Tag Archives: Donald Trump

In The Garden of Beasts and America’s Role in Confronting Evil in the World

I just finished Erik Larson’s 2011 “In the Garden of Beasts” an extraordinary work of “narrative nonfiction”— a meticulously researched nonfiction novel—the accurately reported history of the rise to power in Germany of Hitler and the Nazi party.  For those who ask, “How could Hitler and his followers have attained such absolute power, committed such atrocities (even in the early and mid 1930’s), and led Germany and Europe (and eventually the United States, as well) into World War II—how could the World have allowed this to happen” this book provide clear but intricate answers.

 

It begins in 1933 when William Dodd, a college professor is appointed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as our first ambassador to Hitler’s Nazi Germany.  As he settles into his ambassadorship in Berlin with his wife and adult daughter and son, he begins to see the persecution of Germany’s Jews and assaults on even those Jews who had bravely fought for Germany in the previous World War.  He sees attacks on the press and censorship of those who dared to express criticism directed against Hitler and the Nazi regime.  He sees laws created to restrict the activities and movement of Jews, to remove Jews from their jobs and to seize their property.   He sees the arrest of dissidents and the assignment to concentration camps of those who protest the government’s policies, of communists, of Jews.  We see Dodd’s increasing alarm about Germany’s rearming and militarization—breaking the terms of the Treaty of Versailles which ended World War I.  As I try to ask myself why did the United States and President Roosevelt (a President for whom I generally offer fulsome praise for his progressive social programs)—why did they, why did WE not intervene to stop Hitler’s ascension to power, his horrific atrocities?  Why did we allow or choose to ignore the horror, the terror, the blood which was clearly on his hands and which was a part of his master plan for the Third Reich, for Europe, and the world entire?

 

From my understanding of the book, it seems that the answers to those absolutely essential questions are both numerous and varied, but can be distilled into these basic conclusions

 

  1. Our government was reconciled to trying to maintain a positive relationship with Germany and to not upset its leaders with blatant criticism.

 

  1. The United States government was hoping to recoup the war debt and reparations that Germany owed to the United States’ European allies and to our country itself.

 

  1. There was a strong mood of isolationism in the United States, a feeling that we should not get involved in the affairs of state in other countries.

 

  1. There was a tendency to ignore preliminary restrictions and acts of oppression or violence in 1932-1934 refusing to realize that these insults to civilized behavior would lead to even more extreme actions of violence and inhumanity in the years to follow.

 

  1. There was a subtle and at times not-so-subtle anti-Semitic tendency among some in American society and government who while appreciating the contributions of Jews to the fields of medicine, law, business, and government, also felt that there were too many Jews who were rising to positions of prominence in those areas. This allowed some Americans to in some ways empathize with what some in Germany referred to as their “Jewish problem” even as those same Americans may have disapproved of the specific actions the Germans were taking against Jews.

 

  1. In addition, since the U.S. was in the middle of an economic crisis that began with Black Friday in 1929 and continued through the 1930’s with the Great Depression some Americans also empathized with the poor economic situation in Germany, and seemed be willing to allow Germany to take steps to shore up its economy—even if it meant scapegoating Jews and other groups.

 

  1. There were members of the U.S. Government who were concerned that if President Roosevelt issued a strong statement about Germany’s unfair and horrifying treatment of Jews, then that might open up an “acrimonious discussion” with the German government in which they might ask the President to explain why Black Americans still did not have voting rights, or why lynchings of Black Americans were not prevented or severely punished, or why anti-Semitic feelings in the U..S seemed to be growing and were not “checked,”

 

  1. There was a feeling among some that intervention would make things even worse for the victims of the Nazi regime–that the German people would eventually see Hitler and his henchmen for what they truly were and would remove the “fuhrer” and the Nazi party from power on their own.

 

  1. There was an aura of incredulity, a disbelief that these outrageous acts—these crimes against humanity—could actually occur in such a civilized country as Germany—the home of Goethe and Brecht, the land of Bach, Beethoven, Handel, and Brahms.

 

For all these reasons, and perhaps for other reasons that I have not yet divined, the United States (as well as a number of European countries) either ignored what was happening, protested too mildly, or chose not to involve themselves fully until it was too late and Hitler had obtained absolute power and until Hitler, Goring, Himmler, Goebbels, and Bormann were well underway in their attempts to perpetrate the “final solution” and to bring about a master Aryan race that would rule Europe and eventually the world.

 

And so, you may ask, is this merely a book review—a critique of a fascinating work of history that reads as a novel—which mixes the raw facts of Hitler’s rise to power with the equally factual story of an ambassador’s family, the unending series of diplomatic events and parties, and the numerous romantic dalliances of their adult daughter?  Absolutely not; my intentions are so much more than that.

