Category Archives: All Current Themes

This 101 year old Historian’s Plea

THIS 101-YEAR OLD HISTORIAN’S PLEA
By
Vaughn Davis Bornet

By now, many of you are familiar with the outcries of Ashland, Oregon’s elderly scholar. Living on (now past 101), he can’t help noticing what’s happening to the Executive Branch of the government of the United States. He’s not happy! Nothing at Emory, Georgia, or Stanford, apparently, prepared him for today’s spectacle of government by guesswork. So here he is again, this time close to fulminating….in summary: that occupant of the Oval Office has to go—and soon.

So it has come to this: Our free press is subject to ridicule; actually, it is undergoing threat. Presidential antagonism is approaching entirely too close to action.

Not too long ago, political opposition to “the Press” was quietly endured as “well meaning, but wrong.” Now, the expression “lock her up” has spread from a candidate’s lips to an office-holder’s lips. It has become a slogan. Worse, Donald J. Trump’s favorite outcry “Fake News” is no longer exotic; it is commonplace, or close enough. It is regarded in some places as a normal way to refer to America’s daily news headlines.

Political rallies have long occupied partisans as election day approached. Now, it does seem, instead of governing, the White House occupant campaigns around the calendar—instead of concentrating on Congress or the passing scene.

At one time, high office holders in D. C. took an assigned position and went to work for “the duration.” Now, many top officials simply quit in mid-stream, and proceed to walk out. Maybe they are told to go, and “hurry up about it.” (Goodness knows what kind of instructions our Attorney General Sessions has gotten from his “boss.”)

In this Administration, reputations fade, so much so that individuals have to leave! It is “one jump ahead of the sheriff,” so to speak. Or, “Go while the going’s good.”

Let’s say there is an Event. Our president misrepresents it. That happening was only a few weeks or months ago, but we cannot trust our president to tell the truth about it. What actually happened, back then? Well, the Truth is something you are not going to hear from today’s occupant of Air Force One.

In life it has long been a truism that there are “the good guys” and there are the “bad guys.” In statecraft, however, it is no longer easy to tell our allies from our enemies! Once, we made permanent friends of nations far away and tied them to us with Alliances. Today, you can’t tell any ally without checking first with the White House to make sure which nation is a friend and which an enemy. Indeed, they may well have switched overnight!

This is serious stuff. The ship of state has no helmsman, it seems; or maybe he just doesn’t think it important for us to know the differences between a true friend and a dangerous enemy.

All of these things that are happening to us from within our American Government in 2018 are important. But the travails of The Press are damaging to the point they simply cannot be laughed off, ridiculed, treated as “no more than a joke, really.” We have to enjoy a free press. That’s A FREE PRESS. We must have it.

There is indeed a field of endeavor called “journalism.” It has standards, and concepts, and principles. All are taught in college classrooms. Our present political leader ridicules any such idea and barges ahead—to the point where his expression “lock ‘em up” or whatever it is, sounds suspiciously like a proclamation of jail time back in Nazi or Fascist days.

What I want at this point is an end to high school games that masquerade in the guise of proper conduct for Leaders! In government the stakes are much too high to “play around” with them. I must have a return to sense and sensibility to be happy at rest every day.

I really want, if the truth be known, the removal of Donald J. Trump from the presidential office. If I can’t have that, I want powerful individuals in named offices (Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, etc.) who will keep that one from running things until his term has limped to its end.

I feel, overall, as though my Country has been borrowed away from me. Totally without my permission, mind you. And somebody owes me for time spent playing at the fair grounds.

Now and then I feel like washing my hands. I want to Do Something Dramatic. Maybe yell a little. Read another book with a title like Fury, or maybe Fire, or Unhinged—and coast for a few hours or a day or so until the revelations and the prose in the new book’s pages wear off. What I am saying, I guess, is that I don’t want to be alone in my antagonism against this amateur (that’s right: amateur) in the Oval Office.

How to end this, well, has it really become a diatribe? Promise me this madman with the simple habits and all that spare money will go away. Soonest. Bring in somebody who has read in depth of the lifetime of Herbert Hoover’s dedication; the comprehensive love of Life of Theodore Roosevelt; Lincoln’s use of language to elevate national spirits; Jefferson’s ability to raise my comprehension of self-government by framing a document that’s good for me.

