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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Washington Post Echo- GOP health care repeal is a bad idea

Another GOP health-care bill proves - "bad ideas never die"- Washington Post opinion: blog "echo"

GOP health insurance "repeal bill" is a bad idea

Republican senators (will sadly) try one last time to repeal and replace Obamacare. (Obamacare was built on the actuarial analysis that spreads the cost of the risk of coverage throughout the population covered. Republicans want to slash and burn the benefits that helps the most needy who need coverage for pre-existing conditions.)

Opinion in the Washington Post

In fact, the latest bill, from Sens. Bill Cassidy (La.), Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.), Dean Heller (Nev.) and Ron Johnson (Wis.), is about as execrable (ie "awful") as the others that GOP lawmakers previously failed to approve. The process by which Republicans would pass it would be as sloppy and partisan as the one to which senators such as John McCain (R-Ariz.) objected earlier in the summer. The outcome would be no less destructive.

The big difference now is the clock; the procedural window for passing a health-care bill along straight party lines will disappear at the end of the month, spurring Republicans to try one last time. 

That is a sad excuse to rush through — without even an attempt at bipartisanship and without a complete Congressional Budget Office assessment — a half-baked bill that would harm millions. Senators who objected to repeal-and-replace efforts before have no principled reason to change their votes.

The Graham-Cassidy proposal would cancel Obamacare’s major programs in 2020 and offer the states block grants instead. This plan at least does not include a massive upper-income tax cut, as previous GOP bills did, and it would seem to allow blue states to create and maintain universal or near-universal health coverage systems within their borders, even as red states went in a more conservative direction.

But the bill suffers from fatal flaws, even setting aside how red-state residents would suffer under the parsimonious health policies their governments would adopt. 

First, analysts project that it would scale back the money states would get over time, relative to what would have flowed their way under Obamacare. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a center-left think tank, estimatesthe shortfall would total $41 billion by 2026. The bill’s funding formula would, in general, shift money from blue states to red states. These factors would make it difficult for states that like their Obamacare to keep their Obamacare.

Second, the bill would seriously cut Medicaid, which covers the poor and near-poor, putting yet more burden on states to cover needy people — if states even try.

Third, the state block grants that would underpin the Graham-Cassidy system would end in 2027; that would breed uncertainty in the market, fear among patients and rancor on Capitol Hill.

Moreover, the bill would make it easier for states to erode important safeguards guaranteeing that sick people can obtain the care they need.

And that is the rosy scenario. There is a good chance that many states would fail to create brand-new health-care systems by 2020, in time to stave off the chaos that would occur after Obamacare’s carefully regulated and subsidized health-care markets disappeared. Establishing such a system is hard under any circumstances. Doing so under a tight deadline, without the administrative, technical and other help that federal officials currently provide, would be very hard, the Urban Institute’s Linda Blumberg pointed out.

Some Republicans want to pass this policy disaster before the end of the month, in less than two weeks. A last-minute committee hearing would be nothing more than a fig leaf disguising a reprehensibly partisan process in service of an unworthy bill.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The New Yorker: Evan Osnos: Letter from Pyongyang "On The Brink"

The New Yorker September 18, 2017
Could Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump goad each other into nuclear war?

An interesting and well written first person tour into North Korea by Evan Osnos. 

Intersting article by Evan Osnos in The New Yorker- but he did not get to ask Kim Jong Un how he felt about "Nuh Jukgo, na jukja!"
Description of (~sort of~) the ordinary life of an American visitor in North Korea., 

Evan Osnos spoke candidly with his personal North Korean guide and chaperon. He stayed in Pyongyang and visited the Demilitarized Zone- on the North Korean side of the 38th Parallel

Take away from the feature story was this: North Koreans are prepared to die in a nuclear war rather than surrender to Donald Trump. "Nuh jukgo, na juka!" (You die, I die!) is the national mantra.

Nevertheless, my own observation, after reading the article, was this:

Obviously the North Koreans are willing to die because they consider it their zealous  duty to do so, if necessary. Nevertheless, it begs the question:  Is Kim Jong Un ready to die with them?

That's where the fulcrum between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un is positioned.  (In my opinion.)  Frankly, Kim Jong Un seems to enjoy firing off nuclear threats, but I seriously doubt that he is ready for a "star wars" style weapon to find him, wherever he hides.

Kim Jong Un should stop his nuclear horror and focus, instead, on keeping his people healthy and economically secure.   

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Spy writer's insight- John LeCarre "something wicked is happening"

Donald Trump era- something seriously bad is happening.

Published in The Guardian
British novelist John le Carré
In my sadly ominous (MaineWriter) opinion, the era of American idealism is at risk of disappearing, unless we find the leadership to transcend this period of regressive Donald Trump cultism. Novelist John le Carré draws attention to this risk, in this Guardian interview. 

John le Carré on Trump: ‘Something seriously bad is happening’

Spy author draws parallels between Donald Trump and rise of 1930s fascism, in rare public appearance at Royal Festival Hall

John le Carré is one of Britain’s greatest living writers. He has spoken of the “toxic” parallels between the rise of Donald Trump and the rise of 1930s fascism.

In a rare public appearance, the 85-year-old novelist and former spy spoke of his disdain for Trump and his despair for the US and the wider world.

“Something truly, seriously bad is happening and from my point of view we have to be awake to that,” he told an audience at the Royal Festival Hall in London.

A Legacy of Spies, by John le Carré – Smiley returns in a breathtaking thriller. Vintage Le Carré as he ingeniously closes the circle of his long career.

“These stages that Trump is going through in the United States and the stirring of racial hatred … a kind of burning of the books as he attacks, as he declares real news as fake news, the law becomes fake news, everything becomes fake news.

“I think of all things that were happening across Europe in the 1930s, in Spain, in Japan, obviously in Germany. To me, these are absolutely comparable signs of the rise of fascism and it’s contagious, it’s infectious. Fascism is up and running in Poland and Hungary. There’s an encouragement about.”

Even today, Le Carré said, Ang Sang Suu Kyi is speaking of “fake news” in Burma. “These are infectious forms of demagogic behaviour and they are toxic.”

Le Carré was speaking at an event in aid of the charity Médecins Sans Frontièresand which was also beamed to cinemas – to mark the publication of his latest book, A Legacy of Spies, which features the return of his fictional spymaster George Smiley.

The audience, which included Tom Stoppard, Nigella Lawson, Frank Skinner, Jarvis Cocker, Richard Osman and Robert Winston, listened as Le Carré looked back on his life and work and answered tweeted questions from the public, chosen by moderator Jon Snow.

