In fairness to POTUS

The president once again displays that he is at least as non-partisan, fair-minded and democratically inclined as his recent Supreme Court pick, Justice Kavanaugh.  If you need proof of this, look no further than his latest prophecy:

Trump tweet.JPG

The wags on the internet are saying the only university that might study this would be Trump University.   Fake news fucks…

On a more serious note, who on earth is Peter S, and why are those vicious crooks defending him?  Sounds sinister indeed!

Fair Elections

When I went to vote the other evening, in the cafeteria of the nearby middle school, I found the table where my immediate neighbors and I get our ballots.   They opened a spiral bound book to a page where my name and my signature appeared over a blank box.   They turned the book around, handed me a pen and I signed in the blank box.   The two signatures did not look identical, I noted to myself.   As they handed me my ballot I commented that it was nice I didn’t need five kinds of specific government issued ID in order to vote.   The poll workers at the table smiled.

“How do you know I’m not one of those three million dead Mexicans who voted against the president last time?”  I asked, with a zombie-like smile.    They emitted a small laugh that made me later add to my telling of the story “I thought you poll watchers were supposed to be nonpartisan.”   I took the large, two page ballot, with the ambiguous and problematic ballot initiatives I’d decided to vote against (2 out of 3 passed) and voted for a bunch of people I don’t particularly like, none of the candidates I’d supported in the primaries had made it to the final ballot.   That’s America.   If you still don’t think it’s important to vote for lesser evils, look no further than lying, irrational, authoritarian, two year-old President Pantload and tell me so.   We have a shit system, make the best of it, folks.

At 4:44 a.m., as even I was making little sleeping sounds on my pillow, our president tweeted this:

Screen shot 2018-11-13 at 1.19.52 PM.png

Same shit, different day.   After he lost the popular vote in November 2016 by about three million votes he came up with the story that three million dead Mexicans had come out of their graves to vote for his lying, crooked, felonious opponent.  He’d been fraudulently robbed of a huge landslide victory that was rightfully his.  He formed a committee to uncover this massive illegal zombie voter fraud[1].   It was headed by his religious fanatic V.P., a Koch-funded zealot, and Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach, also funded by Koch (in their home state).   Kobach styled himself an expert in voter suppression though he lost his bid to become governor of the largely Republican state.   Kobach’s loss was, due, likely (or unlikely, if you prefer), to massive fraud by the very people whose votes he was trying to suppress.  Here the brilliant Jane Mayer analyzes the Trumpist’s loss.

Study after study shows that in person voter fraud is virtually non-existent.  The real fraud in American elections is in how the candidates are selected (based largely on their ability to raise huge sums of money, particularly oceans of that limitless dark money) and how easily electronic voting machines can be manipulated to get the desired results.   Oh, yes, and how many votes are suppressed by a variety of measures including laws that target certain problematic demographics, the young, minorities, etc.

Now that Barack Obama is safely in prison after illegally wiretapping Trump during the last presidential campaign and the millions of dead Mexican rapist voters are back in their graves, stakes through their hearts, and the most extreme partisan available was forced through to cement the rightist majority on the  Supreme Court, and the Saudis have exonerated themselves for the premeditated murder of a prominent critic, and in spite of continued mass shootings there are no more hysterical cries for sensible gun control (that would cost, conservatively, 10,000,000, or possibly even a billion, American jobs, along with our freedom)  everything should go back to normal now.    The president’s party, in spite of losing 32 seats (with ten still too close to call) in the House, and six governors (with two too close to call), had a big win in the midterms, getting all nine of their senate seats that were up for grabs, or most of them, or whatever.   Huge night for the president and his agenda, whatever that may be.

God bless these United Shayssssh and, for god’s sake, go back to sleep Mr. President!

