When Shakespeare wrote the “Winter of Our Discontent” in 1594, he was talking about the travails of Richard III, and the royal family’s various crises at that time. Pretty small potatoes compared to to the world’s summer of discontent here in 2016 because of recent events.  Events that have shook the planet to its very foundation, and have made it appear that civilization as we know it is unraveling at a rapid rate. The latest episode being the killing of three Louisiana cops by a deranged former Marine seeking revenge for the police shooting of a non-threatening black man at a traffic stop in Baton Rouge for no good apparent reason. Preceded by the assassination of five Dallas cops and the wounding of six more, by another unhinged lone wolf. This time, in apparent retribution for another cop killing of another apparently non-threatening black man at another traffic stop, this time in Minnesota. All this while an Islamic Jihadist went berserk on the French Riviera and murdered at least 84 people and injured dozens more that were watching a fireworks display in Nice celebrating Bastille Day. Further preceded by another Jihadist nut-job that killed 50 patrons of a gay bar in Florida, all in praise of Allah. Another tragedy flying just below the radar further took place this past weekend when the military tried to overthrow Turkey’s dictator, Recep Erdogan, who is slowly turning Turkey into a fundamentalist Islamic state, not unlike the way the Ayatollahs transformed Iran after the Shah was overthrown. The coup attempt failed because Erdogan pleaded for an outpouring of religious fundamentalists into the streets of Istanbul, in protest. It worked and now there is wholesale retribution against those that attempted this coup. Just what the world needed. And all this before the hottest month of summer, August, has yet too begin.

Lets start with the police killings of what appear to be innocent black men. I wrote previously that these, apparently unjustified cop shootings of black men, are more likely the result of poor training at police academies rather than racist bigotry on the part of individual police officers. A mindset of shoot first and ask questions afterward. Knowing what a tinder box race relations are in this country at the present, I think its incumbent that a re-training program for all police be instituted across the land. Training that would focus on alternative solutions when dealing with non-leathal situations, other than blowing an individuals brains out. While police shootings of any individual, black or white, is indeed an unspeakable tragedy, especially when the situation that involves the police is non-life threatening, the fact remains that far more black men die at the hands of black criminals, rather than from any police action. If black lives truly matter, then a full court press against black gangs, drug dealers and other assorted low-life criminals should be a top priority. As well as establishing “enterprise zones” in black ghettos, that would offer decent paying jobs to unemployed young black people, affording them an opportunity to escape rat-infested slums once and for all. A concept originally put forth in the 1980s by Jack Kemp, a Republican who was also known as a “bleeding heart conservative.”

The fight against Islamic Jihadism also needs an all-court press to once and for all destroy all remnants of this terrorism wherever it may exist. A fight that unfortunately neither the United States nor Western Europe seems prepared to engage in. Whether it’s ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Boko-Haram, the Taliban, or any other cut-throat terrorist organization, the ultimate goal of the Western world should be their total annihilation. But as I’ve pointed out before, just as the mighty Roman Empire, when at the zenith of their power, grew fat and lazy, and no longer had the will to fight the barbarians at their gates, so has the western world today become complacent regarding today’s barbarians. The Roman Empire over a period of centuries, eventually fell to the terrorists of those days, and Europe entered a long era known as the dark ages. Today’s barbarians, the Islamic Jihadists, know that if they stay the course, the same fate awaits western civilization. Just as the barbarians in the Roman’s time, today’s Jihadists play the long game. They’ve got all the time in the world to establish their “caliphate.” They know that the West won’t be brought to its knees overnight; it may, in fact, take hundreds of years. No problem, as long as they keep chipping away at Western resolve through prolific murder and sabotage.

When the evil of Nazism threatened the civilized world the the 20th century, the U.S. and Briton went into full war mode. Enormous sacrifices war made in blood and treasure. The U.S. sustained a great loss of lives on European battlefields and in the Pacific. On the home front, there were basic rationing and chronic shortages of food staples such as bread, flour, sugar, and dairy products. Fruits and vegetables were virtually non-existent in American food stores. Consumer products such as kitchen appliances or car tires were off the market as every factory was retooled for the war effort. (This at a time when tires barely lasted for 5000 miles.) While the American public was not happy about this state of affairs, they understood it was necessary to totally defeat the twin evils of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Think today’s westerners would be willing to endure similar sacrifices to totally destroy Islamic-Jihadists all over the globe. What a laugh. They wouldn’t even be willing to sacrifice acquiring the latest version of the I-Phone when it hits the markets. Meanwhile the terrorists keep playing the long game.

If you find all this troubling, plenty of diversion for your entertainment is coming this week in the form of the freak show known as the Republican Convention. Featuring maestro Donald Trump and his merry band of clowns. Soon to be followed by the Democratic Convention circus featuring Snow White, or, as she’s better known, Hillary Clinton, and her band of sycophants.


Categories: Ben Franklin, The Constitution, Monarchies, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, presidential polls,, Isis terrorist attack in Paris,, politics, Redstone Arsenal, NASA, Black Lives Matter, Recent Cop Killings, Uncategorized | 2 Comments


Toward the end of 1963, more than 50 years ago, I was a civilian working for the U.S.Army and assigned to perform an audit of the U.S.Army Material Command located at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama. I had just returned from a 3 year stint working overseas in Europe, also with the Army, (which I’ve previously written about) so coming to Huntsville, after I had lived in Paris for three years, was quite a shock. But Huntsville was considered quite progressive for the Deep South at the time. Besides the Army having a major presence, NASA’s Marshall Space Center was also located at Redstone Arsenal, which seemed like a small city unto itself. At least a couple of thousand personal worked at the Arsenal, many of whom were engineers or other technicians that were employed by both NASA and the Army. Many of these people had relocated from the North, which supposedly gave Huntsville its more progressive tinge.

