Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Trump Doesn’t Even Try to Get It Right

The Trump crowd denies that Trump lies. They believe everything he says as fact. How does anyone have a conversation with someone who doesn’t accept facts? Someone who doesn’t take the time to research reliable sources for the truth. Someone who sticks to their preferred reality, no matter what.

Robert Reich writes, “Conservative talk-show hosts, right-wing media, and Trump himself are on a campaign to discredit traditional sources of facts and analysis – scientists, economists, criminologists, government data, and mainstream media -- and substitute their preferred reality.”

Reich offers some examples:

1. The CIA and FBI say Russia interfered with the election to benefit Trump. But Trump disagrees. And Breitbart News (until recently under the watch of Trump’s strategic advisor Steven Bennan) dismisses the CIA report as “left-wing fake news.”

2. Almost all scientists agree climate change is real and is caused by humans. But Trump disagrees. And so does Scott Pruitt, his nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

3. The F.B.I. and virtually all criminologists agree that the rate of homicides in the U.S. has plummeted in recent years. But Trump says it’s soared. So does Fox News.

4. Most health policy analysts agree that Medicare’s costs are rising both because the costs of health care are rising and the American population is aging. But Paul Ryan and many Republicans in Congress say Medicare itself is to blame.

5. Government data show the rate of illegal immigration has declined sharply over the last ten years, and that undocumented immigrants commit proportionately fewer crimes than native-born Americans. But Trump claims the opposite is true, and both Breitbart and Fox News agree with Trump.

6. Most economists and policy analysts don’t think that tax cuts to the rich result in better wages for most people. But Trump’s economic advisers contend otherwise.

“On almost every major issue to be addressed over the next few years, Trump and the rightwing media are already feeding Americans big lies, and trying to discredit traditional sources of truth.” When Americans accept what is clearly false as fact, “[it] poses one of the greatest threats to our democracy.”

Trump “. . .  doesn’t try to get it right. He doesn’t assume that people care about the truth or that the truth is important. He will repeat blatant untruths (e.g. Arab Americans celebrated after 9/11, President Obama wasn’t born in the United States, he won by a landslide, we don’t know whether Russia hacked us), and then try to bully those who dispute him. Rather than engage on the facts, Trump insults, demeans and bullies the messenger. Critical voices — even “Saturday Night Live” — are, in his view, “losing” business (even when they are not), because for Trump, financial success makes one good and truthful while financial distress means one is bad and a liar.”


Wielding Claims of ‘Fake News,’ Conservatives Take Aim at Mainstream Media

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Like the man he works for, Donald Trump, Carl Paladino is a disgusting human being

“Carl Paladino, a former Republican nominee for governor of New York and an adviser to president-elect Trump, included the death of President Obama and ‘return’ of first lady Michelle Obama to Africa on his list of things he wanted for 2017.

“Asked what he would like to happen in 2017, he said he hopes that ‘Obama catches mad cow disease, and dies after having relations with a Hereford, a type of cow. Asked what he would most like to see go, Paladino responded that Michelle Obama would ‘return to being male’ and be ‘let loose’ in Zimbabwe.

“In a statement to The Post, Paladino denied that the comments were racist.

“’It has nothing to do with race,’ Paladino said. ‘That’s the typical stance of the press when they can’t otherwise defend the acts of the person being attacked.

‘It’s about 2 progressive elitist ingrates who have hated their country so badly and destroyed its fabric in so many respects in 8 years,’ he added.

“Reached briefly by phone Friday, Paladino confirmed that he made the comments and that he is currently involved in Trump's transition efforts.

“‘I don't think Mr. Trump particularly cares what I have to say,’ Paladino said. ‘ He knows me. I was active with him, and I still am active with him.’”

It's been reported that Trump's transition team reacted, saying “Carl's comments are absolutely reprehensible, and they serve no place in our public discourse,” However the Donald has not said a word. So it’s yet to be determined whether Trump particularly cares what Paladino has to say.

