September 2022 Fallout From Philadelphia

President Joe Biden addressed our nation on September 1 to express his deep concerns that American equality and democracy are under assault. He said, “There is no place for political violence in America. Period. None ever.”

“Too much of what is happening in our country today is not normal… There’s no question the Republican Party today is dominated, driven and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans, and that is a threat to democracy… Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic”.

Many of us have been concerned about this very issue for several years now.

We have witnessed firsthand some alarming dangerous attitudes and behaviors by far-right “MAGA” radical groups beginning around 2016.

One of the shibboleths of the current MAGA movement occurred on June 1, 2020

when then-President Trump orchestrated a near-riot in Washington, D.C.  After walking from the White House, across Lafayette Square, to St. John’s Church, he staged a photo-op with a Bible in front of the Church, inspiring those who prefer fear, hate and anarchy to reject honest debate.

These most recent alarming attitudes and dangerous behaviors have much in common with:

  • The second “Red Scare” which began in 1947, and reached its peak between 1950-54 under the leadership of U.S. Sen. Joe McCarthy;
  • A period of extreme antisemitism which emerged in the 1930’s, inspired by Father Charles Coughlin (and others) who spread various conspiracy theories, creating a robust underground movement which spread fear that Jews were working for the destruction or replacement of white Americans and Christianity in the U.S., together with (false) allegations which accused “the Jews” of dominating Franklin Roosevelt’s administration, of causing the Great Depression, and of dragging the United States into World War II.
  • The ‘race riots’ of the late 1960’s, which included Birmingham (1963); Harlem (1964); Watts (1965); Chicago (1966); Newark (1967); MLK, Jr. Riots, 125 cities (1968); and the list goes on and on….
  • Post 9/11/01, we witnessed an irrational groundswell of anti-Muslim sentiment.  The al-Qaida terrorists who attacked the Twin Towers and the Pentagon represent a very rare and extremist sect of Islam. Despite that reality, many Muslims, as well as other Arab Americans, became the targets of anger, racism and hate crimes, continuing to this day.

Biden’s recent remarks ring true.  He loudly and clearly reminded us that not all Republicans are MAGA Republicans.

Look back to the early 1930’s when Father Charles Coughlin’s radio show was extraordinarily popular, with a weekly audience estimated to be around 30 Million. His theme centered on an isolationist, anti-Semitic and conspiratorial viewpoint that resonated with many listeners at that time.

Yet, we know that not all Catholics were Isolationist or anti-Semitic.  Sound familiar?

The Big Question remains: Who or what is creating false narratives today? Who is spreading hate speech, nurturing and encouraging intolerance in the U.S., empowering the narcissistic blamers who feel marginalized to go off on a compound rage comprised and triggered by:  anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, skin color, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and an unidentifiable myriad of other perceived irritations?

Think of the last time you attended an orchestra performance.  The orchestra Conductor led and guided the various sections to complement each other resulting in a rich and complex sound which was pleasing to the audience.

Now, imagine if that orchestra performance was infiltrated by some musicians who refused to allow the conductor to lead.

Within the wind section, the brass instruments would play out of sync with the woodwinds.

Although the string musicians are mostly in harmony, the harpist occasionally takes his lead from the woodwinds, creating periods of discord.

The percussion instruments are off in a zone of their own, just doing what they want, totally out of touch with the conductor or any of the other musical sections, angry that they aren’t in charge.

  • Although relatively small in number, the renegade percussion section has sufficient noise to create complete and destructive cacophony, driving off the audience as well as the other musicians.

A recent report from AdWeek (TVNewser) shows Fox News – in particular, Tucker Carlson at 8 PM – leading the networks in viewership in both total viewers, and in the coveted 25-54 Demographic.

Translation:  Tucker is a money machine.  Advertisers are begging to support his daily hour of glory.

The Wednesday, August 31, 2022 Tucker Carlson show on Fox News began with a review of negative allegations against Joe Biden, including: a sly attack on son Hunter; recall of Joe showering with his daughter Ashley when she was a child; and how his wife currently knows he has Dementia.

Then, a rather long diatribe on the eve of Biden’s 80th birthday and how this is a sign of incompetence; that Joe is fixated on trivial and meaningless issues such as climate change, diversity and trans rights; that he is devoid of any ‘vision’; purely a partisan seeking advantage in the upcoming elections, leading into further emphasis on the negative aspects of Biden’s age.

Carlson continued with more passion, focusing in on recent Biden public commentary related to those individuals in America who have crossed the line into realm of ‘semi-Fascism’. Mr. Carlson managed to inject a critique blasting Biden saying he is, “…the same politician who had the FBI raid the home of the man who is running against him in the next election”.

