BILL OF RIGHTS

As most of you know, the first ten amendments to the Constitution comprise what is known as the Bill of Rights.  The BR is an integral part of the Constitution.  After the Revolutionary War many states, particularly the smaller ones, were concerned of being dominated by the larger ones, such as Virginia and NY, and a powerful central government.  In the opinion of most historians, because of this concern some of them were hesitant to ratify the Constitution as it was then written.  The addition of the BR and its guarantee of various rights to protect individuals, assuaged those concerns and enabled the Constitution to be ratified unanimously.  The ratification process is a fascinating story, and if you have any interest in history, I recommend you research it on the various relevant websites.

In this blog I would like to focus on three of those aforementioned rights – freedom of speech, freedom of religion and the right to bear arms.  Each of these is now under attack.  Ironically, the attack is not coming from the federal government, but from other citizens with the support of much of the media and various state and local governments.  We have been seeing examples of this daily, but in the interest of time and space I will only list a few:

  1. The right to bear arms has been under constant attack for many years now.  Some critics favor an outright repeal of this right; others are willing to accept modifications.  It is a complicated issue.  That said, those seeking to ban individuals from owning weapons have been getting more aggressive.  The most obvious and egregious example is illustrated by the story of Mark and Patricia McCloskey.  Last week, they were trying to protect their home from a mob that had gathered on their front lawn.  The mob had broken into the McCloskey’s gated community.  They were threatening to kill them and their dog and destroy their house.  The cops did not respond to their 911 calls.  Luckily, the McCloskeys owned legally-obtained firearms.  They stood on their front porch with the weapons in hand, and told the mob to leave them alone.  Eventually, the mob left.  Despite the guarantees of the second amendment to bear arms the McCloskeys were attacked mercilessly by the far left.  Then, a few days later local authorities raided the McCloskey’s house and confiscated the weapons.  The local prosecutor is threatening to prosecute them.  Neither the Dem mayor nor the GOP governor has interceded on their behalf.  What crime did they commit?  Who knows.  Meanwhile, as I write this, no one in the mob is being prosecuted for anything.  I ask you, what were the McCloskeys supposed to do?  The police had not responded.  Step aside and let the mob have its way?  What would you do if someone were threatening your house, your family, your dog and your very life?  Answer honestly.
  2. Recently, there have been many violations of the right to free speech. Individuals are being fired from their jobs and businesses boycotted for saying the “wrong” thing.  Recently, the far left called for a boycott of Goya Foods, a Hispanic-owned company, just because its chairman visited the White House.   Bari Weiss, the former NY Times opinion editor, was terminated because her political views, which are generally centrist, were too conservative for the woke twitter crowd that seems to run the Times.   In her parting shot she opined that “twitter has become the ultimate editor [of the NYT].”  The point here is not whether or not you agree with Weiss’ political views; it is that her right to express them is expressly guaranteed by the BR.
  3. Gary Garrels, Senior Curator at the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco, was accused of being a white supremist and terminated for suggesting that the museum might continue to feature works by Caucasian artists as well as artists of color.
  4. The attack on freedom of religion was most evident over the last few months as many governors, under the guise of combatting the spread of the coronavirus, denied worshippers the right to attend church services, even on Easter Sunday and even to listen remotely from their cars in the church parking lot.  Conversely, they had no objection to street “protesters” who gathered in mobs without masks and social distancing, to destroy property and attack people.

CONCLUSION

Make no mistake about it, the BR is under attack.  The far left  is chipping away at it piece by piece.  I believe the perpetrators only constitute a small minority, but they are vociferous and well-organized.   The overwhelming majority of people cannot possibly agree with these attacks, but they have been cowed into submission.  People are afraid that it they speak out they will also be attacked.

This goes for moderate and conservative politicians as well.  President Trump seems to be the only one who is speaking out to condemn these attacks.  By contrast, Biden, Pelosi and the other Dem leaders have been silent, which, to me, constitutes a tacit endorsement.

Where will it all end?  Your guess is as good as mine.  As I have discussed in recent blogs I believe what we are seeing now is just a small sample, a preview, of what will happen if Biden wins the election.

How ironic would it be if after having defeated fascism, communism and terrorism we end up defeating ourselves.  At this rate it could very well happen.

We need a tipping point, a “Joseph Welch” moment, an incident so egregious that the majority will finally step up and say “enough is enough.”  We need to take back our country before it is too late.

A WATERSHED ELECTION

This year, voters are being offered a clear choice between two candidates with radically different outlooks for America.  Simply put, the choice is capitalism or socialism.  In my opinion, it will be a watershed election with long-lasting ramifications.  We, the voters, get to choose, but, then, we will have to live with the consequences.

Normally, regardless of what is said during the presidential campaign once they have secured their Party’s nomination the two candidates try to move towards the “middle” as that is where the majority of voters are perceived to be.  Historically, whichever candidate controls the middle wins the election.  Fringe candidates, such as Barry Goldwater (1964), George McGovern (1972) and Walter Mondale (1984) have been defeated decisively.  As of now, it appears that 2020 may be an exception to that rule as Biden is trying to win from the far left.

Oddly, so far he is succeeding despite the fact that (1) he is proposing a socialist agenda that the polls indicate most Americans do not support, and (2) he rarely ventures out in public, and when he does he clearly exhibits signs of dementia.  I think this is largely the result of biased media support, but there are various other reasons as well.  I will analyze them in another blog.

On November 3, voters will be choosing not only the president for the next four years, but, more importantly, they will be committing America to a political, social and economic way of life that will likely last for a very long time, if not permanently.  Before you dismiss my last statement as hyperbole please read on.

President Trump’s first-term performance is a matter of record.  You may agree or disagree with it, but at least it is within the context of what America has been all about for the last 250 years or so.  The upcoming election has become a referendum on Mr. Trump.  In my view, on a non-personal level he has done very well.  Among his accomplishments, he built the best economy in history, pre-coronavirus, enabled us to become energy-independent, and decimated ISIS and Islamic terrorism.  Additionally, his law and order, patriotic and pro-military credentials are solid, well-established and consistent with that of most Americans.   On the other hand, on a personal level he is disliked, or even hated, by a substantial portion of voters.  Moreover, most of the media ignores his triumphs, exaggerates his defeats, and irresponsibly fans the flames of hate at every opportunity.

The main theme of this blog is addressed primarily to those voters who, for whatever reason despise the president and will not vote for him under any circumstances.  My attitude is if you want to vote for Biden, be my guest.  You are entitled to vote for whomever you want.  It’s your right as an American.  Fair enough.

BUT, and this is a big “but,” at least be aware of what you are voting for.  At least realize what the Dems will do if they win, especially if they capture the Presidency and the Senate to go with the House.   We don’t have to guess.  They have been telling us.  They have been showing us.  If you have been paying attention you already know.  However, for the benefit of those who haven’t been, below please find a partial list of their platform.  I have not made these up.  I have not exaggerated them.  They are from accounts of Biden, himself, other prominent Dems, and their supporters.  If you want to fact-check them independently you can research them easily enough as I did.

The ramifications of most of these are truly frightening.  As you read them put aside your political ideology.  Put aside your hatred of Mr. Trump.  Think about whether or not you want to live in a country where these are a way of life.

