Maine Writer

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My blogs are dedicated to the issues I care about. Thank you to all who take the time to read something I've written.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Qualified to be president, or not? Trumponian un-qualifications list

It's easy to criticize Donald Trump's presidential campaign, because of his boisterously, over the top, political behaviors. 

He's acting like a Saturday Night Live (SNL) parody, rather than a serious presidential candidate. Nevertheless, although Americans appear to be enjoying the "Trumponian" stump speeches, the fact is, Donald Trump isn't qualified to be the Leader of the Free World, as President of the United States.  

Indeed, the Trumponian presidential campaign is upsetting
mainstream Republican political stereotypes. But, like The Music Man, who couldn't play an instrument, he doesn't know the territory!

For example, what's happened to the Moral Majority?  Remember them?  Does this now antiquated group (many of them still around, I'm sure) understand how Donald Trump is a three times married man? Also, Trump (the Chump!) claims to attend a prestigious New York City Presbyterian Church. But, the church's community denies he's an active member.

The Moral Majority was a prominent American political organization founded in 1979, associated with the Christian right. Although it was eventually dissolved, the group played a key role in the mobilization of Christians as a political force and in Republican presidential elections. I can't imagine anyone from the remnants of The Moral Majority supporting a Trumponian presidential campaign. (Of course, they're still looking for their political moral savior.)

Another reason the Trumponian candidate is unqualified to be president of the United States is because Donald Trump (the Chump) never held a political office. In fact, he's never even campaigned for an elected position. 

It's egotistically absurd to see Trump the Chump leap from being a reality television show star, into becoming a candidate for leadership of the free world.

Finally, Trumponian political philosophy seems void of an understanding about the US Constitution's 14th Amendment, protecting children born in the US as citizens. Otherwise, Trump the Chump would be more cautious about how he claims to know the solution, according to him, for solving the nation's growing illegal immigration problem. 

How does America protect our borders from receiving thousands of illegal immigrants, every month, without infringing on their human rights? These immigrants are desperate and, thereby, deserve humanitarian care. Nevertheless, in the process of receiving these immigrants, American border security is also confronted with how to deport them, when there's clearly no enforcement for how to keep them from returning.

In summary, Trumponian qualifications for his presidential campaign are non-existent. Clearly, Trump the Chump has no experience or qualifications to be the Leader of the Free World. Apparently, Republican voters are becoming aware of the Trumponian experience deficit, because Trump the Chump can't break the 25 percent poll numbers he seems stuck at, while another political novice, Dr. Ben Carson, is gaining in political status.  

In my opinion, no Republican 2016 candidates are qualified to fill the job as President of the United States. Trump the Chump is a showman. Dr. Ben Carson is a surgeon, who can't possibly solve America's deficit by becoming our president (his only campaign theme).  Unfortunately, Jeb! (Bushy Boy) is loosing traction, because he just doesn't stand for anything. Ted Cruz "to loose", is a braggart who speaks like an uninspired political Evangelist. Cruz doesn't instill pride in being an American when he refers to his Senate colleagues, all duly elected, as being a "cartel".

Trump the Chump is a bully who rules by intimidation. His anti-women name calling is disgusting. Trump is a man with enormous financial power. Therefore, he should know better than to intimidate women by calling them names or telling them they are "not nice". Surely, Trump's mother taught him better manners.

Donald Trump isn't presidential material. Although his brutal stand up stump speeches have certainly electrified a bland slate of Republican presidential candidates, he just doesn't have the right stuff to lead our nation. 

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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Republican right wing myths - Ripley's Believe it or Not?

Even more worrisome than the rise of Donald Trump the Chump as a Republican Presidential candidate, are the myth makers who present lies as truth.  In fact, immigrant children are being victimized by FoxNews right wing lies.

Numbers of children who're illegally immigrating into the US are increasing, but let's get the data about their arrival correct. 

FoxNews is one perpetrator of political misinformation. This right wing cable news channel thrives on creating right wing truth, regardless of any evidence to back up the rhetoric.

Regarding US immigration from Central America and Mexico, FoxNews has created a dangerous cottage industry of lies.  

Indeed, Mr. Ripley would put  the FoxNews "matter of fact", statements, as being too incredulous to believe. 

Nevertheless, many gullible watchers of FoxNews are certainly falling for myths. For example, the purpose of the FoxNews immigration compulsion is just to create fear about immigrants. 

Moreover, Donald Trump has built his stand up soapbox stump speech on the fear these immigration myths generate.

Myth Number One:
35,000 illegal children immigrants cross into the US through Texas, every month! They enter by riding into the US on the roofs of trains.

Obviously, this myth is ridiculous. It seems to me, any reasonable person would see this myth for what it is - a right wing lie. Yes, the numbers of child immigrants are growing because nothing is being done to stop the violence these children are exposed to in their home countries.

Pipeline of children: A border crisis

Gang Violence, Lack of Opportunity and Misinformation Lead to a Mass Exodus North to the United States. Thousands Travel Well Worn but Dangerous Path in Hopes of New Opportunity.

So, this report from AZCentral doesn't seem to report 35,000 children arriving every month, on the roofs of trains. Nevertheless, this misinformation is in the minds of right wing extremists.

As a matter of fact, a pipeline bringing a flood of Central American migrants to the United States, including thousands of unaccompanied children, begins in villages like Quebrada Maria, near the Caribbean coast of Honduras.  But the numbers are no where near 35,000, every month.  If this myth were fact, there would hardly be any children left in Central America.

Here's who are immigrating: Dimple-faced, 14-year-old Brayan Duban Soler Redondo lived in daily fear of being beaten up or killed by members of gangs like Mara Salvatrucha, also called MS-13, and Calle 18.

Gangs such as these terrorize neighborhoods throughout Central America. Over three days in May, gang members in a Honduran city, San Pedro Sula, murdered five children ages 5 to 13.  "They cut their bodies into quarters as a warning to others because the children didn't want to distribute drugs in their neighborhood," said Father German Calix, director of Caritas Honduras, a Catholic relief agency.

Slayings like these were why Brayan was desperate to leave. He imagines himself working in an office in the United States someday, "wearing fancy clothes" and sending money back to his family.

But his charming smile offered little protection in his village, where gangs kill over the smallest of things, he said, even for trying to go to school or wearing the wrong clothes.

He had no idea how he would escape that world until, the week before Easter, he heard news he thought could save his life.

Two brothers from the same village had set off a month earlier for the United States. Their mother had received a call. The boys, teenagers like Brayan, had made it. Word spread through the village fast. The boys told their mother that, after turning themselves in to "la migra," the Border Patrol, they had been detained briefly and then released to relatives in the United States.

Brayan saw a way out.

There was one big problem. Migrants often pay smugglers thousands of dollars to guide them to the United States. 

Brayan didn't have any money. He's the youngest of eight children. His parents are coffee pickers. And, unlike many migrants, he didn't know any relatives working in the U.S. to send him money for the trip.

But that didn't deter him. After hearing the story about the two boys, Brayan decided to leave his family behind and strike out the very next day on a 1,400-mile journey to the U.S. To earn money, he killed a rabbit and sold it for the equivalent of $9.50, which he carried in his pocket the day he left.