Carlson segued into a commentary on the White House Press Office. Says Carlson, “… would have been better (for the Press Office to say) that Biden had a stroke, apologize and then move on.”  Carlson further denigrated the intelligence, experience and abilities of the White House communications team, stating, “Biden’s history-making publicist, the single dumbest person to ever hold that job, explained that her boss had spoken intentionally and with precision” then reinforcing the notion that Biden had made a blanket statement that Republicans are Fascists.

Those who may be interested in watching and listening to the entire broadcast are directed here: https://www.fox.com/watch/46d7f725b815fd5a7c10e1a1128558a3/

Meanwhile, enough Walrus commentary on the Tucker Carlson show of August 31.

Tucker is just one of many catalysts working on a base of angry white Christian men, keeping them stirred up by constantly reminding them that external forces have conspired to disenfranchise them.

Joined by his colleagues at Fox News, NewsMax, OAN, various podcasts and conspiracy driven social media groups, they continue to use Donald Trump as their demagogue by echoing and amplifying the ranting and raving of the Monarch of MAGA Americans toward an inevitable second Civil War.

Electric Power Generation v. Commercial Fishing

On August 26, 2022, Fox News (Jesse Watters Primetime) produced and broadcast over public airwaves an attack piece on offshore wind farms. It alleges that Democrats have conspired against the private commercial fishing industry to decimate historic fishing grounds; deprive them and nearby port communities of their legacy commercial activities; and potentially destroy entire regional economies.

Background:  

Wind is one of the cleanest energy sources available, and some scientists insist the U.S. is sitting next to a gold mine. A study published in 2009, “Global potential for wind-generated electricity” (PNAS: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America) firmly established wind power as the most effective and efficient means to generate sufficient electrical power to meet both present and future needs.[1]

A subsequent study conducted in 2017[2] found that wind speeds over the oceans could allow offshore turbines to generate far more energy than land-based wind farms – with the North Atlantic, in particular, theoretically able to provide enough energy for all of human civilization.

In tapping into wind as an energy source, the U.S. has lagged behind the U.K. and Europe for decades. Two of the largest offshore wind farms in the world are the London Array and the Netherlands’ Gemini wind farm.

The U.S. is beginning to catch up. The first offshore wind farm in the U.S. began generating electricity in late 2016. It consists of five, 6-MW (megawatt) Haliade-X turbines supplied by GE Renewable Energy linked through a submarine transmission cable into the New England grid.  Located about 3 miles off the coast of Block Island, RI, this wind farm will generate enough electricity to power 5,000 homes on the island and to meet around 90 percent of its total electricity demand. [3]

The Current Domestic Situation:  The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management was created in 2011, and it is poised to review at least 16 offshore wind plans for potential approval in the next three years, up from two total approvals since the agency was created.

The Biden administration apparently has ambitious plans to open up vast swaths of coastline in order to generate 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030. Energy companies are stepping up: Six leases off the New Jersey and New York coasts sold for $4.3 Billion in February 2022, the most lucrative wind lease sale in U.S. history.

Among other cases, Oregon officials are asking BOEM to delay a planned lease sale next year over concerns about its potential impacts on commercial fishing.

The commercial fishing industry has real and legitimate concerns which need to be investigated and addressed, honestly and thoroughly.

Interim Conclusion:  This is a very complex issue which needs input from cool heads; full transparency; and no further publicly broadcast emotional diatribes.  Like most issues today, we need to allow real experts to develop and distribute a solid strategy which achieves optimum current and future outcomes for our society as a whole.


[1] This 2009 study was supported by National Science Foundation Grant ATM-0635548; the authors represent an international multidisciplinary team of scholars.

[2] “Geophysical potential for wind energy over the open oceans”; Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford, CA 94305.

[3] Block Island Wind Farm has a peak capacity of 30 MW (megawatts) and is expected to produce around 125,000 MWh (megawatt-hours) of electricity annually.



Political Malfeasance in Action

U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) received nearly $1 Million in Wall Street contributions while killing a tax hike on certain Investment Bankers.

I grew up in the 1960’s in Buffalo, NY where it seemed that candidates for election to public office couldn’t get nominated until they could prove their ability to attract illegal political contributions. Over my professional career, I spent significant time in other northeast states, counties and cities where political corruption was often the norm.

Most of the corrupt elected officials I observed were guilty of getting their driveway paved; their house painted; maybe a new roof. Not good, not appropriate, and certainly, not acceptable.

The recent behavior of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) relative to the Carried Interest federal tax loophole puts the actions and behaviors of these historic elected officials in NY and CT into the category of ‘fixing parking tickets’.

The despicable and nefarious posturing by Sen. Sinema has blessed Carried Interest, sometimes known as ‘the cockroach of tax breaks, allowing it to survive another potential assault by Congress.