  1.  On more than one occasion, Biden has said he plans to “transform” America.  I’m not sure what he means by that vague statement.  I’m not sure even he knows.  He’s been in politics for some 50 years, so, obviously, any transformation would apply to his own accomplishments, or non-accomplishments.  Can you identify one major accomplishment?  I can’t.  I believe he has been dragged so far to the left by the radical wing of the Dem Party that he wants to transform America into a socialist country.  He and his supporters won’t use that word, as it spells political death, but that’s what it is.  To paraphrase the late comedian, Groucho Marx, believe what you see with your own eyes, not what others tell you.
  2. He and his ilk would force identity politics down our throats.  We would have to submit to the arbitrary tyranny of the left.  We are already seeing this.  Whites are supposed to be guilty over their “privilege” of having been born white.  In retribution, they have to accept all kinds of criticism without complaint.  Anyone who defends himself is branded a “racist,” and is subject to loss of job, boycott of his business and/or public humiliation.
  3. Paying reparations for slavery.  This is inane.  Who pays?  Who receives?  How much?  Who knows?  Who decides?  What about the fact that not all present-day whites are descendants of slaveowners, and not all present-day blacks are descendants of slaves?
  4. Raise taxes on the “rich.”  He expects you to believe that this will pay for all his other policies.  Not even close.  There is not enough money and not enough rich people to do so.  And, by the way, who does he define as “rich?”  You may not feel rich or live like you are rich, but to Biden’s supporters you are.  Get out your checkbook.
  5. Green New Deal.  I have discussed this idea in previous blogs.  It is simply insane.  No more fossil fuels, no more airplanes or cars, no more energy industry.  Millions of jobs gone.  No more life as we know it.  Dust off your bicycle.
  6. Full citizenship for all illegals.  How many are there?  Ten million?  Twenty?  Thirty?  No one knows, but the preponderance of them will likely vote Democrat consistently, which is the idea.  Would the GOP ever win a national election again?
  7.  Universal healthcare.  Sounds good, but wouldn’t work.  Furthermore, how do we pay for it?  Simply, put, we won’t be able to do so.  Hello, Chapter 11.
  8.  Open or relaxed borders.  So, let me get this straight: we let everyone into the country, pay for their healthcare, let them compete for our jobs, which, thanks to the Green New Deal, will likely be scarce, and grant them full citizenship, including the right to vote.  How about those of us who already live here, who are struggling just to get by?  The Dems would rather cater to the illegals than to the country’s own citizens.  Are you getting the picture yet?
  9. If you are for law and order you will hate the next one.  If you favor violence and anarchy as we have seen in our cities recently you will love it.  He advocates making the “no bail” law universal, expanding restrictive gun laws, and continuing to reduce funding for and support of the police.   In summary, he wants to restrict the right of free speech, the right to defend yourself, let criminals out of jail and defang the police.  Our life would resemble the movie, The Purge.
  10. I’ve saved the best for last.  Make Washington, DC the 51st state.  Two more permanent Dem senators, which will almost guarantee Dem control of that body.  For what it’s worth, the Founding Fathers explicitly expressed opposition to DC being a state for various reasons.
  11. Most of these points are straight from Bernie Sanders’ platform.  We all thought he lost the nomination, in part, because his ideas were too radical, but, they have been resurrected.  This is further proof that Biden is firmly under the control of the radical “left.”

CONCLUSION

As I have postulated, the choice on November 3 is rather simple.  It’s not just Trump or Biden.  It’s deciding what type of country we will be living in prospectively.  It’s choosing between capitalism and socialism, law and order and rioting and crime, living in the 21st century or the 19th century, preserving the Bill of Rights or not, and retaining freedom of choice or submitting to the autocracy of the left.

Socialism has a really negative connotation and a very low approval rating among most voters, and rightly so as it has never been successful anywhere.  Ever.  Furthermore, very few Americans would identify as socialists.  It’s not who we are and want to be.  But, make no mistake about it.  These policies are socialist.  The Dems intend to sneak them in under the radar under the guise of progressivism.

Moderate Dems (if there are any still left) and Trump haters are faced with a “Hobson’s choice.”  They don’t want to vote for Trump, but a vote for Biden is a vote to fundamentally change America, perhaps permanently.  America is not perfect, but, warts and all, it is still the greatest country on the planet.  Why else would tens of millions want to immigrate here?  You want to change it in a responsible way?  Fine.  Let’s discuss it.  Let’s work within the system.  But, tear it down?  Transform it?  No way.  In a hundred years historians and your descendants will likely wonder why in the world you did it.

Inexplicably, as I said above, despite the above radical agenda and despite Biden’s lack of active campaigning and plainly failing cognitive abilities (just review his highlights/lowlights on U-tube) he is still up in the polls, comfortably.  According to the latest US News and World Report polls he is up ten points nationally and is leading in electoral votes 278 – 186 with 74 too close to call.

I know President Trump is hated by approximately half the country, but are we really going to elect a person with failing cognitive abilities and a socialist agenda?  Really?

 

VIOLENCE IN THE STREETS

For the past several weeks we have been “treated” to a partial preview of life under a country controlled by the Dems.  They already control the House, and there is a strong possibility that after the upcoming election they will have gained control of the presidency and the Senate as well.  We don’t have to guess how life would change under a Dem-controlled country.  The empirical evidence is there, plain as day, for all to see.

Their presumptive nominee, Joe Biden, echoing the comments of the more radical fringe of his Party, has told us they intend to “transform” America into a lawless, socialist country that would be unrecognizable.  Based on what we have seen during the past several months I think we would be wise to take them at their word.

A sneak peek of sorts is available right now in the cities that are under complete Dem control.  Look at the grinding poverty, the hopelessness, and, above all, the wanton, indiscriminate violence.  I have published several blogs regarding the Dems agenda for America in the recent past, and there is no need to rehash it all now.  If you are interested you can follow the advice of the late Casey Stengel and “look it up.”

In this blog, I would like to focus on the wanton violence in many cities, which are and have been under the complete control of the Dems, in some cases, for decades.  I have not heard of any cities under the total control of the GOP with similar problems.  The Dem politicians have not demonstrated the desire or the ability to control the violence, nor any desire to protect their law-abiding citizens and their property, nor to improve their lives in any way.  Instead they either ignore the lawlessness or, worse, aid and abet it.  In my opinion, this is a microcosm of how America would look under the total control of the Dems.

A few of the more egregious examples of disorder and violence as reported in the NY Times, Washington Post, ABC News, Fox News, and various other news media outlets:

  1. Seattle – Rioters (which much of the media insists on mischaracterizing as “protesters” or “activists”) took over a six-square block in the middle of the city and created their own independent “entity” – CHAZ or CHOP.   Jay Inslee and Jenny Durkan, the clueless and gutless Washington State governor and Seattle mayor, respectively, did nothing.  In their alternate reality it was a zone of “love” and “peace,” until, that is, the rapes, murders and other crimes commenced.
  2. NYC – On July 5 there were 30 shootings, including ten fatalities.  Over the last month shootings were triple the total of last year’s.  The lawlessness was exacerbated by the inane “no bail” law, which was recently enacted by Governor Cuomo and the NYS legislature.  This enabled criminals to commit a crime and be back on the street the same day.  This, combined with liberal prosecutors and judges and policies that hamper the police, has created a perfect environment for criminals to operate with impunity, and they have been.  Governor Cuomo and Mayor De Blasio have not taken any effective action to resolve this situation.
  3. Chicago – Over the July 4th weekend there were 79 shootings, including 15 fatalities.  Over Father’s Day weekend in excess of 100 persons were shot with 14 fatalities.  Chicago has been the murder capital of the country for years despite having very strict gun control laws.  All these laws have accomplished has been to hamper the ability of law-abiding citizens to protect themselves.  They have done little or nothing to prevent criminals from obtaining guns.  Mayor Lightfoot is in denial.  In her latest press release she insisted that any discussion of the violence was, you guessed it, “racist.”
  4.  Over the same weekend Philadelphia suffered 34 shootings and nine fatalities.
  5.  Other major cities, such as Washington, DC, Atlanta and San Francisco, reported similar numbers.  According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution 93 people were shot in Atlanta between May 31 and June 27, double the amount during the same period last year.
  6. Even worse than the number of shootings and deaths was the fact that many of the victims were children.   Even though all lives matter, I maintain that it is especially sad when the victim is a child.  So, I would like to mention some of them to put a name to the mere statistic.  Note the ages of the victims: (a) Aavielle Wakefield – five months old, (b) King Carter – six, (c) Aiden McLendon – 22 months, (d) Ramon Burnett – five, (e) Major Howard – three, (f) Natalie Wallace – 7, (g) Chase Young -six, and (h) Secoriea Turner – 8.  Remember these names.  They are just as important as George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, or any other victim whose death received a copious amount of publicity.  There were many more victims, but time and space preclude me from listing them all.  As reported in the media, each of these was innocently minding his own business – playing in the yard, enjoying a birthday party or barbeque, sitting in their house or walking down the street – things that all children, including yours and mine, do every day.
  7.  As far as I know, all of these shootings were “black on black” crimes.  I am not aware of any that were not, and I’m sure the media would have reported it.  Statistics show that few blacks are killed by whites, and fewer still are killed by white cops.  Yet those are the ones we always hear about.

