TRUMP EXPRESSES “THOUGHTS AND DESIRES OF AN AUTOCRAT”

November 18th, 2017

Since he assumed the office of President, I have been expressing disapproval of Donald Trump who, as you may remember, actually received fewer votes from the people of the United States than Hillary Clinton did and was only elected because of the outmoded system of the “electoral college” in the US.

Below is part of an article by Richard E. Frankel, Associate Professor of Modern German History at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where we read:

“…Trump has proven unable to let go of his obsession with his defeated rival. In early November 2017—nearly one year after his election victory—he was not only continuing to attack Clinton, but also calling on the FBI and the Justice Department to investigate her. He was ‘very frustrated’ by the fact that he’s unable to order those agencies to ‘go after’ his former opponent—something he said he would very much love to do.

“It was a horrifying moment as the President of the United States, perhaps more clearly than at any previous time, expressed the thoughts and desires of an autocrat. And today, with the announcement that Attorney General Jeff Sessions will explore the possibility of creating a new special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton, those thoughts and desires have moved that much closer to being realized.

“Such open calls for criminal investigations of political opponents are truly unprecedented in American history—and for good reason, since they would undermine the very foundation of liberal democracy. If the president could order the FBI to investigate Hillary Clinton, where would it stop? Anyone who spoke out to criticize such a brazen act would be vulnerable to the same treatment. And then any individual or any group—regardless of whether they had actually done anything—would be at the mercy of Trump’s politicized justice system. The president would be able to exclude anyone he wished from the national community. The road to dictatorship would be wide open to him. We know this because it was such a system that helped destroy democracy in Germany and helped Hitler establish his Nazi dictatorship.”

Richard Frankel

Professor Frankel

I am indeed horrified by the revelation of these “thoughts and desires of an autocrat” who is the president of my country.  Since his election, I have been encouraging my elected representatives to institute impeachment proceedings against him.  I will continue to do that.

NINE ELEVEN: REMEMBERING

November 9th, 2017

World Trade Center Towers Burning

On September 11th, 2001 my house in Brooklyn, where I lived at the time, was under the huge smoke trail that you can see in this image.  We could smell the smoke for days after and New York City was in turmoil for quite some time.  The subways did not run and many aspects of life here were affected.

Lower Manhattan Today

Sixteen years after the attacks, lower Manhattan has been restored and most of us here in the city rarely think about that dreadful time.  Today, however, I want to remember the brave US firefighters and police, some of whom gave their lives in that attack and its aftermath.  I want to remember the people in the tower and in New York City who died in that attack.  And I want to remember all of us in this city who were traumatized by that dreadful event.

Especially today, I want to be thankful for the restoration of lower Manhattan and for a return to what passes for “normal” in this city.  I am proud to be a New Yorker and grateful for all the good things here and for all of the people here who make life good.

VOTING DAY IN NYC

November 7th, 2017

Today is voting day in New York City and Mayor de Blasio, holding the Italian flag during a parade not long ago honoring Italian Americans, is up for re-election.  I went out before lunch to my polling place, a school two blocks from my house here in Manhattan.  I think no one is very far from their polling place in this city.  There were plenty of poll workers and voting machines, so we were moving through at good speed.

One of many things I like about New York City is that we vote very close to where we live. Dense population no doubt accounts for that.  I have lived in places where it was rather a trek to where I could vote.  Not here.

EARTH IS “WARMEST IN THE HISTORY OF MODERN CIVILIZATION”

November 5th, 2017

A frightening report by the US Climate Assessment released on November 3rd says that the earth is warmer now than ever in the history of modern civilization.

Mandated by law and released every four years, the Fourth National Climate Assessment (or NCA4)—which states that recent years have seen “record-breaking, climate-related weather extremes, and the last three years have been the warmest years on record for the globe”— concludes (with emphasis in the original) that “based on extensive evidence, that it is extremely likely that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.”

The Trump administration is not acting on this alarming news, and indeed casts doubts on it because of Trump’s relationship with the fossil fuel industry.

Here in New York City at half past six in the morning  it is already 53 degrees, predicted to go up to 64 degrees, on the 5th of November!  Several decades ago, there would likely have been snow on the ground and temperatures below freezing.  Though there were days in the winter months without snow and there was not the continuous snow coverage found just a little further north and inland away from the Atlantic, New York had cold and snowy winters.

Fossil fuel plant in New York State

I do what I can as an individual not to contribute to this dangerous warming of planet Earth.  Since I live in New York City where there is excellent public transportation, I do not even own an automobile.  I also walk as much as I can, so I use the transportation system only when walking would take more time than I have or in bad weather.  When I travel outside of the city I take a train when that is possible.  Most years I go to Chicago at least once and I have been several times to Charleston, SC–for both destinations there is good train service.  Only when my only option is flying do I go anywhere by plane.

US passenger train

To get to Buenos Aires, Argentina, where I have gone several times, I fly.  It would be possible to go overland by a combination of trains and buses (I have an Argentinean friend who has done that), but that trip takes a very long time.  I also fly to France when I go there.  A friend of mine goes to France by boat, but that also requires a much longer time.  When traveling within Europe, I take trains; there is excellent train service there.

