Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Plot Against America

There is an old saying among loan sharks: I loan you $10 you owe me $10. I loan you $100,000, I own you.
Donald Trump and his various enterprises are indebted to the Russian oligarchy for millions of dollars. Donald Trump Jr. has remarked that they are disproportionately reliant on Russian money. That's because US banks won't deal with him after all Trump's bankruptcies. There is no question but that Putin is the "boss" of the oligarchs and gets a cut of their profits. The simple point is that Putin owns Trump.
Russian intelligence agencies have hacked into the databases of the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign. They have released through WikiLeaks items that embarrass the Democrats and Clinton with more to come.
What bothers me is not the embarrassing stuff. Trump can try to take all the advantage he wants from the Russian leaks. It's the potential for election day result tampering that bothers me.
Sometime ago when I was active as a Vice-Chair of NYS New Democratic Coalition (NDC) I ran across Dick Morris who was then a young Democrat Turk who master minded a takeover of the NDC on the Westside of Manhattan. They weren’t all bad and actually some of them were quite good. However, Morris became bipartisan and sold his talents to both Republicans and Democrats. He was a member of the Clinton administration until he became involved in a sex scandal, sharing state secrets with a prostitute.
Among his activities as I recall was helping to monitor the fairness of elections in the Third World. One of the checks they utilized was election day exit polls. If there were significant deviations between the polls and the announced results it was an indicia of fraud.
By the 2000 election, Morris having left the Clinton administration had become a straight Fox News expert. When there was a disparity between the Florida exit polls and the announced results, he attacked the accuracy of exit polls. We later learned that in just one area, West Palm Beach which was strongly liberal there was a butterfly ballot which confused voter and many more votes were counted for Pat Buchanan than might be expected - far more than Bush's margin of victory.
What really bothers me, is given the fact Trump is in Putin's pocket, and given the expertise of Putin's intelligence services in hacking, those areas of the United States where there is electronic voting with no printed ballot in the process, this election may very well be stolen iin those areas.
In NYS, we vote by marking a printed ballot and then having it scanned and the results recorded electronically. The printed ballots are a protection against fraud.
This weekend, Trump has acted very unusually. He made an appearance in Colorado on Friday but then cancelled an event scheduled for Florida on Tuesday. The odd thing about Colorado is that Clinton has scaled back some activities in Colorado, because her internal polls place her 10 points ahead and the resources may be better spent elsewhere. She and Kaine (and Bill and Ann) are busing through through battleground states PA and Ohio,
The Russian oligarchs own Trump. Trump has undercut US policy in the Ukraine and the Baltic states. He favors a virtual break-up of NATO. He has become Putin's puppet. I am afraid. I am very afraid.
On the other hand there is also FDR. "We have nothing to fear but fear itsel" - as long as we have the courage to act,
This is not a promo for my book Quantum Christ but you can find out about it at:

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Can Democracy survive the Internet?

I suppose I should be complimented. I seem to be getting a lot of hits on my blog from Russia. Somehow, however, when I check the stats from Google, the individual hits do not add-up. No doubt there are non-sinister reasons for this. Maybe.

However, there is an old saying: even paranoids have enemies. I have one in particular who quite skilled at Internet stalking. He is quite angry at me for my success in preserving a news stand site for an Indian imagrant that he wanted. I get these terrible comments for my page that I delete and do not allow to be posted. One of them claimed that a departed relative was burning in Hell.

Today there is story in Slate which really bothers me and I connect it to a Wiki-leaks story yesterday revealing hacked and embarrassing E-Mail from the Democratic National Committee. Then there is a story about how Putin intervened in European elections to aid ultra-right candidates Prime examples are Marie Le Penn in France and Berlusconi in Italy. Of course Berlusconi was ousted eventually and Le Penn has yet to win control but her influence is growing.

Putin is the new Stalin seeking to expand his influence. I do not think there is any limit to his ambition. One of his goals to break-up the unity of Europe (and the United States).  That seems to be okay with Trump.

The Wiki-Leaks release was clearly designed to drive disaffected Bernie Sanders voters away from Clinton.

Frankly, I'm scared. Saturday afternoon, I saw Tim Kaine get and deliver a knock-out performance in Miami when introduced by Clinton. While, I am bit to his left, he is supporting the Democratic platform to be adopted at the DNC and that is more than enough for now.

But, there is no question that Trump in his statements about the NATO and the Baltic states (Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia) is music to Putin's ears.

I have at times metaphorically tabbed Trump the Anti-Christ because of his blatant narcissism and his disdain for nuclear non-proliferation. It now seems clear that he is at best a tool for a real Anti-Christ, his pal Vladmir Putin.

Then there is story on why  all the Brexit vote wrong. When I first became involved in Bronx reform politics in 1969, I was told that "We have to win by 10% because anything less they steal."

We have become so dependent on the Internet. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
This is not a promo for my book Quantum Christ but you can find out about it at:

Friday, July 15, 2016

Empathy and Nice, FR

Events in Nice and Orlando and San Bernadino and …and …and the reaction to them bring to my mind a poem I first read more than six decades ago as a Freshman at Syracuse U. It's not the failure to react that bothers me, it's the cheap shots that some politicians make about terrorism without an ounce of sincere empathy. The Trump reaction: build a wall!, Ban Imigaion. It was the death of a US father and his 11 year old son in Nice that brought to my mind the Auden poem.
Yet, but as bad as some self-serving reaction to the events nothing can compare to the indifference, and even grotesque joy of the ISIS adherents to the suffering they impose on others.

Follow the link to see the painting.

About suffering they were never wrong, 
The Old Masters; how well, they understood 
Its human position; how it takes place 
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along; 
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting 
For the miraculous birth, there always must be 
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating 
On a pond at the edge of the wood: 
They never forgot 
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course 
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot 
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer's horse 
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree. 
In Breughel's Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away 
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may 
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry, 
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone 
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green 
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen 
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky, 
had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

Monday, July 4, 2016

For the Fourth of July: A Mystery and History solved

Maybe this is a little self-indulgent but a few weeks ago I heard a Shaker hymn in a Catholic Church which I found intriguing because it appeared to be the theme I remembered from long ago for a news program. Yesterday we sang it again and today I decided to solve the mystery. 

The theme as I heard it decades ago was played full symphonic. The first version I found today was sung by four young girls dancing and singing in front of a Melrose Church in 18th or 19th century costume. Having identified the source of theme I checked further and found that "Simple Gifts" was a theme adopted by Aaron Copeland for a movement for his  ballet " Appalachian Spring.  "Simple Gifts."  begins simply but he then reiterates it  five or six times, each time increasing in complexity until the last iteration goes full symphonic as I remembered from all those years long ago. It only takes a minute and a half  in toto..

This is the Fourth of July. Somehow I think to listen to this melody and how it developed into a majestic symphonic movement maybe   analogous to the remarkable development and growth of our nation.

Happy Fourth of July. We have come a long way but we have much farther to go.

Simple Gifts

Appalachian Spring

This is not a promo for my book Quantum Christ but you can find out about it at: