Friday, December 20, 2019

Bronx County Chorus Concert 12/8/19

Here was the program for the concert

Here are some pictures taken by Che'Francois Photography.

This is a picture of me singing "You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch."  I tried to sing it from the perspective of the Grinch, as if he were talking to himself

Here are some pictures of me singing with the choir

Here is a picture of the whole chorus

Here is a FB page with more information about the photographer 


I had 3 solos. Two were in our Messiah rendition in the first half.  I sang  "Then Shall the Eyes of the Blind be opened" and the alto part of "He Shall Feed His Flock Like a Shepherd."  The second was in our Hollywood portion in the second half.  I sang "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch."


Here are some screen shots from the Bronx County Chorus instagram page.  They"re @bronx_county_chorus on Instagram.  These show me rehearsing for my Grinch solo. I like these childrens' comic book villain roles.  I blogged about that before About my Fascination with Villain Roles These pictures were taken by Denise Carrier Wharton.


My son was there and took a photo and two videos.

My Messiah solos

Grinch solo 

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

articles about plastic degrading

I first noticed that plastics degrade when I put a bunch of hair restraining devices into a large glass jar., then got my hair cut.  When I went back to look at the devices, I opened the jar and smelled a strong chemical smell -- clearly outgassing from the plastics.

This idea that plastics last forever is crazy.

To the reader: some of these blogs are for my own future reference.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Tulsi disinformation

Here's some information about the rumors that Tulsi is somehow supported by the Russians

here's a video that shows the kind of statistical distortions that go into alleging that Tulsi has Russian backing

Source of Russia hacking rumors

discussion of disinformation regarding Tulsi's missed votes

I'm not a big fan of Jimmy Dore, but he has some insightful comments about how main stream media distorted Tulsi's anti-war positions.

Impeachment related data

Kavanaugh wrote that hiding evidence from Congress is impeachable

2016 Irish article stating that the EU wanted Shokin removed

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Endless war & Tulsi

As usual, I’m putting this up when my thoughts aren’t entirely organized yet. This needs to be edited. I’m trying to organize my thoughts in response to some of the provocative statements that Tulsi has been making recently and evaluating whether I agree with her or want to continue supporting her, in view of the way she expresses herself.

Some of what Tulsi says sounds so strident.  Sometimes I cringe.  Yet, when I look at it in detail, I see that she's right -- even though she's not very measured in how she says it.

First, I tried making a list of endless war examples, regime change war examples -- or CIA regime change

  • overthrowing a popular government in Iran, to install a shah — a shah, i.e. a king, when we fought our revolution back in the 18th century to get rid of kings — oh, and, surprise, then people hate us
  • lengthy war in Vietnam out of fear that they would elect a communist government — dropping napalm & agent orange (NB chemical weapons), killing millions of civilians — basically trying to prevent elections
  • overthrowing an 84 year old constitutional democracy in Chile to install a brutal dictator, Pinochet, again out of fear of an elected communist — oh, but we should bomb the “brutal dictator” in Syria.  
  • taking the side of the mujahideen in Afghanistan.  These people were fighting the Russians because they were right wing religious bigots who wanted, for instance, to keep girls out of school.  Many of those people who we were helping went on to become the Taliban.  The Russians were the good guys there, trying to bring civilization to savages — but we took the attitude that anyone who opposed the Russians must be our friends — NOT
  • taking the side of Kuwait against Iraq when, at the time, Iraq was a country where women had better status than in Kuwait. I don’t think we should ever defend a country that does not guarantee civil rights to women.
  • Invading Iraq and creating a state of violent anarchy there that is still not entirely resolved, because we wanted to get rid of Saddam Hussein, who, as it turned out, did not have nuclear weapons. In any case, who are we, the only country who has ever used nuclear weapons, to say that others cannot have them?  And why invade Iraq for allegedly having them, when Pakistan already has them and we don’t invade Pakistan?
  • Why do we keep supporting Pakistan when they harbor terrorists — including Osama bin Laden.  Why, historically, did we not support India, the world’s largest democracy? Merely, because they had good relations with Russia? Stupid.
  • Killing Gaddafi and instituting a state of violent anarchy in Libya — a state that persists today and is a fertile breeding ground for terrorists.
  • Why aren’t we recognizing that these so called “brutal dictators” in the Muslim world are actually trying to improve the lot of women and give their countries more secular mores, while the so-called “freedom fighters” are really religious fanatics?
  • Professor Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia alleges that we started the current war in Syria.  In any case, who are we to judge them if they did use chemical weapons?  We used chemical weapons as well, in Viet Nam. In any case, starting or escalating a war causes more suffering to the people of Syria than whatever the leader was doing.  We’ve contributed to making that country virtually uninhabitable.  Yet, we are not prepared to take in the refugees who have fled the state of war there.
  • And then Trump continues to support Saudi Arabia against Yemen -- and sends our troops to help them there -- a country where women are effectively still property.