For Hell’s sake: I’m sick to death of mediocrity, of posturing, of pretense, of lies told with a straight face. What did I do to deserve THIS? The corridors outside the Oval Office need new inhabitants. Trump relatives are handsome and/or pretty, but I have to say they don’t fill me with confidence in their experience or abilities. And I believe the truth to be that they haven’t really earned those high and powerful positions by earlier hard work.
Bring in somebody as president who can shame Congress into doing what is right! Figure out some way this TV star can’t pick somebody else to fill a Supreme Court vacancy with all that is bound to entail. Most of all, please:

Bring dignity back to my White House. Don’t let this fellow salute one more time; it gives me the willies to think of a general or admiral kowtowing to this guy, even if he does, probably, get a kick out of the winks and nudges at home later on.

I want my Country back. Is it too much to ask?

Book Review of Bob Woodward’s ‘Fear’

Bob Woodward, FEAR: Trump in the White House (New York, Simon and Schuster, 2018), 421 overall, illustrated.

The editor knows you’re anxious to read a review of this book after your long wait, so we’ll be brief, up front. Our Historian reviewer elected the “Political Parties” minor at Stanford, and he has written a number of books with a “political” aspect. His The Presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson is a solid piece of scholarship, done for the American Presidency Series of Kansas Press. Its Bibliographical essay and Index have been helpful to interested historians. We all have waited impatiently to see “what’s next?” with our current Presidency and its evolution, so let’s see this famous book’s impact.

Dear Reader: When some sturdy book like this is finally in my hands, my practice for some time has been, after glancing at the list price, I go to the Index. After rummaging a bit, I seek out the Bibliographical List or Essay and check it out the citations. Now, I read both the initial sentence and paragraph; then the concluding several pages. Now it’s off to lunch, maybe. I think at random about what I’ve learned so far.

I’m very likely at this point to read several of whatever passes for a “first review” by others on Google. It’s surprising what turns up. Now it the author’s name, and of course the title of the book, just in case. Strange things emerge here. How strange? Very. This time it was a superb essay by one Molly Bell entitled, “Donald Trump and the Politics of Fear,” from the Atlantic for September 2, 2016. My suggestion to alert and interested readers of my review is that at your early convenience Check Out this first class item! You won’t be sorry. This young woman is a pathbreaker, a pioneer, it does seem to this observer.

The present book. FEAR: Trump in the White House is as all know, by a first class journalist, long associated with the Washington Post. He is also found adjacent to Carl Bernstein’s name in things and on things. And in accounts of Nixon’s encounter with disaster and removal from D. C. to the Far West with his charming wife and suitcases.

The book before us devotes itself to the following subjects, in somewhat descending order, counting the Indexing: Trump, naturally. Then, Immigration; John Kelly; Robert Mueller, Steve Bannon, and two Generals: James Mattis and H. R. McMaster. Also Reince Priebus, countries like North Korea and China. Hillary Clinton not so much, but Gary Cohn is much noted. I was a little surprised by Lindsay Graham but not by the frequent mention of Jared Kushner.

I looked up Comey and read about him a little; I thought it a bit grudging—Trump genuinely detests him! I looked up Omarosa and she wasn’t in the Index. Surprise. I studied the words under all the classy color photographs and was duly rewarded. (The rendering of that North Korean madman was a perfect portrayal.) After dinner I’ll get on that little task of checking out members of the Trump family; already I’ve found the listings rewarding; that Ivanka is certainly a pistol, at home in our and her environment.

To concentrate on the book as such: I would feel guilty if I did not follow the author’s lead in his very first sentence. It is by way of Tribute! We all get HELP of some kind with our big projects. It is essential and nothing to apologize for. Says Bob right off: “A heartfelt thanks to Evelyn M. Duffy….” She has aided him on five books. On this one, Bob found the challenge “the deep emotions and passions she brings out in supporters and critics.”

What she did is of great interest: “Evelyn immediately grasped that the challenge was to get new information, authenticate it and put it in context while reporting as deeply as possible inside the White House.” She has a company and is clearly “an old hand” at backing up experienced Authors.

Gambling, I checked out U-Tube for “Trump” and hit the jackpot. There was the recording of the occasion when the author sought, at great length, to persuade President Trump to allow himself to be interviewed for this book! There were several problems: the book was very far along already (it was August, 2017). Donald said he hadn’t been asked earlier! Famous staff members butted in on Trump/Woodward, somewhat invited. It’s a good listen, yet this listener was anything but admiring of the two verbal contestants as they shifted position repeatedly. Why not visit “Trump/Woodward” on U-Tube and give it a ten minute try?