 

During the entire course of reading this book, I became alarmed about the parallels that I see in modern American and world society.  We are all, of course, fully familiar with the following two quotations that are two of the most often quoted lines in modern times.  The first by Philosopher George Santayana:  “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” And the second, by  Author and Statesman Edmund Burke:  “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”  Poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox seems to echo these same sentiments in her oft quoted line (often misattributed to Abraham Lincoln) “To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.”  For these reasons, I feel that it is incumbent upon me and upon all those who are committed to a caring, civilized society to speak out.

 

My first concern is the attacks that I see nearly every day on the press and the media as a whole.  These attacks were as much a part of Nazi Germany as they have been at the heart of any totalitarian regime in modern times. The attempts of the current administration to label all print, television, radio, and internet criticism as fake news is deplorable.  Reports that are fastidiously researched and confirmed from multiple sources by major news organizations like the Washington Post and CNN News are routinely dismissed as hit jobs or fake news.  Is there, in fact, such a thing as “fake news”?  Yes, it is that which often appears on the internet from unreliable facebook or other sites which can easily be proven false by a 5-10 minute google search and the realization that a particular questionable item is not reported by any reliable news source—not the Associated Press, not Reuter’s News Service, not the NY Times, not the Washington Post, not any of the major TV news stations (ABC, NBC, CBS), not CNN.  The role of the press—especially in a society such as our which provides for freedom of the press as one of the major tenets of our democracy is not merely to serve as a device which trumpets the daily news, not merely to serve as a chronicler of all it observes, but also as a watchdog for government—to report on government, ethics excesses, and abuses of power.  It cannot fulfill that function in the necessary manner if it is constantly under attack by this administration both when such attacks come from the White House or from the President overseas at the G20 Summit.

 

My second area of concern is in our Government’s attitude toward and actions with regard to autocratic world leaders like Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, and North Korea’s “Supreme Leader” Kim Jong-un.

 

In 2014, Putin and Russia invaded the Crimean Peninsula in the Ukraine and annexed it. Also in 2014, Putin and Russia were blamed for shooting down a Malaysian jet, killing all 298 civilians on board.   In 2016, Putin and Russia worked to destabilize the U.S. by meddling in our elections.  The President this week twice “pressed” Putin on the matter but then apparently accepted his denials.  He did not lay out the significant proof from every one of our intelligence agencies who investigated the hacking.  He apparently did not say that “Here is the evidence; here are the consequences for your actions; and here are the consequences if you dare to interfere in our elections in the future.”  In fact, he said on camera that it was “an honor” to meet President Putin—this depot who had imprisoned and put to death journalists and dissidents who criticized his policies.  In fact, just today it was announced that the “U.S. and Russia would launch a bilateral working group that included a focus on cyber-security.”  This would be like the proverbial naiveté of asking the fox to guard the henhouse. The former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Europe and NATO, Jim Townsend noted, “If the Russians want to coordinate with us on cyber-security it’s likely an operation to do intelligence gathering.”  Florida Senator Marco Rubio (a Republican) said today that “Partnering with Putin on a ‘Cyber Security Unit’ is akin to partnering with Assad on a “Chemical Weapons Unit.”  The major question we need to answer is “How much should we be cooperating with President Putin, and how much—on the other hand—should we be opposing him”?

 

Another dictator whose actions need our attention is Bashir al-Assad.  In April of this year, Assad was responsible for an action which received the condemnation of the entire world as over 80 people were killed and hundreds seriously impacted in a chemical weapons attack in Northwestern Syria.  Less than a month ago, the U.S. learned that Syria’s Assad may be preparing a new chemical weapons attack that would result in “mass murder” of civilians.  Are we doing enough to protect not only Syria’s own people from this tyrant, but also to protect the rest of the world from him?

 

Finally, just this month, our nation and the world was confronted with the successful launch of North Korea’s first intercontinental ballistic missile—powerful enough to reach the Alaska in the United States, and possibly even the western coast of the U.S.A.—California, Oregon, Washington.  How long will it be until  Kim Jong-un develops a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can be attached to an ICBM that can reach our nation?  Will we wait on the sidelines for that to happen?  Will increased sanctions sufficiently deter this rogue nation and its supreme leader?  Can anything short of force—can anything short of war curb Kim Jong-un’s bellicose rhetoric and hostile actions?

 

These are the questions that continue to plague not only me, but also our country’s leaders.  Will we learn from the past, or continue to repeat the mistakes that permitted Hitler and Nazi Germany to create a regime of blood and violence that resulted in a world war in which  50 to 80 million people were killed, in which 6 million Jews were murdered, in which 6 million Poles, gypsies, communists, homosexuals, and disabled persons were murdered?  Will we allow evil to triumph, while good people stand by and do nothing — or simply do not do ENOUGH?  These are the questions of our times, and Larson’s superb book “In the Garden of Beasts” is a lesson in the results of allowing evil to exist, to grow, and to impact the world in ways that still stagger the imagination even as they assault all our notions of decency and humanity.