I have to conclude that Tulsi is right in saying that we’ve had a failed foreign policy for a long time, under the supervision of both Democratic and Republican parties. 

The photo that was widely circulated of Bush holding hands with the Saudi king is a telling example. We have been unduly influenced by these religious fanatics, out of fear of disadvantage to US oil companies who operate in Arab countries. She’s right to demand that we investigate the influence of Saudi Arabia on US foreign policy.  It does seem to be true that we are often mercenaries for Saudi Arabia out of fear of loss of oil or oil money.  Being mercenaries is undesirable, but still the word "pimping" seems unduly ugly.

I guess it’s understandable, too, how confrontational she is with Hillary. After all, she feels that Hillary contributed to the Democratic Party undermining Bernie. She was warned that Hillary would take revenge on her later. Then it does appear that Hillary is contributing to spreading these Internet rumors about Tulsi being somehow a Russian asset, supported by Russian bots, or repeating "Russian talking points."  Still the words "personification of rot," seem too strong, and to undermine the hard work that Hillary has done in the right direction.

Miscellaneous thoughts:

I do sometimes wonder about why Putin was so anxious to avoid Hillary as president.  Some of my friends think it's just because she was competent and he wants to destroy us. I still think that he read her as likely to actually go to war over Crimea.  Contrary to Trump's allegation that she lacks stamina [of course, he's the one who lacks stamina, as exemplified by $115 million of golf vacations to date], she's actually quite the pit bull, who never lets go or shows weakness. Query: what if she had been elected and gone to war over Crimea?  Would we better off than we are today?  Clearly not. 

I was an exchange student in Russia.  I visited the mass graves where 1/3 of the population of Leningrad was buried, who starved to death during the Nazi blockade -- and the city never surrendered.  20 million Russians died in WWII, but they pushed Hitler back, blocking bullets with their bodies. When the USA entered the war, they had already cleared Hitler out of Eastern Europe and had him on the run.  We were Johnny come latelies. Russians never give up.  They will fight to the death.  They will never surrender.  It will be total war.

Republicans have asserted that communism fell, because of our economic pressure. That's just totally untrue.  The Soviet Union opened up to the west, because Ronald Reagan charmed them.  They don't give in to economic pressure.  They just don't.  They'd rather starve.


Where is the open discussion of what would happen if we did lose the ability to profit from Arab oil?  Are the effects so bad that it justifies insane foreign policies?  This discussion has been occurring behind closed doors.

And where are these alleged "Russian talking points" that Tulsi is accused of copying?  What if the Russians have been pointing out that our foreign policy is insane?  Does that mean that we should continue it?

BTW, our historical terror of elected communists was totally misplaced. The communist governments that we disliked -- USSR & PRC -- were not elected, and not responsive to the people.


It's interesting that Tulsi seems to garner so much crossover support from Republicans.  It's certainly not due to her politics.  She's fairly socialist, which we normally don't associate with Republicans.

So after all this rambling, I haven't given up on Tulsi yet. 

#tulsi2020 #whytulsi #tulsigabbard

Sunday, November 17, 2019

If I were to run for state office -- platform

 I’ve been fantasizing about running for state office -- not that I'm really likely to do that.

That leads me to thinking about laws that I want to have changed. It’s funny when you read campaign literature they seldom have specific proposals for laws they want to have changed. They mostly emphasize that they’re cute and smart and have lots of wonderful experience. I have lots of laws that I want to have changed.  Is this bad?

This is going to be a long list. I’ll probably bore you to tears. This is probably why I would never be elected.

Aid in dying

I am in remission from cancer. Under the right circumstances I want to have this option. I’m not appreciating those people who want me to stay alive during a long, torturous, painful death.