Le Carré was employed by both MI5 and MI6 before becoming a writer, but he said the service then was a kind of “non-violent fairyland” hugely different to the security services of today.

Asked whether he would recommend being a spy, he said: “It is is such a huge industry now, with so many different compartments, it is almost like saying: would you take up the law? These services have altered so vastly since my day.”

If people are, though, “by instinct a befriender, a seducer and a liar, in the sense of a gentleman who lies for the good of his country” then MI6 is for you, “but think of the second half of your life because not many people have one”.

Despite Le Carré’s new book being billed as the return of Smiley, his appearance is, according to one review, “the slimmest of cameos”.

Nevertheless, it has been rapturously received. Reviewing for the Guardian, John Banville writes: “The ingenuity and skill with which the thing is brought off is breathtaking – really, not since The Spy [Who Came in from the Cold] has Le Carré exercised his gift as a storyteller so powerfully and to such thrilling effect.”

The book tells the story of Smiley’s right-hand man Peter Guillam, summoned to MI6’s headquarters in Vauxhall, to explain the events from The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, which resulted in the deaths at the Berlin wall of agent Alec Leamas and his lover Liz Gold.

Le Carré said Guillam, “when I’m feeling confused but willing”, was the character he most related to, but there were parts of him in all his characters. “You can’t actually make character without putting something of yourself in to each one, even the most larcenous and wicked, the most lecherous, the most pure. Each of them has, in his or her own way, something that you can relate to.”

Le Carré’s previous Smiley novels are set in the cold war, an almost unimaginably different era to which he said he did not hark back.

He admitted being old-fashioned, writing every day with a pen. And although there will be no more Smiley he said he would continue writing and was working on his next novel. “I would go on writing even if I knew I was not going to be published, ever. I couldn’t help it.”

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Monday, September 18, 2017

His family was never the same: Muslim conversion from Islam to Christianity

Nabeel Qureshi (1983-2017): Inspired Conversion

I received this article from Christian Missionaries who live and teach in Uganda.

On Saturday, September 16, 2017, Nabeel Qureshi, died a natural but premature death, at age the young age of 34. He was born a Muslim into the Ahmadi Islam faith and he died a Christian.  

In this short biography, we learn how difficult it was for Nabeel to make a conversion from Islam to Christian.  I found his self described meditation exercise, whereby he placed the Bible side by side with the Qur'an, in front of him, to hold particular significance, because, obviously, the power of this contemplation compelled Nabeel to make his difficult choice.  

Nabeel was born in California, as a U.S. citizen to Pakistani immigrants. They were living in California because of religious persecution experienced, at the hands of fellow Muslims, in Pakistan.

His parents were devout members of the peaceful Ahmadi sect of Islam, which differs from orthodox Islam on some minor doctrines but shares with it a belief in the six articles of faith:
  • belief in tawheed [absolute monotheism]
  • belief in the prophets
  • belief in the books
  • belief in the unseen
  • belief in the day of judgment
  • belief in the decree of Allah
Plus, holds to the five pillars of the faith:
  • reciting the shahada (witness of faith)
  • praying the salaat (ritual prayer)
  • paying the zakaat (alms)
  • fasting
  • performing hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca)
In August 2001, while he was a student at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, Nabeel observed fellow student David Wood reading the Bible in his free time. 

Nabeel regularly read the Qur’an, but it struck him as odd to see a Christian reading the Bible, on his own.

Nabeel challenged David’s belief in Christianity, beginning with the charge that the Bible had been corrupted over time. 

Wood aspired to be a Christian apologist, and the two young men formed a friendship and engaged in debate that lasted for several years.

In working through David’s arguments and examining the evidence for himself, Nabeel eventually became convinced of the general reliability of the New Testament.

He next raised the objection that Jesus never claimed to be God. After being shown this was untrue, Nabeel challenged David that Jesus had never died on the cross. Again, by being willing to investigate the evidence, Nabeel changed his mind.

It was now two and a half years later, and Nabeel raised the greatest stumbling block for accepting Christianity: how could one man die for another man’s sins? And how could the one true God be a Trinity? He was now reading the Bible and considering Christ’s claims for himself.

In return, David began to challenge Nabeel’s confidence in the claims of Islam. Intellectually, Nabeel held to Islam for several subjective reasons (like the kind of life it produced), but objectively, the central claim was that Islam was true because Muhammad was a true prophet of God. But after studying primary sources and biographies, Nabeel eventually concluded that he could not reasonably hold to the idea that Muhammad is the greatest of prophets and history’s most perfect man.

From December 2004 to April 2005, Nabeel experienced three vivid dreams that strongly suggested to him that Christianity is true and that Christ should be followed.

Later that year, he traveled to Washington, D.C., Canada, and England to search out knowledgeable Muslims who could answer the arguments against Islam that he had encountered. “I heard various replies running the gamut from terribly unconvincing to fairly innovative, and I encountered people that ranged from sincere to condescendingly caustic. At the end of my research, the arguments for and against Islam still hung in the balance, but one thing was abundantly clear: they were far from approaching the strength of the case for Christianity.”

Nabeel decided on his final conversion to Christianity, while he was a medical student, and the effect it had on his world:

He began mourning the impact of the decision he had to make. On the first day of his 2nd year of medical school, it became too much to bear. Yearning for comfort, he decided to skip school. Returning to his apartment, he placed the Qur’an and the Bible in front of him. "I turned to the Qur’an, but there was no comfort there. For the first time, the book seemed utterly irrelevant to my suffering. Irrelevant to my life. It felt like a dead book."

"With nowhere left to go, I opened up the New Testament and started reading. Very quickly, I came to the passage that said, 'Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted'.”

"Electric, the words lept off the page and jump-started my heart. I could not put the Bible down. I began reading fervently, reaching Matthew 10:37, which taught me that I must love God more than my mother and father."

“But Jesus,” I said, “accepting you would be like dying. I will have to give up everything.”

"The next verses spoke to me, saying, 'He who does not take his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for my sake will find it” (NASB). Jesus was being very blunt: For Muslims, following the gospel is more than a call to prayer. It is a call to die'."

"I knelt at the foot of my bed and gave up my life."

A few days later, the two people he loved most in this world were shattered by his betrayal, he said. "To this day my family is broken by the decision I made, and it is excruciating every time I see the cost I had to pay."

But Jesus is the God of reversal and redemption. He redeemed sinners to life by his death, and he redeemed a symbol of execution by repurposing it for salvation. 

"Jesus redeemed my suffering by making me rely upon him for my every moment, bending my heart toward him. It was there in my pain that I knew him intimately. He reached me through investigations, dreams, and visions, and called me to prayer in my suffering. It was there that I found Jesus. To follow him is worth giving up everything."

