What We Have Learned is More Than Scary – Your Budget Is Target

First we have a real news alert. 

The White House  and Republican leadership has agreed on a one point five trillion dollar tax cut over ten years with mainly sharply lower corporate rates and some lower rates for middle class taxpayers. How will we pay for it?. This where you need to stay vigilant. Several of the ideas to pay for the cuts:  a change in mortgage deductions which would only remain for people with very high mortgages, and  possibly eliminating the deduction you take for state and local taxes, including property taxes, These are all  POSSIBLE. The White House says everything is on the table. What would you get back for losing some of your deductions? Maybe an increase in the standard deduction to 24 thousand a year. Some economists say this a plan just for the wealthy -others say it will create jobs. Watch these stories developing and keep the phone numbers of your congress members and senators handy, maybe on speed dial.
Jet setter or just arrogant? HHS SecretaryTom Price is under political pressure. The man who would strip your health care (and that is true) has spent a small fortune taking private jets at your expense for months. Now, he will travel like all the rest of us until the Inspector General investigates. Price has chutzpah. I will tell you that. No other cabinet members fly in private jets, although those running anything to do with national defense fly on military jets, as they should. Price owes the government money. He should pay us back.
What President Trump is doing for race relations may be making his base happy, although I do not perceive all of his base being a wild herd of race baiters. What kind of legacy does the man want to leave.? Now he’s taking on NFL owners, and getting a harsh response from NFL boss Roger Goodell. Naturally Trump retaliated on Twitter. Even the owners of the New York Giants are sending negative statements about Mr. Trump. The President in just 24 hours, tweet-savaged The Golden State Warriors, protesting players, and uninviting them to the White House.  All this created more angry reactions, especially from LeBon James who defended then Warriors and is very angry about the state of race relations. The President has done an enviable job of dividing America. His latest attack on protesting players is not worth causing division. We are in a bad place.
The President is justifiable in his concerns about North Korean nukes, but his tweets are only creating more tension.Mr. President,  you want to know how to really scare the North Korean dictator?
DO NOT TWEET ABOUT HIM FOR TWO WEEKS! The man will crawl into a bunker.
General Kelly must convince the President that silence is golden, but that is probably asking too much.

A Message That Is A “Must Read” For All Americans

The following is a special message written by a man of faith. It deserves to be spread across the country and the world. This was written before the President offered new and mixed messages about hatred, including the Phoenix speech where he insinuated he was prodded by his staff to attack the haters. This is not political. It is a heartfelt and clear message by a man who has witnessed what language and attitudes of leaders can do to not only a country but to millions of people.

 

 

August 13, 2017

 

Cry the Beloved Country

 

Dear Friends,

 

Like each and every single one of you (and I sincerely hope that I can state that without the slightest equivocation or reservation) I too have been left utterly horrified by the awful and tragic events we witnessed in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend beginning with a shameful, bigoted, racially-inspired, torch-lit parade through one of this country’s most beautiful college campuses and ending, yesterday, with the completely inexcusable and utterly contemptible rhetoric and behavior of a marauding gang of white supremacists hellbent on bringing chaos and calamity to one of America’s most iconic cities.

 

As I watched the news on CNN last night, I couldn’t help but shake my head in utter disbelief: where on earth was I? Was this an ugly throwback to the Apartheid years of the old, racially-divided South Africa that I lived under – replete with its overtly white supremacist demagoguery and thuggery that constantly fueled the violent flames of racial intolerance and anti-Semitism – or was this in fact the sad, bedeviled, tortured face of the America of 2017 incapable of letting go of past prejudices; unable to climb out of the dark, sinister dungeons of racial hatred and oppression of the “other” and into the radiant light of a tolerant, hopeful, optimistic, inclusive nation where we are judged, solely, by the content of our good, noble character and not, God forbid, by the color of our skin.

 

I grew up in, to all intents and purposes, a pigmentocracy; the “original” beloved country that we cried for. Little did I realize that such an odious, disgraceful philosophy still exists in certain quarters of our population in this country. And make no mistake about it: the so-called “alt-right” have been significantly emboldened by the ugly, divisive, charged, combative rhetoric that we have witnessed, time and again, by this Administration.

