Monday, May 30, 2016

Donald, the Bully!

There is something about Donald Trump that deeply frightens me! Of course! That is how bullies manage to thrive. They use fear tactics – much in the manner of terrorists! My even greater fear, however, is that Donald Trump is insane in addition to being a bully!
by Charlie Leck

Donald Trump is being defined these days, by a number of national columnists, as a fascist! It’s a term that has always baffled me and I went looking for answers. In an essay about defining Fascism, George Orwell concluded in this manner…
“…even the people who recklessly fling the word ‘Fascist’ in every direction attach at any rate an emotional significance to it. By ‘Fascism’ they mean, roughly speaking, something cruel, unscrupulous, arrogant, obscurantist, anti-liberal and anti-working-class. Except for the relatively small number of Fascist sympathizers, almost any English person would accept ‘bully’ as a synonym for ‘Fascist’. That is about as near to a definition as this much-abused word has come.
“But Fascism is also a political and economic system. Why, then, cannot we have a clear and generally accepted definition of it? Alas! we shall not get one — not yet, anyway. To say why would take too long, but basically it is because it is impossible to define Fascism satisfactorily without making admissions which neither the Fascists themselves, nor the Conservatives, nor Socialists of any colour, are willing to make. All one can do for the moment is to use the word with a certain amount of circumspection and not, as is usually done, degrade it to the level of a swearword.”
In a 1944 speech by then Vice President Henry Wallace, he defined the American fascists this way…
“The American fascists are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact. Their newspapers and propaganda carefully cultivate every fissure of disunity… They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.”
That (the above) is something all reasonable voters should think about when November comes around.
And, the thoroughly liberal columnist Robert Reich, has said the following…
“As did the early 20th-century fascists, Trump is focusing his campaign on the angers of white working people who have been losing economic ground for years, and who are easy prey for demagogues seeking to build their own power by scapegoating others.
Democracy Now carried the following headline on March 15th of this year: “Father of Fascism Studies [Robert Paxton*]: Donald Trump Shows Alarming Willingness to Use Fascist Terms and Styles!”
*Paxton is the professor emeritus of social science at Columbia University. He is the author of the book: The Anatomy of Fascisim.
Dana Milbank, in the Washington Post, says this about Donald Trump…
“I wish I could enjoy Trump, who at last week’s debate defended the size of his penis. But this isn’t a conventional debate between Democrats and Republicans or insiders and outsiders. Trump is on the wrong side of a struggle between decency and bigotry, between democracy and something else.
Glenn Beck, the enormously conservative talk-show host, is quoted in the article referred to above…
“We should look at Adolf Hitler in 1929. Donald Trump is a dangerous man with the things he has been saying.” [on ABC’s This Week show]
And, in an opinion column nearly a year ago in Newsweek, Dominick Reuter wrote:
“This is how strongmen take over countries. They say some true things, boldly, and conjure up visions of national greatness under their leadership. They’ve got the flags, the music, the hype, the hysteria, the resources, and they work to extract that thing in many people that seeks heroes and momentous struggles in which they can prove their greatness.
Is Donald Trump a fascist? I don’t think so. I don’t think he’s bright enough to understand what the term means and what it would be as a political or social system. BUT, he is, nevertheless, a very, very dangerous man!


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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Facebook is so Frustrating!

I go to Facebook because it keeps me connected with a number of people I really care about and I want to know what’s going on in their lives. There are also some old acquaintances with whom I’m able to renew connections. It’s fun when I can hear about their trip to Cuba or about a new recipe they tried out last night. When it gets into facts, politics, history and general opinions, I get pretty shaky about staying connected. Facebook is not the place to try to learn anything factual. Keep it light and keep it friendly; and as my old-lady used to say: “Don’t talk about politics or religion.” So here’s a few things that I didn't say on Facebook that I really need to get out.”
by Charlie Leck

Facebook is a lot like the guys who sat around in my old man’s luncheonette when I was a kid. We lived in a small, rural community and our place was a gathering spot for a lot of guys who didn’t really know what to do with their days. These guys would piss and moan about this and that. Some of them thought that old Harry Truman was a damned straight guy and some others thought he was one of the biggest losers and crooks ever to reside in the White House. Either way, these old fellows could say anything they wanted and they weren’t going to be hung by their scrotums if they were wrong.