Nevertheless, Nabeel's family was never the same after his conversion.

"My mother has tears in her eyes whenever I see her, a quiver in her voice whenever I hear her, and absolute despair on her face in sleep and while awake. Never have I met a mother more devoted to her children than my mother, and how did I repay her? In her mind, decades’ worth of emotional and physical investment ended up with her son espousing views that are completely antithetical to everything she stands for."

"My father, a loving, gentle, and big-hearted man with every ounce of the emotional strength expected of a 24-year veteran of the U.S. military, broke down for the first time that I had ever seen. To be the cause of the only tears I ever saw fall from his eyes is not easy to live with. To hear him . . . the man who stood tallest in my life from the day I was born, my archetype of strength, my father . . . to hear him say that because of me he felt his backbone has been ripped out from behind him, feels like patricide."

"It was then that I wondered why God had let me live; why had God not just lifted me to himself when I had found the truth? Why did I have to hurt my family so much, and practically eschew the ones who loved me more than anyone else?"

He found found solace in God’s Word. "After accepting him, it was my duty to work for him and walk his path. For now, my loss was to be comforted by his words found in Mark 10:29-30":

“I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.”

Nabeel went on to study Christian apologetics at Biola University, graduating with an MA in 2008, while also completing his medical degree at Eastern Virginia Medical School, graduating in 2009. 

In 2012, he completed an MA in religion at Duke University, and then entered an MPhil and PhD program at Oxford University in New Testament studies. In 2013, he became an itinerant speaker with Ravi Zacharias International Ministry.

In February 2014, Nabeel published his first book, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity (Zondervan), which landed on The New York Times bestseller list, and was awarded the Christian Book Award for both “Best New Author” and “Best Non-Fiction Book” of 2015. His book has sold more than a quarter of a million copies.

In 2015, Nabeel’s wife, Michelle, gave birth to their daughter, Ayah Fatima Qureshi, named after a Christian martyr.

In March 2016, Zondervan published Nabeel’s book Answering Jihad: A Better Way Forward.

Five months later, in August 2016, Zondervan released 
No God But One: Allah or Jesus? A Former Muslim Investigates the Evidence for Islam and Christianity.

But, on the day of the book release for No God But One, Nabeel wrote the following on Facebook, announcing that he had been diagnosed with advanced stomach cancer:

Dear Friends and Family,

This is an announcement that I never expected to make, but God in His infinite and sovereign wisdom has chosen me for this refining, and I pray He will be glorified through my body and my spirit. My family and I have received the news that I have advanced stomach cancer, and the clinical prognosis is quite grim. Nonetheless, we are going to pursue healing aggressively, both medical and miraculous, relying on God and the fact that He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.

In the past few days my spirits have soared and sank as I pursue the Lord’s will and consider what the future might look like, but never once have I doubted this: that Jesus is Lord, His blood has paid my ransom, and by His wounds I am healed. I have firm faith that my soul is saved by the grace and mercy of the Triune God, and not by any accomplishment or merit of my own. I am so thankful that I am a child of the Father, redeemed by the Son, and sealed in the Spirit. No, in the midst of the storm, I do not have to worry about my salvation, and for that I praise you, God. . . .

Friends and family, may I ask you to fast and pray fervently for my healing? I do not profess to know the will of the Lord, but many of my close friends and confidants are convinced that this is a trial through which the Lord intends to bring me alive and refined. May His will be done, and may I invite you to seek Him in earnest, on your knees, fasting on my behalf, asking our Yahweh Rapha for healing in Jesus’ name.

And as you pray and fast, “I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.” (Philippians 1:18-20)

For His Glory,

In October 2016, his wife, Michelle, suffered a miscarriage, and in May 2017, Nabeel announced that the radiation had not worked and that the cancer had spread to his chest.

In September 2017, his doctors decided to place him on palliative care, as there were no further medical options to pursue.

As a Christian apologist with a special focus on Islam, Nabeel was often introduced as a “former Muslim.” He felt ambivalence about the label, wondering if he would be forever bound by the life he left. When asked about this by Boundless, he responded:

We don’t identify other Christians as “former adulterers,” “former narcissists,” etc. I have been made a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), I strive every day to cast off the old self and to put on the new (Ephesians 4:22-24), reflecting the fact that I have been born again from above (John 3:3).

I would be thrilled if I never had to talk about Islam again, focusing instead on the awe-inspiring power of God’s incarnation and resurrection!

But, he added:

. . . as long as there are Muslims, there will be Christians who need to be equipped to share the Gospel with them in compelling compassion.

Until that is no longer the case, I am honored to discuss my former way of life to build up the body of Christ.

Today, Nabeel Qureshi, beholding his Savior face to face, is able to declare what is true:

I have fought the good fight.

I have finished the race.

I have kept the faith.

Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

(2 Tim. 4:7-8)

Entering into the joy of his Master, he undoubtedly heard the words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

A fund has been created for Nabeel’s wife and daughter.

Maine Writer- the purpose of posting this article is to help us understand just how difficult it is for people of the Islam faith to approach Christianity with open mindedness and an willingness to be educated about Biblical teachings, especially in the New Testament Scriptures.  There is a definite correlation between emotional and spiritual stress and illness.  I pray that the pain Nabeel felt in making his conversion has transformed into eternal bliss.

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Always thought we would see him again - Mr. David Greenwood

Mr. Greenwood died (1935-2017)
Our Dundalk High Schol Class alumni members seldom called him "David".

We respected "Mr. Greenwood", so much, and that's just who he was to us.

"You are all grown up now," he would tell us, when he attended our high school class reunions. "My name is David". That's what Mr. Greenwood said.

I recall how he read from the lectern, at Mass, at St. Rita's Church, in Dundalk, MD. Frankly, it was rare to see a teacher attending Mass in Dundalk. Therefore, the visibility was a statement to those of us who, sometimes, felt like we were a minority Catholic group. He was giving a salient message to us, showing how to be proud of who we were, especially important for youth wrestling with our developing self esteem.
He regularly attended Mass. Although he quietly practiced his faith, we knew that he was aware of who was in the sanctuary with him.

Thank you to James Taylor, for writing these sensitive lyrics:

"Just yesterday morning, they let me know you were gone.
(Suzanne, and the plans they made....)
I've seen fire and I've seen rain. 
I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end.
I've seen lonely times, when I could not find a friend; but I always thought that I'd see you again."

David G. Greenwood, 82, retired Baltimore County career educator, written by Frederick N. Rasmussen of the Baltimore Sun newspapers. (Although Mr. Greenwood's death was not unexpected, he had such an indelible ability to inspire those who knew him, so much so that it's difficult to realize, as JT wrote, that  "we will never see him again".)

