Showing posts with label Editorial. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Editorial. Show all posts

March 23, 2017

How isTrump aTerrible Pres?Don’t knowHowDemocracyWorks^Cats

Donald Trump was supposed to be the guy who would fix everything in Washington, but after two months in office he’s proving to be a terrible leader.

Trump was never very popular, but he got high marks for his leadership. Now that’s fading. In November just after the election, 56% of Americans thought he was a good leader — now it’s fallen to just 40%.

After two months, here’s what we know: He’s not going to fix everything. He’s not going to drain the swamp. He’s not going to make America great again. He’s not going to unite all Americans. He’s not going to replace Obamacare with something “terrific.” He’s not going to bring back the manufacturing jobs or the America dream. He won’t make America respected around the world. He won’t make us safer. 

Medicaid Work Requirement Added to GOP Health Bill(2.0)The House Republican health-care bill includes the biggest structural overhaul of Medicaid in its 52-year history — including work requirements for certain recipients. Why the change?  

Why not is He not? Because Trump isn’t the strong leader he pretends to be. Even if he believed in all the things he promised and wanted to accomplish them, he would fail because he doesn’t understand how to govern.

Trump is a failure because he ignored Ronald Reagan’s most important lesson about leadership: “There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.”

Trump is still a great campaigner, no doubt. He can work a crowd like few others can.

But working the levers of policy, administration, legislation and diplomacy is beyond him. His whole career, he was the boss of an organization that he controlled 100%, but governing in a democracy isn’t like that. Democracy is about compromise, about give-and-take, about sharing the credit and the blame. And successful governing is about getting results for the people who elected you, and for the ones you hope will vote for you next time.

There’s an old joke in Washington that running the U.S. Senate is like herding cats. But Donald Trump thinks cats can be herded. All you have to do is say in a stern voice: “I’m coming after you!”

The voters who believed Trump would be a transformational leader thought that he would set the agenda in Washington, just like he did a year ago in the primaries when he was running circles around the field of traditional Republican candidates. He mocked John McCain, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.

Those humiliated Republicans degraded themselves by crawling back to Trump Tower to lick the spittle off Trump’s boots, and Trump’s supporters loved it.

Trump’s core supporters believed that Trump would rule the Republican Party with an iron fist, bending it to their will. They believed that Trump would force the establishment Republicans to come up with an Obamacare replacement that would cover everybody at lower costs. They believed that Trump would protect the safety net — Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — against the establishment Republicans who only care about how much taxes rich people pay.

They believed that Trump’s populist movement would transform Washington.

But that hasn’t happened.

On the policies that matter to people, all of the initiative is coming from traditional Republicans, not from the radical outsiders Trump brought in. Trump campaigned against Paul Ryan, but he now allows Ryan control his agenda. Trump campaigned against Goldman Sachs and rich elites, but he hired Goldman alumni and billionaires to run economic policy.

What’s the result of Trump conceding policy to the establishment Republicans he ridiculed during the campaign? Things like the train wreck of a “health care” bill and the “budget” blueprint, both of which confer huge tax cuts on the very elites that Trump once attacked, paid for by the evisceration of the public services that are vital to the very people who most enthusiastically supported Trump in November.

And what did Trump say when Tucker Carlson asked him if the “health care” bill would screw over his supporters?

“Oh, I know.”

The president said he knew that the bill would devastate struggling families all across our land, that it would drive 24 million people off health insurance, send premiums and out-of-pocket costs through the roof, and kill a bunch of people. And he didn’t care. Because Ryan told him that he had to repeal Obamacare before he took up any of his other causes, like rebuilding America’s infrastructure, or bringing back the jobs, or remembering the forgotten people.

And every compromise that was struck to get the conservatives in the House to back the bill only made it worse for Trump’s forgotten people.

Trump promised us that the greatest dealmaker in the history of dealmaking would be on our side in the corridors of power in Washington. Not only was he not on our side, he didn’t even show up. Trump was too busy tweeting insults at Snoop Dog and Arnold Schwarzenegger, enriching his family, and trying to cover up the fact that he hired people who were loyal to Vladimr Putin.

It was the bigly-est bait-and-switch ever.

It’s hard to fathom that it was only two months ago that Trump took the oath of office and mouthed these lies: “I will fight for you with every breath in my body — and I will never, ever let you down.”

I dare any Trump supporter to watch that inaugural address now.

Listen to this, if you can stomach it: “The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.”

Trump promised that “the forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.”

Trump is a terrible leader because he has forgotten who elevated him to this sacred trust. A politician who forgets that is nobody.

February 24, 2017

Trump Promised to Protect the LGBT then Forgets What the ’T' is for

 Ironic but now the LGBT community can see him as he is “An Emperor with no clothes”

In a total surprise after Trump said he will protect LGBT students he has turn around and forgotten what the “T” stands for. on LGBT which he promise he will protect.  No wonder people say his level of reading comprehension is very low. How can a man run and after winning, again doubles down on his supports and commitment for this LGBT community then turns around and sticks a knife in them.
We’ve learn that is his m.o. (modus operandi).