I heard some of the most fantastic things from those old geezers as they sat around the big coal stove in the middle of the store on a chilly Saturday morning. A fellow could say almost anything he wanted and nobody would call him on it even if it was a little bit whacky. I guess it was part of their friendly code of politeness and acceptance.

That’s what happens on Facebook, too! It’s why I’ve tried to escape it a couple of times. I’ll get so incredibly upset at some utterly stupid remark that I about want to blow my top off. But there seems to be a Facebook code of politeness and acceptance. I’d almost go along with it if some of these whacko things weren’t said as if they Holy Scripture

Just the other day some gal named Emmie said this on the page of one of my dear Facebook friends:
“Obama is a Disgrace [sic] to our American country… we should not be apologizing to this country for anything, especially for their dead people, we have plenty of our own people that died because of them… Obama makes me so sick… vomiting…”
Naturally I had to fire back in anger in order to tell Emmie that the President did not apologize for anything to the Japanese and he had made it clear before he went that he was not going to do any apologizing. I doubt that Emmie ever picks up a copy of the NY Times even though it’s readily available in her town.

In the same column of replies was another by a fellow named Edward…
“I consider Barack Hussein Obama the worst president ever, a traitor, created a huge racial division among Americans. Obama’s policies and his administration sunk the U.S. under an unpayable debt, goes around the world apologizing against America.”
I didn’t fire back in response to this comment because Edward seems a bit shaky and uninformed and I didn’t believe if would do any good. If I did reply I’d tell Edward what I told Emmie. The President did no apologizing. None. Not one little drop of it! And, I’d remind Edward that our nation was on the brink of financial collapse when Obama took over from George W. Bush. The bank and housing crisis was very dangerous. Obama pulled us out of it and over the next 6 years strengthened our economy to a degree that it has not seen in a long, long time. And, our national debt is at a lower rate than it has been since the presidency of William Clinton (another Democrat who had a financial mess to clean up). Obama also inherited a crazy war in Iraq (a war that most rational people now admit should never have been fought – a war that cost our nation over three trillion dollars).

Then I would have told them both to at least try to know – a little bit – some of the facts so they can speak a bit more intelligently.

But, on Facebook we do not hold people accountable for what they say; nor do we demand that they supply facts to back up what they’re saying – just like they were sitting around the coal stove in my old man’s luncheonette.


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Friday, May 20, 2016

What Trump Really Offers

I am taken by remarks made by Robert Kagan in his May 18 column in the Washington Post; and, frighteningly, I think Kagan is correct! I urge you to read the entire column and not just this snippet!
by Charlie Leck
“We’re supposed to believe that Trump’s support stems from economic stagnation or dislocation. Maybe some of it does. But what Trump offers his followers are not economic remedies — his proposals change daily. What he offers is an attitude, an aura of crude strength and machismo, a boasting disrespect for the niceties of the democratic culture that he claims, and his followers believe, has produced national weakness and incompetence. His incoherent and contradictory utterances have one thing in common: They provoke and play on feelings of resentment and disdain, intermingled with bits of fear, hatred and anger. His public discourse consists of attacking or ridiculing a wide range of “others” — Muslims, Hispanics, women, Chinese, Mexicans, Europeans, Arabs, immigrants, refugees — whom he depicts either as threats or as objects of derision. His program, such as it is, consists chiefly of promises to get tough with foreigners and people of nonwhite complexion. He will deport them, bar them, get them to knuckle under, make them pay up or make them shut up.”
Please, I urge you to read the entire column.

We cannot allow Donald Trump to become President of the United States. This is a bad joke gone strangely popular – disgustingly popular!


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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Trump’s Business Nonsense

There can be no denial that Donald Trump is running on his business record! Right? You’ve heard him boasting of everything from steaks to wine and a university named after him.
by Charlie Leck

If Donald trump really runs on his business record and business acumen, we are pretty safe --- he’ll never get elected…

You can list a host of Trump biz endeavors that went bust! Trump is a jokester when it comes to biz! He ain’t got it! If he does to the nation what he did to all these biz ventures then the country is on its way to being a bust! Here’s a partial list of his failures (thanks to….