At the outset, this book offers a single quote: It’s Trump saying, “Real power is—I don’t even want to use the word—fear.” The date is March 31, 2016, interviewees Woodward and friend are at Trump’s hotel in D.C

Moving on, needless to say as this book goes from unpleasantness to crisis to uncertainty, to bad result, to misconduct, the reader (this one, anyway) is tempted to put it away. Curiosity wins out, however. Let’s get this straight: Here is a visible mole, invited in with “people of affairs,” who knows how to do it, is motivated to continue shaking the bone, is curious for himself as well as the unknown reader, and is usually orderly with his really important narrative.

Yes, this book is important, just as has been said in the Marketplace all along. If I were President Trump I would see it as one more obstacle to reelection in 2020. I’m guessing that it could hurt his Party (is that the right way to put it?) this Fall, but who knows? Its sale is enormous as I write. By the way: the color pictures in the middle are good; I ‘m no judge of whether they are of special merit.

I just can’t convey the subject matter of FEAR in a review of limited wordage. Fear’s narrative is 357 pages. There are footnotes at the end. I read them early on. The favorite words of attribution are “deep background interview.” Alternately, “deep background interviews with firsthand sources.” I can tell at once that this is a continent away from prose produced by lifelong research historians like me. There are precious few citations to the books of others. The point is: this book is about NOW, as much as the author can make it be. This senior citizen got something of a kick out of footnotes to “tweets”—of all things. Yet: what else is this pixy president going to have in his so-called archives, hopefully in place soon after 2020. I am wondering, by the way, if this is the first book with “lawyer” cited or explained about in the footnotes….

I’m sorry, but I do want to criticize the use over and over and over of various grammatical versions of fuck. Maybe there’s no way out if famous people use it through every meal, etcetera. Other swear words are included as the text strives to be, well, Verbatim. It didn’t improve my opinion of what I was reading—and it sure didn’t improve my opinion of various famous “leaders” of our Nation. Usually, it marked loss of control and/or determination to downgrade something (too often something I happen to like), or to degrade somebody.

That there has been a whole lot of preliminary comment about Bob Woodward and his long forthcoming book is evident. I think it unnecessary to go on about his reputation as chronicler of presidential misconduct, or an outsider finding himself on the inside. He is the writer of books on every recent president who made a key mistake or a stream of them.

Idly viewing TV, I noted “Rachel” would be interviewing this man for an hour tonight. Senator Kerry came on during my afternoon; the subject of the Fear volume arose, and he referred pleasantly to “Bob’s book.” As I left for dinner in my retirement home, I thought, “Oh. I’ll take my book down when eating. ; I’ll leave the cover on; wonder if any of those old folk will notice the book with its brilliant red cover—or its full rear jacket color picture of President Donald J. Trump.” Conclusion: they did recognize it; several turned away; others limited themselves to: : “Oh, you got it!”

Let’s get something straight: It was a pleasure to review the James Comey book; as I said, he seemed a good character example for youth and his book was a worthwhile read for youngsters who might be up to it. I think the bad language and consistently bad conduct highlighted in Fear disqualifying. Not a book for kids.

There just have to be some authentic quotations here from that President Trump—the man sleeping in our White House and using the Oval Office as totally His. Let’s start: Re the Press: “They’re kicking the crap out of me.” 356 “Hope Hicks and Kelly—overrule me every time I want to pull someone’s credentials.” 356 (I’ll avoid my quoting his remarks about his Attorney General. Sessions has been Trump’s nemesis from almost first to last.)

Said an important aide: “We need to have a process to make sure that we do this in proper order, that we’ve thought through all these things.” To which our elected Leader’s considered action about authorizing framing an official reply was, “I don’t care about any of this stuff. I want it on my desk on Friday.” (The subject was whether or if to withdraw from NAFTA.) 156

Over and over Bob Woodward chooses (OR has to choose) to quote the President of the United States in a manner that lowers him in one’s estimation still further. On page 56 banker Gary Cohn is speaking of interest rates going up in the foreseeable future. Says Trump: “I agree. We should just go borrow a lot of money right now, hold it, and then sell it and make money.” Says the book; “Cohn was astounded at Trump’s lack of basic understanding. A few more words. Then, Trump as learned economist: “Just run the presses—print money.”