The proposal to increase the holding period requirement to qualify certain income paid to investment bankers for the lower Carried Interest tax rate was removed from the landmark ‘Inflation Reduction Act’ of 2022 (H.R. 5376) recently passed by both the Senate and the House and signed into law by President Joe Biden on August 16, 2022.

The “compromise” to remove Carried Interest was demanded by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) which she justified on a complex and convoluted set of criteria, and which potentially might be related to the $1 Million in campaign contributions she received over the past year from private equity professionals, hedge fund managers and venture capitalists whose taxes would have increased exponentially under the original plan.

The concept of Carried Interest dates back to the 16th century, when ocean-going ship captains would often take a 20 percent “interest” of whatever profits were realized from the cargos they carried. This approach is logical and defensible on the risks to life, property and personal capital undertaken by ship captains.

In 21st century America, the meaning of Carried Interest has evolved to describe a tax loophole — an income tax avoidance scheme — which allows some private equity and hedge fund investment bankers to classify large amounts of their compensation related to performing services (i.e. managing and/or investing other people’s money) as investment gains, which substantially lowers the amount they are required to pay in taxes.

Today’s Carried Interestis essentially a payment (bonus or commission) for investment services that is taken out of the profits of the money managed for investors. Private equity firms use pooled money from large institutional investors (pension funds, college endowments, ultra-high net worth individuals, etc.) to acquire controlling interests in struggling, underperforming or undervalued companies. When the investment are made, these acquired entities agree to pay the private equity firms Carried Interestout of the investment profits on top of management and other fees.

Under our current tax law, when the carried interest income is paid out of the private equity firm to individual partners, directors, etc. it is taxed at the preferential (‘capital gains’) rates granted to investment income, even though the income represents compensation for services. In all other contexts, compensation income – salaries, bonus, commissions, etc. – is taxed everywhere else as ordinary income.

Investment professionals often are required to contribute capital if they are eligible to receive carry, although it varies by firm and by position in the hierarchy (from 23% of associates/senior associates to 71% of managing partners). Essentially, the Carried Interest tax loophole acts as a magic wand to turn ordinary compensation income into preferentially-taxed capital gains income for a few thousand specially entitled individuals each year.

Private Equity (“PE”) is a $4.5 Trillion industry which tends to follow a predictable model: Use very high levels of debt to take control of underperforming (or undervalued) companies and then extract as much value as possible over a short- to intermediate time frame.

One of my favorite movies, “Other People’s Money” (1991: Warner Brothers [directed by Norman Jewison]; starring Danny DeVito and Gregory Peck) almost perfectly illustrates the potentially powerful impact of leveraged debt strategically deployed against a weak management team. In the film, the end result is: (a) closure and liquidation of New England Wire & Cable Company, a boring multi-generational family manufacturing business; (b) the loss of hundreds of decent jobs in a small American city; and (c) millions of dollars of ‘pirated booty’ transferred to anonymous private equity investors, with a mighty fine Carried Interest reward paid to Danny DeVito (the investment banker).

Zero value added to the overall U.S. economy.

Devastating value lost to a small American city, its residents and the regional economy.

Sure, the investment banker (Danny DeVito) took home a fine bonus. He probably was able to buy a nice airplane and maybe a vacation home in the Hamptons.

Meanwhile, the wire and cable products formerly supplied by the now defunct domestic company now are being sourced from a foreign firm. The American city where the former Wire and Cable business was located lost tax revenue which had formerly been used to support local schools and public works. And, local families abruptly lost their incomes, and their homes potentially went into foreclosure.

Most alarming: U.S. taxpayers subsidized the whole mess because of this crazy, foolish and irrational tax break known as Carried Interest.

Some will say that the movie, “Other People’s Money” is a 1991 dinosaur which has no relevance in 2022.

Yet, the devastation continues. In our current environment, retailers are particularly vulnerable to leveraged buyouts, and they provide the most visible examples of companies which have been acquired, pillaged and wrecked by private equity firms.

In January 2020, the New York grocery chain Fairway filed for its second bankruptcy in less than four years and announced plans to sell off its stores, due to several efforts by PE firms to extract value from the franchise. The Fairway failure joins a long list of casualties that includes: Sears; Toys R Us; Payless ShoeSource; and Sports Authority, among many others.

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In theory, PE firms snap up underperforming companies using ‘patient capital’; they bring in professional managers to revamp current operations; and then sell the companies through a Public Offering to generate a healthy return.

In practice, the PE industry revolves around deals known as leveraged buyouts, where the PE investors put up a small amount of their own money to purchase a company and borrow the rest. The acquired business becomes responsible for repaying the debt, which puts an immediate strain on cash flows.