Trump Steaks didn’t go over very big at all. They were sold through Sharper Image
and that company’s CEO said they sold barely any steaks at all – maybe $50,000 worth.
A bust!
Go Trump was an on-line travel search engine – highlighting “Trump Picks.”  The site
shut down after a year of trying but failing.
Trump Airlines was a gigantic bust. In 1988 Trump paid $365 million for 17 Boeing
727s and added real maple trim and gold bathroom fixtures. In 1992 Trump defaulted
on the loans he took out to buy the planes.
Trump Vodka was launched in 2006 and managed to stay in business for 5 years. The
vodka went out of production in 2011.
Trump Mortgage was also launched in 2006 (a terrible time to get in the mortgage
business) and the home loan industry crash in 2007 and 2008 proved it. The company
went out of business after 19 months.
Trump the Game came out in 1989 as a joint venture with Milton Bradleyand hung
around for only a year. Gawker tells us “you can still buy a lightly used version of the
game for… $69 on Amazon.
Trump Magazine began publishing in 2007. You remember, don’t you, that this was a
very bad business year. The magazine was aimed at high end readers and consumers. Advertisers weren’t very interested in the Trump opportunity.
Trump University is one of the Donald’s more famous failures. It was started to teach
real estate business strategies to people who paid huge sums and got very little for what
they paid. Many of them are still suing the Donald on this one. It lasted for 5 years.
Trump Ice was a bottle water venture started in 2004. It lasted for less than a year.
The New Jersey Generals lasted for two football seasons (1984-1985) in the United
States Football League. The new league was supposed to compete with the NFL. It
Tour de Trump launched in 1989 attempted to establish bike races similar to the Tour
de France.  After two years of bike races from Albany to Atlantic City, Trump sold out
the organization to DuPont (which promptly took Trump’s name off it).
Trump of the Ocean was a restaurant and catering business that opened in 2012. It
was located in Jones Beach (Long Island) and it was taken out by Hurricane Sandy in
that same year.
Trump Network launched in 2009 to sell vitamins produced by Ideal Health, a
company Trump bought the same year. The ads for the vitamins were grossly
exaggerated and the company went out of business within two years.
Trumped was a radio show launched in 2004. Office Depot sponsored the two
minute long show that featured Donald Trump talking about whatever came into his
head (and we know where that leads). One segment was titled “No More Viagra for
Rapists!”  It hung around for four years. Why, oh why did it ever fail? I don’t
Trump New Media was to be launched in 1998 but it never got off the ground. It
planned to provide high speed internet connections. The competition proved too stiff.

This is only a short list of his failures. One could go on and on with even more, but you get the idea. Just imagine what Donald Trump could do to the country.


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Monday, May 16, 2016

The Religious Right and Donald Trump

The headlines barked the naked, strange truth this morning. The religious right “is warming to Donald Trump.” Oh, my God!
by Charlie Leck

In the eyes of conservative Christians, I would imagine that Donald Trump must be viewed as a sinful man. Yet, for many things such Christians are forgiving – not for all things, mind you, but for many things. For instance, Donald Trump has been generally supportive of the Gay/Lesbian/Transgender movement. It appears that the religious right can overlook that and his traditional support of Planned Parenthood. In these days when they are moving closer and closer to open support of Donald Trump for President, those matters are set aside and his more serious sins of contempt and misuse of women are being outright forgiven. He is a changed man. I’m not sure that change has come from a come-to-meeting encounter with Jesus, but the faithful followers on the right believe he has matured into a meaningful Christian.

“Anyway, he’s better than that Hillary women,” more than one of them have been heard to say.

“Amen! Halleluiah! You betcha!”

Trump has been trumpeting a promise that he’ll appoint Supreme Court justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade! That gets him a lot of support among the very religious right.

This support from the right is not to be seen as a small matter. It is, as Bernie Sanders would say, “Youuge!” It comes with millions of dollars of campaign support and plenty of door to door volunteers – and mentions in sermons – and admonitions to congregants about whom to vote for from pastors – and blessings galore.

It is quite a bullet the religious right will need to bite, but bite it they will. Anything, they will say, is better than the godless, sinful Hillary!

Any of us who think that Mr. Trump hasn’t a chance to get elected had better think again and look back on how we tittered and hooted when he first announced he would take a crack at the Republican primaries. Oh, my!

Forgotten is all the concern about how sinful the religious right thought Donald Trump was way back then – when!

The right is thinking of Mr. Trump as a convert these days, though I don’t think he has really had an enlightened encounter with the Lord; and, I believe, he is religiously where he has always been.

If you examine the newspapers carefully, you will be noticing the emergence of dozens and dozens of women who want to relate their encounters and experiences with Donald Trump (and most of these women speak or write about disgusting behavior on the part of the man who would be President). This is not just an injected paragraph. It's meant as part of my description of who this man really is!