When I was reviewing the Omarosa book Unhinged, I quoted the word “paranoia” used by her descriptive of Donald with misgivings. Here it turns up again. Roger Porter says, rather early, “Trump’s behavior was now in the paranoid territory.” 166 This man has a lot to say and do about War an Peace!

I just don’t have the heart to quote the President on his many casual observations that are so caustic about countries long friends of the United States. It’s bad enough that he defames our Allies casually, almost at a what’s the difference?” level. He got the idea in his head that our troops should be withdrawn from South Korea at once, for example. Corrective action had to be taken by responsible military leaders at once.

I don’t see any useful purpose being served by trying to summarize a lot of this widely held book in this place. Many subjects are being summarized, beginning every, say, three or four pages. I don’t see information being well served by my resummarizing over and over. Those entranced with the Flynn matter, the Comey matter, the staggering turnover in high employees since the Inauguration, can read everywhere—and now here. We have to face Trump’s weird tweeting to begin each day, or the oddity of his family members barging in as though not at all related to “the boss.” As I say, those entranced with all the sideshow of Trump in Action, should read much of the Woodward book—maybe at the Library.

To me, Woodward has opened up the next stage beyond Rachel Maddow, and other hard-working TV news interpreters. He has done—in my scholarly view, at least—a solid and sound job of revealing things that need opening up yet again to daylight.

Clearly, we are all in a whale of a mess, aren’t we? Our incumbent didn’t have to be elected, did he? But he was. Now there seem to be alternatives: A. We somehow can educate him on facts and appropriate conduct; B. We can somehow get rid of a lot of highly placed office holders close to him, and bring in qualified leadership for lots of jobs; and/or C. we can figure out how to work the machinery designed long ago to eliminate any dangerous or incompetent President from office.

Using one or more of these alternatives just might save us from ruining ourselves and other well-meaning, self-governing Allied nations.

It is now a time to be SERIOUS, stop equivocating, and evading, and postponing, and, yes, hoping for a miracle. At your reviewer’s advanced age (over 100), I feel like insisting, no, demanding, that the Congress and our electorate do their duty. The Future needs a warrantee, a guarantee: Do What’s Right!

A Credo For Americans To Take Toward The Future

A CREDO FOR AMERICANS TO TAKE TOWARDS THE FUTURE

I am proud to be an American citizen in today’s world. It was easy to say that during the last days of World War I, when we joined the fight in Europe with Wilsonian ideals about making the world Safe for Democracy. We used the Peace to support both our national self-determination and to an extent the idea of international government. We fought in World War II against worldwide tyranny during years when the enemy’s blatant racism in Europe and their fierce dedication to imperialism were massive evils. Postwar, we helped liquidate some major European colonialism in Africa and Asia. In the 20th Century, America stood squarely against international communist totalitarianism, but not always successfully. We devoted vast sums to foreign aid for decades, and we abstained from acquiring new territory. Today, America continues for the most part to strive to change the world for the better. The family foundations of rich Americans have shouldered special burdens abroad.

Especially, I hope for understanding and meaningful help as our nation struggles to expand democratic government while bringing equity at last to women. We should believe that the population of the United States, as it modifies from centuries of English influence, will continue to remain faithful to the humanity-serving goals of earlier years. All hope that new generations of Americans will assume the obligations we feel to be their duty.

Above all else, I hope that new Americans, and their leaders everywhere, regardless of their religions and their sense of obligation to places of origin, will come to share our traditional sense of unyielding idealism. We hope the new mixed society that is coming well be influenced by the best of what made us world leaders. Every citizen among us, we hope, will come to share at least some of what our people have felt when we lived and performed at our very best.

VAUGHN DAVIS BORNET, Ashland, Oregon, U.S.A.

Why I’m Optimistic About the Future

This essay displays some optimism about our Future. It was stimulated by an interview with a professor predicting an Age of Anxiety.  Additionally, there was a depressing column in the Wall Street Journal   for Feb. 27-28, 2016 by Peggy Noonan that found economic America divided into “Protected vs. Unprotected.” Here is cautious rebuttal which introduces several military matters not generally of concern, while not surrendering to any prediction of coming catastrophe likely to be beyond our handling. It was originally published on History New Network on May 24, 2016.