 Right after his election he tried to backtrack with the whole gay community but changed his mind thinking of how unpopular that would be and besides the gay community has reached the backing of the law by the Supreme Court and in many legislatures in many states. It is said his son in law Mr. Jarrett and his daughter,  convinced him otherwise to reconsider and so he did but he would have never have changed his mind if it wasn’t that he realized he was going to get a lot of heat in his presidency too early on. He figures there is always later.

The Transgender community does not enjoy the advances the gay community has enjoyed.
That is why they fought so hard when some red states made an issue where there was none, about the use of the bathrooms. At the same time you saw the bigotry against this community since it is the least understood, come out.  Now people who never knew the so called problem existed now they were “scared, concern could not let it go on” There was legislation on the pike for the Transgender community but the Republicans had been dragging their feet for two years on this. Everyone thought with another Democratic administration their protections would advance but no luck there. They got a man that can turn his promises around on a dime! It’s still stinging and hurtful.  The Emperor with no clothes now and also fat wearing a speedo with a full shoulder nudge from Attorney General Jeff Sessions, is dropping protections for transgender youth looking to use, of all things, a school bathroom.

For a national leader who continually talks about unity and public support, it’s a divisive and cruel move. He’s erasing a guarantee in the battle for equality and basing the decision on the doctrine of states rights, a cloak that bigots misuse to dodge federal directives — especially those dealing with civil rights.

The net effect overturns an Obama directive and needlessly reignites a culture war issue. It allows states and school districts to set the rules on whether to allow transgender students to use toilet facilities and locker rooms based on their gender identity, not birth certificate. But it also gives license to bullying and discrimination and deepens a sense of separation for an emerging minority.

During his campaign, Trump signaled sympathy, saying transgender people had the right to “use the bathroom they feel is appropriate.” But he also worked hard to win support from religious conservatives, who oppose the idea. Since taking office, he’s continued that shift by picking Sessions, a longtime foe of gay rights, as attorney general.
In California the reversal will have little impact since state laws and most school boards fully support transgender access. Nationally it will be another story. There are an estimated 150,000 transgender youths between 13 and 17 years old, according to the Williams Institute, a think tank at the UCLA law school.

The White House argues that the Obama administration went too far in using federal laws barring sex discrimination in schools. That, at least, was the legal rationale used by religious minded critics who talked up fears of sexual predators and wholesale loss of privacy.

If there’s any consolation, it’s that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos reportedly struggled to convince Trump to stick with the access rule. But she lost out to Sessions, who viewed access as an intrusion on state powers and wanted no part of defending legal cases testing the law.

By backing away from transgender rights, Trump is punishing the group and rewarding his most strident followers. He’s also showing that his campaign rhetoric about tolerance can mean little when the pressure builds.

February 8, 2017

Trump and The Veterans, Seth to Trump

Senior White House counselor Kellyanne Conway this week complained that the media has been paying too much attention to only one of President Trump’s executive orders — namely, his temporary ban on refugees and travel from seven Muslim-majority countries — and not enough to the many others Trump has signed since taking office.

So Seth Meyers did just that.

On this pre snow storm night with Trump being quiet and no major news                                                                 (Since adamfoxie blog Int. does not manufacture news like some outfits I know, I will give you and interesting video with Seth.

August 30, 2016

Gay Teens More Important than Religious Law


California’s ban on gay-conversion therapy for teens survived a free-speech challenge back in 2014. Now it’s survived another challenge claiming that the law targets religiously motivated conduct. The decision is legally correct -- but it’s a much closer case than the appeals court acknowledged. And it raises the extremely tricky question of how the state may regulate a psychiatric practice whose foundations are interwoven with religious beliefs.

The key to the free-speech decision from two years ago was that, California isn’t prohibiting speech per se. It’s outlawing a particular medical practice that happens to be accomplished in part through talking. Whether it’s a good idea or not, state legislatures have the legal authority to prohibit licensed providers from performing ineffective and potentially harmful medical treatments.

In other words, California almost certainly couldn’t ban an adult and a teen from sitting down together and talking to each other in a way that both believed would or could change the teen’s sexual orientation. Such a conversation would count as protected speech, outside the state’s authority to regulate. But when the conversation is instead treated as a medical therapy, it comes within the state’s authority to regulate the practice of medicine -- which is a course of conduct, even when it’s accomplished partly by the use of words.

Once they lost on free-speech grounds, the practitioners of gay-conversion therapy didn’t give up. They mounted a further challenge based on the establishment and free exercise clauses of the Constitution.

One advantage of the second challenge over the first is that it comes closer to capturing the subjective experience and motives of the practitioners of what they call “sexual orientation change efforts.” A 2009 report by the American Psychological Association said that “the population that undergoes SOCE tends to have strongly conservative religious views that lead them to seek to change their sexual orientation.”

The same is probably true for the practitioners of such therapy. In an earlier era, the profession of psychiatry saw homosexuality as a curable disease. But now that the profession has largely abandoned this view, those medical professionals who maintain it are often not coincidentally deeply religious. They accept the biblical prohibition on homosexual conduct as morally binding. And they reason that a good God would not have imposed that prohibition unless it were possible for humans to adapt themselves so as to obey it.