David G. Greenwood, a retired Baltimore County public schools educator who rose from a Dundalk classroom (and class advisor to the Dundalk High School class of 1963) to become a much-admired administrator, died Wednesday, of a heart attack at Bonnie Blink, the Maryland Masonic Home, in Hunt Valley.

Mr. Greenwood was a Mays Chapel North resident.

“Dave was a strong disciplinarian but was always very fair,” said Robert Y. Dubel, who headed Baltimore County public schools for 16 years, retiring in 1992.

“He had high academic expectations and was respected by the students. We were impressed with him when he was assistant superintendent for the central area where he had 35 schools under his direction, which is one-fifth of the county’s schools,” Dr. Dubel said. “And all of his principals liked and respected him. He was a delightful person.”

“He was a fabulous administrator and in the Dundalk area was such an icon. He was a terrific educator, was admired by his staff, and loved by the community,” said Nancy S. Grasmick, former state superintendent of schools.

“He was a person who saw life in the most positive way, and I never saw a person who smiled more. He overcame much adversity, but always saw the best in life,” Dr. Grasmick said. “He was a wonderful, wonderful joyous man.”

“ ‘Kids are the boss. Do what they want,’ he’d say,” said Tom Toporovich, former secretary to the Baltimore County Council, a Dundalk activist and a longtime friend. “I am not saying that he gave away the school; what he meant was do what the kids need, not what you think needs to be done.”

The son of George S. Greenwood, a Bethlehem Steel Corp. supervisor, and Rowena A. Fountaine, a homemaker, David George Greenwood was born in Buffalo, N.Y., and moved with his family, in 1937, to Dundalk, Maryland.

“He was raised in both Dundalk and Sparrows Point,” said his wife of 49 years, the former G. Sueanne Feihe, who was the secretary at Hereford Middle School for many years.

When Mr. Greenwood was 16, he had his first job at the Nelson Co., a box manufacturing company, and worked for four years during the summer at Sparrows Point.

He was a 1953 graduate of Loyola High School, where he sang in the glee club, worked as a reporter for the school newspaper, and was business manager of the yearbook.

“He had to ride the streetcar from Dundalk and then take two transit buses to get to Homeland, where he caught the Loyola bus that took him to Blakefield,” his wife said.

After graduating in 1957 from what is now Loyola University Maryland, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in biology, Mr. Greenwood served as a radio field operator from 1957 to 1963 with the Marine Corps Reserve.

From 1957 to 1971, he attended and took courses in science and school administration at Morgan State, what is now McDaniel College, Loyola, the Community College of Baltimore County-Essex and Vassar College.

In 1975, he earned a master’s degree in education in administration and supervision from the Johns Hopkins University.

Mr. Greenwood began his career in 1958 teaching biology and general science at Dundalk High School. In 1963, he was named science department chairman at Patapsco High School, a position he held until 1972, when he was appointed assistant principal there.

“He made his mark at Patapsco High School,” Dr. Dubel said. “When you walked in, you knew it was a very orderly school.”

In 1979, he became principal of Catonsville Junior High School, and in 1981 he was appointed principal of Patapsco High School.

“He was so popular at Patapsco High School, he was always being invited to class reunions,” Dr. Dubel said.

Additionally, he coached soccer at Dundalk and Patapsco high schools from 1962 to 1971, and was student council adviser at the two schools from 1962 to 1970.

In 1962, he was appointed to the Ad-Hoc Committee on Living Standards by then-Baltimore County Executive Spiro T. Agnew. He was appointed in 1965 to the Baltimore County Commission on Physical Fitness, where he served for five years, by Gov. J. Millard Tawes. From 1966 to 1971, he was a member of the Baltimore County Youth Commission.

In 1990, he was promoted to assistant superintendent, a position he held until his retirement in 1992.

His professional memberships included serving on the board during the 1980s of the Secondary School Administrators Association, and from 1989 to 1990, on the board of the Maryland Association of Secondary School Principals.

Even though Mr. Greenwood lived for 30 years on Dunkirk Road in Rodgers Forge and moved in 1999 to Mays Chapel North, he stayed connected to the Dundalk-Sparrows Point neighborhoods.

From 1984 to 2000, he was president of the Dundalk Concert Association that brought artists from the world of music to Dundalk. He was chairman of the Dundalk Centennial Celebration Association from 1993 to 1995 and served as president of the Dundalk Jaycees in 1961.

Mr. Greenwood was a member of the board of the Greater Dundalk Chamber of Commerce from 1983 to 1985, and was named Outstanding Young Man of Dundalk in 1965 and Dundalk Humanitarian of the Year in 1995.

“He remained active with the Dundalk community, of which he was a vital part,” Dr. Dubel said.

“People saw him in the community as one of their own,” Dr. Grasmick said. “He was always thinking about what could enhance the area and provide opportunities.”

For a number of years, Mr. Greenwood waged a battle against diabetes that eventually left him a double-amputee and blind.

“He endured amputations and dialysis three days a week,” Mr. Toporovich said. “I always thought of Dave as a living profile in courage for what he had gone through during his lifetime.”

“He never lost his good nature, despite his difficulties,” Dr. Dubel said.

Mrs. Greenwood said her husband never let his medical problems get him down.

“He wasn’t depressed, he was still volunteering and active. He was a very strong man,” she said.

He was a life member of the Dundalk Council of the Knights of Columbus, and an active member of the Blind Veterans Association, the Marine Corps League, the patient and family advisory council at the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center and the Baltimore Council of Retired School Personnel.

“We did some traveling, but volunteering was his hobby,” Mrs. Greenwood said.

Mr. Greenwood was an avid Baltimore Colts, Orioles and Ravens fan and collected memorabilia associated with those teams.

Mr. Greenwood was a communicant of the Catholic Community of St. Francis Xavier in Cockeysville.

Plans for a Mass of Christian burial to be held in the chapel of Our Lady of Montserrat on the campus of Loyola High School are incomplete.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Greenwood is survived by a son, John D. Greenwood of Annapolis; and a grandson.

In my last conversations with Mr. Greenwood, we talked about his family's Franco-American genealogy and the roots of his last name. He knew his name had been changed from "Boisvert", before the English translation. Many French-Canadian immigrant families Anglicized their names, to expedite their assimilation.

Indeed, the name in both French and English, was fitting of his strong moral character. His dedication to helping others was as deep rooted as any hard wood forest tree and was as steady in purpose as an Oak, reaching to capture the sun. And that's exactly where Mr. Greenwood resides now. He is with the beauty of the universe and surrounded by the light that inspires our loving memory of him. 

