, folks, bite them on the ass.”


While the Huffington Post claimed the two trade groups demanded a less Draconian approach than that the retrogressive GOPers have promised, the Washington Post was less flamboyant in its language. By framing the issue as it did, the latter news outlet appropriately portrayed AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack and Charles N. “Chip” Kahn III, president of FAH, as members of the brown-nosed Caspar Milquetoast Club. I am sure the collective justification will be along the lines of saying the hospital groups respect Price’s experience as a doctor, but they can still disagree with the proposed policy changes.

This is typical “business-as-usual” hypocrisy from the hospitals. These trade groups were either too gutless enough to stand up to the Price proposal or they weren’t smart enough to see what Biff and his minions represent. The entire industry has swaddled itself in the angelic gowns of godly goodness to convince the public of the industry’s goodwill. But, the reality is the industry maximizes cash flow, some using the mantra “no margin, no mission.” Or, at the institutional level, they justify themselves claiming fiduciary responsibility. In taking these positions, however, the industry has fallen victim to its own ineptitude.

Over the last 55 or so years, the entire health industry went through a Karl Rovian looking glass. Instead of fighting the framing of health economics as free market, the industry rolled over and played dead. Instead of continuing the cooperation fostered in the legislation of the late 1960s, the industry sucked up to the Reagonites. Instead participating in the public health roles they claimed to adopt, the industry shed the costly services without fighting for more money and for their communities. Hospital administrators continued their pathological edifice complexes, duplicating facilities in communities across the nation, driving up costs and driving down quality.

Now, instead of having evolved into a kinder and gentler society, most of the industry is down in the swamp Biff has promised to drain. And with Price as a potential cabinet member fitting right into a racist, misogynistic, homophobic administration, the AHA and FAH are guilty by association. The industry, its leaders and those in the other clinical professional organizations surrendered any moral high ground. Sooner or later, this will all come back to haunt them. It is just a question of time.


George Schwarz, publisher of The Amarillo Independent, spent 25 years in the health care industry after earning a master’s in hospital and health administration from the University of Iowa. He worked in community health planning, staff positions in health care organizations, middle management and a CEO. The types of organizations included long-term care, outpatient clinics and acute care hospitals. In 1996, he became a journalist specializing in health care and investigative reporting.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Dishonesty and hypocrisy - the GOP

Dishonesty and hypocrisy. Those two character traits that help define most politicians worldwide. In the United States, dishonesty and hypocrisy know no party line boundaries, although in Texas, it seems to apply almost exclusively to Republicans.

And, as we move to the end of 2016, the horrific year for people whose votes and politics represent kindness and decency, Greg Abbott and the rest of the GOP mobsters have found one more way to support my case for those labels. As the Texas Tribune reportedon Nov. 28, Abbott and his right-wing administration, tried to slip through regulations requiring health care providers to cremate or bury fetal remains. The rules would bar disposing those remains as proper medical waste in sanitary landfills. I won’t rehash the pros and cons of the proposal because the state received some 35,000 comments about these rules. And, thankfully, those in our society who wish to protect people’s, and especially women’s, privacy caught the sneak attack and made it public.


So where is the dishonesty?

The Tribune reports that Abbott was behind the rules. Abbott explained his rationale for the rules in a fundraising email. Yep, a fundraising email. Abbott argued that “fetal remains should (not) be ‘treated like medical waste and disposed of in landfills.’” Now, Texas politics is notoriously and infamously hardball. But Abbott’s rationale he pulled from his cesspool of a political mind reaches a new low. This wasn’t about public health or protecting the environment. This wasn’t about the respect or the dignity of fetal remains. This wasn’t about respect and compassion for women or for their families. It was a crass tossing of red meat into the zoo cages of Abbott’s ignorant right-wing base.

I don’t need lectures here about knowing the mind and heart of the person currently infesting the governor’s office in Austin. As the lawyers say, “Res ipsa loquitur.” The thing speaks for itself.

And what about the hypocrisy? In this case, it comes on the personal level for Abbott and on a general level for the Republicans.

While jogging, a tree fell on Abbott. He sustained an injury that has left him in a wheelchair. He won a massive judgment, perhaps well-deserved. But later, he also backed “tort reform,” a corporatist mechanism and legal fiction to limit awards for people injured in a variety of circumstances. I will never forget this personal hypocrisy, for as much as I feel compassion for people injured and disabled this way, it reflects that flaw of character so prevalent on right-wing circles: “I’ve got mine, to hell with you.”