How does one measure whether or not one has encountered the man we call Lord?

I’m quite sure my thoughts on this are sound. It comes from plenty of thoughtful attention to the historical life of the man we call Lord. To link oneself to him means to develop a deep and loving concern for those who are orphaned or in refuge, poverty, disease and helplessness; however, most of the religious right does not understand encountering the Lord the same way I do. Their concept has more to do with what they get out of such an encounter, in terms of an improved life, rather than the challenge and responsibility it places on them to love and serve their brothers and sisters in life. Donald Trump will fit in with that concept better than they, themselves, ever really thought.

Our Lord speaks of loving our neighbor as a means of inheriting eternal life. He is asked: “Who is my neighbor?”

I think his answer to that question says everything we need to know to become one of his followers.

In reply Jesus said:...
“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.
 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.  So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.  But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.  He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him.  The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”



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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Bernie Sanders’ Lesson for the Church!

Or, How the Church Can Save Itself!
Progressive American churches ought to learn – had better learn – something from Bernie Sanders and his 2016 campaign for the Democratic Party’s nomination to run for President of the United States. It appears Sanders will not win that campaign, but it is also very apparent that Bernie Sanders won over massive numbers of millennials during his campaign.

by Charlie Leck

The word on the street is that the American Protestant church is in trouble. The generally accepted thought is that young people and young adults (often called “the millennials”) have no stake or any interest in the Protestant Church as a relevant or important institution or organization in America. The theory is that America’s Protestant Churches will be nigh onto empty in another decade or two. I understand this.

The church has never historically thought of itself as a builder of communities nor a promoter of the manner in which communities serve its residents. And it is true that most of the creators of community organizations and the fundamental laws and practices of cities and towns have never thought the contemporary church had any role in such shaping. Too bad!

It’s too bad because someone, somewhere, somehow, is missing out on powerful institutions in America’s communities that could be an influential force in determining community practices in America’s future.

What if contemporary progressive churches took loud and public positions in favor of a real and fair redistribution of America’s wealth? What if those same progressive churches made it obvious that they stood four-square against homelessness? What if these same churches declared date-goals by which such homelessness and such out-of-balance wealth should be eliminated (and these dates would not be in some far-distant time)?

What if this large body of cooperating churches agreed and demanded that hunger in America be abolished completely? And, even beyond that, what if these same churches agreed together to demand the total end to poverty itself. And, that prisons should be improved to the point that they are humane and safe places in every single state.

What if hundreds – even thousands – of such progressive churches stood adamantly together in favor of such goals? And what if they, together, pledged millions of dollars to lobby city councils, county bodies and state legislators to support and fund such programs.

What if thousands of churches across America stood firmly together to end loose and frivolous ownership of guns and weapons that went beyond sport-hunting, self-protection and target competition? What if the same churches also agreed adamantly that all Americans should have medical services of equal quality at no cost; and Americans should have free access to all government owned colleges and universities?

Imagine if all these churches – linked together – demanded just voting laws, fairer pay and wages for everyone, and no sexual discrimination in any field or occupation.

Imagine if these churches – thousands of them – linked with similar churches and progressive religious organizations around the world – demanded peace and humane living standards for all peoples all around the globe.

What if the progressive church decided to do what our God and our Master has begged and begged us to do down through the centuries and now also – now – at this particular moment in history?

What if our hymns, all the time, were about true justice, liberty and equality for all people – now?

What if the church, with one voice, demanded honesty, fairness and adherence to our nation’s laws from the manufacturers of pharmaceuticals? Of weapons? Of Tobacco? Of the food we eat?

What if all the progressive churches – together – demanded the break-up of the giant banks and financial institutions? What if they demanded boycotting American companies that abandon our nation just to escape income taxes while still reaping most of their profits from our citizens? What if we demanded that the super wealthy contribute more fairly through taxes to meet the nation's financial needs?

Such sermons pouring from our pulpits – from progressive clergy and pastors – would sound like the voice of Bernie Sanders! And, they would, as well, sound like the voice and commandments of our Lord!

Such is the way, we would tell the millennials, that our Master spoke when he walked upon the earth and called fellow human beings to follow him. Such is what he wanted from us so that we might know God!

What if the progressive church provided, in addition to its centers of worship, facilities that would provide its members with ways to stay healthy and fit in mind, body and spirit?

