Can’t we at least do this?

Here’s my latest attempt to influence voters in my very conservative congressional district through a letter to the editor of our local paper–LNP. If we want our elected officials to behave in a rational, humane fashion, we’ve got to make sure they are fit to be there. If your representative is as compromised by allegiance to the gun lobby and its millions in campaign contributions as ours is, I urge you to rally the troops and replace him or her. We can make a dent in this gun madness if we all stick together and work on it. Here’s what I wrote to my fellow voters:

If Congressman Lloyd Smucker remains deaf to the pleas of the people of his district and across the nation (those pleas were made plain by a gathering on Penn Square August 8) for a ban on military style weapons, powerful death-dealing machines that allow hate-possessed civilians—many egged on by the hateful rhetoric of our President—to slaughter dozens of American citizens, he does not deserve to be our representative in Congress. His refusal to stand with the people and his refusal to abandon the gun industry and its generous campaign contributions prove that his self-righteous claim to be a person of upright moral character (in a recent LNP op-ed piece) was as untruthful as similar claims made by our President. Lloyd Smucker’s willingness to stand by silently as the people of this country, this county, cry out for protection from those weapons of mass destruction disqualifies him from the high office he now holds. I don’t care if the person elected to replace him is a Republican or a Democrat, but it must be a person with the guts to stand up for what’s right. Banning semi-automatic and automatic weapons and the clips and magazines used with them is the right thing to do.

We can do this.

Pace.

Impeaching Trump

If you aren’t completely exhausted by the shenanigans of our president and his cronies in Congress, you might find the new episode of the “Nailing It Down” podcast interesting. It’s called,  “Impeaching Trump.” Check it out if you have time.

Pace.

Will we stand up to White Supremacy?

Below is my latest missive to our local paper (LNP, Lancaster, PA) in response to the rising tide of white supremacist rhetoric and hateful actions .

Eugene Robinson’s catalog (“Our President wants to put up a “No Vacancies” sign for non-white immigrants,” April 16, 2019) of President Trump’s race-based mistreatment of Americans, immigrants, Africans, Haitians, basically anyone not white, reminded me how far we are from “liberty and justice for all.” The President’s belief in white supremacy is apparently shared by his white fans, including Congressman Lloyd Smucker, dozens of other Republicans, and millions of Americans, many professing Christians among them. If they didn’t agree, wouldn’t they have stood up by now against the immoral, likely illegal, harm Mr. Trump and his band of bigots have inflicted on so many people simply because their skin is not white. It has all shaken my faith in the character of America and Americans. I’d like to think this brief hateful moment will be abolished by a changing of the guard. Unable to know the future, I looked back in history for inspiration. Not so encouraging. In 1866, after a bloody civil war over slavery, Pennsylvania’s Democratic Convention passed this resolution: “The white race alone is entitled to the control of the Government of the Republic.” Lancaster’s Thaddeus Stevens thundered in response: “If we have not yet been sufficiently scourged for our national sin to teach us to do justice to all God’s creatures, without distinction of race or color, we must expect the still more heavy vengeance of an offended Father.” Faced with the racially poisonous presidency of Mr. Trump, we know white supremacy triumphed over Stevens. Can we stem the tide of white supremacy now? Are we even willing to try?

Watch out for the WASPs!

I’m still trying to understand why my local newspaper gave a local white supremacist half a page to explain why White Anglo Saxon Protestants (especially males, I assume) are a superior species. In light of the recent arrest of a white supremacist Coast Guardsman planning to slaughter Democrats, we need to be alert to dangerous hate masquerading as something else. Here’s my response to our local newspaper.

As a journalist, I have long accepted the truth of A. J. Liebling’s observation: Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one. Because that’s true, I am grateful to LNP for allowing so many of us to speak freely through Letters to the Editor. I understand that if I want the editors to grant me freedom of speech, I must endure the days when they publish what Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes called “thought that we hate.” On those days, I find consolation in the length limit on letters. You can be only so offensive in 250 words.