Nevertheless,  Jim Crow segregation and racist laws were strictly enforced throughout Huntsville, which, after all, was still part of Alabama. I remember having what seemed endless arguments and discussions with local people employed by the Army in the same offices that I performed my work duties. I tried, repeatedly, to point out the sheer folly and stupidity of racism and segregation but it seemed as if I could never make a dent in their way of thinking. Their argument always came down to the same point of view. They didn’t need some Northern Yankee coming into their state and telling them how they should live their lives. It was all a matter of “states rights.” The moral injustice of Jim Crow seemed to never enter their psyches. At the time, Huntsville had one movie theater with an orchestra and balcony sections conveniently segregated. The orchestra was for whites only while blacks were confined to the balcony. I remember going to the movies one night, and to my surprise, two daring young black men came in and sat down in the orchestra, in the row in front of me. Next to them were seated two elderly white women who became shocked and chatted endlessly about this effrontery to Southern customs. Finally they quieted down and we all watched the movie in silence. This may have been the first act of willful desegregation throughout Alabama, if not the entire South.

It wasn’t long after that race riots erupted throughout most major U.S. cities, with entire city sections being set on fire and burnt to the ground. The huge turmoil and protest movements of the 1960s did have the effect of causing the Jim Crow walls of segregation to come tumbling to the ground, as well as enfranchising may blacks with the right to vote for the first time. But after all the protests, all the marches, and all the burnings, blacks for the most part, still remained confined to inner-city ghettos, where many still live today. Ghettos that are infested with crime, drugs, prostitution and gangs that are in a perpetual war with rival gangs. Not the most hospitable environment for promoting peace and tranquility. The 1960s were also a time of universal tragedy with the loss to America of  three of its most promising leaders. I remember discussing with friends about how the assassinations of John Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were a blow that no civilized society could hope to recover from. Given the nature of the leadership the U.S. has endured since then, I believe I was right on the money.

So here we are 50 years later with a large potion of the black population, along with the growing Latino populace, still confined to those same inner-city slums. With an almost steady procession of white police shootings of what appears to be unarmed and non-threatening young black men for no good reason. While race is undoubtably a factor in these shootings, I believe poor police training is the primary cause. Too many cops are too trigger happy, with an attitude of shoot first and ask questions later. This comes from a lack of decent training from when these shooters were learning to become cops in their police academies. It certainly seems to be at play in the deaths of two non-threatening black men these past weeks. Which was culminated by an attack by a black assassin that gunned down 11 Dallas policemen, 5 of whom died, that were protecting peaceful protests of the previous shootings of black men. Followed by more protests by the Black Lives Matter group, of white police gunning down black men. But if black lives matter, as they do, how about addressing black on black crime in the inner cities that takes many more black lives than cops do. Does it appear that life in the U.S. at this juncture, seems to be coming apart at the seams, at least regarding race relations.

But perhaps I’ve been looking at this all wrong. Perhaps it’s a universal imperative that civilizations are meant to rise and then fall, in order to keep the universe in a certain balance. Scientists postulate that there was an abundance of water on Mars some 3.6 billion years ago. They further postulate that where there was water, there also had to be life. So perhaps Mars, at some point, some hundreds of millions or billions of years ago, had a thriving civilization, and eventually did themselves in through their own folly. Now, all that is left is dust. Perhaps the killings of the Kennedy brothers and MLK in the 1960’s was the universe’s way of telling us that civilization on Planet Earth is also on the way out.

As I’ve repeated many times before, Pogo may have been the greatest philosopher of all time when he said-“We have met the enemy and he is us.”


Categories: Ben Franklin, The Constitution, Monarchies, Brexit, Donald Trump, Alan Greenspan, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, presidential polls,, human affairs, Isis terrorist attack in Paris,, politics, Redstone Arsenal, NASA, Black Lives Matter, Recent Cop Killings, Uncategorized | 1 Comment


The British vote to exit the European Union this past week, only goes to show that the United States has yet to corner the market on sheer, unadulterated stupidity. By a narrow vote, the normally staid and rational British decision to leave an organization designed to enhance free trade, facilitate easier travel throughout Europe, create a single currency, and grow the economies of all member states had deep-seated ramifications for the entire planet. Alan Greenspan who was Chairman of the Federal Reserve in this country for about 20 years called the Brexit vote the greatest financial disaster in his lifetime. J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter authorship fame stated that it was a victory for all the racists and bigots in the U.K. Indeed, the backlash among many Europeans to the migration of tens of thousands of Moslems into their midst because of all the horrors of war, terrorism and killings in the Mid-East, did provide  a strong motivation among the British against continued membership in the EU.

On Friday, financial markets around the globe took a nose dive because of the Brexit vote and lost $2 trillion. Over $2 trillion of the world’s wealth evaporated like the morning mist.The Dow-Jones in this country dropped over 600 points and the bloodletting seems to be continuing as the Dow is down another 300 points today even as I write this piece. British Prime Minister David Cameron, as decent a politician and leader as exists in today’s world, was forced to submit his resignation (effective in October) because he strongly opposed the United Kingdom’s exiting the EU. Scotland, on of the 4 member states comprising the UK, (along with England, Wales and Northern Ireland) voted in favor of remaining in the EU and is now talking about leaving the UK so it can stay in the EU. Scotland had previously voted on whether to free itself from British rule, and that measure lost by a narrow margin. Now it wants another such vote which would likely succeed this time around. The British themselves are now having buyer’s remorse with over 2 million signing a petition to have a do-over vote. They’re asking for a mulligan, if you will.

As with the Trump fantasy in this country, education and economic status played a huge role in the vote’s outcome. Over 70% of those with a college education or higher voted to remain in the EU, while a similar number with only a high-school or lower education desired an exit. Similar percentages existed with those in higher income brackets favoring remain, versus lower income classes voting for exit. In the U.S., Trump’s demagogic and xenophobic candidacy and following also has its primary support  from the lower economic and poorly educated masses. So what accounts for this type of division that now seems to becoming a world-wide phenomena. The answer may lie in the opening lines of Charles Dickens “A Tale of Two Cities” written in the 19th century, which goes-“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” Dickens was describing conditions in London and Paris during that period, but a similar description can be written of the economic landscape in the U.S and Europe in today’s world.