 

[1] Jane Mayer:

The commission disbanded in disrepute after becoming stymied by in-fighting and the failure to find any significant fraud, but it nonetheless helped to make Kobach a rising conservative star.   source

Hiding Damaging Information

What was once the speciality of organized crime dons, making information that’s bad for business disappear, and pesky witnesses, they also need to go, is now a cornerstone of good corporate governance.   It is not limited to government officials, who have long concealed the bad things they do, going back to the days when the Author of Liberty, Thomas Jefferson enjoyed the services of a shady journalist, James Callander [1], who smeared Jefferson’s political opponent prior to the 1800 presidential election.   A few years later Callander drowned in shallow water near the shore of a Virginia river, after turning on the Author of Liberty and smearing him by publishing the salacious, long-concealed facts of the president’s long sexual affair with “Dusky Sally” Hemings, his slave, and fathering mixed race children.  Making evidence disappear is the best way to do business unimpeded and to ensure one’s legacy, and it’s not just for psychopaths anymore.

This ugly blustering clown we have abusing the bully pulpit now is perhaps our most grotesque national example.   The murder of that Saudi journalist in the Saudi consulate?    We have to wait for the Saudi investigation to conclude to see if they killed him or not.   Conflicts of interest, using the office of the president to increase his personal wealth, appointing unqualified people to powerful positions based solely on their personal loyalty to him, lying about a group of desperate migrants fleeing more than a thousand miles on foot to make a legal request for asylum, encouraging hate crimes by violent, sometimes unhinged, rhetoric, demonizing the press, denying climate catastrophe, blaming states for federal failures to act, on and on.   What do you say about all this, Mr. President, sir?   The liberal media is lying about me because I am winning so much!

Now that the Democrats are once again in charge of House committees, I hope Jerald Nadler, soon to be chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, will make good on his promise to investigate the likely perjury of Brett Fucking Kavanaugh.  Let us leave aside the raging debate about whether the pouting parisan could have been convicted in a criminal trial based on Blasey-Ford’s testimony– and let us agree he could not have been, certainly not without a thorough FBI investigation that could have provided corroboration — and the serious questions about his judicial temperament after a passionate temper tantrum during which he snortingly denounced the vast, well-funded godless liberal conspiracy against him.  Let’s leave aside the immediate, real-time addition, from an IP address inside  the House of Representatives, to Wikipedia updating “Devil’s Triangle” to include the drinking game he’d made up lying to Sheldon Whitehouse under oath about the meaning of one of the brags under his photo in his prep school yearbook.  We’ll even forget, for the moment, his belligerent demeanor, his sense of entitlement and the many evasive things he said, including several likely lies under oath.

Let us only focus, for a minute, on the historically liberal classification of his written record as a lawyer and judge.   90% of his legal writings were withheld from scrutiny during the disgracefully partisan confirmation process.   Classified, top secret, like his president’s financial information.

This shroud of secrecy over Kavanaugh’s partisan record, dating back to his law student years as a hard drinking Federalist Society zealot, contrasts starkly with the full records disclosed for every previous nominee, for each of  Obama’s recent appointees.    Kagan and Sotomeayor’s full writings from their judicial and legal careers were given to the Senate Judiciary Committee (and Obama had a terrible record on transparency, in spite of his many inspirational speeches about it).   Less than 10% of petulant partisan Kavanaugh’s record was available for scrutiny by the body rubber stamping the zealot’s rushed confirmation by a one vote majority.

Fine, the extremely limited FBI investigation into Blasey-Ford’s allegation, with the artificial and deliberate one week timeline truncated by the lying president’s maneuvers to actually about three or four days,  did not turn up corroboration.    Fine, there was a deliberate effort to hide most of Kavanaugh’s political zealotry.   Fine, he got a little worked up defending his “good name” and intemperately attacked everyone he believed was behind the conspiracy to destroy his life, especially Bill and Hillary Clinton.  

Not fine, he clearly had a lot to hide and appears to have lied repeatedly to the Senate Judiciary Committee, under oath.   The House Judiciary Committee has the power to issue subpoenas for witnesses, to hold hearings.   Do it, Jerald.  Checks and balances are nothing unless the powers that uphold them are regularly exercised.   And by the way, we have a right to hear more, under oath, from this snarling partisan piece of shit, Mr. Kavanaugh.