Robert Reich remarked: "In 27 days, one of the most decent couples ever to have served as President and First Lady of the United States will be replaced by another who have relied on people like Carl Paladino."

Friday, December 23, 2016

Donald Trump’s Tweet Authenticates the Fear That Many Americans Have of a Trump Presidency

Hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged to enhance his country's nuclear forces, “Trump stunned nuclear experts Thursday by proclaiming in a tweet that ‘the United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.’

And on Friday, Trump said in a statement to ‘Morning Joe’ host Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC: ‘Let it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.’”

"Do not normalize or deny what is about to occur. In 28 days a man will become president of the United States whose narcissism, xenophobia, hatefulness, and antipathy toward democratic institutions pose a clear and present danger to America and the world." --Robert Reich

Read the article: This May Be Trump's Most Frightening and Dangerous Tweet Yet

Despite Republican Obstruction and Economic Obstacles, the Presidency of Barack Obama Has Been a Success

It should not be forgotten, John Boehner and the Republican House of Representatives’ attitude regarding Obama’s agenda was “We're going to do everything — and I mean everything we can do — to kill it, stop it, slow it down, whatever we can.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed, “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

However, we have a stronger economy than the one when Barack Obama became President in 2009. Today, unemployment is at a nine-year low. The markets are experiencing new highs. More people have health insurance than before Obamacare. And, President Obama has created shifts toward natural gas, wind, and solar power, diminishing our dependence on burning fossil fuels.

But on January 20, 2017, Republicans will be emboldened. Unlike President Obama, President Donald Trump will sign most legislation the Republicans forward to his desk. The legislation he will sign include repeal of Obamacare, measures to alter Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and policies that will return the United States to burning fossil fuels.

But beyond political differences, there is a big difference between the man Donald Trump and the man Barack Obama.

President Obama is considerate, articulate, rational, and knows facts and data before he speaks.

Donald Trump is irrational, fact-free, and shoots from the hip. I cannot imagine a President Trump clearly articulating complex issues.

The other big difference is that the Obama family exudes family values that we all should aspire to emulate. President Barack Obama is a model father. First Lady Michelle Obama is a model mother.

“No matter what you think of Obama the executive branch, it’s hard to argue that Obama the human being has been anything less than a model of class and dignity. If, as was often said about black pioneers in sports, you had to be twice as good to succeed, Obama’s personal behavior has set a standard few presidents have ever reached.”

Moreover, Obama is the sixth President in history to be elected twice with 51% or more votes. In 2008, Obama's total popular vote amount of 69,498,516 votes—52.9%—is the highest amount ever won by a presidential candidate.” In 2012, President Obama earned 65,915,795 votes or 51.1 percent of the popular vote.

By comparison, Trump won 62,979,879 popular votes, 46.1%, compared with Clinton’s 65,844,954, 48.2%.

"Historians will remember President Obama for his rational, evidence-based approach," former economic adviser Alan Krueger said, "as opposed to the emotional, visceral style of the two presidents [George W Bush and Donald Trump]  who will bookend his time in office.

“A lesser president," Krueger added, would have "upended our economic system for short-term political gain.”

Read the article:

Copyright © Horatio Green 2016

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Americans Are In For a Rough Ride for the Next Four Years

With the help of Vladimir Putin and complicity of a Republican Congress, repressive voter ID laws in some key states, acts of voter suppression, and a media that refused to hold Trump accountable, Donald Trump was elected to the highest office in the land.

President-elect Donald Trump will be as President what he is now. What you see and hear is what we are going to get.

At a recent victory rally, Trump admitted that he “fueled his supporters' anger and frustration to win the election, in part by provoking their opposition to Democrat Hillary Clinton. ‘Lock her up!’ was one of his most popular chants and could be heard at nearly every one of his campaign rallies."

"President-elect Donald Trump tried to tamp down supporters calling to 'lock up" Hillary Clinton by telling them while they were 'vicious' before the election, 'now you're laid back, you're cool, you're mellow.'