So in mid-April, Brayan entered the pipeline, which has grown increasingly crowded with children looking for an escape route out of their violent homelands. (But 35,000 a month? Impossible!)

Here's another right wing myth:  The reason so many thousands of illegal immigrants are crossing into the US is because they want to vote in American elections!

Well, this is truly ridiculous, because most who're fleeing their homes in Central America and in Mexico are unable to speak or read in English! Moreover, none are American citizens, a requirement before anyone can vote in any US election. 

Rather, these desperate immigrants are trying to earn money. The US dollar is so strong, it's like a magnet drawing them north. They have no interest in voting in American elections, at this time, because they aren't citizens. Nevertheless, in the event any of the immigrants, eventually, become American citizens, they'll certainly remember those who helped them along "a path to citizenship". Those who helped the immigrants, will undoubtedly be rewarded with their votes. Otherwise, this preposterous "voting" myth has no substance.

Certainly, as some wise pundit once said, a lie can travel around the world before the truth catches up. It seems to  me, the purpose of FoxNews is to create an extensive network of lies, too many for any truth teller to ever catch.

Meaning, FoxNews will continue to smother the truth about immigration from Central America and Mexico into the US. Indeed, it will likely take generations before Mr. Ripley will be able to publish the FoxNews myths in the "Believe it or Not" museum, because the facts about the young immigrants may never be entirely known.

Even with 24/7 real time news, it appears the right wing has escaped being "factified". 

Nevertheless, common sense should prevail in political myth busting. There's just no way 35,000 children are illegally immigrating into  the USA every month, arriving on the roofs of trains. Even more incredulous, those who manage to escape the tyranny of the situations the immigrants are fleeing from are certainly not taking this arduously dangerous journey so they can vote in American elections. Thoughtful Americans should never believe incredible lies about desperate immigrants. Yet, the barn door has opened and it will take generations before the news media will be able to "factify" these myths. 

Let's hope Democrats will win all the 2016 US elections. Americans need to follow credible news media, that will be forced to respond to those who believe in the desperation behind real immigration facts, rather than creating unbelievable myths about those desperately seeking a new way of life for themselves. (Whatever happened to investigative journalism, anyway?)

FoxNews shouldn't be a source for "Ripley's Believe it or Not" reporting. Instead, FoxNews should be the perpetrators of factual news

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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Maine Governor LePage wants law enforcement to stop heroine problems

It's impossible to understand how Maine's Governor Paul LePage can somehow expect law enforcement to stop the state's heroine invasion. Now, the Maine governor is even saying he'll direct the National Guard to become involved, to stop the illegal drug trade that's invading the state like an epidemic of bird flu. 

When key legislators wrote to suggest advice about including addiction treatment in his strategy, the response was a flippant slogan, rather than a thoughtful letter. Responding to Mark Eaves, the House speaker's suggested strategies about the "drug summit", the governor sent a copy of a disdainful wall hanging and wrote that Eves is 'free to have any summit you chooses'.

Instead of seeking the advice of experts and combining addiction treatment with rehabilitation, the outspoken Maine governor has decided to create criminals out of addicts. Of course, too many are driven to criminal behavior, because they're unable to find treatment. 

Meanwhile, the drugs keep flowing into Maine like an infestation of killer bees.

Transcript from Weekend Edition National Public Radio and Scott Simon:

Like so many other states, Maine is in the grip of an opiate epidemic. 

Other states have expanded drug treatment as part of the response. Maine has not. There are fewer treatment options than just a few years ago. The Republican Governor Paul LePage is pursuing instead a drug-enforcement strategy. Maine Public Radio's Susan Sharon reports.

SUSAN SHARON, BYLINE: A major blow came in May when one of Maine's largest treatment providers announced it was closing. Mercy Recovery Center placed much of the blame on cuts in state funding. There was already a shortage of long-term residential treatment beds. And then last week, a methadone clinic in southern Maine also announced it was shutting its doors.

For those who want to safely get off heroin, the first step toward recovery is often detox, if you can get in.

LAUREN WERT: Yesterday we had someone count, and we had turned away 113 people this month because the program was full.

SHARON: Lauren Wert is the director of nursing at Milestone Foundation in Portland. This is Maine's largest city, the epicenter of the heroin crisis, and Milestone is the only residential detox around. It has just 16 beds available for three- to seven-day stays. At the small nurses station, Wert says she and her staff gently inform a steady stream of callers that they can't help them out.

WERT: Oftentimes people cry. They're asking questions like, where else do we go? What do I do? He feels like he's going to die.

SHARON: Wert says there used to be places to refer clients, but now all the staff can say is, I'm so sorry.

MARY DOWD: It's frustrating not to be able to get people services who desperately want it.

SHARON: Dr. Mary Dowd, medical director for Milestone, says the challenge is that most heroin addicts can't get sober without replacement medications, like methadone and Suboxone. At a roundtable discussion in Maine this week, U.S. Drug Control Policy director Michael Botticelli said, increasing access to them in Maine and elsewhere is essential because they work.

MICHAEL BOTTICELLI: People on medication-assisted treatment stay in treatment and they don't die and they don't get infectious diseases as a result of their injection drug-use issues.

SHARON: But in Maine there are long waiting lists for methadone and Suboxone, even for those who have insurance or money to pay for treatment out-of-pocket. For those who don't, Dowd says the only other options are the ER, jail or to try to score a short-term stay at Milestone.

DOWD: And it's not treatment; it's detox. They get the drugs out of their system, but then they don't get treatments. So they have to keep coming back and back and back.

ERIC BREWER: I've probably been here 10 times in the last six months probably.

SHARON: Eric Brewer is 37 years old. He is a longtime heroin addict who has spent time in prison on a drug trafficking conviction. He says he stayed sober for more than five years, but eventually relapsed and wound up at Milestone.

BREWER: Luckily this time, things fell into place for me, and I have someone who volunteered to pay for my first month in a sober house.

SHARON: Brewer has no insurance and no money to pay for long-term residential treatment, and he's hardly alone. Two years ago the state dropped hundreds of single adults from state Medicaid rolls. Under the leadership of Republican Governor Paul LePage, Maine refused to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and set caps on the length of time Medicaid patients receive drug treatment. Dr. Vijay Amarendran oversees methadone and Suboxone services at Acadia Hospital in Bangor.

VIJAY AMARENDRAN: We need to provide more insurance coverage for people, not less insurance coverage. Clearly, that doesn't make sense.

SHARON: Treatment providers and law enforcement personnel told director Botticelli that what they really need is more federal funding for treatment and recovery. Governor LePage says he's satisfied with the $72 million spent on drug treatment in the state. What concerns him more, he says, is how little is spent on drug enforcement. He's frustrated that Democratic lawmakers have not agreed to hire more drug agents. In a recent radio address, he proposed using the Maine Army National Guard for that purpose.

PAUL LEPAGE: We must provide solutions on how to disrupt the drug supply and hunt down the traffickers.