As for the more general hypocrisy? The Republican Party, dominated by right-wingers and dominionists, babble that government is too intrusive and the party’s role is to foster freedom by protecting us from “overreach.” That is a bald-faced lie. I have yet to get a rational and coherent answer to the question that essentially asks, “If the party is so committed to keeping government off our backs, why is it so committed to inserting government into our genitals. It's either our bodies and our persons or it isn't. And, the GOP's stand for privacy? How about respecting our bathrooms and our bedrooms. If the party is so bent on protecting our religious freedoms, why does it impose its interpretation of whatever randomly chosen scripture to drive law in a secular society? Is that not the equivalent of saying, “We’re not going to permit Sharia law here but we’re going to impose Christian law here?” And, note, the Christian law Republicans want to impose is from the Old Testament and has more common with Sharia law than real Christian law. Remember, there is only one Christian law and it’s in the New Testament and is spoken by Jesus himself, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” It is quite simple, isn't it?

Maybe the reason we, as a society and as citizens of Texas, aren’t getting an answer is that there is no rational or decent way to explain these Republican positions. The only way for the right-wing to explain this is simple: We are going to control you, enrich our corporations and eventually crush the middle class and the poor. And then we’re going to proclaim we’re good Christians adhering to the Gospel of Prosperity.

And that, my friends, is the truth.

Editorial Note: Associated Press style rules call for the use of titles or “honorifics” to indicate the roles of people covered in a story or commentary. These titles help readers understand how and where subjects fit into the scheme of things and they offer a modicum of respect. However, respect is earned and in my writings, I will indicate respect either overtly or subtly by using either titles or descriptors. For example, unless the Electoral College comes to its senses, I will not refer to the currently presumed president elect by name or title. When you see Biff Tannen or Biff, you will know to whom I refer. If you don’t, Google the “Back to the Future” films.


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A declaration of war

Whether you realize it or not, the Republican Party has declared war on 99 percent of the American
people. In doing so, it has made it clear that the only people in the United States who count for anything are the one percent. The question now is whether those of us with any sense of decency and conscience can fight back; and, if so, how.

Let’s start by trying, briefly, to understand what has happened to get us to this miserable juncture in our nation’s civic life. First, in the 1950s we had the birth of the religious right, just without that label. The movement used the “godless communist” threat to add the words “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance. Second, in the 1960s and 1970s, we saw the beginning of America’s dumbing down. The hippie movement was a resistance to the attempts to kill off critical thinking, but thanks to the propaganda efforts of the Republican Party and the Nixon administration, American students devolved into regurgitators of facts without the ability to use that information productively. Third, the 1980s saw the Republican takeover with the Reagan administration playing the “greed is good” card, undoing the progress from the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. Concurrently, propagandists extraordinaire like Roger Ailes, Rush Limbaugh and other hate mongers began the systematic attack on the media. In doing so, they stimulated the pent-up fear and perceived threats of a diverse society in that generation of those whose critical thinking skills had been destroyed.

 The last quarter century saw the poisoned seeds of the right wing and Republican Party bear fruit. The successful propaganda distracted oh-so-righteous Christians and those with some secular sanity left using hot button issues — birth control, abortion, gay marriage. Sex sells, right? Meanwhile, corporations like Diebold and others have suborned our voting machines. The feds militarized local police forces. Corporatists took over government at all levels and lawmakers are now wined, dined and owned while immunizing themselves against accountability.

Now, with the pending inauguration of an insane, narcissistic, lying, sociopathic (if not psychopathic) authoritarian with a record of business failures, we face an uncertain, if not dystopian, future. At this point, we face the possible outcome of an election that has seen a popular vote mandate be overturned by the Electoral College. But, the Founders wrote the Constitution in such a way as to protect us from this kind of crazy. The electors can, in fact, rightfully abort Donald Trump’s faux victory; and, they have the obligation to do so to protect our republic from the depravity of the current incarnation of the GOP. Instead of calling them “faithless” electors, we should call them “faithful” electors for upholding the true values of the Founders of these United States.


