Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I turned 39 (2014)

Friday, March 17, 2017

Pittsfield politics 2017. The lovely Linda Tyer leads Pittsfield politics towards 2020.


Lisa Tully

“Pittsfield Councilwoman Lisa Tully won't seek third term in 1st Ward seat”
The Berkshire Eagle, March 15, 2017

PITTSFIELD — City Councilwoman Lisa Tully has announced that she will not be seeking a third term representing Ward 1.

Tully, who was first elected to the council in 2013, said she hoped her early notice would enourage other candidates to step up to run for the seat in November's election.

"I want to see more young people get involved in city politics and the healthy debate of local issues during the upcoming election season for this very important position," she wrote in a media release. "It has been an honor to represent the residents of Ward 1 for two terms."

She cited the time constraints of public service.

"While the experience is very rewarding, being a city councilor is also very time consuming," she said. "At this moment in my life, I want to spend more time with my grandchildren while they are still young."

Tully, who is a charge nurse for the radiology/ cardiology department at Berkshire Medical Center, said she intended to remain active in the community.

"Although I will no longer be officially in public service, I will continue to serve the community as a volunteer. I will remain an advocate for the restoration of the house at Springside Park," she said. "I will continue to offer my services to the Morningside Initiative and assist with the annual cleanup. I also plan to get involved in other volunteer activities with the additional free time.

"I wish to thank all of my family, friends and neighbors who supported and encouraged me to put myself out in front of the public and seek a local office," she said. " Don't be surprised to see me return to city government when my nursing career winds down and my grandchildren are older."

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Moon

"This is a great place to live and I want people to understand that." - Helen Haerhan Moon, candidate for Pittsfield City Council

“Pittsfield City Council: Candidate steps up for Ward 1”
Moon says she was inspired to serve after the election
By Dick Lindsay, rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com – The Berkshire Eagle, March 16, 2017

PITTSFIELD — Bullish about the city's future, Helen Haerhan Moon wants to represent Ward 1 on the City Council.

Moon announced Thursday morning she plans to take out nomination papers next month in hope of succeeding Lisa Tully in the citywide November election. The critical care registered nurse at Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington is the first Ward 1 candidate to emerge since Tully announced on Tuesday she wasn't seeking a third, 2-year term. The out-going incumbent has vowed to remain active in the community.

A native of South Korea, Moon relocated from Longmeadow eight years ago finding Pittsfield a great place to live.

"I'm running because I believe in the good of Pittsfield," she said in an Eagle interview. "I'm invested in making Pittsfield better."

Following the presidential election four months ago, Moon says she felt compelled to get more involved in her neighborhood, her ward, her city.

If elected, Moon plans to be part of the rejuvenation of the Tyler Street/Morningside area through the state-sponsored Transformative Development Initiative. The TDI project, through plenty of public input, looks to improve the housing, business and social opportunities in the Tyler Street area.

Moon also vows to push forward the restoration of the house at Springfield Park.

"Lisa has done a great job with Springside Park and I want to be an advocate for that," she said.

Moon realizes Pittsfield has issues with crime, drug addiction and other social ills, but she hopes to be part of the solutions to those issues. She also wants to be a voice for everyone in her ward and promises to improve the level of inclusiveness and diversity within the city.

"This is a great place to live and I want people to understand that," she said.

Reach staff writer Dick Lindsay at 413-496-6233.

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Mark Tully: “At ceiling, Pittsfield confronts reality”
By Mark Tully, Op-Ed, The Berkshire Eagle, March 20, 2017

PITTSFIELD — There is a common misconception that I hear often. People have the impression that since the city is close to the Prop 2.5 ceiling, the voters will be asked repeatedly to pass overrides in order to increase our tax levy. Some people say that there is no way the citizenry will pass a property tax increase. Other people say that once deep service cuts are apparent, the people will pony up and pass an override.

To these people, I have bad news. Proposition 2.5 does not allow for a voter supported override.

A Proposition 2.5 override is not permitted to increase the tax levy beyond 2.5 percent of the "Full and Fair Cash Value" of the community's property. This is the levy ceiling which cannot be surpassed. The only way to increase our levy is to significantly increase the "Full and Fair Cash Value" of the community through growth.

Is there cause for concern? Yes, we must all become aware of the financial dilemma facing our city. At the joint City Council /School Committee meeting at the end of January, a five-year financial forecast was presented by the Collins Center for Public Management at UMass Boston. This study, paid for by a grant, forecasts conservatively what the city's spending will be for five years, based on historical trends and current contractual obligations. Of course, the inevitable increases in health care, salaries and retirement benefits are the main cost drivers. Then the study looks at revenues where property taxes account for over 50 percent with very little growth in sight.

Shocking shortfalls

The comparison of revenues to expenditures is shocking. Next fiscal year, we will be more than $3 million short. For FY 2019 we will be more than $7 million short, FY 2020 more than $10 million, FY 2021 more than $14 million and FY 2022 more than $18 million.

These figures represent our cost overruns of doing business in the same manner as we have been doing for last 14 years. Except now, because of the Proposition 2.5 ceiling, we are not allowed to raise our taxes and cannot continue "business as usual."

We must make smart reductions this year and every year in the future. If health care increases 5 percent, we need to either cut a service by the same amount or decrease the health care benefits to employees. If the school department is to receive a contractual $1 million in salary increases, then we need to cut more services in the city budget or discontinue popular but not required school programs. This is not hypothetical, it is our new reality.

An opposition argument I hear often is that we must increase our tax base to solve our revenue shortfall. Yes, increasing our tax base IS the only solution. However that is similar to me saying I need to win the Powerball lottery to plan my retirement. The forecasted spending would require Pittsfield to find second home owners to build 1,000 luxury condos each year. Or a project on the scale of the MGM Casino that Springfield is building. We need to understand that in order to increase our tax levy by $1 million, (which is only a fraction of the annual levy increase), Proposition 2.5 ceiling mandates that we build $40 million of new growth into our value. Growth on a scale of this magnitude is not possible.

Are there other communities in Massachusetts at or near their ceiling? Yes, Springfield is at its ceiling, but it hopes the MGM Casino project stimulates growth. In addition to Springfield, Avon and Holyoke are the only other communities that have been at their ceiling. Pittsfield is next in line, Holbrook and Longmeadow are close but can still increase their tax levies by 6 percent, staving off the inevitable for a few years.

Last year, I had the good fortune to tag along with my wife, [Ward 1 City Councilor] Lisa, to Holyoke. Lisa made an appointment to meet with the Holyoke treasurer and auditor to learn how they operate without being able to increase the tax levy. Holyoke has many challenges and its underperforming school system was a major problem. When the Holyoke school system was taken over by the state last year, ironically, it financially helped the city. This year, to meet budget constraints, Holyoke had to close a fire station; consolidate department personnel and reduce staff by not replacing retirees. These are just a few of the savings Holyoke has to implement each year.

Diet and exercise

So how does Pittsfield move forward in the face of such financial challenges? There isn't a quick solution, this is a way of life change. I think of a Type 2 diabetic when the only way to reverse the disease and regain a high quality of life is through diet and exercise. We must put ourselves on a strict diet, but not a starvation diet because we must also exercise. Any increase to a department's budget must be determined if it will help the city grow and any decrease must be judged on if it will cause the city's growth to shrink. For example, would foregoing school department raises create a negative impact to the city? Or, would foregoing popular school department programs to pay for the raises have a negative impact on our city?

These are the decisions now before us. We cannot have it all. The credit card is max'd out and the savings account is depleted. We are all affected by this and are all in it together.

In closing, when we concluded our interview with Holyoke, Lisa asked the auditor if there is a bright side to being at their tax ceiling. He responded: Yes, because it forces public officials to finally make the unpopular but prudent financial decisions that they should have been making all along.

Mark Tully is a resident of Pittsfield and sales manager for Kidde-Fenwal Controls, an electrical/electronics manufacturer.

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“firefighters”
iBerkshires.com - Letter to the Editor, February 17, 2017

To the Editor:

Congratulation to the nine all white male firefighter that Pittsfield just hired with federal funds and to the City's Equal Rights and Employment Commission for a job well done. It appears they have made lots of progress in the last few years. The city should be real proud.

Sean Curran,
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

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“Pittsfield disregarded affirmative action”
Letter to the Editor of The Berkshire Eagle, March 18, 2017

To the editor:

Do we know racism, sexism and other "isms" when we see them or do we just say "Not here." Or do we give great speeches and write articles about the injustice of it all and and then call it a day.

I have to admit that I have been struggling with this issue. I grew up in Windsor, lived many years in Pittsfield and have now lived in Cheshire for many years. What caused me to write this letter was I read recently in The Eagle that Pittsfield appointed nine new firemen. Congratulations to them and to their families. I am sure they will serve the city well.
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[The nine recruits are Kyle Bailey, Brandon Bailey, Nicholas Teti, Brendan Shank, Shawn Leary, Craig Eggleston, Michael Herman, Timothy Sayers and Stephen Papa.]
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What my concern is that it appears that from the picture in The Eagle that the city appointed nine white, male candidates. Not one word has been said or written about this issue. I am not sure if we just choose to ignore this issue or with the emergence of Trump, this kind of action is condoned.

I have filed with the City Council a petition that calls for a review of theses appointments and the city's efforts to promote fair and equal treatment for all. I believe that the city and all of us can and should do better to insure better treatment and more opportunities for minorities. I urge everyone to write to federal and state officials, especially those in charge of grants to the city and urge them not to award them to the city until they show real progress in promoting affirmative action.

James M. Boyle,
Cheshire
The writer is a former School Committee chairperson and former city councilor.

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Dennis Powell of the NAACP speaks during a press conference Wednesday morning regarding the City of Pittsfield’s hiring practices and diversity efforts throughout local government. From left are Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski, City Councilor Peter White, Mayor Linda Tyer, Dennis Powell, City Councilor John Krol and Superintendent Jason McCandless. Wednesday, March 22, 2017. Credit: Gillian Jones, The Berkshire Eagle.

From left, city officials including Maria Richardson, Michael Summers, Robert Czerwinski, and Peter White listen during a press conference Wednesday morning regarding the City of Pittsfield’s hiring practices and diversity efforts throughout local government. The news conference was held in response to a letter to the editor from a former city councilor published in the Berkshire Eagle. The author also filed a petition with the City Council to review the city’s hiring practices in regards to affirmative action. Credit: Gillian Jones, The Berkshire Eagle.

Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer, city officials and community leaders, hold a press conference Wednesday morning regarding the City of Pittsfield’s hiring practices and diversity efforts throughout local government. The news conference was held in response to a letter to the editor from a former city councilor published in the Berkshire Eagle. The author also filed a petition with the City Council to review the city’s hiring practices in regards to affirmative action. Credit: Gillian Jones, The Berkshire Eagle.

“Steps taken, steps needed: City examines diversity in workforce”
By Carrie Saldo, The Berkshire Eagle, March 22, 2017

PITTSFIELD — Work has been done, and there is still much work to do. That's what the president of the local NAACP had to say about the city's minority hiring practices.

Dennis Powell was among those who spoke during a news conference organized by Mayor Linda M. Tyer Wednesday. The event was held in response to a letter to the editor that stated the city disregarded affirmative action, and that leadership was not hiring enough non-white candidates.

Joined by nine community leaders, Tyer said the assertions made in the letter are false. Several of those gathered, including Powell, cited steps Tyer's administration had taken to increase diversity in both paid and appointed positions.

"Are we where we should be? No. Are we where we were? No," Powell said. "Progress has been made, but the process is a slow process because it was never practiced in years past."

Printed in Sunday's Eagle, a letter from James M. Boyle, a City Councilor in the 1990s and School Committee Chairman in the 1980s, pointed specifically to the hiring of nine white, male firefighters as proof city employment lacks diversity.

"I believe that the city and all of us can and should do better to insure better treatment and more opportunities for minorities," Boyle wrote.

In addition, he urged the public to write to federal and state officials, especially those who issue grants, and ask they be denied until the city demonstrates "real progress in promoting affirmative action."

Tyer said while its work to diversify city ranks is far from complete, it is ongoing and progress has been made.

"I just could not allow this false information to go unanswered," she said of her reason to call the news conference about the letter. "It is an absolutely unfair characterization of the city."

She vehemently disagreed with Boyle's call to action regarding grant funding.

She said grant funding supports work in numerous areas of city government including gang prevention, small business development, and a variety of housing programs. She specifically cited the Community Development department which she said received $45 million in grants over the past 12 years.

Boyle also filed a petition with the city that asked city councilors publically state their opposition to "racism and sexism" and should request updates from the mayor, department heads, and school leadership about efforts to diversify hiring.

City Council President Peter Marchetti said the petition would be referred to the mayor's office.

Personnel Director Michael Taylor described the city's hiring as fair, inclusive and added it focuses on "diversity and equality for all."

Taylor said, in an effort to reach a broader group of people, he has organized events to inform the public about qualifications needed for many of its jobs. In addition, its job openings are widely posted and also distributed by the local NAACP chapter.

While the majority of municipal government's approximately 480 employees are white, the workforce did become more diverse from 2015 to 2016.

The percent of African-Americans increased from 3.3 percent to 4.5 percent and Hispanics increased from 3.3 percent to 4.3 percent, according to statistics provided by Taylor. Asians and American Indians employed by the city still represent .2 percent of the workforce respectively.

Those figures do fall short of the broader population demographics.

Of Pittsfield's approximately 43,000 residents 85 percent are white, 5.4 percent are African American, 5.4 percent are Hispanic, 1.8 percent are Asian, and .2 percent are American Indian, according to 2015 information on city-data.com.

Powell pointed out that the local NAACP was instrumental in reviving an affirmative action policy and an advisory committee in 2013 under then Mayor James M. Ruberto. The committee had been dormant since the '90s.

Affirmative action policies typically dictate how an entity will work to improve opportunities for minority groups, which have historically been excluded.

He said the NAACP has been working to hold Tyer, and previous mayors, accountable for upholding its affirmative action policy.

"I see her on the right path," he said of Tyer. "Change starts with local government and I'm really pleased with the change I see occurring here locally."

He referenced the addition of Michael Summers and Yvonne West, both African-Americans, to the Board of Health as two steps in the right direction. Two people of color — Ty Allan Jackson, an African-American, and Helen Moon, an Asian-American — are running for City Council, which he cited as additional proof that a message of inclusion is being communicated to the public.

Powell also spoke highly of the on-going cultural competency training in the public schools and more recently among Tyer's senior staff.

Peter White, chairman of the city's Affirmative Action Advisory Committee, said it meets quarterly to discuss and debate ways to improve the treatment of minority groups, including members of the disabled community.

"We are making sure every effort is being put out there to hire diverse candidates," said White, also a member of City Council.

Among the attempts to increase diversity among its employees, the city may examine the Civil Service process. It requires candidates take an exam to determine eligibility for some jobs.