It’s not an accident, therefore, that the religiously oriented Family Research Council, for example, advocates gay-conversion therapy.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit rejected the practitioners’ religion-clause claims pretty summarily. The opinion first rejected the argument that the California ban violates the establishment clause by entangling the government with religion. It doesn’t, said the court, because it only targets clinical therapy. People remain free to pray with teens if they believe this may help them change their sexual orientation. This conclusion is certainly legally correct. The fact that some therapists might pray with patients in their sessions doesn’t mean the state can’t regulate the basic clinical course of conduct.

Then the court took on the more subtle question of whether it should matter that those who seek or perform conversion therapy are religiously motivated. The court admitted that there might be a constitutional problem if the law targeted only religiously motivated conduct. But it said that because the law includes all efforts to change sexual orientation, religiously motivated or otherwise, it doesn’t violate religious liberty. In other words, the court said, there wasn’t sufficient evidence to conclude that the primary effect of the law was to inhibit religion.

This issue is actually more complicated than the court made it sound. Suppose all or nearly all gay-conversion-therapy seekers and practitioners are religiously motivated -- an assumption that isn’t ridiculous. And suppose the state passed a law outlawing the practice on the ground that it was medically harmful -- while fully knowing that the practice is grounded in religious belief. Again, the assumption isn’t a heroic one. Would that violate the free exercise of religion?

The answer is controversial even among religious liberty scholars -- but it could well be yes. Compare a humanitarian ban on kosher or halal slaughter. In my hypothetical example, the legislature would know that believers practice such slaughter for religious reasons. The legislature’s own motives would be to make animal slaughter more humanitarian, say by requiring electrocution to kill the animal faster. Yet the overarching intended effect of the law would be to inhibit a religiously motivated practice. It’s possible that such a law might violate the free exercise clause, even if as written it applied to all slaughter, not just kosher or halal practices.

The point is that, when a social practice like medical therapy or animal slaughter is profoundly intertwined with religious motivation, the government can’t necessarily prohibit it just by saying that its own motives are secular -- even assuming they really are.

Yet the reason the court’s decision was nonetheless correct is that religious liberty isn’t absolute. Provided the state has a compelling interest in prohibiting a harmful practice, it’s allowed to prohibit it. The state could, for example, prohibit religiously motivated child sacrifice or widow-burning. Those practices could be entirely religious in nature -- but the state may still ban them because it has a compelling reason to combat the harm.

There’s a strong reason to believe that gay-conversion therapy for teens who can’t themselves fully consent is harmful. The state has a strong interest in prohibiting a potentially dangerous and unproven medical practice on that ground alone. It’s not that religious liberty isn’t implicated. It’s that it is overcome by other, stronger interests.

Noah Feldman

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners; But it does represents the view of adamfoxie Blog

August 8, 2016

The Clock is Ticking and The Donald Does Not Know the Time


The clock is ticking, and Donald Trump still hasn’t figured out what time it is. It’s clear, and has been for months, that America is eager to vote for anybody but Hillary Clinton, but the Donald seems determined to make sure that “anybody” is not him. Many voters are on the verge of deciding, however reluctantly, to hold their noses and cast their ballots. It’s beginning to look like a run on clothespins.

The first job of every presidential candidate is to persuade voters that he (or she) can be trusted with the enormous power of the office, and Mr. Trump has not even attempted to do that. He can’t focus on the interests and concerns of the voters for distracting himself with issues that don’t matter to anyone but himself, whether it’s the bias of a judge of Mexican ancestry presiding over a law suit involving his business interests, or the father of a heroic Muslim soldier who was put up by the Clinton campaign to attack him as a man with a black soul in prime time at the Democratic National Convention. Even if he’s right about whether the judge can be fair to him, or that the Muslim father was a partisan put-up, he won’t change a single vote by proving it.

The clock keeps ticking. He still has time get back into the race, because Hillary is still who she is, a cold and calculating Cruella de Vil who disdains ordinary Americans and their values. The people who “love” Hillary are the Wall Street fat cats with whom she shares an insatiable love for money. She and her party are wrong on most of the issues. She’s a clunker on the stump, easily frightened when forced off script, flustered by the unexpected and given to coughing fits that raise lingering concerns about her health. All she has going for her is Donald Trump.

That gives the Donald both responsibility and opportunity. The election, one of the most crucial in decades, is his to lose, and so far he seems more than up to doing that. Not many voters are likely to cast a vote for Hillary except for blind partisanship and the miserable lack of a credible alternative. If he can focus on the many problems of the nation and how a Trump administration would deal with them, he could give voters the assurance they need to see him as the alternative they’re looking for.

 He is obviously a keen and focused businessman, a success in a game that rewards only winners and quickly discards the losers that Mr. Trump is so contemptuous of. He should put some of the powers of concentration that earned him success in business to work in the business of politics.
The Donald doesn’t understand that a campaign for the highest office in the land is a lengthy job interview, and he should know from personal experience that a job applicant who spends the interview attacking others and ranting about the irrelevant will be told before he’s hired that, “You’re fired!”

