THE CARAVAN

We are being invaded! By whom, you ask? The Russians? No. The Chinese? Nope. By ISIS? No, again. Well, by whom, then? The answer is we are not sure. All we know is that, presently, some 7,000 or more “refugees” from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and God knows where else are trekking through Mexico bound for the US southern border. People, this is not an orderly emigration; it is a virtual invasion. It is nothing more or less than an assault on our border. The US cannot possibly assimilate all these people in an orderly manner.

The open borders crowd would have you believe that all of these people are refugees, families fleeing war, oppression, natural disaster or economic depression to make a better life for themselves in the US. To be sure, some of them may fall into that category. However, many others do not. Experience has shown us that imbedded in amongst this horde are criminals, MS-13 gang members, terrorists and other undesirables and ne’er do wells who would do us harm. Additionally, experience has shown that many of the minors are unaccompanied by their real parents or other family members. Instead, they are being “escorted” by drug cartel members who are just as likely to rob, rape and enslave them as help them. The point is we don’t know who they are.

The US’s archaic immigration laws state that once a person sets foot in the country and claims asylum he or she gets to stay. Yes, they have to appear at a hearing in the future, but few of them actually do so. Many of them are forced to wait in detention centers under dubious conditions. Others somehow manage to roam free throughout the country.

You may ask, where did all these people come from? How did it happen that they all decided to march north at the same time? Good questions. I’m not sure, but it seems more than a little suspicious to me. Common sense tells me that it was not a spontaneous decision that 7,000 people made independently. The only logical explanation is that it was an orchestrated, organized plan hatched, funded, and supported by various open borders groups.

CONCLUSION

I have blogged on the immigration issue many times, and there is no need to repeat myself now. Suffice to say, that it is well settled that the Dems and their far left supporters are the ones in favor of open borders. Undoubtedly, some of them may truly care about these people. But, in my opinion, most of the Dem politicians are promoting this to ingratiate themselves into the Hispanic community in a desperate attempt to earn voting support both now and prospectively. For example, Nancy Pelosi refuses to even call MS-13 gang members who hack up their victims, “animals.” Dem presidential hopefuls, such as Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Andrew Cuomo, have all supported unfettered immigration. As a result, these Dem party leaders have aligned the party with terrorists, gangsters, drug smugglers, criminals, and other assorted ne’er-do-wells.

The timing of this caravan, on the eve of the mid-term elections, is suspicious. Clearly, the Dems’ goal is some sort of political gain, but, in my opinion, it has backfired on them. News reports have shown a disorderly, unruly mob (There’s that word again.), climbing fences, attacking Mexican border guards and doing God knows what else.

The optics are terrible. Even Dana Perino, a self-described moderate regarding immigration, has expressed her dismay at what is going on. The caravan may be part of the reason why the latest polls show President Trump’s approval rating to be at an all-time high (for him). This augurs well for the GOP on election day.

Mr. Trump has vowed to stop the caravan from entering the country. He has requested assistance from Mexico in this regard, but if that should fail, he may have to withhold foreign aid or even send troops to the border to close it. I hope it doesn’t come to that, but, like I said, we are being invaded!

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WORLD SERIES 2018

The 114th World Series, aka “The Fall Classic,” will be contested between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox, two storied franchises. The Dodgers’ franchise was born in 1883. It joined the newly-organized National League in 1890. Before being known as the Dodgers, the team was known, at various times, as the Atlantics, the Bridegrooms, the Grooms, the Superbas, the Robins, and the Trolley-Dodgers (a reference to the complex maze of trolley cars that existed in Brooklyn during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The name, Trolley-Dodgers, was shortened to Dodgers in 1898.

The Dodgers have been pioneers in many areas, for instance, they were the first team to:

1. appear on tv (1939),
2. wear helmets (1941),
3. wear numbers on their uniforms (1952), and
4. most significantly, play an African American (Jackie Robinson in 1947).

In addition, I would be remiss if I did not mention that the team employed the same announcer, Vince Scully, for a record 67 years. Many people consider Scully to be the best baseball announcer ever, and having watched and listened to him for most of those 67 years, I would be hard-pressed to argue with that assessment.

The team has been to 23 WS and won six, the last one in 1988. In this era of multiple rounds of playoffs reaching the WS back-to-back is not easy. In the last 40 years it has been done only four times in the National League – twice by the Dodgers (1977 and 1978 and 2017 and 2018), once by the Atlanta Braves (1991 and 1992), and once by the Philadelphia Phillies (2008 and 2009).

The Red Sox were founded in 1901. They are an original member of the American League. They play in the oldest and, perhaps, the most iconic, ballpark, Fenway Park. Every baseball fan should see a game in that park at least once. It is a unique experience. It boasts some unusual features, notably the “Green Monster” and the “Pesky Pole.”

Like many old ballparks, Fenway was shoe-horned into an existing neighborhood (Fenway-Kenmore), which accounts for its unusual dimensions. It stands on filled-in marshland, which is likely the derivation of the name, Fenway. “Fen” is another name for wetland or bog.

The WS will begin Tuesday, October 23 in Boston. It is a best of seven series, with the home splits being 2 – 3 – 2. Boston gets the extra home game because it won more games during the regular season – 108 vs. the Dodgers’ 92. The Red Sox are the betting favorite and have the better team on paper.

Some WS facts:

1. The first modern WS was played in 1903. It was arranged by the owners of the two league champions. The Boston Pilgrims beat the Pittsburgh Pirates five games to three to win the first world championship.

2. There was no WS in 1904 as the owner of the NL champion Giants refused to play the champion of the “upstart,” “inferior” AL.

3. Beginning in 1905 the two leagues arranged the WS, and it has been played every year since then, except for 1994 during the players’ strike. Neither war nor earthquake has cancelled it.

4. The first night game was Game 4 of the 1971 WS in Three Rivers Stadium between Pittsburgh and Baltimore.

5. In 1989 Candlestick Park in San Francisco, the site of Game 3, was damaged by a massive earthquake before the game, which badly shook the Bay Area. The Series was delayed for ten days, but not cancelled.

6. From 1903 through 2002 the AL and NL alternated home field advantage. In 2003 MLB, in what I believe to have been a misguided attempt to increase interest in the mid-season All-Star Game, decided to award home field advantage to the league that won the game. In 2013 MLB finally abandoned that ill-advised policy and awarded home field to the team with the best record.

7. The AL has won 65 of the previous 113 Series (58%), including Houston last year in a seven-game thriller.

8. The Yankees have made the most appearances (40) and won the most championships (27).

9. There has been only one no-hitter in the WS. Actually, it was a perfect game. It was pitched by the Yankees’ Don Larsen, a journeyman pitcher, in 1956 against the Brooklyn Dodgers.

10. Unlike some other sports where the best regular season teams generally win the championship, the team with the highest regular season winning percentage has only won the WS about one-half of the time. In fact, in the wild card era, with the extra layers of playoff series, the best regular season team often does not even reach the WS. I believe the Red Sox will face added pressure in the WS. They won 108 games and were the best team in baseball during the regular season. They need to win the WS to cap off what many believe was an historic season.

11. Only one WS MVP has been a member of the losing team (more on that later).

12. Only a handful of players have been good enough to play at the highest levels in two of the major sports, and only one has been lucky enough to play in both the WS and the Super Bowl. Can you name him? See answer below.