The test fee is $250 and testing is usually held outside of the Berkshires, both of which can be barriers for applicants, leaders said.

City fire and police departments use the Civil Service process to guide hiring. Results expire after two years and a candidate must pay to retake the exam if they were not hired and still want to be considered for a position.

Tyer said the city will continue to study the challenges of Civil Service hiring and that it would work with state leaders to try and improve the process.

She thanked Boyle for calling attention to the matter and said work on the issue would continue.

Reach staff writer Carrie Saldo at 413-496-6221 or csaldo@berkshireeagle.com or @carriesaldo

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Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer defends hiring practices during a press conference at city hall. Credit: JD Allen, WAMC.

"Pittsfield Defends Hiring Practices"
By JD Allen, WAMC, March 22, 2017

Pittsfield is promoting diverse hiring practices following allegations over several years that the western Massachusetts city does not conform to affirmative action standards.

Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer held a press conference Wednesday in response to a letter to the editor in The Berkshire Eagle that was critical of the city’s affirmative action policies. Tyer says the city has worked hard to improve diversity in its hiring practices.

“It is not about a quota," Mayor Tyer says. "It is not about meeting a quota. It is rather about addressing the barriers and creating an inclusive work environment.”

Pittsfield updated its affirmative action plan three years ago. Officials say the number of minority city employees has increased. Last year, Pittsfield employed 48 minorities out of 480 total workers.

The city also has promoted diversity training at public schools, city hall and public safety departments.

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Note: The city employs about 480 people; the School Department, about 1,200.

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Letter: “City should focus on residents, not on immigrants”
The Berkshire Eagle, March 23, 2017

To the editor:

This past November's election has taught us all many things. It has reminded us that the long shot should never be counted out and sometimes it ultimately prevails. Donald Trump is now our president, an upset to some and a relief to others.

I am of the latter. I am a huge Trump supporter. Why not build the wall and protect ourselves, and to help pay for it, he can start by taking money away from sanctuary cities. I am for veterans before immigrants. Love him or hate him, he is making a nation think about issues we have all taken for granted.

Which leads me to the anger I felt when the city of Pittsfield claimed that it will welcome immigrants with open arms. While working with state Sen. Hinds and Rep. Farley-Bouvier, Mayor Linda Tyer says we will give immigrants all the support possible. Shouldn't that have been a community discussion and not made by the great hierarchy of Western Massachusetts? They are supposed to represent one and all not just a minority of voters. I am sure the city will get some sort of payout for accepting the refugee resettlement community. The question is how much? And will the taxpayer see it? I doubt it. We just keep getting asked to pay more and more.

The mayor should be protecting who is already here. This city is in dire straights. Financially, we are a whisper away from economic failure. Plus there seems to be a spending problem going on even more so within the last few years. We need to make Pittsfield great again and the current administration isn't cutting it.

Getting the same type of people to run for office again won't fix the situation either. There have to be people who truly want change and who will vote for change regardless if the other members agree or not. We don't need more special interests. We need more strong-minded, opinionated people.

If a non-politician businessman can become president, then anything is possible. That includes improving the local government.

Tammy Ives,
Pittsfield

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“Pittsfield Public Schools to see 'real and substantive cuts'”
By Carrie Saldo, csaldo@berkshireeagle.com – The Berkshire Eagle, March 23, 2017

PITTSFIELD — Anticipating nearly $1.7 million in budget cuts, and the potential loss of 65 positions, the Pittsfield School Committee wants to give itself and the public additional time to mull over the difficult decisions it is facing in fiscal 2018.

Initially, the district had intended to present its line item budget on the same evening as a public hearing about the budget. Instead, the committee will hold separate meetings to release the $60.7 million proposal and then to hear public input on it.

District leaders continue to work toward what they say will be a level-funded budget. With the city at its levy ceiling, and with no potential for a Proposition 2 override, Mayor Linda M. Tyer has asked all areas of city government, including the school department, to deliver level-funded budgets.

Superintendent Jason "Jake" McCandless presented the committee with the second draft of the fiscal 2018 budget during its meeting Wednesday.

The version cuts 65.3 positions and $1,325,153 from what would be a level services budget. Even with those cuts, the $60,665,421 proposal is $349,083, above this fiscal year, or a 0.57 percent increase.

The draft budget presented earlier this month proposed cutting 57.3 positions — the district has about 1,200 employees — and carried a 0.91 percent increase.

Committee member Anthony Riello asked about jobs saved through attrition. McCandless said about one-third of the positions might be retained that way.

Cuts to the district's pre-kindergarten offerings and contributions to the Helen Berube Teen Parent Program are among the other cuts McCandless pointed out, explaining the district believes other community partners will be able to make up differences in those areas.

He said that does not lessen the blow of the challenges ahead for the district and the students it serves.

"These are very real and substantive cuts, McCandless said.

The budget presented April 5 will include line items and it will be level funded, he said. The district will hold the budget public hearing April 12 and plans to adopt a budget April 26, a few days ahead of the May 1 deadline.

The city cannot ask voters for a Proposition 2 override because there has not been enough new growth in the city's tax base to support that, officials have said.

And the city lost $129 million in property value over the past five years, McCandless said Matthew Kerwood, the city finance director, explained in a meeting last week.

Tyer pointed out Pittsfield is not alone in its struggle to grow.

She said several Massachusetts communities are at or near their levy ceilings. Because of that, she said there may be an opportunity for those communities to work together on a solution. She said perhaps those municipalities could lobby state leaders to rethink the formula surrounding how taxes may be levied.

Tyer also told the committee health insurance premiums are increasing at exorbitant rates and she wondered aloud what would happen if the city stopped offering insurance.

"We would never do that," but if communities did, would it put pressure on insurance companies to stop increasing their rates, she asked.

Despite challenges, Tyer said she is optimistic that some new growth may be identified when the city's three year property revaluation takes place later this year.

Reach staff writer Carrie Saldo at 413-496-6221 or @carriesaldo

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Craig C. Gaetani

“Council candidate says he'll fight for taxpayers”
By Carrie Saldo , csaldo@berkshireeagle.com – The Berkshire Eagle, March 24, 2017

PITTSFIELD — A champion of the taxpayer.

That is what Craig C. Gaetani said he'll be if elected to the at-large City Council seat up for grabs.

Gaetani is the second person to announce a run for the post being vacated by Kathleen Amuso.

When asked about his campaign priorities he said: "Taxpayers' dollars, taxpayer dollars, taxpayer dollars."

Those were also the priorities he touted during an unsuccessful run for mayor in 2015, a loss he attributes to "trumped up charges" and not being a part of the "good ol' boy" network.

Gaetani, 68, runs Gaetani, Wang Scientific and Engineering Consultants and has said he is an experienced corporate executive with a variety of managerial experience. He worked many years as a corporate biologist, physicist, chemist, and worldwide director of technical marketing for Krofta engineering corporation, Krofta Waters Inc.

He is a cum laude graduate of the former North Adams State College and Berkshire Community College and a Vietnam veteran.

"I know a lot about a lot of things and am reasonable," which he said will make him an "outstanding" member of the council.

Gaetani has consistently voiced his displeasure with past and present elected city leadership for failing to work in the best interests of taxpayers. He said he has filed more city petitions to the council "than all of the councilors combined."

"As city councilor at large, City Council meetings will be very interesting — as the true voice of the taxpayer will be on board — with one goal and that is to serve the taxpayers with every drop of [my] strength," Gaetani wrote in a statement.

Mayor Linda M. Tyer has requested department heads submit level funded budgets for fiscal 2018.

Gaetani said this is a dire mistake.

As a member of the council, he would call for a 7 percent reduction of the budget.

He said he believes the city's Other Post Employee Benefits, promised to all past and current employees, is short by as much as $416 million. He has referred to that account as "the sleeping giant" that will bankrupt the city, during public comment at City Council meetings.

He said he will push for telephone lines at City Hall to be recorded at all times to avoid miscommunication and so that a permanent record can be kept of those calls.

He said he will also petition for a change to council rules to allow any city resident to address the council for any length of time. Current rules limit public comments to 3 minutes and speakers must sign up prior to the meeting to address the council.

Gaetani was arrested and charged with disturbing the peace at a January council meeting after he attempted to address the council without signing up for public comment.

Prior to being arrested, he had asked City Council President Peter Marchetti for dispensation from those rules because he was delayed by poor weather conditions.

He objected to questions being raised by the Eagle about six criminal charges pending in Northern Berkshire District Court calling them an attempt to "dig up dirt."

"It is time to move on from that," he said. "The only thing that holds any water at the present moment is I have not been convicted at all."

He faces three jury trial dates on three separate sets of charges: May 11 for threatening to commit a crime — shooting a city employee — and harassing phone calls; June 13, for two counts of witness intimidation and breaking and entering into a motor vehicle and July 11, for disturbing the peace, according to information from Northern Berkshire District Court.

Gaetani said he will self-fund his campaign and does not have a campaign team.

"I'm a one-man show," he said. "I always have been."

He said he will use his weekly television program "The Gaetani Pittsfield News Hour," which airs on Pittsfield Community Television, to distribute his information to the public. In addition, he intends to submit written statements to the Eagle and other area publications.

Ty Allan Jackson, an author and entrepreneur, announced his intent to run for council in February.

Reach staff writer Carrie Saldo at 413-496-6221 or @carriesaldo.

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Letter: “Little pride, less logic in Pittsfield”
The Berkshire Eagle, March 28, 2017

To the editor:

I moved here about 12 years ago to be close to family, having lived in four states, I have noticed Pittsfield, even Berkshire County, is a place of no respect for one another and its business climate.

This is the only place I have ever lived or visited where the shopping carts are left where one's car was parked, usually six feet from a cart collection point or pushed against another vehicle. Running of red lights seems to be a passion in the county. Does anyone ever get stopped? Infrastructure of roads is a joke: Is it that hard to find someone competent to run a city or town road crew with some common sense and knowledge?

Schools — let's build a monument to some political hacks who do not give any say in the matter to the common taxpayer. I have lived in much larger areas with only one high school, while Pittsfield, with a declining population, needs for some stupid nostalgic reason to keep the one on East Street when the City Hall and Police Department buildings are in disrepair. It does not take a genius to figure it out — one high school, move the police and City Hall to Pittsfield High.

Taxes are a joke, you pay them for services and infrastructure, but we get fewer services and the rest is to redo North Street, as businesses leave. As a senior citizen I will be looking to move as soon as the new school is finished, since taxes will be incredibly high. Sorry, but outside business will not relocate; a fancy new school does not produce an influx of business. This is the pizza/auto parts store capital of Massachusetts.

Mayor and councilors, better wake up.

Maggie Smith,
Pittsfield

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Dina Guiel, candidate for Pittsfield City Council - Ward 2.

“Guiel challenges Morandi in Pittsfield's Ward 2”
By Dick Lindsay, The Berkshire Eagle, March 28, 2017

PITTSFIELD — The City Council's first political contest of 2017 has emerged as a possible showdown in Ward 2.

On Tuesday, Dina Guiel announced she was challenging incumbent councilor Kevin Morandi in the fall. Should a third candidate enter the race, a preliminary contest will be held in September, with the top two vote-getters squaring off in the November general election. Otherwise, Guiel and Morandi head straight for the Nov. 7 ballot.

Guiel said she is campaigning for her ward and the city, not against Morandi.

"I want nothing more than a clean, respectful race," she said in an Eagle phone interview. "This is more about me looking around and seeing what I can do for Pittsfield."

Upon learning of Guiel's candidacy, Morandi told The Eagle he was seeking his fourth, 2-year term.

"Absolutely," he said. "I'm looking forward to another two years as I like representing the constituents of Ward 2."

Guiel grew up in West Springfield, but fell in love with the Berkshires while attending Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams. Following graduation from MCLA with a degree in sociology, she earned a masters in public administration and policy analysis from Northeastern University.

In between, she successfully created a youth mentoring program in Springfield and Holyoke, as well as helped create a master plan review for Dedham.

Guiel is currently working to establish a drug addiction program intent on helping addicts get their lives back together.

"Certainly there's a connection between drug addiction and a lack of economic prosperity," she said. "We need to bring jobs to the city."

As a city councilor, the young professional will have economic development for Pittsfield high atop her political to-do list, along with reducing violent crime.

She supports plans to revitalize the Morningside area that includes reuse of St. Mary of the Morning Star, the former Roman Catholic parish in the heart of Tyler Street.

Morandi is also bullish on Morningside and the redevelopment of the neighborhood's vacant properties.

"We need to give Tyler Street its own identity and make it attractive to business," said the self-employed barber.

The Lee native backs the reuse of St. Mary and wants to further champion continued growth at the Williams Stanley Business Park.

Since first elected six years ago, Morandi has preached fiscal restraint and calls on the city to step up efforts to trim the budget without greatly impacting taxpayer needs.

"I will fight hard for services we need, but done a more efficient way," he said. "I really want the city to be a more affordable place to live."

Reach staff writer Dick Lindsay at 413-496-6233 or rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com

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“Pittsfield Awards Tax Incentives To Create Jobs”
By JD Allen, WAMC, March 29, 2017

The City of Pittsfield, Massachusetts has awarded tax incentives to two local businesses through the state's Economic Development Incentive Program in an effort to create jobs and stimulate business growth.

Modern Mold and Tool received $145,000 in investment tax credits. It will go toward a $3 million investment to acquire and relocate the company’s expanded manufacturing facilities in Pittsfield.

Shire City Herbal received $74,000 in tax incentives toward a larger property for their company’s operations.

Shire City Herbals has also been working with the city’s Community Development Department and the Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corp for additional tax incentives.

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Mike Cirullo

“Mike Cirullo announces bid for Ward 1 Pittsfield City Council seat”
By Carrie Saldo – The Berkshire Eagle – March 30, 2017

PITTSFIELD — Jobs. That's the central focus of Mike Cirullo's bid for the Ward 1 City Council seat up for grabs this fall.

"Jobs certainly fix most else down the line for my priorities," he said. "When people have jobs you see crime go down and there is more money to be spending on education."

His intention to run creates a two-way race for a position held by City Councilor Lisa Tully for the past four years. She has said she won't seek re-election.

Helen Haerhan Moon, a critical care registered nurse at Fairview Hospital, announced her intention to run for Ward 1 earlier this month.

While a political newcomer, Cirullo, 35, has a background in public service.

He's a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and volunteers with four different entities.

He said his interest in public service shifted from national to local when he left the Massachusetts Army National Guard after nearly 10 years in the beginning of 2015. Through his union, IUE-CWA Local 255, he said he began identifying a number of local groups he wanted to volunteer with.

He now works with Tyler Street Business Group, the Berkshire Regional Employment Board, the Berkshire Central Labor Council and the Pittsfield High School Business Technology Advisory Committee.

"I wanted to volunteer my time, energy, and efforts hoping toward this eventual goal of getting more involved at the next level," he said.