Those British favoring exit kept dwelling on the EU’s fault-lines. Yes, the EU had a cumbersome bureaucracy which added unnecessarily to the cost of membership. Yes, it appeared that the cost burden to the UK of being a member exceeded the financial benefits being derived. Yes, there were a lot of seemingly unnecessary rules and regulations emanating from EU headquarters that people became fed up with. But those on the exit side failed to acknowledge that a ton of trade and tariff barriers among the EU states had been removed and that goods and services throughout Europe now flowed more freely, to everyone’s economic benefit. Now, Britain will have to renegotiate dozens if not hundreds of new trade agreements with its European counterparts, which could take many years. For those British that were doing well financially, it has indeed, been the best of times. But those struggling in the lower income brackets, who are also generally poorly educated, seem trapped financially with nothing but poverty to look forward to. For them it appears to be the worst of times. Or an opportunity for opportunistic politicians to move in and blame all their economic ills on that bumbling bureaucracy known as the  EU.

And so it goes in the U.S. as well. America has, by far, the most advanced economy the world has ever seen. For many Americans it’s the best of times with new innovations, new markets, new electronic gadgetry, and better living conditions seemingly advancing on a daily basis. But those on the lower end of the economic totem pole, usually lacking meaningful job skills, feel trapped by their lack of economic opportunity. Seeing how so many of their fellow citizens are living so well, while they’re engulfed in a financial quagmire, makes it, painfully, seem like the worst of times. Another opportunity for a power hungry demagogue such as Donald Trump to fill the vacuum. It’s not their fault that they’re living so poorly he tells the masses. Blame the Mexicans, the Chinese, our NATO partners in Europe, all Moslems, etc. for your economic difficulties. Peddled as skillfully as snake oil salesmen of the 19th century peddled their worthless elixirs, Trump’s neo-fascist demagogic skills now put him within hailing distance of becoming the most powerful man in the world.

So the 2 most prosperous English speaking nations in the world, have put themselves on a path toward economic and political ruin through mind-numbing irrationality. Kind of seems to me like, potentially, the worst of times.

Categories: Brexit, Donald Trump, Alan Greenspan, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, presidential polls,, Economics, human affairs, politics, Ronald Reagan, the Depression, Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Although this planet is billions of years old, and life on this planet is measured in at least hundreds of millions of years, what is considered the beginnings of civilized society goes back a mere 10-12 thousand years. Barely a thimble of water in oceans of time. Therefore, the way I figure it, we’re still pretty far down on the evolutionary totem pole. Which explains why those 12 thousand years of of recorded society have been replete with bad behavior, mass killings, barbaric practices, evil despots and tyrants ruling over kingdoms built by using slavery, and, of course, ever-ongoing brutal, savage war-mongering. Although there were undoubtedly armed conflicts during the entire history of man on this planet, the first recorded war occurred just under 5000 years ago. It took place in Mesopotamia, (today’s Iraq, Syria and Kuwait), and the carnage has being going strong ever since.

So, just to pass the time of day, I was thinking about all that has transpired just in my lifetime. I was just a tot when a supremely gifted demagogue used his immense powers of preaching hatred to the populace to rise to power in Germany and eventually launch what came to be known as World War II. Which was really just a continuation of WWI with a couple of decades of respite. Before that confrontation was over, 60 million people would lose their lives throughout Europe, including millions of Americans. Several million more would die in the Pacific at the hands of Imperial Japan, Germany’s ally. Also, for the first time, the mass extermination of an entire ethnic group was just about successfully accomplished through the use of gas chambers in Nazi concentration camps. About 6 million Jews, and other opponents of Hitler’s Nazi empire, lost their lives in what came to be known as the Holocaust. In a history replete with evil savagery and barbarity, the Holocaust was probably the single most evil act of all time. And it wasn’t just Hitler and the Nazi’s that made the Holocaust work. It took hundreds of thousands of European bureaucrats  to establish the network of railroads bringing prisoners to the death camps, and to provide the immense amount of logistics it took to make the camps functional. Hitler’s willing accomplices as one writer called it.

Toward the end of WWII, the Nazis had supposedly developed rockets that were capable of hitting the U.S. East Coast. As a child growing up in New York, I remember being subject to air raid alarms and warnings which required everyone to turn off all lighting. During these air raid drills my parents would bring chairs into my bedroom as we sat there silently in the dark until the all clear sign was given. Most people aren’t aware that Hitler was just days or weeks away at the most before he fell, from developing atomic bomb capabilities that could be employed on rockets that could reach U.S. soil. Or that if Japan had invaded our West Coast immediately after Pearl Harbor, it could have gobbled up at least two-thirds of the U.S. before the Roosevelt Administration was prepared to take a military stand around Chicago. Such was the precarious nature of the freedoms we take for granted today.

After the war, the U.S. quickly demobilized as it appeared that peace would be on the horizon for decades. In the meantime, the most advanced electronics in everyone’s home was a radio and a land-line telephone. When television started coming on the market shortly after the war, it was like the 8th wonder of the world. Our first black-and-white TV had an immense 13 inch screen, and only 3 stations which broadcast only during certain parts of the day and night. But to actually view what one could only hear on the radio, was considered beyond the pale. Also some kind of contraptions they started calling “computers” entered the American vocabulary. But as people learned, they were about as big as a Sherman tank and could be used only for business purposes. The thought of having this contraption in one’s home was considered ridiculous. Until suddenly, something called the “internet” became a hot topic of conversation and they figured out how to downsize computers so they fit comfortably in people’s residences. But telephones always had to be hooked up to a cord, didn’t they? Until they further figured out a way to get rid of the cord and turn the phone into a mini-computer. And thus, on-and -on marches the electronics revolution. All in my lifetime.

In the meantime, the peace-in-our-lifetime dreams that Americans had with the conclusion of WWII evaporated as quickly as the morning mist. With the rise of Communist Russia and China, Americans became highly fearful of the “Red Menace.” When both countries acquired nuclear bomb capabilities deep fears and anxieties spread throughout the land. After a mere 5 or 6 years since the end of WWII, the U.S. was back on war-footing; this time fighting Communists on the Korean peninsula. More death and destruction. Meanwhile a Senator from Wisconsin named Joe McCarthy saw a huge opportunity to demagogue the “soft-on-communism” issue. He was sort of like the Donald Trump of his day. He claimed that the U.S. government, as well as Hollywood and other institutions were riddled with Communist spies working for Russia. To be labeled a Communist by the McCarthy committee was equivalent to seeing ones life turned to ashes. McCarthy eventually went down in flames but not before he had destroyed countless lives.