From now until the Electoral College meets, I will do everything in my power to use my words and what little resources I have to bring sanity back to our great nation. I will contact members of Congress, for what it’s worth. I will continue to blog to counter the propaganda from the right wing. I will use my blogs to embarrass, as best I can, those politicians who are betraying decent Americans to foster a corporate and dystopian America. I will explore ways to get to the electors to convince them that a Trump presidency is a massive fraud. Please join me in that effort. Write local newspapers, contact politicians. Do whatever you can. Please join me in this effort.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Ain’t no cure for stupid, is there? Or sedition

 Today’s Facebook newsfeed is peppered with information about Biff Tannen’s nominating Tom Price (R-Ga.) to be Health and Human Services secretary. This nomination comes in the context of Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) promising to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and Medicare

Here’s what’s interesting about this that the mainstream, and the good outlets like ProPublica, haven’t picked up on: The American Hospital Association President and CEO Rick Pollack has come out in support of Price’s appointment, with a statement saying Price’s experience as an orthopedic surgeons will be an asset as health care becomes more patient centered. Pollock has spent his entire career as a lobbyist. I don’t suppose he knows the old joke about bone doctors: Strong as a bull and just as smart. And while that’s an unfair generalization for all orthopedists, it must apply to Price since he is a Republican and part of the evil sect set to destroy the health care system as we know it.


Remember on Nov. 18, fed up with holding my fire on hospital administrators, my post described the educational evolution leading to the spinectomy of an entire profession. It’s pretty clear that the AHA’s commitment to patient care is an empty phrase and the part of Pollack’s assertion about patient-centered care is a sick joke. But even better, the idiotic shortsightedness of the AHA’s policy-making is even sicker. Dismantling those insurance programs — and don’t for a minute call those programs socialized medicine because they are not — will cut off huge cash flows to hospitals, doctors and other providers. Supporting Tannen’s and the right-wing agenda will, and there is no other way to put it, folks, bite them on the ass. Good deal. They need it.

But the people of the United States don’t. Believe it or not, our national security is as dependent on a healthy and robust population in all age groups. To visit upon our nation a health care system designed to deny care to millions of citizens, with the rationale for doing so based on Josef Goebbels- type lies, provides evidence that Tannen’s relationship with Vladimir Putin and Russia may be part of a treasonous and seditious plan for a nondemocratic country — ours.

And further, if the people of the U.S. are smart, and this election leaves that in doubt, they should rise up in anger over this plan. They won’t, of course, at least for now. The propaganda drums are beating too loudly. Here’s the question: Will we ever be smart enough to vote our own and not the plutocratic corporate interests?


Monday, November 28, 2016

Let's flood the fax machines

Those of us who are concerned for the future of our nation much not remain silent. The only way to counter the big money access to members of Congress is by overwhelming the moneyed voices by quantity voices. That’s hard to do because staffers take calls or monitor the social media and email. Letters go through the congressional mail room for screening and that takes months — and, based on my experience with Ted Cruz, John Cornyn and Mac Thornberry, results in nothing but computer-generated form letter replies.

What is telling is that the fax numbers for these people are hard to fine, which I interpret as them wanting it to be hard for constituents to contact them this way. While I have no doubt that the big money people have other, less public, ways to contact them, flooding the fax machines might have a positive effect. And so, as a public service, here are Washington, DC office contact information for those of us in the Texas Panhandle.

Ted Cruz
Dirksen Senate Office Building, Suite SDB-40B, Washington, DC 20510.
Office - (202) 224-5922.
Fax - (202) 228-0755.

John Cornyn
517 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Tel: 202-224-2934

Mac Thornberry
2208 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
T (202) 225-3706
F (202) 225-3486 


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Can the Amarillo Globe-News get a simple story right? Uh, no

Once again (and it’s getting tiresome), I am compelled to criticize the Amarillo Globe-News for poor — if not slanted — reporting on the crime situation in the Bivins neighborhood; and, in line with journalistic ethics, I disclose it’s my neighborhood. Since I can’t, and won’t, talk to this reporter or her editor, I am going to leave the question of motivation aside. Further, because I know who the process works, I’ll also note that a reporter can get it right but an editor can ruin the accuracy of a story with ease.

Let’s start with the crime data. The numbers in the story are based on “emergency” calls that required a report; and, the story isn’t clear how the calls to the non-emergency number are accounted for. If you saw the ABC7 Amarillo report on racial profiling, the take-away from that story was that the data from Amarillo Police Department are flawed, and not necessarily through the fault of the department or the officers on the ground. But, leave that aside for a moment.