What kind of Future will Mankind—especially the   American part of it–face? You know, in that distant Life, when we are old and grey—probably when most of today’s  participants are gone? The question is obviously impossible to answer.  Let’s take a hard look, anyway.   Continue reading Why I’m Optimistic About the Future

Let’s Consider Those Candidates

Published on History New Network on January 6, 2016

Editor’s Note: The author of this essay cast his first vote in 1938, first presidential vote in 1940. He majored in History with a Political Science accompaniment at Emory, UGA, and Stanford, and served in the Navy in war and peace. With his wife Beth he was a precinct person for a decade. Both attended Oregon’s famous midwinter Dorchester conferences for three decades. We think his commentary worth a few minutes of thoughtful reading….

161565-akjnrg.jpg

I really believe it is time to speak up. The Republican Party is not progressing toward a viable nominee. The Democratic Party is not getting the public ready for a possible Vice Presidential selection, specifically, a leader of presidential caliber who offers promise of governing successfully if something happens to the President. In my view, the Nation lucked out in the end with FDR’s odd choice of alert high schooler and businessman Harry Truman. This time, let’s at least choose for VP one appropriately educated, with serious skills and major administrative experience. We should not gamble (as before) that all will be well as time passes and people stop saying “Harry…, who?” (In time, that surprise choice developed into a no kidding credit to Independence, Mo., though everybody was not satisfied.)

I have had the feeling for some time that our next President will be of the female persuasion. Especially is that the case when Mrs. Clinton is fully rested. Her triumph is likely to happen, no matter the vicissitudes from now to election day. That Secretary of State who has been all over the globe the past few years, who served in the Senate, who actually occupied the White House though not as prime mover, still looks fresh and, in debates, leader like. She didn’t handle her mail at all intelligently–or is the word presciently? She’s not error-free. But she endured her husband’s misconduct in yesteryear.  (Bill’s role if returned to those corridors and scattered rooms seems to me to be a possible problem, but maybe it will work out, as they say. Maybe New York City will become a good locale for him to love.)

Pleasant former governor O’Malley of Baltimore (!) does not impress me as ready to be President, not by objectionable characteristics, nor really by absence of experience; but maybe it is too soon.  There was a time when he led his now headlined city (but it is not an association that builds admiration far across the country).  The member of a “presidential family” about whom assumptions were made, seems lackluster, and seems to comprise a bit of a vacuity. Yes, he governed Florida, stereotypically a place of recreational inaction, of all places, but “we” never noticed.

Mr. Sanders, almost always angry (and yelling as one lacking the vocabulary to persuade with facts and logic) has a rare economic conviction that he advances with unqualified pride. He endorses totally a Socialism that appears to this one time specialist at first glance unapologetically Marxist. While his version seems in some policy matters to be molded superficially Progressive or Liberal in aspect, it does seem ultimately to be inescapably old school. He apparently repudiates “Communist” and disavows admiration for the U. S. S. R. and its notorious leadership, but one waits to learn more on this subject, expecting ripe quotations sooner or later.

We, in 50 states banded together, were the last time I looked, welfare capitalist, not shrinking from endless government regulation (at every level) of most everything in our society.  While that too white haired, somewhat aged, too often borderline uncontrollably angry advocate does not emerge as Leninist or Stalinist by any means, choosing him would seem to be a quick and total rejection of any form of the Capitalism under the Constitution that sustained this Nation through the Westward Movement and built the giant machine that routinely tries to support our working force. To me, at best, he doesn’t fit in well with The American System.

Our Constitution and our Laws are totally alien from any such doctrines. Moreover, when Socialism has been tried it seems to have normally been found wanting by electorates except in small, cold places. I at least do not think it helps much that in my lifetime Norman Thomas was an admirable political figure, and that Socialists routinely ran for mayor in New York City, Reading, and Milwaukie.

Exposure to public view of several with real experience, persons who could help run the United States from the Oval Office, has been helpful. The gubernatorial experience of Kasich of Ohio and Christie of New Jersey has in my view qualified them; their defects do not seem fatal. (And the former has real legislative experience.)  The narrow, crusading, parochialism of grim Cruz, the religious obsession of pleasant Huckabee, and flaws in others that have had visibility up to now seem crippling, at least to me.  I can imagine handsome Rubio growing in office if fate singles him out; maybe his time will come—some other day.