I know from having watched my father that morphine is no solution. In older people, it causes painful constipation and distressing hallucinations. Morphine is addictive for some people, but very unpleasant for others. I had it after surgery, and I hated it. So did my father. I personally don’t like having cloudy thinking.


There is an epidemic of tailgating on our highways. This is very dangerous. There’s virtually no enforcement. It’s particularly dangerous when it’s a semi truck tailgating a passenger vehicle.

I want to see penalties for tailgating upgraded. Especially if a semi truck tailgates a passenger vehicle -- trying to force the passenger vehicle to pull over so that the Semi truck can exceed the speed limit. That should be an offense that mandates prison time. It’s too dangerous

I’d like to see more cameras on the road, also, to issue tickets to tailgaters.

Election security

I am appalled by the ongoing revelations regarding the vulnerability of computer systems that are used for voting and voter registration. Want to go back to all paper systems for voting and voter registration. It will take more time and be more expensive, and it may be vulnerable to small scale corruption, but it will be impenetrable to foreign nation states. I read that the Netherlands has adopted this approach.

Plurality take all  voting

The system is very undemocratic. It allows people to be elected, when the majority of voters voted against them.

Moreover, it basically forces voters to choose based on negative criteria.  In other words, they have to vote for the strongest candidate opposing the one they hate most. For instance people would vote for Hillary, even if they didn’t like her very much, because they hated Trump, and Hillary seemed to be the strongest candidate running against Trump. If people didn’t have this motivation on the first round of voting, they could vote for some other candidate.

Eliminating plurality takes all voting can have several forms. One form is the jungle primary, which has been adopted by several states.  Jungle primaries resembles the run off system that they have in France. Another possibility is ranked choice voting, which has recently been adopted in New York City, and was previously adopted in Maine. This saves the expense of having a runoff election. I feel both systems have some advantages, though I prefer the former.

In the 2016 presidential election, in 12 out of 13 swing states, there was no majority winner. Allowing someone to win, who does not have a majority of the votes, is not democratic.

Entrapment of young people

There has been a long tradition of convicting suspected drug users and dealers by entrapment. In other words a police officer offers to buy or sell drugs from or to a suspect. If the person goes along with the deal, the person can be convicted of a drug offense.

I find this procedure completely unacceptable for people under 25. Sure, you can convince young people to do dumb things. But it should not be police officers who are doing the convincing.

Especially if there is no violence involved, I would like to see this technique stopped for those under 25

Drug war

The drug war has completely failed. In any case, drug addiction is a disease not a crime. We need to have an entirely different process for addressing this problem. This process should focus on a medical approach, not a criminal approach.

Expunging criminal records

If a person was convicted of a single non-violent offense when they were under 25 and they have remained crime free ever since, then that single conviction should be expunged when they’re 40. It should not remain on their records forever.

 Public restrooms

I believe that using the toilet should be recognized as a constitutional right. Currently there is no guarantee of access to a toilet. Yet, people can be convicted of relieving themselves in public.

A very large group of people have disabilities relating to urgency in needing to relieve themselves. This includes virtually everyone under five, most people over 60, and most women who’ve born children. In fact, it may be the majority of the population. This requires accommodation.

I believe every retail merchant should be required to make a restroom available to the public. I do think, though, that they should be allowed to charge for these restrooms, so long as they don’t do so in a discriminatory fashion. Moreover there have to be restrooms available at night when merchants are closed.

Excessively long adhesion contracts

Whenever I get a software update for my cell phone, or indeed any piece of software, I am asked to agree to an adhesion contract. Sometimes I’ve downloaded these contracts and looked in Word to see how many pages they had. One time I found that the agreement came out to 43 pages. It is unconscionable to expect consumers to read this much legal verbiage. I would like to see it illegal for any adhesion contract to be longer than two pages, 12 point type, single spaced.

Procedure for licensing of plumbers and electricians

Currently, in order to become a licensed plumber or electrician, you first have to be a journeyman working for a master plumber. This type of requirement is not present with most other professions. To be a lawyer or a doctor, for instance, you need attend a professional school and take a licensing exam.

The requirement to work as a journeyman for a master plumber leaves these professions open to corruption. It’s an old boy system. It promulgates incompetent plumbers and electricians. We have a shortage of people in these professions, and my experiences that they frequently break things when they come in to do work at my house.

We need a new system, which makes these professions open to everyone, not just members of the old boy network.