“. . . 'Oh, that's so, so terrible. So here's what I noticed: Four weeks ago, just prior to, and always prior to, you people were vicious, violent, screaming, Where's the wall? We want the wall! Screaming, Prison! Prison! Lock her up! I mean, you are going crazy,' responded Trump.

"But now, he said, 'it's much different. Now you're laid back, you're cool, you're mellow, right? You're basking in the glow of victory!'

So, what we are going to get are mixed messages, misinformation, lies, and provocative language to garner support for his plans.

Moreover, President-elect Trump’s cabinet appointments are corporate billionaires, spreaders of misinformation, fake-news stories, and those who have had made a lot of money dealing with the Russian government. The cabinet is of those who oppose the purposes of the agencies they are going to lead.

Donald Trump has defended Vladimir Putin and dismissed the findings of 17 national security agencies who have accused the Russian government of interfering in our elections. And has
disparaged the CIA and FBI.

Donald Trump refused to release his tax returns.

He cancelled a promised press conference at which he was to explain how he was going to separate himself from his businesses.

He has contempt for the press. He has indicated that he will make changes to the media’s access to information including limiting or eliminating daily White House briefings, the Saturday morning presidential address, press conferences, and the press pool.

Americans are in for a rough ride for the next four years with a Republican majority in Congress and a President Trump at the helm.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Trump’s Palace Guards

Unlike U.S. Presidents, more like a King and not a U.S. President, Trump employs, along with Secret Service officers, a private security force that will remain after his inauguration.

Politico reports: “President-elect Donald Trump has continued employing a private security and intelligence team at his victory rallies, and he is expected to keep at least some members of the team after he becomes president, according to people familiar with the plans.

“The arrangement represents a major break from tradition. All modern presidents and presidents-elect have entrusted their personal security entirely to the Secret Service, and their event security mostly to local law enforcement, according to presidential security experts and Secret Service sources.

“But Trump — who puts a premium on loyalty and has demonstrated great interest in having forceful security at his events — has opted to maintain an aggressive and unprecedented private security force, led by Keith Schiller, a retired New York City cop and Navy veteran who started working for Trump in 1999 as a part-time bodyguard, eventually rising to become his head of security.

“Security officials warn that employing private security personnel heightens risks for the president-elect and his team, as well as for protesters, dozens of whom have alleged racial profilingundue force or aggression at the hands of Trump’s security, with at least 10 joining a trio of lawsuits now pending against Trump, his campaign or its security.

“’It’s playing with fire,”’said Jonathan Wackrow, a former Secret Service agent who worked on President Barack Obama’s protective detail during his 2012 reelection campaign. Having a private security team working events with Secret Service ‘increases the Service’s liability, it creates greater confusion and it creates greater risk’”

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Building a World Absent of War, Servitude, Poverty, And One of True Equality

I highly recommend watching this documentary.

“The Choice is Ours” is an
elegantly produced film that promotes “our capacity to invoke positive change in the world, and considers the behavioral and cultural shifts which must take place to make this possible.

“In examining whether our behaviors are determined by human nature, or by absorbing the environment which surrounds us, the film offers clues as to how we can begin to rebuild the reality of our planet from the ground up.”

To build a world absent of war, servitude, poverty, and one of true equality, it’s necessary to build a world in which there would be no more monetary systems, or trade, barter, or any other system of human servitude. All of the earth’s resources would become the common heritage of all the world’s people. And access to the necessities of life would be for all the world’s people.”

Whenever I bring up this topic, I am told it’s utopian. But it’s not utopian, a fanciful vision, because it’s achievable. To respond in this way is simply an excuse for not trying. “The environment shapes our values, our identity, and generates our behavior. If you think we can’t change the world, it just means you’re not one of those who will.”

Fresco says, “And I am suspicious of people that are only motivated by money.” And I am too.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Slate: The Only Enemies Donald Trump Can See Are His Fellow Americans

It’s frightening that this man in just a few weeks will be the President of the United States of America.

“Having such a man as president poses moral, cultural, and legal problems. It also creates national security problems.”