For the rest: experience governing New York State or City cannot be ignored in anybody, but so far capable ones  who once led from those places have not struck a spark.  Gone are former governors Al Smith, Thomas E. Dewey, and utility leader Wendell Willkie, all failures as candidates. Is the Party that thought Sara Palin a good idea for national exposure about to do it again? Is the Party that stuck with Adlai Stevenson too long, fully serious?

I am pleased there is a woman being considered by the G. O.P., but surely her record at Hewlett Packard is not close to an indication that she is qualified for our key office. She is not angry in the style of one candidate or condescending like another; rather, she seems to display (to me) an unpleasant superiority that is not entirely warranted and maybe would disqualify her from being electable to any office.

For many years (beginning with a documented freshman term paper in 1936!) I have studied several major presidents of our Country, especially FDR, Hoover, and LBJ. One hopes that from next year’s Presidential possibilities will emerge someone with FDR’s communication skills and lofty view of what our home among homes might somehow become. (Many have forgotten that he learned much as a bureaucrat in the Wilson years and as governor of New York for two terms, evidently getting ready.)

While there continues to be a tiresome drumbeat in some parts of our society against lifetime leader Herbert Hoover, those in the know recognize him as the most decorated of our public leaders. Feeling solvent enough by 1914, he determined to devote his working life away from amassing capital and to “public service” as well as to preserving basic aspects of the American Character. All aspirants can learn from Hoover right now how to serve the Nation (as he did at presidential request in the days of Wilson, Coolidge, Truman, and Eisenhower).

Herbert Hoover has been credited with saving something in the vicinity of “billions” of lives thousands of miles from our shores. He admittedly didn’t enlist thousands of our young men in massive efforts to save or spread Democracy as a wartime president.  As Food Administrator under Wilson, major organizer and originator in the Cabinet with Harding and Coolidge, experienced adviser to Truman, and top drawer planner with Ike, he was close to invaluable. Several major entities in the private sector (Boys Clubs; Stanford) who relied on him certainly would agree completely.

FDR and Hoover were Presidential. Gradually, today’s public will come to realize that Lyndon Johnson’s style and real results in Oval Office leadership made the Executive Office a place where ideas were picked up, absorbed, and endorsed. Dreams of emerging national leaders could become feasible public policy.  That happened so often because President LBJ (trained in the Congress, remember) knew exactly how to lead.

(Oh. Be sure to bring up “Vietnam” at this point–though it is only peripherally relevant to the domestic presidential concerns dwelt on here. That conflict, thought worthwhile in varying degrees by three presidents at various levels of violence, can never be minimized when evaluating national service or leadership. The decision to escalate the Vietnam War at various points is easily criticized, but it is irresponsible to keep trying to bury the entire LBJ presidential leadership under that phenomenon. Major innovation when achieved should be duly noted.

Let’s, when worrying about this election, use some of the common sense displayed often, though not always, in the past. “We” knew conservative extremist Goldwater was not right for the task. Pretty much the same electorate declined massively to elevate monolithic liberal McGovern. We seem to have been fooled into choosing Nixon once again, it turned out.  Still, the electorate totally outguessed the commentators and the politically intelligent ones on “that Hollywood actor” (who in representing the film industry showed a real potential.)  Ronald Reagan, smile and all, overcame rejection and proved at home with the grand prize.

A vast number of specialists on the American electoral system and its prominent figures of past and present can write as I have here, dwelling on what seems appropriate at the moment.   I certainly hope qualified individuals continue to reach out to the reading public in coming weeks and months. If they don’t, it is entirely possible that the excessively loud candidate waiting focus here will somehow emerge to be a very dangerous leader indeed.

That man identifiable by his initials “D. T.” is the one strong in polls who has to brag incessantly about his wealth. Those of us who hope ardently not to seehis snarl as window dressing to the Marine Band playing Hail to the Chief really don’t want him anywhere near the White House.

That rich man with the hair, the face, the patronizing manner, and the TV polished put down is just not suitable.  To the extent I knew anything at all about him, I thought a person named Donald Trump was divorced, associated as landlord with big time gambling in Atlantic City, and occupied on TV or someplace with firing people!  He did brag a lot about keeping the Miss Universe Pageant bouncing along. “He can’t be all bad!” “Would you buy a used car from that guy?” “That’s what I thought.” (A columnist I admire just called him “a putz.”)