SHARON: Critics say that's a misguided strategy at a time when members of law enforcement are confronting heroin addicts overdosing on the side of the road. We can take them to the hospitals, said one small-town police sergeant, but after a couple of days they get released to the streets and do it again because there's nowhere else for them to go. For NPR News, I'm Susan Sharon.

It's incredible for Governor LePage to continue to act so childishly when cooperation with  the Maine legislature would be so much more productive than acrimony.  

Meanwhile, drug enforcement isn't likely going to take kindly to having the Maine National Guard working in the war on the state's growing heroin problem. Police officers are trained to protect the public.  The National Guard are trained in war strategies.  There is a cultural divide and for the two organizations to work together will create even more acrimony in Maine.  

As a matter of fact, just picture the cover of The Boston Globe, when Maine police officers are pictured alongside an image of the National Guard, fighting heroine addiction. It's a tragically laughable image. Surely, this NPR story on Weekend Edition will not improve Maine's economy nor will it enhance the reputation of the state being "safe".  

In fact, the number of heroin users seeking treatment in Maine tripled from 1,115 in 2010 to 3,463 in 2014, while the number of overdose deaths rose from seven in 2011 to 57 last year. Overall state spending on substance-abuse treatment increased from $57.5 million in 2007-08 to a peak of $76.7 million in 2011-12, then declined to $71.6 million in 2014-15, according to figures from the state Department of Health and Human Services. The Legislature funded part, but not all, of the LePage administration’s requests this year for additional drug enforcement agents.

It's time Governor LePage learned
 how to work with people rather than bully them.

As for law enforcement's role to stop Maine's heroine imports, the state's public safety personnel are already consumed with saving lives. They are not specialists in drug trafficking.  

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Friday, August 28, 2015

Tragic Europeans pick up dead immigrants like road kill or beached fish

Horribly dangerous political problems, including wars, are causing tens of thousands of beleaguered, and desperate immigrants to risk lives and futures to dangerously immigrate across Europe.  

Rather than trying to solve the problems causing these human tragedies, the Europeans are reacting by picking up the pieces of people who frequently die in the process of risking everything, to find a better life. Incredulously, the European coast guards and public safety people are picking up dead immigrants, victims of their refugee status, like they are road kill on highways or beached fish in the Mediterranean Sea.

What I don't understand is why these desperate people aren't turning, in masses, on the people who're causing them to die trying to escape their situations?

Refugees are streaming into Europe from the Middle East and from Greece. If there were an inspired leader to organize these people, perhaps they could turn on those who are causing them to become the humanitarian victims of war and political turmoil.  Surely, when the time comes to hold people accountable for this carnage, the penalties for those causing these human evacuations will be prosecuted. Unfortunately, they won't be tried before uncounted numbers of innocents (including women and children) die, without any chance to save themselves.

What will the world do to stop this humanitarian disaster?  Rescue workers can't continue to scrape human carcasses out of abandoned trucks and off of beaches.  

Reuters Reports
Truck of corpses, new shipwreck intensify Europe's migrant crisis

Refugees are risking everything to escape to Europe

Up to 3,000 migrants are expected to cross into Macedonia every day in the coming months, most of them refugees fleeing war, particularly from Syria, the United Nations said on Tuesday.

Member states of the European Union must share the burden by establishing "equitable re-distribution" of desperate families seeking asylum in the bloc, the U.N. refugee agency said.

Nearly 300,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean this year, including nearly 181,500 in Greece and 108,500 in Italy, according to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 

Obviously, this humanitarian crises cannot continue or the nations being inundated by these tragic waves of humanity  will cause the collapse of government safety nets.  

Instead, the Europeans must unite themselves and enlist the male refugees who are able to fight to organize an invasion of Syria. The purpose of this invasion would be to capture the evil Bashar al-Assad, President of Syria, and to relocate all the refugees, as many as possible, back to this nation until they can be repatriated to their homelands. 

Unless something is done, the tragic human waves of dead refugees and illegal immigrants streaming into Europe will continue.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Eulogies for victims from 2nd Amendment zealots

Tragically, another week with the reports of even more innocent deaths by gun violence. People are asking, yet again, the rhetorical question about how to stop the escalating mortalities from preventable gun violence deaths?

WDBJ7 Reporter Alison Parker, Photographer Adam Ward Killed on Live TV

Although tightening gun ownership regulations are among the ways to prevent gun violence deaths, these clarion calls haven't summoned the attention required to create change.

Instead, I'm thinking, the surviving victims of gun violence might want to require the eulogies for the dead be given by the advocates from 2nd amendment rights.

White House: Shooting in Roanoke was an 'all too common' example of gun violence:

The White House on Wednesday redoubled its call for tougher gun laws in the wake of a shooting that killed two television journalists in Virginia. 
“This is another example of gun violence that is becoming all too common in communities large and small all across the United States,” Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on Wednesday.

There are “common sense” steps Congress can take to reduce gun violence in America, without infringing on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.  

Local television news reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, were gunned down on Wednesday morning outside Roanoke, Va., by a suspect identified as Vester Lee Flanagan, a former employee of the television station. 

Unfortunately, a list of gun violence deaths are too daunting to publish. Nevertheless, it seems like the first response to all of the mortalities are a public condolence from some high up official, who is close to the situation. 

For example:
"I cannot tell you how much they were loved, Alison and Adam, by the WDBJ7 team," Jeff Marks, the general manager of station, said in an emotional statement on air. "Our hearts are broken."

Indeed, the above sad statement is an echo of thousands of others, given in response to other preventable deaths.

Therefore, instead of the same old sad rhetoric and predictable bereavement from those affected by gun violence, I'm recommending action, rather than "reaction" to, somehow, create an awareness for gun violence prevention.

Gun rights advocates should be the eulogists at the funerals and memorial services of all those who are killed as a result of gun violence.  For  example, Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice-president of the National Rifle Association (NRA), should be required to give at least 50 percent of gun violence victims eulogies.

Otherwise, if LaPierre, or his credible surrogate, refuses to comply, the consequences would be for the National Rifle Association's non profit fit tax status be revoked.

After all, the National Rifle Association (NRA) is supposed to have a benevolent mission. Therefore, giving the victims eulogies is consistent with this objective, to improve the public good. 

Mr. LaPierre owes Alison Parker and Adam Ward a eulogy. If their murderer didn't have a gun, both would, obviously, still be alive.

Moreover, the NRA should, also, donate sizeable contribution to a charity in memory of all victims' memories.

Those responsible for supporting unlimited Second Amendment rights to own guns must be held accountable for the preventable deaths caused by their irresponsible advocacy for guns.

As everyone alive today knows, without exception, the advocates of Second Amendment rights will one day be among those who will, eventually, have eulogies said on their behalf. 

Certainly, Second Amendment advocates would want their eulogies to include a commitment to ending gun violence. 

What goes around comes around.

Gun violence advocates should give the eulogies for those who are dead as a result of their irresponsible opposition to sensible gun ownership regulations.

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Heroism against terrorism

"By their courage, they saved lives," President François Hollande said. "They gave us an example of what is possible to do in these kinds of situations."

PARIS — President François Hollande of France on Monday awarded the Legion of Honor, France’s highest award, to three Americans and a Briton for their role in stopping a gunman on a high-speed train traveling to Paris from Amsterdam on Friday.