The contemporary, progressive religious organization could be just what the followers of Bernie Sanders are looking for. Come unto us ye who want justice, fairness and liberty for all mankind, and we will join you in demanding it!

To date the progressive protestant churches have been too meek and too silent about that for which they stand – about that for which our Lord stood! We’ve got to begin to shout it out as loudly as Bernie did!

“Come join us, you who want justice and fairness for all peoples, and raise your voices with us! Come organize with us! Come pray for and work for justice!”

How can the modern, Protestant, American church save itself? By following the commandments of our Lord! By working for justice! By working for physical and spiritual health! We must boast of such goals and let our communities know that it is this for which we stand! It is why we gather! It is why we organize! It is why we pray! If we sounded like Bernie -- or Jesus -- the millennials would gather with us!


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Saturday, May 7, 2016

“Who’da thunk It?”

I’ve come up with a pretty clear picture of Donald Trump. In case you don’t know it, he will run in November as the Republican candidate for President of the United States (POTUS). I absolutely cannot believe it! And I just cannot imagine it! I underestimated the stupidity of a large percentage of the Republican Party – and a large part of the general public. I could never have imagined that either would do this! So, I’ve tried to draw myself a picture of Donald Trump, as closely as I can depict him; and what I’ve come up with isn’t pretty. We have a strange, narcissistic and psychologically imbalanced man who wants to be our president!by Charlie Leck

Since restarting this blog as a way of releasing frustrations, I’ve generally failed both at my predictions and at ridding myself of anger and aggravation.

What rankles me most is that Donald Trump doesn’t mind being a liar, a prevaricator. That makes him a very dangerous person.

I’m also upset that Trump believes almost everything he hears if it will be beneficial to him for those things to be true.

Someone I read in the last day or two compared Donald Trump to Ted Nugent. Do you remember that jerk? Nugent was blatant about calling President Obama “a subhuman mongrel” and once told him to “suck on my machine gun!” Nugent also suggested that President Obama be lynched.

I’ve met and gotten to know people like Donald Trump. These people say whatever pops into their heads without any kind of filtering. They’ll most often preface what they say with something like… “I’ve heard that…” or “someone told me that…” so they don’t personally get charged with slander or lying.

Then I must talk of narcissism! Donald Trump is a narcissist and there is great danger in that. When Donald Trump looks into a mirror, he doesn’t see the image that is staring back at him. He sees something far beyond that and his mind is able to block out any of the big or little defects he sees in himself. That is what narcissism is!

The danger of narcissism in one who is a leader is frightening!

Jeb Bush, who dropped out of the race, was absolutely correct when he said that Trump lacked “the temperament or strength of character” needed by a president. None of the gentlemen Bush fellows will endorse Donald Trump. Mrs. Bush is said to be terribly angry and upset about the Trump candidacy.

Republican Senator Lindsay Graham, South Carolina, said this week that Mr. Trump was unfit to be commander-in-chief.

John McKager Stipanovich, a lobbyist and loyal Republican fund-raiser said it will be difficult to get financial support for the Trump candidacy.

“Obviously, Trump has spent an awful lot of time in the last year disparaging people like that!”
Stipanovich wonders if the Trump workers will eventually come crawling on their knees to the party, begging for help! I wonder if they will get such help and I admit quite freely that they probably will – in return for certain promises!

One of the great dangers of the Trump run is…
its impact on House members and U.S. Senators up for reelection. Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, worries that Trump may be a drag on the rest of the ticket.

There are a whole bunch of Trump mistakes that the electorate will be reminded about. Here are a few…
  • Trumps attacks on Muslims and Hispanics
  • The David Duke fiasco
  • The abortion exchange with Chris Matthews (criminality of abortion)

I am unsettled, and I believe many, many Americans are also, about how seriously Mr. Trump takes the office and the power it presents him. President Obama wondered last week if Trump understand that “...this is not entertainment! This is not a reality show!”

Former Republican Governor of Texas, Rick Perry described the Trump campaign as a “barking carnival act” and said Trump was a “cancer on conservatism!” Now Perry is wondering if he might be Trump’s running mate.

Former Louisiana governor, Bobby Jindal, while still in the race himself, called Trump “dangerous” and a narcissist and an egomaniac.” Now he’s endorsed Trump, but admitted he wasn’t “happy about it!”

Senator Rand Paul, Republican Senator from Kentucky said: “Donald Trump is a delusional narcissist and an orange-faced windbag. A speck of dirt is more qualified to be President.”