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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Medicaid Expansion in Maine- Question 2, 2017

"Do you want Maine to provide health insurance through Medicaid for qualified adults under the age of 65 with incomes at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty line?"
Ballot Question 2

Although Maine citizens have supported the Medicaid Expansion, efforts to access this level of health care coverage to cover more elderly, people with chronic mental illness and the poor , legislative efforts have repeatedly been vetoed by the state's Governor Paul LePage.  Consequently, a "citizens initiative" has successfully put this issue on the November 2017 ballot.  Wikipedia has provided a succinct summary of this important campaign to support the Medicaid Expansion:

Maine Question 2, formally titled "An Act To Enhance Access to Affordable Health Care", is a citizen-initiated ballot measure that has qualified for the November 7, 2017 statewide ballot. 
It seeks to expand Medicaid eligibility under the terms of the Affordable Care Act, something which has been vetoed six times by Maine Gov. Paul LePage.

Expanded eligibility for the Medicaid program, called MaineCare in Maine, was a provision of the Affordable Care Act signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010.

The expansion was originally required of states as a condition of all federal Medicaid funding, but the United States Supreme Court ruled in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius that such expansion was optional for states.[3]

Maine Republican Gov. Paul LePage has long been critical of the eligibility requirements for MaineCare, feeling that it was too easy to qualify for as it existed when he took office in 2010.[4] He was a staunch opponent of the Affordable Care Act, believing it to be unconstitutional and taking freedom from citizens.[5] LePage vetoed six efforts to expand MaineCare eligibility[6] and on one occasion called efforts by the Maine Legislature to write an expansion bill that would garner bipartisan support as having "no compassion".[7]

Supporters of expansion, led by Maine Equal Justice Partners, announced on October 12, 2016 their intent to launch a petition drive to put the issue to voters in a referendum, which the Governor cannot veto if passed. LePage's spokesperson criticized the effort as "another attempt by liberals to pass welfare expansion".[8]

Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap announced on February 21, 2017, that supporters of the measure submitted over 66,000 verified signatures, far above the 61,123 required to place a measure on the ballot.

The question that appeared on petition forms was "Do you want Maine to provide health insurance through Medicaid for qualified adults under the age of 65 with incomes at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty line?". During the comment period before the question's wording was finalized, several Republican legislators disputed the inclusion of the word "insurance" in the question, stating that in their view MaineCare benefits are not insurance, but welfare benefits. As such, in their view it would not meet the Maine Constitution's requirement that referendum questions be "simple, clear, concise, and direct". They further noted that the word insurance does not appear in the proposed referendum itself. Supporters defended the use of "insurance" as MaineCare does not provide cash to recipients, but pays providers of medical services directly.[9] At the end of the comment period, Secretary Dunlap announced that the final wording of the question would replace the word "insurance" with "coverage". Representatives of both sides of the issue announced their support of the decision.[10]

Jump up^ "Citizens Initiatives & People's Veto". Maine Department of Secretary of State.
Jump up^ Stolberg, Sheryl; Pear, Robert (March 23, 2010). "Obama Signs Health Care Overhaul Bill, With a Flourish". The New York Times. Retrieved March 24, 2010.
Jump up^ "Analysis: U.S. Supreme Court Upholds the Affordable Care Act: Roberts Rules?". The National Law Review. von Briesen & Roper, S.C. June 29, 2012. Retrieved July 2, 2012.
Jump up^ "Paul Lepage Profile – Your Vote 2010". Archived from the original on December 31, 2010.MPBN. Retrieved October 28, 2010
Jump up^ "LePage calls Obamacare an expensive stripping away of freedom, says IRS is 'new Gestapo'". Bangor Daily News. July 7, 2012. Retrieved July 7, 2012.
^ Jump up to:a b "Medicaid expansion referendum headed to Maine ballot". Bangor Daily News. February 21, 2017. Retrieved March 3, 2017.
Jump up^ "LePage blasts Legislature’s tilt toward Medicaid expansion". Kennebec Journal. January 17, 2014. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
Jump up^ "Group will launch signature drive for Medicaid expansion in Maine". Portland Press Herald. October 12, 2016. Retrieved September 9, 2017.

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Commentary about blog "echos": Echo on Echo

"ideological echo chambers"

Haha (needing a smiley emoticon here!) Echo!: "..interesting is the study’s secondary finding. Political posts rich in moral and emotional content may spread faster and wider than other kinds of political messages"

This blog is proof about how difficult it is to be fresh and original on social media.  Although my blogs certainly aren't eligible for an originality award, I did have the wrong minded opinion about the series I labeled as "Echoes". This was the subtitle I used to describe my method to reinforce certain "letters to the editors", found in randomly read newspapers.

Coincidentally, I was "randomly cursing" the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, when I found this opinion article about social media and "Echoes".  Who knew? 

Echo, echo: The power of new social media to reinforce- An editorial board "echo"

A psychology study published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science has shown that political messages on social media containing “moral and emotional language” diffuse far faster than political posts on more morally neutral topics.

For example, an impassioned rant about proposed gun control legislation is much more likely to “go viral” than an evenhanded analysis of the effects of cutting interest rates in the current economic climate.

More interesting is the study’s secondary finding. Political posts rich in moral and emotional content may spread faster and wider than other kinds of political messages — but very rarely so wide as to penetrate the conversation on the other side.

Pundits have long warned of social networking’s tendency to create “ideological echo chambers,” which constantly reinforce users’ existing beliefs while insulating them from arguments on the other side. Indeed, most people can attest to the effect themselves from a glance over their own newsfeeds. But, until now, there has been little empirical grounding for these concerns.

The proof is important because, without it, it was all too easy to dismiss the worriers as heirs to a long tradition of doomsaying when a new medium of expression gains a large, young following. TV was debasing popular and political culture before the internet, and the radio before TV, etc. — the pattern stretches back to the printing press. Yet if these findings are correct, this moment is different.

MaineWriter: In my opinion, the way to counter this "Echoes" momentum is to train social media wonks with the opportunity to achieve a certain status, so people can determine their credibility. An "echo" blogger, like me, would have to apply for this credential and it would involve training and certification. Included in this process would be an ethical promise to support promoting "echoes" that contribute to protecting Free Speech and supporting the public's right to access credible information.


Saturday, September 16, 2017

Netflix mystery - Archdiocese of Baltimore might not recover

Archdiocese of Baltimore is the oldest diocese in the United States.