The three Americans — Airman First Class Spencer Stone, 23; Alek Skarlatos, 22, a specialist in the Oregon National Guard; and their friend Anthony Sadler, 23 — received the honor in the gilded halls of the Élysée Palace, where they were joined by Chris Norman, 62, a British consultant.

“One need only know that Ayoub El Khazzani was in possession of 300 rounds of ammunition and firearms to understand what we narrowly avoided, a tragedy, a massacre,” Mr. Hollande said at the ceremony, referring to the Moroccan suspect in the attack, who is in police custody but denies plans to stage a terrorist attack.

Although the world of terrorism has proven nearly impossible to confront on any coordinated international level, the response by heroes who "see something-do something" may be another way of changing the dynamic of this ferociously heinous violence.

As Americans remember how heroes on Flight 96 took charge of terorist hyjackers on September 11, there have been multiple other occasions when alert citizens have averted impending disasters.  

In France, a team of responders who were on a high speed train from Paris to Amsterdam, subdued a heavily armed Muslim man who has now claimed he was only going to rob the train. Really? A lone Muslim wanted to rob a train?  Well, thankfully, he won't rob anymore lives in his delusional frenzies because he was prevented from using his arsenal of weapons because of citizen heroes.

France has already honored these heroic responders with the Legion of Honor Medal.

France honors 3 Americans, Briton for stopping train attack
By Faith Karimi and Nic Robertson, CNN

(CNN)They grew up together, fought off an attacker together and accepted a nation's honor together.

Three days after they pounced and subdued a gunman aboard a packed train, American childhood friends Anthony Sadler, Spencer Stone and Alek Skarlatos got the Legion of Honor -- France's highest recognition. Fellow British passenger Chris Norman, who helped tackle the gunman, also received the award during Monday's ceremony at the Élysée Palace.

In fact, Americans are probably, unknowingly,  a "citizens" army, because it's likely many heroes have prevented carnage, as a result of our increased awareness.

Although the heroes who subdued the gunman on the high speed European train are rightly honored by the French, their actions are also a warning to other terrorists who lurk in the nefarious shadows. Citizens have role models of heroism, and they will take whatever actions are necessary to prevent terrorism from consuming our world.

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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Trumponian immigration

Right wing zealots (many of them self proclaimed Christians) are drawn like mosquitoes to the light by the Trumponian anti-immigraation plan. It's a horribly simple concept. Just export everbody in a massive migration back to wherever they came from, regardless of whether or not their nations of origin even want these people back. Also, this humanitarian disastrous plan assumes the international boundaries the deportees must cross, to be forcibly returned, will even allow the transport of this ill conceived plan.

But, Donald Trump  the Chump is attracting crowds like the 1941, rallies in Berlin.

An article in The Washington Post explains how a similar Trumponian anti-immigration policy was implemented in Alabama and how it failed.

WP- In 2011, a new Republican (Alabama) legislature and governor enacted HB 56, the Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act. Chief sponsor Micky Hammon warned the undocumented population that he would “make it difficult for them to live here, so they will deport themselves.” 

Renting a house or giving a job to an “illegal” became a crime. Police were empowered to demand proof of citizenship from anyone who looked as if he or she might lack it. School administrators were instructed to do the same to children.

The backlash was massive — a legal assault that chipped away at the law, and a political campaign that made Republicans own its consequences. 

Business groups blamed the tough measures for scaring away capital and for an exodus of workers that hurt the state’s agriculture industry. After Mitt Romney lost the 2012 presidential election, strategists in his own party blamed his support for the Alabama attrition policy. Those critics included Donald Trump.

“He had a crazy policy of self- deportation, which was maniacal,” Trump told reporter Ronald Kessler after the election. 

“It sounded as bad as it was.”

The backlash was massive — a legal assault that chipped away at the law, and a political campaign that made Republicans own its consequences.

Business groups blamed the tough measures for scaring away capital and for an exodus of workers that hurt the state’s agriculture industry. After Mitt Romney lost the 2012 presidential election, strategists in his own party blamed his support for the Alabama attrition policy. Those critics included Donald Trump.

“He had a crazy policy of self-deportation, which was maniacal,” Trump told reporter Ronald Kessler after the election. “It sounded as bad as it was.”

Asked about the law, Alabama voters rarely say that it worked. Large farms spent millions training new workers. The Byrds conceded that the agriculture sector suffered after some immigrants fled the state. “Most of them left and didn’t come back,” said Terry Darring-Rogers, who works at a Mobile law firm specializing in immigration.

The debate seemed to be over — nice try, lesson learned — until the summer of Trump. He’s run as a standard-bearer for tough, clinical immigration reform that includes mass deportation. Trump has also kick-started a debate about “birthright citizenship,” which is granted to any child born in the United States under the 14th Amendment.

“We could tell him a hundred of the things that went wrong in Alabama, and he wouldn’t listen,” said Frank Barragan, Mobile’s regional organizer in the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice. “But our biggest concern is not really Donald Trump. Our concern is that the other candidates are jumping on that bandwagon.

By speaking so plainly, Trump ushered in a new discussion about who deserved to be in the country, no matter who might be offended by “politically incorrect” talk. Supporters of Alabama’s reforms, after years of retreat and apology, welcome the opportunity to defend themselves. They can challenge, at last, the conventional wisdom that the bill did not work.

“Our bill got eviscerated by the federal government,” said Jim ­Carns, a Republican state representative who came to Mobile to endorse Trump. “It was like 95 percent within the federal standards, but those standards weren’t being enforced. We enforced them, and it worked for several months until the feds did their thing.”

The voters and legislators who rallied Friday argued that the theory of HB 56 — ending any incentives for people to work illegally in the United States — remained sound. Secretary of State Jim Merrill, who attended Trump’s event but endorsed no candidate, said that Alabamans were welcoming to foreign workers but wanted them to get real visas and work through the citizenship process.

“Illegals have stepped up and they’ve said, ‘We’ll do that work,’ ” Merrill said. “But some of those jobs used to be performed by people in the lower economic strata of our communities. We want to make sure that every American who wants to work has a job.”

To Republicans, the lesson of HB 56 was no longer that it failed. The lesson was that it had not been permitted to work, stymied by the Obama administration. That theory took shape in the displays in some Robertsdale stores, where a sign declaring compliance with ­E-Verify was posted above an even larger ad from the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department.

“If you have the right to work, don’t let anyone take it away,” read the ad. “No employer can deny you a job or fire you because of your national origin or citizenship status.”

Trump’s fans were letting themselves imagine what Alabama might have looked like had then-Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. not declared war on HB 56 — and what the whole country might look like if a president took the law nationally. They saw, in the ­tycoon-candidate, someone who would not be bowed by complaints from the business community.

“We’re seeing an invasion, which is exactly what the Chamber of Commerce wants,” said Dean Young, a conservative activist and HB 56 supporter who nearly won a 2012 special election for southern Alabama’s seat in Congress. “I’m told by a lot of the business people that actually live here that HB 56 did help. I trust them, because if we don’t stop the flow of illegal immigrants into this country, we’re going to lose it.”