Accepting the data as reported in the article, note that the 2.6 percent drop between a two-month period between 2016 and 2015 in the reported incidents in the neighborhood “doesn’t jibe,” as the headline states. But, for the same period in between 2015 and 2014, the incidents jumped 20.8 percent. In other words, the tenfold increase is insignificant while a smaller increase is. Never mind, by the way, that we’re dealing with three data points for a daily paper (I don’t call the Globe-News a “newspaper” anymore) of record for a city to conclude that the residents of a neighborhood are unduly alarmist. Nor, in fact, did the paper moderate its labeling on the basis of the incidents at the businesses on the north side of our neighborhood.

Devoting most of the story to dissecting one incident is as bad as the mishandling of the data.
All this is in spite of APD spokesman Brent Barbee explaining clearly and accurately why the data are flawed. Even more, it’s my opinion that the APD is being very responsive to our concerns. Ed Drain, the new chief, seems to be more responsive to citizen input than the former chief. The patrol officers and supervisors have met with us and are aware of the concerns. The last paragraph of the story is far behind this curve (as is Mayor Paul Harpole). It’s clear that the APD is much further along than “looking into” our situation.

Whether it’s the Globe-News’ attempt to paint APD in a bad light, or people from the neighborhood in a bad light, isn’t clear. What is clear is, that between the data and the “putting a face” on the neighborhood with one incident, the Globe-News once again pretends to do journalism and produces content that can’t stand up to analysis.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

What is my ministry? A personal note

Today is the Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle in the Episcopal Church. As such, St. Andrew’s in Amarillo celebrated with the liturgy and music for the occasion. It’s not unusual that I learn something every time I attend a service at this, my home parish. This time I learned that Andrew was the first Apostle, joining Jesus’ ministry to become, as Matthew’s Gospel version in today’s lectionary quotes Jesus, “Follow me, l make you fish for people.”

Andrew and 11 others decided that it was their ministry to join with this itinerant rabbi in spreading the word of God’s love for all people, including perhaps most importantly, the least of us but certainly, all of us. While a visitor or new parishioner might think that this was the only day we address ministry at St. Andrew’s, it isn’t; it was just the day we looked at the Gospel reading about it. The theme exists every day at St. Andrews, based on what Jo Roberts Craig, our retired rector (priest in charge), said when asking people to help out, “If it is your ministry ….”


For many years, my ministry at St. Andrews was to be a chorister. But we all have ministries outside of our churches. It might be hard to believe that I see my last twenty years as a journalist and blogger as a ministry but it is. I was on the cusp of starting my first class in seminary in Denver in 1995 when the seminary suddenly closed. I was at loose ends and as I looked through a pile of materials in my apartment, I found information for journalism programs at the University of Colorado and Metropolitan State College of Denver. The die was cast.

I make no profession as a Biblical scholar. To the degree I understand the Bible, I know I am not a “literalist,” meaning I don’t take the fundamentalist view that it is the exact words of God written through men. I believe the Bible is allegory, stories, drama and message — with the main one that, as Christians, must surpass all others: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

One of the hardest things for those 12 men’s ministry must have been to drop everything in their lives to follow this unknown thirty-something. Maybe ministry isn’t supposed to always be easy. It’s clear that at this point my ministry at St. Andrews is to be present. I am open to other engagement. What became more evident to me today than ever before it that I have an equally important and wider ministry. It’s to speak out against the unspeakable hate and divisiveness engendered over the past half-century or so and manifested most vividly with the election of Donald Trump.

Our elegant First Lady Michelle Obama recently exhorted the formula, “When they go low, we go high.” As a paradigm for changing political minds, it’s an ideal. In practical terms, I am not yet convinced it will work. We are in an age of post-fact America. We must somehow convince our body politic that the scandals, corruption, corporatism, pro-business, anti-consumer, anti-human and anti-humane, misogyny, homophobia, racism and hatred are real and the modus operandi of the right-wing are real. Thus, my huge challenge with this ministry is not just trumping Trump’s and his followers’ hate with love. The task extends to furthering justice, peace, equality and compassion. I can, and often do, use a sharp tongue and pen, even veering into vulgarity. So the almost insurmountable challenge is to do all this without sowing more hate.

I don’t see satire as hateful, of course. Asserting I won’t dirty my hands with his name by referring to him as movie villain Biff Tannen seems perfectly acceptable to me. But calling him “Cheeto?” I love it, but does it dilute my message? I really don’t know. And what about that behavioral model in my era of grammar school: You finally hit the bully back in the nose? Do I do that verbally and lose my impact? Do I tweet back one of his favorite epithets, “loser?” Is there any way to make it clear to Biff that mocking a disabled person as he did is unacceptable under any circumstances?