Archdiocese of Baltimore crest

“Our communications about Joseph Maskell and other abusive priests ... are designed to affirm survivors, to warn parents and the world of possible bad actors, to encourage any additional victims to come forward..."
In my opinion, the double murder mystery involving a young nun and an administrative assistant, although appearing to be unrelated, have the potential for bankrupting the Archdiocese of Baltimore. As a native of Baltimore, I can report about how proud the city is about its Roman Catholic history. Yet, maybe this pride will be displaced by the horror of a Netflix murder mystery documentary.

Netflix’s true crime doc, The Keepers, isn’t making a murderer. It’s far more haunting.

The primary mystery is the murder of a nun. But it’s what she knew that will devastate you.

Baltimore archdiocese responds to petition calling for release of Netflix, 'Keepers' priest Maskell's files

The Archdiocese of Baltimore has responded to the organizer of a petition that urged the release of personnel files of the late priest at the center of “The Keepers” documentary, saying it treated the request “very seriously” but is still declining to make the documents public.

More than 54,000 people have signed the petition, which calls on church officials to release the records of A. Joseph Maskell. The priest worked as chaplain and counselor at Archbishop Keough High School in Southwest Baltimore, during the 1960s and 1970s. Multiple people have accused him of sexual abuse. He denied the allegations before his death in 2001.

The Netflix documentary series “The Keepers” explored possible connections between abuse at Keough and the unsolved 1969 killing of Sister Cathy Cesnik, who taught there.

Kevin Turowsky, a Massachusetts man who watched the series, created the online petition this spring. He said the records could shed light on Cesnik’s death and on how the church handled the abuse allegations.

“People from around the globe have signed this petition,” Turowsky said. “I think that people are really interested in truth and justice.”

In an email to Turowksy this month, archdiocesan spokesman Sean Caine said the petition’s request “is one we treat very seriously and is deserving of careful consideration and prayer.”

“While some feel the release of Maskell’s personnel records would provide clarity and possibly even closure, the reality is that it would provide neither,” Caine wrote. “The release of files, especially redacted ones — would likely create frustration and/or even cause some to believe information they were expecting to find but didn’t was removed or never included.”

Caine added that releasing the files would “create a precedent that would likely soon be followed by requests for the release of personnel records of other priests and employees of the Church.”

He said the decision not to release Maskell’s files is “not a refusal to share relevant information about those who harmed children while representing the Church.”

He pointed to a public list first published in 2002 naming clergy accused of abuse.

Caine told The Baltimore Sun “we have given the matter very serious consideration and this is our best decision.”

“Our communications about Maskell and other abusive priests ... are designed to affirm survivors, to warn parents and the world of possible bad actors, to encourage any additional victims to come forward to civil authorities and the Church for assistance, and to include sufficient information such as assignment years so that those who might be impacted can speak with family members or other professionals,” he wrote in an email to The Sun. “We do not believe the release of even fully redacted files will serve these goals or provide the clarity and closure that is sought.”

Turowsky said he and others would continue to call for the release of records. “We’re not going away because of their refusal,” he said.

The 25-year-old, who works in the insurance industry, said he nearly stopped watching the seven-part documentary after a few episodes because he found it so depressing. But he kept watching, and ended up inspired by the former Keough students who are searching for answers in Cesnik’s death.

Scenes related to the Netflix series "The Keepers." The series examines sexual abuse at Archbishop Keough High School and the unsolved 1969 homicide of 26-year-old Sister Catherine Ann Cesnik, who taught there.

Catherine Cesnik, a 26-year-old nun, disappeared after leaving her Southwest Baltimore apartment to go shopping in November 1969. Two months later, her body was found in a frozen field in Baltimore County. Catherine Cesnik case: Archived Sun coverage

Licensing inquiries: Email
MaineWriter- (native of Baltimore) this story is obviously devastating to the Archdiocese of Baltimore because, even if the actual murderer is found, the story is inductive of cover ups about a horrible series of abusive incidents reported to have harmed innocent minors. If the murders are in any way connected to the priest who was implicated, the reparations will continue and won't be subject to any statute of limitations. Perhaps the Archdiocese of Baltimore may not be able to financially recover.

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Friday, September 15, 2017

"What Happened?"- Hillary Clinton transcript with PBS News Hour

Excellent interview with Judy Woodruff:

PBS News Hour anchor Judy Woodruff

Complete transcript of Hillary Clinton interview

Secretary Hillary Clinton, thank you for talking with us.

Thank you so much, Judy. I’m glad to see you.
Hillary Clinton's book signing "What Happened"?
JUDY WOODRUFF: So let’s start with the big announcement from President Obama this week about a trade deal.


JUDY WOODRUFF: The Trans-Pacific Partnership. The U.S. and 11 other countries covering 40 percent of the global economy, 800 million consumers. It’s already started a big battle between people who love free trade and people who care more about protectionism. Where do you come down?

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, I have said from the very beginning that we had to have a trade agreement that would create good American jobs, raise wages and advance our national security. And I still believe that’s the high bar we have to meet.

I have been trying to learn as much as I can about the agreement, but I’m worried. I’m worried about currency manipulation not being part of the agreement. We’ve lost American jobs to the manipulation that the countries, in particularly in Asia, have engaged in. I’m worried that the pharmaceutical companies may have gotten more benefits and patients and consumers — fewer.

I think that there are still a lot of unanswered questions, but for me, it really comes down to those three points that I made, and the fact that we’ve learned a lot about trade agreements in the past years. Sometimes they look great on paper. I know when President Obama came into office, he inherited a trade agreement with South Korea. I, along with other members of the Cabinet, pushed hard to get a better agreement. We think we made improvements.

Now looking back on it, it doesn’t have the results we thought it would have in terms of access to the market, more exports, et cetera.

JUDY WOODRUFF: So are you saying that as of today, this is not something you could support?

HILLARY CLINTON: What I know about it, as of today, I am not in favor of what I have learned about it. And there’s one other element I want to make because I think it’s important. Trade agreements don’t happen in a vacuum, and in order for us to have a competitive economy in the global marketplace, there are things we need to do here at home that help raise wages and the Republicans have blocked everything President Obama tried to do on that front.

So for the larger issues — and then what I know, and again, I don’t have the text, we don’t yet have all the details, I don’t believe it’s going to meet the high bar I have set.

JUDY WOODRUFF: So is President Obama wrong? I mean, he’s vigorously defending this. He is saying that it does protect jobs. He says that when it comes to worrying about jobs, that automation and technology are more responsible than trade agreements.

HILLARY CLINTON: Look, I think the president has been extraordinarily effective in making as strong a case as could be made and I think his hard work and that of his team has certainly moved this agreement, again, based on what I read about it because I can’t read the agreement yet, quite a distance. But I do worry that we’ve got an equation here. How do we raise incomes in America?