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My Thoughts on the Election of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States

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“I pledge to every citizen of our lands that I will be the president for the American people. For those who have chosen not to support me in the past . . . I’m reaching out to you for your guidance and your help so we can work together and unify our great country.”

 

As the clock moved from 8:00 to 9 to 10:00 p.m. and then all the way past midnight to 1:00 in the morning, I could see the dream that I and millions of other Americans shared of a Hillary Clinton Presidency—the first woman President—come crumbling and then eventually crashing down.  I wanted this woman—whom I know in my heart—to be a kind, caring, and compassionate person—I wanted this extraordinarily talented brilliant woman to be our President and to usher in a time of greater understanding and greater tolerance for all.  Let me not understate the degree to which I believed in Hillary Clinton and in her commitment to the American people—especially to those who have not been able to share in the American dream.  I—like so many of you—am devastated by the Clinton loss and the Trump win.

 

Having said all that, however, I am determined to make my grieving process just as short as possible.  I was despondent for a full 6 hours as I stayed glued to my TV screen, surfing the news channels—looking in vain for the glimmers of hope to miraculously transform themselves into a narrow Clinton victory.  Such was not to be the case, however.  Miracles were in very short supply, and those miracles that were in the air, were captured and enjoyed by the Donald Trump supporters.  By 1:30 a.m., I had seen and heard all that I needed to realize that Donald Trump was to be our 45th President of the United States.

 

As I awakened this morning just before 7:00 a.m., the news from Charlie and Nora and Gayle—along with that of Chris Cuomo—confirmed my worst fears and the certainty of Donald Trump’s election.  Yet, having said all that, I refuse to dwell on recriminations.  I refuse to linger on the what-if’s.  I refuse to excoriate Mr. Trump and his legion of supporters.  I know and you all know too many people—colleagues, facebook friends, relatives—who love our country and are intelligent, caring  people—who voted for Mr. Trump.  Some did so unabashedly or with pride, and others did so despite some serious reservations.

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For me, even now, it is time to begin to pick myself up and begin to move on.  For me it is time to pull together whatever fibers that I have of a resilient personality and move on.  For me, it is time to do what I had urged the Republicans to do 8 years ago when Barack Obama was elected.  That is, to realize that our nation—as a whole—has spoken.  We have elected a President that for the next four years will serve as the President of ALL of the people.  As much as it may pain us, we need to do what we urged the Republicans to do 8 years ago:  give him a chance.  Look for common ground in ways to improve our country and the lives of its people—including especially those who have undergone intolerance, prejudice, and economic and social despair.

 

I began this essay with Donald Trump’s pledge, last night, to all Americans.  I repeat that here because it is the focus of this piece:

 

“I pledge to every citizen of our lands that I will be the president for the American people. For those who have chosen not to support me in the past . . . I’m reaching out to you for your guidance and your help so we can work together and unify our great country.

 

I am taking Mr. Trump at his word—that he actually wants our guidance and help.  I choose to believe that because I do believe in the innate goodness of human beings—even those who have made the jarring, hateful remarks that have characterized the campaign of Donald Trump.  I do believe—or I choose to believe that each of us–including Donald Trump—has the capacity to listen to the “better angels of our nature” and to act on those noble instincts.  I also believe in both the ego and the determination of Mr. Trump.  Sure, those characteristics have deservedly raised more than a few red flags, but they also offer some hope.  I am convinced that Donald Trump wants—even now—to take his place in history as one of the greatest U.S. Presidents of all.  He wants to be remembered as the President who cared about all the people, who rebuilt our infrastructure, who supported our veterans.  Last night he said, the following:

 

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“Every single American will have the ability to realize their fullest potential. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. We are going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, schools, hospitals. We will rebuild our infrastructure. Which will become second to none, and we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it.

 

 

We will also finally take care of our great veterans who have been so loyal and I’ve gotten to know so many over this 18-month journey. The time that I have taken with them I consider among my greatest honors. We will embark upon a project of American growth and renewal. We will call upon the best and the brightest to leverage our tremendous talent to benefit all.

 

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If he means what he says, and in this instance, I am hopeful that he does, then his ego, his determination, his perseverance, and his tenacity may lead him to become a far better President than we could have imagined.  In any case, for now, I am—for a time—willing to suspend my disbelief, take him at his word, and offer him a few words of “guidance”—just as he requested.

 

  1. Look forward, not back. Forget the cries of “Lock her up” and realize that months or years of charges and investigations into Hillary Clinton and the Clinton foundation serve no one, anger the nearly 50 percent of Americans who supported Secretary Clinton, and distract you, the government, and the American people from the real challenges that we face in our country.

 

 

  1. Surround yourself with really good people. Make your litmus test be that they must be not only people who have strong convictions, but they must be people of strong character—people with good hearts.  Seek out people who have great intelligence, but also great wisdom and a healthy measure of common sense.  And make sure that there are a reasonable number of individuals whom you respect, but may have differing views than your own on our nation’s challenges.  They must be people who will not be afraid to clearly express those conflicting views—people to whom you will actively listen.