Saletan’s concerns are real. Moreover, every day there’s another concern, mounted one on top of another. The latest being Trump’s acknowledgement that he provoked his supporter’s hate and anger to win the election. The question is, as President, will he use the same tactic to win support for his policies. Will he continue to attack American's that oppose him.

Saletan points out that "Since his election, Donald Trump has done three peculiar things. He has refused the daily intelligence briefings traditionally given to the president-elect. He has dismissed intelligence suggesting that Russian hackers played a role in the election. And he has delivered angry speeches against Americans who opposed him. These three behaviors are related. In Trump’s eyes, the enemy isn’t Russia. It’s the part of America that opposes him."

Friday, December 16, 2016

The New Yorker: Betsy Devos and the Plan to Break Public Schools

Republicans believe that if the business world were free to operate without regulation, we would have ater freedom of choice, including education. 

They believe a free market approach to education gives parents control over their education dollar.

They say that school officials will strive to meet parents’ demands that their children receive a quality education.

Therefore, there is a drive to end public education through some sort of privatization. The first initiative taken to meet their goals is charter schools in which entrepreneurs receive government funding to create their own for-profit schools.

Anyone, however, who believes the marketplace will meet a parent’s demands and be accountable to them over profit motives and the need to be accountable to stockholders are being just plain dumb.

However, “Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education, is a vocal proponent of charter schools, voucher programs, and virtual education—but not of public schools.

“. . . through her past actions, and her previously published statements, it is clear that DeVos, like the President-elect [Donald Trump] who has chosen her, is comfortable applying the logic of the marketplace to schoolyard precincts. She has repeatedly questioned the value of those very precincts’ physical existence: in the Philanthropy interview, DeVos remarked that, “in the Internet age, the tendency to equate ‘education’ with ‘specific school buildings’ is going to be greatly diminished.”

“Missing in the ideological embrace of choice for choice’s sake is any suggestion of the public school as a public good—as a centering locus for a community and as a shared pillar of the commonweal, in which all citizens have an investment. If, in recent years, a principal focus of federal educational policy has been upon academic standards in public education—how to measure success, and what to do with the results—DeVos’s nomination suggests that in a Trump Administration the more fundamental premises that underlie our institutions of public education will be brought into question. In one interview, recently highlighted by Diane Ravitch on her blog, DeVos spoke in favor of “charter schools, online schools, virtual schools, blended learning, any combination thereof—and, frankly, any combination, or any kind of choice that hasn’t yet been thought of.” A preemptive embrace of choices that haven’t yet been thought of might serve as an apt characterization of Trump’s entire, chaotic cabinet-selection process. But whether it is the approach that will best serve current and prospective American school students is another question entirely.”

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

‘Bringing Christmas Back Down to Earth’

It’s puzzling to me why so many Christians support a president-elect, taking from his rhetoric, who has racist, xenophobic, and misogynistic views. It seems to Palmer and me not a place where Jesus “would feel welcome and at home.”

Parker J. Palmer, writing for OnBeing, begins his column, “. . . For a lot of folks I know who celebrate Christmas — not the store-bought version, but the holy day itself — this year is proving to be a challenge. How do we celebrate the Good News at a time when the news is so relentlessly bad, celebrate the light at a time of deepening darkness?

“A friend of mine thinks he’s found the upside. He says that Christmas, 2016 can give us a taste of what the first Christmas was like, when King Herod the Great [sic] hovered in the background, commanding what legend calls “The Massacre of the Innocents.” That may not qualify as encouragement to you, but it’s a bracing point.

“The discouraged people I’m talking about, including me, aren’t Christian naïfs shocked by the fact that bad news keeps dragging us down at ‘this festive time of year.’ They are folks who’ve long been involved in trying to shed light in the darkness — people working for racial justice and against all forms of violence, for the wellbeing of children and against the ruination of the earth, for civil dialogue and against xenophobia. This ain’t their first rodeo. And it ain’t the first time they’ve seen the darkness they’re resisting emanate directly from Washington, D.C.