The Communist scare, known as the better-dead-than-red mentality, eventually led from the stalemate in Korea to the huge loss of life in the Viet-Nam fiasco. Almost 60,000 Americans died in the hell-hole jungles of Viet-Nam before we lost the war and called it quits. To say nothing of the hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese that died during that fracas. And it wasn’t all that much later, that a new barbarism had come upon the landscape in the form of Islamic-Jihadism. Which has us militarily bogged down once more, this time in the Mid-East. It seems as if evil is like wild-fires. You douse one, and two more crop up somewhere else. In the meantime, in mid-2016, it’s as if the re-incarnation of Joe McCarthy has rose to power and he is now one step away from the White House. All of this, in my lifetime.

To say that I’ve lived through a fascinating panorama of events during my life would be a considerable understatement. But I’m not so sure that’s a good thing.

Categories: A malfunctioning psche, Ben Franklin, The Constitution, Monarchies, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, presidential polls,, Economics, Huey Long, Franklin Roosevelt, Great Depression, The Kingfish,Donald Trump, human affairs, Isis terrorist attack in Paris,, Joe McCarthy, McCarthyism, World War II, Viet-Nam, Anti-Communist Witch Hunts, Army-McCarthy hearings, Islamic Jihadist terrorism, Soviet Union, Red China, John Kennedy, John Kennedy, foreign policy,terrorism, lack of U.S. response to terrorism,, politics, Ronald Reagan, the Depression, Uncategorized | 1 Comment


The latest massacre in Orlando, with about 50 dead and the same number wounded, is just the latest in what has become an ever-growing list of atrocities being committed with greater frequency in the United States. It follows the recent slaughter of innocents in San Bernardino by lone-wolf Islamic Jihadists; the butchering of 20 innocent children in Connecticut by a young man who just couldn’t cope with life; the killing of black church-goers in South Carolina by another deranged individual seeking vengeance for the South’s loss of the Civil War 150 years ago; the murder of about 30 people at Fort Hood, Louisiana by another Jihadist lunatic; the murder of movie-goers in Colorado by another mentally-ill delusionist; and ultimately back to 9/11/01 where almost 3000 lives were lost thanks to fanatical Jihadism; and finally all the way back to Columbine where modern day mass murder in the U.S. seemed to originate. Whether committed by religious fanatics or loners seemingly rejected by society, all these events had the same thing in common. Namely, a deep-seated hatred by the perpetrators toward their victims.

Lets start with the Islamic-Jihad brand of murder, as seems to be the case now in the Orlando slayings. There are about 1.3 billion Moslems currently living on this planet. The vast, overwhelming majority are peaceful human beings, going about their business every day of trying to earn a living, raising a family, taking care of the bills, etc. The problem is, however, that a small minority of Islamic fanatics would like to turn the clock back to the seventh century, when, (in their minds) Islam was untarnished by Western values and modern culture. Fanatical Imams preach a violent interpretation of the Quran which translates into a non-stop hatred toward anything Western, and urge young Moslems to martyr themselves by killing infidels and blowing-up Western society. While most Moslems reject this spewing hatred, there are always those lost souls looking for meaning in their worthless lives, and hence, only to eager to follow the dictates of Islamic-Jihadism. There are no easy answers toward resolving this condition, since there seems to be an endless supply of down-and-out, usually poverty-stricken, mostly young men who feel that sacrificing their lives for a cause, no matter how deranged, is preferable to the way they currently live. It would take world leadership in the Moslem community, as well as high-ranking Imams to denounce this spewing hatred of anything Western. This might, perhaps begin to turn the tide of Islamic-Jihadist vitriol. Thus far, however, this type of moderate leadership is not showing up on the horizon.

Of course, speaking of spewing hatred, the U.S. has its own long, rich history of violent hate-mongering. From its earliest days as a series of colonies in the 1600s, Americans believed what a neat idea it would be to enslave an entire race of people based on their skin color. Slavery lasted in the U.S. for about 250 years before it took a costly and deadly Civil War to end this barbaric practice. When the 13th and 14th amendments to the Constitution gave black people the same rights as everyone else-it proved to be a bridge too far for most whites in this country, especially in the South. A series of Jim Crow segregation laws were quickly enacted through the entire South which forced black people back into a state of semi-slavery. To make matters worse, whites in the South, after the Civil War, formed an organization that came to be known as the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, to deal with those blacks they felt had become “uppity.” Those that had actually sought to exercise their full rights as a U.S. citizen. The Klan dressed themselves in white hoods and costumes and rode through and intimidated black communities. They engaged in cross-burnings, whippings or lynching of blacks based on the perceived severity of their transgressions. Even as late as the 1920s, the KKK had a huge following in the tens or hundreds of thousands, throughout the entire country. The murderous lynchings of blacks in the South continued as late as the 1970s.

Today, despite the belief by many Americans that the Klan has just about disappeared, the KKK is indeed still active throughout most of the U.S. They may not wear white hoods anymore, but they still spew forth a message of deep hatred for blacks and Jews, or for that matter, anyone whose skin-color isn’t pinkish beige. The former Grand Dragon of the KKK, a fellow named David Duke, has come out and publicly stated that any white person that doesn’t support Donald Trump for president is a traitor to his race. The current KKK leadership has formally endorsed Trump’s candidacy, stating that the Donald is their kind of guy. And, as for David Duke, he currently has a radio program based in Louisiana, where he gets to spew his racial, religious, and ethnic hatreds to a large audience, 5 days a week.

When Trump was recently attacking by racial bias, the judge who had the temerity to release the papers involved in the law-suit against that crooked, sham enterprise known as Trump University, he was finally called out by many that had previously stood on the political sidelines throughout Trump’s prior bigoted tirades. Even the Republican Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, stated that Trump’s attack against the judge because of his Mexican heritage, was “a classic case of trickle-down racial bigotry.” Nevertheless, Speaker Ryan stated that he would continue to support Trump for president because they were of the same party. Sort of like selling one’s soul to the company store. Aren’t politics wonderful? Meanwhile, because of all this hatred, more atrocities will likely be coming our way and at a faster pace.