 

 

  1. Do not scrap the Affordable Care Act—Obamacare—in its entirety.  Get rid of those parts that are not working, if you must, but keep the parts that are important to the American people.  Keep the parts about pre-existing conditions, the parts about limits, about keeping young people on their parent’s insurance until 26, the parts about free preventative services, and limits on health insurance payout.  Keep all the good parts that really are benefitting our people.

 

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  1. Search the Senate and the House of Representative for five Republicans and five Democrats that are highly respected and valued by the entire legislature and the American people. They must be people who are valued for their character, their creativity, their intelligence, and their ability and proclivity to compromise—to compromise with others to come up with real workable solutions to    Sit these people down in a room and let them tackle the great problems of our day—and agree to abide by their eventual conclusions.  One month they would confront immigration, for example, and work to come up with the best possible plan.  The next month, they might tackle health care.  The month after that—infrastructure needs.

 

 

 

  1. Realize that you—as President of the United States—are a role model for every child and every adult in our country. Please act like it.  You may have set some less than stellar examples in the past (surely an understatement, at best), but the past does not need to be prologue.  Your past comments and actions need not determine your future behavior.  You can begin weighing your words more carefully, noting that words DO, in fact, matter.  You can stop the insults.  As I and others have always insisted, before you say anything, ask yourself two questions:  Is it true? and Is it kind? And if the answer is “No,” then simply don’t say it.

 

 

  1. Be very cautious of trusting Vladamir Putin or any of a number of other leaders of countries with whom we have adversarial relationships. Take the full measure of a person by looking at their past behavior and deeds, meeting and talking with them, and also listening to what I hope and trust will be a diverse cadre of experienced, knowledgeable, trusted advisors of high character.

 

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  1. Make every possible effort to understand the needs, the problems, and the gifts of various groups in our society—women, people of color, immigrants, people of all religions, all nationalities, elder Americans. Reach out to them; sit down with them; listen—really listen–and then work to better the lives of all of those people. Work to end sexism, racism, prejudice in our society.  Help all to live better lives.  And don’t forget our youngest Americans—infants and toddlers.   Provide for their needs, as well, including universal preschool and quality daycare for parents who need it.  As a father, you are aware of the needs of children of every age—including teenagers and young adults.  Do all you can to strengthen schools, encourage and support good teachers, promote an atmosphere of learning, and provide the best possible education for every single child.

 

 

  1. Develop and implement a plan to successfully deal with an opiate crisis which is a scourge on our country and all its families. We all know someone whose lives have been tragically impacted by opioid abuse.  Surely we can put steps in place to curb opioid use, and to help those whose lives have been diminished or destroyed by the use of these drugs.

 

 

 

  1. Support those who risk their lives for our country—our military, or police, our firefighters. Help our veterans as they return from service.

 

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11.   Protect the environment.  Visit our National and State Parks and other natural areas to see their glory:  Bryce Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, Acadia, Denali, Rocky Mt. National Park, The Grand Canyon, the Smoky Mountains, Yosemite, the Everglades, the Badlands, the Painted Desert, and so many more.  Realize that we would never have these areas today for our families had not Teddy Roosevelt and other Presidents protected them for our children.  They will not be there tomorrow–nor the Elk, the Grizzlies, the Wolves–unless you and Congress protect them!  And Climate Change?  It’s real and its a threat to our future unless you and other world leaders work together to make changes which will improve the situation.

 

 

 

12.  Be the kind of leader that we need–the kind who truly brings us together–because, as you know, we are so divided right now!  Appear frequently on television to sit down with us and really TALK to us.  Tell us what you’re thinking–and why.  Be honest with us.  Encourage us when we need encouragement.  Console us when we need consolation.  Keep making every possible effort to bring us together, even when it gets tough.  Do the kinds of things that will reassure ALL of us that you are listening, and that you HEAR us.  When Americans ask you to seriously consider common sense gun control legislation, at least listen with an open mind.  When you hear the other side talk about the importance of the Iran Nuclear treaty, at least listen to their points of view before deciding.  When people protest, invite a few of them in to hear their real concerns.

 

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If you can do that, Mr. Trump, you WILL, in fact,  go down in history as one of our greatest Presidents—a President who brought people together, who worked to really improve the lives of ALL of our citizens.

 

 

With all my heart, Mr. President-elect, I wish you the best.  I wish you courage, compassion, strength, and wisdom.  Your success will be our success.  Godspeed, and God bless.