I am not asking people for input on these questions. I am grappling with these questions in my own way and in my own time.

This will end up on Facebook and I know some people will want to take me on about this. Some of those people are my real friends and they know how to reach me back channel. Others are “frenemies,” either on Facebook or in real life. I am going to block any comments that purport to “take me on” in this. Otherwise, please join me on my journey.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Let's play "whom do you trust?"

We all know one definition of insanity is to continue the same behavior while hoping for a different outcome. So, why would I be surprised when I read in an Amarillo Globe-News story slated for publishing Sunday that Amarillo’s City Council is following that path? Well, it may not be — at least if one relies on the Globe-News’ version.

The Globe-News stated, “In a statement following Wednesday’s sudden departure of former Interim City Manager Terry Childers, Mayor Paul Harpole announced Amarillo would once again turn to Strategic Government Resources to help fill the position of city manager.”


But that isn’t a done deal until the Nov. 22 council meeting. How do I know this? Because this is the exact language from Amarillo Mayor Paul Harpole’s statement to the media which Jesse Patton of the city’s PR office sent out: “Details about filling Childers’ position, and the steps Amarillo Council must take to move forward will be discussed at the upcoming Tuesday, Nov. 22 meeting along with reengaging the process with Strategic Government Resources (SGR) to find a permanent city manager.”

Look at those works carefully. It’s a discussion; and, while I would not be surprised if the council “re-engaged” with SGR because the council is unable to learn from past mistakes thus repeating errors hoping for a different outcome. The council has such a track record. But the Globe-News’ own report noted on Oct. 31, that the council would be cutting ties with SGR.

But if the Globe-News mischaracterizes the Harpole news release, how do we know the out-of-town-owned daily didn’t also mischaracterize something more important? The paper reports, “Weeks before the November election, Amarillo City Council members began meeting in executive session to discuss when and how best to move forward with hiring a city manager, and at their next regular meeting on Tuesday they plan to bring the conversation out from behind closed doors.”

First, if this is true, there is a serious question about the right of the City Council to go into executive session over such an interpretation of “personnel matters.” The discussion about a path forward hiring a city manager and whether to go with a search firm isn’t the same as a personal evaluation. If this paper’s characterization is true, the transparency pledge from the council is as empty as that see-through class of vodka. But, if this is a mischaracterization of the council’s behavior, then the Globe-News has visited another disservice on the people of Amarillo — just as classy as the “Goodbye Terry” editorial the other day. (Say classy, Les.)

Speaking of editorials, now the Globe-News is calling for slowing down the city manager search. Doesn’t this conflict with questioning why the council wasn’t done with this search and hire mission a long time ago? Yes, most emphatically, it does. In fact, according to the voice of the Globe-News, its Nov. 3 opinion called for the hire before next May’s municipal elections. What is happening behind the scenes for the Globe-News to change directions? Does the petulant publisher have a slate lined up to back with his little birdcage liner?


Let all this sink in, will you?

Friday, November 18, 2016

Hospital administrators and a lack of courage

It’s funny how certain actions trigger certain thoughts and memories. In my case, emptying the dishwasher brings up memories of my graduate program in hospital administration at the University of Iowa, which ended in 1969 with a master’s degree.

At a departmental farewell party, the now dead, director of the program, Gerhard Hartman, publicly invited me to continue for a Ph.D. I turned down that invitation. I don’t believe I ever shared why I declined to continue my education beyond the notion that I needed to begin supporting a family my wife and I planned to start soon. The previous year, one of the doctoral students washed out right at the point when he should gotten his degree. No one knew why, but I didn’t trust Hartman or the program.


Hartman was a hard and harsh taskmaster. I acknowledge that his setting that tone for some of the academic rigor was worthwhile. But, as I reminisce about the education and the way Hartman ran the program, I think I was intuitively aware that Hartman was morally bankrupt as were some elements of the program. Even more, Hartman was mean-spirited and that translated into the way he treated people. Hartman referred to my thesis advisor in front of our entire master’s class as a “martinet.” It wasn’t a compliment.