 

[1]   From the Monticello website:

Having established himself as a journalist in Philadelphia, Callender proceeded to criticize elements of the U.S. Constitution that he believed were undemocratic, such as the election of the president through the Electoral College. He said that the Senate was flagrantly unrepresentative because it was not directly elected by the people, and blasted George Washington, who had “debauched” and “deceived” the nation by promoting himself as a popular idol. An advocate of an unfettered press, Callender declared, “The more that a nation knows about the mode of conducting its business, the better chance has that business of being properly conducted.”2 Throughout Callender’s career his writings were rabidly partisan.

source

Democracy is for racists too

In Florida’s gubernatorial election, the white candidate told Floridians who might be considering a vote for his rival, the black mayor of Tallahassee, “not to monkey this up.”   The race was close, quite possibly would have gone the other way if the 1.4 million disenfranchised Florida voters a disproportionate number of whom are black, had the right to vote restored after serving their sentences.  This lifetime ban from voting dates to an 1838 Florida constitutional provision tweaked thirty years later, after the Civil War, to comply with the letter of the amended U.S. Constitution while ensuring blacks did not take over the government.   Florida is one of the few states who have this kind of lifetime disenfranchisement law, a law that affects almost a quarter of Florida’s black voters.   The law was abolished by Florida voters in the election a few days ago, by a fairly robust margin.   Now the next time a white candidate urges Floridians to “not monkey it up” there is a better than even chance he will have his racist ass monkeyed up at the polls.

Democracy, of course, is for racists too.   The president called himself a nationalist during at least one of his many recent televised Nuremberg-style campaign rallies.   At a combative press conference after his party lost the House of Representatives and there was a swing of governors that virtually evened the national map, a black female reporter asked the president if calling himself a nationalist didn’t embolden white nationalists.  The president dismissed the question:  “I don’t know why you’d say that.  It’s such a racist question.”    He repeated the phrase “racist question” in that tic-like way of his, repeating a good tasting talking point for emphasis, several times.   This fellow knows something about racist questions, they were part of his father’s review process for apartment rentals until the Fair Housing Act made race-based discrimination a federal crime.

Racism is not a uniquely American problem, though our version of it has impressively exceptional roots.  Not every country enshrined race-based slavery in its founding democratic constitution, protected the liberties of the owners of other people, inferior people, at law for almost a century, fought a bloody war to preserve or abolish it, instituted racist laws and had a century of terrorism against the formerly enslaved race winked at by local law enforcement.   You want American Exceptionalism?   Look no further than our history of racism at law and its kissing cousin, de facto racism.   Let’s not talk about what Andrew Jackson’s fortune made in slavery and land speculation, the Indian Removal Act or the Chinese Exclusion Act, let’s move on.  

On October 24, 2018 two African Americans, Maurice Stallard (69) grocery shopping with his grandson, and Vicki Lee Jones (67), walking to her car, were shot to death by a 51 year-old white racist named Gregory Bush.  Bush had lost his right to have a gun after violence in his home, but he’d had that right restored.   Easier to get your gun back than your vote, apparently.    We say this man “allegedly” shot the two to death at Krogers, after trying and failing to enter a locked black church, though he was seen killing them by many witnesses.   The famous presumption of innocence, you understand.   He gets his right to a fair trial, no mob is going to take him out and lynch him just because he murdered a couple of people, or somebody said he did, anyway.   That wouldn’t be American!  They are still puzzled about why the racist fuck killed two black people, they’re investigating, you know.

Because we Americans have a five second attention span, the story of the racist murder of two random black people in Kentucky was wiped off the screen by the revelation, the very next day, that a staunch supporter of the president had sent pipe bombs to more than a dozen notable enemies continually railed against by the president.   Two days later another maniac walked into a synagogue and started spraying bullets, leaving eleven dead, including a woman who was almost 100 years old.   It struck me over and over that Maurice Stallard and Vicki Jones’s murders were not included in the tally of recent hate crimes.   Merely being shot to death while grocery shopping with your grandson, or in the parking lot outside the Jeffersontown, Kentucky supermarket, well, bad shit happens, I guess.   Hard to keep track of it all!   There was a mass shooting in a club in California the other day, too bad all the people there didn’t have guns to shoot the shooter.