Still, even the people who wanted to take Alabama’s immigration experiment to the national level had some qualms about the implementation. After the rally, retirees Philip and Roberta Payne debated how much of HB 56 needed to change in order to become federal policy.


Saturday, August 22, 2015

Michael Gerson speaks truth to fear about Trump GOP impact

"This is crossing a lot of lines in the Republican Party. I think it’s quite serious and I think it could damage the Republican Party for decades to come to be associated with this approach," Michael Gerson, The Washington Post.

Michael Gerson
Michael Gerson is an op-ed columnist for The Washington Post
Republican pundit Michael Gerson gave News Hour's Judy Woodruff a noble headline. He gave her a quote that's probably going to be overlooked by zealots, particularly those who cringe in fear of Donald Trump's  vitriolic retaliation.

New Hour interview, Friday August 21, 2015 with Michael Gerson and Mark Shields
JUDY WOODRUFF: So let’s talk about Donald Trump. 
As we said, he’s holding up in the polls.
Mark (Shields), now that we’re a couple of months into this (GOP campaign). Do we know more about who Donald Trump is as a candidate, about what he really believes? Do we understand better what’s going on here?

I’m not sure, Judy, to be very frank about it, how much we know about him.
We know what he’s publicly emphasizing. I mean, there’s a strong sort of Howard Beale cast to his — Howard Beale being the anchor in “Network,” the movie, played by Peter Finch, who coined the phrase “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore” — there is a lot of that to him. And he is to an electorate, particularly a Republican electorate, but electorate in general, that by a 2-1 country think the country is headed in the wrong direction, thinks their children’s future is not going to be as bright as their own, and many in the base who are concerned about the changes in the country, and its racial composition and its social mores, the acceptance of same-sex marriage.
There is a dissatisfaction, an anger, an unexpressed anger. And I think Donald Trump has — is addressing that. And he does it in a flamboyant, sort of unbossed, unbought way that is beholden to nobody, seemingly, no interest groups, except his own interests.
So I’m not sure. There is a lot of sense — the perception is there, but I’m not sure there’s a core.
Do you feel, Michael, we have got a better handle on what he’s trying to say?
MICHAEL GERSON: Well, what we have seen is his first policy initiative. He set out an immigration policy. It was thin, six pages. It was not very detailed, but it included changes to the protections of the 14th Amendment on birthright citizenship and mass deportations.
So this is a person, Trump, who, three years ago, which is not very long ago, criticized Mitt Romney’s self-deportation plan as maniacal and mean-spirited. And now we’re going to from self-deportation to forced mass deportation.
This is crossing a lot of lines in the Republican Party. I think it’s quite serious and I think it could damage the Republican Party for decades to come to be associated with this approach.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Does he explain how he’s made that turn?
MICHAEL GERSON: I don’t think he — there’s no explanation

In other words, from Maine Writer, the Republicans have allowed the rise of Donald Trump "the Chump", nurtured by the toxic political environment they've created to destroy voter confidence in our government. Now, the mainstream Republicans are "shocked-shocked!" to see how Donald Trump "the Chump" is continuing to build political momentum in his campaign to become (God forbid) President of the United States.  

Michael Gerson is brave to speak truth to the fear created by Trump, who verbally attacks his critics by demeaning their inflated egos. Nevertheless, in fact, it was right wing Republicans who gave rise to the unpredictable Trumponian vigor.  

If the Washington Post had been more aggressive questioning the logic of right wing racism, anti-immigration phobia, stupid "birtherism" theories and other creationist craziness, maybe the nation would be in a better position to evaluate the Trumponian phenomenon. Although I'm sure The Washington Post would object to being accused tangentially  of exploiting right wing paranoia, the fact is, there has been no credible leader to push back on all their government conspiracy theories.  

Hopefully, Michael Gerson's thoughtful, reality check, quote with Judy Woodruff, can help to turn the tide on Trumpmania and bring some sense of sanity back to Grand Old Party politics.  

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Friday, August 21, 2015

Hillary Clinton campaign education 101

Mrs. Clinton is brilliant but she needs a lifeline right now.  

A biography of Mrs. Hillary Rodham Clinton is among the talented list of notables in the National Women's History Museum.

Obviously, Mrs. Clinton qualifies to be on this prestigious list. 

She's the First Lady of the World in recognition of her humanitarian work and foreign policy leadership as Secretary of Sate, for being a wonderful US Senator from New York and, most notably, for being the First Lady  of the United States with her husband President Clinton.  

Nevertheless, Mrs. Clinton, somehow, lost the political advisers she has needed to listen to when it comes to her campaign to become the first qualified (by education and experience) woman president of the United States and Leader of the Free World.

Naturally, I'm not a political adviser; but using some common sense strategies, I put forth these three ideas the help Mrs. Clinton with her current communications challenges. 

Unfortunately, she's facing relentless Republican witch  hunting about her email server. Moreover, her political enemies continue to sweep up about the Benghazi, Libya attack, where Ambassador Stevens was murdered on September 11, 2012, along with members of his security team.  

Therefore, here are my three Campaign Education 101 syllabus bullets:

1.  It's the Economy stupid!  As often as the Republicans bring out their attack dogs, it's up to the Clinton team to respond with reminders of how electrified the economy was during her husband's presidential administration. "It's the economy stupid" "rose all ships", so to speak, when high economic tides even transcended her husband's plight with planted scandals including accusing them of murdering their colleage Vince Foster, who committed suicide.  Remember, "it's the economy stupid" montra.

2.  Go to church. In fact, go to any church.  Try the Washington National Cathedral.  President Clinton often attended church even during the peak of his scandals. We haven't seen Mrs. Clinton in church for a long time (the sad funeral Mass for Vice President Biden's son, Beau Biden, notwithstanding - but that looked to be more political than spiritual).

3.  Visit the graves at Arlington Cemetery in Virginia, and specifically pay respects to the headstones of people who died in the Iraq War - remind Americans by example of how costly  the Iraq Wars and the failed Operation Iraqi Freedom were to our nation's young warriors and it's not over yet. In fact, it may be her war to end and she's the only candidate running for president who is qualified by education and experience to end the relentless failure of the Iraq Wars.

Only one candidate running for president is qualified to be the Leader of the Free World. By her exceptional leadership, training, education and experience, that one candidate is Mrs. Hillary Clinton. Nevertheless, in spite of her enormous popularity, international name recognition and personal talents with politics, Mrs. Clinton is unable to resolve the communications frenzy surrounding her email server.  

It's my uninformed opinion that the messages on her email server contained the kind of information news media relishes in putting on their front pages to grab readers. It was low level stuff.  Yet, the fact is, she's unable to change the conversation. 

Hopefully, somebody in Mrs. Clinton's team of advisers will take seriously the advice of one nurse in Maine, who thinks she can do no harm by looking at the three campaign education 101 bullets I've put forth in this blog.  Good luck.

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Jeb! Go back to your family for first person history lesson

An op-ed penned for Politico, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright slams Jeb! Bushy Boy for his attempt to change history and calls him a liar (says "Occupy Democrats" blog).