Mr. Trump won a clear shot at the White House, and he’s wasting the opportunity that few Americans get. If he won’t or can’t get his act together, he won’t get the job. His prospective employers are beginning to lose interest in him because he wants to talk only about himself and petty distractions of interest only to himself. He’s wasting time, his and ours. Tick, tock.

June 14, 2016

A Silence in the Muslim Community about the Gay Rights of the Victims


An Afghan-American Muslim walks into a gay club in Florida on Latin night during Pride Month. In my dreams, that is the beginning of another great story of remix, tolerance and coexistence that is possible only in America. In reality, it’s the start of a nightmare massacre fueled by hatred and perpetrated by a man from a group already scarred by a generation of suspicion and surveillance.

Whether Omar Mateen was a militant fighter financed by the Islamic State, a self-radicalized extremist or a lone wolf psychopath with a gun license, the distinction for committing the worst mass shooting in our history now belongs to an American Muslim.

After the attacks in Orlando early Sunday morning, many of my American Muslim friends began posting messages on Facebook about how frustrating it felt to go from the affirming images of the late Muhammad Ali to news of yet another terrorist attack. “He doesn’t represent us,” many wrote. “He can’t call himself a Muslim.” For many American Muslims, this kind of immediate condemnation and social media activism has become the first step in our symbiotic relationship with the news cycle. As the history of fellow minorities has taught us, retaliatory violence, exclusion and even internment are always possible in the American family and it’s best to try to get ahead of the curve.

But in this moment of hashtag solidarity, I hope we can also have some tough conversations about our limits. Accompanying those posts, I saw many gestures of solidarity and sympathy for the L.G.B.T. community. But behind those posts is a history of silence on gay rights.

A vigil in Seattle honoring the victims of the shooting in Orlando, Fla. Credit Lindsey Wasson/The Seattle Times, via Associated Press
For eight years, I was an editor and producer for NPR’s “All Things Considered.” It seemed as if each week featured an example of “Muslim” violence and with it an opportunity to bring more nuanced perspectives and context to the discussion. Through highlighting the voices of Muslim reformists and liberals, I felt optimistic about a generation that could bridge our widening divisions. But in my personal life, I was struggling in isolation with how to reconcile my own faith with my sexuality.

When I was growing up, there were no Muslim role models or blueprints for taking a different path to love. When it came to the breakthroughs for gay rights in the Obama era, even progressive Muslims were mostly ambivalent. An open letter by the religious scholar Reza Aslan and the comedian Hasan Minhaj supporting same-sex marriage prompted handwringing and arguments in my newsfeed. “Islam teaches us to be accepting but it is best for homosexuals to be celibate. What is wrong is wrong,” someone wrote.

For so many in the Muslim community, “traditional” marriage is a tenet of faith. Weddings, engagement parties and family picnics constitute our safe spaces. Although we’ve shared political goals like the protection of civil rights with L.G.B.T. activists in this age of terrorism, ours is not a natural or a deep alliance. More important, queer Muslims are marginalized if not simply invisible. In light of this weekend’s attacks, we can no longer afford this kind of superficial engagement.

No religion has a monopoly on homophobia. The track record of exclusion and outright abuse of gay men and women in the name of God is a depressing reality across faiths. But we cannot use those analogies to excuse our own shortcomings. Omar Mateen went on a rampage at a gay club out of hatred he attributed to his faith. He shot and massacred Americans for thriving in their safe space, for being among those they love and were loved by, and he did it during both Ramadan and a Pride Month that epitomizes self-love in the face of hate. The toxic cocktail of gun violence, unchecked mental illness and deranged ideology that propelled the massacre at Pulse is a threat to all Americans.

We must stand up against the anti-Muslim responses that come so easily in this current political climate. But for Muslims, this is also a moment to reflect more deeply on how we feel about living in a country where gay rights are central, where marriage equality is real and coexistence is the only way forward.

As I look at his narcissistic selfies and brooding poses on the cable news loop, I don’t know if Omar Mateen was mentally ill or just emotionally unhinged. I don’t know if it was the sight of two gay men kissing that infuriated him to the point of massacre. What I do know is that there will be more dark days to come if we don’t build the psychological, political and spiritual space within our communities to embrace the remixes that are possible only in this country.

By BILAL QURESHI who is a former editor and producer for NPR’s “All Things Considered”

March 8, 2016

Is the Donald A Fascist? If Not Why Talk and Salutes Like Psychopath Adolph?


Alfred Münzer, a Holocaust survivor, is nervous: Donald Trump’s increasingly vile campaign for president is becoming increasingly viable.
“I am very worried about what he says. I am much more worried by how it’s received,” Münzer told me in a phone interview from his Washington, D.C., home, as voters in nearby Virginia went to the polls and handed Trump another Super Tuesday victory. “The fact that he’s been able to attract these huge numbers of people, so full of hate — I don’t think I’ve ever encountered anything quite like this.”