Cirullo said his work with the employment board helped him learn there are typically between 1,300 and 1,400 jobs available countywide.

"But we can't fill the positions that we have in the industries we do have," he said.

As an employee of General Dynamics, he said he knows first hand that there is a need for people with engineering degrees. Vocational jobs, such as electricians, carpenters, and plumbers are also going unfilled.

"There's not enough people who have these hands-on skill sets," he said.

A Pittsfield resident since 2011, he lives on Williamsburg Terrace with his wife Ashley and two sons, Connor, 14, and Michael, 4.

The North Adams native has a degree in business administration from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and graduated from McCann Technical High School.

As for his campaign team, he said he is working with several advisers informally but is also looking for volunteers. In the meantime, he said he's hitting the streets and going door-to-door.

"It's going to be a rather personal approach to the campaign," he said. "I want to take the time to learn the needs and concerns of the people in this ward."

Reach staff writer Carrie Saldo at 413-496-6221 or @carriesaldo or csaldo@berkshireeagle.com

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Letter: “Fed up with aggravating Pittsfield parking meters”
The Berkshire Eagle, March 31, 2017

To the editor:

Last Wednesday I made by fourth trip to Pittsfield since the parking meters were installed to see a matinee at the Beacon Cinema. That's four times of wrestling with and trying to pay for my parking, to no avail!

The parking meter told me that my plate number was invalid and then so was my debit card. Grrrrr!

I managed to get a ticket for 30 minutes of free parking and left that on my dashboard. Just as I expected, a bright orange $15 ticket was on my car after the movie! The movie ("Beauty and the Beast") was great, but I will not be going back to North Street any time soon.

Betty Rood,
Hinsdale

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Bill Wright

“Newcomer Bill Wright challenges incumbent for Ward 4 Pittsfield City Council seat”
By Carrie Saldo , csaldo@berkshireeagle.com – The Berkshire Eagle, April 2, 2017

PITTSFIELD — Community engagement. That's what Bill Wright says will anchor his City Council campaign.

"If we want to grow as a community we need to work together to make a difference," he said. "I love to see everyone at the local rallies and standing out on Park Square, making the efforts to show that they are here and willing to stand out for what they believe in."

The 45-year-old political newcomer is vying to represent Ward 4. Wright will face councilor Christopher J. Connell, who said he will seek a fourth term.

Having observed city politics for a dozen years, he believes the time is right for new voices on the council.

"I'm not going to set a hard and fast line" on priorities, he said. "I simply feel that if we want to grow as a community we need to work together to make a difference."

Wright has worked the past seven years for Blue Q, a Pittsfield-based company that designs and manufactures a variety of "awesome and artful curiosities," as it website states.

Blue Q received a state grant to implement the Lean manufacturing approach at the company. Made famous by Toyota, Lean teaches a systematic approach to being as efficient as possible. Wright said Lean has resulted in drastic improvement for company productivity — 33 percent in the first week.

He believes his knowledge of that approach could be useful for the city too.

"We just need to look at things a little bit differently," he said especially with budget cuts likely and the city at its levy ceiling.

His role at the company, which doesn't favor job titles, has him working on a wide array of things — from analyzing its Canadian taxes to negotiating UPS rates.

"I help everyone do a little bit of everything," he said. And that variety could also help guide his work on the council, if elected, he said.

He's also the company photographer and a professional photographer in his spare time.

In 2010 he created a series titled the Berkshire Veterans Photography Project, which was displayed in the city at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, the Statehouse in Boston, and the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan. He took 100 portraits in six weeks for the project.

"I wanted to get something done," he said. "I went for it and I did it."

Wright has an associates degree from the Colorado Institute of Art. And served in the Air Force, as a law enforcement officer, during the Gulf War.

A native of Bridgeport, Conn., Wright has called the city home since 2005. His wife, Carrie, grew-up in the Berkshires. But the couple lived in several cities before returning to the area to start a family. They have three children, Paige, 14, Parker, 9 and Pilot, 5.

Lynn Wallace, who has received a Community Recognition Award from Downtown Pittsfield Inc, is Wright's campaign manager. Her love for the city aligns with his passion for it, he said.

"A sense of community is extremely important to me," Wright said. "We are a community, Pittsfield as a whole, not just my ward."

He will use Facebook and a website to communicate with the public. But most importantly, he said, he plans to campaign door to door.

"I want to run a really positive campaign," he said. "I'm going to get out there and see what everyone wants."

Reach staff writer Carrie Saldo at 413-496-6221 or @carriesaldo.

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Billy Keane

“Billy Keane announces run for Ward 5 seat on Pittsfield City Council”
By Carrie Saldo, The Berkshire Eagle, April 3, 2017

PITTSFIELD — Capitalize on the city's current assets: That's what City Council candidate Billy Keane advocates.

"I don't believe in importing success," Keane said in a written statement. "I believe that Pittsfield's future lies within the facets of the city that already exist."

Keane, 30, is seeking the Ward 5 City Council seat. In his first run for public office he is challenging incumbent Donna Todd Rivers. Rivers confirmed she will seek re-election to what would be her second term.

A real estate broker and musician, Keane intends to help the business and artistic communities grow and prosper.

"Pittsfield as a whole will thrive as well," he said.

Managing broker of Jan Perry Realty & Associates, a director of the Berkshire County Board of Realtors and a member of its Government Affairs Committee, Keane said he has a passion for local business.

He rattled off a number of the businesses he believes are poised to help reinvigorate the city including Shire City Herbals, Lenco Armored Vehicles and Interprint.

"I believe Pittsfield is on the cusp of achieving a level of economic and cultural success that we deserve and should reach for as the `Capital of the Berkshires'" he said. "But in order to get there we need a spirit of positive motivation, enthusiasm and a willingness to work together toward a common goal; I believe I can offer that to the council."

A graduate of E.O. Smith High School in Mansfield, Conn., he's pursuing a bachelor's degree in business administration through the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Degree Completion Program.

Born in Australia and raised in Mansfield, Keane has called Pittsfield home since 2009, when he joined a friend to pursue a music project. At the time he was living in New Iberia, La. and he kept his apartment there, initially.

"I expected to move back, but fell in love with Pittsfield and haven't left since," Keane said.

He and his wife, Waterfall Perry, own two homes in the city. And they live in Ward 5 with their dog and cat.

Keane is also a singer/songwriter who has performed as a solo artist and in groups. He is currently a member of The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow.

"I feel that the combination of my business leadership experience, as well as my deeply rooted connection in the local arts and cultural scene, lends me a unique and effective perspective on the community," he said.

Keane's campaign manager is Caitlin Harrison, who focused on legal studies at University of Massachusetts Amherst and has about a decade of experience in the hospitality industry locally and in Boston. He said they will use Facebook to share campaign information. He also plans to hit the streets to meet with would-be constituents.

"Where we want the city to be? Who we want to be as a city? I think these are important questions to ask" to understand what will help Pittsfield be the best it can be, he said.

Reach staff writer Carrie Saldo at 413-496-6221 or csaldo@berkshireeagle.com or @carriesaldo.

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Letter: “Community should expect safe staffing at BMC”
The Berkshire Eagle, April 4, 2017

To the editor:

The nurses at Berkshire Medical Center continue their fight for safe nurse-to-patient staffing levels in their new contract negotiations with the administration. Although a critical care nurse for 27 years, I recently left my position in the intensive care unit due to, what I perceive as, dangerous staffing levels. Like me, over the last couple of years, more than 40 highly trained critical care nurses have left. It is my view, that this exodus is related to unsafe staffing.

In the past year alone, 280 unsafe staffing reports have been filed hospital-wide, which Chief Operating Officer Diane Kelly disputes. The hospital has developed safe staffing grids which would ensure patient safety, along with state laws limiting the number of critical care patients to be assigned to a nurse at one time, yet it fails to follow these safety measures.

The hospital's new chief of staff, Daniel Doyle, has urged the public not to believe the nurses' recent staffing concerns, insulting us further calling our claims "rhetoric." He points to rating firms such as Leap Frog and CareChex (which cost hospitals money) for favorable ratings. Unfortunately these type of rating companies have been accused of failing to explain the methodology used to rate a hospital. Consumer Reports placed BMC's safety rating at 47 percent, which is low compared to other hospitals. With varied results, hospitals are then free to choose which rating they want to report to the public. Who do you trust? The nurses who are the backbone, ensuring your care, or some flimsy statistics?

If our neighboring hospitals are prepared to settle contracts by increasing staffing levels and ensure safe patient assignments, why doesn't BMC? The chief of staff recently said the nurses are doing a "disservice" by informing the public of the unsafe staffing at BMC while the nurses believe that the public has a right to know of the conditions that may alter their care.

The hospital's audited financial reports showed it made a profit of $31.2 million in 2016. The administration says that the safe staffing proposals would be financially damaging to BMC. As a community that depends on care, the question should be, how can we afford not to?

Bridget Ward, R.N.,
Lenox
The writer is a post-operative care nurse at BMC.

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“Proposed Pittsfield Public Schools budget cuts 73 positions”
By Carrie Saldo , csaldo@berkshireeagle.com – The Berkshire Eagle, April 4, 2017

This story has been modified to correct the percentage of the teaching force slated to be eliminated.

PITTSFIELD — Budget cuts. That is how the Pittsfield Public Schools will make ends meet — for the next several years.

That's the reality as city school district leaders draft a fiscal 2018 budget, according to Superintendent Jason "Jake" McCandless.

Nearly 74 positions were sliced to arrive at the proposed level-funded $60,316,338 fiscal 2018 district budget. It does not cut programs for students, although some class sizes will increase.

The positions cut — exactly 73.6, according to the budget proposal — include teachers, paraprofessionals and administrative staff. District leaders have said about one-third of those jobs might be saved through attrition.

"Our only room to cut is through positions — through people's jobs," McCandless wrote in a two-page letter to the community. "No one takes any pleasure in this. It is simply doing what must be done."

About 83 percent of the budget is for personnel and 17 percent covers "everything else," which includes teaching materials, paraprofessional development and utilities.

Available on the district's website, the line item budget is expected to be presented to the School Committee at 6 p.m. Wednesday in City Council chambers. And a public hearing on the budget proposal is set for 7 p.m. April 12 at the Pittsfield High School library.

Keeping the dollar figure the same as this year, a mandate given to all city department heads, meant cutting nearly $3 million.

Almost 40 paraprofessional, and nearly 29.5 teaching positions, about 5.1 percent of the teaching force, would be eliminated.

As a result, some class sizes will increase, McCandless said. But, he added, "these cuts will not reduce programming options for students."

Art, foreign languages, orchestra, advanced placement courses, band and after school activities, were unscathed line items, a promise McCandless made early in the budget process.

He added that student athletic fees would not increase.

The budget does include a few spending increases, other than salaries and benefits, which are contractually obligated.

There is one new line item: a half-million dollars for curriculum. And the line item for out-of-district special education increased about $200,000 to $2,690,367.

The increases were offset by cuts, McCandless said.

Mayor Linda M. Tyer has asked all areas of city government to deliver level-funded budgets.

Pittsfield is at its levy ceiling, meaning it cannot raise taxes to generate more money. The levy ceiling also precludes the city from asking voter permission for a Proposition 2 1/2 override.

Over the long term, the district will consider how to generate more revenue, but that's not an option for several years, which is why the district had to identify budget cuts, McCandless wrote.

This is the district's third budget proposal. Two previous versions cut 57.3 and 65.3 positions from the district.

Reach staff writer Carrie Saldo at 413-496-6221 or @carriesaldo.

IF YOU GO ...

What: Line-item budget proposal presentation for Pittsfield Public Schools to the School Committee

When: Tonight [4/4/2017] at 6 p.m.

Where: City Council chambers in Pittsfield City Hall

What: Public hearing on Pittsfield Public Schools line-item budget proposal

When: April 12 at 7 p.m.

Where: Pittsfield High School library

On the web ...

The district's proposed fiscal 2018 budget can be viewed at www.pittsfield.net

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Letter: “If Waterstone will build on GE site, let them”
The Berkshire Eagle, April 11, 2017

To the editor:

Why is everyone so concerned about the aesthetics of the proposed Walmart Supercenter? Have you seen the old Kentucky Fried Chicken building? Waterstone is willing to build on a brownfield! Let them.

In accordance with the almighty Consent Decree, granted in 1999, G.E.'s "brownfield" plan is worth approximately $50 million, designed to bring new commercial life to Pittsfield. It's 2017 and they are still trying to "bring good things to life." Once the brownfield is developed, according to the Consent Decree, there is a provision in which up to $4 million in future revenue from redevelopment of the GE site would be made available for additional natural resource projects by the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority.

If no one visits North Street, why does Michael Ward think Tyler Street would be better? (Letter, April 9.) All I ask is that the land remediation process be strictly monitored by the EPA. I was diagnosed with a vary rare form of cancer, primary cardiac, non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma in 2003, a year after my property was remediated. GE was sloppy and careless with contaminated soil.

Kelley Breault-Schanz,
Pittsfield

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“Residents, businesses, officials decry Eversource rate hike at Department of Public Utilities hearing”
By Carrie Saldo , csaldo@berkshireeagle.com – The Berkshire Eagle, April 10, 2017

This story has been modified to correct the spelling of Penni Conner's last name.

PITTSFIELD — Disproportionate. Exorbitant. And greedy. Those were among the words used, again and again, by residents and business owners alike to characterize a proposed rate increase by Eversource. They asked the state to reject its request.

Eversource wants state Department of Public Utilities' approval to raise its rates by more than $96 million next year and $50 million annually for the next four years, according to the state's attorney general. If approved, the proposed increase would add $11.64 to the average monthly bill for residential customers who live in the west and $8.45 for those living in the east as of Jan. 1, 2018, according to Eversource.

For Eversource's commercial and industrial customers, the proposal would increase electricity rates up to 37 percent in Western Massachusetts. The rates for businesses in the east would decrease.

Eversource officials have said the proposed increase is needed to offset its operating deficit of nearly $96 million.

The DPU held a public hearing on the proposed increases in Pittsfield Monday night, one of several it is hosting statewide on the issue.

It was standing room only inside the Berkshire Athenaeum auditorium, where about 275 people filled it and an adjacent room.

Jane Winn of Pittsfield spoke of the diverse interests of those at the hearing. Head of the Berkshire Environmental Action Team, Winn pointed to fellow environmentalists, social justice advocates, business owners, state and local elected leaders and more.

Different though they are, she said they all agree on one thing: "We are all united against this rate hike, please take us into consideration," she said.

Many who spoke at the hearing said they were skeptical of the company's reasons for the proposed increase. They also said the increase is unfair to customers here, who on average earn less annually, versus the more affluent eastern part of the state.

"We are smaller, we are older, we are sicker and we are poorer," State Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli said. "Those are four facts that we cannot dispute about Berkshire County."

Electricity rates for commercial and industrial customers in Massachusetts are among highest in the country, behind Alaska, Connecticut and Hawaii.