Trump has been particularly rough and profane when talking about one of my favorite Americans – Senator Elizabeth Warren – calling her a “goofus” and a “basket case.” It might be because Senator Warren has been one of Trump’s biggest critics, vowing a strong fight to keep him out of the White House.

“Donald Trump has built his campaign,” Senator Warren said, “on racism, sexism and xenophobia!”  She also talked about the enthusiasm that exists for Trump among the leaders of the KKK.

What I and all of Trump’s detractors must realize is that he is very good at dictating the “terms of engagement.” He is a manipulator par excellance. He always tries to get his opponents talking about what he wants to talk about (and is prepared to talk about). Trump will try to put Hillary Clinton constantly on the defensive and he will try to prevent her from making any attacks.

Dana Millbank, of the Washington Post, reminds us that even though there are a significant number of Republicans who will refuse to support Trump, it is amazing that so many are now rallying to him, forgetting the following…

On U.S. companies relocating overseas: “You can tell them to go f--- themselves!”
On China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea: “They’re ripping the sh-- out of the sea.”
On the Islamic State: “I would bomb the sh-- out of ISIS!”
On dealing with China: “Listen you motherf---ers, we’re going to tax you 25 percent!”
On climate change: “This very expensive global warming bullsh-- has got to stop!”

The following is NOT bullshit. It comes from the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget: “Trump would increase government spending more than Hillary Clinton.

Many conservatives worry that Trump is more liberal than Hillary Clinton.

Here are a number of Republicans who have said they will NOT vote for Trump in November…
  1.  Lindsay Graham (Senator from South Carolina)
  2.  Kevin Madden (veteran GOP strategist)
  3.  Jeb Bush (former Florida Governor)
  4. Scott Rigel (Congressman from Virginia)
  5.  Ben Sasse (Nebraska Senator)
  6.  Reid Ribbie (Wisconsin Congressman)
  7. Christie Todd Whitman (former NJ Governor)
  8.   Elliot Cohen (well known, active Republican who served under both Bush presidents)
  9.  Peter Weiner (speech-writer under Ronald Reagan, GW Bush and GHW Bush)
  10. JC Watt (former Oklahoma Congressman)
  11. Mel Martinez (former Florida Senator)
  12. Carlos Curbelo (Florida Congressman)

Kathleen Parker, of the Washington Post, wonders if we know that “…because he’s a shrewd dealmaker with deep pockets and unencumbered by a moral compass, both his platform and style were crafted to fit the finding of extensive polling he commissioned before announcing his run.”

She also made the following insightful comment:
“The GOP began digging its own grave years ago and dropped one foot in when McCain selected Sarah Palin as his running mate. With Trump’s almost-certain nomination, the other foot has followed!”
I would add that a lot of these problems with which the GOP is now contending began when it so blatantly flirted with the Tea Party Movement.

Jennifer Rubin, also of the Washington Post, wrote: “Stop Trump, then remake conservative politics!”

I agree – and hope they’ll remake it without the Tea Party influence and without “hate politics!”

The Washington Post Editorial Board says: “Donald Trump sets a new record for economic recklessness!” Who would have thought that would ever be said of the Republican candidate?

In spite of all that I’ve written above and the pretty ugly picture I’ve given you of Donald Trump, I have absolutely no predictions about the out-come of this November’s elections.


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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Thoughts from My Snuggery!

On the coming election – on Bernie, Hillary and Michael Bloomberg! I have this nagging feeling that this year’s presidential election will be one of the most important in history. I am hoping people will not gamble when they vote this year. There is far too much at stake. In terms of defining America, I think this election has importance nearly as significant as the elections of 1860 and 1932. Here are some of my thoughts about this election.
by Charlie Leck

On Bernie Sanders!
With the apparent realization that Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic Party’s candidate for the U.S. Presidency,
the NY Times Editorial Board had this to say about Bernie Sanders
“The Democratic Party and Mrs. Clinton are better off for Mr. Sanders’s presence in this race. His criticism, as Winston Churchill might say, was not agreeable. But it called necessary attention to unhealthy developments in the Democratic Party, including its at-times obliviousness to the lingering economic pain of the middle class and the young, and its drift toward political caution over aspiration.”
And the editorial concludes this way…

“But to truly unify the party, Mrs. Clinton and party leaders must work to incorporate Mr. Sanders and what he stands for in the party’s approach to the general election. It would also help to acknowledge that the party has strayed at times from its more aspirational path.
“Unlike the voices on the Republican side, Mr. Sanders’s has elevated this campaign. The Democratic Party should listen.”
Well, the NY Times has got it right – and, in the next few months, it is important that Bernie Sanders gets it right as well. He is now a national figure of very large proportion. He needs to hold Mrs. Clinton’s fingers to the fire and he needs to give her his support to keep the White House under the Democrats’ control. If he can help take back the House and the Senate, all the better.