Münzer, 74, is a volunteer at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and takes part in two different monthly groups with other survivors, who are politically engaged and vocal about it. “The topic [Trump] comes up all the time,” he said. “These are people of a variety of political stripes, but on this issue, I really think there is unanimity.”

I reached out to Münzer and other Holocaust survivors and scholars to better resolve my own inner tensions. The journalist in me — my skeptical, contrarian streak — is reluctant to succumb to the anxieties that fill my Facebook feed and dominate social discourse among like-minded people who are certain that we are witnessing a homegrown American version of the demagoguery that destroyed Europe in the last century.
The scholars, more analytical by nature, offer explanations to prove those fears exaggerated. The survivors have no such hesitation.

Donald Trump Is Practically Begging for Hitler Comparison With This Salute
Bethany MandelMarch 6, 2016
Münzer, a retired physician, traces his abhorrence and fear of Trump back to his experience as a very young child when the Nazis targeted Jews for extinction. “I owe my life to a Muslim Indonesian woman in Holland who risked her life to save me,” he recalled. “Anyone who singles out any kind of community for hate, I find appalling.”

Another survivor who volunteers at the museum, Halina Yasharoff Peabody, told me that she, too, finds herself in a unique state of apprehension over Trump’s candidacy. She was seven when the war broke out in Poland and survived only by the sheer guts and cunning of her mother, who secured false papers so that she and her two daughters could live as Catholics.
“He wants to be a dictator. We’ve had dictators and that can’t be good,” Peabody told me in a phone interview. “It seems unreal, what is happening. I don’t understand how people can follow a person who doesn’t know what the law is.”

Intellectually, I can dismiss their concerns. My innate skepticism and, frankly, my respect for American culture and history, make me want to reject the simplistic analogies of Trump to, say, Adolf Hitler. Hitler was motivated by a clear, if twisted, ideology; Trump’s “policies” are often just spontaneous pronouncements, without any coherence other than to demonize the other and make himself the answer to all that needs fixing in America today.

Hitler exploited a nation brought to its knees by a crippling world war and a severe depression; America was brought back from economic ruin by the very president Trump seeks to succeed in office, and despite rhetoric to the contrary, this country still has the world’s most powerful economy and military. Hitler skillfully leveraged state-sponsored violence against its own citizens; Trump’s self-centered campaign, ugly though it is, has no such mechanism at its disposal.

How Republican Jews Utterly Failed To Prevent Rise of 'Toxic' Donald Trump
Noam NeusnerMar 1, 2016(Updated Mar 2, 2016)
The historian Robert Paxton, interviewed recently in Slate, offered another fascinating distinction: Fascists like Hitler and Benito Mussolini blamed their national declines on rampant individualism and offered as a solution the subjugation of the individual to the community. Trump’s platform, if you could call it that, appears to favor more Republican-style freedom from government and communal responsibility.

But even Paxton noted the undeniable echoes: “The use of ethnic stereotypes and exploitation of fear of foreigners is directly out of a fascist’s recipe book.”
And while it’s not fair to say that all Trump’s supporters hate Mexicans and Muslims and pesky question-asking journalists as much as the candidate does, it’s also possible that supporters will overlook those stands in favor of his legitimatization of their deepest resentments. As historian Deborah Lipstadt reminded me: “Some people didn’t approve of Hitler’s anti-Semitism, but they went along with it because he was going to make Germany great again.”

So how seriously do we listen to the warnings of survivors? The few I spoke to hardly constitute a representative sampling, though I’m not the only one to note their grim assessments. Their fears could be compounded by their first-hand experience of Hitler’s horrors. They have seen the very worst that one human being can do to another, and that one leader can do to an entire continent. They have seen a cultured society crumble beneath its own prejudices. We, who have greater distance from the Holocaust, may actually have the ability to be a bit more clear-eyed about our current situation.
What struck me in speaking with these survivors is the way the Trump phenomenon has shaken their otherwise persistent faith in an America that they fled to for its tolerance and its ideals. “I came here for freedom,” Peabody said. “I don’t want not to be able to express myself.”
Even at this raw moment, I don’t envision those freedoms disappearing — and in fact, I’m proud of the many Jews, Republicans included, who are unequivocally repudiating Trump’s statements and tactics.

Still, I asked Peabody if she feels particularly vulnerable as a Jew. “I’m worried about every minority. I do know that my minority is always attacked. They always find me a good scapegoat,” she replied. “There is a lot of anger in the world, but this is no way to correct it.”

July 2, 2015

Cuomo to City renters: DROP DEAD, Mayor Responds


Where are the promises of the Governor to the City? This rent control thing is being one sided towards owners as far as Albany is concerned. Does the Governor thinks that the blocks of voters who handed him the elections, which was a coalition of, city dwellers, blacks, hispanics and gays will not remember when is clearly evident that those groups are being hit in the wallet by his don’t touch approach, which translates to let them die approach.. He can’t hide behind the mayor which is customary or the legislators because people know that he controls Albany. This is Mario Cuomo sr. all over again and if you remember when his father left office there was a sign of relief. He had lost the backing and respect of most voters, again for going his way and not caring about what his mouth had articulated compare to his actions.  There the Governor is saying one thing and doing nothing or the opposite.