Hartman supplemented his income as department head and CEO of the university hospital with a consulting practice. I don’t know how he marketed himself to hospitals scattered throughout the Midwest, but I know how he handled the engagements. He assigned one of the doctoral students to supervise a team of three or four master’s students to gather demographic and socioeconomic data and ultimately put together a consultant’s report with recommendations for the hospital. Usually it was it was to cure the hospital board’s edifice complex by building something — another wing, a diagnostic building. I don’t remember any reported that didn’t carry some construction with it.

The report was to be formal, typed according to university standards and packaged for presentation. And, back then, grad students used freelance typists (an entire industry in a university town) who charged by the page. The master’s students on the team chipped in to pay for the typing. I don’t remember whether we paid for duplication or if Hartman used one of those high-end copy machines at the university. I do remember my share of the project was $150 in 1966 dollars. That was after we paid all the costs for travel to the hospital on the particular engagement.

The practice went on for years and somehow no one could ever bring up how Hartman was benefitting from this practice. It turned out that in 1977, Hartman got into trouble with the university and rumor had it he was also billing the university for some of those engagement costs. In that era, standing up to such an authority figure was unthinkable. I regret not having the courage, then, but this is a case of “if I knew then what I know now.”

When I was in the health care industry, I joked that the entire first semester of training for hospital administrators was devoted to learning how to serve coffee to the women’s auxiliary. The disdain that I have developed over the years grew as I witnessed hospital administrators show less backbone than a jellyfish has continued as I morphed into an investigative and health reporter. This came to mind earlier on Nov. 2, when I saw a story out of Boca Raton in the Palm Beach Post when the Boca Raton Regional Hospital charged a woman $7,000 for the use of a delivery room — despite the baby coming in the hospital’s parking lot. But that’s only part of the story. How did the hospital respond to the publicity? “A spokesperson for Boca Raton Regional Hospital says the administration has no comment at this time,” according to WPTV of West Palm Beach.

That is only the most recent incident that offers fodder for my evolved disdain for the graduate training at the University of Iowa. In part, it is because the Iowa program has lionized Hartman, naming an endowed chair for him and perpetuating him as an icon, all the while knowing he was morally bankrupt. Of course, like any institution, the university and the program itself, fends off any criticism or information that puts it in a bad light. Some of us, I suspect, see through that.


So what’s the point of posting this now, almost 50 years later? The past eight years, the debate about health care policy in the United States has revolved around the Affordable Care Act. Now, with the Republican coup d’état, we are further engaged in that debate. When are those supposedly trained to discuss policy going to help educate the public? Or, will they just quietly serve coffee to the hospital volunteers and cower in the corner?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

A petulant publisher and a damaged city

The “opinion” page of Thursday’s Amarillo Globe-News displayed a pettiness and stupidity rarely seen in the worst of our media. But, here it is, in all its glory.

Brief background: Tuesday evening, Terry Childers, Amarillo’s interim city manager, was caught on a hot mic calling a citizen a “stupid son of a bitch” after said citizen spoke during the City Council’s public comment session. Wednesday morning, Childers resigned. It was the second such public display of profanity and bad temper, so no matter how much anyone approved of the changes Childers brought to the city, it was time for him to hit the road.

And thus, we have the two-word editorial in the local newspaper of record. Former opinion page editor and local blogger, my friend John Kanelis, pretty much took the words out of my mouth by beating me to the punch opining about the unprofessional act by Les Simpson, the AGN publisher of the city’s newspaper of record. Kanelis’ post lit up Facebook brighter than Beth Duke’s and Xcel Energy’s Christmas Electric Light Parade.


After I saw this petulant little display today, I called Simpson “a petty, petulant and deplorable prig,” and I think I also called him a “prick” and a “little shit.” But those are puerile insults on my part. The most condemning label for Simpson is hypocrite.

He made a big show for himself and the Globe-News to be leaders of the downtown development effort. He wanted to portray the paper and his role as leadership and that he was doing something good for the city. Of course he and his buddies then brought us Melissa Dailey, Wallace Bajjali and millions of lost dollars and misguided plans. When the new councilors came on board in June 2015, it was clear that Simpson’s cabal was in trouble and it was Childers who delivered the death blow for Downtown Amarillo Inc. and Dailey. Poor Les. He’s been angry, vindictive and petulant ever since. He’s been using a paper that once won a Pulitzer Prize as an ugly stick to beat on his enemies.