Now our slippery nationalist president is on the ropes as he lies about his great recent victory in the midterms, during which his party lost their majority in the House and only held on to the Senate because Republicans only had nine seats in play while the Democrats had twenty something, and several of those states had gone handily to the president in 2016.   He was snarling at reporters, seemed to be feeling desperate, fired the Attorney General he’s been mocking and humiliating for the last year or two and is poised to make some daring, desperate gangster moves.  He’ll be OK, we all know, because he’s pretty much a delusional psychopath who has never been accountable for a single fuck up in his life.   It’s the rest of us we should be worried about.

Voting Machines vs. ATMs

There are reports of Democratic votes being changed to Republican votes by electronic voting machines in Georgia and Texas, two closely watched races.   Amid record early voting by young people and “people of color”:

… Politico is reporting glitches with voting machines in Texas and Georgia have caused some votes for Democrats to be switched for the Republican candidate or deleted. Experts have said the error is a technical malfunction. Voters and civil rights groups in Texas and Georgia have filed complaints in what are two of the most closely watched states this midterm election.   source

This fucking shit again?

You will never get an extra twenty from an ATM, and you almost always will get a receipt, but the same company’s voting machines… well, it’s not so simple, you see. In 2000 a company called Diebold made many of the voting machines, they also made the ATM I used to use at my local bank.   Diebold argued trade secrets and proprietary information when investigators wanted to look at the software of their suspect voting machines.   The executives of Diebold were unabashed conservatives, big Republican donors, and their proprietary software occasionally displayed a glitch that counted a Democratic vote as a Republican one.   Shit happens.   If their banking machines had dispensed an extra twenty here and there, Diebold would have been out of business.   I always thought the easy cure was paper receipts showing the actual votes, like a detailed ATM receipt, one kept in a lock box at the local voting place, the other copy taken home with the voter.   Then machine counts and paper receipts could be compared to verify actual votes.  Of course that ain’t going to happen.

In 2000, in south Florida, my father cast his vote for Al Gore on a computerized voting machine.   The screen read “click here to confirm your vote for George W. Bush”.  My father had bought a computer a few years earlier and knew to look for a “back” arrow, or “undo”.   He found a way to return to the previous screen, voted for Gore again and this time it offered him the choice of finalizing his vote for Gore.  “At least I had minimal computer skills,” he said afterwards, “how many 75 year-old Broward County Democrats do you suppose wound up involuntarily voting for the candidate they had gone to vote against?”   A fair question we’ll never know the answer to.

In Georgia and Texas, two very keenly watched battles are unfolding on election day and there are “technical glitches” in both states coincidentally resulting in fewer Democratic votes and more Republican ones.  It is 18 years on from the historically suspect 2000 election and they are still fucking around with people’s votes.   I won’t go into the recent criminal (and partisan) 5-4 decision by the Supreme Court that the Voting Rights Act of 1965, made to enforce the often scoffed at Fifteenth Amendment passed almost a century earlier, no longer needs enforcement because we are now a post-racial society who had an illegitimate Muslim president whose father was an African.  Racism at law is over, said the Court, and then every state with a racist, or simply Republican, legislature passed new voting restrictions that disproportionately affected minorities of every kind.

“People don’t have faith in our democracy,” cynics point out.  So do clear-eyed realists.   It’s hard to have faith in a pinball machine that always shows TILT.   The Koch brothers, whose fifty year long game is finally paying off bigly, run ads on Yankee games that brag about Koch Industries’ commitment to a level playing field where everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed.  Could be a glitch in the ad copy, they might have meant a “leveled playing field.”   When you push big, unpopular ideas that sodomize all but the privileged few, born booted and spurred to ride the rest of us, it is best to make sure your people cannot be easily turned out of power when their hideous faces become too grotesque to endure.

Click here to confirm your vote for Mr. Hitler.   Have a nice day, and thank you for voting, your vote is very important to us!