Online time limits
I was interested to see that China has enacted legislation to limit the amount of time that an online computer game can allow a child to play. They set the limit to 1.5 hours.  I think this seems very sensible and would like to see a requirement like this in NY.

As a parent, I’ve been particularly frustrated when my kids say they can’t stop playing a game to attend to something around the house, because they’ll lose something or let down fellow players.  Games, both online and local, need to be configured so that they can be quickly paused, so that the player can attend to reality when needed.

I feel that legislation to protect families in this area would be a good idea.

#politics #platform #politicalplatform #westchestercountyny

Monday, November 11, 2019

Fake news about Biden

Responses to the fake news video about Biden and the Anne, don't fall for the false Trumplican propaganda points. These are from my FB post

The EU, IMF, the U.S. government, and Ukrainian anti-corruption activists, all urged Ukraine to fire it's prosecutor general at the time, Viktor Shokin, due to his flagrant corruption. It wasn't just Joe Biden. Oh, and our Dartmouth classmate, GOP Senator Rob Portman joined several other U.S. senators in a February 2016 letter to the then-Ukraine president urging anti-corruption efforts.

Shokin had never opened an investigation of Hunter Biden, or even of the Burisma Group energy company whose board he had joined in 2014.

Shokin had launched, and then dropped, an investigation into the Burisma Group's founder, Mykola Zlochevsky, for suspected corrupt activities that occurred *before* 2014. Shokin himself, though, was largely incompetent as well as corrupt.

BTW, former Trump Regime member and convicted felon Paul Manafort was paid at least $17 million by Ukraine's former president and Putin suck-up, Viktor Yanukovich.

Don't let the Trumplicans distract you, Anne. The issue here is:

1. Donald Trump trying to get a political opponent criminally investigated ...
2. By a foreign government, rather than his own FBI ...
3. And doing so by soliciting a bribe: Publicly announce an investigation of Biden AND publicly cast doubt on the Russian attack on the 2016 U.S. election, and I'll stop withholding the $400Mn of aid you desperately need to defend against Russia in Crimea ...
4. This bribe makes Trump a threat to our national security.
5. And obstructing justice by hiding the relevant documents and ignoring Congressional subpoenas ("consciousness of guilt").


Well I note it’s presented as opinion not fact.  And it’s not fact.

Biden was, as is US policy, trying to get the Ukrainians to prosecute corruption.  Some of the bad guys over there had a corrupt prosecutor who was not doing so.  Guiliani wound up representing them and peddled lies to try to get his corrupt clients off.   Trump saw these lies as a way to gain a political advantage over Biden which is what led the the call and other misconduct that is, by any objective standard, impeachable conduct.  But to try to throw sand in everyone’s eyes, Trump’s supporters continue the lies.  The WSJ editorial page, which is a joke and should not be confused with its news pages which are excellent, continues to push the lies.  

An excellent op-Ed by a Ukrainian journalist who has been fighting corruption and was smeared by the bad guys lays this all out.  I’ll find and post it.

Here it is.  Please please please everyone let’s keep our eye on the ball here.  Trump and his cronies lie and lie and lie.  Don’t give them any credence.


It's important to be specific about what the impeachment inquiry is about. It's not actually the quid pro quo that is a problem, per se. A "This for that" is one of the tools of international negotiation, and what Biden is describing here is a QPQ.  Trump is accused of using the powers of his office to trade aid money for an investigation into an opponent in an upcoming election. It's a misuse of power for personal gain. Biden's story is about withholding aid to further the strategic interests of the US.

Also note that the story in the video has nothing to do with Hunter Biden.


The prosecutor was viewed as corrupt by the entire diplomatic establishment. Trump alleged that it was because the prosecutor was looking into a company Biden's son was on the board of but what the prosecutor was looking into was at a different time than Biden's tenure and not related.


Biden delivered the same message that European countries were sending - that everyone knew that prosecutor was not pursuing anti-corruption cases. If he wasn’t replaced, aid money was going to be cut off.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Veracity of Tulsi counter attacks on Hillary

My FB interlocutor who wants me to stop supporting Tulsi has raised the following WaPo article

This article gives Tulsi three Pinocchios for her characterization of Hillary's attack on her, pointing out that literally Hillary said Republicans are grooming Tulsi  to be a third party candidate, while Tulsi is characterizing this as a statement that Russians are grooming her to be a third party candidate. There is also the business of having categorized Jill Stein and/or Tulsi as a Russian asset. Again, literally Hillary said Stein, but people understood Tulsi initially, and Tulsi has run with that. 