While the news media continues to create a cacophony about Secretary Clinton's email messages, the Republicans are imploding with Jeb! Bushy Boy now reinventing history about his family's role in the Iraq war debacle. Listen up news media! Instead of following every tired nuance about an email server in Secretary Clinton's home, the media would better serve the American public by finding out why Jeb! Bushy Boy insists on telling lies about his family's Iraq War history? Now, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has challenged Jeb! Bushy Boy's version of events. Unfortunately, the Bush family has more to explain about the failed Iraq War and Operation Iraqi Freedom than Mrs. Clinton has to disclose about her email.

Republican presidential candidate Jeb! Busy Boy has been on a mission to rewrite history and fool the American people into believing that President Obama and Hillary Clinton are to blame for the rise of ISIS/ISIL/Daesh in the Middle East. 

Jeb! Bushy Boy said on a number of occasions, most recently at the Iowa State Fair, that “ISIS didn’t exist” when George W. Bush was president (it did) and that Obama’s “decision” (really President Bush’s decision) to pull troops out of Iraq in 2011 is to blame. Unfortunately for him, his lies are not fooling anyone and now he is being called out by a very prominent political figure: former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

In an op-ed penned for Politico, Albright slams Jeb Bush for his attempt to change history and calls him the liar he is:

“Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush’s brazen attempts to rewrite history in a series of campaign appearances last week cannot go unchallenged," wrote Albright. 

"By blaming President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for the rise of ISIL, Governor Bush is clearly seeking to absolve his brother’s administration of responsibility for today’s problems in Iraq. This argument may serve Governor Bush’s political interests, but it does a disservice to the truth.”

The country’s first female Secretary of State hit the nail right on the head. Jeb! Bushy Boyt, who refused to even admit his brother was wrong for invading Iraq in the early days of his campaign, is now trying to pull one over on the American people, just like his brother did more than a decade ago.

President Obama and Hillary Clinton are absolutely not to blame for the rise of ISIS. 

Albright points out that ISIS actually emerged after the 2003 invasion of Iraq. When President Bush invaded the country, unseated Saddam Hussein and disbanded the military, the terrorist organization rose from the ashes. Many of the members of the group were former members of al Qeada, something Jeb “forgets” to mention while he is busy blaming Obama. Just like he “forgets” to mention that his brother was actually the president who negotiated our pull-out date and even though President Obama wanted to stay in Iraq a little longer, he didn’t because Iraq was refusing to grant U.S. soldiers immunity from prosecution.

The former Secretary of State also mentions that Jeb! Bushy Boy makes it a point to refer to member of ISIS as “Islamic terrorists.” Ms. Albright explains that it is offensive to call ISIS “Islamic terrorists” because “it feeds the false narrative that we are at war with a religion.” He does this, because he wants to appeal to the Islamophobic GOP base who are always claiming that President Obama refuses to acknowledge that Islamic extremists exist — another Republican lie. She then gives the president and Hillary Clinton credit for the gains we have made in the Middle East:

“Words matter in the world of diplomacy, and so does leadership. The reputation of the United States was severely damaged during President’ Bush’s administration. Today, America’s place in the world is far stronger than it was in 2009 thanks to the leadership of President Obama and former Secretary Clinton. They renewed alliances, relentlessly pursued our terrorist enemies, and forged international coalitions on Iran sanctions and on the fight against climate change. That’s a laudable record of achievement—one that needs no re-writes.”

President Obama has done much to repair our diplomatic relationships, in spite of Republicans’ every effort to sabotage him and them. The GOP has done absolutely nothing to support our president since he took office in 2008, but it didn’t matter because no matter how many roadblocks they put in his way, he prevailed. A perfect example of this is the Iran nuclear deal. Republicans have been up in arms over Obama’s negotiations with Iran. They, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu, do not believe in diplomacy; they want the USA to become in yet another unwinnable war in the Middle East that will cost trillions of dollars and thousands of lives. Fortunately for America, President Obama has a level head and believes war is the last resort, not the first.

The GOP candidate refuses to acknowledge any of this and continues to place the blame for the Islamic State on Obama’s shoulders, because it not only appeals to the right wing base, but Jeb! Bushy Boy can’t admit that his brother is an incompetent fool who thrust our country into an unwinnable war and cost many thousands of American and Iraqi lives.

Former Secretary of State Albright concludes her op-ed by explaining why it's important to call Jeb!Bushy Boy out for his lies:

“The United States cannot afford another President Bush who blinds himself to global reality and who forges ahead into chaos. Americans deserve a president who will acknowledge the past and will forge a better future.”

Indeed, an American president cannot begin a campaign for the job by telling lies right out of the gate, even while primary  elections are still being organized.

Moreover, American news media need to hold Jeb! Bushy Boy just as accountable for his revisionist history as they are obsessed by old news email in Secretary Clinton's home server.  

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Three experts explain intelligent support for the Iran agreement

Americans hire the best international foriegn policy experts in the world. Therefore, it makes excellent good sense to support their informed decisions, especially on the Iran agreement.

Today, at the University of Southern Maine in Portland, Maine, Senator Angus King with Senator George Mitchell and Ambassador Nicholas Burns spoke to hundreds of attendees about the Iran nuclear agreement.

Here are my "take aways":

1. Senator George Mitchell is an expert negotiator. He supports the Iran agreement. He emphasized how the world is highly supportive of the agreement, as well. Although people will inevitably be  the victims of this and other international agreements, he strongly believes that the Iran agreement is focused on how the future for peace in the world will be impacted.

2.  Senator Angus King is among the Senators in the US Congress who actually read the Iran agreement.  In reading the entire agreement, Senator King will support the President and oppose the Senate motion to "not support".

3.  Ambassador Nicholas Burns said he wants to see Americans elect a sophisticated leader, somehone who will support America's foreign policy leadership.

Maine Writer's opinion: Although I have no experience in foreign policy, outside of having lived in the Philippines for three years, it makes sense for me to believe in our leading experts. Secretary John Kerry is a world class foreign policy expert. 

Our nation pays Kerry to represent the US and to negotiate in our best interest. Therefore, let's support him.

I trust Kerry's judgement and his extraordinary patriotism. Secretary Kerry wants to affirm American leadership in the free world. Obviously, Kerry protected our national interest when he negotiated the Iran agreement. Americans, likewise, must show pride in his international foreign policy expertise.  

We must support the Iran treaty by calling our Congress to request for them to vote in favor of the agreement and to oppose motions against accepting the treaty.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Donald Trump's Mercury wings might be clipped by his inaugural issue

Donald Trump took to the 2016 political arena like the champ, Rocky Balboa because of his echoes about immigration.   Yet, the same issue might also clip away his Mercurial wings.

Just like the mythical Mercury was the messenger for all the "Gods", Trump the Chump's messaging might be burning his political wings as he speaks about immigration.

Hello? Donald Trump!  Are you home or is your mind flying around in your Trumponian helicopter?