In their quest to generate cash and improve operational efficiency, PE firms often: lay off workers, and cut pay and benefits to remaining workers; they sell off owned real estate and lease back; they sell trademarks and other ‘off balance sheet assets’.

PE firms sometimes extract cash using “dividend recapitalizations” where they use the acquired company to borrow additional money which is then used to pay investors. Beyond that, they often charge the businesses they acquire millions in ‘management fees’.

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Shifting the treatment of so-called Carried Interest income from capital gains to ordinary compensation income could raise between $1.4 Billion and $18 Billion annually from income tax on a very small number of investment bankers.

Most informed Americans refer to the lower tax rate on Carried Interest as a loophole that allows already wealthy private equity, hedge fund and other investment managers to pay a lower tax rate than the majority of their employees and other American workers. Once they are fully informed, a significant majority of voters across the political spectrum support legislation that would close this loophole.

“It’s a real rich benefit for the wealthiest of Americans,” said Steve Rosenthal, a senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. “Why should a private-equity manager be able to structure his or her compensation with low-taxed gains? That seems wrong.”

Sen. Sinema was elected to the U.S. Senate by voters in Arizona to represent their interests.  It’s hard to see how continuing this awful Carried Interest loophole is in the best interest of anyone in Arizona, other than to Sen Sinema herself because it seems to provide a rich and reliable source of political contributions to help ensure her continued reelection.

And that also seems wrong.

The most recent reactions to the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago from Fox News and among Donald Trump’s followers confirm that Donald J. Trump might be a very dangerous cult leader.

The American Psychological Association (APA) associates Cult Leaders with those who exhibit narcissistic psychopathy in their actions and behaviors.

Cult leaders usually are psychopaths with a desire for power who often take ideas from politics, religion and psychology to fulfill their purpose. Through mind control, they are able to filter their thoughts and behaviors into “fanatical faith and belief” among followers.

According to a number of APA-approved research studies, “a destructive cult is an authoritarian regime, which uses deception when recruiting as well as mind-control techniques to make a person dependent and obedient.”

Some have said that the Church of Scientology resembles a cult, perhaps generally benign rather than overtly destructive.

L. Ron Hubbard founded the Church of Scientology in 1954, and he struggled for many years to gain recognition for it as a legitimate religion. He was often at odds with tax authorities and former members who accused the church of fraud and harassment. Hubbard died in 1986, yet he created an infrastructure which is more powerful and resolute today than any time prior.

Al Qaeda was founded in 1988 by Osama bin Laden using a decentralized organizational structure which has survived his death. Most agree that Al Qaeda generally fulfills the criteria for a destructive cult, and a priority within the war on terrorism should focus on application of what we know about destructive mind-control cults.

Experts advise that the best strategy to stop cults from expanding and taking control of large segments of world population is to develop a deep understanding of the psychological aspects of how people are recruited and indoctrinated so that recruitment can be impeded and ultimately stopped.

History tells us that Adolf Hitler and the Nazis were a destructive political cult, led by a man with an extreme case of malignant narcissism, defined by a ferocious sense of ‘self’.

Malignant narcissists – sometimes described as Narcissistic Psychopaths — exhibit no empathy. They believe they are above the law; they frequently make threats or speak of committing violence. They’re often paranoid; they demand complete loyalty; and they rarely trust anybody.

Adolf Hitler, Vladimir Putin, Jim Jones and Sun Myung Moon are often cited as malignant narcissists, some more a threat to the continuation of the human race than others.

The most recent reactions to the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago from Fox News and among Donald Trump’s followers confirm that Donald J. Trump must be a cult leader.

“These are dark times for our Nation, as my beautiful home, Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, was raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents,” Trump complained in a statement sent out via email by Trump’s Save America PAC. Never bashful in his quest to amass the largest political action fund in world history, his statement concluded with a request for donations: “Please rush in a donation IMMEDIATELY to publicly stand with me against this NEVERENDING WITCH HUNT.”

Almost immediately, Trump’s followers – ignoring the possibilities that Trump was flaunting U.S. laws and regulations – began to circle the wagons, claiming Trump is being unfairly persecuted by the Biden administration and other hard-left liberals. Alina Habba, one of Trump’s lawyers, spent time on August 9 with Jesse Watters on Fox News claiming that the entire FBI operation essentially was ‘illegal, immoral and perfidious’.

We only need to look back to the early morning of September 11, 2001, when 19 terrorists from the religious extremist cult Al Qaeda hijacked four commercial aircraft and crashed two of them into the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center complex in NYC. Then, a third plane crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington, VA. Passengers on the fourth hijacked plane, Flight 93, fought back, and the plane was crashed into an empty field in western Pennsylvania about 20 minutes by air from Washington, D.C.

Nearly 3,000 people died. It was the worst attack on American soil since the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941.