But when the editors open a half page for writers of hateful thought, such as Joel Martin’s somewhat threatening celebration of white supremacy, I am dismayed. His claim to speak for White Anglo Saxon Protestants (WASPs) reminded me of these words: “We avow the distinction between the races of mankind as decreed by the Creator, and we shall ever be true to the maintenance of White Supremacy and strenuously oppose any compromise thereof.” That’s from the “Ku Klux Kreed” (1921). Mr. Martin claims this nation was established by White Protestant Men. He ignores the vital contributions of African Americans, and immigrants from Ireland, Italy, Germany, Mexico, China and elsewhere with non-Protestant faiths—Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and Catholics. He warns “the elites” they’ll answer to angry WASPs if they try to remove Donald Trump, an alleged bigot, from office. I’m out of words. Wish you hadn’t done it, LNP.

Pace.

Memo to the Big Kahuna

[For the record, my latest missive to the Lancaster newspaper for what it’s worth.]

Memo To: The Almighty

cc: Christian Republicans, James Dobson

Re: “baby Christian” Donald J. Trump

It has come to our attention that after being accepted into fellowship by evangelical leaders as a “baby Christian,” President Trump does not appear to be growing in love and concern for your Creation-both natural and human.

He recently postponed his State of the Union address until he could deliver it in the House of Representatives; he thinks he’ll look more important and powerful there.

He shutdown the government, causing anxiety and financial problems for thousands of federal workers and their families, to force Democrats to pay for a wall to block an imaginary threat to national security at the Mexican border so his supporters will vote for him in 2020.

Against Jesus’s teaching to ““Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children,” he has ripped babies from the arms of parents fleeing violence and poverty in Central America and even held them in cages like animals.

Contradicting Jesus’s teaching to love and accept all people, regardless of race or religion or sexual identity, he has vilified and denigrated people of color, Muslims, and gay, lesbian and transgendered people.

He has also attacked many provisions in place to protect and preserve your natural world.

Hope this report is helpful as you guide “baby Christian” Trump to focus less on himself and much, much more on loving the rest of Creation.

Do I sound hysterical?

Here’s my latest missive to our local newspaper (LNP, lancasteronline.com). I welcome responses. If you share these sentiments, share the message. Maybe, just maybe, we can push past the tipping point and begin healing our nation.

In a collection of essays published in 2017, mental health professionals made the scientific case that Donald Trump is dangerously, mentally impaired and unfit to be president. (“The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump,” St. Martin’s Press) The experts saw deeply troubling signs of paranoia and malignant narcissism. In that same book, Tony Schwartz, the ghost writer who helped Trump create the successful businessman character he now pretends to be, tells us Trump did not value “the qualities that tend to emerge as people grow more secure…empathy, generosity, reflectiveness, the capacity to delay gratification, or, above all, a conscience, an inner sense of right and wrong.” Trump, Schwartz observes, was interested only in himself. Now, US justice officials are establishing the criminal case against Trump. It includes allegations of political payoffs (in 2016) to hide adulterous affairs, using elective office for personal enrichment, merging business and political objectives in a highly suspicious relationship with Russia, obstructing investigations, and lying to the American people about all of it. Some political observers believe Mr. Trump and his family, with their utter disregard and disdain for the moral values and laws on which our nation was built, have dragged our experiment in democracy to the edge of the precipice. If elected leaders, Republican and Democrat, along with the American people don’t unite to hold Donald Trump and his cohorts accountable, we face the very real risk of becoming a failed democracy. No one wants that. I pray that justice will prevail.

Pace.

Can you find Yemen on the map?