In a press conference with reporters Turner’s father sobbed “you killed your own. … You killed a child. She didn’t do nothing to nobody.” In his grief, he hit the nail on the head.  Blacks are killing their own neighbors, mostly poor blacks.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms echoed the sentiment.  “The reality is this: These [murders] aren’t police officers shooting people on the streets of Atlanta.  These are members of the [same] community shooting each other.”  The mainstream media ignores or downplays this because it doesn’t not fit their narrative.

CONCLUSION

The violence is escalating.   It is no coincidence that this has occurred in conjunction with the movement to defund the police.  Cops  have been vilified to such an extent that many of them are wary about doing their job.  They fear criticism and retribution from a hostile City Hall, the public and the media.  Many have taken early retirement.  Others have been calling in sick.

Intelligent people know that defunding the police is a recipe for disaster on many levels.  It could be the worst policy I have seen in my lifetime.  We are now seeing the first installment of the policy.  It will only get worse.  Responses to 911 calls will be delayed or ignored.  Delays mean fatalities.  Recently, Mark and Patricia McCloskey got a taste of this when a mob threatened them, their house and even their dog.  They called 911.  No response.  No help.  Luckily, they owned weapons.  They brandished them in front of the mob, and it dispersed.  But, what if they hadn’t owned any weapons?  Bye-bye house.  Bye-bye dog.  Bye-bye them.

In the future, I believe historians will look back with incredulity that our political leaders could allow this to happen.  They just don’t care.  They are not sufficiently motivated to solve the problem.  Most of them live in gated communities with 24X7 security, often at taxpayer expense.  If not for that, if they had to live like us, they might be more receptive to the problem.

Bob Woodson founder and president of the Woodson Institute and a 50+ year veteran of the civil rights movement, concurs.  He told Fox News that the increased violence is the continuation of a ten-year trend.  He characterized poor blacks as “collateral damage.”

I agree.  It’s sad to say, and I hate to say it, but no one seems to care.  The gang members, drug dealers and other criminal elements prey on law-abiding citizens with impunity.   The politicians who run the cities talk a good game, but that is about it.  They promise to improve matters so they can get re-elected, and they do year after year.  Once they are, they don’t do anything to improve living conditions.

And, by the way, where are the Black Lives Matter advocates, the gun control lobby, presumptive Dem nominee, Joe Biden, and the other politicians, the media, and the race baiters?  Where’s Reverend Al?  On the sidelines and strangely silent.  That’s where.  How come none of them has stepped up to condemn the violence, the murder of innocent little children.  Apparently, for them, BLM only applies when a white cop kills a black person.  Other than President Trump we have heard nary a peep.   Everyone else is afraid to criticize the violence for fear of being labeled a racist.  Cowards all.

The number one responsibility of our elected officials is protect us and maintain law and order.  Those who fail to do so must be replaced.  That is what elections are for.

 

 

INDEPENDENCE DAY

This year July 4th falls on a Saturday. Because of this quirk of the calendar Independence Day celebration dates, will vary. The federal government, 46 states and the District of Columbia are celebrating ID today, July 3. Three states – NY, MA and TX – will celebrate the holiday on Saturday, July 4. RI will celebrate it on Monday, July 6.

Traditionally, Americans celebrate their independence with family gatherings, parades, carnivals, barbecues, fireworks, and, of course, political speeches. Many of us go to the beach or play golf (weather permitting) or attend concerts, plays or baseball games. Many of us remember, with nostalgia, when MLB celebrated Independence Day with a doubleheader, but those days appear to be gone for good. Unfortunately, this year, because of the coronavirus many of those traditional activities will be cancelled or curtailed for health reasons.

According to Forbes Magazine both the AAA and the TSA are anticipating sharply reduced travel this holiday weekend due to the coronavirus. The primary reasons for this are (1) many people are concerned over the health hazards posed by the coronavirus; (2) many states have imposed travel restrictions and quarantines with respect to those entering from other locales; and (3) many people are out of work and reluctant to spend money on vacations. The AAA has predicted the lightest travel activity since the 1940s (even though the population is now about 2 ½ times greater). Moreover, for the first time it has declined to make a specific prediction at all. The TSA reported that a mere 633,000 travelers passed through its airport checkpoints on Sunday, June 28, which was a substantial decrease from last year’s 1.66 million on the same date.

However we spend the holiday weekend, hopefully, some of us will take a few minutes to reflect on how our country was “born.” Who were the “founding fathers” we hear so much about? Who were the heroes of the revolution? How much do you know? Let’s find out. Below please find a special Independence Day quiz. As always, no peeking at the internet, and don’t ask “Alexa.”

1. The primary author of the Declaration of Independence was
a. George Washington
b. Henry Lee
c. Benjamin Franklyn
d. Thomas Jefferson

2. The oldest continuous Independence Day celebration is in what city?
a. Bristol, RI
b. New York, NY
c. Waterbury, CT
d. Philadelphia, PA

3. The origin of the song, “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” was
a. American troops during the Revolutionary War
b. French troops during the RW
c. British military before the RW
d. Hessians at the battle of Trenton, NJ

4. The movie, “Independence Day” starred
a. Tom Cruise
b. Will Smith
c. Morgan Freeman
d. Daniel Day-Lewis

5. The first person to sign the Declaration of Independence (and the only one to do so on July 4) was
a. Thomas Jefferson
b. Patrick Henry
c. Benjamin Franklyn
d. John Hancock

6. Each of the following was a member of the Committee of Five (assigned to draft the Declaration), except:
a. George Washington
b. Roger Sherman
c. John Adams
d. Benjamin Franklyn

7. Who was the only President to have been born on the 4th of July?
a. John Adams
b. Grover Cleveland
c. Calvin Coolidge
d. James Polk

8. Each of the following Presidents died on July 4th, except:
a. John Adams
b. Thomas Jefferson
c. James Monroe
d. James Madison

9. Each of the following is considered to be a “Founding Father,” EXCEPT:
a. John Adams
b. Andrew Jackson
c. Alexander Hamilton
d. James Madison

10. The “Star Spangled banner” was written by Francis Scott Key during which war?
a. French and Indian War
b. American Revolution
c. Civil War
d. War of 1812

11. The origin of the nick-name “Uncle Sam” is purportedly:
a. The Continental Congress
b. The Sons of Liberty
c. Meat packer who supplied meat to the US Army
d. British troops during the RW

12. Who, along with John Adams, is responsible for designating the bald eagle as the US’s National Bird?
a. George Washington
b. Thomas Jefferson
c. Benjamin Franklyn
d. Patrick Henry