The terrorists from 9/11/2001 failed to destroy the foundation of U.S. society by force. Undeterred, it seems that these and other external forces have focused on indoctrination as a means to destroy our nation.

The growth of the Trump Cult – estimated to be as large as 35% of the U.S. population today – is proof that constant and focused messaging can be a powerful tool to alienate people who feel disenfranchised, and a majority of those people look like me.

I’m now retired; an over-65 white male who fought it out for 4+ decades to survive and prosper in an ever-changing workplace environment. It would have been easy for me to give up and blame the changes and challenges on women; people of color; immigrants; or ‘government over-reach’.

In fact, most GOP effort over the past several years has consisted mostly of new state and local election laws that have restricted voting in ways that often place a disproportionate burden on Black and Latino voters.

The Trump Terrorists have been programmed to zero in on racial, ethnic, religious and gender differences on the notion that entitled white men could be deprived from their rightful legacy.

The very origin of the Trump campaign is “Let’s Make America Great Again” referencing back to the 1956-57 era when virtually every white male high school graduate could transition into a family wage job – with GM or Ford; in government; mining; agriculture; transportation; construction; or a myriad of other industries. Those were the days when a typical CEO made 20 times the salary of the average worker.

In 2021, S&P 500 CEOs averaged $18.3 Million in compensation — 324 times the median worker’s pay. 

This inequity is the foundation of the real American dilemma. It has nothing to do with ‘deep state’ or a ‘swamp’ in D.C.  It is really grounded in the Dark Money culture which pervades our elections. Trump has plenty to say, but he has never addressed the real issues which haunt American workers.

Meanwhile, the Cult of Agent Orange is alarming, and it threatens to annihilate our entire nation.

We can do better, folks, and we must do better if we intend to survive as a nation.

I’m really juiced by the recent Dobbs v. Jackson decision by SCOTUS.

I am a 70 year old male, so I have no direct skin in this game, yet I feel as though my rights have been trampled, along with the rights of my family members, my friends and my neighbors.

The First Amendment protects each U.S. resident – even me — from the whims, passions, and/or tyranny of a few.

It states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The recent decision in Dobbs v. Jackson[i], rendered by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 24, 2022, is an egregious example of horrible judicial judgment, likely resulting from an apparent violation of our First Amendment.

The census of 2020 reveals an America much different from 1787 when the U.S. Constitution was ratified, and when our enumerated U.S. population was >3 Million people residing in 13 states (colonies).

Today, we have fifty states hosting a population of >329 Million people.

Many Americans today seem to believe that our nation was established under a Christian doctrine—that we are a “Christian nation” and that we should operate accordingly.

Yet, it seems quite clear today that the founding fathers were prescient in their observation(s) about religion.

The collective wisdom of our founding fathers likely derives from their disparate – yet harmonious – spiritual beliefs. Some of our founding fathers — Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Madison, Monroe and others — practiced a faith called Deism, a philosophical belief that human reason is a reliable means of solving social and political problems. Deists generally believe in a supreme being who created the universe to operate by natural laws.  This belief in reason over dogma helped guide the founders toward a system of government that respected faiths like Christianity, while purposely isolating Church and State from encroaching on each other.

The evidence is abundant:  Our founders were adamant that a person’s faith should not be intruded upon by government, and that religious doctrine should not be written into governance. They had no intent to found our nation according to Christian doctrines, yet it seems quite clear that this exclusion was not intended to devalue the importance of the Christian religion itself.

Christianity – in many iterations — continues to thrive in America, as does Judaism, Islam, Hindu, Buddhism, and dozens of other religions. And, according to our 2020 Census, about 25% of Americans affiliate with no religion at all.

I’ve read and heard reports from some media sources that no honest religion could permit or encourage the termination of a pregnancy, leading me to believe that the continuing evolution of religious practice and belief in America may have been missed or ignored by some media sources.

A few media sources seem to assume that members of all religions endorse the views of a small minority of ultra-conservative Christians who are fixated on a theory that life begins at conception, rendering abortion akin to murder.  But this isn’t the consensus of all Christians, and very few Jewish or Muslim congregants share this belief. A majority of leaders within all three religions affirm the ethics of abortion in controlled and objective situations.

In fact, Jewish law requires abortion in some situations, most consistently in cases where a pregnancy endangers the life of the person carrying the embryo.

Dr. Thomas E. Dobbs III, the man whose name became synonymous with the Supreme Court decision to let states ban abortions, had virtually nothing to do with the landmark case.

Ironically, the case began in 2018 when the Jackson Women’s Health Organization filed a lawsuit against the State of Mississippi challenging a state law banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy[ii]. The original lawsuit named the Mississippi state health officer as a defendant, and at the time the lawsuit was filed, that health officer was Dr. Mary Currier.