He is an exceptional entrepreneur, without doubt. Nevertheless, such an individual, I would think, doesn’t need—or deserve—choice, after analytical consideration, for America’s top office. He should not be opining on matters of serious decision-making.  Most of all, he should not become the person who occupies the nuclear bomb equipped job called President of the United States.

So there you have it: my considered opinion of where we are now, not in foreign relations, legislation, or other matters of public policy, but on that coming election—especially on its remote but conceivable possibilities.  I just had to write out–and offer–my personal biases and prejudices. mixed with a bit of learning.  There is still time to reach people who are open to facts and assertion.

A final word of advocacy–if I may:  You People watching political TV out there…. And people who ought to be.  Wake Up!  Make a difference, early on.  “Just a little while longer” will be too long. Discard quiescence! Assume now, if you can, the obligation of having influence.  Write the editor!

Play some part in choosing our next American President. I want every one of you to do your part in helping to determine who will be (and who won’t be) the leader who will take office January 20, 2017 for the rapidly and inevitably approaching term 2017 to 2021.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review of Little Ethiopia of the Pacific Northwest (New Brunswick, N.J., Transaction Press, 2013)

Often a book will be idly described as “timely” on one thin ground or another. This book by Joseph W. Scott and Solomon A. Getahun on Ethiopians who migrated from their home country in Northern Africa and settled in Seattle fits the needs of all who are focusing on immigration policy at this moment and wish they knew a whole lot more about those who came here voluntarily and involuntarily.

Little Ethiopia is a detailed analysis of how the elite of Ethiopia reacted to Communist control of their North African country after the 1974 Revolution; how they fled (chiefly) to Sudan; how they got selected there as immigrants to the United States; how they settled in Seattle and hated, endured, or succeeded in Life there; and how after soul searching, some returned to the homeland where maybe the old ways would again prevail.

Continue reading Review of Little Ethiopia of the Pacific Northwest (New Brunswick, N.J., Transaction Press, 2013)

An Intimate and Accurate Method of Communicating with the Bed-Ridden Speech-Impaired

Few if any know how physicians, nurses, and attendants go about communicating with stroke victims and others who have lost the ability to speak, are bed-ridden, and may be severely restricted in their movements. Perhaps they have a standard routine of asking question after question in the hope of accidentally hitting on a subject currently of deep interest to the patient. A nod, head shake, or some other indication of “yes” or “no” is probably indicated by the person asking the question. Is this the best we can do?

For many years I have thought that there is a relatively sophisticated way of establishing good communication with all but the totally immobile. For lack of a better name, I’ll term it “The Bornet Method.” It involves use of the International Morse Code by the patient and ordinary speech or writing by the questioner. There are many reasons why this is a sound method of communicating even the most sophisticated and personal ideas.

Continue reading An Intimate and Accurate Method of Communicating with the Bed-Ridden Speech-Impaired

Remembering That Public Speaking on Patriotic Holidays

The following essay was written as the concluding chapter of his recent book, SPEAKING UP FOR AMERICA, which contains a sampling of speeches. Approximately 1248 words.

I no longer remember every single one of the individuals who invited me to deliver all those patriotic speeches. They included leaders of the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, chairpersons of committees appointed to commemorate patriotic holidays, a representative of a federal court, and academic figures—all from Jackson County, Oregon. All wanted a patriotic day to be fully observed. Those who invited me expected that I would speak for those once in the American military who were no longer among the living. Even though only a Reservist in those early Vietnam years, I still felt a 23 year veteran’s empathy for the dead who were once in uniform. Continue reading Remembering That Public Speaking on Patriotic Holidays

Remember: Those Notorious Anti-Semitic Protocols are Fiction!

The author found the notorious Protocols of Zion of durable interest years ago when studying Russian History. He slyly suggests “Protocol analysis” could qualify as an intellectual hobby. Condemning it in every generation strikes an always welcome blow against anti-Semitism. Published and archived on History News Network (hnn.com) on November 15, 2012. Approximately 887 words.

Even in this day of obsession with things Islamic and the coming and going of terrorist activities across borders, anti-Semitism in many lands continues to be a civil rights problem worth keeping an eye on. Every generation of young scholars needs to be reminded that the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, an item that crops up every so often over the years, remains a fake and a fraud. Never is it to be elevated to the height of a scholarly contribution to knowledge. Continue reading Remember: Those Notorious Anti-Semitic Protocols are Fiction!