Here was my response, somewhat edited, and I intend to edit further. 

There's a legalistic analysis of what was said and there's what people were intended to understand, and, in fact, did understand.   The original statement is complex to construe, and required a lot of post hoc analysis.

The Russian bots rumor has been circulating for a while. Tulsi now believes that Hillary is the source of those rumors, and that the rumors are revenge for Tulsi's actions in 2016.

The aide said "if the nesting doll fits," in response to a question about Tulsi. This also was obviously intended to associate Tulsi with the Russians. 

In view of this, I feel that Tulsi's interpretation of the intent of what was said is not unfair. 

It is also possible that the intent here was to make less educated people, who read less carefully, believe that Tulsi is a Russian asset, while people who are more educated, read more carefully, and read WaPo will see that the first interpretation was wrong, without checking in to the fact that it was still a very nasty thing to say, and likely was launched in revenge. 

Tulsi's attack on Hillary is garnering her support amongst Hillary haters. That's not a bad thing. We do have to lure some swing voters away from Trump. Tulsi is, after all, trying to win an election and the more awareness she can garner for her long shot campaign, the better off she is.

Those people have been turned off all along by the type of legalistic interpretation of politician statements that are exhibited in this WaPo article. Trump, himself, is pretty incoherent, but his supporters go with what they understand the gist to be, and resent people looking at the details rather than the gist. Biden's supporters seem similar in this regard. 

On the other hand, I've said publicly on Tulsi's boards, on Twitter, on Instagram, and in emails to her that I'm not comfortable with these attacks on Hillary. 

Tulsi hasn't desisted.

While I'm not comfortable with the emotional attack on Hillary, I also don't feel that one can ever find a perfect candidate. I've been considering who my second choice would be. I feel that the front runners: Warren, Biden, and Sanders are too old. Of these, I like Warren best. Harris, I feel, lacks the charisma to win. Booker is a possibility in my mind, but I am concerned about his connections with the chemical industry in NJ. Buttegieg is interesting: iconoclastic, because he's openly gay, but still pretty old line in other respects. 

I still feel that Tulsi has the most personal charisma, which is very important to these swing voters.

I still like Tulsi's anti-war plank. In case that hasn't yet been clear to you, peace is my primary issue. 

So I haven't decided to support someone else yet.


Here's an article claiming that fake Russian bot accounts have been created to discredit candidates -- and that was the source of Tulsi/Russian bot rumors

Also, some Tulsi supporters are saying that the so-called transcript of Hillary's remarks cited by WaPo is inaccurate.

#tulsi2020 #tulsigabbard


Here is the actual Hillary podcast

The relevant portion startsi, I believe around 27:27.  Hillary says Jill Stein is "also" a Russian asset, implying that the aforementioned mystery candidate is a Russian asset.  The mystery candidate can only be Tulsi, because no one else has been accused of being helped by the Russians.  Therefore, it is not unreasonable to interpret this podcast as saying that Tulsi is a Russian asset.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

More arguments about Tulsi on FB

This blog is a memorialization of some points I made in a FB discussion about Tulsi.   

I applaud you for finally citing articles containing thoughtful analysis and actual discussion of facts, rather than gossip and sound bytes; nevertheless the articles suffer from the delusion that there is someone who is ideologically pure, who agrees with you on every single issue. For instance, I voted for Hillary in 2016, even though I was frightened by her hawkish comments, because I thought Trump was worse. Progressives have embraced Sanders, even though he’s soft on gun control. Many progressives have criticized Warren for her participation, while a professor at Harvard, in class action litigations that effectively limited plaintiffs’ recoveries. 

Tulsi has shown that she thinks about things and changes her position. She has spoken quite eloquently about her commitment to diversity and freedom for all religions. I don’t believe the rhetoric that she’s somehow anti-Islamic, tho I do believe she’s against the radical minority. 

The puzzling thing is that the US government trained the Taliban, supported dissidents in Iraq who were Shiite (sp?) and sympathetic to Iran who was supposedly part of the “axis of evil” (a categorization that I disagree with),  supports dissidents in Syria who tend to be considerably less feminist than Assad, sided with Kuwait over Iraq when women’s rights were far less respected in Kuwait than in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, overthrew Gaddafi leaving a state of violent anarchy where Isis and Al Qaeda thrive, and supports Saudi Arabia in Yemen. Our foreign  policy has been execrable.