 

J’accuse: I accuse our President of willfully and woefully omitting in yesterday’s verbal comments any specific, explicit reference to the white supremacist factions who were, ultimately, responsible for yesterday’s mayhem and carnage on the streets of Charlottesville.

 

J’accuse: I accuse our President of deliberately failing to condemn, in the strongest and most unambiguous terms, the very nature and existence of these malicious groups that have NO place in your America or mine.

 

J’accuse: I accuse our President of failing to recognize the “fire and fury” of these prejudiced thugs – many among his most ardent supporters – and calling them out for who and what they are: the most contemptible and vile among our multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-lingual citizenry and, quite frankly, who don’t deserve to see the light of day.

 

I remain consoled by the incontrovertible fact that the overwhelming majority of our fellow Americans are good, decent, kind, generous, compassionate, respectful, law-abiding citizens and that we all yearn, each and every day, for a truly beloved country that will reflect the grand, abiding values and ideals of its founders.

 

On the last day of our congregational tour to South Africa in November 2014, we visited the sprawling township of Soweto where Nelson Mandela once lived. There, outside his humble abode, is a large painted mural adorned with one of his most famous quotes: “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

 

May we all learn from and teach by, our own good, rightful conduct.

Thanks for reading.

 

Larry

 

 

 

It Is A Sad Day In America

As shocked White House advisers looked on, President Donald Trump exposed the bigotry that we all thought was beneath the surface. We hoped that it wasn’t real, that it was just to keep the right wing happy,  but there is a difference between the right wing of the Republican Party and the leftovers from the infamous brown shirts of the Hitler era. Frankly, I couldn’t believe the fire in his voice, the hate in his face, the grimace of fury, Trump almost coming completely unhinged. Now we know for sure where his sympathies are.

White Supremacists are different. They just don’t hate like the normal haters, and there are plenty of them.  If they could, they would wipe African Americans, Latinos, Jews, Catholics and Muslims off the face of the earth. I’ve seen hatred up close, watching it unfold against the Civil Rights movement in the sixties. That, in itself, was pretty bad, but this is different. These are individuals and groups who were celebrating Trump’s racially tinged birther movement years after he started it. After all, Trump spent a fortune trying to sell a lie that Barack Obama was not born in the United States and therefore was not a legitimate President of the United States.

It takes a lot to shock me anymore about Trump’s behavior as a human being. But I have to tell you I was shocked that he made his preferences so transparent. And yet I wonder. For every White Supremacist, there are people that we pass every day, who hold dear their hatred against people “not like them.” But here is the genuine problem we have facing us. Once hatred begins it always spreads from one group to another. The David Dukes of the world and the alt-right advocates hate everybody, except people like them. But is everyone perfect? And what scares the supremacists? Do they really feel supreme, and better than others. Is it about color, or anger against the system? I mean, why waste your energy hating when you can try to love and care. And for every one of the haters, there are thousands, millions of Americans who spend their days caring and loving.

The bad news is that Donald Trump has enabled the violence by ignoring it. Now he has, whether he understands or not, made it acceptable by using the biggest bully pulpit in the world to infer that extremism like the kind we saw in Virginia, was equal on both sides of the divide.

The good news? Americans are better than that. We know it. John McCain knows it. General Kelly , the Chief of Staff, who bowed his head during Trump’s outburst, knows it. Republicans and Democrats and independents know it. We’ve been waiting since November to see signs that President Trump would moderate, be practical, appear to be caring. Now we know it is simply not going to happen.

That’s why it was such a sad day in America.

Through The Mystery Fog, Danger Lurks

Every day around 5 p.m. a new development breaks in the so-called Trump-Russia investigation. Its has dominated the news cycle for about four months, upended the White House, and is the talk of America. It deserves to be reported the way it has – with candor and as much clarity as you can get without all the pieces falling into the puzzle. Those pieces will eventually come together, and we’ll find out if it is all real, or just the result of a coincidences of bad happenings in an administration that has communications problems, starting at the top.