On the one hand, trade is a part of it, but it’s not the only answer, and on the other, if we don’t get more investments in education and science and research and infrastructure and clean energy the kinds of things that will create jobs here at home, then I’m afraid on net it won’t meet the high bar that I’ve set.

JUDY WOODRUFF: But just quickly, if this agreement is rejected, Asia experts are saying this is going to influence — it’s going to decrease the influence of the U.S. in Asia, it is going to give a boost to China, which is trying to become more dominant, and doesn’t it conflict with your pivot to Asia when you were secretary of state?

HILLARY CLINTON: I don’t think so, because the best way that we can exercise influence in Asia is to remain the world’s strongest economy here at home and that means we have to have more middle-class jobs, more people being in the middle class, more people being able to get into the middle class, and we haven’t looked at this from a competitive perspective because the Republicans have stood in the way.

And so for my analysis, I think that there is a strong argument that our leadership, our strength, our influence begins with having an economy that is producing good jobs with rising incomes, and I see the connection there.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Just very quickly, you mentioned the middle class. You’ve said you favor middle-class tax cuts. My question is, would yours be bigger or smaller than what the Republicans have put out there? Donald Trump is out there with a plan. Jeb Bush is out there with a plan. What would yours look like? Are you ready to say?

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, I want to have families be able to invest in what they tell me they care about: how do they pay for child care? How do they pay for college? How do they pay the daily expenses of health care and the other things that are really straining the family budget.

I’ve looked at the plans produced on the other side by Donald Trump, by Jeb Bush and others, they would explode the deficit, and once again, they are so tilted toward the rich, it’s embarrassing. And we know that doesn’t work. So when I roll out my tax plan, it is very much focused and targeted on the middle class.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Your private e-mail server. The Washington Post fact checker, Glen Kessler wrote this weekend that when you speak publicly about how you handle the disclosure requests, you don’t include the fact that the first request came just to you from the State Department, based on the Congressional inquiry.

You have referred to it came at a time when all former secretaries of State were asked for information.

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, my understanding of what happened is that the State Department had e-mails that they gave to the committee that was formed, we now know, to politically, in a partisan way, go after me, not investigate what happened in Benghazi, and that we’d already provided those e-mails because they were already on the system.

In the process of updating and looking at their overall system, they concluded they had gaps, and then they did ask all of us, and I responded and cooperated fully.

JUDY WOODRUFF: But the first request came to you alone in response to the committee, and I guess Glenn Kessler’s point is that this was the indication that the State Department did not realize before that that you were conducting government business on your — solely on your private server.

HILLARY CLINTON: I just don’t think that’s credible. I e-mailed with hundreds of people in the State Department, across the government, some even in the Congress, and so that is just not credible.

And look, there is an investigation going on looking into the security of the e-mails. I have full confidence, we are fully cooperating, and I think we should wait and determine what the outcome of that is.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Just one other question on this. Why wouldn’t it have been better at the very beginning of all this to simply say I did this, I wanted a private server because I’ve been through this kind of thing before. I didn’t want Republican Congressmen rifling through my personal e-mails.


JUDY WOODRUFF: Wouldn’t that have done away with the controversy, done away with people now saying they don’t trust you?

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, all I can tell you, Judy, is that that’s not what happened. I did not give any thought to it. I had used my own e-mail, I got into the State Department. It was allowed. I did it for convenience. My husband already had a system, I just added onto the system. Now that is what happened.

And so for me, it’s, you know, going to continue to be asked and I will continue to answer and I will say the same things that I’ve been saying for many months now. And I think that I’ve been as transparent — in fact, more transparent than anybody has ever been. And I’ll let the American people judge it.

JUDY WOODRUFF: You’ve commented on what Kevin McCarthy said about the political nature of this committee, but what do you expect from Chairman Trey Gowdy when those hearings get under way on October 22nd?

HILLARY CLINTON: I don’t know what to expect.

I testified, as you know, in both the House and the Senate on Benghazi. I commissioned an independent inquiry that came up with conclusions. There have been seven other committees in the Congress looking into Benghazi; they’ve all concluded the same: that, you know, we have work to do to make sure our diplomats are safe, but there is no hidden, you know, e-mail or hidden story or hidden anything. And the fact is that people are in dangerous positions when they represent the United States.

So, I don’t know what to expect.

I do know that it’s pretty much pulled the curtain back, that this was set up to be a political partisan attack on me. Of course, you know, that probably is something we could have concluded earlier since there had already been seven investigations.

Now, we see the Congress setting up a special committee to look into Planned Parenthood.

You know, it’s really sad to me that whether it’s women’s health or in this case the death of four Americans serving our country, that the Republicans in Congress try to partisanize and exploit these events.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Something else on foreign policy — Syria. You came out and have said you would favor the idea of a no-fly — setting up a no-fly zone to protect refugees and others. But in talking to experts, they say in order to do that, you’d have to take out Syria’s air defenses, most of which, or at least much of which are in urban areas.

In other words, you would have to go into an area with huge civilian casualties in order to set up this no-fly zone. Is that something you’re prepared to take on?

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, there are different parts of the country with different levels remaining of air defense. There are now parts of the country that are totally outside the control of the Syrian government. They don’t have, if any are still standing, command and control over air defenses in the north and many other parts of Syria.

What I want to do, and I — I saw on CNN that it’s something that John Kerry is now also talking about, is to see if we can’t get a coalition of all the countries that have a stake in this, including the Russians, to agree on three things. One, we have to do as much as possible to end the conflict. We have to stop the refugee flow by helping people have a safe place to stay in, and to get supplies — medical and food and other things.

And we have to begin the process of a political transition. So I think that is a discussion worth having. And I — I’m pleased that I heard Secretary Kerry is pursuing that.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Would you be prepared to shoot down Russian planes if they flew into this no-fly area?

HILLARY CLINTON: No. The point is to have the leverage of this discussion. The Russians have already invaded Turkish airspace. Turkey is a NATO ally. They are now on notice if they invade the airspace of a NATO ally, there will be action taken. This is in the absence of a no-fly zone.

JUDY WOODRUFF: What do you mean “action taken”?

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, they’ve been put on notice, as I understand it, from NATO. Turkey sent up fighters. That’s a pretty strong sense of notice that, “Russia, get out of our airspace.” So, we need to send a clear message to Russia. The Turks are doing it backed up by NATO, which I support, that we know what the game is. They’re supporting Assad. They are going after those who oppose Assad under the guise of going after ISIS, which is the common enemy of everyone.