“But in a way I haven’t felt since the late 1960s and Vietnam, they and I are feeling like strangers in a strange land. Their question, my question, is simple: how do we celebrate Christmas at a time when it’s hard to believe that its core message of love and peace is anything more than pious prattling that will not reach or touch the Powers that Be — and may in fact provide cover for their growing compendium of crimes against decency, sanity, and humanity? After all, many of them claim to be acting under God’s guidance, though some of us believe they’re listening to the Other Guy.”

Palmer ends his piece:

“May this Christmas be a day when we Christians resolve to ‘be not afraid’ as we stand by those who have been marginalized and even brutalized. That would be a Christmas worth celebrating and a birthday party worth attending — one where I hope Jesus himself would feel welcome and at home.”

Today Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are in considerable jeopardy

The problem is there's no longer a “tiny splinter group that believes you can do these things.” From Eisenhower to Ronald Reagan, and many others as well, there was support for Social Security. Not today. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are in considerable jeopardy. The Republican Party, starting in January, plans to, first repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), eviscerate these benefits. No one should count on Trump's campaign rhetoric, because as speaker of the house, Paul Ryan puts it, there's a difference between the public person and private person.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Trump, the CIA, the Republican Party, and Russian Interference in U.S. Elections

Trump digs in on Russia, setting up conflict
with his own party's Washington leaders

It’s clear, the Russian government conducted cyberattacks intended to influence the U.S. elections in favor of Donald Trump.

Donald Trump, however, continues to accuse Democrats of spreading misinformation regarding hacking of U.S. elections by the Russian government; he claims the Democrats sore losers.

In conflict with Trump, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) said, “This cannot become a partisan issue. The stakes are too high for our country. We are committed to working in this bipartisan manner, and we will seek to unify our colleagues around the goal of investigating and stopping the grave threats that cyberattacks conducted by foreign governments pose to our national security.

Robert Reich outlines the problem:

1. The CIA has found credible evidence that Russia intervened in the election in order to help Trump become president.

2. It has been suggested that Trump owes vast sums of money to Russian oligarchs, friends of Putin, who have also invested substantially in Trump’s enterprises -- which may explain why Trump won’t disclose his tax returns, which would show evidence of these deals.

3. Several of Trump’s key campaign aides – including his former campaign manager, Paul Manafort – have close ties to Russia. Between 2007 and 2012, Manafort received some $12.7 million in cash payments from a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine.

4. During the campaign, Trump said he admired Putin, questioned whether the U.S. should continue to support NATO, and argued that Putin was justified in moving into Ukraine.

5. Trump is expected to pick as his Secretary of State ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, who is also close to Putin. In 2013, Putin awarded Tillerson the Order of Friendship, one of the highest honors Russia gives to foreign citizens. Tillerson came up through the ranks at Exxon by managing the company's Russia account. After becaming CEO, Exxon bet billions on Russia's vast oil resources through a partnership with Russian oil giant Rosneft, owned partly by the Kremlin. Putin himself attended the 2011 signing ceremony for the deal. Russia has already indicated it would welcome Tillerson being named America's top diplomat.

Every American, Trump supporter or not, needs to understand foreign interference in our electoral process is a direct threat to our country and national security, and we risk being beholden to a foreign power.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Republican Party Is Planning Massive Benefit Cuts, Have an Eye on Cutting Social Security

Now that Republicans will have a willing partner, president-elect Donald Trump in the White House, Senator Mitch McConnell and Representative Paul Ryan have set in motion their long-laid plans to cut Social Security benefits, Medicare, Medicaid, and repeal the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. They apparently know that even though Donald Trump pledged to protect Social Security and Medicare, “. . .  there is a bit of a difference between the private person and the public person,” according to Paul Ryan. Therefore, if the public person Trump says he will protect Social Security and Medicare, the private person Trump is saying something entirely different.

“At a time when millions of seniors, disabled vets and people with disabilities are unable to get by on $11,000 or less in Social Security checks, our job is to expand Social Security, not cut it.