13. Which state was the last of the “lower 48” to join the Union?
a. New Mexico
b. Oregon
c. Hawaii
d. Arizona

14. How many persons signed the Declaration of Independence?
a. 13
b. 26
c. 40
d. 56

15. Which was the first state to ratify the Constitution?
a. Virginia
b. New York
c. Delaware
d. Massachusetts

16. Purportedly, the Independence Day Nathans Hot Dog Eating Contest was first held in
a. 1876
b. 1930
c. 1945
d. 1916

17. Who was one of only two signers of the Declaration of Independence to be elected President?
a. John Adams
b. Andrew Jackson
c. Alexander Hamilton
d. Aaron Burr

18. Although July 4 is recognized as Independence Day, the Continental Congress approved a “resolution of independence” on this date.
a. June 15
b. July 1
c. July 2
d. July 3

19. Washington, DC became the capital in
a. 1776
b. 1800
c. 1820
d. 1920

20. The 14th state of the union was:
a. Maine
b. Georgia
c. Florida
d. Vermont

ANSWERS: 1. (d); 2. (a); 3. (c); 4. (b); 5. (d); 6. (a); 7. (c); 8. (d); 9. (b); 10. (d); 11. (c); 12. (b); 13. (d); 14. (d); 15. (c); 16. (d); 17. (a); 18. (c); 19. (b); 20. (d)

CONCLUSION

Well, how did you do? I’d like to know.
Now, some Independence Day-related trivia with which you can impress your friends:

1. Although we consider July 4th to be the official date of our independence, most historians now agree that the Declaration was not actually completely signed until August 2.

2. On July 4, 1777, the city of Bristol, RI celebrated the first anniversary of ID with a thirteen-gun salute. The city’s annual ID parade, which was first held in 1785, is the oldest continuous ID celebration in the US.

3. In 1778, to mark the second anniversary, George Washington issued double rations of rum to the Continental Army troops.

4. By the end of the 18th century many major cities were marking the day with various celebrations and parades. Today, many major cities hold massive and elaborate fireworks displays. In addition, many private organizations, for example, Macys, the Boston Pops, and many baseball clubs, entertain the public with fireworks displays. Macy’s fireworks celebration, generally considered to be the most famous, has been nationally televised every year since 1976.
Sadly, many private citizens, who are not properly trained, set off their own fireworks, sometimes with unfortunate results. Every year we read or hear about some tragic accidents involving loss of limbs or even death. Remember the case of NY Giants defensive lineman Jason Pierre-Paul? He lost part of few fingers (and nearly his life) and almost ended a most promising football career.

5. In 1870 Congress designated ID as a federal holiday. In 1938 it granted federal employees a day off with pay on that day.

6. With respect to the “Star-Spangled Banner:
a. It was composed by Francis Scott Key from a British prisoner ship in Baltimore Harbor during the War of 1812. (Key was not a prisoner, himself. He was on the ship to negotiate the release of a prisoner.)
b. He wrote it as a poem named “The Defence of Fort McHenry.” Later, it was set to a tune, which, ironically, is an English drinking song, with the strange name of “To Anacreon in Heaven.” In case you’re wondering, the song was the official song of a gentlemen’s club in 18th century London.
c. Key wrote four verses and a fifth verse was added later, but, of course, we only sing the first. Does anyone know the words of the others? I don’t, but I will say that all five verses end with “O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
d. In 1916 President Woodrow Wilson declared that it should be played at all official events.

e. The “Star-Spangled Banner” became the national anthem in 1931.

7. This year, President Trump is planning a special celebration at Mt. Rushmore amid controversy over the appropriateness of the monument. Can you name the four presidents whose faces are sculpted on it? Answer below.

8. Some notable events that occurred on this day:
a. 1802 – The US Military Academy at West Point opened.
b. 1817 – The ground was broken for the Erie Canal in Rome, NY.
c. 1826 – Former Presidents and Founding Fathers John Adams and Thomas Jefferson oth died within hours of each other.

d. 1939 – Baseball legend Lou Gehrig delivered his famous “luckiest man” speech before a packed house at Yankee Stadium.

Enjoy yourself on the 4th, but, above all, be safe. If you travel, drive defensively and if you must handle fireworks, BE VERY CAREFUL!
Quiz answer: Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson and T. Roosevelt.

CARL REINER

Over this past weekend we lost one of the funniest and most versatile entertainers of the last 60+ years.  He was renowned as a comedian, actor, director, screenwriter and writer.  He made us laugh and entertained us for seven decades.  He was associated with some of the most iconic tv shows and comedy routines of his day.

Carl Reiner was born on March 20, 1923 in the Bronx, NY.  His parents were immigrants.  His father, a watchmaker, was from Austria; his mother was from Rumania.  He had an older brother, Charlie, who, though not associated with the entertainment business, played a small, but significant role in his life.

At the age of 16 Carl was working as a machinist when Charlie told him about a free drama workshop that was being sponsored by the Works Progress Administration and convinced him to try it.  That turned out to be a lifechanging decision, and Carl always credited Charlie with changing the course of his life and, as we shall see, entertainment history.

Carl attended Georgetown University until he was drafted into the Army in 1943.  At first, he worked as a French interpreter and a teleprinter operator.  Eventually, however, he was assigned to Special Services whose job was to entertain soldiers stationed overseas.  For once, the Army, much mocked for trying to cram square pegs into round holes, got it right.

After his discharge Carl, like most would-be entertainers, bounced around for a while from one nondescript job to another.  Finally, in 1950 he got his big break when he was cast as a comic actor on Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows.  For the benefit of those of you under the age of 75 Caesar was one of the most successful entertainers in the early years of tv, and “YSOS” was a huge hit.   Carl got to showcase his comedic talents by appearing in various skits on live tv.  He won Emmys in 1955 and 1956 for Best Supporting Actor.

In the mid-1950s he became a comedy writer for another Caesar show, Caesar’s Hour.  During this time he worked alongside some of the greatest comedy writers of the day such as Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, and Neil Simon, each of whom was to become famous in his own right.

Carl and Brooks became a very successful comedy duo.  Starting in 1960 they appeared together on the Steve Allen Show.  During this time they developed the famous comedy routine, the 2000 Year Old Man.  Brooks played the oldie, and Carl was the straight man.  It was hilarious.  If you have never seen it I recommend you find it on U-Tube.  The routine won them a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Comedy Album.  Additionally, the routine gave a huge boost to both of their careers.  Brooks’ biographer, William Holtzman, called the routine “an ingenuous jazz improvisation.”

Carl’s next big project was probably my personal favorite.  In 1958 he had written a television comedy series, starring himself, named Head of the Family, which was loosely based on his own life.  The network did not pick it up, supposedly because it did not like Carl in the lead role.  However, in 1961 the show was recast with a young up-and-coming comedian named Dick Van Dyke in the lead role supported by a young, sexy former dancer, Mary Tyler Moore, as his wife, and veteran comedians Morey Amsterdam and Rose Marie.  It was about a group of comedy writers, headed by Van Dyke, who wrote for a crusty, temperamental comedian played by, you guessed it, Carl Reiner.  The show was a huge hit.  It ran from 1961 – 1966 and syndicated for many years thereafter.  When I was in college we watched the show every day at 11:30 partly because it was so funny and partly to gawk at the sexy Moore. I highly recommend this show as well.

In his long career Carl wrote, directed and/or acted in dozens of movies and tv productions, too many to name here.  For me, the best movies were The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming (1966), Oh God (1977), and The Jerk (1979).  Along the way he mentored many other comedians, such as Steve Martin, who starred in the Jerk.  Perhaps, my favorite tv show on which he appeared was The Carol Burnett Show, a hugely popular program that starred Burnet, Harvey Korman and Tim Conway in some of the funniest skits you will ever see on tv.