And we need to begin to push back on them so that they don’t engage in behavior that invades Turkish airspace; that for all we know can threaten other countries in the region. And that’s why I think it’s absolutely imperative that Secretary Kerry begin immediate talks with everybody at the table to try to, as they say, de-conflict the airspace and put the Russians on notice.

JUDY WOODRUFF: But if it came to it, it could come to shooting down Russian planes, if they’re in that no-fly zone.

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, let’s not talk about a hypothetical no-fly zone that doesn’t even exist. My whole idea is you put together a potential no-fly zone, something the Turks and others have been asking for for some time. You go to the Russians and you say, “Look, we want to do this because here are the objectives we are trying to achieve and we want you on board to do this.” And that’s what diplomacy is.

You know, you push and you push as hard as you can. But if you just take something off the table, then you never know whether the leverage would or wouldn’t work.

JUDY WOODRUFF: You’ve dealt with President Putin. You favored the so-called “re-set” with Russia in 2009. My question is: Did you and others in the administration misread Putin and underestimate what he was capable of doing?

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, remember when President Obama came into office, Putin was not president, Medvedev was president, and Medvedev turned out to be a good partner on a set of issues that we were really concerned about. Number one, how we were going to impose international sanctions on Iran. I worked hard on that, put together the coalition. Russia went along with that.

JUDY WOODRUFF: But Putin was always in the background.

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, he was, but he letting Medvedev make the decisions backed up by him. We got the New START Treaty to lower the nuclear arsenals, we got permission to send lethal material across Russia, so we could resupply our troops in Afghanistan. We got some very important results from the reset.

Now, when Putin decided, in the fall of 2011 that he wanted to go back and be president and basically announced it, we knew that we were going to have a lot tougher time, because he (Putin) was taking back the presidency to assert himself, and therefore assert Russia. And we have seen that, and we have seen it in Ukraine, we’ve have seen it in Syria, so we had to adjust our policies because of that.

JUDY WOODRUFF: So doesn’t that add up to misreading what was going on?

HILLARY CLINTON: No, I don’t think so at all.

When we dealt, in 2009, 2010 and the first part of 2011, with the Russian government sitting across from Medvedev in many meetings, we got results. Putin comes back, of course you have to readjust because he’s coming back with an agenda. It was a very clear agenda and I think the administration and others have, you know, had to figure out how best to deal with him and it’s a — you know, it’s an ongoing challenge because of the way he behaves and how he basically wants to, you know, push the boundaries in Europe and now in the Middle East.

That’s why we need to be clear with him, as NATO was with respect to Turkey and as Turkey was in sending up the fighters, that, you know, we’re not going to let you just do whatever you choose to do in this region.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Let me bring you back home to the subject of guns and gun control in the aftermath of this terrible shooting at the community college in Oregon. This week, you came out for tightening controls on guns and you talked about what you would do differently. Is this really laying out the defining difference between you and Senator Sanders when it comes to gun control?

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, look, I think this is something I care passionately about. I have been — I’ve spoken out and tried to work on this for more than 20 years. As first lady, I went to see the victims of Columbine families, I have spoken to too many people who have lost loved ones to mass shootings and I voted against, you know, the giving of gun lobby and manufacturers the kind of freedom from liability that they were asking for.

I have a record. I’m going to defend my record. I will let others speak to their record. But my view is this. We cannot stand by, discouraged, frustrated and giving up in the face of this kind of behavior. I am not going to, you know, sit and watch more people being killed. Remember Judy, 88 to 92 people a day get killed by guns in America.

JUDY WOODRUFF: But isn’t that a contrast — are you saying that’s a contrast with Senator Sanders?

HILLARY CLINTON: I’m saying this is my position. You know, we’re going to have a debate next week. I don’t know what we’re going to be asked about. I will state my position and others will state their positions.

JUDY WOODRUFF: You have said there are super-PACs out there in this campaign, as everybody is aware, you’ve said that the super-PAC that’s out there supporting you, at least one of them, that they are there really to criticize Republicans. But — and you’ve said you can’t unilaterally disarm, but one of the PACs that’s supporting you is now attacking Senator Sanders. It’s connecting him to the — to the late Venezuelan dictator Jugo Chavez, to the new, very liberal labor leader in Great Britain.

I guess my question is is do you approve of this? Going after Senator Sanders by the super-PAC? We know there’s coordination.

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, I don’t know anything about what you’re saying. I have no knowledge of what they are doing. I’ve said I want anybody supporting me to go after Republicans because whatever differences we might have on the Democratic side, they pale in comparison to the really substantive differences we have with the Republicans.

So whoever is supporting me — individuals, super-PACs, whomever — I want them to be focused on Republicans. That’s where the real political difference is.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Would you call on them to cease and desist and stop criticizing Senator Sanders?

HILLARY CLINTON: I just said I want them to — I want people who support me to go after Republicans. That’s what I — I’ve said it before, I’m saying it again on this show.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Well — and just continuing in that vein, the David Brock Group, it’s been reported this week in New York Magazine, is digging through Vice President Biden’s past, his record, in so-called opposition research. My question is do you approve of this?

HILLARY CLINTON: You know, I — first of all, I have no knowledge of it. I have been very clear, anybody who listens to my public statements, anybody who pays attention to what I say, I want to give Vice President Biden whatever space and time he needs to make his decision.

Now, if he gets into the election, then people are going to be raising questions, just like they do about me. That’s what happens when you get into the arena. But I’m not asking and I don’t approve of anybody who is supporting me, or say they support me, to be focusing on anyone other than the Republicans.

There is so much for us to begin to point out about the Republicans because what I fear is the Republicans are counting on a case of collective amnesia. They want people to forget that President Obama inherited the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression from the Republicans. My husband inherited economic problems from the Republicans. When we have a Democrat in the White House, people do better economically.

I don’t want them to get away with their nonsensical talk about trickle-down economics. That’s what I want everybody to be focused on, because I think that’s what this election is going to be about.

JUDY WOODRUFF: But for you to — you’re saying that you weren’t aware that they were doing this and you don’t approve of it, but the fact that they’re doing it, isn’t that really an effort to intimidate the vice president against getting into the race?

HILLARY CLINTON: Judy, I have no — I don’t know anything about it. I can’t comment on it any further than I have.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Do you believe that — Vice President Biden is — has made it very clear he’s looking at getting in. How does it change the race if he gets in?

HILLARY CLINTON: Well if he gets in, I will continue to speak positively about him because I feel that way. We’ve been friends a long time. But I will put forth my platform, what I want to do to build on what President Obama has done. And then the Democratic voters will make their decision.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Secretary Hillary Clinton, we thank you very much for talking with us.

HILLARY CLINTON: My pleasure. Thank you.

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