There have been many memorable WS. All fans have their favorites. Personally, I have seven, which I will profile below. These were not only exciting in their own right and/or featured a memorable play, but also had some significance to the sport in addition to the game itself. So, in chronological order:

1. 1955 – The Brooklyn Dodgers won their first and only WS – Despite having tremendous teams featuring various future Hall-of-Famers, every time the Dodgers played the Yankees in the WS they had lost. A key hit here, a key error there, same result. The Dodgers were living up to (or down to) their unofficial nickname – the “Bums.” Year after year, the Dodger fans’ famous refrain was “Wait until next year.” Well, this year it was the Dodgers that made the key play. In the decisive Game 7 Sandy Amoros, an unheralded utility player who had been inserted into left field as part of a “double-switch,” made one of the most amazing catches in WS history to save the game, and the Dodgers won 2-0. “Next year” had finally arrived, and a ten year old boy on Long Island became a Dodgers fan for life. As one NY paper touted the next day “Who’s a Bum?!”

2. 1960 – Pirates Beat Yanks – This was an odd Series. The Yankees were clearly the better team. They outperformed the Bucs in every category. They won their three games by a combined score of 38-3! Bobby Richardson, their second baseman, was named MVP, the only time a player from a losing team has been so honored. But, the Bucs won four close games and the Series. The seventh game was, perhaps, the best of all WS games. It doesn’t have the cache of other famous games, because it was played in the afternoon before a relatively small tv audience, rather than in prime time. Not only was it close; it featured several twists and turns and memorable plays. Also, it was the deciding game and featured a “walk-off” homer by the Pirates’ Bill Mazeroski in the bottom of the 9th inning. Ironically, Maz was a light hitter, known primarily for his fielding. Many people believe that single homer was responsible for his getting voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Another outcome was that the Yanks fired their manager, Casey Stengel, which made him available to become the first manager of the Mets two years later.

3. 1969 – The Mets won their first title – On paper this was a huge mismatch. The AL champion Orioles had won 109 games and blown through the playoffs. They were very strong in all three areas – pitching, hitting and defense. The Mets, though sporting the best record in the NL, were still viewed by many as lovable losers. Indeed, they had finished ninth the previous year. Only the most optimistic fans gave them much of a chance. Yet, they got the key hits and made the key plays in the field. They not only won but did so in five games.

4. 1975 – Boston Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk “pushed” his home run fair to win game 6. The Cincinnati Reds were considered to be the superior team. Known as the “Big Red Machine” because of their powerful offense they had won 108 games during the regular season and had swept the Pirates in the NL playoffs. But, Boston was a popular and exciting underdog. The Series became memorable because of Game 6. The Reds led three games to two and 6-3 when the “Saux” tied the game with a pinch hit three-run homer. Then, in the bottom of the 12th Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk led off with a drive down the left field line. Clearly, it had the distance, but would it go fair or foul. TV replays showed Fisk standing at home plate waving his hands to the right as if to “push” the ball “fair.” It was “fair,” winning the game. That was a seminal WS and tv moment. But, the Reds spoiled the Cinderella story by winning the next day 4-3.

5. 1985 – KC won with an “assist” from the umpire – This was known as the I-70 or “Show-Me” Series because St Louis and KC were both in Missouri and were connected by Interstate 70. St. Louis seemed to have the Series won. They were ahead three games to two and 1-0 in the bottom of the ninth inning when disaster struck. The first base umpire, Don Denkinger, missed an obvious call, ruling a KC runner safe when tv replays clearly showed him to be out. But, this was before replay reviews, and the erroneous call stood. Given the extra out KC went on to win the game and the next day as well, winning the Series. Tough break for the Cards, but they still had their chances to win. All they had to do was get out of the inning or win Game 7. Champions have to be resilient.

6. 1986 – Mets win, barely – On paper, the NY Mets were the better team and were big favorites. But, they lost the first two games at home. They won Games 3 and 4 to even the Series, but proceeded to lose Game 5 and were trailing in Game 6 by 5-3 in the bottom of the tenth with two out and none on. Then, they staged the most unlikely of rallies. Three straight singles with two strikes on the batters and a wild pitch tied the score. Next Mookie Wilson hit a routine ground ball to first base, which, inexplicably, rolled between first baseman Bill Buckner’s legs and under his glove. The winning run scored, and the Mets won Game 7 as well. WHEW! That rally proved the old baseball adage. “The game is not over until the last out.” Baseball is the only sport in which the clock does not run out on the trailing team. Regardless of the score, you get your “last licks.” Many fans, especially Mets fans, consider that Game 6 to be the best WS ever.

7. 2016 – “Cubs win, Cubs win! The Chicago Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians four games to three to win their first WS since 1908, thus ending the longest championship drought in North American professional sports history. In addition, they expunged various “jinxes,” including the “Billy Goat jinx” and the “Bartman jinx.” Game 7 was a real thriller. It went extra innings, and featured a rain delay in the 9th inning. Many fans consider it to be the best WS game ever.

CONCLUSION

This series will match two franchises with extra incentive. The Dodgers, despite having had several outstanding teams, have not won the WS since 1988, an historic drought for them. The Red Sox want to put a “cap” on an outstanding season. However, no one knows what will happen, including the so-called “experts.” Fans know that you play the game on the field, not on paper. In a short series anything can happen. History tells us that an unlikely hero or two will emerge to lead his team to victory. Who will it be? Your guess is as good as mine. Enjoy the Series.

Full disclosure: I am the aforementioned ten year-old, and I “bleed Dodger Blue.” Go Dodgers!!

Quiz answer: Deon Sanders – 1992 WS and 1995 and 1996 Super Bowls.

PRESIDENT TRUMP VS. THE DEMOCRATIC MOB

MOB. MOB. MOB. I have just uttered a word that has been “banned” on CNN. Henceforth, when you see an unruly, disorderly group of people harassing someone at a restaurant or out in public you cannot, must not, describe them as a “mob.” So says Brooke Baldwin, a CNN anchor. According to Baldwin, Don Lemon and others that particular word is a “dog whistle” for white supremacy, racism and other similarly distasteful words. If you don’t believe me, in the words of the late sportscaster, Warner Wolfe, “Let’s go to the videotape.” Baldwin, Lemon and others, in another misguided example of pc policing, have all banned the word on their shows and chastised others who have used the word.

So, let’s all scurry to the dictionary or Google and try to find another, more acceptable word. You wordsmiths, please help me out. How about, “horde,” “multitude,” “rabble,” “throng,” or “assemblage.” Are they acceptable? Obviously, I’m being somewhat facetious to illustrate a point, which is the extent to which the mainstream media has now gone to sanitize the reporting of the mob rule that has become endemic on the “left.” Some (e.g. an RNC campaign ad) have gone so far as to characterize it as “unhinged.”

I have been watching this growing trend since Mr. Trump’s election, and I am appalled. Not only for me, but also for the future of the country. To some, free speech, which is guaranteed to ALL of under the Bill of Rights only seems to be available if one is expressing an opinion with which they agree. It appears to me that an extremely vocal, and sometimes violent, minority has developed that has anointed itself the governor of what is and is not acceptable. If you cross them, you will pay. They will hunt you down on the streets, in restaurants, in parks, anywhere. If this trend continues, I fear what kind of country our children and grandchildren will be living in. I don’t think it is unreasonable to compare their bullying tactics to the notorious “brownshirts” in Germany in the 1930s. They, too represented a small but vocal minority and used similar tactics to incite, intimidate, and harass. As we know, at some point they escalated to violence, extreme violence.