In an interview in 1981 Carl shared his philosophy on comedy writing, “you have to imagine yourself as not somebody very special, but somebody very ordinary … very normal.  … If it makes you laugh, it’s going to make everybody laugh.”  Although Carl was Jewish he was not the least bit religious.  In fact, he described himself as a “Jewish atheist.”

CONCLUSION

Unlike most entertainers, Carl enjoyed a very stable home life.  He was married to the same person, former singer Estelle Lebost, for 64 years.  In addition, one of his sons, Rob, is a successful actor (“meathead” in All in the Family) and director (When Harry Met Sally) in his own right.  The other son, Lucas, is an actor and director; and his daughter, Annie,  is a poet, playwright and author.  Some of you may recall that Estelle appeared in one scene in When Harry Met Sally and got to utter one of the funniest lines in movie history: “I’ll have what she’s having.”

Among his many awards Carl won 11 Emmys, one Grammy and the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.  Moreover, he was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1999, and he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  In 2017 he and his son, Rob, became the first father-son duo to have their footprints and handprints placed on a concrete slab at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.

Carl passed away on June 29 at the ripe old age of 98.  He went out the way we should all go, at home, surrounded by his family.  Rest in peace, Carl.  You made us laugh and entertained us for seven decades.  You will be sorely missed, but your work will live forever.

OKAY FOR ME, BUT NOT FOR THEE

This would be humorous if it weren’t so outrageous.  The elites, which I define as a group that includes the country’s political leaders, journalists, business leaders, the wealthy, and the Hollywood crowd, among others, love to lecture the rest of us repeatedly that we must sacrifice and do without for the greater good while they ignore their own advice and do what they want, when they want.  They exhibit a profound sense of entitlement that somehow the rules of society that we are required to follow do not apply to them.

This is not exclusively a Dem or a progressive phenomenon.  People of all political philosophies on both sides of the aisle are guilty of this.  The common thread is that timeworn expression, “do as I say, not as I do.”

There are many examples of this.  I will list a few to make my point.  You will likely be able to think of others.

  1. The elites tell us that climate change is our biggest threat.  Some have gone so far as to characterize it as an “existential threat.”  Alexandra Ocasio Cortez, exhibiting a lack of knowledge of history as well as common sense, has called it “our WWII.”  Right.  It may be a threat, one of many we are facing presently.  We can debate that.  But, our biggest?   Not even close.   Comparing it to WWII with the Holocaust and the loss of millions of lives, is hardly appropriate or accurate.  Either she is stupid, or she thinks the voters are.
  2.  We have been admonished that we have to reduce our carbon footprint to “save the planet.”  Among other things, we must give up our cars, our use of fossil fuels, and, in some cases, our jobs.  How are we supposed to support our families?  Several prominent Dems have made idiotic statements that former coal miners, for example, could just retrain themselves to be computer analysts.  Yeah, right.  Easy for them to say.  They will not be giving up their jobs or sacrificing anything.  They plan on retaining their current lifestyle at the expense of the rest of us.  Okay for me, but not for thee.
  3. The poster boy for this lunacy is the preposterous “Green New Deal.”  The elites plan on continuing to enjoy their perks, such as travelling by motorcade and flying on private jets or first class, while the rest of us return to bicycles and walking.  Anyone living in a rural area will be sc***ed.  Anyone who is not ambulatory will just have to stay home.   Sacrifices will have to made for the greater good.   Okay for me, but not for thee.
  4.  It has become fashionable to advocate for defunding police forces.  It doesn’t take a genius to realize that the end result will be either a delayed police response or no police response.  We are already beginning to see this in some areas.  The politicians behind this movement, like Pelosi, Schumer, NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo, NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio, and the mayor and the members of the city council in Minneapolis to name a few, mostly live in gated communities and maintain their own private security often at taxpayer expense.  How ironic is it that the very people who are pressing this issue would not be affected by it.  They will remain safe and secure.  For the vast majority of people if someone breaks into your house or hijacks your car or accosts you on the street, good luck.  Many of us remember the harrowing experience of a Virginia woman who was recently trapped in her car with an infant as an angry mob threatened them.  She called 911, but the police could not or would not respond.  It is hard to imagine a more frightening experience. Okay for me, but not for thee.
  5. This cry for defunding is coming on the heels of the anti-gun people making it more difficult for normal citizens to acquire guns and the no-bail laws that have been instituted in many jurisdictions.  So, let me get this straight.  It will harder to acquire the wherewithal to protect yourself; when you call 911 there will be a delayed or no response; and the criminal, if caught, will be let out of jail the same day.  Nice.  Okay for me, but not for thee.
  6. Chris Cuomo, a CNN anchor and Governor Andrew Cuomo’s brother, contracted the Coronavirus a couple of months ago.  Protocol required him to self-quarantine for two weeks.  One day, he broke quarantine to go to Central Park.  A passerby recognized him, filmed him, and asked him why he had broken quarantine.  Cuomo became incensed and berated the man on camera.  Okay for me, but not for thee.
  7. In the early stages of the CV people were generally confined to their homes.  Yet, NYC Mayor De Blasio found it necessary to travel to his gym in Brooklyn every day with a motorized escort.  No sheltering in place for him.  No observance of Green New Deal guidelines for him.  No sir.  Afterall, the man has to maintain his buff physique.  Ha ha.  Okay for me, but not for thee.
  8.  Despite stay-at-home restrictions that were in place for Chicagoans Mayor Lori Lightfoot went out for a haircut.  The salons were required to be closed, but apparently, not for her.  At a press conference she brazenly and unapologetically defended her actions.  She told reporters that she needed a haircut and wanted it because she cares about her appearance.  Moreover, she said, as mayor, she represents the city and has to “look good.”  I’m sure there are thousands of other women who care about their appearance and also wanted haircuts, manicures and other body maintenance to “look good,” but they had to do without.  Again, okay for me but not for thee.
  9.  Many governors instituted extremely harsh, arbitrary and inane restrictions under the guise of combatting corona.  Of course, we know that this was as much about wielding power as about protecting against corona.  For example, a man was arrested for having a “catch” with his daughter in a public park; religious services were banned, even on Easter Sunday; several small business owners who tried to open their businesses safely in order to earn a few dollars were fined or arrested; and people were forbidden to go to their own vacation homes or visit relatives, who, in some cases, were isolated and in need of care.  Yet, one could purchase lotto tickets, liquor and marijuana or get an abortion.  Like I said, arbitrary and inane.  Okay for me but not for thee.
  10. Regarding the recent protests and rioting over the past few weeks many Governors have ignored their own rules regarding social distancing and wearing masks.  Some of them even joined in the protests.  Then, those same governors criticized President Trump and his supporters for ignoring those same rules at his recent rally.  Okay for me, but not for thee.

CONCLUSION

The American people are not stupid.  They can see that not everyone is sacrificing equally.   Many of them have sacrificed considerably in the last several months, giving up their jobs and their businesses, going into debt, and not seeing parents and grandchildren.  Many of them are fed up with what they see as a lack of fairness.   They can see that there are separate sets of rules for a few select people.

They blame the politicians, and rightly so.  They feel betrayed.  We elected these politicians to represent us, to protect us, and to have our best interests at heart.  Right now, they feel frightened and betrayed.   Our representatives are failing us.  They seem to be paralyzed.  They are standing by while a small, aggressive minority with extreme beliefs is taking control of the country.  Luckily, this is an election year.  Hopefully, the voters will speak loudly and clearly on Election Day.

THE SILENT MAJORITY

What is the silent majority?  Does it exist in the US in 2020?  If so, will it turn out for President Trump and win the election for him like it did in 2016?  These are all intriguing questions.