Veterans Day Efforts in Vain

It was raining today in New York City, on and off, and grey and chilly all day.    Since Veterans Day, November 11, falls on a Sunday in 2018, retailers begin their special Veterans Day Sales on Monday, November 5, the day the holiday is celebrated by banks and other institutions in such years.  I could have that wrong, I’m now told the reason there has been no talk about Veterans Day, or the awful plight of many veterans, is that it is celebrated on November 12th this year.   

Whatever, this Monday fell on the last day of all out tribal warfare before the midterm elections which will decide whether the almost 40% who love Trump will continue to control both houses of Congress as well as the Executive and Judiciary branches of our great democracy.   The House of Representatives is in play, and if Democrats recapture a majority, by swinging about thirty seats, they will gain subpoena and investigatory powers.   These powers will help keep the president and his people honest, restore our federal republic’s checks and balances closer to what the framers of the constitution intended.

In July 2014 a man was killed on a street corner in Staten Island.  He was a big, easy-going man, well-known in the area.  He put in long hours on his feet every day selling illegal cigarettes, evading the New York State taxes and effectively putting those tax dollars in his pocket by selling contraband cigarettes he had driven up from the South where the legal price of cigarettes is apparently much lower due to a much lower “sin” tax there.  He did this black market business for years, at the same place, and the cops had arrested him numerous times.  He served at least one hitch in prison, but he was not a hard man.   He was known as a peace maker in that section of Staten Island.  Sometimes he was arrested, sat in jail overnight, was issued a summons, and went home.  

One particularly hot summer day he told the cops to please not fuck with him, that it was too hot to go to jail, to come back another time.   The police left.   A few days later, when cops came to arrest him, one got him in a chokehold and continued to choke while the man, Eric Garner, gasped “I can’t breathe” over and over until the officer choked him to death. 

The Staten Island grand jury that heard the charges brought by District Attorney Dan Donovan on behalf of the family of the dead man and the community of Staten Island was unlikely to indict the cop for murder or even manslaughter.  The dead man had a long criminal history, was an imposing man, with a prison record, much bigger than the officer, Officer Pantaleo, and so it was hard to argue that the case was murder or even manslaughter.   No white blue collar community in America is going to indict a cop for killing a lowlife of any race, especially not a black ex-con.  It doesn’t seem fair to them to try an officer for murder in a situation like that.  The coroner ruled the death a homicide, but that doesn’t mean a grand jury had to indict the killer.

There was a strong case to made that Officer Pantaleo had been reckless, or careless, or negligent, in using excessive and ultimately deadly force on an unarmed man he was arresting.  The DA of Staten Island never brought the criminal charge of reckless endangerment before the grand jury and so Officer Pantaleo was never indicted or prosecuted for anything in connection with Garner’s killing.  

The DA was a Republican party stalwart who once ran unsuccessfully for New York State Attorney General.   He was elected to Congress from New York’s Eleventh District in a special election in May 2015, after Republican congressman Michael Grimm resigned following his indictment for felony tax evasion.   He got 56.8% of the vote when he was re-elected in 2016, in a district Trump won by over 20%, the only district in New York City Trump won.   He is running for reelection after overcoming a challenge from Michael Grimm, now out of prison, in which he “out-Trumped” the former representative.[1]   He is being opposed by a thirty-one year old Afghanistan war veteran named Max Rose.  Over a million dollars has come into the Rose campaign chest from outside the district, though none of it from corporations, who are major donors to Donovan.  If I was rich, I’d probably give Rose a generous donation.  

Instead, I headed to Staten Island to canvass for him on this final day.  I wanted to speak face to face with as many registered Democrats and the over 100,000 Independents on Staten Island as I could, convince as many as possible to vote for Rose the following day.  The margin of victory is likely to be in the low thousands, or even closer, if the predictions of a tight race are right.  It will be an uphill battle for Rose and truly every last vote counts in these district elections.  

If you are dealing with brutal forces in a contest where brutality is winked at, signaled to each other, it is best to come right out and express your political views in the most direct possible way.  I wanted to talk to voters face to face, let them see this old man who’d made a long trip to talk to them about why this race, the only race where a Republican and a Democrat are vying for a Congressional seat in New York City (all the rest are solidly Democratic), is so important.