Examples of mob rule on the left abound, but in the interest of time and space I will discuss only a few of the more egregious ones:

1. Kanye West is a well known, hugely successful rapper who recently has expressed support for President Trump. He has been very vocal about it, and has met with Trump a few times, including in a much publicized meeting in the White House. West commands a great deal of influence among African American voters. In fact, various polls have indicated that AA support for Trump has increased significantly directly as a result of West’s support for him. This is anathema to the Dems. They now view West as a “traitor” and have sought to ostracize and discredit him. The fact of the matter is that West raised legitimate concerns with Trump, such as “stop and frisk,” that are of significant concern to the AA community. Yet, after he met with Trump in the White House CNN and MSNBC, which, in my opinion, have increasingly become nothing more than shills for the far left, devoted several hours to criticizing and belittling West. CNN anchor, Don Lemon, went so far as to characterize the Trump-West meeting as a “minstrel show.” (Talk about racism!) In my view, it was embarrassing and disgraceful behavior for so-called legitimate journalists.

2. People who have been to Portland, Oregon tell me it is a lovely city. Yet, it seems like every couple of days we see news reports of violence in the streets showing Antifa thugs harassing or beating up citizens while the police stand by. A few days ago, I saw a “mob” chasing a man in a car, which I believe was sporting a sticker in support of Trump. In addition, I saw a thug harassing a woman for wearing a hat with a NYPD logo. He didn’t let up even after she told him she was doing so to honor her late husband who had been an NYPD cop who had died on 9/11. By the way, I suspect that many, if not most, of these Antifa thugs who disrupt, harass and attack, are not normal, everyday, citizens, but paid protestors funded by far left groups. They are also cowards, who wear masks to hide their identity, reminiscent of others you may recall who hid their identity behind white sheets and hoods.

3. A gunman, who happened to be a Bernie Sanders supporter, attacked a group of GOP congressmen playing softball. One of them, Steve Scalise, was seriously wounded. Thank God, he recovered, but should we be surprised at occurrences such as this when Dem leaders, such as Kamala Harris, Eric Holder, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton, to name a few, have advocated confrontation, incivility and harassment? What makes this most disturbing is that these are mainstream, prominent politicians, and, in some cases potential presidential candidates in 2020. I know they have not been advocating shooting someone per se, but there will always be deranged people out there who will misinterpret and act out violently. As Kentucky Senator Rand Paul denoted, “Those who are ratcheting up the conversation – they have to realize that they [would] bear some responsibility if this escalates to violence.”

According to the Chicago Tribune the Scalise shooting was not a spur of the moment attack, but, rather, carefully planned. The Tribune reported the gunman scouted the ballfield for days beforehand and made sure that the congressmen playing there were Republicans. It is very fortunate that there were not more casualties.

4. There have been various incidents of GOP Congresspersons and staffers, for example, Ted Cruz and Sarah Sanders Huckabee, being harassed in restaurants while eating with their families.

5. Regardless of one’s political bent, the spectacle of the Kavanaugh hearings was a disgrace and an embarrassment. The left, fearing his nomination would endanger a mother’s right to an abortion, resorted to threats, incivility and intimidation. Senator Flake was harassed by a woman who claimed she had been sexually assaulted some 30 years ago. Senator Susan Collins received death threats and Senator Cory Gardner received a video of a beheading just because they had the temerity to vote in favor of Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

CONCLUSION

To be sure, there have been cases of incivility on both sides. Dems point out that Mr. Trump made some inflammatory remarks during the 2016 campaign, and some of his tweets have fanned the flames. Fair enough, but the incivility, harassment, threats, and physical violence have been much more pervasive on the Dem side of the ledger. What is particularly troubling is that, as mentioned above, the mainstream, prominent leaders of the party have not only failed to condemn these actions, but, in some cases, have spurred the fringe on.

I have expressed my feelings on this before, but it bears repeating. In 2016 the Dems lost a presidential election that they never in their wildest dreams thought they would. They lost power and influence that they viewed as rightfully theirs and expected to keep. They couldn’t believe it. They have not been able to accept that the election validly reflected the will of the people. They are adamant that the election was “stolen” from them. They want their power and influence back and will stop at nothing to get it. They are not content to work within the system, i.e. campaign and win the next election.

Kavanaugh’s nomination was the crowning blow for them. They tried everything to prevent it, even trying to overturn the concept that one is innocent until proven guilty, which has been a basic tenant of law for some 1,000 years going back to medieval England.

I have to believe that this small vocal group does not represent the bulk of the Dem party. I know a lot of Dems, and, to my knowledge, not one of them has advocated or supported any of this behavior. So, why haven’t the moderate Dem leaders criticized this extremism? Are there any? Are they afraid they, themselves, will lose their next election or be attacked? As Senator Lindsey Graham said “they are willing to cede the rule of law to violence and mob rule.” I agree with “The Hill,” which has stated that “while every ideological group has an extreme fringe great trouble arises when the fanatical fringe conquers the center,” and that seems to be happening within the Dem Party.

In my view, this has backfired against the Dems, politically, as many of the independent and moderate voters have been turned off by these tactics. In addition, I maintain that these sentiments are being underreported in the polls, but they will be heard on the only poll that matters – Election Day.

THIS MONTH IN HISTORY – OCTOBER

October has had more than its share of significant historical events. Please see below:

10/1/1908 – The first Model T cars, designed by Henry Ford, went on sale.
10/1/1938 – German troops occupied the Sudetenland section of Czechoslovakia.
10/1/1949 – The Peoples’ Republic of China was founded with Mao Zedong as its leader.
10/1/1979 – The US formally turned the Canal Zone over to Panama.
10/2/1967 – Thurgood Marshall was sworn in as the first African American associate justice of the Supreme Court.
10/3/1863 – President Abraham Lincoln promulgated a proclamation designating the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving (later changed to the fourth Thursday).
10/3/1929 – The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was officially renamed Yugoslavia.
10/3/1932 – Iraq gained its independence from Great Britain.
10/3/1974 – Hall of Famer Frank Robinson became the first African American to manage a major league baseball club (the Cleveland Indians). Later, he also became the first AA manager to be fired.
10/3/1990 – East and West Germany were united as the Federal Republic of Germany ending 45 years of separation.
10/4/1830 – Belgium gained its independence from the Netherlands.
10/4/1957 – Russia ushered in the Space Age as it launched the first satellite, named Sputnik.
10/5/1908 – Bulgaria proclaimed its independence from the Ottoman Empire.
10/6/1927 – “The Jazz Singer,” the first “talkie,” opened in NYC.
10/6/1928 – Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek became the president of the Republic of China.
10/6/1973 – The “Yom Kippur War” commenced as Egypt and Syria launched surprise attacks against Israel, which was busy celebrating the most sacred of Jewish holidays.
10/6/1981 – Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was assassinated.
10/7/1985 – Palestinian terrorists seized the cruise ship, “Achille Lauro,” and threatened to blow it up if their demands were not met. They infamously murdered an elderly wheelchair-bound passenger, Leon Klinghoffer, by pushing his wheelchair off the deck into the sea.
10/8/1871 – The Great Fire of Chicago destroyed much of the city. Legend has it that Mrs. O’Leary’s cow started it by kicking over a lantern in her barn.
10/8/1918 – Sergeant Alvin York, arguably the US’s greatest war hero, single-handedly took out a German machine-gun battalion, killing and capturing nearly 150 enemy soldiers. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor and the French equivalent, the Croix de Guerre.
10/8/1998 – The House of Representatives voted to launch a formal impeachment inquiry of President Bill Clinton.
10/9/1962 – Uganda gained its independence from Great Britain.
10/10/1973 – Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned amid allegations of income tax evasion stemming from his tenure as Governor of Maryland.
10/11/1939 – Scientist Albert Einstein issued a warning to President FDR that Germany was seeking to develop an atomic weapon. His warning led the US to marshal its resources to develop its own atomic weapon (the Manhattan Project).
10/12/1492 – Christopher Columbus landed in present-day El Salvador, erroneously thinking he had found the elusive northwest passage to India.
10/12/1811 – Paraguay declared its independence from Spain.
10/12/1822 – Brazil declared its independence from Portugal.
10/13/1792 – George Washington laid the cornerstone of the White House.
10/13/1884 – Greenwich, England was established as the basic time zone from which all time is calculated.
10/14/1066 – The Normans defeat the English at the decisive Battle of Hastings, which resulted in the Norman’s conquest of England.
10/14/1912 – Former president Theodore Roosevelt was shot while campaigning for re-election, but he survived.
10/14/1947 – Test pilot Chuck Yeager became the first to break the sound barrier.
10/14/1964 – Martin Luther King became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
10/15/1991 – Following several days of contentious hearings regarding allegations of sexual harassment against a former aide, Anita Hill, the Senate confirmed Clarence Thomas as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
10/16/1701 – Yale University was founded in Killingworth, CT as the Collegiate School of Connecticut.
10/16/1793 – French Queen Marie Antoinette, known for her extravagance and contempt for her subjects (“Let them eat cake.”), was beheaded.
10/16/1853 – The Crimean War (Russia, England and France vs. the Ottoman Empire and parts of present-day Italy) began.
10/16/1995 – Louis Farrakhan led the Million Man March on Washington.
10/17/1777 – The Colonial Army defeated the British at Saratoga in what many historians believe was the turning point of the Revolutionary War.
10/17-25/1944 – The US succeeded in decimating the Japanese Navy at the Battle of Leyte Gulf, which was the largest naval battle in history.
10/18/1945 – The Nuremberg War Crimes Trial commenced with indictments against 24 former Nazi leaders.
10/19/1781 – English General Cornwallis surrendered to the Colonial Army at Yorktown, VA. marking the end of the Revolutionary War.
10/19/1987 – This day was dubbed “Black Monday” on Wall Street as stocks plunged 508 points or 22.6%, the largest one-day decline ever.
10/20/1818 – The US and Great Britain agreed to establish the US-Canadian border at the 49th parallel. The 5,525 mile border is the longest in the world between any two countries.
10/20/1944 – General Douglas MacArthur, who upon fleeing the Philippines in 1942 to escape the Japanese Army boldly asserted “I shall return,” returned as promised.
10/20/1968 – Jacqueline Kennedy, widow of President John Kennedy, married Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis.
10/21/1805 – The British Navy defeated the combined naval forces of France and Spain at the Battle of Trafalgar, obviating the threat of their invasion of England.
10/21/1879 – Thomas Edison successfully tested an incandescent lamp.
10/21/1915 – AT&T transmitted the first successful transatlantic radio voice message (Virginia to Paris).
10/22/1962 – President Kennedy warned Americans of the existence of Russian missiles on Cuba. The so-called “Cuban Missile Crisis” was probably the biggest threat of nuclear war during the Cold War.
10/23/1942 – The British Army led by General Bernard Montgomery launched a major offensive against the German Afrika Corps, led by General Erwin Rommel, at El Alamein, Egypt. Montgomery’s victory marked a major turning point in WWII.
10/24/1931 – Notorious Chicago gangster, Al Capone, was sentenced 11 years in prison for income tax evasion.
10/24/1945 – The UN was founded.
10/25/1854 – 673 British cavalrymen took on a Russian force in the Battle of Balaclava. This famous Crimean War battle was immortalized in a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson entitled “The Charge of the Light Brigade.”
10/26/1881 – In the infamous shoot-out at the OK Corral the Earp brothers and “Doc” Holliday defeated the Clanton Gang.
10/26/1825 – The Erie Canal, the first man-made waterway in America, opened for business.
10/27/1904 – The NYC subway system opened with a run from City Hall to West 145th Street as the first underground and underwater system in the world.
10/27/1978 – Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat shared the Nobel Peace Prize.
10/28/1636 – Harvard University, the oldest university in America, was founded in Cambridge, MA, funded by donations provided by John Harvard.
10/28/1846 – The ill-fated Donner Party departed Illinois for California.
10/28/1918 – The Republic of Czechoslovakia was founded by combining three provinces that were formerly part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire – Moravia, Slovakia, and Bohemia.
10/28/1919 – Prohibition commenced as Congress enacted the Volstead Act.
10/28/1962 – Russia agreed to halt the construction of offensive missile bases in Cuba and dismantle existing bases, thus ending the Cuban Missile Crisis.
10/29/1929 – The stock market “crashed” ushering in the Great Depression.
10/30/1938 – A radio broadcast of H. G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds” without commercial interruption caused widespread panic, as many people thought that Martians had actually invaded Earth.
10/31/1941 – The Mt. Rushmore monument was completed after 14 years.

BIRTHDAYS – Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi – 10/2/1869; Rutherford B. Hayes (19th President) – 10/4/1822; Frederic Remington (artist)- 10/4/1861; Chester A. Arthur (21st President) – 10/5/1830; Robert Goddard (“Father of the Space Age”) – 10/5/1882; George Westinghouse (engineer and inventor) – 10/6/1846; John Lennon – 10/9/1940; Eleanor Roosevelt – 10/11/1884; Mary Ludwig (aka Molly Pitcher (Revolutionary War heroine of the Battle of Monmouth, NJ) – 10/13/1754; William Penn (founded Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which is named for him) – 10/14/1644; Dwight (Ike) Eisenhower (WWII war hero and 34th President) – 10/14/1890; Lido Anthony (Lee) Iacocca (auto industry executive) – 10/15/1924; Noah Webster ( teacher and journalist who compiled first dictionaries) – 10/16/1758; Oscar Wilde (Irish playwright and poet) – 10/16/1854; David Ben Gurion (“Father of Israel) – 10/16/1888; Eugene O’Neill (playwright – “The Iceman Cometh”) – 10/16/1888; William O. Douglas (associate justice of the Supreme Court) – 10/16/1898; John Birks (Dizzy) Gillespie (jazz musician) – 10/21/1917; Pablo Picasso (artist) – 10/25/1881; Hillary Rodham Clinton – 10/26/1947; James Cook (English explorer) – 10/27/1728; Theodore Roosevelt (26th President) – 10/27/1858; Dr. Jonas Salk (polio vaccine) – 10/28/1914; Bill Gates (Microsoft) – 10/28/1955; John Adams (2nd President) – 10/30/1735; Emily Post (arbiter of etiquette) – 10/30/1872; Admiral Will (“Bull”) Halsey (WWII fleet commander) – 10/30/1882.

Kavanaugh Part IV

Whew! He made it. It was close, and it seemed in doubt for a time, but, ultimately, the Constitution worked.

In my view, regardless of one’s politics a reasonable person should concede that (1) Kavanaugh is qualified, and (2) President Trump was within his rights to appoint him. “Advise and consent” does not give the Senate veto power. It does not provide license to destroy Kavanaugh’s life in an effort to derail his appointment. Furthermore, a free press does not and should not translate to unfettered license to publish uncorroborated, irresponsible and inaccurate stories.

As I have said in previous blogs, it was not about Kavanaugh per se. It was about power. The Dems lost it, and they want it back, regardless of the cost. Kavanaugh was just standing in their way. As the mafiosos say in the movies, “it was not personal,just business.”

Dems are not happy to see Kavanaugh on the bench. He was not acceptable to them. They would have preferred a more progressive justice. I get it. But, as former President Obama gleefully informed us on several occasions, “elections have consequences.” In 2016 the people elected Donald Trump, and one of the consequences was that he gets to nominate Supreme Court justices when, as and if the opportunity arises. He has already nominated two, and, given the age of some of the justices, he may be nominating more prospectively, particularly if he wins re-election in 2020.