I think the answers to these questions are very clear.  The answers are “I don’t know, and neither does anyone else.”  Why?  Because, if it exists, its members, by definition, are silent.  They do not make their opinions known, except at the ballot box on Election Day.  Some analysts maintain it does and it will; others scoff at the idea as wishful thinking.  Read on, and I provide my opinion with which you may feel free to disagree.

Wikipedia defines the silent majority as “an unspecified group of people… who do not express their opinions publicly.”  The existence of a silent majority is not a new concept.  I found references to it as early as 1831 when NYS representative Churchill Cambreleng blamed it for the defeat of a bill he had sponsored.

In the run-up to the 1920 presidential election Calvin Coolidge’s campaign staff portrayed him as the champion of the silent majority.  Coolidge took this designation most seriously.  He was commonly known, mockingly, by the nickname “Silent Cal” for his habit of speaking as little as possible.

More recently, the term was employed by the Nixon-Agnew Campaign in the run-up to the 1972 election.  Like now, that was a very turbulent time characterized by violent protests.  The primary target was the Vietnam War, which was growing very unpopular.  It seemed that the country was moving quickly and decisively to the “left.”  The GOPers maintained that there was a silent majority that would vote for President Nixon, and they were proven correct when he won in a landslide.

Likewise, 2020 has been a topsy-turvy year and not just politically.  Up until March it seemed that President Trump would be re-elected handily.  The Dems’ ill-advised attempt to convict him of impeachment had failed decisively.  He had defeated ISIS.  His energy policies had enabled us to become energy-independent for the first time since the mid-20th century.  The economy was the strongest ever.  Unemployment was at or near record lows for all demographic groups.  The stock market was flying making the middle class feel richer than ever.  He had even gotten Congress to pass a crime bill favorable to AAs and other minorities.

Then, out of nowhere, we were hit with the ultimate gamechanger – the COVID-19 virus from China.  The virus necessitated an unprecedented virtual shutdown of the economy.  Overnight, the economy deteriorated from the best ever to a virtual depression.  Unemployment levels rose to levels not seen since the Great Depression.  Many people were scared and confused.  This was followed by the brutal police killing of George Floyd, which has sparked violent protests, looting and destruction in city after city.

Now, in the space of three months, Mr. Trump’s re-election prospects have gone from very good to very poor.  He is down in all the polls by as much as 14 points, both nationally and in the swing states.   At the moment, although the political landscape can and often has changed quickly, it seems like his only chance to win depends on the strong support of the silent majority, which may not even exist.

The poster child for the current violence, looting and wanton destruction of private and public property is the Black Lives Matter movement.  In my view, this moniker is misleading as the above lawlessness has gone far beyond a proportionate response to the killing of George Floyd and occasionally other AAs by policemen.  The mob is being egged on by a biased media, clueless celebrities, “tweeters,” and far left politicians who have hijacked the Dem Party.  They don’t realize that their opinions do not reflect those of the majority of Americans who don’t live on twitter and who prefer peaceful protest and law and order to violence and disorder.

As an aside, has anyone noticed that virtually all of the aforementioned destruction has been occurring in cities that are and have been controlled 100% by Dems, in some cases, for decades such as NYC, Minneapolis, Chicago, LA, Seattle, Atlanta, and Washington, DC?  Hmmm.  Food for thought.   Makes one wonder what the ramifications would be if the Dems won the upcoming election and controlled the entire country, doesn’t it?

Quiz question:  With all of NYC’s current problems what is one of mayor De Blasio’s foremost priorities?  See answer below.

As often happens, the movement has been hijacked by ultra-violent fringe elements.  They could care less about Floyd, black lives, and the minorities and immigrants whose businesses they destroyed.  They know nothing about the history behind the statues and monuments they are destroying.  Founding fathers, former presidents, Civil War heroes, abolitionists, Francis Scott Key, and even George Washington and Abraham Lincoln are fair game.  They don’t care.  It’s all about power and control.  Their sole goal is to create enough anarchy and destruction so that Mr. Trump loses the election in November.  In the words of one BLM anarchist they want to “burn down the [American] system” and rebuild [it]  How and what are they planning to rebuild?  They probably haven’t even thought that far ahead.  Anyone who challenges them or their methods is branded a “racist” and faces the loss of their livelihood and their reputation without due process.

History tells us that eventually these radical movements go too far, reach a tipping point and self destruct.  Eventually, the majority will turn on them and declare, “enough already!”

For example, that is what happened to McCarthyism in the 1950s.  Many of us are familiar with the story.  Senator Joseph McCarthy had become very powerful and feared by claiming the country and its institutions, such as various government agencies and the entertainment industry, were riddled with communists.  Most of the claims were without foundation, but that did not seem to matter.  Everyone was afraid to challenge him lest they be branded a communist, lose their job, be blacklisted and/or be imprisoned.  (Sound familiar?)  Finally, at a Senate hearing investigating possible communists in the Army, Joseph Welch, the Army’s special counsel, had had enough of these wild, baseless accusations.  He famously admonished McCarthy: “Have you no sense of decency?”

That moment proved to be the beginning of the end for McCarthy and his movement.  I say, enough of the baseless “racist” accusations.  America may have some racists, both black and white, but by no means is it systemically racist as some claim.  Maybe it was prior to the 1960s, but not now.  Anyone who thinks it is should compare it to other countries.  What the country needs now is another “Welch moment.”

I believe that the majority of voters are horrified over what is happening to their country.  They are decent, reasonable people who are just trying to get by in these difficult times. They work hard to provide for their families. They have neither the time, the energy,  nor the inclination to riot or march in a protest. But, they also realize that there is no justification for the current level of violence and destruction.  They hate it and are embarrassed by it.  However, they are afraid to do or say anything lest they be accused of racism.  Heck, even most of our elected leaders, whose main job is to provide security and law and order for their constituents, members of the media (except for Fox News), and high-profile, well-respected celebrities are afraid.

Even many AAs are opposed to the destruction being caused under the name of BLM.  This opinion was put forth recently by Black Entertainment TV founder Robert Johnson who opined that most AAs he knows actually mock the white anarchists who are destroying landmark monuments.  He labeled them “borderline anarchists” who know “absolutely nothing” [about the struggles of AAs].   I’m sure these AAs to whom he is referring agree that black lives do matter.  Even most white people do.  I do as well, but I go further.  I agree with Dr. Ben Carson who recently intoned on Fox News that “ALL lives matter” – white, black, Asian, women, young, old, yours and mine.  Our life is the most precious commodity we have.  We only get one, and this is not a “dress rehearsal.”

CONCLUSION

I believe and fervently hope that most of these silent majority voters secretly support Mr. Trump and would vote for him. They may not like him on a personal level; they may think he is arrogant, self-centered, narcissistic, and boorish.  I don’t disagree with that assessment.  However, I have learned to focus on what he does, not what he says.

I think they would prefer his policies of capitalism, self-determination and law and order to the socialism, government control, disorder and chaos that a Biden presidency would bring.  There is no doubt that Biden is firmly under the thumb of the far left wing of the Dem Party nor that it would control his presidency.  Mr. Trump needs to do a better job of explaining those differences to the voters.  If he does he will have a good chance to win.

Many members of the silent majority won’t admit it to their friends, relatives, co-workers or even to pollsters. They are afraid of being mocked or worse. But, they can express their opinions at the one time and place it matters – on Election Day, at the ballot box.  That is what they did in 2016.  Let’s hope for a reprise.

Quiz answer:  Painting “Black Lives Matter” on the street in front of Trump Tower.

 

Quiz answer: Painting BLM slogans on the street in front of Trump Tower.  For real!

WHERE IS/WAS JOE?