 

 

Sincerely,

Mitchell R.Grosky

Athol, Massachusetts

 

 

 

 

 

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Chelsea Clinton Speaks on Behalf of Her Mother, Sec. Hillary Clinton, and Clinton Supporter Interviews at Keene, NH

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Last Friday, November 4, I visited Keene State College in southern New Hampshire for a “Get Out the Vote” event where I heard Chelsea Clinton speak passionately in support of her mother, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to an audience consisting of both college students and older adults.  Ms. Clinton emphasized that the stakes are very high in the Presidential election on Tuesday of this week.  She stressed that all of the following issues are “on the ballot” in this election:  science, college and graduate school affordability, a woman’s right to make her own decisions, protecting marriage equality, raising the minimum wage, equal pay for equal work (with an emphasis on both women and Americans with disabilities), criminal justice reform, gun violence prevention, the heroin and opioid overdose epidemic, and the suicide epidemic.

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The photos here  and on my facebook site ( http://tinyurl.com/hbzqd6x )   give a good portrait of Chelsea Clinton.  To hear a portion of her speech, please click on the following link to a video I published for “This Week With Mitch Grosky,” my political and social commentary blog:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQJt6ynTCFk&feature=share

I am honored that my blog and accompanying videos have been viewed by over one hundred thousand people from across the United States and from such foreign countries as France, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Italy, Egypt, Singapore, Norway, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Romania, and Guatemala

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In addition, the video features six interviews I conducted with Hillary Clinton supporters in attendance at the event.  They were asked three questions:  1. Why do you support Hillary Clinton for President?  2. Why do you think that it is essential for our country to elect Hillary Clinton as its President?  3. Did you ever consider voting for Donald Trump?  Why or why not?

This election may be the most important one in our lifetimes.  Please, vote–and vote for the person who will bring character, compassion, intelligence, wisdom, and experience to the office of President of the United States.

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Michelle Obama’s Powerful Speech on Women

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First Lady Michelle Obama (Courtesy of Creative Commons)

 

I just watched, once again on MSNBC,  Michelle Obama’s incredibly powerful speech in New Hampshire about women and about the comments and actions of Donald Trump against women. The speech was magnificent — AND historic.   It was a speech for the ages–much like Hillary Clinton’s famous speech about Women’s rights being Human rights.

The First Lady’s speech was more than an emotional diatribe against Donald Trump and his views of and actions against women. It was a profound denunciation of the attitudes that some men, some societies, even some women have held against women in our society and our world–against their rights, against their character, against their roles in society (some chosen and some forced), against their very beings. It was a powerful condemnation of the way that so many women are treated by men–especially men in powerful positions.

She stood up for women and spoke directly to them–with a shared knowledge and experience. She spoke not only of women, but also of men who were outraged at the sexism and misogyny and discrimination they have seen throughout this campaign and throughout their lives. She stood up for the daughters and sons in America and across the world. And I was proud–so proud of her–as First Lady, as a woman, as a leader. In one extraordinary speech, she said so much about women–what they live with, what they have to overcome, what they indeed HAVE overcome, what they can achieve and what they HAVE achieved.

The speech should be played and replayed, over and over, for appropriate audiences–young men and women, and those older, as well. And let us hope and pray–and aspire to a day sometime in the very near future, when we will not need to re-play this speech because women will have achieved full equality–in the boardroom, in the home, and in society–and, most importantly, in the way they are spoken about and TREATED by all people–men and women–each and every day.

NOTE:  To view the entire speech by First Lady Michelle Obama (courtesy of Vox), please click on the following link:  Michelle Obama’s Speech

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New Hampshire: Standing Up and Speaking Out for Hillary Clinton!

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On September 28, I spent the day covering the Hillary Clinton/Bernie Sanders Campaign Appearance at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, NH. for my political/social issues blog “This Week With Mitch Grosky.” In addition to taking over 500 photos, I also conducted brief interviews with a number of the people there.  After being addressed by a number of college officials and state officials, Governor Maggie Hassan (now running for Senator) spoke to the crowd.

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Governor Maggie Hassan

She was followed by the entrance of Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders.

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Secretary Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders Enter Together to Loud Cheers and Enthusiastic Applause

Bernie Sanders spoke first, speaking of the importance of electing Hillary Clinton as President. He also spoke about some of the issues–education, climate change, minimum wage, and others–that they share in common.

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Senator Bernie Sanders

Then Hillary Clinton spoke about some of these same issues, as well as the importance of universal pre-Kindergarten (pre-school), spending most of her time addressing the theme of the day: “Debt Free College.”

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This is her education plan which would dramatically reduce college costs for most students. The plan calls for making public colleges and universities tuition-free for families who earn less than $125,000 per year, making community college free for all students, and helping students to significantly lower their current debt by refinancing at lower interest rates.

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After speeches by Senator Sanders and Secretary Clinton, there was a panel discussion or Question and Answer session in which both featured speakers answered pre-selected questions from the audience about their plans for education reform. The enthusiastic full-capacity crowd of 1,200 seemed to really enjoy both the speeches and the bonus question and answer session.

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I was struck by a couple of things:

 First of all, it was easy to discern and appreciate the real excitement in the audience as people waited in line to enter with eager anticipation, and as they actually listened carefully to the speeches of the afternoon–especially those of Secretary Hillary Clinton, U.S.Senator Bernie Sanders, and Governor Maggie Hassan.