The proposed increase would impact the bottom line of commercial customers from $41,000 to over $1 million, according to testimony given to the DPU Monday.

Pittsfield Mayor Linda M. Tyer said the city's bill would increase $1.3 million.

"This will undermine growth, threaten job security, and jeopardize the economic prosperity of every citizen," she said.

Brendan Ronayne, senior finance manager for crane currency, said it is in the middle of a five-year, fixed-rate contract with the United States government to make its currency paper. He said it anticipates paying $550,000 more to Eversource while the electric company would receive "excessive" returns.

Pat Begrowicz, owner of Onyx Specialty paper in Lee, stressed the disproportionate nature of Eversource's proposed increase.

She said the company would generate $2.2 million from the 18 largest ratepayers in Western Mass. Meanwhile, 112 similar companies in the east will see their rates decline.

"This exacerbates the divide between east and west," she said.

Attorney General Maura Healey continued her effort to block Eversource's request to hike its electricity rates by as much as 10 percent in Western Massachusetts next year. She told the DPU residential customers in Western Massachusetts are struggling to make ends meet, and businesses are working hard to remain competitive and grow.

"It is time to return money to customers, not to raise their electric bills to benefit a highly profitable utility company," Healy said.

Eversource says it is facing a $35.7 million operating deficit in the west and a $60.2 shortfall million in Eastern Massachusetts.

Penni Conner, Eversource senior vice president and chief customer officer, attributed the company's shortfall to capital investments the company made to maintain infrastructure and services to customers.

Of Eversource's 1.4 million Massachusetts customers, 209,000 live in the western part of the state and 1.2 million live in eastern Mass.

Although the operating deficit in Eastern Massachusetts is larger, the impact of the proposed rate increase would be greater in Western Massachusetts because the rate hike would be absorbed by fewer customers here.

But Conner said Eversource is reviewing the consolidation of its distribution rates to determine if that would lessen the impact on customers in the western part of the state.

Conner also pointed out that customers here have received millions of dollars in the past five years in credits because of revenue decoupling.

If the company was not mandated to give those customer credits Eversource would have used that money "to avoid rate cases like this one," she said.

She said in recent years the company has also improved its service to customers in a number of ways, including tree trimming. She said fallen tree limbs are the leading cause of power outages. She said power outages in Western Mass. dropped 43 percent and are 23 percent shorter than before the merger of Western Massachusetts Electric Company and NSTAR into Eversource.

The DPU began holding hearings on the proposed increase last month and several others more scheduled this month. It will hold evidentiary hearings at the DPU in Boston in June.

Reach staff writer Carrie Saldo at 413-496-6221 or @carriesaldo

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Our Opinion: “Eversource rate increase would be bad for business”
The Berkshire Eagle, Editorial, April 7, 2017

Eversource Energy will go before the Department of Public Utilities Monday with a rate hike request that Jonathan Butler, the president and CEO of 1Berkshire, warns that for Berkshire businesses could "take away growth potential for decades." We don't see that as hyperbole.

Eversource is seeking to raise $95 million in the rate hike, which would constitute an increase of about 10 percent over current rates beginning on January 1 of next year. That translates to a hike of $11.64 per monthly bill for the average customer in Western Massachusetts, according to the office of Attorney General Maura Healey. That is a hard hit for homeowners, but the impact on businesses that use large amounts of electricity it is potentially devastating. Mr. Butler was joined at an Eagle editorial board meeting last week by Patricia Begrowicz, the president of Onyx Specialty Papers in Lee — which along with Crane & Co. and Berkshire Health Systems comprise the three largest Berkshire users of electricity — and Peter C. Stasiowski, the director of communications for Interprint in Pittsfield, to discuss that impact.

For a business based in Lee, the prospect of a rate hike inevitably recalls the decision of Schweitzer-Mauduit International's decision to close four paper mills in Lee and Lenox Dale in 2007. There were a number of economic factors, but a critical one was an increase of $770,000 on that year's electricity bill issued by what was then the Western Mass. Electric Company. Ms. Begrowicz emphasized that the existence of Onyx is not threatened but the hike, if approved, "is absolutely going to affect growth." Mr. Stasiowski made the same point, and if Onyx, Interprint and other Berkshire businesses must curtail hiring and the purchasing of equipment to compensate for a larger electric bill, a struggling Berkshire economy will struggle even more.

Ms. Begrowicz told The Eagle that Onyx's $775,000 electricity bill for 2016 would increase incrementally to $1.2 million in 2019 if the rate hike was approved. In an interview with The Eagle, Pittsfield Schools Superintendent Jason McCandless said the impact on the city's 12 public schools would be "massive," adding to the woes of a department that is facing the prospect of teacher layoffs.

The disparity between the impact on the eastern and western regions of the state is also of concern. Eversource says it will raise $60 million in rate revenue from the east and $35 million from the west, which seems fair on the surface, but that $60 million would come from 1.2 million customers in the heavily populated east while only 215,000 customers — businesses, residents, municipal buildings and so on — which share the $35 million burden for the west. That translates to a $166 increase per customer in the west and $50 per customer increase in the east. The Berkshires shouldn't be subsidizing eastern electricity rates while it carries its only high burden.

Eversource says it is seeking to address a revenue deficiency of $35.7 million in the western end of the state and adds that it has been investing in better technology and other improvements. The company can certainly make a case for a rate hike increase, just not one that Mr. Stasiowski described as "insulting" because of the adverse impact on businesses of such a hike. Ms. Begrowitz also pointed out to The Eagle that her company is already hit with three rate increases a year by Eversource.

For traditional businesses, it appears too easy for Eversource to simply go to state regulators and request a rate hike without finding ways to cut its costs — which businesses like Onyx and Interprint will have to do if hit by the rate hike. Businesses that are unhappy with Eversource rate hikes also have no option of going to another source of electricity.

Eversource is asking DPU for permission to get a 10.5 percent increase in return on equity, compared to the 9.3 percent that was the average return on equity for utilities around the country in 2016. While 9.3 percent should be the absolute ceiling, its impact on Berkshire businesses would be only marginally less than the 10.5 percent increase, and that is without factoring in the unfair imbalance between east and west.

"When so many customers today are struggling to make ends meet and businesses are trying to lower their energy costs to maintain and grow jobs, it is time to return money to customers, not to raise their electric bills," Attorney General Healey testified at a state Department of Public Utilities hearing in Springfield late last month. Ms. Healey will testify at Monday's hearing, which will be held at 6 p.m. at the Berkshire Athenaeum. We urge the DPU to deny Eversource's rate hike request. Eversource has not made an adequate case for it the businesses, municipalities and residents that will be punished by it.

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“Forget manufacturing, go with Walmart”
The Berkshire Eagle, Letter to the Editor, April 21, 2017

To the editor:

How many more years have to pass, how much more money has to be wasted, before it becomes clear to everyone that manufacturing is not coming to Pittsfield? Nineteen years should be long enough to realize that the only sort of companies the city is capable to attract are an EV World plant and an online music workshop. And yes, Nuclea Biotechnologies, which owes PEDA $10,000.

For a change, there is a real company which wants to build in Pittsfield. Let it do so before it changes its mind! Yes, it is Walmart — so what? It will be convenient for people from the surrounding community to get there, either to shop or to work, and local businesses will benefit from the increased foot traffic. Any new building will look better than a post-apocalyptic concrete pad, and a low-wage retail job is better then welfare.

Gregory Jones,
Pittsfield

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Friday, November 18, 2016

Fascist US President Donald Trump normalizes racism, violence, and injustice!

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NEWS ARTICLE:

"A Field Guide To Identifying A White Nationalist"
“It becomes one of those ‘if it walks like a duck, looks like a duck and quacks like a duck’ kind of things.”
By Dana Liebelson, Staff Reporter, The Huffington Post, and Matt Ferner, National Reporter, The Huffington Post, November 18, 2016

WASHINGTON ― White nationalists tried repeatedly throughout the presidential campaign to sanitize their language to appeal to mainstream voters as they threw their efforts behind electing Donald Trump.

White nationalists who tried to play down their white nationalism won a victory this week as the president-elect not only chose Breitbart News executive Steve Bannon as his chief strategist ― a man who heads a website that regularly airs white nationalist viewpoints ― but many news outlets also are reluctant to use the specific label “white nationalist,” instead calling Bannon a “flame-throwing outsider” and a “nationalist media mogul.”

Of course, calling a person a “white nationalist” who hasn’t self-identified as one is somewhat fraught. In Bannon’s case, the website he runs peddles racist and misogynist conspiracy theories and is a go-to resource for white nationalists, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups. Whether or not Bannon personally holds white nationalist views, it’s indisputable that his website has perpetuated them.

As David Pilgrim, founder and curator of the Jim Crow Museum at Ferris State University in Michigan, said, it’s useful to look at an individual’s statements, associations and sentiments. “It becomes one of those ‘if it walks like a duck, looks like a duck and quacks like a duck’ kind of things,” he said.

The Trump campaign denies allegations that Bannon is a white nationalist or a part of the so-called alt-right, the movement’s latest preferred moniker. “Nothing could be further from the truth, and it’s irresponsible for anyone to even make such a baseless accusation,” said Jason Miller, communications director for Trump’s transition team, in a statement provided to The Huffington Post.

Bannon in July told Mother Jones: “We’re the platform for the alt-right” and that the site espoused a “nationalist” philosophy but argued that its attraction for racists was incidental.

It’s helpful first to parse the various terms that have been thrown around. “White supremacy” refers to a “full-fledged ideology” that asserts whites should have dominance over people of other races, according to the Anti-Defamation League. “White separatists” promote physical separation of races. A “white nationalist” emphasizes that countries or regions should be defined by a white racial identity. Other ideologies under the nationalist umbrella ― Neo-Nazi groups, for example ― openly praise Adolf Hitler. The founder of Aryan Nations, Richard Butler, wanted an all-white homeland in the Pacific Northwest.

But delving into the specifics of each of these subgroups can sometimes miss the point. “Very often it’s useful to call people what they are: racists or white supremacists,” said Mark Potok, senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Complicating these distinctions even further, white nationalist groups often use euphemisms to make their ideas appear less repugnant. Jared Taylor, publisher of American Renaissance, a website that regularly features racist screeds, says that he is not a white supremacist, a Nazi or a racist. “A ‘racist’... is always considered to be a moral inferior,” he wrote in an email. “I totally reject that view.”

Terms that Taylor and others who hold similar views prefer: “race realist” or “white advocate.” They may also refer to themselves as advocating for “Western civilization” or “European heritage,” or say they are merely combating white “dispossession” or the “administrative removal of Americans of European extraction.”

They also love the term “alt-right,” which SPLC defines as “a set of far-right ideologies, groups and individuals” who believe white identity is under attack. The term is merely “a relabeling of white nationalism for the digital age,” said Potok. “It’s a little more pitched to young people,” he said. (Millennials may be well aware that being seen as a racist is a bad thing, even if they embrace racist viewpoints.)

Breitbart has published a glowing guide to the alt-right, suggesting its members are different from “old-school racist skinheads” because they are “a much smarter group.” In a post earlier this year, a headline described political analyst Bill Kristol as a “renegade Jew.” Another article published last year, weeks after the mass shooting at a black church in South Carolina, celebrated the Confederate flag, a symbol embraced by racists.

“I am very frustrated by the normalization of these ideas and the notion that they are finding acceptability in mainstream discourse,” said Ted Shaw, a law professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law at Chapel Hill. He noted that it should be “terrifying” that the alt-right has found legitimacy in Bannon’s appointment to serve in the White House.

Taylor strongly denies that Bannon is a white nationalist. But many self-identified individual white nationalists told The Huffington Post that they are excited that he was picked to serve on Trump’s team.

The Trump campaign has sought to distance Bannon from the website’s posts that traffic in white nationalism. “Here’s what folks need to know about Steve Bannon: He’s worked with people of all backgrounds and has embraced diversity throughout his career,” Miller said Thursday.

In response to a HuffPost inquiry, the Trump transition team also referred to a statement from Republican Jewish Coalition board member Bernie Marcus, who defended Bannon’s appointment and said the charges against him are false.

Earlier this week, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway told the “Today” show that Bannon is “not as scary” as he has been portrayed and that the “charges are very unfair.”

But anti-extremist groups, such as the SPLC and the Anti-Defamation League, disagree with the Trump camp’s characterization of Bannon. “[He] was the main driver behind Breitbart becoming a white ethno-nationalist propaganda mill,” SPLC said on Twitter this week. Breitbart News is “the premier website of the alt-right, a loose-knit group of white nationalists and unabashed anti-Semites and racists,” said ADL.

After Bannon’s appointment, progressive commentators criticized some news organizations for using euphemisms to describe him. They argued that not explicitly referring to him as a “white nationalist” ignored or downplayed Bannon’s role in promoting extremist rhetoric.

Conservative media organizations also defended Bannon, calling him a “brilliant strategist” and “a patriot.” They said the allegations that he promotes white nationalism are “smears” and “slander,” and claimed Breitbart’s publications should not be linked to Bannon because that content is merely “designed to attract audiences.”

But Cheryl Harris, a UCLA law professor who focuses on civil rights and race, said, “These debates obfuscate the issue with respect to Bannon, which is whether Bannon self-consciously and explicitly created a platform for white nationalism to flourish, and it seems that he did, proudly and by his own admission.

“There is also a great danger of normalization as Trump takes state power. Many will be reluctant to call out the president for racism, either in his tactics or his policy.”

Jim Crow Museum founder Pilgrim said he has “no doubt” that as time goes on, alt-right adherents will be seen as promoting white nationalism, even if they’re not dressed up like neo-Nazis or wearing Klan hoods. “We’ve allowed someone, and I’m not sure whom,” to restrict the use of the term “white supremacist” “to only the guy in the racist uniform.”

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Demonstrators marched to the site of the annual “Become Who We Are” conference, a key gathering of the so-called alt-right, in Washington, on Saturday. Al Drago/The New York Times.

NEWS ARTICLE:

"White nationalists converge on capital to celebrate ‘an awakening’"
By Alan Rappeport and Noah Weiland, New York Times, November 20, 2016

WASHINGTON — For years, they have lurked in the web’s dark corners, masking themselves with cartoon images and writing screeds about the demise of white culture under ominous pseudonyms. But on Saturday, in the wake of Donald Trump’s surprising election victory, hundreds of his extremist supporters converged on the capital to herald a moment of political ascendance that many had thought to be far away.

In the bowels of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, three blocks from the White House, members of the alt-right movement gathered for what they had supposed would be an autopsy to plot their grim future under a Clinton administration. Instead, they celebrated the unexpected march of their white nationalist ideas toward the mainstream, portraying Trump’s win as validation that the tide had turned in their fight to preserve white culture.

“It’s been an awakening,” Richard B. Spencer, who is credited with coining the term alt-right, said at the gathering Saturday. “This is what a successful movement looks like.”