Categories: A malfunctioning psche, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, presidential polls,, Economics, Joe McCarthy, McCarthyism, World War II, Viet-Nam, Anti-Communist Witch Hunts, Army-McCarthy hearings, Islamic Jihadist terrorism, Soviet Union, Red China, politics, Ronald Reagan, the Depression, Uncategorized | 1 Comment


There appears to be a near universal psychology that impels most people to play the role of victimhood. The desire to be a victim is like bathing in a shower of self-absolution. As I’ve written before, when events take a wrong turn in a person’s life, it can’t possibly be their fault. External forces or other people are to blame for the misfortunes of their personal existences. Living a crappy lifestyle, stuck in a dead end job that pays very little, having nothing but grief in your relationships with the opposite sex or even with so-called friends? It can all be blamed on other people, on devious, selfish individuals, on dishonest commercial enterprises, on the universe, or best of all on foreigners. The theme of foreign exploitation as the cause of personal victimhood has been propelled with great success by many tyrants seeking dictatorial power throughout the 20th century, and is now in full throttle in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.

To say that Donald Trump’s entire campaign has been based on a narrative of victimology would be a considerable understatement. According to Trump, the U.S. has become a victim of unscrupulous entrepreneurs that have moved their businesses to Mexico or China in order to take advantage of cheaper labor rates and hence, reduced manufacturing costs. It has nothing to do with the fact that these businesses are merely following the rules of basic capitalism, which, by the way, has made Trump a billionaire. The U.S. has become a victim of our neighbor to the south, because those dastardly Mexicans have not only deceitfully lured U.S. businesses to its country, but they have also dumped about 11 million illegal aliens into the U.S., many of whom are”rapists and murderers.” It’s a miracle that we’ve been able to survive, thus far, from this onslaught of illegals, who comprise a terrifying 3% of the U.S. population. And we’re a victim of China’s currency manipulations which results in significantly more imports that we receive from China, than we export to that country. Imports, I might add, that considerably benefit lower income citizens through cheaper prices on clothing and other consumer goods.

Even our supposed allies are causing us to be victims. It’s NATO countries such as Britain, France and Germany that are failing to contribute their fair share of military forces to this joint enterprise, causing the U.S. to make up the difference in additional military expenditures. Left unsaid, of course, is the fact that European countries are allowing U.S. military bases to occupy their lands, thus making it far easier for the U.S. to engage in military forays in the many Mid-East countries that we’re currently involved with. It’s a lot easier and less expensive to carry out bombing raids against ISIS and other Jihadists using planes stationed in Europe, than if our planes had to take off from bases in the U.S. So, is there any country left in the world that isn’t causing us to be victims within our own borders? Perhaps Belize or Trinidad, although even that’s questionable.

This narrative of the U.S. being a victim of dishonest foreigners took a curious turn last week when Trump stated that it was time to “put America first.” Whether he realized it or not, the term “America First” has an unsavory fascist history. It was used by supposedly isolationist politicians to advocate that the U.S not become involved in WWII. Stay neutral and don’t become entangled, was their imperative. However behind this veneer of isolationism, many of those advocating “America First” were actually Nazi sympathizers rooting for Hitler and his fascism to win the war. Charles Lindberg, the famous aviator, was one of the most prominent America Firsters. Their main argument was that because the U.S. was surrounded by 2 large bodies of water to the East and West, and by 2 friendly countries to the North and South, there was no need to join a fracas that involved nothing but foreigners killing each other. The bombing of Pearl Harbor, of course, proved how absurd that line of reasoning was. It was later discovered that Lindberg and other prominent America Firsters were actually Nazi sympathizers.

Trump, with his message of American victimhood, is now just one step away from the presidency. He has the Republican nomination all but locked up, and just has to get by a weak and damaged Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee. Thus far, Trump’s victimhood snake oil elixir seems to be selling with great success among the American populace. He has talk radio and Fox News shilling for him to a greater extent than they have for any previous GOP candidate. Clinton, with about 30 years of previous scandals, to say nothing of her current e-mail fiasco, has a very difficult road to travel in her quest for the White House. While current polls show her in the lead, Trump is unquestionably the better snake-oil salesman.

To get an idea of what a Trump presidency would mean for America, and for the rest of the world, go back and read some of my more recent entries. Add to them the fact that a President Trump will get to put at least two, and probably more, justices on the Supreme Court, that will be strongly anti-abortion.  Roe V. Wade will become history, as will legalized abortion throughout almost all of the U.S. Then, many women in America, seeking to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, will be able to legitimately claim that they ARE being made victims of our political system.

Categories: A malfunctioning psche, Ben Franklin, The Constitution, Monarchies, Economics, Joe McCarthy, McCarthyism, World War II, Viet-Nam, Anti-Communist Witch Hunts, Army-McCarthy hearings, Islamic Jihadist terrorism, Soviet Union, Red China, politics, the Depression, Uncategorized | Leave a comment


July 4th will mark 240 years since 1776 when the United States declared its independence from England. The way the election of 2016 is going, however, perhaps we should re-apply to join the British Commonwealth. Our founding fathers fears that the rabble in our citizenry would eventually come to dominate the election process, and put someone wholly unfit into a position of power, is on the cusp of becoming a reality. When the Constitutional Convention of 1787 finished its work, a woman asked Ben Franklin, one of the key players in formulating the Constitution, whether the Convention had given us a monarchy or a republic. “A republic, if you can keep it,” replied Franklin. Now, after more than 200 years, we may very well find that the American people can no longer keep it together as a republic.

Our f0unding fathers were highly skeptical about giving the “common man” the right to directly elect those that would govern them. Founders such as John Adams, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton (currently of Broadway musical fame), and others,believed that those they considered the riff-raff  of society could not be trusted to vote intelligently, i.e. to not be beguiled into electing a demagogue that would appeal to their basest instincts. Hence, instead of the people directly electing our president, the founders concocted a system called the electoral college which has the sole power of putting a candidate into the Oval Office. To this day, that Constitutional provision has never been amended. It reared its ugly head in the 2000 presidential election, when Democrat Al Gore received a majority of the popular vote, but Republican George W. Bush won a plurality of the electoral college, and hence, the presidency.