Though it is more difficult (even impossible in some places) in the United States than in Europe to live without an automobile, more of us here could do that.  It would help some to reduce carbon emissions, though I am not expecting that people here will do it.  What is really needed is restructuring of cities and towns is such a way as to require less space.  The single family dwelling with a yard which has been very prevalent in most of the United States is not conducive to reducing carbon emissions.

SAVE SOCIAL SECURITY

October 27th, 2017

At 9:41 pm on Thursday, October 26, I got an email from an organization of members of the Democratic party that the House of representatives had voted to pass “a budget DESTROYING Medicare and Social Security.” Below is a link to an article published earlier today which says the Senate budget “sets up a tax giveaway to the rich, paid for by cutting Medicare and Medicaid.” You can read that article at the link below:

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-senate-budget-sets-up-a-tax-giveaway-to-the-rich_us_59e649cce4b0432b8c11ea82

In my seventy-second year, having worked from the age of fourteen (in addition to getting an education in those early years), I have been retired since I turned seventy. As an artist, I never earned a lot of money but always managed to live without debt till I retired at age seventy. I am now living on my social security payments, which I did not claim till I was seventy. If Social Security, which I paid into from every check I earned (which I think all Americans do), were to be destroyed, I would now be without income. I am surely one of many people in this country in a similar situation.

Social Security old age payments are not gifts; we have paid into the fund for decades, we who retire after a long life of work.

Below is a link to a petition to the US Senate which you can sign if you choose to. It is something we can do in this time of peril for Social Security in this country.

https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/senate-gop-budget-cuts-trillions-from-medicare-and-medicaid-take-action-now?refcode=huffpost

I urge you to sign that petition and to work to save Social Security for us all.

AUTUMN?

October 24th, 2017

        Fall Color in Central Park in Past Years

A look out my window just now showed me a faint trace of fall color in some of the trees in front of the hospital across the street and going up 10th Avenue.  I remember well times when we would have masses of beautiful colored leaves by now, more like those in the photograph above.  Alas, not so colorful today.

I don’t know if we will have that beautiful color this year, just later than a few decades ago.  I certainly hope so.  What I do know is that global warming is real and is affecting New York a great deal.

TRUMP THREATENS U.S. HEALTHCARE

October 14th, 2017

The United States looks more and more like an underdeveloped nation, especially with regard to health care. Trump is doing everything he can to end healthcare subsidies of the US system, which was already noticeably inferior to the those of other developed countries.

                                   Hospital in Tours,  France

I was hospitalized in France with a colon perforation, had two surgical interventions by the best doctor on the planet for that procedure, was kept there for two months and sent home with a car load of medication the doctors wanted me to continue to take. Three meals a day were also provided for my sister who came to be with me. The total bill for that was the equivalent in francs of $6000.00–the cost of a weekend in the hospital in Dallas where I lived at the time.

That Donald Trump is attacking the already inadequate US health care system is egregious.

GLOBAL WARMING SEEN ON COLUMBUS DAY

October 9th, 2017

If one doubted global warming, a photograph taken during today’s Columbus Day celebration in New York City would give evidence of it.

                             Mayor DeBlasio during celebration

As the photograph shows, Mayor DeBlasio is without a top coat and his jacket is not buttoned.  On the 9th of October in New York!

I was out today in a cotton shirt with no jacket at all and was very comfortable.  When I first moved to New York nearly forty years ago, it was chilly in September much less October. Today was nearer a summer day than what we knew as autumn several decades ago.

CARBON BOMB UNDER OUR FEET

October 7th, 2017

In an article published on Common Dreams today, “Warming Soils Could Trigger Potentially Unstoppable Climate Feedback Loop: Study”, the authors report a quotation, “There’s a carbon bomb right under your feet,” that points toward “a potentially unstoppable feedback loop as earth’s rising temperatures drive soils to release more carbon emissions.”

Another quotation from a distinguished scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts says, “each year, mostly from fossil fuel burning, we are releasing 10 billion metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere. That’s what’s causing the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration and global warming.”

The four distinct seasons that I loved and the snowy winters which I enjoyed when I moved here nearly forty years ago have given way to winters without snow and hotter summers. It is the seventh of October and outside my window, people are on the streets in shorts and short sleeved shirts.

Aiweiwei looking at things in an exhibit today in NYC

One reason I live in New York is that I do not need to drive here. In the South where my family is from and the Southwest where I lived for a time it was imperative to have an automobile; indeed in most of the United States it is. I have lived several times in France where that is not the case; indeed, not having to have a car was one of the reasons I lived there. Even there, however, there are far too many automobiles pouring carbon into the atmosphere.

Will human beings stop this poisoning of our world? There are a few efforts now, but not nearly enough. Will my great-grandchildren and their children be able to survive on this planet?

GLOBAL WARMING OBVIOUS IN NYC

September 22nd, 2017

Today, the 22nd of September 2017, at 1:19 pm it is 80 degrees here in New York City and will be warmer yet before the evening. Climate Change writ large!

I remember when there would be a few nippy days in August, the harbingers of cool Fall weather to come, and when it would now be cool with quite chilly nights.

Tomorrow it is predicted to reach 87 degrees, followed by 88 degrees on Sunday and 86 degrees on Monday.

This weather frightens me. The change I have seen in the past forty years is staggering and if change like this continues, the Earth could become uninhabitable by human beings.


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