The dire situation in Yemen isn’t just another case of journalists piling on a new story. This one’s been developing for some time, brought to you by the same country that sliced and diced one of their own countrymen in their embassy in Turkey. But back to the starving children. The New York Times Magazine had a devastating piece on Sunday, Nov. 4. It’s a tough read. Here’s what I found out ( while researching my book) about human rights violations  in Yemen, carried out by Saudi Arabia with help from its good friend, Don Trump. [see map below]

[from Appendix to Chapter 4 in This Mere Existence]:

4:00 AM (Eastern Standard Time) Yemen

Sometime before Noon (4:00 AM EST) on December 5, 2016, the Saudi Arabian air force was busy in Yemen. It’s not clear which came first, but in fairly quick succession, Saudi warplanes attacked a boat carrying Pakistani sailors off the coast of Yemen’s Ta’izz province, a residential building housing families with children in Sa’ada province to the east, and dropped more bombs in the Baqim district to the north near the Saudi border. When the scream of the jet planes had faded in the distance, six dead sailors floated in the water of the Red Sea, with another six feared lost; in Sa’ada, a child lay dead, near her injured father and two brothers, and three people—a dead woman and two wounded children—lay on the ground near the Saudi border. According to the statisticians, that brought the number of dead civilians to at least 11,400, since a Saudi-led coalition began attacking Yemen in March, 2015. The coalition agreed to wage war in Yemen, ostensibly, to drive out Houthi rebels (a Shia-led religious-political movement) and return the former government to power. In a little more than a year, the coalition had failed to accomplish its stated goal, but it had wrought considerable change in Yemen.

Most horrendous of the coalition accomplishments was, as in the December 5 attack, the slaughter of innocent children and other civilians. In August of 2016, military leaders sent fighter jets to attack a village school in Sa’ada. That time, ten children died, twenty eight more were wounded. Heart-rending social media postings flashed out to the world.

Hisham Al-Omeisy @omeisy

Smallest coffins are heaviest. Graphic images of children killed in Saudi airstrike on school in Sa’ada this morning. Speechless. #Yemen

7:00 AM – 13 Aug 2016

Reporters on the ground painted devastating pictures with words: “Photographs from the scene showed rows of small bodies lined up on tarpaulin. Other pictures showed wounded and bloodied children being treated in hospital. [Medecin Sans Frontieres said] all of the victims were between eight and 15 years old.”42

No less devastating were the other statistics produced by the coalition attacks. The UN estimated (in October, 2016) that at least 38,280 Yemeni civilians had been injured in more than twenty-one months of fighting, in addition to the more than 11,000 killed. The violence had displaced more than three million people, and 18.8 million Yemenis—nearly 70 percent of the population—needed humanitarian or protection assistance. The UN estimated that 14 million people were hungry, seven million were in danger of starving to death. An additional 180,000 Yemenis had fled their homeland.43

The grim situation grew darker by the hour until families found themselves facing decisions no human being should ever be forced to make. “Parents are forced to decide between saving their sick children and preventing healthier ones from following the same perilous route. Cemeteries in this desperately poor and rugged stretch of villages [in rural Yemen] in the northwest contain the bodies of children who have recently died of hunger and preventable diseases. Most are buried in unmarked graves, their deaths unreported.”44 The situation was made worse by the lack of aid agencies operating in remote areas of Yemen and by a Saudi air and naval blockade that prevented both food and medicine from reaching those who so desperately needed it.

Repeated calls from relief organizations, including the UN and Medecins Sans Frontieres, for a cessation of fighting and humanitarian aid for the Yemenis drew little response from Saudi Arabia or its principle coalition partners, the United Kingdom and the United States. But coalition partners stood ready to support the “peace” effort, as co-aggressor nation, the United Arab Emirates, described the fighting. The US provided ongoing military materiel, including cluster bombs (banned by most of the world’s countries, but not the US), and Britain promised to support the “peacemaking” efforts with a £3 billion ($3.6 million) defense fund dedicated to supplying warships, aircraft and military personnel to the Persian Gulf region (more than England spends on any other part of the world) over at least the next ten years. When pressed by activists on the issue of human rights, on December 5, 2016, the day of the triple attacks, British Prime Minister Theresa May said, “I think the UK has always had the position, and we continue to have the position, that where there are issues raised about human rights, where there are concerns, we will rightly raise those.”45 May responded to activists on her way to a meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Accounts of the meeting indicated she encouraged Gulf leaders to continue pursuing economic reforms, but voiced little challenge in the area of human rights. And war in Yemen and the hunger in Yemen raged on.

[If you want to know the citations for the information, you could always get a copy of the book :–) Map below

Pace.

yemen