Tuesday, June 28, 2016



 Things are getting really dicey. Just a couple of weeks to the Republican 
Convention, and huge numbers of GOP stalwarts are doing all they can to prevent Donald Trump from getting the nomination. The Bushes are not going to the convention. George Will has dropped out of the Republican Party. The Koch brothers are not contributing to Trump's campaign. Republican senators are saying that they might vote for Hillary! Republican leaders in both the House and Senate are criticizing some of The Donald's most outrageous Statements. Mitch McConnell refused to say whether Trump was qualified to be President. Polls show Hillary 12 points ahead of Donald.
    Meanwhile everything is not all sweetness and light with the Democrats. A tell-all book by a former Secret Serviceman is letting secrets out of the bag. According to this book, Hillary once threw a lamp at Bill. Pictures of the broken lamp are offered as proof. The Clinton White House was a wild, swinging times, filled with cocaine sniffing orgies. Oh My!
    Former Presidential candidate Carl Perrin has not escaped from all this calumny. Stories that came out during his 2008 campaign are rising to the surface again. According to these stories, he used federal funds to travel to Maine to see a woman young enough to be his daughter. This story was completely insidious because on the surface it is true, but the insinuation is not. The "federal funds" that Perrin used were his Social Security check. The woman "young enough to be his daughter" was in fact his daughter. Why would stories like this come out now? Perrin wasn't even in this election campaign. He found that all that politicking was interfering with his nap time. However, Hillary is looking for a vice presidential candidate to run with her. Naturally the former English professor's name came up.
Why would anyone object to Perrin's being named to the Democratic ticket? Two theories come up. Some politicians object to Perrin not because they have anything against him, but because they are promoting some other candidate for the job. Still others say that they object to Perrin because he is not qualified for the job! 
    When he was running for office in 2008, he didn't have a fully-planned platform, these people say. The only thing he promised was cheap beer. Nothing about taxes, defense, health care. Cheap beer is important, but there are other things that should concern the President.

    Perrin isn’t even sure he wants the job. Why should he settle for being vice president? He is already president of the LV Computer Club