Sanders has all these abilities. The question is: Does Bernie Sanders have the energy after his grueling and very successful campaign. We must hope so!

I have been an admirer of Senator Sanders for many years. He brings fresh thinking and rational thinking to the U.S. Senate. He scoffs at ideas when they should be scoffed at! He supports sensible ideas with vigor. He had the brains and tenacity to oppose the wretched 2003 invasion of Iraq by U.S. military forces under President George W. Bush.

What happened to the Republic Party in 2016?
Someone who is probably not even a Republican, but found it convenient to be one in this particular year, has kidnapped the Grand Old Party. Of course, that someone is Donald Trump!

The Republican Party was lazy and unwatchful in late 2015 and early 2016. While they should have been coalescing behind a qualified candidate for President and developing a plan and a platform of ideas for America, they could only rise to an unparalleled level of negativism and opposition. They were not a party of ideas or of hope! They made the political atmosphere ripe for Donald Trump to step into the abyss. Republicans can rightfully blame Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Paul Ryan and a few other lazy and dizzy legislators for the Donald Trump phenomenon.

Why weren’t these guys talking to the brilliant former Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, instead? Bloomberg would have drawn huge numbers of Democrats to support him.

My only hope (I’ll be 76 when this election takes place) is that the Republican Party will somehow find a way to deradicalize and discover its former place only slightly right of center. From there they can work with the next President to turn America back to the dream it has always held; that is, that we can again be a nation for, of and by the people.

Goodnight Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are! (I dined a week or so ago in Little River, SC, at the Calabash Seafood Restaurant; and folks at that establishment claim that the famous Mrs. Calabash was one of them.)

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Monday, May 2, 2016

Daniel J. Berrigan

When I turned to the NY Times this morning, as I do nearly every morning, I was saddened to learn of the death of Father Daniel J. Berrigan. He was a man – a Jesuit – a Catholic Priest – who had an enormous impact on my life and my thinking. And, Father Berrigan had a huge sense of fairness, righteousness and justice.
by Charlie Leck

I was surprised to learn from the obituary that Father Daniel J. Berrigan was born here in Minnesota in 1921 – to a father of Irish descent and a mother of German nationality. He came to my attention in the early sixties while I was struggling about the questions of racial injustice and about the senselessness of our nation’s war in Vietnam. Berrigan spoke boldly and clearly about both of these issues. And certainly, he must be regarded as one of the most important historical figures who early-on condemned the Vietnam war as gruesome, cruel and unnecessary.

Berrigan’s protest against the war was not just an academic matter, but he took to the streets and was willing to defy legal standards in order to awaken the nation to the “unrighteousness” of this war.

For instance, he and his brother, Philip, (also a priest) were arrested in 1967 for stealing draft records in Baltimore and pouring blood upon them. In 1968, Daniel and historian, Howard Zinn, traveled to Hanoi during the Tet Offensive to receive three American airmen who were being held as prisoners of war. After that he stepped up his very visible protests against the war and became a very recognized clergyman against our activities in Vietnam.

Because of Berrigan (and the young William Sloan Coffin, Jr.), I spoke from the pulpit of my church sometime during 1968 against the war and declared that Christians were called by Christ to stand in opposition to such unjust and unnecessary combat. I firmly believed it then and believe it as rigorously today.

Berrigan, however, took his protest to a new level. He accused and charged that America’s churches and synagogues were standing silent in the face of this unjust and unnecessary war.

Beginning in 1968, more and more prominent clergyman, all across America, began to speak up against the war and also joined protestors by marching in the streets, clogging traffic and making it difficult to enter or exit the entrances to federal buildings. I took part in such marches in 1968 and 1969 and Berrigan and Coffin were my constant inspirations.

So, I spent a few silent moments this morning thinking again of the toughness and faithfulness of Daniel J. Berrigan who died at the age of 94.

I recommend the obituary in the NY Times to you.

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