When Dr. Currier retired in late 2018 after 34 years of service, she was replaced by Dr. Dobbs, who then became the Mississippi state health officer, and the individual in charge of regulating the only abortion clinic in Mississippi, Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

Dobbs himself has distanced himself from the case.  He is an infectious diseases physician, working at the intersection of public health and patient care, with specific expertise in HIV, tuberculosis and health equity.

Alliance Defending Freedom {ADF} [EIN 54-1660459] is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization based in Scottsdale, AZ which was instrumental in defending the Dobbs case, leading to the overturn of Roe V. Wade.  ADF primarily is a well-funded legal organization with annual revenues of $65 Million, and net assets of $42 Million, employing 319 individuals, 69 of whom earn in excess of $100,000.

  • According to a 2020 analysis from the Southern Poverty Law Center, the ADF was “Founded by some 30 leaders of the Christian Right (as) a legal advocacy and training group that has supported the recriminalization of sexual acts between consenting LGBTQ adults in the U.S. and criminalization abroad; has defended state-sanctioned sterilization of trans people abroad; has contended that LGBTQ people are more likely to engage in pedophilia; and claims that a “homosexual agenda” will destroy Christianity and society.”
  • Apparently, the ADF has now expanded its focus to help support several other ultra-conservative Christian positions.

Whenever people bring their personal religious beliefs or values into any public debate, they risk imposing illegal, unwanted or restrictive religious practices and beliefs on others who have been granted the Constitutional right to pursue their own — perhaps different — beliefs.

The great majority of published public opinions opposed to open unrestricted access to comprehensive reproductive health care over the past 4 decades — including both contraception and abortion — center on personal ethical, moral or religious issues, with the loudest voices opposing open access emanating from a small minority of predominantly college educated white evangelical Christians.

Facts confirm that restrictions imposed on open access to comprehensive reproductive health care services have disproportionate adverse economic impact — and direct deprivation of human rights — on:

  • Young women (<25 years of age);
  • Low-income women; and
  • Women of color.

These are socially and economically disadvantaged women, frequently members of a protected class.

The longitudinal negative social and economic impacts on women who are denied access to a voluntary abortion — and onto the children who are born as a result — are devastating. The spillover of these social and economic impacts into our larger society is chilling.

I’ve read the U.S. Constitution several times.  Each time, I have seen clear evidence that our Founders intended to follow the core foundations of our Declaration of Independence: Ensuring equal rights and equal treatment to all individuals regardless of their address or other socio-economic variables.

Somehow, the current Religious Right – enabled by this tax exempt entity known as Alliance Defending Freedom together with other undisclosed dark money sources — has bamboozled the U.S. Supreme Court, allowing a small but very vocal minority to impose their religious morality on the rights of all women residents in the U.S., depriving them of unfettered access to comprehensive reproductive health care, regardless of current residency; education; economic status; age; disability; religion; national origin; pregnancy; race/color; sex, sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

I believe – as a nation and as a society — we can and should do better.

The Judge Alito opinion in this case is flawed, and the consenting opinions of Justices Thomas, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett must be recognized as religiously and politically tainted.


[ii] The fight against a woman’s right to choose continues to be highly political. The Gestational Age Act is a Mississippi law that purports to ‘protect unborn children, the health of pregnant mothers, and the integrity of the medical profession by protecting life after 15 weeks in gestational age’. The Act apparently was inspired by false prophets and funded by dark money contributions from Christian Nationalist sources.  The 15-week marker has no footing in scientific research, yet it tends to evoke a highly emotional response among skeptics. The highly regarded American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) continues to maintain its position that “Safe and legal abortion is a necessary component of woman’s healthcare; is one of the safest medical procedures, 14 times safer to the patient than undergoing childbirth.”


[i] The full name of the Supreme Court case overturning Roe v. Wade is “Thomas E. Dobbs, State Health Officer of the Mississippi Department of Health, et al., Petitioners v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, et al.

The Supreme Court of the United States (“SCOTUS”) was established in 1789 by Article Three of the U.S. Constitution, and defined in the Judiciary Act of 1789.

There are no explicit requirements in the U.S. Constitution for a person to be nominated to become a Supreme Court justice. No age, education, job experience, or citizenship rules exist. There is no requirement in the Constitution for a Supreme Court justice to have a law degree.

Supreme Court justices are nominated by the sitting President, and confirmed by the sitting Senate for a life appointment to the court.

None of this has been a concern to the viability of our nation until now.

SCOTUS 2022

We’ve recently witnessed some absolutely surreal SCOTUS decisions.

On 6/23, they gave permission for anyone and everyone to ‘pack heat’: Open season on concealed carry.