The movement has been critical of politicians of all stripes for promoting diversity, immigration and perceived political correctness. Its critics call it a rebranded version of the Ku Klux Klan, promoting anti-Semitism, violence and suppression of minorities.

Intellectual leaders of the movement argue that they are merely trying to realize their desire for a white “ethno-state” where they can be left alone. Trump, with his divisive language about immigrants and Muslims, has given them hope that these dreams can come true.

“I never thought we would get to this point, any point close to mainstream acceptance or political influence,” said Matt Forney, 28, of Chicago. “The culture is moving more in my direction.”

Emboldened by Trump’s takeover of the Republican Party, Forney said he expected people openly associated with the white nationalist movement to run as candidates in the 2018 midterm elections. The rise of populism and the decline of political correctness, he said, presented a rare opportunity.

Robert Taylor, 29, described the conference as a “victory party.” Taylor was a committed libertarian, he said, working for Ron Paul’s presidential campaigns and even moving to New Hampshire for a project organized by the like-minded. If Hillary Clinton had won the election, he said, he would have advocated secession.

“I thought I had all the right answers and had read all the right books,” he said. “I heard about the alt-right movement, and it just lit a fire in me.”

Taylor said that with Trump, “we have breathing room; we have a little time.”

Trump has shrugged off any suggestions that he has connections to the alt-right. But his hard-line views on immigration and his “America First” foreign policy have captivated members of the movement. His appointment as chief strategist of Stephen K. Bannon, who has called Breitbart News, the website he long ran, a platform for the alt-right, has reinforced the notion that the incoming president is on their side.

The white nationalist embrace of Trump was on display Saturday at the gathering, which was the annual conference of a group called the National Policy Institute. Guests nibbled on chicken piccata while discussing ways to reorient America’s demographics. Many of the attendees, who were mostly white men, wore red “Make America Great Again” hats. T-shirts emblazoned with Trump’s face sold quickly.

While the enthusiasm inside the conference was evident, the resistance to the alt-right remains powerful. A recent surge in hate crimes and reports of verbal and physical assaults on minorities are putting new pressure on groups that promote racism.

Many sites will not host their events, and some of their members have had their social media accounts suspended in response to vicious trolling of Jewish journalists and critics of Trump. A large group of protesters marched around the Ronald Reagan Building, which, as a federal property, could not decline to host the conference.

“These people have their right to freedom of speech, but the values they represent don’t represent America,” said Jon Pattee, 48, of Mount Rainier, Maryland. “I characterize them as the shirt-and-tie arm of the white supremacist-nationalist movement.”

Republicans who are more mainstream are also unlikely to accept the movement’s more provocative ideas.

“They have to grow up and start shedding some of their more controversial elements,” said Erick Erickson, a conservative blogger and commentator who has been critical of Trump. “I don’t think they will ever be accepted wholeheartedly in the Republican Party.”

Nonetheless, alt-right leaders said they planned to use their newfound influence to pressure Trump to take more “heretical” policy positions, such as a moratorium on net immigration for the next 50 years.

“In the long run, people like Bannon and Trump will be open to the clarity of our ideas,” said Jared Taylor, the founder of the white nationalist publication American Renaissance.

Like Trump, Spencer, the alt-right leader, derided NATO as “clumsy and ineffective.” He called for friendlier relations with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and for the deportation of undocumented immigrants, drawing chants of “build that wall.”

“I think moving forward the alt-right as an intellectual vanguard can complete Trump,” Spencer said. “We can be the ones who are out front, who are thinking about things that he hasn’t grasped yet.”

Although alt-right leaders say they want to become more politically active, it remains unclear how they will react to being more closely aligned to the establishment or what they will do if Trump starts to moderate his views. His outreach to African-Americans during the final months of the campaign angered some of his white nationalist followers, raising concerns among them that Trump might not be so different after all.

“It’s a fleeting moment of optimism,” said Al Stankard, 29, of Baltimore, who goes by the pseudonym Haarlen Venison online and was handing out his novel, “Death to the World.”

Stankard said he thought it was unlikely Trump would be able to do things like end affirmative action, even though he believes that the president-elect sympathizes with the plight of “white racists.” He predicted that Trump might disappoint white nationalists in the same way that President Barack Obama disappointed some of his supporters by failing to bring postracial unity to the nation.

“These are semi-delusional fantasies,” Stankard said.

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NEWS ARTICLE:

“Amal Clooney Says Trump’s Ideas ‘Are Violations of International Human Rights Law’”
The human rights lawyer recently spoke at a women’s conference in Texas.
By Cavan Sieczkowski, Deputy Director, News & Analytics, The Huffington Post, November 18, 2016

Amal Clooney did not mince words when taking on President-elect Donald Trump’s proposals at a recent women’s conference.

The international human rights lawyer spoke at the Texas Conference for Women in Austin Tuesday in front of a crowd of 7,000, and spoke out against Trump’s plans for the Muslim community.

“[Trump’s comments] that there should be a religious test imposed on entering the U.S. or the fact that there should be state-sponsored torture or that families of suspected terrorists should all be killed — all of those things are violations of international human rights law and the values that underlie that,” she said, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Clooney ― who was a Hillary Clinton supporter and challenged Trump’s rhetoric for months before the election ― did, however, praise his plans for combating ISIS.

“We have to hope for the best,” she said. “The president-elect has said that fighting ISIS is actually a priority … so it may be that there can be progress, and obviously everyone has to respect the outcome of the democratic process here, and we have to hope for the best.”

Clooney has been fighting against ISIS on behalf of the terror group’s Yazidi victims for the crimes of genocide, human trafficking and sex abuse.

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Email:

From: Michael Brune, Sierra Club

To: Jonathan A. Melle

Re: Take action: Stop hate in the White House

Date: November 20, 2016

Dear Jonathan,

President-elect Trump is naming some truly terrifying people to advise him and fill his cabinet. Their extreme positions and climate denial are dangerous not just to the environment but to our country in general and millions of Americans.

We must speak out immediately. If President-elect Trump wants to uphold his word to bring the country together and be a president for all Americans, then he should publicly rebuke these advisers and declare that he will not listen to anyone that propagates hate or science-denial. Anything less is unacceptable.

Here are just a few:

Stephen Bannon, CEO of the extreme right-wing conservative outlet Breitbart News, is known for his record of sickening and dangerous attacks against women, people of color, the LGBTQ community, immigrants, Jews, and Muslims -- in addition to fueling climate denialism. President-elect Donald Trump's reckless decision to appoint him as his Chief Strategist in the White House is a threat to the safety and prosperity of all Americans.

President-elect Trump has also named noted climate denier and fossil fuel hack Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute as the head of his EPA transition team. That means Ebell, who has called climate change "nothing to worry about" and has ZERO scientific training will be in charge of choosing the head of the EPA and local EPA regional offices. Ebell actually wrote an article in Forbes called, "Love Global Warming," where he said warmer temperatures would make colder regions more inhabitable. And for the rest? "...the higher temperatures are killing people who are likely to die soon anyway."

Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions was rejected by a Republican Senate in 1986 for a federal judgeship because of allegations he had used racial slurs, called civil rights groups like the NAACP "un-American," and stated on the record that as of the 1980s "the fundamental legal barriers to minorities had been knocked down, and that in many areas blacks dominate the political area, and that when the civil rights organizations or the ACLU participate in asking for things beyond what they are justified in asking, they do more harm than good."

He would be in charge of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division and Voting Rights Section, allowing him to defang the agency to allow for more local voter suppression. He has voted and spoken out against immigration, equal pay, and confirmation of numerous nominees who he claims have "the ACLU gene." He would also be given the power to investigate, arrest, and harass members of Black Lives Matter, protesters against pipelines like DAPL and KXL, and other environmental groups.

Sessions' environmental voting record also shows he cannot be trusted to stand up for laws that protect clean air, water, communities, public health, or the climate.

Hate group leader Frank Gaffney is a noted Islamophobe, unrepentant bigot, and conspiracy theorist who has reportedly been advising the Trump administration's transition team. Gaffney is the head of the Center for Security Policy, which has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. With news that the Trump team may already be planning to create a "Muslim registry" of Americans, the prospect of someone like Gaffney in a position of influence is an urgent threat to our democracy and basic human decency.

Send your representatives in Congress a message now: there's absolutely no place for hate and dangerous science denial in our government.

Thank you for speaking out against hate,

Michael Brune
Executive Director, Sierra Club

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Richard B. Spencer, a leader of the alt-right movement, spoke at a conference in Washington on Saturday. Credit Al Drago/The New York Times

“Alt-Right Exults in Donald Trump’s Election With a Salute: ‘Heil Victory’”
By Joseph Goldstein, The New York Times, November 20, 2016

WASHINGTON — By the time Richard B. Spencer, the leading ideologue of the alt-right movement and the final speaker of the night, rose to address a gathering of his followers on Saturday, the crowd was restless.

In 11 hours of speeches and panel discussions in a federal building named after Ronald Reagan a few blocks from the White House, a succession of speakers had laid out a harsh vision for the future, but had denounced violence and said that Hispanic citizens and black Americans had nothing to fear. Earlier in the day, Mr. Spencer himself had urged the group to start acting less like an underground organization and more like the establishment.

But now his tone changed as he began to tell the audience of more than 200 people, mostly young men, what they had been waiting to hear. He railed against Jews and, with a smile, quoted Nazi propaganda in the original German. America, he said, belonged to white people, whom he called the “children of the sun,” a race of conquerors and creators who had been marginalized but now, in the era of President-elect Donald J. Trump, were “awakening to their own identity.”

As he finished, several audience members had their arms outstretched in a Nazi salute. When Mr. Spencer, or perhaps another person standing near him at the front of the room — it was not clear who — shouted, “Heil the people! Heil victory,” the room shouted it back.

These are exultant times for the alt-right movement, which was little known until this year, when it embraced Mr. Trump’s campaign and he appeared to embrace it back. He chose as his campaign chairman Stephen K. Bannon, the media executive who ran the alt-right’s most prominent platform, Breitbart News, and then named him as a senior adviser and chief strategist.

Now the movement’s leaders hope to have, if not a seat at the table, at least the ear of the Trump White House.

While many of its racist views are well known — that President Obama is, or may as well be, of foreign birth; that the Black Lives Matter movement is another name for black race rioters; that even the American-born children of undocumented Hispanic immigrants should be deported — the alt-right has been difficult to define. Is it a name for right-wing political provocateurs in the internet era? Or is it a political movement defined by xenophobia and a dislike for political correctness?

At the conference on Saturday, Mr. Spencer, who said he had coined the term, defined the alt-right as a movement with white identity as its core idea.

“We’ve crossed the Rubicon in terms of recognition,” Mr. Spencer said at the conference, which was sponsored by his organization, the National Policy Institute.

And while much of the discourse at the conference was overtly racist and demeaning toward minorities, for much of the day the sentiments were expressed in ways that seemed intended to not sound too menacing. The focus was on how whites were marginalized and beleaguered.

One speaker, Peter Brimelow, the founder of Vdare.com, an anti-immigration website, asked why, if Hispanics had the National Council of La Raza and Jews had the Anti-Defamation League, whites were reluctant to organize for their rights. Some speakers made an effort to distance themselves from more notorious white power organizations like the Ku Klux Klan.

But as the night wore on and most reporters had gone home, the language changed.

Mr. Spencer’s after-dinner speech began with a polemic against the “mainstream media,” before he briefly paused. “Perhaps we should refer to them in the original German?” he said.

The audience immediately screamed back, “Lügenpresse,” reviving a Nazi-era word that means “lying press.”

Mr. Spencer suggested that the news media had been critical of Mr. Trump throughout the campaign in order to protect Jewish interests. He mused about the political commentators who gave Mr. Trump little chance of winning.

“One wonders if these people are people at all, or instead soulless golem,” he said, referring to a Jewish fable about the golem, a clay giant that a rabbi brings to life to protect the Jews.

Mr. Trump’s election, Mr. Spencer said, was “the victory of will,” a phrase that echoed the title of the most famous Nazi-era propaganda film. But Mr. Spencer then mentioned, with a smile, Theodor Herzl, the Zionist leader who advocated a Jewish homeland in Israel, quoting his famous pronouncement, “If we will it, it is no dream.”

The United States today, Mr. Spencer said, had been turned into “a sick, corrupted society.” But it was not supposed to be that way.

“America was, until this last generation, a white country designed for ourselves and our posterity,” Mr. Spencer thundered. “It is our creation, it is our inheritance, and it belongs to us.”

But the white race, he added, is “a race that travels forever on an upward path.”

“To be white is to be a creator, an explorer, a conqueror,” he said.

More members of the audience were on their feet as Mr. Spencer described the choice facing white people as to “conquer or die.”

Of other races, Mr. Spencer said: “We don’t exploit other groups, we don’t gain anything from their presence. They need us, and not the other way around.”

The ties between the alt-right movement and the Trump team are difficult to define, even by members of the alt-right.

Mr. Bannon was the chief executive of Breitbart, an online news organization that has fed the lie that Mr. Obama is a Kenyan-born Muslim. As recently as last year, Breitbart published an op-ed article urging that “every tree, every rooftop, every picket fence, every telegraph pole in the South should be festooned with the Confederate battle flag.”

Mr. Bannon told Mother Jones this year that Breitbart was now “the platform for the alt-right.”

But in an interview last week with The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Bannon said that the alt-right was only “a tiny part” of the viewpoint represented on Breitbart.

“Our definition of the alt-right is younger people who are anti-globalists, very nationalist, terribly anti-establishment,” he told The Journal, adding that the alt-right had “some racial and anti-Semitic overtones.”

When asked about Mr. Bannon, the conference’s speakers said that they might have shaken his hand on occasion, but that they did not know him well.

Mr. Brimelow said that he had met “Mr. Bannon once, earlier this summer, before he ascended to Olympus.” He said he had told Mr. Bannon that he was doing great work at Breitbart. “He agreed,” Mr. Brimelow recalled to the audience.

As for Mr. Trump, Mr. Brimelow said he had met him about 30 years ago at a “conservative affinity meeting” in Manhattan. But that was it.

“Trump and Steve Bannon are not alt-right people,” Mr. Brimelow said, adding that they had opportunistically seized on two issues that the alt-right cares most about — stopping immigration and fighting political correctness — and used them to mobilize white voters.

Mr. Spencer said that while he did not think the president-elect should be considered alt-right, “I do think we have a psychic connection, or you can say a deeper connection, with Donald Trump in a way that we simply do not have with most Republicans.”

White identity, he said, is at the core of both the alt-right movement and the Trump movement, even if most voters for Mr. Trump “aren’t willing to articulate it as such.”

At various points, he and other speakers outlined where they differed from Mr. Trump. They see him as too beholden to Israel. They do not see any reason to start a trade war with China, and they are not necessarily opposed to the Iran nuclear deal.