“ Mr. Trump, you promised to be different from Republicans and protect Social Security. Either reject this plan or tell America's seniors and workers you were lying.” — Senator Bernie Sanders

During the campaign, Donald Trump pledged to protect Social Security from cutbacks. Will he keep his promise? (Mary Altaffer / Associated Press)

“Tame the Savageness of Man and Make Gentle the Life of This World”

I remember the 60’s and 70’s as if it were yesterday. They were difficult times. Those years changed my view of war, politics, and of society. Robert Fitzgerald Kennedy once said, “Some men see things that are and ask why. I see things that never were and ask why not.” Collectively, we can change things — they don't have to be the way they are — if we want to. What RFK said then is true today. Perhaps, in ways, even more so.

“What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love, and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.”

We can, we must, “tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.”

Here’s what RFK said on that dreadful day:

I'm only going to talk to you just for a minute or so this evening, because I have some -- some very sad news for all of you -- Could you lower those signs, please? -- I have some very sad news for all of you, and, I think, sad news for all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world; and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and was killed tonight in Memphis, Tennessee.

Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice between fellow human beings. He died in the cause of that effort. In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it's perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in. For those of you who are black -- considering the evidence evidently is that there were white people who were responsible -- you can be filled with bitterness, and with hatred, and a desire for revenge.

We can move in that direction as a country, in greater polarization -- black people amongst blacks, and white amongst whites, filled with hatred toward one another. Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand, and to comprehend, and replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand, compassion, and love.

For those of you who are black and are tempted to fill with -- be filled with hatred and mistrust of the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I would only say that I can also feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man.

But we have to make an effort in the United States. We have to make an effort to understand, to get beyond, or go beyond these rather difficult times.

My favorite poem, my -- my favorite poet was Aeschylus. And he once wrote:

Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget
falls drop by drop upon the heart,
until, in our own despair,
against our will,
comes wisdom
through the awful grace of God.

What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love, and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.

So I ask you tonight to return home, to say a prayer for the family of Martin Luther King -- yeah, it's true -- but more importantly to say a prayer for our own country, which all of us love -- a prayer for understanding and that compassion of which I spoke.

We can do well in this country. We will have difficult times. We've had difficult times in the past, but we -- and we will have difficult times in the future. It is not the end of violence; it is not the end of lawlessness; and it's not the end of disorder.

But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings that abide in our land.

And let's dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world. Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Imagine a Moneyless World

John Lennon’s “Imagine” is a world we all should aspire to. His lyrics tell what the world should be: A world living as one, and at peace.

Lennon’s “Imagine” requires a world free from the bondage of money, a prerequisite for sharing the world’s resources. They are resources that belong to everyone as a birthright, and not the possessions of a few.

It’s a world that would bring together fellowship of the world’s people. There would not be a need for political parties, monarchies, fascism, or any other current form of government. There would be no war, because the motivations for war would no longer exist. It would mean to be free from the bondage of religion. It means no poverty, homelessness, or hunger.

No one should think that such a world is not viable. To say it’s not viable is an admission that we aren’t imaginative and smart enough to figure it out. Moreover, if we say we cannot, we never will.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus, It Must Be Felt With The Heart

I love this, over the years I think I have read it a thousand times. It has so much meaning. It shares a place in my heart comparable to my favorite quote by Helen Keller: “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart”

In September 1897, Francis Pharcellus Church, a former Civil War correspondent and editor at the New York Sun, received a letter from the then 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon.

In her letter, young Virginia wrote:

Dear Editor,

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, "If you see it in the Sun, it's so." Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O'Hanlon
115 West Ninety-Fifth Street

Responding to Virginia's letter, Church celebrates the innocence of childhood and the power of faith:


Virginia O'Hanlon

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

'I am here to elect a president, not a king'


Trump and his supporters treat his ascendancy to President of the United States as if he is to be anointed a King of a monarchy. Among many problems a President Trump brings to the White House, this is one of them.

"A Republican member of the Electoral College from Texas said Monday that he won't cast one of his state's 38 electoral votes for Donald Trump because 'I am here to elect a president, not a king.'