Max Rose is for gun control, Dan Donovan supports the Second Amendment, though he would also support background checks.  Max Rose will vote for legislation to curb climate change, Dan Donovan is not sure, since he’s not a scientist, how much human pollution really affects the escalating climate catastrophe we are all seeing.   “You have to ask the scientists,” he says, in a very confident, politic way.  He tends to vote with the rest of his party, and to go along with the wishes of our strongman-type president.  He fended off a primary challenge from Michael Grimm by veering further toward the extreme right, swearing his allegiance to the president.   He is a politician I would like to see out of office.

A friend was kind enough to give me a ride to South Ferry in his car, which saved me a lot of time and hassle getting down to the ferry.   After being casually sniffed by a beautiful golden retriever, a working dog with a security handler, I waited for the next ferry to Staten Island.    I was lucky enough to board one of the old ferries with the outside deck for my cruise to Staten Island.  These old ferries had been taken out of service for years after a maniac hacked a bunch of people with a machete.  It is much easier to safeguard a ferry where everyone is in one large compartment.   This is the first ferry I’ve been on since that maniac’s attack, decades ago, that had the outdoor deck.  We passed Ellis Island in the distance, the place where poor people from Europe and beyond came seeking to be admitted as immigrants or refugees.  

 

20181105_140648.jpg

All four of my grandparents had checked in there in the years before the immigration restrictions for poor people, strict national quotas, were put into place the year my father was born, 1924.    People crowded along the railing to get photos of the Statue of Liberty.   We all did.  There was a group of Indians or perhaps Pakistanis (the women wore head scarves, and sandals, though it was chilly and rainy) and they were delightedly taking and posing for pictures, along with everyone else who was traveling with someone.   People lined up along the railing, took turns smiling for the cellphone camera, with the dramatic statue behind them. The woman next to me on the bench and I smiled at each other as we approached the Statue of Liberty.    You have a camera and you pass that beautiful statue, a symbol so full of promise for a better life to millions over the years, millions who have contributed richly to American life and history, you do this:

20181105_141104.jpg

On ramps right outside the Saint George ferry terminal in Staten Island there are dozen of bus stops.   I was informed by google maps that I could take the S-46 or the S-48 buses to Max Rose headquarters at 629 Forest Avenue.   It was chilly on that bench by the water.  I put on my extra layer and turned to the other old fart on the bench at the S-46 bus stop with me.   He was wearing a baseball hat with a huge American flag on it.  I asked him if the 46 would take me to Forest Avenue.   He told me the 48 was better, because it went along Forest itself, and I could watch the numbers, it would be hard for me to get lost.  The 46 went on a street parallel to Forest, but you really had to know your way around or things would get bad fast.  I thanked him and went over to sit on the bench at the 48 stop.

(I witnessed, and was a second too slow to help out on, a surprising and poignant scene between high schools kids on that 48 bus– but that will have to wait for another post).

When I got to the office, about fifteen minutes before my required training for canvassing was to begin, the young woman at the door informed me that if I was here for canvassing, they were turfed out.  She explained that meant that all of the names and addresses they had to canvass had been covered already by volunteers.  She told me that I could join the phone bank, and motioned to a room full of young people, shoulder to shoulder, consulting lists and talking on their phones.  They were reading some kind of script, I suppose, it was noisy in there.   I used the bathroom and headed back to the front door.  

“You want to join the phone bank?” she asked me as I approached the door. It wasn’t what I’d come for, I wanted to show some Staten Island Democrats my old face, talk to them in person for a few moments, impress on them the importance of going to vote the next day.   The Democrats need to flip about 30 seats in the Congress and this race, expected to be an easy win for the Republican, appears to be running neck and neck.  Making calls from the makeshift call center did not have the same appeal to me that speaking to people face to face did.   I told her I was going to walk around the block and think about it.