Secondly, I was impressed that the people there expressed nearly universal approval of and strong praise for Hillary Clinton.   Sometimes when people look on facebook or on the various news programs, they get the impression that everyone sees this election as a choice between the “lesser of two evils.”  That was certainly NOT the case here.  These are people who strongly believe in Hillary Clinton, who deeply admire who she is and all that she has accomplished in the past approximately 30 years.  These are people who enthusiastically support her and are totally committed to her.

In each brief interview that I conducted, I focused on two major questions.  First of all, I asked, “Are you here to support Hillary Clinton or to make up your mind?”  In nearly every single case–including those involving former Bernie Sanders supporters–I found that people had already made a firm commitment to support Hillary Clinton.

Secondly, once they acknowledged that they were already supporting Secretary Clinton, I asked them, “Could you give me a couple of reasons why you feel that she is the best candidate for President?”  People voiced strong opinions in support of the former First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State.  What follows are excerpts from some of the conversations which I had with well over a dozen supporters.

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Clai from West Berlin, New Hampshire

I see a woman who is brilliant, knows policy inside and out, and who cares for everyone around her. . . She came out at the beginning of her campaign talking about (reasonable gun limitations) when nobody else did, and she’s met with survivors (of gun violence) all over the country in small groups . . . it’s on her agenda.”  –Clai from West Berlin, New Hampshire

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Deb from North Hampton, New Hampshire

“I’m here as a volunteer, for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, and we’re concerned about the gun violence that’s taking the lives of over 30,000 Americans per day, and Hillary has come out and said that she’s going to fight the NRA and fight for sensible gun laws, and Donald Trump has not said that, so I’m very much supporting Hillary for that reason. . . Here in New Hampshire, there are a lot of gun owners, and there’s no reason that the second amendment can’t go hand-in-hand with sensible gun laws.” –Deb from North Hampton, New Hampshire

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Veronica from Cambridge, Massachusetts

“Her message ‘Stronger Together’—I firmly and confidently believe in that.  She’s all for getting our country together—something I firmly believe and I think that’s what we need today, especially with all that’s going on.  The world is a scary place, and thinking about Trump ruling our nation scares me to death.  It took me a while to come to Hillary, but I strongly believe in her message, ‘Stronger Together.’”–Veronica from Cambridge, Massachusetts

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“I’ve been a supporter of hers for like 15 years . . . I lived in New York; I volunteered on her staff and so on . . .  I feel that she brings a view and she understands the problems that are going on in the community, and I think she will do so much better than Donald.  I mean Donald is very upsetting because he’s spouting bigotry . . . he’s spouting separation.  It’s just amazing the things that he’s said.  He makes me feel that he doesn’t feel sorry for the words he’s expressing. . . He’s saying things that some people feel, and they’ve been afraid to say—whether (those things) are right or wrong.  He’s given them carte blanche to say those things . . . and it’s very scary because you have a population that might THINK those things about their neighbor, but he’s expressed it so (it seems like it’s) OK to say those things.” –Denise from Roxbury, Massachusetts

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Allison, Executive Editor of “The New Hampshire,” the School Newspaper at UNH—from West Hartford, CT

“I am neutral right now.  What’s important to me is that the students are educated (about) the candidates and that we get as many students as we can out there to vote on Election Day. . . The biggest issue that I’m interested in is education. I’ve always been really interested in education, and I’m listening to what the candidates have to say about student debt . . . This is not something that is on the forefront of most people’s minds, so it is our responsibility to make sure that issue is covered, and that we’re voting in favor of what’s best for our generation —Allison, Executive Editor of “The New Hampshire,” the School Newspaper at UNH—from West Hartford, CT

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natalie

Natalie, originally from New Hampshire but now living in Florida

“I’m here in support of Hillary Clinton.  I think she’s fantastic.  I’ve been following her for years.  I think she’s absolutely brilliant.  For me, personally, it would be the ACA (Affordable Care Act or Obamacare), but it’s having a first woman President . . . it’s huge; I mean we have to break that barrier . .  . everything that the Democrats stand for, quite frankly, and what the Republicans are against.”  She indicated that she was “not at all” impressed by Donald Trump—“It’s very scary; we can’t have that; we just can’t have that . . . I think he’s dangerous; I think he would take us down financially.  I think he would promote hatred, and other countries would be coming against us, and we would bear that—that hate and that burden.  The Supreme Court is also at stake; we’re looking at 3-4 Supreme Court seats – the next 20 years . . . I have zero confidence in Donald Trump (in making those appointments), and I’m terrified quite frankly.  –Natalie, originally from New Hampshire but now living in Florida

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keith

Keith from Kennebunk, Maine.