[Which presidents nominated the most justices, the least? See below for the answers.]

Some on the left have threatened to seek impeachment of Kavanaugh if they win back control of Congress. Not only is this a loser politically as few voters are in favor of it, but, moreover, a successful impeachment requires a 2/3 vote in the Senate. That is a very high hurdle, and the odds of that happening would be remote, even if the Dems were to have a majority. The Senate was even unable to convict the much hated and incompetent Andrew Johnson (although it did come close). Perhaps, these impeachment advocates have forgotten that minor detail (or are ignorant of it). So, I say, “be my guest.” Run on that issue, and lose again.

Conclusion

In my opinion, the unintended consequence of the Kavanaugh matter is that it has motivated the GOP base. The Dems were already motivated as, rightly or wrongly, they are incensed that Mr. Trump won the 2016 election and question the validity of the result. Many GOP voters had grown complacent, but after having seen firsthand on the news the extreme rhetoric and violent behavior of many Dems and their supporters, they have become very concerned what about would happen of the Dems were to regain power.

Typically the party in power loses seats in the off-year election, and that seemed likely to occur in 2018. But, since the hearings most polls show gains by the GOP in key Senate and House contests. A lot can happen between now and election day, but, as I write this, what looked like a blue wave has become a blue trickle, if not a toss up. It ought to be very interesting.

Quiz answers: George Washington nominated the most – 11. But that is somewhat misleading, since as the first president, he got to nominate the entire SC. The next most was William Howard Taft with six. Ronald Reagan appointed the most federal judges – 382. The only president to serve a full term and not get to nominate a single justice was….. Jimmy Carter.

BRETT KAVANAUGH PART III

After having observed, some might say, “being subjected to,” the Kavanaugh nomination process for several weeks, I have concluded that this entire fiasco could be summed up succinctly in one word. It is not just about Kavanaugh, himself. I submit, it’s much broader and more sinister than that.

What is the word? Care to guess? Is it sexual assault? No, that’s two words. Abortion? No, but close. Give up? It’s power. P O W E R! The “power elite,” which consists mostly, but, to be fair, not entirely, of Dems, had it; they expected to keep it in 2016; they lost it unexpectedly and, in their opinion, dishonestly; and they want it back. They want it back badly and at any and all costs.

The PE includes many politicians, government officials and members of the media. The media, which is supposed to be fair and impartial, has been an aider and abettor. Again, not all of the media. Probably, about 90%. Conspiracy theory? Perhaps, but in my opinion, not. In my view, their attitude is let us run the country; we know better than you; just be quiet and stay out of our way.

Their enemy is not just President Trump, although he is definitely the “poster boy.” It is anyone or anything that threatens their power. To them, this is out and out war, a struggle for survival. They will stop at nothing. If you oppose them, they will crush you. You will be nothing more or less than collateral damage, which is acceptable in war.

Healthy disagreement is not to be tolerated. If you do disagree with them, you are labeled a “racist,” a “misogynist,” a “Nazi” or worse, you are “evil.” You are, as Congresswoman Maxine Waters, has infamously intoned, to be harassed in restaurants or in the movies or on the street. Your children are fair game also. They can be intimidated and bullied at school. You can be shot at a charity softball game. It’s all acceptable, because you are “evil.” If you think I am wrong, or even exaggerating, simply turn on the network news, CNN or MSNBC any night, at random. According to many of them, the half of the country that supported Donald Trump consists of dumb,gun-toting rubes, with no ability to think independently. Watch and listen to the commentators. Then, tell me I am wrong or exaggerating.

Kavanaugh is most definitely a significant impediment to their return to power. Without rehashing my previous blogs, suffice to say no one who knows him personally has had anything bad to say about him. Quite the opposite; those who know him personally or professionally have been very positive. He has passed six FBI investigations. He was endorsed by the American Bar Association. Until these accusations surfaced, he had a spotless reputation, both personally and professionally.

However, he is considered to be right of center, whatever that means. His stance on abortion is unclear, but he is not a staunch enough advocate of it to satisfy some liberals. If confirmed, he figures to sit on the Supreme Court for decades and, in the viewpoint of the PE, tilt it the “wrong” way. Therefore, he must be stopped to paraphrase Chuck Schumer and others, by any means possible. Smear him, attack his wife and small children, destroy his professional reputation? All acceptable collateral damage. As the character, Michael Corleone, famously intoned in the movie, “The Godfather” – “it’s not personal, just business.”

But, as I said, this is not just about Kavanaugh. It is much broader than that. If you have been watching and paying attention to the news for the last two years, you know this. For example:

1. Since the day after Election Day we have been inundated with conspiracy theories designed to impugn the validity of the result, none of which has been proven so far.
2. Trump colluded with the Russians.
3. The Russians hacked our computers.
4. Trump is unstable, a maniac, will lead us to nuclear war, will bomb North Korea, will bomb Iran, will bomb Russia, is a misogynist, a racist, anti-Muslim, anti immigrant. Did I leave anything out?
5. The whole entire mess involving certain FBI senior officials who tried to undermine and delegitimize first Trump’s candidacy, then his administration.
6. The biased news reporting by most media outlets.
6. The plethora of “anonymous sources” news stories.
7. “Protestors,” such as Antifa, who are really no more than thugs,funded by God knows whom, violently disrupting gatherings of those with whom they disagree depriving them of their constitutional right to lawful assembly and free speech.
8. The movement to eliminate the electoral college. If you know your history, you know that the Founding Fathers put it there for a reason, which is just as valid today as it was then.
9. Worst of all is the espousal by many, including some elected officials, that the accused is no longer innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Rather, the accused is required to prove his innocence. What?! When was the constitution amended to say that?

CONCLUSION

I don’t have the space to recount everything, in detail. My point is that as horrific and absurd as the Kavanaugh nomination process has been, it is not an isolated incident, and it should be viewed as one part of a major offensive by the PE. The goal is to overturn the will of the people resulting from the last election.

In a previous blog I posited that I saw parallels between the Kavanaugh hearings and the Salem “witch trials” of the late 17th century and the McCarthy hearings of the early 1950s. With that in mind, I would like to paraphrase Joseph Welch, counsel for the Army, which was then being subjected to a McCarthy “witch hunt,” and ask the Dems on the Judiciary Committee the same question he asked McCarthy, “[h]ave you left no sense of decency?” By the way, do we really have to listen to moral lectures from Corey Booker, an admitted rapist, and Richard Blumenthal, a serial liar?

I realize that many of you will disagree strongly with everything I’ve said here. That’s okay. We are allowed to disagree. It’s the American way. Some of my oldest, best and dearest friends disagree with most of my political opinions. We debate constantly, but peacefully and respectfully. Most importantly, we remain close friends. All Americans should draw the line at slander, harassment, and violence. A difference of opinion does not make one “evil.”

I ask that you view news reports with a more discerning eye, maybe even rely on more than one news source. Don’t accept things at face value. Be aware, be careful. Many have fought and died for the freedoms we often take for granted. Let’s not give them away.

BRETT KAVANAUGH PART II

In my previous blog on this matter I expressed the opinion that we should withhold judgment until after both parties had testified, under oath, before the Senate Judiciary committee. Yesterday, as you know, both parties did so. (Apparently, Dr. Ford overcame her fear of flying, at least temporarily.)

In my opinion, both parties comported themselves very well. Dr. Ford appeared to be sincere in her belief that Mr. Kavanaugh had assaulted her 36 years ago. Moreover, she presented a reasonable amount of detail to support her recollection. However, once again, she was not able to present any corroborating testimony.