For them, immigration is the most potent mobilizing issue, less for economic reasons than because of the prospect that white Americans will someday represent less than half of the population of the country.

For the alt-right, the most exciting thing about Mr. Trump was that he built a campaign around the issues that mattered most to them, and that white people had voted for him in numbers that left the political establishments of both parties stunned. Now, Mr. Spencer said, it is up to the alt-right to formulate the ideas and policies to guide the new administration.

“I think we can be the ones out in front, thinking about those things he hasn’t quite grasped yet, who are putting forward policies,” Mr. Spencer said, that “have a realistic chance of being implemented.”

----------

~In Part~

“‘White Nationalism,’ Explained”
The Interpreter
By Amanda Taub, The New York Times, November 21, 2016

White nationalism, he (Eric Kaufmann, a professor of politics at Birkbeck University in London) said, is the belief that national identity should be built around white ethnicity, and that white people should therefore maintain both a demographic majority and dominance of the nation’s culture and public life.

White nationalism places the interests of white people over those of other racial groups. White supremacists and white nationalists both believe that racial discrimination should be incorporated into law and policy.

White supremacy is based on a racist belief that white people are innately superior to people of other races; white nationalism is about maintaining political and economic dominance, not just a numerical majority or cultural hegemony.

The white nationalist movement argues that the United States should protect its white majority by sharply limiting immigration, and perhaps even by compelling nonwhite citizens to leave.

Although the alt-right (see Stephen K. Bannon) is ideologically broader than white nationalism — it also includes neoreactionaries, monarchists, and meme-loving internet trolls — white nationalism makes up a significant part of its appeal.


Bannon

In a 2015 radio interview that was resurfaced this week by The Washington Post, Mr. Bannon opposed even highly skilled immigration, implying he believed it was a threat to American culture. “When two-thirds or three-quarters of the C.E.O.s in Silicon Valley are from South Asia or from Asia, I think...” he said, trailing off midsentence before continuing a moment later, “a country is more than an economy. We’re a civic society.”

Richard Spencer, who runs the website AlternativeRight.com, is also the director of the National Policy Institute, an organization that says it is devoted to protecting the “heritage, identity, and future of people of European descent in the United States, and around the world.”

Mr. Spencer argues that immigration and multiculturalism are threats to America’s white population, and has said his ideal is a white “ethno-state.” He has avoided discussing the details of how this might be achieved, saying it is still just a “dream,” but has called for “peaceful ethnic cleansing” to remove nonwhite people from American soil.

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Email:

From: George Takei

To: Jonathan Melle

Re: Japanese internment

Date: November 21, 2016

Jonathan --

Just a few weeks after my fifth birthday, in the spring of 1942, my parents got my younger brother, my baby sister, and me up very early, hurriedly dressed us, and quickly started to pack.

When my brother and I looked out the window of our living room, we saw two soldiers marching up the driveway, bayonets fixed to their rifles. They banged on our front door and ordered us out of the house. We could take only what we could carry with us.

We were loaded on to train cars with other Japanese-American families, with guards stationed at both ends of each car as though we were criminals, and sent two-thirds of the way across the country to an internment camp in the swamps of Arkansas.

For nearly three years, barbed wire, sentry towers, and armed guards marked home. Mass showers, lousy meals in crowded mess halls, and a searchlight following me as I ran from our barracks to the latrine in the middle of the night -- in case I was trying to escape -- became normal.

So when I hear Donald Trump's transition advisors talk about building a registry of Muslims and his surrogates using the internment of Japanese-Americans as their model, I am outraged -- because I remember the tears streaming down my mother's face as we were torn away from our home. And I am resolved to raise my voice and say, loudly and clearly, that this is not who we are.

My mother was born in Sacramento, my father grew up in San Francisco, and my siblings and I were born in Los Angeles. We were American citizens, as proud of our country as we were of our Japanese heritage. But in the fear and mass hysteria of wartime, none of that mattered. When our government allowed hatred and racism to overtake our values, nothing else mattered.

We cannot allow our country to be led down that dark path ever again.

Jonathan, I am committed to fighting for our values, our democracy, and the moral character of our nation. And I am committed to standing with the Democratic Party against bigotry and oppression for the next four years and beyond, no matter what form it takes. I hope you will do the same.

Thank you,

George Takei

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“Trump: I don't want to 'energize' alt-right movement”
By Lisa Hagen – The Hill – 11/22/2016

President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday said he did not want to “energize” the alt-right movement and denounced the conference held over the weekend where white nationalists cheered his election and used Nazi-era terms and salutes.

“I disavow and condemn them,” Trump said at an on-the-record session with New York Times reporters and columnists when asked directly about the meeting.

He also said he didn’t believe that he had energized such groups.
“It's not a group I want to energize,” Trump said. “And if they are energized I want to look into it and find out why.”

White supremacist and Nazi groups have latched on to Trump’s campaign and victory, arguing at times that it represents a victory for their own cause.

At its annual conference in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, National Policy Institute leader Richard Spencer addressed the crowd with “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!,” according to The Atlantic.

Spencer, according to a separate report in the Times, suggested at the conference that the news media had been critical of Trump to protect Jewish interests.

“One wonders if these people are people at all, or instead soulless golem,” he said, according to the Times.

The Trump team at times has sought to distance itself from such groups. Eric Trump at one point said former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke should get “a bullet.”

But the remarks to the Times represent the first time that Trump has outright condemned last week’s event, news of which has circulated heavily on social media in recent days.

In a Monday night statement, a spokesman for Trump’s transition team said that Trump continues to denounce all racism, but didn’t directly acknowledge the conference.

“President-elect Trump has continued to denounce racism of any kind and he elected because he will be a leader for every American,” spokesman Bryan Lanza said in the Monday statement.

Trump’s decision to appoint Breitbart News executive Steve Bannon as his White House strategist has also been condemned by Democrats who say Breitbart is an alt-right news site that includes news articles meant to incite white nationalists.

Bannon and Trump’s transition team have pushed back at that narrative, and Trump defended his former campaign chairman to the Times.

Trump dismissed any notion that Bannon is a racist or is associated with the “alt-right” movement.

“If I thought he was a racist or alt-right or any of the things, the terms we could use, I wouldn't even think about hiring him,” Trump reportedly said.

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“Trump disavowal of white supremacists doesn't quiet concerns”
Associated Press, November 26, 2016

ATLANTA — Donald Trump's disavowal this week of white supremacists who have cheered his election as president hasn't quieted concerns about the movement's impact on his White House or whether more acts of hate will be carried out in his name.

Members of the self-declared "alt-right" have exulted over the Nov. 8 results with public cries of "Hail Trump!" and reprises of the Nazi salute. The Ku Klux Klan plans to mark Trump's victory with a parade next month in North Carolina. Civil rights advocates have recoiled, citing an uptick in harassment and incidents of hate crimes affecting African-Americans, Jewish-Americans, Muslims, Latinos, gays, lesbians and other minority groups since the vote.

The president-elect has drawn repeated criticism for being slow to offer his condemnation of white supremacists. His strongest denunciation of the movement has not come voluntarily, only when asked, and he occasionally trafficked in retweets of racist social media posts during his campaign.

Further, Trump has named Stephen Bannon, the conservative media provocateur who shaped the final months of Trump's campaign, as a White House chief strategist who will work steps from the Oval Office. Bannon's appointment has become as a flashpoint for both sides.

Trump's detractors and his "alt-right" supporters broadly agree on one thing: It may not even matter what Trump himself believes, or how he defines his own ideology, because his campaign rhetoric has emboldened the white identity politics that will help define his administration.

"Those groups clearly see something and hear something that causes them to believe he is one who sympathizes with their voice and their view. ... Donald Trump has to take responsibility for that," said Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, a black Democrat. He was among 169 members of Congress who signed a letter opposing Bannon's White House appointment.

White nationalist leader Richard Spencer said he believes Trump, Bannon and the "alt-right" are "all riding in the same lane." Spencer explained that neither Trump nor Bannon is a movement "identitarian," Spencer's preferred term for his racially driven politics. But Spencer said Trump's election validates Spencer's view that America must reject multiculturalism and "political correctness" in favor of its white, Christian European heritage.

Spencer's group, the National Policy Institute, drew headlines for their recent gathering where some attendees mimicked the Nazi salute as they feted Trump. Spencer told The Associated Press the salutes were "ironic exuberance" that "the mainstream media doesn't get."

But at the Anti-Defamation League, which tracks incidents of anti-Semitism, Oren Segal said it is part of a disturbing postelection atmosphere tied to Trump's 17-month campaign.

Before, Segal said, it wasn't "surprising" for the ADL to get calls about a swastika, the Nazi insignia, defacing public or private property. "What's surprising now," he said, "are the references to the campaign" in the incidences. "'Make American White Again' ... 'Go Trump' with the swastika," he said. "That is unique."

Trump was asked about the rash of incidents during a postelection interview on CBS' "60 Minutes." Trump said he was "saddened," and he looked into the camera and said, "Stop it." But Trump has steadfastly defended his hiring of Bannon, who previously led Breitbart News and in July described it as a "platform for the alt-right" — just a month before he took the job running the Republican nominee's campaign.

Jared Taylor, editor of the white supremacist magazine "American Renaissance," said Trump bears some responsibility for his pitched rhetoric, which included describing Mexican immigrants as "rapists" at the outset of his campaign and proposing a ban on all Muslim immigrants. But Taylor said Trump is still unfairly maligned as a white supremacist and racist because he "cares about Americans already here."

But white supremacist imagery was a common sight at Trump rallies. Pepe the frog, a cartoon character appropriated by the white supremacist movement on social media, appeared on dozens of T-shirts and signs. The "Make America Great Again" motto was seen by some as a call back to the nation's simpler, whiter, past. While the businessman's campaign never actively courted votes from the movement, it did recognize the long-term fears that some whites feel about immigration.

Taylor insisted, "There's nothing Ku Klux Klan about any of this."

But, in fact, Trump drew Klan backing.

As part of his prolific Twitter use, he has retweeted white nationalist accounts and a famous quote of Benito Mussolini, the 20th century fascist leader of Italy, saying "It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep." In February, Trump declined to repudiate former Klan leader David Duke during a CNN interview. Afterward, Trump blamed the move on a faulty earpiece, only to come back days later and offer an explicit condemnation.

He has several times fallen back on the excuse of merely retweeting when asked about his controversial social media behavior. In February, he retweeted a message from the account of a neo-Nazi, which came shortly after he retweeted false crime statistics that dramatically overstated the number of whites killed by blacks.

"Bill, am I gonna check every statistic?" he asked Fox News host Bill O'Reilly at the time. "All it was is a retweet. It wasn't from me."

While Trump is quick to blast his foes on Twitter — in recent days that includes The New York Times and the cast of the Broadway musical "Hamilton" — he has yet to proactively condemn racist acts his win has inspired. His eldest son, Don Jr., has used Twitter to liken Syrian refugees to a poisoned bowl of Skittles candy, and he has posted images of Pepe. And Trump's rise to political celebrity came as he peddled the falsehood that the nation's first black president, Barack Obama, was born in Africa, not in the United States.

In an interview Tuesday with The New York Times, Trump did denounce the white supremacist movement when asked, saying "I condemn them. I disavow, and I condemn." But he has yet to convene the traditional news conference held by a president-elect in the days after winning where he could potentially face more pointed questions about it.

The ADL's Segal called Trump's answers when questioned an important step to "allay any illusions" white supremacists have about their place in a Trump administration.

But Ben Jealous, a former national president of the NAACP, went a step further, saying Trump should "pull a George Wallace." The segregationist Alabama governor ran for president on white identity politics but years later publicly apologized for his views.

Trump "shouldn't just disavow the worst behavior of others," Jealous said, "but take accountability for the worst behavior he's engaged in him himself."
___

Lemire reported from New York.

Reach Barrow on Twitter at http://twitter.com/BillBarrowAP and Lemire and http://twitter.com/JonLemire

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"Councilors must step forward in condemning hate, racism"
The Berkshire Eagle, Letter to the Editor, November 28, 2016

To the editor:

My statement to the North Adams City Council on Nov. 22:

I stood before this City Council in 2003 to ask the Council to stand with other communities to pass a resolution requesting the federal government to revise the hastily written and adopted Patriot Act, an act that eroded many of our civil liberties and paved the way for further erosion of them. The good members of that Council sat by and did nothing.

I stood before this City Council in 2006 to ask the Council to impeach Bush and Cheney for acts of treason, for purposefully and willfully lying to the American people to take us into an illegal and ongoing failed war of aggression, a war that continues to kill untold thousands, foment terrorism and is bankrupting our country. The good members of that Council sat by and did nothing.

Our country has elected a dangerously incompetent demagogue as our as next President. I stand before you today as an American and I salute you: Sieg Heil! And, I ask you how did that make you feel? That is the hateful salute of a growing neo-Nazi movement within our country, as unleashed by Trump.

If that salute offended you, then you, as a Council must condemn the appointment of Steven Bannon, an avowed white supremacist neo-Nazi, as Trump's chief strategic adviser. There is no place for neo-Nazis in our government, period.

This condemnation must happen at every level of government, in every house of worship and in every community. Failure to condemn this appointment, normalizes it and allows the evil reach of the neo-Nazis to expand.

As civic leaders, you act as a moral compass for our community and our children. If we tacitly accept racism, bigotry, anti-anti-Semitism, misogyny, and Islamaphobia in the White House, we are teaching them to our children.

To say that it is not within your purview as city councilors to condemn a presidential appointment is cowardly. It is every citizen's responsibility to condemn racism, bigotry and hate. It has been said: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" Edmund Burke.

Today, on the 53rd anniversary of the assassination of President John F Kennedy, I quote: "My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." As in no other time in my lifetime has our country needed us more.

Dr. Peter D. May,
North Adams

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Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, right, arriving for a pre-trial hearing at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, N.C., in January. Credit Ted Richardson/Associated Press.

SundayReview | EDITORIAL

“The Soldier Donald Trump Called a Traitor”
By The New York Times Editorial Board, November 27, 2016

The case of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, an American soldier who, after leaving his post, was held hostage by the Taliban for five years, became a recurring theme of Donald Trump’s unruly campaign speeches.

In August 2015, Mr. Trump fired up a New Hampshire crowd by calling Sergeant Bergdahl “a dirty rotten traitor.” He proceeded to falsely claim that “six young beautiful people were killed trying to find him.” Then he dismissed arguments that the former hostage’s “psychological problems” may have led him to walk off a base in Afghanistan in 2009. “In the old days,” Mr. Trump said, pantomiming an execution by pretending to fire a rifle twice. “Bing bong.”

Those remarks are certain to loom large over Sergeant Bergdahl’s court-martial, which is scheduled to start in April. Sergeant Bergdahl is charged with desertion and misbehavior in front of the enemy; a guilty verdict could result in a sentence anywhere from no jail time to life. But how can he get a fair trial in the military justice system when the next commander in chief has proclaimed his guilt and accused him of treason?