This Governor allowed the rent control law to expire because he wanted money out of public schools and into the Catholic and Evangelical [rabidly anti gay and teaching it so] schools. He didn’t care. It was right in the open and it was reported and still he did nothing to have a deal done because of the worse reason a governor could have. Defending public schools by mouth but taking their money and giving it to more wealthy parents who decided that public schools was not good enough for them. Yeah, I understand but that was their choice.  What right does the government have to subsidize those schools on the tax payers dime? Actually I have been waiting for the mayor to say something because it was just ridiculous how he was being undermined. It was like if Cuomo had appointed the mayor and now he was going to let him out to dry. He kept throwing the mayor under the bus, garbage trucks and school buses.

Finally de Blasio did something more than just saying something. He exploded and verbalized the game the Governor has been playing. The governor likes to take chances, that’s how he got here by betting all or nothing. In this particular game he was not just trowing the mayor under the bus but the poor and lower middle class city dwellers. I have been a supported of Cuomo but just like his father before him he is showing he is just your typical politician saying one thing and doing the other or just plain doing nothing. It hasn’t hit him that on his games of chess which he is an expert, he is playing with the lives of people that can least afford to play the game because they just don’t have the money to play.  

The actions of this Governor reminds me when Gerald Ford denied NYC what he had done for Chrysler and his friend Lee Iacocca, the CEO of Chrysler. He gave him loan guarantees to keep the car maker afloat and away from bankruptcy but when NYC asked for a similar thing with even less risk, he said NO! It was the outcry from NYC and its friends that had the foot in mouth Ford make a U turn. Typical;  Pay the favors to the CEO and screw the city…same with Cuomo, pay back to the private schools for their support and screw the renters. The thing is he chose the worse way to do it. I guess he thinks the poor don’t have the power or the memory to remember come election day. I don’t trust politicians but this one I more, he is not special but typical on how he goes about, his mouth never catching up to his actions.

Mayor Bill de Blasio left town for a family vacation out West on Tuesday. He left behind one enormous piece of baggage, which he dropped with a thud on his way out.

In an interview with the City Hall press corps, he unloaded on Gov. Andrew Cuomo, accusing him of sabotaging the city’s interests, being blinded by political scheming and showing no interest in honest policy making. He said he expected the governor to seek revenge, but added that he wasn’t taking it any more. “I started a year and a half ago with a hope of a very strong partnership,” Mr. de Blasio said. “I have been disappointed at every turn.”

The surprise attack — there is hardly another way to describe it — came days after the end of a discouraging session for the mayor in Albany, in which major pieces of his agenda were eroded, upended or ignored, too often at the hands of his fellow Democrat, the governor.

The immediate analysis focused not on the truth of what the mayor said, but on whether he was a fool and a noob for saying it, or whining, or showing weakness at playing Albany chess against a grandmaster.

The important point is that everything he said is true. By any fair reading of the events of the last Albany session, the governor has acted disgracefully toward the 8.5 million people of the city Mr. de Blasio leads. Though Mr. Cuomo poses as liberal and reform-minded when it suits him, his indifference to the city’s needs, and his poorly disguised disdain for the mayor, are further discrediting an already disheartening second term.

Mr. Cuomo’s hand was acutely evident when crucial goals for Mr. de Blasio — like extending mayoral control of the New York City schools, repairing crumbling public housing, investing in mass transit — became needless struggles. An important deal that Mr. de Blasio struck with the real estate industry this spring, to reform a tax break for developers called 421-a, would have added many thousands of units of dearly needed affordable housing. In Albany it was nearly sabotaged. Efforts to extend and update rent-control laws governing more than one million city apartments were similarly undermined.

When the governor wasn’t playing Tommy Lee Jones in the upstate manhunt for two escaped killers, he was saying it was too late to fix 421-a, although it was not, or challenging the mayor over managing wage rates for construction workers or costly disability-pension giveaways to police officers and firefighters. Mr. de Blasio said the governor’s vindictiveness had even extended earlier in the year to surprise state inspections of city homeless shelters.

Mr. de Blasio’s many critics say he was foolish to go on the attack and are waiting for Mr. Cuomo to bury the hatchet, in Mr. de Blasio.

But really — what should he have done?

State law gives the Legislature and governor far too much control over New York City’s business, and whenever the mayor — any mayor — takes his petitions to Albany, he has to beg, wheedle, cajole and bargain.

For a year and a half, Mr. de Blasio — maybe naïvely, maybe cunningly, maybe because he had no other choice — played nice with Mr. Cuomo, stressing their decades-long acquaintance and going out of his way not to pick fights. Sometimes it worked, as when the mayor won funding for a huge expansion of prekindergarten. Sometimes it didn’t. He was never going to eliminate longstanding mayor-governor tensions. But he has seemed to be making an effort to get past the nonsense, with a steadfast focus on policy over personality and power plays.