A lot of really bad stuff ensued from that nasty 2000 election. Bush decided to invade Iraq on the pretense that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, which he did not. Al Gore would have never made that decision. As a result of that invasion, over the years, Iraq has degenerated into a multi-split territory, with barbaric Islamic Jihadists such as ISIS, unfortunately controlling a significant portion of this territory. Yes, Saddam Hussein was pure evil, and the world is a lot better off without him sucking in oxygen. But he held his country together and prevented the Jihadist terrorists from gaining a foothold. I guess the lesson to be learned is that when faced with nothing but bad choices, the least worst choice is your best option. In any event, the electoral college continues to exist, ever ready to inflict further damage.

Another example of our founders distrust of the average citizen’s wisdom during the election process, was the method of electing someone to the Senate. Many founders believed that only those citizens that owned property, or were otherwise well financially endowed, should be allowed to vote. Other founders were in favor of allowing everyone to cast a ballot. (Everyone, of course, that wasn’t a woman or a Negro.) So a compromise was reached whereby the House of Representatives would be directly elected by popular vote, but it would be only state legislatures that could put Senators into office. It took until 1913 for a constitutional amendment to pass that allowed the people to directly elect its Senators. Women were finally allowed at the ballot box in 1920, after another amendment gave them the right to vote.

The point to all of this is that many of our founding fathers had a deep mistrust of allowing the average citizen to participate in the balloting process. They believed that those that were basically penniless with nothing to lose, the riff-raff as they were called, would put any smooth-talking con artist or snake-oil salesmen into positions of power, if sold the right bill of goods. Whereas land-owners or people of wealth had too much to lose to be so beguiled. Where they right? We’ll find out in a few months when the republic that Ben Franklin and the other founders labored so hard to give us might no longer be keepable. When the rabble of today, although usually not penniless, nevertheless, seem to be mostly ignorant of relevant issues, and susceptible to being sold the elixir of a smooth-talking snake-oil salesman. Ironic, isn’t it, when there’s a wealth of information at everyones finger tips to be obtained on each candidate, in this computer age.

That the general election in November will come down to a choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, is now a foregone conclusion. That Trump has a huge, enthusiastic fan base is also a given. This base is built on Trump’s snake oil salesmanship of a neo-fascist, xenophobic vision of America that basically demonizes all foreigners, and throws all undocumented Hispanics out of the country. And builds a near 2000 mile long wall to keep them out. Also, not to allow any of the 1.6 billion Moslems that populate this planet into the country. So fierce is the rabble’s enthusiasm to demonize all things foreign, that Trump is correct about one thing he said. He could stand on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan and shoot someone dead, and there would, nevertheless, be no diminishment of his followers. Which is tragically true.

Of course, Clinton and the Democrats are not exactly great prizes either. The Democrats have become so pathetic that their only hope to retain the White House rests on the shoulders of an aging woman who has been involved in a multitude of scandals over the past 30 years or so. Like the recklessness of using a personal server in her home to send and receive classified government e-mails. An unprotected server that could have been easily hacked by any foreign power. To say nothing of Bill’s sexual proclivities from the 1990s that the GOP will blame Hillary for.

So there you have it folks. The choice comes down to highly unpopular candidates from each party. The difference is, however, that if Clinton wins, the the Constitution, and the republic that the founders strove to give us, will likely stand. But if Trump wins, we can kiss our Constitutional freedoms goodbye, and devolve into a tyrannical dictatorship. And you can thank the rabble and the riff-raff amongst us for that delightful end result.

Categories: A malfunctioning psche, Ben Franklin, The Constitution, Monarchies, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, presidential polls,, Economics, ELVIS PRESLY, MARILYN MONROE, MICHAEL JACKSON, WHITNEY HOUSTON, THE STATE OF HAPPINESS VS. UNHAPPINESS, human affairs, Joe McCarthy, McCarthyism, World War II, Viet-Nam, Anti-Communist Witch Hunts, Army-McCarthy hearings, Islamic Jihadist terrorism, Soviet Union, Red China, politics, Uncategorized | Leave a comment


It is often a reality of human nature, that when things are going badly in ones life, that person finds it too painful to accept personal responsibility. If a person’s life has degenerated into a day-to-day crawl thru chaos, or even worse, into a total disaster area, they frequently cannot accept that the fault is theirs. Surely, some one else is to blame. Surely, it’s the Wall Street bankers or hedge fund managers that have robbed them out of their ability to earn a decent salary. Surely, it’s the illegal Mexicans that have taken all the good jobs away and have thereby made it virtually impossible for them to earn enough to afford a quality standard of living. Surely, it’s the government that has placed too harsh rules and regulations on them, and thus, they cannot live the life that was really meant to be. It never has anything to to with the fact that they didn’t, for example, make the effort to study electronics, or medicine, or engineering, or chemistry, etc. which would have given them the necessary tools to earn enough to afford at least an upper middle class lifestyle. It would have been too exhausting to pursue such endeavors. Their psychic reality is that some other party is always the one to blame.

The poet, Edward Arlington Robinson, summed it up best in his poem called “Miniver Cheevy.” “Miniver Cheevy, child of scorn, grew lean while he assailed the seasons” is the opening line of this poem which describes how Miniver blamed the whole world for his failures and his alcoholism, and ends with -“Miniver coughed and called it fate, and kept on drinking.” The problem for society is, however,  that when large numbers of people are psychologically invested in blaming others for their shortcomings and failures, it provides fertile ground for the demagogue to move in and seize power. I’ve written many times before about how Hitler demonized the Jews and others in 1920s Germany  on his path toward total dictatorship. Hitler would practice in front of mirrors, with crony consultants advising him on how to fire up the German populace to believe that the many economic problems facing Germany at the time were not their fault. They didn’t have to take responsibility for existing conditions. He would strive for the most inflammatory speech patterns, inflections and hand gestures while demonizing a small, peaceful segment of the German population, who were primarily tailors and shopkeepers. Germans were suffering  because of the Jews, was the message of the day. At first most Germans disregarded Hitler’s ravings. After all, they were well educated and had a rich culture of philosophy, art, literature, and music. But in the end demagoguery prevailed over common sense and personal responsibility, and 60 million people lost their lives.