Now, with this openly childish reaction, he shows his hypocrisy. Everything he and the Globe-News did was for self-aggrandizement. It was for business reasons, to foster ties with the people in control of advertising dollar. It was never for the good of the city. Because if Les were interested in the good of the city, he wouldn’t have waged a 52-week war on Childers and the new councilors. He would have realized that his little, petty media outlet will now, with this very act, jeopardize getting a solid candidate to be city manager.


Who, after all, in their right mind, would want to work in Amarillo now? Congratulations, Les. You have-not only shown your true colors, but you’ve done irreparable damage to the city.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Understanding media failure through history

Alyona Minkovski, a bit of an over-achiever at age 30, published an article on the Huffington Post on Nov. 11. The title, “Want Better Journalism? You Have to Support It,” really isn’t about that. Her analysis of the media failure is shallow and lacks an understanding of the historical context.

To understand the media landscape that brought us to this point, Minkovski needed to harken back to before she was born, when Rush Limbaugh launched his right-wing program from a station in Sacramento, Calif. He went national a few years later. If she could have listened to him then, Minkovski would have heard his nascent attacks on the mainstream media. The first weapon was tapping into the confirmation bias, a notion about which you are correct, with lies of commission and omission. His rhetorical technique was a classic one in this regard — start a sentence but not fully complete the thought, letting the already biased listeners fill in their blanks.


The second weapon drew on what we learned about public relations from Edward Bernays and Josef Goebbels. That was a steady drumbeat of lies designed to undermine the credibility of such stalwarts as The New York Times and the Washington Post. It’s known as “The Big Lie.” The Times and Post didn’t do themselves any favors with reporters like Judith Miller, Jayson Blair and Janet Cooke, either.

Once Limbaugh started, others followed: Michael Savage, Art Bell, Glenn Beck and others. And so, the drumbeat got louder.

Parallel was “The Dumbing Down of America.” It was outlined well in a revealing book by Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt, a former senior policy advisor in the United States Department of Education. Other books followed, including John Timan’s “100 Ways America Is Screwing Up the World,” which pointed the finger at several social trends, including but not limited to, corporatization, anti-intellectualism, anti-science and conservative Christians zealots. His was a summary of things started by the so-called Moral Majority in the 1970s. Meanwhile, the cult of celebrity rolled on. Youth no longer aspired to be great doctors, or teachers or scientists. They aspired to be celebrity singers, rappers, athletes and entertainers of all types. Ah, yes, it was now bread and circuses.

Yes, the chattering class, helped by the changes in the media landscape, became famous and insular. And Limbaugh and his confreres stoked the fires of separating the media from its constituents. Where Minkovski is correct is that some of the media itself started taking themselves more seriously than the news they were tasked to cover. You know one of the definitions of journalism is to publish things that others don’t want revealed. But the corporatization of the media meant that the good reporters’ very bosses were part of that world of the corporate takeover of our government — the very corrosion in our nation needed revelation. Sure the revenue models have changed, and for the for-profit media, it was a combination of incompetence and greed that diluted investigative reporting. Filling the void are the non-profits like ProPublica, the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and the Texas Tribune.

Now, this is the short version of something that has unfolded for some 40 years. We are at what historians call a watershed moment. As the son of Jews from Austria who left Europe in time, and as some students of history like me, the parallels to the rise of the Third Reich are frightening. To others, who wish to discount the obvious fascism, the Trumpsters throw out “Goodwin’s Law” in an attempt to discount our observations with the claim citing Hitler invalidates our view. They argue there are no roundups, concentration camps and gas chambers. My response is, “Not yet. But keep going and you’ll see.”


How the media handled this election can’t be understood and how the U.S. got to this point can’t be understood without the historical context and an understanding that corporatist elites own the government. Both 2016 candidates are elites. One tapped into the dark side of the U.S. and the other into the naïve side of the U.S. Ultimately both candidates are corporatists. Without a different kind of revolution, corporatist choices will continue. How and what unfolds remains to be seen, of course. But given what we’ve done to America’s intellect, I fear the worst.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Biff is not my president

It’s been about 24 hours since I and others realized that Hillary Clinton would not be president-elect.
Last night, during the fray, some of my friends on Facebook, including those who I know in real life, told me to get over it and move on. Pundits, Clinton herself and President Barack Obama called for unity. Well folks, that isn’t going to happen for me. I am not going to move on, I am not going to be part of the unity. I will avoid using the president-elect’s name, hereafter referring to him as Biff, as in Biff Tannen, the obscene bully, in the “Back to the Future” films.