In the meantime, the country as we know it, is being changed as the investigation covers it up with the dark foreboding possibility of scandal.

Some examples: The Secretary of Education is trying to soft pedal sexual assault on campuses. The Interior Secretary is waging a mini-war on beautiful national monuments. The head of the EPA doesn’t seem to care about protection against foul water. The HUD secretary decries the reality of poverty. The Attorney General seems to be disinterested  in civil rights. The First Daughter has a White House office as her fashion companies run with cheaply paid foreign workers. Her husband may be in legal trouble. But he gets the support of the President while the Commander-In-Chief waits three days to defend his son for meeting with possible agents to Russia.

About the only strong point is the national defense team which seems to be filled with real experts. The intelligence community also appears to be on target.

The Republicans are rarely outspoken. But their silence speaks volumes. The Democrats are hardly aggressive in fighting against the chaos and conflicts of interest.

Social style and embarrassing comments have reduced many people in the nation to a wave of anxiety and rage.

In the meantime, the scandal, or whatever it becomes, has devoured the news space, and all the while, the power of the people seems to be diminished.

The only hopeful news is that individuals, millions of them, on whatever side of the divide, will eventually let their votes do the talking.

Happy Fourth And It Is Real Fireworks For Governor Christie

First, hope you have a wonderful holiday, sharing with friends and family the greatness of our nation, and the story of how America was created.

Unfortunately, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, is having a bad week. But does he know it?That, my fellow Americans, is the big question. A deal was reached to solve the New Jersey government shutdown. So the state parks and some closed beaches will reopen. But in the meantime, the Governor made a mistake. Some people call it “Beach-gate.” I call it “The Sand Trap.”

First, I want to say I don’t know the Governor as well as most of the politicians I know. We have met, but that’s about it. The reason is simple. He has done very few interviews with Philadelphia-area journalists, preferring instead to go national. Some of his best local interviews have been on the radio with Angelo Cataldi, the King of Sports radio in Philadelphia. Let me tell you: if you can’t sound good with the spectacular Angelo, you won’t ever sound good!

do know much about the Governor, mostly from his staff, Republican sources, and the reporters who have covered him. He can be egotistical, power hungry, hates the press, plays hardball politics, and outside of his heroic battle for treatment of drug addicts, seems to care very little about the electorate. He has managed to irritate many of the people who put him in to power. Like some people I’ve met along the way, Chris Christie has a distorted view of his own worth. In the beginning. I loved his passion. But as he morphed from ambitious and creative to nasty and self-serving, many of us in the media realized that he was a paper tiger. No one in recent area political history has brought on so many self-inflicted wounds, except for some area politicos who went to prison for corruption. But those are stories of criminality, and Christie is not corrupt. In the area of decision-making though, he has been challenged.

His decision this week to go to the Governor’s summer retreat at the closed Island Beach State Park, after shutting down the government, and with it state parks and attractions during a holiday period, will cement his legacy.

I mean, what was he thinking? How selfish can you get to pull something like that off? it has turned into a worldwide story. After all, he and members of the family were the only people on the beach.

The Governor could have left office peacefully with some positive moves for the future. Instead he may be viewed as callous, uncaring, and having no clue of what the reaction would be. He doesn’t seem to care. And this trip to the shore had to be be an embarrassment for his family. And from what I hear, Governor Christie is a great family man.

His recent style has been disappointing. Bridge-Gate was a political disaster. Hiring a friendly law firm to clear him at taxpayer’s expense was questionable. His change of positions on social issues during last year’s campaign was stunning. Chris Christie had a lot of goodwill built up over the years, but in his second term, he seemed to check out early. The good news is that the current shutdown is over. The bad news is the big picture.

The appearance of arrogance. A raw appetite for power. Acting like a King instead of en elected official. All prerequisites for what will probably be his next job, after his term ends. You can bet the house that Governor Christie will join the administration of President Donald Trump.