Then on 6/24, a majority of our Supreme Court judges eliminated what most of us believed was a Constitutional right to obtain an abortion, casting aside 49 years of precedent that began with Roe v. Wade.

The vote to overturn Roe v. Wade was 5-4, on a decision written by Justice Samuel Alito.

Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett joined Alito’s opinion. Chief Justice John Roberts did not join the opinion. He agreed with the majority that the Mississippi abortion restriction at issue in the case should be upheld, but in a separate opinion, he argued that the court should not have overturned the Roe v. Wade decision.

This decision employed fully twisted logic claiming the Roe decision was wrong ‘because the U.S. Constitution makes no specific mention of abortion rights.’

That’s not surprising. Back at the end of the 18th century — when we had just 13 states and the only people who had voting rights were White Men who were land owners — the Constitution also made no mention of television, airline travel or record-high gasoline prices.

And then, on the following day, June 24, 2022, “in a concurring opinion that raised concerns the justices might roll back other rights, conservative Justice Clarence Thomas urged the court to reconsider past rulings protecting the right to contraception, legalizing gay marriage nationwide, and invalidating state laws banning gay sex.”

Yet, Justice Thomas made no mention of a revisit to the controversial Loving v. Virginia decision?

Clarence Thomas has proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is a Genuine Sanctimonious Prick.

Only Franz Kafka could do this story justice.

A recent post by Mark Sumner on Daily Kos both caught my eye and stopped me in my tracks.

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2022/6/17/2104655/-Donald-Trump-operates-on-One-Simple-Trick

I’m retired, so I have plenty of time to read, reflect and think about things. I try not to let the intensity of the moment get to me. I’ve found it’s better for me to stop, think and express my feelings in words. It may not change anything, but it does soothe me and help keep my blood pressure under control.

Here is my reaction to Mark Sumner’s excellent observations:

It seems that Trump has much in common with each of the historic figures (below).

They represent a rare but dangerous sub-species: Charismatic leaders who lack any social conscience, and are further devoid of the ability to empathize and identify with others on a genuine personal level.

In classic terms, these folks are narcissistic psychopaths, and most satisfy some of their urges by torturing and/or killing others. They are high-functioning individuals each of whom developed a rich repertoire of very effective coping mechanisms which allowed them to ‘fool some of the people all the time’.

Where Trump deviates from the rest of these folks is that he just isn’t very smart.

He refuses to read, study and listen to experts which limits his ability to develop a deep understanding of the world around him, thus leaving him incapable of originating, advancing and executing a productive and original strategy.

Trump is evil but shallow; he acts entirely on impulse. He treats his closest advisors like cannon fodder. Throughout his long career of grifting, pillaging and piracy, he never saw a bridge he wouldn’t burn.

I believe if Trump does live another 5 years, he will experience a precipitous fall from grace dwarfing even the saga of Bernie Madoff.

However the future unfolds, Trump will most certainly join this list of very bad actors for all of eternity:

Adolf Hitler; Joseph Stalin; Vlad the Impaler; Pol Pot; Heinrich Himmler; Saddam Hussein; Idi Amin; Josef Mengle; Ivan the Terrible; Genghis Kahn; Ayatollah Khomeini; Vladimir Putin; David Koresh; Charles Manson; Jim Jones. And the list goes on…

The former Clipper Motel, 1850 North Harrison, Clearwater, FL

This property – a 50-unit vacation destination – was acquired by the Church of Scientology FLAG Service Organization in 1996.  Although it is currently assessed for $2.3 Million, it has been off the tax rolls since 2013. That’s right. This 50-unit waterfront motel is tax exempt for religious purposes.

The property is now gated and clearly not accessible to the public, yet it appears to be well-maintained and suitable for its intended use as temporary housing for travelers.

In a post from November 2020, Mike Rinder looked deeply into the concept of awarding tax exemption to the Church of Scientology (Scientology’s Tax Exemption (mikerindersblog.org)

I am resident, voter, property owner and taxpayer in Clearwater, FL where the Church of Scientology has directly and indirectly acquired hundreds of properties, taking many off the tax rolls thus shifting the tax burden to others.

I don’t wish to debate the validity of the religious exemption Scientology won from the IRS, yet I do want to debate the practice of hiring and using an army of lawyers to fight property assessors who attempt to determine that some of the properties owned by Scientology are not used for religious or charitable purposes, and thus not eligible for property tax exemptions.

I also question many of the activities of Scientology which seem to confer ‘excess benefits’ to Chairman Miscavige and others who occupy senior positions in the Organization.

Having received tax exemption from the IRS as a religious organization, the Church of Scientology and its many affiliates are also exempt from filing an annual Form 990 “Information Return” with the IRS:

‘They are encouraged to file, but not required to file.’