"Dallas paramedic Chris Suprun previously indicated he would support Trump. But he now says the president-elect's postelection attacks on the First Amendment and the country's electoral process, as well as the billionaire businessman's continued promotion of his brand and business interests overseas, changed his mind."

Read the article: Texas Republican elector says he won't cast ballot for Trump

Monday, December 5, 2016

Paul Ryan On Donald Trump Tweeting Lies: ‘Who Cares?

Huffington Post
Paul Ryan appeared on 60 Minutes last night. Ryan defended Trump's "tweeting lies and conspiracy theories, including dangerous allegations of mass voter fraud in the recent presidential election."

Trump, Ryan, and Republicans are in charge now. It's a huge problem for those of us who expect our political leaders to provide us with facts. With Trump, we expect no facts, only lies, but now that the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives endorses no facts and lies who are we to believe. We all will have to do a lot of research whenever any of them tell us anything. They simply can't be trusted.

It's a big problem that's only going to get worse.

"When Pelley continued to press him, Ryan said that the fact that the president-elect of the United States circulates false information on social media is not a concern to him."

This is part of what Ryan said:

“It doesn’t matter to me. He won the election,” he said. “The way I see the tweets you’re talking about, he’s basically giving voice to a lot of people who have felt that they were voiceless. He’s communicating with people in this country who’ve felt like they have not been listened to. He’s going to be an unconventional president.

“Who cares what he tweeted, you know, on some Thursday night, if we fix this country’s big problems?” he added. “That’s just the way I look at this."

Read the article: 
Paul Ryan On Donald Trump Tweeting Lies: ‘Who Cares?

Donald Trump, the Retwitter-In-Chief

Saturday Night Live’s skit, Retwitter-In-Chief, didn’t sit too well with president-elect Donald Trump.

After Alec Baldwin’s impersonation of Donald Trump’s obsession with tweeting, Trump tweeted, “Just tried watching Saturday Night Live - unwatchable! Totally biased, not funny and the Baldwin impersonation just can't get any worse. Sad”

In that Tweet, Trump validated the Retwitter-In-Chief point. Trump is distracted by insignificant tweets. “Please put down the remote and the phone and pick up the briefing books,” is Dan Rather’s response.

Watch the video. It’s fun to watch.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

New Ways of Thinking Needed in the Age of Trump

In the age of Trump, our country needs to develop new ways of thinking. Not the thinking that we can make America Great Again, back to an ugly past that was really not all that great, but thinking that cultivates love, understanding, acceptance, tolerance, and compassion.

America’s past was white dominated and less diverse. Our past is one that was great for white people but not for people of color, not for women, not for the disabled and disenfranchised. It was not great for our children either.

The election of Donald Trump, built on judging, mocking, shaming, and hating, enabled among his followers a serious lack of compassion for the plight of others. An America that is inclusive, empathetic, and interested in justice for all, requires understanding, acceptance, and tolerance.

Trump and his supporters believe that the presidency of Barack Obama has been bad for America. They claim Obama has weakened the military without understanding that the military and modern warfare is very different from that fought in World War II, Vietnam, or the Gulf War. The Pentagon restructured, re-equipped, and reorganized the U.S. military to meet the needs of modern warfare. Congress approves military spending.

They say Obama is responsible for an influx of undocumented immigrants and Muslim refugees. That he has given black and brown people favorable treatment. Many still believe he is a Muslim, and not born in the United States.

“Make America Great Again,” means undoing Obamacare, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicare, Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, returning to the same economic vulnerabilities that caused the Great Recession. It means dismantling all of President Obama's executive orders, efforts to reduce planet warming, and rollback of other government regulations. It means rip up the Iran nuclear agreement and return to the same problems surrounding Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

“Make America Great Again” really means Make America White Again. Metaphorically, it means getting rid of the black man in the White House and return to what will "Make America Great Again": a white man occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Ave as it was prior to 2008.

Copyright © Horatio Green 2016