The short answer is he can’t. Eugene Fidell, Mr. Bergdahl’s lawyer, says he intends to submit a motion the day Mr. Trump takes office, cataloging the roughly 40 times Mr. Trump made disparaging remarks about his client, and seeking to have the case dismissed.

“There is no precedent for a candidate running for high office to go after a single individual like this,” Mr. Fidell said in an interview. “Because he is at the pinnacle of the chain of command, what he says not only has direct and indirect legal consequences but symbolic potency.”

Mr. Trump recognized early on that the Bergdahl case had become a flash point for many voters who had contempt for the Obama administration. In one of the most thorny national security decisions of his administration, President Obama released five Afghan detainees held at Guantánamo Bay in exchange for Sergeant Bergdahl. The negotiations and the swap stunned members of Congress, who are required by law to be notified before any detainee is released from Guantánamo.

While Sergeant Bergdahl initially came home to a hero’s welcome, the terms and secrecy of the exchange, which angered Republicans and some members of the military, soon turned the soldier into a political pawn.

There is an alternative to a potentially drawn out legal fight over Mr. Trump’s incendiary remarks in the Bergdahl case. Mr. Obama could issue a pardon before he leaves office. That would put to rest a prosecution that was questionable from the outset because Sergeant Bergdahl had pre-existing mental health problems when the Army granted him a waiver to enlist. He emerged from captivity deeply traumatized after five years of being subjected to physical and psychological torture. It is time to let him rebuild his life.

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"Bowe Bergdahl Asks Obama For Pardon Before Trump Takes Office"
Trump has been very critical of Bergdahl, whose desertion court-martial is approaching
The Huffington Post, (Reporting by Doina Chiacu [Reuters]; Editing by Alistair Bell [Reuters]), 12/3/2016

WASHINGTON - U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who is charged with desertion for walking away from his combat post in Afghanistan in 2009, has asked President Barack Obama for a pardon, the White House said on Saturday.

Obama will relinquish office on Jan. 20 to Republican President-elect Donald Trump, who made caustic comments about the sergeant during the presidential campaign that drew complaints from Bergdahl’s defense team.

Trump savaged Bergdahl as “a no-good traitor who should have been executed” and criticized the prisoner swap in 2014 that won his release.

Bergdahl, 30, is facing a court-martial with a potential life sentence on charges of desertion and endangerment of U.S. troops after he walked away from his post in Afghanistan. He was captured by the Taliban and became a prisoner for five years.

The White House has received Bergdahl’s pardon application, but could not comment on pending cases per standard practice, an official said on Saturday on condition of anonymity.

U.S. military prosecutors have said the 45-day search for Bergdahl after he left his post put soldiers’ lives at risk and diverted attention from the fight against the Taliban.

Bergdahl was freed in a prisoner swap involving the release of five Taliban leaders held by the United States. The deal drew heavy criticism from Republicans.

In January, Bergdahl lawyer Eugene Fidell said Trump had made “appalling” comments about the sergeant and might be called as a witness in the court-martial.

In August, defense lawyers asked to have the charges against the former prisoner of war dismissed, arguing comments made by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain violated his due process rights. The filing quoted McCain as saying the committee would hold a hearing if Bergdahl received no punishment and that U.S. soldiers’ lives were put in danger by having to look for him.

Now that Trump is president-elect, a fair military trial will be impossible, Fidell told The New York Times.

“I have grave concerns as to whether Sergeant Bergdahl can receive a fair trial given the beating he has taken over many months from Mr. Trump, who will be commander in chief, as well as Senator McCain’s call for a hearing in case Sergeant Bergdahl is not punished,” Fidell said. “It is really most unfair.”

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"25th Amendment Could Declare Trump Mentally Unfit"
By Tim Marcin, IBTimes, November 28, 2016

Amid widespread protests and worrying signs of dysfunction in the administration of President-elect Donald Trump, millions across the United States are likely wondering how, or if, it's possible to oust the billionaire from the White House before the 2020 presidential election. While there have long been talks of impeachment hearings, a favorite theory this week for removing Trump from power involves the 25th amendment to the Constitution.

The amendment was approved in 1967, pushed into existence in the wake of the stunning 1963 death of President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in Dallas. The Constitution had never officially laid out a succession plan that detailed how, exactly, a vice-president should take power should a president no longer be able to carry out his or her duties. Up until the amendment, vice presidents effectively took over because of a precedent set by Vice President John Tyler in 1841, according to the National Constitution Center. The 25th amendment clearly spelled out that a vice president took over if a president died, resigned or, importantly, was removed from office.

The amendment opened the door for removal if a president was deemed to be unfit for office, different from an impeachment hearing that typically centers around investigating if a president acted illegally while in office.

There are two options to remove a mentally unfit president, which were helpfully laid out step-by-step by Fusion. The first option requires a majority of the president's cabinet — positions such as secretary of state and secretary of defense — joining together with the vice president to declare the president is unfit. The second option requires the vice president to convince a majority of the House of Representatives and the Senate to decide the president is unfit. Both chambers of Congress then submit a letter stating such, which removes the president from power.

In both cases, the president can then submit a letter claiming he is fit for office, which then mandates a special session to vote on the issue. Once that special session is called, those trying to oust the president, in this case Trump, would have 21 days to convince a two-thirds majority of both Congressional chambers to vote to keep Trump out of the Oval Office.

While this might seem like a long shot, many are navigating toward it. Liberal "GQ" correspondent Keith Olbermann called it an instant impeachment, a sort-of "crazy-man clause." "For my money, he's nuts — couldn't pass a sanity test, open book," Olbermann said. "But of course, Section Four of the 25th Amendment here does not say 'nuts' — or impaired, or erratic or unbalanced or unhealthy or bipolar or narcissist or sociopath or psychopath. It only says 'that the president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.'"

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"Trump mulls loss of citizenship, jail for flag burning"
The Hill, November 29, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday proposed harsh punishments for flag burning, mentioning loss of citizenship or a year in jail.

“Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag - if they do, there must be consequences - perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!” Trump wrote in an early morning tweet.

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“Trump's war on media should worry all Americans”
The Berkshire Eagle, Letter to the Editor, November 30, 2016

To the editor:

A free press has always been a great tool for the American people to hold public officials accountable. Watchdog journalism has provided us with numerous stories that shed light on the various types of corruption and scandals. If anything good came out of Watergate it was that the American public knew that they could trust the press to hold even the highest public officials accountable.

With the election of President-elect Donald Trump, the reliability of the media has come under constant scrutiny. Never before has a major presidential candidate, let alone a president-elect, questioned the legitimacy of the free press. He has called for strengthening libel laws, routinely banned certain reporters on the campaign trail, and his surrogates even suggested that he not hold press conferences while in office. This crusade against the media has caused distrust for actual fact-based news and an affinity for fake news over social media.

Mr. Trump's war on the media is dangerous for all Americans, whether you voted for him or not. Mr. Trump, like all presidents before him, needs to be held accountable by a free press, and to do that we must demand that he accept the media as a check against unilateral power and corruption.

Jacob "Coby" Tarjick,
Cheshire

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"Donald Trump Will Be President In Just Over A Month And The Constitution Is Already Under Attack"
It doesn’t take long.
By Sam Levine, Associate Politics Editor, The Huffington Post, 12/3/2016

With a little over a month until Donald Trump takes office, the president-elect and his allies have already begun to attack the guarantees of the First Amendment, signaling how imperiled the fundamental freedoms of the Constitution could be under a Trump presidency.

Trump has long shown contempt for the media and, as he prepares to take power, he and his allies haven’t held back.

On Thursday, Corey Lewandowski, who is Trump’s former campaign manager and expected to have a role in a Trump White House, said that New York Times editor Dean Baquet should be in jail because the paper published parts of Trump’s tax return during the campaign.

“We had one of the top people at The New York Times come to Harvard University and say, ‘I’m willing to go to jail to get a copy of Donald Trump’s taxes so I can publish them,’” Lewandowski said, according to Politico. “Dean Baquet came here and offered to go to jail — you’re telling me, he’s willing to commit a felony on a private citizen to post his taxes, and there isn’t enough scrutiny on the Trump campaign and his business dealings and his taxes?”

“It’s egregious,” Lewandowski added. “He should be in jail.”

Even after winning the presidency, Trump has had an almost myopic focus on the Times, criticizing the paper’s coverage of him. He has pledged to sue the newspaper, though, when he met with its staff, he called it “a great, great American jewel. A world jewel.”

But Trump has undermined the press by limiting its access to him, while surrogates have made the absurd claim that facts simply don’t exist anymore. The incoming commander in chief has also suggested that Americans who burn flags should lose their citizenship and do jail time. That would be a clear violation of the constitution, as the Supreme Court ruled in 1989 that flag burning was constitutionally protected speech.

The New York Observer, which is owned by Trump’s son in law and close adviser, Jared Kushner, also published an op-ed this week calling on the FBI to investigate nationwide protests ― a form of constitutionally protected free speech ― following Trump’s victory.

Trump’s statement that Muslims should be banned from entering the United States is also an attack on the First Amendment, along with several other constitutional protections.

But perhaps more disturbingly, there’s been logic emerging from the Trump team that anything Trump does is protected by the office of the presidency.

When he explained the potential conflict of interest with his business, for example, Trump said “the law’s totally on my side, the president can’t have a conflict of interest.”

Kellyanne Conway, another of Trump’s campaign managers, said that his spreading misinformation on Twitter constituted presidential behavior simply because he specifically engaged in it.

“He’s the president-elect, so that’s presidential behavior,” she said.

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To: jonathan_a_melle@yahoo.com
From: Alex Hart, PFAW alerts@pfaw.org
Reply to: pfaw@pfaw.org
Re: Reject Trump’s cabinet of hate & Wall Street greed
Date: December 7, 2016

*

Petition to members of the U.S. Senate:

Donald Trump’s first appointments to cabinet-level roles in his administration are horrifying. Trump’s nominees and rumored picks have promoted white nationalism, attacked climate science, and used their power as Wall Street insiders and corporate lobbyists to fleece working families.

As representatives of all Americans, you must stand up against hatred and greed. Fight to block and resist every Trump nominee who embraces racism, xenophobia, misogyny, homophobia, climate denial, and Wall Street greed.

*

Trump rose to power with a divisive campaign that showed he was willing to embrace every bigoted ideology from xenophobia to sexism to flat-out racism in order to gain power. Some of the people he's begun to name as cabinet picks embody these ideologies -- and that is unacceptable.

Trump’s Broken Promises

Trump promised on election night to be “a president for all Americans.” But the parade of horribles that Trump has nominated to his administration show he is welcoming hate right into the White House.

And his pledge during the campaign to “drain the swamp” and make Washington work for ordinary Americans instead of powerful elites? Forget about it. Trump’s cabinet is so pro-corporate it’s called “an investment banker’s dream.”

Who the Trump Cabinet Really Works For

Wall Street bankers and Trump’s corporate cronies are cheering the Trump agenda. It’s a corporate wish list that would eliminate protections for working people and our environment, and eviscerate strong rules reining in Wall Street.

The Trump administration is shaping up to benefit Donald Trump and his family’s business empire in a big way, with massive conflicts of interest posed by Trump’s continued stake in the Trump Organization.

The Senate Must Block and Resist Trump’s Cabinet

The U.S. Senate has confirmation power over most of Trump's cabinet. Senators must use this power to block and resist Trump’s cabinet of hate and greed. Here are just some of the examples of who we’re talking about:

* Enemy of civil rights and women's rights Jeff Sessions (Attorney General)
* Foreclosure king Steve Mnuchin (Treasury Secretary)
* Wall Street billionaire Wilbur Ross (Secretary of Commerce)
* Climate science denier Myron Ebell (EPA Administrator)

Thanks for all you do!

-- Alex Hart, Online Team

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“Donald Trump’s Proposed Cabinet Is Very White, And Very Male”
Trump has chosen just three people so far who are not white men.
By Amanda Terkel, Senior Political Reporter, The Huffington Post, 12/14/2016

Donald Trump’s Cabinet is shaping up to be the least diverse in recent history, with just three people so far who are not white men.

Of the 13 people Trump has nominated for Cabinet positions, only Ben Carson (Housing and Urban Development), Elaine Chao (Transportation) and Betsy DeVos (Education) are not both white and male.

There are still two Cabinet positions, Agriculture and Veterans Affairs, for which Trump has not nominated anyone. For Agriculture, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) has been mentioned as a front-runner.

As MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow has noted, the line of succession to the presidency ― which includes the speaker of the House and the Senate president pro tempore ― is shaping up to consist of 12 white men unless Trump picks Heitkamp, or another woman or person of color, for agriculture secretary.

Trump’s proposed Cabinet would be far less diverse than those of the past three presidents when they first took office. Bill Clinton had eight people in his initial Cabinet who were not white men, George W. Bush had seven and Barack Obama had nine.

Twitter post: Chris Donovan @chrisdonovan
If Trump's picks confirmed, 1st time in 24 yrs no woman/minority serving at least 1 of “Big 4” cabinet posts(State,Defense,Treasury,Justice)
1:30 PM - 13 Dec[ember] 2016


Administration:
Donald Trump, U.S. President-elect
Mike Pence, U.S. Vice President-elect
Cabinet appointments:
Rex Tillerson: Secretary of State-nominee
Steve Mnuchin: Secretary of Treasury-nominee
James Mattis: Secretary of Defense-nominee
Jeff Sessions: Secretary of Justice-nominee
Ryan Zinke: Secretary of Interior-nominee
Unknown: Secretary of Agriculture-nominee
Wilbur Ross: Secretary of Commerce-nominee
Andrew Puzder: Secretary of Labor-nominee
Tom Price: Secretary of Health & Human Services-nominee
Ben Carson: Secretary of Housing-nominee
Elaine Chao: Secretary of Transportation-nominee
Rick Perry: Secretary of Energy-nominee
Betsy DeVos: Secretary of Education-nominee
David Shulkin: Secretary of Veterans Affairs-nominee
John Kelly: Secretary of Homeland Security-nominee

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Breaking News: For his envoy to Israel, Donald Trump has chosen a supporter of West Bank settlements who has insulted left-leaning American Jews"
The New York Times, December 15, 2016

*

"Trump chooses hard-liner as Ambassador to Israel"
By Matthew Rosenberg, The New York Times, December 15, 2016

President-elect Donald J. Trump on Thursday named David Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer aligned with the Israeli far right, as his nominee for ambassador to Israel, elevating a campaign adviser who has questioned the need for a two-state solution and has likened left-leaning Jews in America to the Jews who aided the Nazis in the Holocaust.

Mr. Friedman, whose outspoken views stand in stark contrast to decades of American policy toward Israel, did not wait long on Thursday to signal his intention to upend the American approach. In a statement from the Trump transition team announcing his nomination, he said he looked forward to doing the job “from the U.S. embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem.”