Joe Biden’s campaign staff has devised a very wise campaign strategy for him.  It is one that is perfectly suited for him.  Say and do as little as possible.  Meet with as few people as possible and only those who have been vetted carefully.  And, so far, aided by the support of a predominantly favorable media, it is working.  Kudos to campaign manager, Greg Schultz and his team.  If they manage to pull this off they would belong in the campaign manager’s Hall of Fame.

Currently, various national polls show Biden leading President Trump by anywhere from eight to 14 points.  Furthermore, he is leading in most of the “swing” states.  If the polls are accurate, a big “if,” he stands to win the election handily.

This is not a new campaign strategy.  It was popular from the late 19th through early 20th centuries.  It was employed by various candidates such as James A. Garfield (1880), Benjamin Harrison (1896), and Warren G. Harding (1920), all of whom won.  It was commonly known as “front porch politics,” because the candidate would remain at home and interact with only a few selected people often on his front porch.  He would engage in little or no traditional campaigning.

Biden has adopted and refined this strategy in the style of the 21st century.  He is holed up, or perhaps, hiding, in his basement.  He has limited his campaigning to virtual appearances and issuing carefully worded statements written by members of his campaign staff.  He has not conducted any press conferences in nearly three months.  He has only met with friendly members of the media who have lobbed him softball questions.  He has rarely ventured out to interact with real people where he might have to answer uncomfortable questions and speak extemporaneously.   He is still committing the occasional gaffe for which he is known, but as of yet, they have not hurt him.  The prevailing attitude seems to be, “aw, it’s just good ole Joe being Joe.”

His handlers are very pleased with the results so far and likely will continue this strategy as long as they are able, maybe even through the convention.  They might even be able to avoid any debates with President Trump.

Why?  We know why.  I have blogged about Biden’s apparently diminished capacity many times.  It is obvious whenever he does speak in public.  There is no need to belabor the matter.  Obviously, a majority of the public is willing to overlook it.

How does he get away with this?  Why is this working?  How can he campaign in this manner and be up in the polls?  Simple.  As I said, (1) he is being aided and abetted by a friendly, some would say complicit, media; and (2) half the country hates President Trump so much they would probably vote for anyone else instead, including, apparently,  a nondescript, impaired Joe Biden.

As I said, Biden has been in politics for over 50 years.  He served in the Senate from 1973 – 2008.  Then, he served as VP from 2008 – 2016.  He has had a long career in public service.  Was it distinguished?  It depends on one’s point of view.  In my opinion, it has not been.

In reality, what has he accomplished?  His main accomplishment was sponsoring the comprehensive crime bill in 1994, and even that is now under so much criticism he has been trying to disavow it.  Basically, he has been a bystander, watching events unfold without influencing them.  He has portrayed himself as a big defender of the disadvantaged, primarily AAs, but his actions have been at odds with his words.  Generally, he has studiously avoided speaking up, taking a stand.  Read on, and I will demonstrate.

Biden likes to criticize the current situation and spout off how he would fix everything as president.  All candidates do this, but in Joe’s case it rings hollow.  He has had his chance over the last 50+ years, and he has failed.  What makes one think he could do so now?

To illustrate my point, let’s play a little game, a version of that child’s game, “Where’s Waldo.”  I’ll call it “where is/was Joe?”  Joe portrays himself as a strong protector/supporter of African Americans.  Recently, in one of his rare interviews he told the interviewer that if an AA didn’t vote for him “you ain’t black.”

  1. He professes to be a big supporter of AAs. He talks a good game. Why hasn’t he spoken out?  Why, in all these years, hasn’t he introduced legislation to curb the violence in AA neighborhoods?  To improve the schools?  To create jobs?  In the last 50+ years where was Joe?
  2. For several years AAs have been the victims of wanton shootings.  On occasion, the shootings have been controversial and involved police leading to public outrage, rioting, and violence.  Most of the time, the crimes have been “black on black” and drug or gang-related crimes in predominantly black neighborhoods and have drawn little traction in the media, which only seems interested in situations involving a police officer and an AA.  Where was Joe?
  3. The overwhelming percentage of AAs are law abiding.  They have been living in fear for themselves and their loved ones.  They have been begging for law and order in their communities.  This past weekend the deaths included two three year-old black children slain by other AAs.  Unfortunately, crimes against children have not been uncommon.  Where was Joe?
  4.  Regarding the recent police-involved deaths of AAs in Ferguson, MO, Baltimore, MD, NYC, and other locales, which have sparked much controversy and violence, where was Joe?
  5. Regarding the recent police-involved murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, where was Joe?
  6. Regarding the eleven additional shootings in Minneapolis this past weekend, including one death, where is Joe?
  7. Regarding the 72 shootings in NYC from June 15 through Sunday, mostly AAs.  Where is Joe?
  8. Regarding the continued violence in Atlanta, Baltimore, LA and many other cities, all of which have been and are run by Dems, where is Joe?
  9. Regarding the ongoing violence in Chicago including one hundred shootings over this past weekend, mostly AAs, where is Joe?
  10. Black Lives Matter takes over a six square block area of Seattle and declares it to be their separate country.  Local politicians, all Dems, do nothing to stop it. Where was Joe?
  11. Unending violence against innocent AAs in various other cities across America, continue unabated.  Where is Joe?
  12. Regarding the defacing and destruction of historic statues and monuments in various locales, including not just former Confederates but also four of our most beloved presidents – Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt – and heroes of the republic such as Francis Scott Key, where is Joe?
  13. For years, China has systematically taken advantage of the US, economically, flooding our markets with cheap goods, undercutting certain of our industries, ensnaring us in one-sided trade deals, and paying off US officials, including Hunter Biden.  Hunter is rumored to have been paid $1.5 billion by the Chinese government for no legitimate purpose.  Where was Joe?
  14. A Ukraine oil company was rumored to have paid Hunter several hundred thousand dollars a year despite his lack of expertise in the area.  This arrangement was obviously a bribe based on his father being vp.  We know where Joe for that one.  He was busy threatening government officials that he would arrange to withhold foreign aide to the government of Ukraine unless it dropped an ongoing investigation into the matter and then bragging about it.
  15. Regarding the recent rioting in many US cities resulting in wanton destruction of property, many of them small businesses owned by minorities and immigrants, the very groups Joe professes to support, where was Joe?
  16. For years veterans have suffered from inadequate healthcare.  Where was Joe?
  17. As the coronavirus was rampaging through the US in early 2020, and President Trump was instituting travel bans to protect us, where was Joe?
  18. Regarding members of Black Lives Matter hijacking peaceful protests and transforming them into rioting and violence, where is Joe?
  19. Regarding rioters threatening to establish a Seattle-style separate zone in the very shadow of the White House, where is Joe?

Where, indeed.  Nowhere to be found.  Hiding in his basement.  That’s where.

CONCLUSION

After spending over 50 years in politics, no one really knows what Joe stands for, because it keeps changing.  For years, he was a moderate Dem, but in 2020 he has changed his positions seemingly daily.  It appears he is merely repeating the words that have been put in front of him.  He has allowed himself to be pulled far to the left by the radical elements in his party.  He has supported outlandish, unrealistic policies such as the Green New Deal, free healthcare for all, and unfettered immigration.  Anyone with a brain can see that these socialist policies would bankrupt the country.  He panders to the audience he is addressing at the time.  Once again, the media does not challenge him.  This is the candidate the majority wants to be president?  Unbelievable!

In my view, Biden’s support is wide and shallow.  Most of his supporters do not do so vigorously.  Many of them are only supporting him because he is not Mr. Trump.  I will concede that the president is not well liked.  In fact, many voters dislike him intensely.  It doesn’t bother me.  I look at what he does, not what he says.