Someone once said that all of life is politics. If this is true that it must be pointed out that all of politics is a game of salesmanship, and this has never been more evident than in 2016 America. Whoever can deliver the best sales job in describing  his or her vision for the future of the U.S. will invariably win the majority vote and the election to become the most powerful person in the world. One path in this game of salesmanship is to take the demagogic route the way Hitler and Mussolini and others did so successfully. After all, isn’t it the Hispanic illegals that are destroying this country, (the way the the Jews were destroying 1920s Germany.) So what if undocumented Hispanics comprise less than 3.5% of the U.S. population and that their numbers are actually decreasing. They’re still the ones at fault for everything that’s gone wrong in my life. It couldn’t possibly be me. To say nothing of those shysters on Wall Street that have literally taken the bread out of my mouth.

The more one thinks about it,  the more one must  conclude that winning an election is not unlike selling cars. A car is basically a vehicle to get you from here to there. Yes, the more expensive cars may look prettier and give a smoother ride and have more bells and whistles on it. But its purpose is still to get you from here to there. If you never left your house, you would likely never buy a car. Yet, from the salesmanship that goes into advertising cars, especially on TV, one would think they are anything but a means of transportation. Recently, there was an ad on TV for Cadillac, that featured a very sophisticated, and pretty young woman behind the wheel of one of their models, stating: “The question you have to ask yourself is this. When you turn your car on….does it do the same for you?” So now Cadillac products are not there to provide a mode of transportation, but rather should be used as a means of sexual stimulation. Perhaps even sexual climax. Who knew?

So in the end, winning at the ballot box depends on who has the best salesmanship. Not unlike selling new or used cars on TV. For some candidates, their sales pitch  is to take the demagogic route, i.e. assure the populace that all their personal failures in life are the fault of others, usually a small defenseless minority. It has worked well in the past, and is likely to succeed this time around too.

Well, at least I’ve written an entire piece without mentioning  Donald Trump’s name, even once. Oops.



Categories: A malfunctioning psche, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, presidential polls,, Economics, ELVIS PRESLY, MARILYN MONROE, MICHAEL JACKSON, WHITNEY HOUSTON, THE STATE OF HAPPINESS VS. UNHAPPINESS, Huey Long, Franklin Roosevelt, Great Depression, The Kingfish,Donald Trump, Joe McCarthy, McCarthyism, World War II, Viet-Nam, Anti-Communist Witch Hunts, Army-McCarthy hearings, Islamic Jihadist terrorism, Soviet Union, Red China, John Kennedy, John Kennedy, foreign policy,terrorism, lack of U.S. response to terrorism,, politics, the Depression, Uncategorized | 1 Comment


The other day, for no particular reason, I was thinking about “The Monkey’s Paw, a short story by British author W.W.Jacobs, first published in 1902. I had read this when I was in college, perhaps 60 years ago, but it seems so relevant to the human condition as it exists in today’s world. It tells the story of an elderly couple, the Whites, living in England with their grown son who works in a factory. Through a friend, Mr. White comes into possession of a shriveled up monkey’s paw that supposedly grants its possessor 3 wishes. The friend warns, however, that use of the monkey’s paw will likely end with disastrous results. Mr. White takes it home and shows his wife the object and relates the story behind it. But what shall we wish for asks Mrs. White since they are already leading a comfortable life in a reasonably comfortable residence. I know says Mr. White-we have one more mortgage payment of 200 pounds to make and then the house is ours.

So Mr. White grabs the monkey’s paw and wishes for 200 pounds. He can feel the paw suddenly move unnaturally in his hand. At first nothing happens and the couple believes that it’s all a big hoax. But later that afternoon, they spot an unfamiliar man coming up the walkway to their front door and ringing their doorbell. He identifies himself as a representative of the factory where their son works, and tells them that a tragic accident has occurred. It seems their son was butchered in a horrible machinery accident at the plant, and has died as a result of his wounds. He further informs them that, while the factory is under no legal obligation to make a monetary restitution, factory management does feel it has a moral duty to provide some modest benefits as a result of their son’s death. He then hands the Whites a check for 200 pounds.

The couple, and especially the wife, are totally grief stricken. The son’s funeral is held 3 days later, but the grieving goes on, unabated. About a week after the funeral, with the Whites still deep in mourning, it suddenly dawns on Mrs. White that perhaps the damage can be undone. We still have two more wishes on the monkey’s paw, she exclaims to her husband. Wish him back to life she insists. The husband is at first highly dubious and reluctant to do so. But he finally gives in to his wife’s insistence and makes that second wish. A short time later, he sees his son approaching the house, but totally mangled from the factory accident, and from lying 10 days in the grave. The doorbell rings and Mrs. White goes running gleefully to open the front door. Mr.White, in a panic, grabs the monkey’s paw and makes the third wish. The son is restored to his grave as the wife opens the door and to nothingness. Nothing but a cruel twist of fate. Sort of the way I feel about trying to tamper with the will of the universe. For example, I always felt that if I won a giant jackpot such as Powerball, the doctor would inform me the next day that I had an inoperable brain tumor.

Think this is just pessimistic fiction? Then consider the following. All statewide casinos in Nevada have slot machines called Megabucks. The jackpot starts at $10 million, and goes up from there depending on the amount of play and usage these machines get. The bet is $3 a pull if you’re aiming to win it all, and it could be years before the jackpot is hit. Most of the time the winning machines are in Las Vegas, but other locations can be winners too. One time the jackpot was won on a machine in the Reno airport. In any event, some years ago the jackpot had climbed to over $35 million, the highest it ever reached. As the dollar amount climbed, there was a frenzy of betting on these machines, and even great difficulty finding Megabucks slots that weren’t occupied. People were shoveling hundred dollar bills into these slot machines with the same abandon as if they were buying a pack of gum. Of course the $35 million is the amount paid out over 25 years. If you opted for the lump sum payment option, the amount one would receive (after taxes) would be a paltry $15 million or so. Not too shabby. Most of us could probably muddle thru life on that amount.

