Letter to Cong. John Lewis – On Eliminating Racism in the United States

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May 6, 2015 Dear Congressman Lewis: I am writing to you because, in my opinion, you are the one person in our country with the historic understanding, personal experience, and national identification with the Civil Rights Movement that can most effectively call for a national goal of eliminating racism.  The scourge of racism has had and continues to have devastating effects on African-Americans and other non-white populations, but also threatens what humanity remains within our culture. It has been my experience while serving in government and, indeed, living life in general, that nothing is accomplished without setting a goal.  Demonstrations, marches, acts of civil disobedience, and periodic “national conversations” after “Fergusons” or Baltimores” or “Watts” provide only a temporary catharsis.  And then the scourge of racism is allowed to continue devastating individuals, families, communities, and our national soul. I offer the following elements that a long-range plan to dramatically reduce … Continue Reading…..

For Teachout and Wu on Sept. 9th

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You know the saying: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” Well, Andrew Cuomo is hoping to fool us twice during Tuesday’s Democratic Party primary.  I, for one, still having a fairly healthy level of self-respect, plan to vote for Zephyr Teachout for Governor and Timothy Wu for Lieutenant Governor. Politicians, as a rule, bank on average citizens forgetting their campaign promises and state of the state priorities.  Cuomo has raised the bar considerably on this cynical expectation.  But if you have forgotten Cuomo’s campaign pledges, given your everyday family and work responsibilities, here’s a refresher: From his Inaugural Address, January 1, 2011: “Number two is going to be cleaning up Albany and restoring trust because Bob[1] is right, you have nothing without trust.  Any relationship is only as good as the level of trust and we have lost the trust. And we are not … Continue Reading…..

Michael Brown’s Death – What’s Next?

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Republican President Dwight Eisenhower in his farewell address warned the US, that is, us, about the potential dangers of a “military-industrial” and by extension “congressional complex” having inordinate influence over our domestic and foreign policy.  Since the shooting death, August 9th, of unarmed Michael Brown, an 18-year old African-American man, by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, much has been learned about the pervasive militarization of our nation’s local police departments. Through the obscure “1033” program, enacted by Congress in 1997, military-grade weaponry has been given directly to local police departments by the Defense Department or purchased with grants issued by the Department of Homeland Security.  “1033” has made it possible for defense contractors, their lobbyists, and weak-kneed legislators to expand the production and profits of weapons manufacturers by the duplicitous justification that it provides a continued use for excess military equipment.  Consider this.  Well over $32 billion in equipment … Continue Reading…..