You  simply cannot deport 11 million immigrants, illegals, green card workers or migrants, just because you want to.  Why? Immigration 101 from a nurse.  Number one: America's workforce capacity can't replace these vital people in the labor industries where many of them are working.  Number two:  Where will 11 million people go when their own nations likely don't want to take them back in?  Number three:  Who is going to pay the deportation costs for 11 million people? Number four:  Deportation of children born in the  US to immigrant parents is illegal.

This Is How Much Donald Trump’s Immigration Plan Would Cost America, if Mexico Doesn’t Pick Up the Tab.  If Trump needs illegal immigrants to go, it’s not going to be cheap.
BY LAUREN FOX  (Published in The National Journal)

August 18, 2015:   It's not cheap to halt illegal immigration in America. And even a business mogul like Donald Trump may have missed the bottom line.

Since Donald Trump declared his intention to run for president, the 2016 contender has struck a nerve with the country's conservatives. And his message on immigration has been paramount to his allure.

Over the weekend, Trump took his rhetoric to paper and outlined his comprehensive immigration plan, which included erecting a border wall, strengthening internal enforcements like E-Verify, tripling the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, and requiring all immigrants caught at the border to be detained until they are removed from the country, not released and monitored.

And while Trump says his plan would boost the American economy, estimates for similar policies indicate it would come with a hefty price tag.

In his plan, Trump demands Mexico pay for his state-of-the-art border wall, but Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto's spokesman told Bloomberg that the Mexican government has no intention of footing the bill. That leaves the cost of building up the border to the U.S., and an impenetrable wall comes at a multibillion-dollar price.

The U.S. already has in place more than 650 miles of border fencing. That project was estimated to have cost $2.4 billion in 2009 and will continue to cost billions to maintain. But Trump's plan calls for a better border fence. Assuming the existing fence is scrapped and replaced with one as secure as Israel's security barricade meant to deter terrorists, the cost of building a fence along all 1,989 miles of the southern border would come to more than $6 billion. National Journal once estimated it would cost $6.4 billion when all is said and done.

But the price tag of the border wall is pittance compared to the mass deportation Trump would like to see if he were president. While it was not listed explicitly in his online immigration plan, Trump told Meet the Press's Chuck Todd this past Sunday that immigrants in the country illegally would be sent back to their home countries.

"We're going to keep the families together, but they have to go," Trump said. "We either have a country or we don't have a country."
(Hello?  Donald Trump?  Are you home or up late into the night "tweeting"?  Yes. We absolutely have a country. We're the United States of America, a nation built by immigrants with laws cemented in our Constitution, where the 14th amendment protects the citizenship of children born in our country.)

The explosive costs of mass deportation have often forced Republican presidential and congressional candidates to find another solution. Trump's position is far outside the mainstream of many other Republicans. There are several estimates out there on what it would cost to round up the roughly 11 million people who are residing in the U.S. without permission. The Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, estimated in 2010 (when the illegal population was smaller) that it would take $200 billion to "arrest, detain, legally process and transport the undocumented population over a five year period." That did not include the $85 billion it tallied for keeping up with enforcement in the subsequent five years.

In 2011, the Houston Chronicle reported that ICE Deputy Director Kumar Kibble told members of Congress that it cost $5 billion to round up and deport 393,000 immigrants. That comes to a cost of approximately $12,722 per immigrant. If you had to deport 11 million people at that cost, the feds would be doling out about $140 billion.

Trump argues his plan would grow the economy and "end welfare abuse." Without millions of immigrants in the U.S., American workers, he says, would have better access to jobs.

"We need to control the admission of new low-earning workers in order to: help wages grow, get teenagers back to work, aid minorities' rise into the middle class, help schools and communities falling behind, and to ensure our immigrant members of the national family become part of the American dream," Trump said in his plan.

Donald Trump seems to be obsessed about immigration. He even led the bogus "birther movement", questioning President Barack Obama's legitimacy to be president, based on his father's Kenyan nationality. But, President Obama was born in the US state of Hawaii, so he is a US citizen. Why doesn't Trump the Chump question the legitimacy of Senator Ted Cruz to run for the office of President of the United States? In fact, Cruz was born in Canada.

Perhaps, all of Trump the Chump's magnified misogynist messages and "immigrants as rapists", and other weird political antics, notwithstanding, his immigration plan for mass deportation may undo his charisma.  Hopefully, voter registration drives are already being organized to provide more than enough votes, from among naturalized citizens, to throw his candidacy into the sun, where Mercury can carry him far away from politics.

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Monday, August 17, 2015

Comparing Donald Trump with Sarah Palin

Every Pesidential election seems to produce a flash in the pan darling of the campaign.  It's hard to forget how cutely charismatic Sarah Palin was, when she stepped into the GOP national spotlight, as Senator John McCain's 2008, vice presidential running mate. Today, the GOP presidential campaign darling glides into the media on a Trumped up helicopter. Donald "Trump the Chump" is invading the GOP as a superstar campaigner.  He's more than just a campaign darling. Rather, he's a "daaaaaaling", with celebrity status and enough money to sustain it.

Sarah Palin had her "Katie Couric" moment in the frying pan and she fizzled. "What newspapers do you read?", was the question that seemed to trip up Palin.  "Read?"....oh well.

On the other hand, at Donald Trump's firing squad trial, he was picked off like a duck in a carnival game, by Fox News diva Megyn Kelly. Unlike Palin's flash in the pan, the Trump "gotcha" moment backfired on Fox News. When Kelly boldly challenged Trump about his description of women, the "Donald" leaped to the occasion with bravado.  

Megyn Kelly (Center) with Bret Baier (right) and Chris Wallace (left)

Megyn Kelly sprinted out of the debate moderators' panel with this:

Megyn Kelly to Donald Trump: 'You've called women you don't like fat pigs, slobs – and disgusting animals'.

Early into the first 2016 Republican debate, presidential hopeful Donald Trump was grilled over his previous record of making sexist comments by moderator Megyn Kelly.

"Only Rosie O'Donnell," he responded.

"No it wasn't," said Kelly. "For the record, it was well beyond Rosie O'Donnell. Your Twitter account has several disparaging comments about women's looks."

"You once told a contestant on 'Celebrity Apprentice' it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees. Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president?"

In response, Trump the Chump blamed the country's stance on "political correctness" and said he didn't have time for Ms Kelly's question.

"And to be honest, this country doesn't have time either. This country is in big trouble. We don't win anymore. We lose to China. We lose to Mexico, both in trade and at the border," he continued, with a round of applause from the crowd of conservative supporters. "We lose to everybody. And frankly, what I say, and oftentimes it's fun, it's kidding, we have a good time.What I say, is what I say.

Mr Trump seemingly lost his cool, suggesting that he shouldn't "be very nice" to Kelly.

So, what's the difference between Trump the Chump and Sarah Palin, who was the Barbie of the GOP?  Well, for one thing, Trump thinks on his feet, even when stressed. Although his response to Kelly was brutal, he had an answer for Kelly; while Palin was paralyzed by Couric's query about what newspapers she read.

Moreover, Trump has no political handlers, while Palin was overwhelmed with advisers who wanted to control her communications. I've often wondered how much better Palin would've done in McCain's presidential campaign, if she could've been unbridled. (Of course, it's also possible she'd have been even worse with the media, too.)