Finally a local Las Vegas woman won this giant jackpot at one of the Las Vegas casinos. Of course, there were great celebrations, photo-ops, news coverage, TV interviews, etc. as this woman, who had virtually no money, suddenly became a multi-millionaire. But here’s where the tempting fate part kicked in. About 3 weeks after winning this giant Megabucks jackpot, the woman and her sister sitting next to her were driving along the local streets and stopped at a traffic light when they were violently rear-ended by the car behind them. The driver causing the accident claimed that his brakes just gave out. The sister was killed immediately (probably because she wasn’t using her seat belt) and the jackpot winner had her spine broken.  Her fate was to be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life. All the millions she had won would now be used to pay for her upkeep as a paraplegic. I’m sure that given the choice, she would have rather been penniless, but with use of her legs and her sister alive.

During the 1980s, there used to be a TV commercial about a margarine that tasted so good that even Mother Nature was fooled into thinking that it was her delicious butter. When informed that it was margarine, Mother Nature would get this wild look in her eyes hurl down thunderbolts upon the planet. “It’s not nice to fool Mother nature”she would exclaim. Kind of like what might be in store for you, should you go against the universe’s implicit intentions regarding the nature of your life.





as if they were buying a pack of gum.


Categories: The Monkey's Paw, Fate, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson,Megabucks,, Uncategorized | Leave a comment


According to the latest polls, a large chunk of the American populace thinks that the five candidates left in the in the 2016 presidential contest just plain suck. Three of the five have higher disapproval than approval ratings, while the other two are in positive territory, but just barely. A clear case of where the American public is sticking it to themselves. (We have met the enemy, and he is us, as Pogo famously said.) Let’s go over the numbers. Leading the way is, of course, Donald Trump with a 65% unfavorable score and only a 30% favorable rating. Maybe his bombastic, bloviating, bullying demeanor is not sitting too well with the general public. Nevertheless, Trump is the odds-on favorite to win the GOP nomination since he’s way ahead in the delegate count, and the big states such as New York, Pennsylvania, and California with upcoming primaries seem to be decisively falling into his column. His probable opposing candidate in November will be a badly damaged Hillary Clinton, who could be under Federal indictment for her e-mail fiasco. If she is, the presidency will almost certainly fall into Trump’s lap.

Next up on the unfavorable chart is Hillary, herself, with 55% in the minus column to only 40% on the plus side. A little better than Trump’s numbers, but not by much. Besides over 25 years of scandals involving both Hillary and Bill Clinton, and the Benghazi tragedy when she was Secretary of State, there is the mind-numbing fiasco of sending classified government e-mails over her unsecured private server. For someone supposedly as smart as Hillary, that act alone would constitute felony stupidity. She knew when she went to the State Department that she had presidential ambitions, yet acted with complete recklessness. In any event, it gives the Republicans a ship-load of ammo to fire away during the entire campaign season.

Next up in the presidential sweepstakes hall-of-shame is Texas Senator Ted Cruz, with only a 33% approval versus 55% disapproval score. Cruz is the only viable candidate with a long-shot possibility of overtaking Trump for the Republican nomination, but he too has multiple problems. He has strong and sincere beliefs on all major issues, versus Trump who licks his finger, and holds it up in the air to see which way the political winds are blowing, and that becomes his position-du-jour. (Such as as calling for “punishing” women who’ve had abortions on one day, and then calling them “victims” the next day.) The trouble is, Cruz’s positions are so extreme right-wing, that they turn off even a lot of Republicans living out-side the South. Cruz made the rookie mistake, when campaigning earlier in the South, of telling Southerners not to vote for Trump because he possessed “New York values.” While that may have helped him in some Southern states, he’s now paying the price with disastrous poll number projections, not only in the upcoming primary in New York, but in California and Pennsylvania as well. So he has to be considered a long-shot at best.

There’s a third candidate still in the GOP race-John Kasich, Governor of Ohio, who’s actually on the plus side in popularity rankings-41% versus 39%. (Just barely on the plus side.) While he’s a decent enough guy, he has never won a primary or caucus ballot. I’d say that his probability of obtaining the Republican nomination are about the same as my chance of having a chest of rare gold coins fall out of the sky and land at my feet. I keep looking upward but it doesn’t appear to be happening. That leaves us with with the one remaining candidate still in the race, Bernie Sanders, who has a remote possibility of overtaking Hillary for the Democratic nomination. Bernie also has a positive approval rating of 49%-42%, which is not great, but better than the others.

Bernie has the distinct advantage of not being burdened with all of Clinton’s scandals, but he has problems of his own. First of all, he would be age 75 when being sworn into the Oval office, which is pretty late in the game for such a demanding, high-stress job. Then he insists on calling himself a Socialist which, shall we say, does not have pleasant connotations throughout most of America. Of course, his benchmark is Socialist type governments that exist throughout most Scandinavian countries such as Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland. I’ve often stated that that these countries have, perhaps, the most decent and rational societies on Planet Earth. Such as providing free health-care, free higher education, and other amenities to all its citizens. If you can put up with their brutal winters. Perhaps it’s the cold weather that forces them to act with greater decency and rationality than most other places in this world. In any event, even though Bernie keeps winning various primaries, the fix seems to be in for Clinton securing the Democratic nomination. So the strong likelihood is that the general election will come down to a choice of Trump vs. Clinton, the two candidates with the highest disapproval ratings. Ugh.

If Clinton wins, in all probability, our Constitutional form of democracy will survive and remain intact. But if Trump wins, you can kiss our democratic form of government sayonara. Even if the U.S. has a faux democracy, (as I’ve written about before) where the rich and powerful buy and sell politicians like beads in a bazar, it’s still better than the tyranny that would come into existence during a Trump administration. Trump would rule the way Vladimir Putin rules Russia, with the iron fist of a dictatorial despot. Trump has already expressed great admiration for Putin’s leadership style. (Read my previous posting called-“A Fine Bromance.”) If you like what Putin has done to Russia, you’re going to love what Trump will do to America.



Categories: Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, presidential polls,, Economics, Huey Long, Franklin Roosevelt, Great Depression, The Kingfish,Donald Trump, human affairs, politics, Ronald Reagan, the Depression, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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