I stepped out into pissing rain.   It was raining hard enough now that ten minutes out in it were enough to soak your pants.   I decided to look for something to eat, to sit inside and stay warm and dry while I decided what to do.  I saw two young women with a pile of Max Rose brochures in front of them, sitting in a coffee shop.  I thought about going in to speak with them, then felt self-conscious about approaching them.  They would probably have been happy to talk to me about Max Rose, I’m sure, maybe even convince me how important it was for us all to be making phone calls.   They never got the chance.  I bought a hot pretzel a few doors away and caught the next bus back to the St. George Ferry Station.  

Right before I went to sit down at the sheltered bus stop I snapped a photo of Max Rose’s Staten Island campaign office (the eleventh district extends into Brooklyn where Max Rose already has an 80 to 20 lead).  It was then that I noticed that his campaign headquarters was in the same small building as Mandolin Brothers.   Mandolin Brothers was a famous purveyor of excellent new and vintage stringed instruments.   You could play and buy beautiful guitars, mandolins, banjos, ukuleles there.   I was only there once, years ago, and pretty close to closing time, but it was a great place I always intended to return to.  I smiled to think they’d loaned their space to Max Rose for his campaign.  Not only great musical instruments, I thought but good political impulses.  (I later learned from my smartphone that the store is long gone).

20181105_151543.jpg

The ferry back was one of the now typical ferries that have no external decks along the sides for good, open air views.  The ferry was entirely closed, which was fine with me, it was shitty out, and cold, I was disappointed, and tired, and I sat on a bench hardly noticing that we were traveling over a vast stretch of ocean water.   In a little over twenty minutes we were docking at the foot of Manhattan Island.  I passed a black lab with a working dog collar on and also the golden lab, who was now barking continuously.  It must have been close to quitting time for the golden lab, and her patience was just about done.

A short walk north and west from the ferry station in lower Manhattan, you come to this museum:

20181105_165030.jpg

On the front door is this sign:

20181105_165121.jpg

We are stronger than hate, until hate actually murders us.  It happens.  It has not stopped happening for many years now, though the names of those being murdered by hate keep changing.   Genocide continues with horrific consistency, on massive scales and on more limited scales.    Four years ago, for example, a few thousand Yazidi men were slaughtered in the Sinjar Massacre, too few for a proper genocide, perhaps, but still very, very horrible.  The Rohingya were recently the subjects of persecution and genocide in Myanmar, the nation formerly known as Burma.   Everyone in Yemen is catching hell, children are being killed every day, casualties of  the brutal Saudi war there, which rages with American support.  Protesters and rock throwers are being shot to death in more than one country, threatened with being shot to death here, by the American president.   So-called strongmen appear here and there to enforce their will by organized mob violence and with their armies.   They use the military to intimidate citizens and perceived enemies, as our president is doing now, having soldiers install concertina wire along the border fence at a cost CBS news reported tonight is perhaps $200,000,000.

Many people feel the world is overdue for its next, and final, world war.  Look at the world, it’s in chaos, violent storms and other natural disasters are regularly destroying homes and killing people all over the planet, species are disappearing, violent ideologies are waging ruthless wars against unarmed civilians in many places.  Some historians claim that we are living in the most peaceful moment of human history.   I think that’s a wonderful thought, probably backed by some kind of very convincing statistical evidence.   I also don’t think it’s true.   The world is waiting to explode into the next mass murder, many people everywhere are desperate, snarling angrily, we are one big bomb away, and violence is in the air.

So I say, to myself and to people of all faiths and original nationalities who vote in American elections: vote today for the party that is less racist, less xenophobic, less nationalist, less extreme in its divisive rhetoric.  Changing one-party control of our democracy is not the answer to all of America’s problems, but it is the start.   The other way lies madness.

 

[1] Wikipedia:

In 2018, Donovan faced a primary challenge from former Rep. Michael Grimm.[27] During the primary campaign, Grimm accused Donovan of having tried to entice Grimm to drop out of the race by offering to lobby Trump to pardon Grimm.[27] Grimm pleaded guilty to federal tax evasion charges in 2014 and spent several months in prison.[27] During the primary, both candidates emphasized their loyalty to Trump, seeking to “out-Trump each other,” according to the Washington Post.[28] In the 2018 general election Donovan is facing Max Rose.[29]