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


In December 2012, in one of the worst cases of mass murder, Adam Lanza killed his mother and then went to an elementary school and shot 26 first graders and six adults. Lanza had suffered with serious mental health problems through his life.
In June  2015 Dylann Storm Roof, a white man, went to a black church in Charleston, SC, and pretended to pray with the people there for a while and then shot and killed nine church members. He said that he hoped his action would start a race war.
A month later Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazees, a naturalized American citizen who had graduated from high school and college in Tennessee, went to two military recruiting centers in Chattanooga, TN, and shot five military recruiters to death and wounded three more.
That October Christopher Sean Harper-Mercer shot and killed eight of his fellow students and his teacher to death at Umpqua Community College. He had struggled with mental issues since his teenage years.
The next month Robert Lewis Dear went to a Planned Parenthood Office in Colorado Springs, CO, where he shot twelve people, including a police officer. Three of his victims died from the gunshot wounds. Recently he was ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial for his crimes.
In December of 2015, Syed Rizwan Farook, born in America and working for the county Department of Public Health, along with his wife Tashfeen Malik, went to a holiday party in San Bernadino, CA, where his coworkers were still celebrating, and killed 14 and wounded 22.
Then on June 12, 2016 Noor Mateen, also American born, went to a gay nightclub in Orlando, FL, where he used an assault rifle to slaughter 49 people and wound over 50 more. He had worked as a security guard, so he must have been investigated before he was hired. Nevertheless, he was an unstable person. His ex-wife stated that Mateen flew into rages and beat her. People who knew him said he was not very religious, yet as he began his assault, he called 911, and claimed allegiance to ISIS. His father said that Mateen had once seen two men kissing in the street, and flew into a rage because of the sight. Yet he had often frequented the club himself in the past. There is some suggestion that part of Mateen’s anger came from conflict over his own sexual orientation.
What is the common denominator in these and similar terrible acts of carnage in recent years? You can’t say it is the Muslim religion. Three of the men were Muslims, yet they were all American citizens, two of them born in this country. All three of them seemed to have fit in well with American culture. Abdulazees and Farook were college graduates.
Is the denominator mental health? Dear, Harper-Mercer, and Lanza all had severe mental health problems. Anyone who contemplates such horrific crimes as these of course has serious mental problems. Despite his problems, Harper-Mercer was able to enlist in the army, although he did not make it through basic training. Despite Mateen’s tendency to violence, he was able to function on his job and legally to buy an assault weapon. You can’t keep these weapons out of the hands of mentally unstable people if the weapons are available at all. People can sometimes function pretty well and then suddenly flip out. As Richard Cohen said, in the Washington Post, “We can’t even keep nuts from running for President.” So trying to keep weapons of mass destruction from mentally unstable people but making them available for others will not work.
What all these events have in common is the ease with which unstable people are able to purchase guns. In the events that created the most the shooters were armed with assault rifles.  We need to keep these weapons from the hands of EVERYONE. No civilian needs an AK-15. These guns are made to kill a large number of people at once. We don’t need an AK-15 for hunting. We don’t need one for home protection. These are military rifles. They have no place in the hands of individuals.
 Don’t say that we need to have such weapons to protect ourselves from the federal government who might take our guns away. Paranoia is a mental illness. Do we want people to be able to have machine guns, mortars and tanks as well?
The only way to keep assault rifles out of the hands of mentally unstable people is to keep them out of the hands of all civilians. Don’t say that if we ban assault rifles from ordinary people, only outlaws will have these guns. Don’t say that the government is trying to take away your guns. It is only trying to take away the kind of guns that no civilian should have any use for.
During prohibition gangsters used tommy guns to fight rival gangs and law enforcement officers. Finally the federal government solved the problem by levying a huge tax on these weapons and sawed-off shotguns.   One gangster, Jack Miller, a bank robber, was caught with a sawed-off shotgun. He was charged with having an unregistered weapon, essentially a tax evasion. The case went to the Supreme Court, which decided:
In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a ’shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length’ at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument.
These weapons are no longer in use. There is no reason that the same thing can’t be done with assault rifles.
Except that the National Rifle Association will fight to defeat the re-election of any member of Congress who votes for reasonable gun laws. Haven’t we been intimidated by the NRA long enough? Maybe it is time that sane people mount a campaign to fight the re-election of members of Congress who refuse to create laws that protect our citizens from the crazies who use assault rifles to murder our citizens.

Sunday, June 12, 2016


If you or I were involved in a law suit and we declared that the judge in our case couldn’t rule fairly because of his ethnic background, wouldn’t we be subject to a ruling of contempt of court? To refer to an American-born judge as a Mexican because his parents were from Mexico is just another outrageous statement from Donald Trump. To charge that the judge’s ethnic background would prevent him from ruling fairly in a case against Trump is particularly egregious. Trump is charging that Curiel’s ethnic background prevents him from performing his sworn duty.

The fact that Trump made these charges outside of the courtroom doesn’t make any difference. They show disrespect for the court. It is still contempt of court, and Trump should be made to pay for his outlandish charges, just as you or I would have to.  

Sunday, June 5, 2016


A few weeks ago I saw a Facebook posting with pictures from the late sixties or early seventies. On one side was Bernie Sanders being dragged away by the police. Opposite was Donald Trump in uniform. Not the uniform of the United States military but the uniform of the military prep school he attended. The message evidently was supposed to show Sanders as a trouble maker, a rabble rouser who was in trouble with the law while Trump was a law-abiding citizen, being educated to defend the United States militarily.

Somehow that was not the message I got. Bernie Sanders was doing what he has always done and continues to do: he was fighting against injustice wherever he saw it.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, was posturing. Even though he went to a military prep school and later would cite that as a key to his insight into the military, in fact Trump never served in the military. He was able to avoid the draft during the war in Vietnam because he had “a foot thing.”

Further, he has never supported the military. He put down John McCain because he had been captured, as though that made him less of a man. McCain didn’t exactly surrender on the battle front. He was shot out of the sky. He endured five years of captivity and torture and refused to go home ahead of his comrades when he had an opportunity.

Trump showed how loyal he was to veterans when he held an event to raise funds for veterans’ organizations. Except he didn’t turn the funds over to those groups until he was shamed into it four months later by The Washington Post.

Bernie Sanders is a man who stands up for what he believes in. Donald Trump is an empty suit, an embarrassment.