On the other hand, Mr. Kavanaugh “knocked it out of the park.” For example:

1. His denial was strong and unequivocal. He firmly and emotionally declared “I never sexually assaulted anyone, not in high school, not in college, not ever.”
2. Throughout his testimony, he demonstrated a proper and appropriate balance between anger, indignation and emotion. For example, he showed anger when asserted that the Dems had been “lying in wait” with Dr. Ford’s allegations in the event that they “failed to take me out on the merits.” He became emotional at various times when discussing the toll on his family, especially his young daughters, and his friends, including death threats.
3. He was able to produce a calendar/diary, that showed, in reasonable detail, his actions and associations during the period in question and beyond. It demonstrated he spent virtually all his free time either hanging out with his family or a close circle of friends, studying, or “working out” for football or basketball. All in all, the calendar/diary portrayed a typical high school student’s life – school, sports, and hanging out. (Yes, he drank beer with his friends, sometimes to excess. So what? Who hasn’t? As he said, if we were to prosecute everyone who had done that, we would be truly in a “bad place.”) This was just the type of defense I had alluded to in my previous blog.
3. He produced dozens of testimonials from female friends and acquaintances from high school, college and his professional life stating emphatically he had not and would not do what Dr. Ford and others had accused him of doing. Many of them were in attendance. How many of us could have put together such a group of friends and acquaintances to provide that degree of support? Not many.
4. His response to the various questions about whether he would be amenable to another FBI investigation was appropriate. Despite the fact that the FBI has already investigated him six times he said he would abide by whatever the Committee decided. It was obvious to any objective person that such an investigation would be another transparent delaying tactic and superfluous.

The foregoing is not, in any way, meant to question, denigrate or belittle Dr. Ford or her testimony. I believe she sincerely believes she was assaulted by someone, somewhere, at some time. But, I don’t believe it was by Kavanaugh. Perhaps, she has been manipulated, or at least influenced, by outside parties with an agenda. I respect and admire her courage in testifying before the entire nation, but she has not been able to corroborate her story while Kavanaugh has produced strong corroboration (the calendar/diary and the testimonials) that he is innocent, maybe not enough for a court of law, but certainly in the court of opinion and common sense. He has come as close as one can to proving a negative, which is an unreasonably high bar.

CONCLUSION

Due to the foregoing, there is no doubt in my mind that Kavanaugh’s nomination should be approved. The process should be moved forward expeditiously.

There is a much larger point that needs to be addressed here, and that is, what does this charade demonstrate about us as a society? It is one thing to oppose a person or a policy. That is a basic tenant of our political system. What has happened here is quite another. Liberal Democrats and the left-leaning media have attempted to and to a large degree have aided and abetted destroying a man’s life and reputation, not to mention his family’s. One committee member went so far as to characterize Kavanaugh as “evil.” How irresponsible is that! It’s acceptable to say you disagree with someone, politically, but to label him as “evil” brings it to another level. It is totally unacceptable, especially for an elected official.

Kavanaugh gave several examples of this assault. Many of them were despicable, and I do not choose to repeat them all here. My favorite quote was when denoted that the Dems on the Committee have changed their “advise and consent” responsibilities to “search and destroy.” To me, that was “right on.” They were not able to derail his nomination based on his record or his qualifications, so they moved on to other, less savory methods.

His story about his younger daughter wanting to pray for Dr. Ford was very emotional. Most people would have been “broken” by this assault. Kavanaugh’s fortitude to stand up to it and virtually refute is, to me, nothing short of amazing.

I may not agree with everything Senator Lindsay Graham espouses politically, but, yesterday, he hit the nail on the head when he lectured his colleagues and, by extention much of the liberal press and their supporters. He said, in part,: “What you want to do is destroy this guy’s life and hold this seat open. I would never do [to liberal-minded nominees] what you have done to this guy. This is the most unethical sham I’ve seen in politics.” [Note: Graham was referring to his having voted for liberal Justices Kagan and Sotomayor.]

From the start, we have all known that the Dems’ endgame was to derail Kavanaugh’s nomination and prevent the Supreme Court from what they perceived would be a conservative tilt. The opposition has pulled out all the stops – delay, slander, innuendo, and putting forth the insane notion that one should be judged “guilty” unless they can “prove” their innocence. The liberal Dems and their supporters have shown the voters that political expedience “trumps” all. Both sides have been guilty of political stunts in the past, but to me, this one, destroying a man’s life and reputation, went too far. Today, I would be ashamed to be a Democrat (if I were, that is).

CNN and ABC have further enhanced their reputations as unabashed purveyors of “fake news.” CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin, ABC’s Joy Behar and others have even played that old standby, the race card, even though all those involved are white, referring to the GOP senators on the committee derisively as “old white men.” What does that even mean? As an “old white man,” myself, I would like to know. Are we all racist, misogynists, senile, or a combination of all three?

I think and hope that most of America was as appalled by this sham as I was. I fear the Dems have opened a “Pandora’s box” of hate and divisiveness that will carry forward for years. I hope not. Presently, we have the best political system the world has ever seen, and I, for one, would like to keep it.

I say to all you frustrated liberals out there, IF YOU DON’T LIKE WHAT’S HAPPENING, FOR GOD’S SAKE, WORK WITHIN THE SYSTEM. WIN AN ELECTION.

I welcome feedback. Let me know what you think about this situation.

THIS MONTH IN HISTORY – SEPTEMBER

The following historically-significant events have occurred during the month of September:

9/1/1939 – The Germans invaded Poland marking the beginning of WWII.
9/1/1983 – A Russian fighter jet shot down a Korean civilian airliner that had supposedly strayed off course during a scheduled flight from NY to Seoul.
9/2/1666 – The Great Fire of London began. It destroyed over 13,000 houses, although it is believed that only six lives were lost.
9/2/1789 – Congress established the Department of the Treasury as the third cabinet department.
9/2/1864 – General Sherman captured Atlanta.
9/2/1945 – President Truman declared VJ Day.
9/2/1963 – Alabama Governor George Wallace dispatched state troopers to prevent the integration of Tuskegee High School.
9/3/1783 – Representatives of England and the American colonies signed the Treaty of Paris bringing a formal ending to the Revolutionary War.
9/3/1833 – The “New York Sun” debuted, as the first newspaper to be “hawked” by boys on the sidewalk.
9/4/1609 – Henry Hudson discovered the island of Manhattan.
9/4/1781 – Felipe de Neve founded El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles (in English, The Town of the Queen of the Angels), or as it is more commonly known, the City of Los Angeles.
9/4/1886 – Geronimo, the last and, perhaps, the most famous, Indian chief, was captured.
9/5/1774 – The First Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia.
9/5-6/1972 – Terrorists belonging to the Black September faction of the PLA murdered eleven members of the Israeli Olympic Team in Munich.
9/5/1997 – “Mother Teresa” died at age 87.
9/8/1565 – Spain founded the first settlement in America in St. Augustine, FL.
9/9/1776 – The Continental Congress officially changed the name of the “United Colonies” to the “United States.”
9/9/1976 – Chairman Mao Zedong, Communist China’s longtime leader, died.
9/11/2001 – The worst terrorist attack in US history ushered in the War on Terror, which is ongoing. Terrorists hijacked four jumbo jets. Two were flown into the WTC, causing both towers to collapse; one crashed into the Pentagon; and the 4th missed its target (the White House or the Capitol) due to the heroism of some of the passengers on board. Nearly 2,800, mostly civilians, were killed and thousands of first responders have since died or suffered health problems directly related to the attack.
9/12/1953 – Future US President John F. Kennedy married Jacqueline Bouvier in Newport, RI.
9/13/1788 – The US Congress chose NY as the capital.
9/13/1814 – Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner while observing the Battle of Fort McHenry from a British prisoner ship in Baltimore harbor.
9/14/1901 – President William McKinley died from gunshot wounds suffered during an assassination attempt eight days previously.
9/15/1935 – The Nazi Germany government enacted the Nuremburg Laws, which deprived German Jews of their citizenship.
9/16/1620 – The “Mayflower,” with only 102 passengers and a few crew members, departed England for its famous voyage to the New World.
9/16/1908 – William Durant founded General Motors in Flint, MI.
9/17/1789 – The Constitutional Convention approved the US constitution.
9/17/1862 – The Union Army defeated the Confederate Army at Antietam in the bloodiest battle in US military history as approximately 26,000 soldiers died on both sides.
9/18/1947 – The air force was established as a separate branch of the military.
9/19/1893 – New Zealand became the first country to approve women’s suffrage.
9/20/1873 – The NYSE closed for the first time due to the Panic of 1873.
9/20/1973 -Billie Jean King defeated Bobby Riggs in the much-ballyhooed “Battle of the Sexes.”
9/22/1776 – The British executed Nathan Hale as a spy for the colonials who famously intoned “I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country.”
9/22/1862 – President Abraham Lincoln issued the famous Emancipation Proclamation.
9/23/1952 – Vice Presidential candidate Richard Nixon delivered the famous “Checkers” Speech before a national tv and radio audience.
9/24/1957 – President Eisenhower deployed the National Guard to enforce racial integration in Little Rock, AK.
9/25/1513 – Spanish explorer Vasco de Balboa discovered the Pacific Ocean.
9/25/1789 – Congress proposed 12 amendments to the US constitution of which ten were eventually ratified as the Bill of Rights.
9/26/1960 – Senator Kennedy and Vice President Nixon participated in the first televised presidential election debate.
9/27/1964 – The Warren commission issued its report that concluded a lone gunman had assassinated President Kennedy.
9/28/1542 – Portuguese explorer Juan Cabrillo discovered California.
9/28/1995 – Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO chief Yasser Arafat signed an agreement granting Palestinian self-rule of the West Bank.
9/29/1789 – Congress created the US Army, which consisted of 1,000 soldiers.
9/29/1829 – Britain’s Parliament authorized London’s Metropolitan Police Force. They were nicknamed “Bobbies” after Home Secretary Robert Peel, who was the driving force behind the idea.
9/29-30/1941 – Nazi soldiers perpetrated the Babi Yar massacre at which in excess of 33,000 Jews were murdered.
9/30/1938 – British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain returned to England brandishing an agreement with Nazi Germany that he asserted guaranteed “peace in our time.”
9/30/1949 – The Berlin airlift concluded after it had successfully thwarted Soviet attempts to blockade West Berlin.

BIRTHDAYS – Rocky Marciano, undefeated heavyweight boxing champion,9/1/1923; Christa McAuliffe (the first “ordinary” citizen in space), 9/2/1948; Jesse James, celebrated outlaw, 9/5/1847; Darryl Zanuck, movie mogul, 9/5/1902; Marquis de Lafayette, Revolutionary War hero, 9/6/1757; Queen Elizabeth I, 9/7/1533; Ferdinand Marcos, 9/11/1917; James Cleveland (“Jesse”) Owens, winner of four gold medals in 1936 Olympics, 9/12/1913; Walter Reed, 9/13/1851; General John J. Pershing, WWI commanding general, 9/13/1860; James Fenimore Cooper, authored “Last of the Mohicans,” 9/15/1789; William Howard Taft (27th US President), 9/15/1857; Agatha Christie, renowned mystery writer, 9/15/1890; John Marshall, first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, 9/24/1755; F. Scott Fitzgerald, author, 9/24/1896; George Gershwin, composer, 9/26/1898; Samuel Adams, Revolutionary War leader, 9/27/1722; Enrico Fermi, nuclear physicist, 9/29/1901; Truman Capote, authored “In Cold Blood,” 9/30/1924.

BRETT KAVANAUGH AND THE NEW NORMAL FOR DUE PROCESS

I didn’t, want to post a blog on this topic until after the Senate voted, as it is very fluid and not all the facts have come out, but I find I can no longer contain myself. The absurdity has been overwhelming. This is one of those times where I wonder whether I am living in the US, where the constitution says one is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, or under the thumb of some totalitarian regime where those in power decide guilt or innocence by fiat.

Folks, so far, what we have here is a classic “he said, she said.” The facts have not been proven one way or the other. In fact, as some pundits such as the “esteemed” senators from Hawaii and NY may have forgotten, the constitution places the burden of proof on the accuser, not the accused. Hawaii Senator Mazie Hirono has stated publicly, on several occasions, that in situations of alleged sexual assault women are to be believed and men are not simply because of their respective genders. The level of idiocy and irresponsibility of this statement from an elected official simply boggles my mind.

How can any fair-minded person not conclude that this whole farce is politically motivated. I don’t want to try this case in social media, but what is happening is surreal. Just consider:

1. Dr. Ford claims Kavanaugh assaulted her some 35 years ago at a party while both were in high school. She is murky on most details, such as the exact date, the exact location, and who else may have been in the room. If we knew the exact date, perhaps he could prove he was sick, visiting grandma, or on a family vacation. Nevertheless, she is ”sure” that Kavanaugh was her attacker. She did not tell anyone at the time, including her best friend, nor report the incident to the authorities until now.

2. Kavanaugh denies he did it, and his friend who was supposedly in the room also does not recall the incident. The Senate Judiciary committee has been trying to arrange a hearing with Ford to assess the veracity of her accusations. It has not been easy as her attorneys have demanded several conditions, some of which are reasonable and some of which are not. As I write this, the hearing is scheduled for Thursday. We’ll see if it comes to pass and, if so, what it reveals.

3. Over the weekend, a second woman suddenly “remembered” she was sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh while both were students at Yale. Her account is also uncorroborated and vague on the details, yet, the “New Yorker” saw fit to publish it anyway. Kavanaugh categorically denied this accusation as well.

4. Our favorite porn lawyer, Michael Avenatti, not wanting to be left out, claims he has a client who was “gang raped” at a party in which Kavanaugh was present. This account is also uncorroborated, and given Avenatti’s track record its veracity is highly doubtful.

Dems expect Kavanaugh to prove he didn’t do something without knowing precisely when or where it actually occurred. Someone should tell them that that is not how our system of jurisprudence works. The burden of proof is on the accuser, not the accused.

The shame of it is that Ford wanted to remain anonymous. But, when her anonymous accusations were not effective she was “outed.” Who did it? We don,t know. Likely, it was either Senator Feinstein, someone on her staff or another Dem senator with access to the information. No matter. Clearly, it was a political ploy to stop, or at least delay, Kavanaugh’s nomination.

If you doubt this is all politically motivated, why haven’t the same defenders of women’s rights been screaming for an investigation of Keith Ellison? A woman has accused him of rape just last year. Yet, he is running for Minnesota attorney general. Oh, but he’s a Democrat, and Kavanaugh is a Republican who was nominated by the despised Donald Trump. I get it.

Incidentally, does anyone else see the irony of us now taking morality lessons from:

1, Hillary Clinton, who has, in the past, denigrated, insulted, and belittled women who had the temerity to accuse her husband of sexual misconduct, rape, sexual assault and harassment.

2. “Handsy” Joe Biden, who is renown for his overly friendly “hands-on” approach to women. It will be interesting to see how the mainstream media investigates and reports on him if, as I expect, he declares his candidacy for president.