Here’s an analogy to the election.  Suppose you needed an operation to save your life.  You have to choose between two surgeons.  One is nice, personable, and easy to get along with, but his skills are mediocre and, perhaps, deteriorating.  The other is a nasty, arrogant, SOB, but his surgical skills are outstanding.  Which one would you choose?  I would pick the SOB and do my best to ignore his disagreeable personality.  Probably, most of you would also.  That is how I view the election choices.  President Trump has a disagreeable personality, but he delivers results.  Biden may be a nicer person, but his skills are lacking and deteriorating further.   There is a reason why his handlers have him hiding in his basement, and it’s not because of the coronavirus.

I fear that a President Biden would be dominated by his unelected advisors and the vice president.  That is a very scary scenario.  If he wins, I fear the republic we know and love would be in grave danger.

FATHER’S DAY

Tomorrow, June 21, the third Sunday of June, many of us will celebrate Father’s Day.   According to the British Broadcasting Corporation FD is celebrated in some 70 countries around the world.

In the US, FD is commonly viewed as an opportunity to gather with family for barbecues, picnics, sporting activities (e.g. baseball, golf or fishing), eat at a favorite restaurant, or attend a Broadway show.  Generally, it is a fun day with family and friends.  Of course, this year FD celebrations will be somewhat restricted.  Due to the Coronavirus there will be no baseball, no Broadway shows, and limited family gatherings.

The idea of an annual day to recognize fathers was first proposed by Sonora Dodd a resident of Spokane, WA, in 1909. She wanted to honor her own father who had raised her and five siblings as a single parent.  In her opinion, mothers had their “day,” so why shouldn’t fathers.  At first, she approached her pastor about organizing a special service on her father’s birthday, June 5, but for some reason, perhaps, time constraints, the celebration was deferred to the third Sunday of June.  The initial celebration was held in 1910.

For many years the idea of a “day” for fathers did not catch on with the general public. The major reason was the fear that it would become overly commercialized like Mother’s Day and Christmas.   In addition, the media was not behind the concept.  Rather than support the idea, they attacked it with sarcastic and cynical articles and cartoons.

FD did, however, have its supporters.  Congress debated a bill as early as 1913, but it did not pass.  Presidents such as Woodrow Wilson and Calvin Coolidge spoke out in favor of it.

Some years later, Margaret Chase Smith, a longtime influential Senator from Maine, criticized the inequity of Congress’ ignoring fathers while honoring mothers.  Finally, in 1966 LBJ issued a Presidential proclamation designating the third Sunday in June as FD.  It became a permanent holiday in 1972.

FD is celebrated differently in other countries around the world depending on seasons and various traditions and cultures, as follows:

  1. United Kingdom – It is also celebrated on the third Sunday of June.  It is recognized as a day to honor not only fathers, but also other father figures, such as grandfathers and fathers-in-law.  As in the US, typically, people pay a visit and give cards and gifts.  Other activities might include male-only outings [golf, football (soccer), or cricket], or trips.  One significant difference is that the day is not considered to be a holiday, just a normal Sunday.
  2. Canada – Very similar to the UK.  Popular activities would include going to the park, the zoo, or eating out in a restaurant.
  3.  Russia – The holiday, celebrated on February 23, is called Defender of the Fatherland Day.  All men are honored, not just fathers.  It began as a military celebration and is still marked by military parades.
  4. Mexico – Celebrated on the third Sunday of June.  It is marked with parties and gifts for dads and a 21 kilometer Father’s Day race.
  5. Brazil – It is celebrated on August 2 in honor of St. Joachim, patron saint of fathers and grandfathers.
  6. Bulgaria celebrates the day in December.
  7. According to The Sun various countries in the Southern Hemisphere, such as Australia and New Zealand, celebrate the holiday in September.
  8. Northern European countries, such as Norway, Sweden and Finland, celebrate the day in November.

CONCLUSION

The National Retail Federation estimates that Americans will spend in excess of $100 per person on FD gifts in 2020.  The BBC puts the amount at about $135.)   The estimated overall total is $16 billion, which would be a new record, just ahead of the previous record of  $15.5 billion.

As you might expect, according to the NRF this total pales next to the $26 billion we spent on mothers last month.  Why do we spend so much more money on our mothers than on our fathers?  There are many theories, but no one knows for sure?

What are the most popular FD gifts?  According to the NRF #1 is a greeting card.   No surprise there, but it is normally accompanied by another gift.  #2 is a special outing, such as a sporting event, a trip, a movie, or a show.  #3 is clothing.  However, as I mentioned above due to the CV 2020 is a special year, so attending, the theatre, a movie or a sporting event or even watching on tv is out.

Even so, Dads, it is your day.  Whatever you decide to do, enjoy it.

SUMMER SOLSTICE

What is the summer solstice?  What does it mean?  When does it occur?  Good questions.  Read on for the answers.

As many of you know, the ss is the date with the longest period of daylight, and when the sun’s shadow is its shortest. Furthermore, in most of the US it is the date on which the sun appears to be at its highest point in the sky. In extreme northern locales the sun will be “out” the entire day.  In the NY area, where I live, we will get about 15 hours of sun.

The word “solstice” is derived from the Latin “sol,” meaning “sun” and “sistere,” meaning “to stand still.” As the seasons progress from winter to summer in the northern hemisphere, the sun appears to move north in the sky. On the date of the ss it has progressed as far north as it will get, and it momentarily “stands still” before it appears to begin to slide southward toward the point of its winter solstice.

Depending on the particular year, in the northern hemisphere the summer solstice can occur anytime between June 20 and June 22.  According to the Weather Channel in 2020 it will occur precisely at 5:44 pm on Saturday, June 20, which will be when the sun will be directly over the Tropic of Cancer (23.5 degrees north latitude).

In most cultures and countries the summer and winter solstices are intertwined with the seasons.  For example, in the US and many other countries the ss marks the commencement of summer.  On the other hand, in extreme northern and southern locations the solstices mark the midpoint of summer or winter.

For many ancient cultures the ss was a festive time. Most of them were sun worshippers anyway, and the longest day of the year was a reason to celebrate the renewal of life. The recurrent themes, in various forms, were life, light, femininity, marriage and fertility. (Perhaps, this concept was the derivation of the custom of having weddings in June.)

For example:

1. The pagan holiday, Litha, which is a celebration of light and life, was celebrated on that date.
2. Many archaeologists maintain that the ancient culture that constructed Stonehenge intended it to be a crude calendar used to mark the summer and winter solstices and the vernal and autumnal equinoxes. The stones do seem to have been placed to align with the sunrise on the dates of those events.
3. The ancient Chinese marked the date with celebrations of the femininity, the “Yin” forces, and the Earth, itself. This served as a counterpoint to the winter solstice, which was a celebration of the heavens, masculinity, and the “Yang” forces.
4. Typically, Native Americans held festivals featuring body paint and ritualistic dances.
5. In ancient Gaul (modern-day France) the celebration was called the Feast of Epona after a mare goddess that protected horses and personified fertility.
6. Slavic and Germanic cultures celebrated with huge bonfires.

CONCLUSION

In modern times the ss is a time to celebrate the arrival of summer.  In many extreme northern areas, where the people may not see the sun at all for certain parts of the year, such as northern Sweden, Finland and Norway, people spend the entire day outside. Many of them decorate their homes, light bonfires, and dance around Maypoles.

I have always enjoyed a warm summer day as much as the next guy.  But, truthfully, to me June 21 is just another day.  Depending on the weather I will play golf, play outside with the kids (or grandkids), go to the beach, or, if it’s inclement, just stay inside.  Whatever you do, enjoy the day.

One final thought on the date, it has always seemed contradictive to me that the beginning of summer also marked the time when the days started to get shorter, and I view shorter days as a harbinger of winter.