Nevertheless, Palin was a poor candidate because she just didn't have the stature to withstand the pressure of a presidential campaign. On the other hand, Trump the Chump is energized by the intensity of the presidential campaign. He's not a "made for TV" candidate. Rather, he seems to be a campaign natural.

Although Trump the Chump carries celebrity status with him like a superman wears a magic cape, the fact is, to be elected president he needs votes.  I sincerely hope Trump's rise in the GOP is causing all voter registration drives to gear up to a new intensity because it's the ballot box where his final debate test will be graded.  Trump can't intimidate and be "not nice" to millions of informed voters who know he is not qualified to be the leader of the free world.  

Shame on the Republican party for allowing the Trump the Chump rise in the campaign. The Trump helicopter is like a restored relic of the Viet Nam war, a symbol of GOP failure to provide a leader who can hypnotize the right wing zealots.

It will take informed voters, experts at evaluating the qualifications of a presidential candidate, to do what Republicans are incapable of doing for their own party's future. In other words, the GOP can't find a leader, so Trump soaked up the opportunity for himself.

Thoughtful voters will have to undo what Republican are unable to do for the party

Voters will evaluate Donald Trump, just like they did Sarah Palin. Both of them are fun to watch, charismatic speakers and iconic political figures. Like Palin, Donald Trump will eventually fade like a neon light running out of juice. 

Trump sure knows how to degrade women, whether it's Rosie O'Donnell or Megyn Kelly. But, he won't be able to come out from under the Palin legacy of being unqualified for the job for which he's applying. 

To plagiarize Trump's own cliche, he should be fired.

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Sunday, August 16, 2015

Mediterranian refugees - world populations shifts in response to despair

“The dead were found in the hold,” said Cmdr. Massimo Tozzi, speaking from the (Italian) navy ship Cigala Fulgosi while the rescue was still ongoing. Asked by RaiNews24 how the migrants died, Tozzi said “it appears to be from inhaling exhaust fumes.”

Untold many tens of thousands of international refugees are willing to die in transit, rather than become victims of the carnage and corruption in their place of origin.  It's a growing international world crises. 

Nearly every country in the world is facing a refugee crises.  

As a result, civilizations are becoming diverse, regardless of how this tsunami is growing.  In fact, refugees are finding ghetto communities and humanitarian camps where they can barely survive, in response to the carnage of their homeland, caused by war, violence and corruption. They leave because they cannot tolerate life in their places of origin.  Rather than scorn these people because they're refugees, or illegal immigrants, the world has a responsibility to fix this growing issue by bringing peace to the places where carnage drives human beings to seek desperate solace.  
Huge numbers of people around the world are brave enough to take the risk of discrimination, due to a lack of citizenship status, deportation and even, in many cases, undocumented death, for the hope of escaping despair. These tragic stories are about people. These people are refugees, only as a result of despair. Logically, the refugees, many who become illegal immigrants, deserve to be protected. More important, the world is responsible for fixing the problems rather than corralling the people. Nevertheless, many people, those who might help to fix the problems, instead, react like it's the refugees who caused the crises.  No!  It's war, corruption, greed, political and tribal discrimination that caused this growing problem. Refugees are people who are the victims of the problems. 

Italian Rescues in the Mediterranean Sea

Unfortunately, it's been the Italian Coast Guard's role to rescue many of the refugees who are adrift in the 

Italian Coast Guard is scooping up people who are abandoned at sea, like fish.  Tragically, nobody will know how many have drowned.  It's totally impossible for Italy to rescue everybody. Hopefully, Italy isn't alone in these rescue efforts, but news reports would lead one to believe there aren't many other nations joining the humanitarian response.

The Portland Press Herald reports on the Mediteranian refugee crisis

At least 40 migrants die on smugglers’ ship in Mediterranean. They apparently succumbed to fuel fumes in the hold. 

The Italian navy rescues 320 more from the same vessel.

ROME (Italy) — At least 40 migrants died Saturday in the hold of an overcrowded smuggling boat in the Mediterranean Sea north of Libya, apparently killed by fuel fumes, and some 320 others aboard were saved by the Italian navy, the rescue ship’s commander said.

Migrants by the tens of thousands are braving the perilous journey across the Mediterranean this year, hoping to reach Europe and be granted asylum. They are fleeing war, persecution and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

“The dead were found in the hold,” said Cmdr. Massimo Tozzi, speaking from the navy ship Cigala Fulgosi while the rescue was still ongoing. Asked by RaiNews24 how the migrants died, Tozzi said “it appears to be from inhaling exhaust fumes.”

When rescuers boarded the boat, the bodies of migrants were “lying in water, fuel, human excrement” in the hold, Tozzi said.

The death toll was not yet final.

“They are still counting the victims,” Interior Minister Angelino Alfano told reporters.

Tozzi said the survivors included three children and 45 women, some of whom “were crying for their husbands (and) their children who died in the crossing.”

The navy said that the survivors were later transferred to a Norwegian ship with the Frontex mission, a European effort to save migrant lives in the Mediterranean. The survivors were being brought to a southern Italian port.

Elsewhere in the Mediterranean, migrants on a Turkish beach scuffled over places on one inflatable dinghy and frantically bailed out another to keep it from sinking during a dramatic night that highlighted their desperation to reach the Greek island of Kos – and the safety of Europe.

The scenes, captured early Saturday by Associated Press journalists on a moonless night, came as Turkish authorities reported that 2,791 migrants have been caught in the Aegean Sea in the past five days alone, most of them Syrians.

Kos is only 2.5 miles from Turkey, at its closest point, its twinkling lights an irresistible beacon to those fleeing war or poverty.

An Italian navy admiral coordinating the sea rescue missions said the first rescuers, in two rubber dinghies, approached the boat carefully, since often migrants rush to one side of their vessel when they spy help and the boat capsizes.

“We saw this boat filled up to unimaginable levels,” Adm. Pierpaolo Ribuffo said.

At least seven of the bodies had been transferred to the rescue vessel, which was headed toward Sicily, Ribuffo said.

An estimated 2,300 migrants have died at sea this year trying to make the crossing, according to figures released Friday by the International Organization for Migration.

Most migrants crossing the Mediterranean to southern Europe take one of two routes: From Turkey into Greece, or from North African countries, mainly Libya, to Italy. The Libya-to-Italy route is by far the deadliest. The exact toll of dead will never be known, as some smuggling boats are believed to have gone down at sea without rescuers being aware of them.

The migrants “put their lives in the hands of the smugglers” in order to escape from their dire conditions, said a U.N. refugee agency official, Barbara Molinario.

These humanitarian reports are so numerous, the international media has literally become immune to the impact of the terrible stories.  Yet, it's not the media that caused these migrants to risk death to find a better life.  Rather, the world's incapacity to respond has caused the tragedies to accumulate, to the point where people are, sadly, becoming as expendable as lemmings.

Of course, there are many who want to, somehow, wave a political wand and turn these refugees back to their places of origin. It doesn't matter what these anti-refugee people think. These desperate people are now among us. Therefore, we have a responsibility  to become citizens of the world who take them in.

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