Our repeated failure to ally with India, the world’s largest democracy, and apparently often siding with Pakistan, a country that encourages and hides terrorists, is utterly baffling to me. What are we thinking?

These articles were the ones cited:

As to why Duke wouldn’t support Buttegieg, apparently he prefers a straight, Hindu woman of color to a married, white, Christian man who happens to be gay.

If this is actually because of their stands on issues, as opposed to their demographics, in a way that’s a good thing. It implies that he is actually thinking about something, which is nice to know, especially because there are straight, white, Christian males running

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Letter to the NY Times re: Tusli

I sent this on October 16.  I haven't heard back from them, so I suppose they're not publishing it.

Tulsi accused them, in the debate, of stating that she was a Russian Asset.  They denied it.  They also said other things about her presentation. This is what I wrote

I find your response today to Tulsi's criticism of you unsatisfactory.

You say you haven't called her a "Russian Asset." I haven't read all your articles about her, but I wonder whether you haven't quoted someone as saying that, without contradicting the quote.  I think I've read something of that sort in your paper.  Repeating that kind of inflammatory language, without disagreeing, is like a tacit endorsement.

You say she's an isolationist, but opposing regime change wars is not isolationist.  She is all in favor of international negotiation.  Your calling her isolationist is pure propaganda in favor of a militarist agenda.

Also, you say the war in Syria is not a regime change war.  What is your response to Professor Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia who has said that our CIA started this war with a desire to overthrow the Syrian government?  He said this on MSNBC.

Letter to the Atlantic Magazine re: Tulsi

I haven't heard back from them about this letter, so I think they're not publishing it, so I'm putting it here instead.  This was a response to a recent article

Mystery of Tulsi Gabbard?  Mystery?  Nothing at all mysterious here.

Why is she running?

Did you actually watch Tulsi’s video about what made her decide to run? She was alarmed by the false alarm of nuclear attack in Hawaii. Everyone received messages on their cell phones to take shelter, except that there are no nuclear shelters in Hawaii.  Are you surprised that she persists indefatigably? She’s a soldier.  She’s fighting for our survival.  She will not rest.  It’s not a guru telling her what to do.  It’s her own soldier’s mind.

And why is she so interesting? It’s because she has the x-factor.  She has charisma.  We Democrats have ignored that for too long. We’ve put out brilliant nerds: Mondale, Gore, Hillary — people who are impressive to the educated, but who can’t win swing states.  

Trump has the x-factor.  That’s why he had a successful TV show for several seasons.  Brainy nerds aren’t going to beat him.  She can. 

The fact that she appeals to Trump supporters is regarded by the orthodox left as suspicious.  Hello?  We need to appeal to some of those people in order to win.  


She’s unflappable.  You make that sound like a bad thing.  You know who else was unflappable? Barak Obama, the best president in my lifetime, as far as I’m concerned.  

You know who isn’t unflappable? Donald Trump?  He flies off the handle at the slightest provocation.  The press seems to like that.  It sells more news.  The best thing for the press is not necessarily the best thing for the country.

The smears

Your article promulgates vicious, ill-founded smears against Tulsi Gabbard.

The fact that she isn’t into pillorying a foreign leader, i.e. Assad, is a sign of a good diplomat.  When did verbally abusing foreign leaders become the preferred method of international conversation?  Why would the press insist that she parrot hostile language that the press favors?  Why does the press think it should be putting words in someone else’s mouth?

The fact that the Russians would like a more peace oriented candidate is hardly surprising.  Maybe we should look at why they were so vigorously opposed to Hillary.  Hillary was much more hawkish than Trump.  They must have believed she would actually go to war over Crimea.  Did we really want to go to war over Crimea?  I certainly don’t.  Is it really in our interest to elect hawkish candidates?

The fact that Tulsi doesn’t entirely believe that standard narrative about Assad is also not surprising, given that she was deployed to Iraq and saw thousands die, based on lies.  If you were deployed to Iraq based on lies about weapons of mass destruction, would you believe new allegations about weapons of mass destruction that were being used to justify war?  There’s a saying “fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.”  