“I’m already in support of Hillary Clinton.  She’s good for jobs.  She’s good for the colleges.  She‘s good for the college students.  She’s good for a lot of issues that the American people are concerned about.  I’m not interested in Donald Trump’s candidacy; I think he’s a farce.  He talks a lot.  Big talk, but I don’t think he can put anything behind his words. . . I don’t believe him; he’s lying to the American people.”  –Keith from Kennebunk, Maine.

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chad

Chad from Ipswich, Massachusetts

“Those are the two reasons (that I’m supporting Hillary Clinton)—daughter number one and daughter number two –those are the number one and two reasons that I’m supporting Hillary Clinton. (The fact that she’s a woman) is important to me because it’s kind of unprecedented.  We’ve seen our first African-American President, and that’s amazing, and it would be nice to see . . . a woman, and it’s not a party trick in my mind.  I think that she is the most qualified person for this job, and the fact that she’s a woman is really icing on the cake.  There are only a handful (of her positions) that I have any disagreement with her about.”  He indicated the following as important issues for him:  “The issue of racial equality; that tops for me right now.  The environment is tops for me right now.  Not as much for me the story of the economy.  I’ve lived in a lot of countries in the world, and I know what world economy is, and it takes a little bit of perspective to understand what economy is like in this country.  Granted I’m a somewhat privileged person, but even with that, it’s hard to compare poverty in Guatemala and Haiti to what everyday working class people are feeling in the United States.  But I will say that over the last 8 years, we’ve seen a whole lot of positive change that we never saw in the previous 8 years.”  He indicated that he “absolutely” liked that Hillary Clinton would continue the politics of Barack Obama. . . “I’m very much aligned with the ideology of Barack Obama, and Bernie—absolutely Bernie, as well.  Gun control, by the way, is also right up there on the list. . . I think we just need reasonable gun control. It’s obvious.  It’s sensible.  You go anyplace else in the world and people talk about the United States.  (They ask) Does everyone carry a gun? Do you have to fear for your life when you walk down the street?  The answer is no, but that fear is there for a reason, and you spend time in other developed world countries and they don’t have the same issues we have . . .”             —Chad from Ipswich, Massachusetts

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sylvia

Sylvia from Salem, Massachusetts

“I’ve made up my mind (to support Hillary)–since 2008.  Experience, Brilliance, Commitment. -–Sylvia from Salem, Massachusetts

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ted

–Ted from Durham, New Hampshire

“I’m supporting Hillary.  I’ve been a Democrat most of my life, so that’s part of it, but I also think that I’m not so much afraid of Donald as I am of the image that he portrays, and the ability for the rest of this country to look at that and have bad behavior because of it.  He noted that the image he projects to the rest of the world “is even scarier.  .  . the lack of respect for all human beings and the inclusiveness that he rejects . . .”  –Ted from Durham, New Hampshire

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bill

Bill from Durham, New Hampshire

“I’m supporting Hillary Clinton.  She’s far more experienced and she knows what’s she’s doing whereas I don’t really like Donald Trump.  What about Donald Trump particularly bothers me?  Oh, let’s see:  the fact of his bigotry, the fact that he once went on record saying that he wouldn’t mind dating his own daughter, the fact that he went over to Scotland and kicked people off their land using . . . eminent domain. . . In addition to that, he led basically a lynch mob against the Central Park Four who were accused of assault.”  —Bill from Durham, New Hampshire.

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jared

Jared from Exeter, New Hampshire

“I’m supporting Hillary Clinton.  I agree with most of her plans, and I think she’s a strong leader, who can cross beyond party borders.  I support most of her social plans, like I support  the LGBT community and the Black community especially.”  –Jared from Exeter, New Hampshire

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menat

Menat from Exeter, New Hampshire

“I’m supporting Hillary Clinton.  I think Hillary has more of the majority of the people around our country’s  needs in mind—over Trump, and that’s the way I think our next President should be.  I think there’s a lot of unemployment currently . . . she has plans like implementing solar panels that will solve two problems in one—to make sure we have clean energy as well as employing more people. . . I think Donald Trump has this certain mindset that the top one percent of our country has, and that’s just not the majority of the thoughts and opinions of the people in our country, and I don’t think that the President should represent just the top one percent.”  Menat from Exeter, New Hampshire

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More Faces in the Crowd at the University of New Hampshire Event for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders

for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders

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For over 300 MORE photographs of Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Maggie Hassan, and Others at this event, please check me out on facebook at Hillary and Bernie Visit UNH!

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LIBERTARIAN CANDIDATE GARY JOHNSON STRIKES OUT!

 

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Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson (Courtesy of Creative Commons)

 

LIBERTARIAN CANDIDATE GARY JOHNSON STRIKES OUT!

 

Strike Three on Gary Johnson! OK, I was just trying to figure out how 8-13 percent of Americans are voting for this person who could not name even ONE world leader he admires. He simply could not think of a single name. Not that he dislikes all world leaders, he just said that he was having an “Aleppo moment.” That refers to an interview a couple of weeks ago when he did not know what Aleppo (the largest city in Syria) was. So, if his inability to identify Aleppo is STRIKE ONE, then his inability to come up with the name of any world leader he admires would be STRIKE TWO. So, you may ask, what is STRIKE THREE?