3. Democrats, in general, who defended and supported Ted Kennedy who actually killed a woman with whom he may or may not have been having a extramarital affair.

Yes, the irony is delicious.

The Dems keep moving the goal posts. First, they wanted the FBI to investigate. Investigate what? Ford has refused to talk on the record. Plus, Kavanaugh, as a sitting federal judge, has already been investigated by the FBI some six times. Then, they wanted the committee to let Ford testify. When the committee acquiesced they said oh, it must be in private. Then, oh, she doesn’t want to fly to DC. Then she doesn’t want Kavanaugh present. As everyone knows, the constitution, that pesky document, guarantees the accused the right to face his or her accuser. (As anyone who has watched “Law and Order” knows, this right extends to those accused of the most heinous crimes, including sex crimes.)

Besides, she doesn’t have to fly to DC. Has anyone ever heard of video conferencing?

CONCLUSION

I hate to say it, but, to me, this process is reminiscent of the Salem witch trials of the late 17th century or the McCarthy hearings of the 1950s. If you don’t know what I mean, perhaps you should, as Casey Stengel was fond of saying, look it up.

I predict that this sham will be exposed for the desperate politically motivated ploy that it is. People, Kavanaugh has no intention of personally overturning Roe, which after 40+ years on the books is well-settled law. Kavanaugh has demonstrated he is emanantly qualified, and hopefully, he will be confirmed and soon.

One final point. If you think Kavanaugh is guilty just because he was accused and before he has been convicted in a court of law, consider how you would feel if someone accused you or your husband, your son, or your brother of something 35 years ago in high school or even in grade school.

IRVING BERLIN

In some ways, Irving Berlin’s life epitomized what America is all about. His story was literally, a “rags to riches” saga. To describe Berlin as a songwriter would be akin to describing Babe Ruth as a “baseball player” or Michael Jordan as a “basketball player.” Technically true, but it doesn’t do him justice. In the words of Walter Cronkite (“Uncle Walter”) Berlin “helped write the story of this country, capturing the best of who we are and the dreams that shape our lives.” Strong words, but read on and see if you don’t agree.

Israel Bellin was born on May 23,1888 somewhere in Russia. He was one of eight children. His father was a cantor in a local synagogue. (His precise birthplace is not known for sure. It could have been in a small, nondescript village in present-day Belarus, or, perhaps, somewhere in Siberia.) According to Berlin’s biographer, Laurence Bergreen, Berlin, himself, didn’t know. By his own admission, the only memory he had of the first five years of his life was of “lying on a blanket on the side of the road watching his house burn to the ground,” presumably as the result of one of the many pogroms that were all too frequent at that time throughout eastern Europe.

When Israel was five his father brought the Bellin family to America. They settled in NYC on the Lower Eastside. At some point, Bellin became Berlin, and Israel became Irving.

As was typical for immigrant families of that era, everyone worked to provide for the family. For example, his father, unable to find employment as a cantor, worked in a kosher meat market and gave Hebrew lessons; his mother became a midwife; his sisters worked in a cigar factory, wrapping cigars; and one of his brothers worked in a shirt factory. Beginning at the age of eight, Irving “hawked” newspapers. Everyone, turned over all of their earnings to the mother, who would ceremoniously collect the coins in her apron. Sadly, Irving’s father died when Irving was only 13, which greatly exacerbated the family’s financial woes.

One of the areas in which Berlin sold his newspapers was the Bowery. At that time, the Bowery was a rather unsavory section of lower Manhattan known for its many saloons and restaurants. Berlin would often hear music and songs emanating from these establishments, and he began to sing these songs while working. Sometimes, listeners would toss him a coin or two, which he used to supplement his oncome. His big ambition was to become a singing waiter in one those establishments.

At the age of 14 Berlin decided to leave home and strike out on his own. He lived in the Bowery in quarters he later described as “Dickensian in their meanness, filth and insensitivity to ordinary human beings.” At age 18 Berlin did, in fact, land a job as a singing waiter at a café in Chinatown. In his spare time, he wrote songs and taught himself to play the piano. During this time, one of his friends was another struggling, up and comer, named George M. Cohan, who eventually became a famous songwriter and performer in Vaudeville and on Broadway (“Yankee Doodle Boy,” “Over There”). Cohan would refer to him as “Irvie.”

For you trivia buffs, the first song Berlin sold was “Marie from Sunny Italy” for which he earned a whopping 33 cents in royalties. His first big success was “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” (1911). It became an international hit and ushered in a dance craze. After that, the hits came with regularity – one after the other.

During his long career, Berlin wrote some 1,500 songs, many of which have become household tunes. When I name some of them, even casual music fans will think “Oh yeah, I know that one. He wrote it?”

Perhaps, the best known and most enduring ones include “God Bless America,” “White Christmas,” “Blue Skies,” “Easter Parade,” “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” and “Puttin’ on the Ritz.” “God Bless America” has become a virtual second national anthem. Berlin wrote it in 1938 to mark the 20th anniversary of Armistice Day, as the end of WW1 was then called. The most famous version was performed by Kate Smith and became the unofficial “good luck” anthem at Philadelphia Flyers’ hockey games. Berlin’s daughter has disclosed that the song was “very personal” for Berlin. He had written it as a tribute to America for taking in a penniless immigrant and “allowing” him to become a successful songwriter.

Berlin won the Academy Award for “White Christmas,” and the Bing Crosby version has sold in excess of 50 million copies, the most of any record. At the ceremony, Berlin was the presenter for his own Oscar, the only time that has ever occurred.

He also wrote the score for some 20 Broadway shows, among them “Annie Get Your Gun,” “Ziegfeld Follies,” “Top Hat,” and “This is the Army.” Film scores include such as “Top Hat,” featuring Fred Astaire (a then little-known performer) and Ginger Rogers, “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” and Alexander’s Ragtime Band.” ASCAP’s records reveal that 25 of Berlin’s songs reached the “top of the charts.” Some of the famous singers that have recorded and re-recorded his works are Kate Smith, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Diana Ross, Barbra Streisand, and Doris Day.

Berlin’s personal life was a mixed bag. His first wife, Dorothy Goetz, died on their honeymoon from typhoid fever. His second marriage to the former Ellin Mackay, however, lasted some 60 years and produced four children. They had to elope, since Ellin’s father, who was one of the richest and most powerful men in the world, strongly disapproved of Berlin (disparaging him as merely a singing waiter) and actually disowned his daughter over the marriage. Incidentally, it did not end well for the elder Mackay. He lost most of his money in the Great Depression.

CONCLUSION

Berlin got the last laugh on his father-in-law. He went on to become arguably the most famous, successful and influential songwriter of the 20th Century. For example:

1. Composer George Gershwin characterized him as “the greatest songwriter that has ever lived.”

2. Composer Jerome Kern went even further stating Berlin has no place in American music. [H]e is American music.”

3. In his obituary “The New York Times” played him the ultimate tribute, writing “Irving Berlin set the tone and tempo for the tunes America played and sang and danced to for much of the 20th century.”

4. In addition to the one aforementioned Oscar, Berlin was nominated for seven others. He also won a “Tony,” a “Grammy,” and many other awards.

5. He has a “star” on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Berlin died on September 22, 1989 at the age of 101. The little boy who did not even know where he was born, whose only childhood memory was of watching helplessly while his family’s home burned to the ground, who came to America with nothing but his wits, his talent, and his ambition, had become an enduring icon. He is gone, but his work will last forever.

PS: For those of you who may be interested in learning more about Irving Berlin I recommend the one-man show about his life currently playing at the 59th Street theatre starring Hershey Felder. You will enjoy it, and you will leave humming one of Berlin’s tunes.