There are a number of alternative versions of what’s going on in Syria out there that do not meet the standard government narrative.  Have you listened to Jeffrey Sachs, professor at Columbia University, about Syria?  

And why are we such self-righteous hypocrites about weapons of mass destruction?  We are the only country to have used nuclear weapons in combat.  We dropped napalm and agent orange in Viet Nam — chemical weapons.  Where is our moral high ground?

I am totally in sympathy with her position that we do more harm by provoking war in Syria than we resolve.  Have you looked at Libya recently?  We overthrew Gaddafi and the result was violent anarchy.  Similarly, we overthrew Hussein in Iraq and the result was violent anarchy that still hasn’t been completely resolved.  

Afghanistan has been in a state of constant war for decades due to our meddling.  If we had left things to the Russians there, there would be no Taliban now.  We trained the Taliban.  We trained people who we knew were opposed to equal rights for women, people who were fighting Russia because they wanted to oppress women.  

These “insurgents” who we keep helping in Muslim countries, often at the behest of Saudi Arabia, are typically right wing religious bigots.  We’re overthrowing leaders with more feminist policies in the name of “freedom.” Granted they weren’t democratically elected, but the suffering we inflict on those countries is far worse than their leaders inflict.

We have to stop being paid mercenaries of Saudi Arabia, paid by oil drilling licenses to our oil companies.  We need to be politically independent.

The press favors war, because war sells news.  The press is a business that sells negative drama.  War is great fodder — the best negative drama.  The press is constantly promoting continuous war.  The press was thrilled to be embedded in Iraq, making sellable news, by killing innocent people.  Did any mainstream media refuse to be embedded?  Refuse to promote this evil act of war? I don’t think so.

We need Tuisi.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The Creeping Hour

Oh, I'm going to be on a podcast on sponsored by #WGBH -- the largest contributor to public radio!!!!  I'm playing Dr. Chanticleer, a scary villain.  The episode drops 10/17/19.  It's called "Big Shoes."  It was really thrilling working with WGBH.

Here's my instagram post, including a preview featuring *ME*!

Here's a link to my blog about my fascination with Villain Roles

So this was a dream role for me.

Elie Lichtstein, the writer, took a set photo that sort of shows me.  I'm copying this from his Instagram.  I hope he won't mind.  This was taken at John Kilgore Studios

Please see this website for more about these podcasts

The Joker

Caveat: I have not seen this movie, nor do I think can allow the film industry to draw me into such an emotional maelstrom.  I need to remain more serene than that.  Nevertheless, I commented as follows on a friend's post on FB and wanted to memorialize it here.

I haven't wanted to see this movie, because I fear it would be too upsetting. I prefer fluffy stuff; however, I am curious, in view of the comments below, whether this is a depiction of mental illness based on medical science, or whether it's really just a sensualized and sensationalized piece of glorified click bait.

I wondered similarly about Mel Gibson’s movie “The Passion of Christ.” Yes, it might have been true to the Bible story, but the Bible doesn’t present the story in technicolor with high drama, lingering closeups.

This type of glorification of emotional drama is not real life. I’m not sure exactly why it draws people in — but it does — much like junk food.

Of course, we have the ability, through the casting process, to find performers who have the talent to enthrall people with their performances; again, not because their depictions are truly realistic, but because they are artfully heightened. Real people aren’t so enthralling. Why are we sucked into a high drama portrayal? Why does drama seem more interesting than watching ordinary people walk by on the street? Or than watching a tree?

Having kids with autism spectrum disorders, I am familiar with the history of blaming these disorders on “refrigerator mothers,” when really the disorders were neurological and congenital.

I question whether these homicidal maniacs were really all abused so badly as to make them go bad, or whether they were predisposed from birth to over-react to ordinary stress. Maybe there isn’t a story about them going mad. Maybe they just were like that.

I’m also disturbed by the whole “mental illness” rubric; partly because psychiatry doesn’t seem to be oriented around any disorder of this type, i.e. the fictional “homicidal maniac.” They don’t know how to diagnose any such disorder or treat it.

It may be simply because these people are too maladjusted to seek treatment. They don’t walk into a doctor’s office and say “Hi! I’m a homicidal maniac. Please give me a pill to cure this.” They live in a different world from the rest of us, in terms of how they perceive things — so doctors aren’t in a position to develop protocols. But really we don't know much about such people. They usually die before they can be interviewed.