The 990 provides a treasure trove of information, including executive compensation, benefits, governance, etc.

If I was a gangster posing as a religious leader, I would want to be exempt from any public disclosure, including the requirement to file a 990.

If I was an honest, fair, selfless religious leader I would hope to be fairly compensated for my education, wisdom and service so that I had adequate shelter, nutrition and safety for me and my household, but I wouldn’t object to disclosing the financial affairs of my organization, which would include disclosure of my personal compensation and benefits.

This goes well beyond Scientology as there are more than a few Exempt Religious Organizations which opt into the nondisclosure arena.

Despite that loophole, a rather large number of religious organizations which have received tax exemption from the IRS continue to file their 990 forms every year.

This seems to be another serious, dangerous and egregious loophole in our Federal Tax Code that needs to be addressed.

We, The People, ought to know what is going on behind the curtain, particularly because we are left paying the piper when those few tax-exempt organizations every year stray from the garden path.

Let me be very clear: I am a gun owner, a member of the N.R.A. and a supporter of the Second Amendment.

I recently wrote an impassioned letter to Senator Marco Rubio imploring him to support a permanent ban on military-style assault weapons, similar to the (now-expired) Federal Assault Weapons Ban which outlawed manufacture of AR-15 and other assault-style weapons for civilian use.

My research confirms a strong and direct correlation which connects a small number of domestic males under age 25 with AR-15-style weapons and military-grade ammunition to mass shootings across the U.S. The massacres in Uvalde; Buffalo; Sandy Hook; Aurora; Boulder; Parkland; Las Vegas; San Bernardino; Sutherland Springs; Nashville; Midland–Odessa; Poway; and the Tree of Life Synagogue each support the hypothesis.

Sen. Marco Rubio holds an A-plus rating from the NRA and has received at least $3.3 Million of NRA campaign money, thus I thought it might be an uphill battle trying to engage Marco Rubio in an honest debate regarding the probability that AR-15 style weapons might be a root cause of the U.S. epidemic of gun violence.

Instead of responding to my observations which are directly and irrefutably confirmed by exhaustive research (including my own), Sen. Rubio went right down the NRA rabbit hole.

Sen. Rubio said to me, “… the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

His entire reply to me is attached.

I’m not right off the turnip truck, yet I remain flummoxed, baffled and bewildered that we continue to support and elect cyborgs like Marco Rubio hoping for rational and productive governance of our nation.

The Supreme Court of the United States is currently embroiled in one of the most divisive cases of the 21st century.

I offer some comments to them.

REF:    Docket No. 19-1392:  Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

Honorable Justices:

I’m a retired man of European ancestry who has enjoyed a great life in America. I was raised in a family which celebrated equal rights among women and men; valued the importance of education; encouraged everyone to work to their potential; and gave our neighbors an opportunity to live their lives to the fullest.

I have lived in 3 states, and I’ve always thought that one of the great benefits to all who are residents of the United States is the breadth and depth of the 10th Amendment, which strives to ensure equal rights to all U.S. residents regardless of which state they were born in, or where they currently reside.

That said, I am extremely alarmed and disappointed by recent media reports which indicate a high potential for The Court to negate the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision (410 U.S. 113), in addition to reversing a subsequent and related decision from 1992 — Planned Parenthood v. Casey (505 U.S. 833).

A variety of research surveys over time have found that the majority of Americans believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases. When religion has been included in the demographics of survey participants, the vast majority of white evangelical Protestants say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases.

The 1st amendment to the U.S. Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

Whenever people bring their personal religious beliefs or values into any public debate, they risk imposing illegal, unwanted or restrictive religious practices and beliefs on others who have been granted the Constitutional right to pursue their own — perhaps different — beliefs.

The great majority of published public opinions opposed to open unrestricted access to comprehensive reproductive health care over the past 4 decades — including both contraception and abortion — center on personal ethical, moral or religious issues, with the loudest voices opposing open access generally emanating from a small minority of predominantly college educated white evangelical Christians, an economically privileged cohort.

Restrictions imposed on open access to comprehensive reproductive health care services have disproportionate adverse economic impact on — and directly deprive basic human rights to — young women; low-income women; and women of color. These are socially and economically disadvantaged women, frequently members of a protected class.

The longitudinal negative social and economic impacts on women who are denied access to a voluntary abortion — and to the children who are born as a result — are often devastating. The spillover of these social and economic impacts into our larger society is chilling.

I urge you to reject the religious, ethical and moral arguments embedded into the Dobbs case, and to instead codify the right of all women residents of the U.S. to unfettered access to comprehensive reproductive health care, regardless of current residency; education; economic status; age; disability; religion; national origin; pregnancy; race/color; sex, sexual orientation and/or gender identity.