Some are now wondering whether Mr. de Blasio’s stand-up-to-the-bully tack will backfire. If it does, it will make clearer than ever who the bully is. 

January 21, 2015

The Problem with Gay TV is that There is Been Almost None and ‘More is Needed'

Billy Crystal in Pasadena, January 2015
 ‘I hope people don’t abuse it and shove it in our face,’ Billy Crystal said, referring to gay sex scenes. Photograph: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP
Comedian, actor and – apparently – bewildered Victorian time-traveller Billy Crystal disappointed millions of fans and general conscience-havers this week when, in an interview with the Television Critics Association, he said that he thinks gay characters on TV are “pushing it a little too far”.
“I hope people don’t abuse it and shove it in our face,” Crystal continued, referring to gay sex scenes, “to the point where it feels like an everyday kind of thing.” He later attempted a half-hearted backpedal, telling the Hollywood Reporter that, don’t worry, he totally thinks straight people are gross, too: “What I meant was that whenever sex or graphic nudity of any kind (gay or straight) is gratuitous to the plot or story, it becomes a little too much for my taste.”
Sporting try, Billy, but we can see your tell: several of your chosen turns of phrase have been used to dehumanise and deny representation to gay people for decades – “shove it in our face”, in particular, is tantamount to a coded gay slur. For that matter, it is not even possible to “shove” heterosexual sexuality in anyone’s face, because there is no human on earth whose face isn’t already completely submerged in and saturated by it. Gratuitous straight sex is a defining plot device in pretty much all media: primetime soaps, daytime talk shows, beer commercials, Billy Crystal movies.
We know what you meant.
Of course, it’s perfectly fine to be uncomfortable with overt displays of sexuality, regardless of orientation – everyone has the right to set and defend their own sexual boundaries. I, for instance, find the idea of a woman loudly faking an orgasm in a crowded delicatessen so unbearably awkward that it makes me want to crawl out of my skin and flush the rest of me down the toilet. And that’s why I FAST-FORWARD THROUGH THAT PART OR WATCH SOMETHING ELSE.
It’s almost as though you can choose what media you want to consume without policing anyone’s sexual expression and furthering the oppression of an already marginalised and underrepresented group.
 But Crystal’s dull, antique disdain for gay sex actually manages to crystallise a very important, progressive point: not only is there not “too much” gayness in media, gayness doesn’t go anywhere near far enough. Back up the gay truck and just flood the place. It’s about time.
If you want evidence that our media is broken (or, more unsettlingly, working just as it’s intended), look no further than the staggering whiteness, straightness, and maleness of the 2015 Oscar nominations. As Bidisha summed up in this paper last week: “Every nominated best director, screenwriter, screenplay adapter and original score composer is a white man. All the nominated best actors and best supporting actors are white men. All but one of the best picture nominations are about how hard it is being an entitled, genius white man. All the nominated best foreign language film directors are men. All but one of the documentary directors – Laura Poitras for Citizenfour – is a man. In the best picture category, seven films are directed by white men and the eighth, Selma, is directed by a black woman, Ava DuVernay, who was snubbed for best director.”
When it comes to diversity in media – after hundreds of years of straight white guys telling straight white guy stories, deciding which subject matters are serious (straight white guy stuff) and which are frivolous (everything else), and congratulating themselves on being the best at fulfilling their own rigged, narcissistic standards – I’m not interested in parity. I want overcompensation. I want new stories.
And I don’t just mean that from a social justice standpoint. I’m bored. A time is going to come – in my lifetime, I hope – when just being an angsty white man won’t be enough any more. It won’t carry a movie. It won’t justify an Oscar.
That’s not to say that straight white guy stories can’t be compelling, heartbreaking and important – simply that we’ve heard them already. We’ve heard them at the expense of millions of other stories that never get funding, that are rewritten and whitewashed, that are needlessly recentered around a white person a la Orange is the New Black.
When these conversations come up, some genius inevitably pipes up with what they think is a trump card – some version of: “Oh, so we should have a show where every character is a disabled black Muslim lesbian!?!?!?” As though nothing could be more absurd and unthinkable. As though there aren’t innumerable TV shows and movies with all-white ensemble casts that go uncritiqued. And, to answer your question, UM, YES. That show sounds incredible and I would watch the crap out of it. It’s only an absurd concept if you believe that disabled black Muslim lesbians are somehow less valid, less valuable, than straight white men. They’re not. There is no such thing as a niche human.
Representation is humanisation, and we have an inexpressible amount of ground to make up if we want to begin to establish gay people and trans people and disabled people and people of colour and fat people and sex workers as fully realised human beings – not tropes, morality tales, or comic relief – in the public consciousness. I’d say we could stand a few decades of overrepresentation, in fact. Come on, Hollywood. Shove it in my face.
This well written editorial was by   and originally posted today at The Guardian

December 20, 2014

Why are Americans such Cowards?