 

Well, as I was posting my photos of the Clinton/Sanders appearance at UNH onto facebook,  I turned on Colbert on late night TV. He had this 6-7 minute piece where he attacked/ridiculed the Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson. Yes, he mentioned the Aleppo moment and also the more recent failure to remember the name of a world leader he admires. But then he showed this interview conducted on a park bench a week ago in which Gary Johnson stuck out his tongue and kept talking.

 

It was so ridiculous that I figured that it must be a Colbert joke, played with some unknown comedian impersonating former Governor Johnson. So I googled “Gary Johnson interview on park bench” and there it was—unbelievable. In trying to demonstrate, I guess, that if he could just get into the debates, he would automatically improve in the polls just because people would see him next to the major candidates–even if he spoke with his tongue out.

 

Now first a warning: this video–courtesy of MSNBC and youtube–is bizarre. You may want the children to leave the room before viewing this video clip, because honestly, this is simply NOT the way we expect a Presidential candidate–or really any mature adult to behave. But, please, make up your own minds as you view this short video. Once again, to me, any one of “three strikes” would have disqualified a candidate in any previous Presidential campaign. To me, this is STRIKE THREE; you’re out, Gary Johnson! We can no longer consider you to be–in any way, shape, or form–to be a credible, reasonable candidate for President of the United States. Here is the link to the video:

 

http://www.newsmax.com/Politics/Gary-Johnson-Debates-Tongue-Out/2016/09/23/id/749781/

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A Call for HONESTY in Presidential Politics on Facebook

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Don’t Believe Everything You Read: Phony Memes, Photoshopped Photos, and False Tweets

A FACEBOOK POLITICAL POST THAT MAKES SENSE —

NO MATTER WHICH CANDIDATE YOU ARE SUPPORTING!

Did Hillary Clinton REALLY say, “The average Democrat voter is just plain stupid”? Did Bernie Sanders really say, “My object in life is to dethrone God and destroy capitalism”? Did Donald Trump once call Republicans “the dumbest group of voters in the country”? Did Ted Cruz really hug Fidel Castro? Is that photo of Marco Rubio shaking hands with President Obama while signing a trade deal real”? Did Hillary Clinton really shake hands with Bin Laden, like that picture I saw on the internet? Did Ted Cruz really say, “When gays stayed hidden we had no mass murders”? Did Obama really order that the words “Under God” be removed from the “Pledge of Allegiance”?

The answer to ALL of the above questions is NO — absolutely NOT!

All of the above quotations were placed on actual facebook memes which were shared thousands and thousands of times, and if you check each one out on a fact-checking site like Snopes.com or politifact.com, you will find that they are all FALSE, all FAKE.

Can I please ask for YOUR help? Can you help me to get rid of phony memes on facebook? I am getting so tired of seeing people post absolutely FALSE and PHONY political memes on facebook, as well as phony photoshopped photos of political candidates. No matter WHO you support, this is absolutely WRONG! Please, before you share some political poster–especially one with a candidate saying something that sounds absolutely outrageous, please CHECK IT OUT FIRST!!! You can simply google the quote by asking something like this: “Did (Candidate’s Name) actually say, “……..”? Usually, that search will show you a Snopes article (Snopes is a neutral and respected fact-checker) demonstrating to you that the quotation is FALSE (though on rare occasions, it may show that it is true).

This primaries and the national Presidential election in November is absolutely crucial toward our county’s future–and perhaps the world’s future, as well. Nearly ALL of us believe that–no matter what candidate we support. What I am asking is for us all to rely just as much as we can on FACTS in supporting our candidates. If you attack the positions of another candidate, please use carefully checked FACTS in doing so. Even if you feel you must attack the character of another candidate, please do so in a civil way, and use FACTS.

And just because you found it on someone’s Republican website, or Democratic website, or Tea Party website, DOESN’T mean it is TRUE. Try to check it out with the most reputable source that you can—not some left-leaning OR right-leaning website. Look for sources (like Politifact or Snopes or maybe CNN which are generally given credit for trying to maintain neutrality). I know some of you may disagree with those sources I mentioned, but just try to be sure it is generally respected as a neutral site for reporting FACTS. And if you find a friend or family member–or even a stranger–sharing something that seems outrageous, please check it out. If it proves to be false, don’t ignore it, please point out that it is false, and include the link that PROVES it is false.

Many of the memes, posters, and photos that are shown in the collage above were shared MILLIONS of times, and believed by the people who shared them AND who viewed them. We all have a responsibility to be sure to vote, and to make up our minds–to make our choice–based on FACTS. The choice for our country is far too important to believe falsehoods, half-truths, and outright lies.

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