America has a problem that afflicts both her foreign policy and domestic affairs: cowardice.
A nation of wusses. That’s us.
That’s not how we see ourselves, of course. Whatever our flaws — impetuousness, naiveté, our sense of exceptionalism — few Americans count pusillanimity among them. For conservatives bravery as a national trait is a given; if anything, progressives wish we’d walk it back a bit, toning down the testosterone in favor of a little humility.
From the outside, however, we look like a nation happy to inflict all manner of mayhem on people all over the world, yet unwilling to put our own precious skins in the game.
Drones are the ultimate manifestation of America’s newfound risk aversion. After more than 12 years of remote-controlled aerial killer robot warfare, the statistics are undeniable: Unmanned aerial vehicles are an ridiculously sloppy assassination method that kills anywhere from 28 to 49 times more innocent civilians than targeted alleged terrorists. With the myth of accuracy thoroughly debunked, drones remain popular with the public for one reason: They don’t expose American soldiers to return fire.
What we see as an advantage, however, sparks contempt among foreigners that our adversaries in this war for hearts and minds exploit in their recruitment and fundraising efforts. You see it in the faces of the Afghans and Pakistanis I have interviewed: If the United States military had any honor, they say, it would come and face our warriors man to man, on the battlefield, rather than pushing a button thousands of miles away. Every “terrorist” we blow up makes us look worse.
Moreover, cowardice is unproductive on a psychological level.
During the early years of the American occupation of Iraq, British forces (who patrolled the region around Basra) suffered lower casualty rates in the zones under their control than their American counterparts.
One reason, according to military psychologists, is that British troops presented themselves as more willing to expose themselves to the Iraqi public and less afraid of being hurt or killed. Whereas U.S. forces wore wrap-around sunglasses and set up checkpoints behind sandbags and blast walls, sometimes identifying themselves only by shooting at approaching cars — which caused confused Iraqis to floor the gas, prompting U.S. forces to kill them — the Brits acted more relaxed, like traffic agents standing right out on the road.
Americans covered themselves with Kevlar and automatic rifles; the British wore formfitting uniforms, eschewed helmets and satisfied themselves with sidearms. Sunglasses were banned. The American approach seemed safer, but the opposite was true. It’s easier to shoot at something — the Americans looked like fascist robots — than someone.
For a country that used to pride itself on a certain stoicism, the United States has become a land of whiny little boys and girls.
Oh, how we cried after 9/11. Three thousand dead! Those “Wounded Warrior” TV ads asking for donations to support Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans — excuse me, but why am I spending 54 percent of my federal tax dollars on defense if I also have to donate to a sketchy charity? — use the same melancholy tone and weepy delivery as Sally Struthers’ classic “save the children” messages. Obviously it sucks to lose your arms and legs, but let’s grow a pair. Fewer than 7,000 Americans got killed invading two countries where they had no business being in the first place.
Let’s put those numbers into proper perspective, shall we? The Soviet Union lost 20 million people fighting the Nazis (who invaded them, by the way). France lost 11 percent of its population during World War I — the equivalent for us would be 34 million Americans. But the Russians or French don’t bitch and moan as much as us.
Speaking of which, Americans have a lot of balls calling Frenchman “surrender monkeys” considering that nearly twice as many French soldiers were killed in the 1940 Battle of France over six weeks as the United States lost in Vietnam over the course of a decade. Meanwhile, we’re still whining about the 58,000 we lost in — no, invading — Vietnam.
Here at home, we’re infested with wimp cops.
In recent weeks, we have been treated to grand jury testimony in the shootings of two black men, Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York.
Both killer cops are bruisers — big, muscular guys. Most of all, they are cops. Cops have partners. They have the backing of the state. They carry tasers. They have nightsticks. They go to the police academy, where they train long hours in the art of subduing human beings. And as we well know, they have access to military-style hardware and defensive gear.
As these two sniveling wimps tell the tales, however, they were in desperate fear of their lives. From two guys, both now dead, who were morbidly obese.
Not to mention unarmed.
Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson (193 cm, 95 kg) claimed that Brown (193 cm, 132 kg) terrorized him. “I felt like a five-year-old holding onto Hulk Hogan,” he testified. Brown “had the most intense aggressive face,” he said. “The only way I can describe it, it looks like a demon, that’s how angry he looked.”
The NYPD’s Daniel Pantaleo told a grand jury that, after he got his arm around Garner, he was terrified that the two of them would crash through the thick glass window of a storefront they were leaning against.
Both grand juries declined to indict the cops.
Sure, these were the testimonies of two heavily lawyered defendants following a script that has gotten countless white policeman off the hook for killing unarmed black men in the past. But you still have to ask: aren’t those big “brave” policemen ashamed of themselves? I’m not sure which is worse, pretending to be afraid of an unarmed civilian — in the New York case, the guy wasn’t even resisting arrest — or the possibility that they actually were scared.
There’s nothing wrong with being scared in the face of danger. Bravery, after all, is the act of keeping cool in the face of danger.
In the U.S. in recent years, however, bravery has been in short supply — even in the face of very little danger at all.
Editorial written  
Published in Japan by  Japanese Times

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