Through decades of Republican and Democratic administrations, the embassy has been in Tel Aviv, as the State Department insists that the status of Jerusalem — which both Israel and the Palestinians see as their rightful capital — can be determined only through negotiations as part of an overall peace deal.

Mr. Friedman, who has no diplomatic experience, has said that he does not believe it would be illegal for Israel to annex the occupied West Bank and he supports building new settlements there, which Washington has long condemned as illegitimate and an obstacle to peace.

The Trump transition team’s statement focused on Mr. Friedman’s long history with Israel, portraying him as a friendly supporter of the country whose views were in line with the United States’ position toward it.

“The two nations have enjoyed a special relationship based on mutual respect and a dedication to freedom and democracy,” it said. “With Mr. Friedman’s nomination, President-elect Trump expressed his commitment to further enhancing the U.S.-Israel relationship and ensuring there will be extraordinary strategic, technological, military and intelligence cooperation between the two countries.” The statement said that Mr. Friedman was a fluent speaker of Hebrew and “a lifelong student of Israel’s history.”

Mr. Friedman’s appointment was quickly praised by the Republican Jewish Coalition, whose executive director, Matt Brooks, called it “a powerful signal to the Jewish community.”

But beyond Republicans, there were deep concerns over the choice of Mr. Friedman. J Street, a dovish lobbying organization that has been critical of some Israeli policies, said in a statement that it was “vehemently opposed to the nomination.”

“As someone who has been a leading American friend of the settlement movement, who lacks any diplomatic or policy credentials,” it said, “Friedman should be beyond the pale.”

Mr. Friedman has made clear his disdain for those American Jews — especially those connected to J Street — who support a two-state solution for the Israelis and the Palestinians. Writing in June on the website of Arutz Sheva, an Israeli media organization, Mr. Friedman compared J Street supporters to “kapos,” the Jews who cooperated with the Nazis during the Holocaust.

“The kapos faced extraordinary cruelty,” he wrote. “But J Street? They are just smug advocates of Israel’s destruction delivered from the comfort of their secure American sofas — it’s hard to imagine anyone worse.”

At a private session this month at the Saban Forum, an annual gathering of Israeli and American foreign policy figures, Mr. Friedman declined to disavow the comments and even intensified the sentiment.

Questioned by Jeffrey Goldberg, the editor in chief of the Atlantic, Mr. Friedman was asked if he would meet with various groups, including J Street. Mr. Friedman said he would probably meet with individuals but not with the group, according to several people who attended.

Mr. Goldberg then raised the kapos comparison and asked if he stood by it. Mr. Friedman did not back away. “They’re not Jewish, and they’re not pro-Israel,” he said, according to the people in the room.

Daniel Levy, a left-leaning former Israeli peace negotiator, said that in naming an ambassador with the hard-line views of Mr. Friedman, Mr. Trump could end up undercutting the security of Israel and the United States and condemn “the Palestinians to further disenfranchisement and dispossession.”

“If an American ambassador stakes out positions that further embolden an already triumphalist settler elite, then that is likely to cause headaches for American national security interests across the region and even for Israel’s own security establishment,” Mr. Levy said. “Especially an ambassador committed to the ill-advised relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.”

In its statement, the Trump team noted that Mr. Friedman had held his bar mitzvah 45 years ago in Jerusalem at the Western Wall. The wall, the holiest place where Jews can pray, is a remnant of the retaining wall that surrounded the ancient Temple Mount, the most sacred site in Judaism.

The site today houses the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, the third holiest site in Islam. Control over the site has been a persistent source of friction between Israel and the Palestinians, and has sparked violence between the two sides.

More recently, the Western Wall itself has been a source of tension and clashes between the Orthodox authorities who control the site and more liberal Jews, many of whom are from North America and oppose the restrictions there on prayer by women.

Follow Matthew Rosenberg on Twitter @AllMattNYT.

Peter Baker and Helene Cooper contributed reporting.

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Jewish American political thinker Hannah Arendt, who escaped Germany in 1933, saw the problem as “not what our enemies did, but what our friends did.” New York Times Co. via Getty Images.

“What Those Who Studied Nazis Can Teach Us About The Strange Reaction To Donald Trump”
While it’s important to watch the president-elect closely, we also must be mindful of our own response to him.
By Shawn Hamilton, Freelance Writer, The Huffington Post, December 19, 2016

On election night, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews had a revelation. Matthews, with a pained expression, began to piece together the basis for Hillary Clinton’s pending defeat. She had failed to communicate a tough position on illegal immigration. She had supported bad trade deals. She had not renounced all of the “stupid wars.”

Her presidential rival, Donald Trump, on the other hand, had waged what Matthews called a “legitimate” campaign on these issues, a claim that seemed to stretch the bounds of legitimacy, but Matthews was not alone. In the following days and weeks, others would make similar claims implying a victory that, weeks before, had been impossible was actually inevitable ― and liberalism was largely to blame.

People magazine put Trump on its cover in November, a month after one of its journalists, Natasha Stoynoff, accused him of sexually assaulting her in 2005. The magazine’s editor-in-chief reassured readers that they stood by their journalist and her allegations, but Trump had “made history” and thus earned the cover.

In a New York Times op-ed, “The End of Identity Liberalism,” Mark Lilla argued that “moral panic about racial, gender and sexual identity” had “distorted liberalism’s message and prevented it from becoming a unifying force capable of governing.” Trump’s popularity, Lilla argued, was not a consequence of a white backlash (whitelash) but rather a reaction to “the omnipresent rhetoric of identity or ‘political correctness.’”

Michael Lerner, in another New York Times op-ed, “Stop Shaming Trump Voters,” argued that “the pain and rage of the Trump voter is legitimate” after decades of this constituency being ignored or attacked by the left for cultural and religious reasons. He added that “we need to reach out to Trump voters in a spirit of empathy and contrition” and reassured us that “the racism, sexism and xenophobia used by Mr. Trump to advance his candidacy does not reveal an inherent malice in the majority of Americans.”

These reactions to Trump and his supporters have a way of separating ideas that usually move in tandem. Facts and truth are suddenly unrelated. Power no longer implies responsibility. Legitimacy and decency are now somehow passengers on separate ships. In this dynamic, People magazine can champion both the perpetrator and the victim and see no contradiction or betrayal. Lilla can use the victory of a campaign steeped in identity politics to highlight the ineffectiveness of identity politics. And Lerner can argue that a campaign “advanced” by sexism, racism and xenophobia can tell us much about the targets of that bigotry, i.e. that they need to behave differently, but little about the supporters of that campaign.

So, why the rush to defend Trump’s supporters? Why the self-recriminations? Why the willingness to stretch the bounds of legitimacy to accommodate Trump’s antics? Much has been written about Trump’s demagoguery and its similarity to totalitarian leaders of the past, but what about Trump’s opponents? Are many of us borrowing a page from totalitarianism without realizing it? Are we empowering him? Are we coordinating?

The word Gleichshaltung is often translated from the German as “coordination” and refers to the process of ― politically speaking ― getting in line. It often appears in books about the Nazi era. German Jewish philologist Victor Klemperer and German journalist Joachim Fest wrote about the personal cost of coordinating in their respective memoirs. German author Sebastian Haffner and Americans including journalist William Shirer wrote about the propaganda and politics of coordination.

German-born Jewish political theorist Hannah Arendt, in one of her last interviews, explains it best.

“The problem, the personal problem, was not what our enemies did, but what our friends did. Friends ‘coordinated’ or got in line.” And this coordination was not necessarily due to the “pressure of terror,” said Arendt, who escaped Germany in 1933. Intellectuals were particularly vulnerable to this wave of coordination. “The essence of being an intellectual is that one fabricates ideas about everything,” and many intellectuals of her time were “trapped by their own ideas.”

People rejected the uglier aspects of Nazism but gave ground in ways that ultimately made it successful. They conceded premises to faulty arguments. They rejected the “facts” of propaganda, but not the impressions of it. The new paradigm of authoritarianism was so disorienting that they simply could not see it for what it was, let alone confront it.

The faulty premise that empowered Hitler and helped place him in the German mainstream was called the Dolchstoss or the legend of the “stab in the back.” It argued that, despite all of the evidence to the contrary, Germany was winning World War I only to have politicians surrender prematurely.

Hitler, as a political figure, was the embodiment of this hack theory. While many rejected Hitler’s anti-Semitism and bellicosity, his deep sense of having been wronged by Germany’s surrender in World War I ― a war in which he fought ― gave him authenticity. It also created a hole in the German Republic’s legitimacy that he and his followers barreled through.

Before there were the camps and murders ― and the euphemisms to hide all of the camps and all of the murders ― there was this feel-good lie that should have been dismissed ― along with the people telling it, from the beginning.

In today’s United States, the suggestion that illegal immigration is the cause of the economic struggles of working-class whites is an American Dolchstoss. Mechanization, globalization and the decline of unions have affected working-class whites to a far greater extent than illegal immigration ― or immigration of any kind. And this is not an obscure fact or liberal talking point. Yet many who supposedly reject Trump’s scapegoating of illegal immigrants seem willing to concede it.

The debates about how or what, if anything, workers can do to combat this reality are endless, but the claim that immigrants are to blame is the talking point of the demagogue, not a reflection of economic reality.

When the decline of working-class jobs was perceived as a problem for African-Americans primarily, the neoliberal and conservative positions were much less sympathetic. According to William Julius Wilson’s 1996 book, When Work Disappears: The World of the New Urban Poor, “Between 1967 and 1987 Philadelphia lost 64% of its manufacturing jobs; Chicago lost 60%; Detroit 51%.” This meant hundreds of thousands of jobs lost, disproportionately affecting African-Americans. The solution from conservatives? “Migrate” was black conservative Shelby Steele’s prescription. “Get new skills,” said others. And even more popular was “behave more like Asians.” Yet whites need an entirely new mythology, even if that mythology hurts prospects. According to a recent Politico article by Dana Goldstein, “America: This Is Your Future,” “Rust Belt cities that are attracting immigrants are in better shape than those, like Dayton, Ohio, with fewer foreign-born residents.” Yet, “the people who are upset about immigration live in areas where immigration has had very little impact. A lot of the upset is symbolic.” The symbolism and the propaganda form a kind of feedback loop, each reinforcing the other, regardless of the underlying truths ― or lack thereof.

In his 1940 book, Germany: Jekyll and Hyde, Haffner explains this relationship between impression and propaganda, even for those opposed to the Reich. He writes, “Outside of Germany people often wonder at the palpable fraudulence of Nazi propaganda, the stupid incredible exaggerations, the ludicrous reticences concerning what is generally known. Who can be convinced by it? They ask. The answer is that it is not meant to convince but to impress. It addresses emotion and fantasy. Nazi propaganda seeks to create in our minds tenacious ideas and fantasies.”

In Haffner’s time, the tenacious ideas and fantasies were the subhuman images of the Reich’s enemies. Many Germans rejected the “facts” of this propaganda: that Czechoslovakia or Poland posed existential threats to Germany and the German people, but the impression of the propaganda remained. “The image,” Haffner wrote, “of the Czechs and Poles as a snub-nosed, unpleasant, dwarfish half-ape brandishing a revolver, whip or rubber truncheon at a number of barely clad women, children, and blond men bound to posts.” Who could trust such a person? Why risk it?

Trump’s propaganda about Mexican rapists and Muslim terrorists operates in a similar way. The informed listener knows that most rapes are committed by perpetrators that are known to the victim. They know that most terrorist attacks in the United States are committed by non-Muslims, but the impression that those groups are not to be trusted ― that to trust them is taking an unnecessary risk ― remains.

The impressions born of the propaganda give birth to discussions that worsen the problem. Commentator Van Jones, for example, debated CNN panelists recently about discrimination against Muslims. To support his argument that Muslims are not the enemy, he cataloged many of the positive attributes of the Muslim community as if Americans that are hostile to Muslims are acting in good faith based on bad information rather than cherry-picking incidents to support their underlying prejudices. Jones reminded viewers and other panelists that Muslims have low crime rates, high educational achievement and high rates of entrepreneurship. The fact that it needs to be said demonstrates the relative power of the people asking the questions to those who must answer. It morphs questions about Muslims into a kind of Muslim Question that exists not to seek answers but to emphasize the otherness of the Muslim community and to limit its rights.

While on the campaign trail in February, Trump urged followers to “knock the hell” out of protesters, promising to pay their legal bills if they were arrested and charged. That same February in Fort Worth, he promised a crowd that he would “open up our libel laws” so that news outlets can be sued for writing “false” or “purposely negative” articles. In July, he urged Russia to interfere in the election on his behalf, later saying he was joking. In September, he urged still other supporters to “monitor” polling stations. In October, he promised when victorious to throw his rival, Hillary Clinton, in jail. And just recently he advocated revoking the citizenship of Americans who burn flags.

So, in the last year, Trump has flirted with or, maybe more his style, groped and pawed at totalitarianism, yet the advice from many is to “give him a chance” ― or to coordinate.

In 1949, Harvard psychologists James Bruner and Leo Postman performed a study that helps explain the contradiction. Bruner and Postman recruited two dozen college students to participate in a study of perception and expectations. The experiment involved playing cards. Participants were shown a series of cards. Most of them were standard playing cards, but included in the series were several trick card: a black four of hearts, a red six of spades, a red six of clubs, to name a few. Each card was presented, and the participant was instructed to identify it correctly.

There were four possible reactions to the trick cards. The first was “recognition,” or describing the trick card accurately. The second was “disruption,” or being confused by the card and as a result be unable to describe it. The third option was “compromise,” which mixes the incongruities in the cards: the black four of hearts is reported as “grayish”; the red six of spades is reported as “purple.”

The fourth and most common reaction by far was “dominance.” The participants expected to view a normal series of cards, so when faced with a trick card their minds approximated, and the trick card became the most similar normal card: a red spade was identified as a red heart or diamond; a black heart was identified as a spade.

The report of the study, “On the Perception of Incongruity: A Paradigm,” said, “Our major conclusion is that perceptual organization is powerfully determined by expectations built upon past commerce with the environment. When such expectations are violated by the environment, the perceiver’s behavior can be described as resistance to the unexpected or incongruous.”

The participants could only see what they expected to see. Their minds coordinated. For many Americans, the expectations of the game are divided government, stability and continuity regardless of what the candidate promises. However, if the new regime has embraced authoritarianism, then there will be trick cards in the deck that have to be identified correctly and challenged.

“Patriotism” became a trick card in Klemperer’s memoir and study of Nazi language, The Language of the Third Reich. Klemperer wrote of a Jewish neighbor, Frau K, who continued to speak with pride about Germany and the “Fuhrer,” despite having been deemed subhuman by the regime. Patriotism and deference to leadership ― respect for the office of the president, as we call it ― might have elevated Frau K in the old paradigm, but in the new one it worsened her condition.

“Divided government” became a trick card in Shirer’s 1960 history, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, when Hitler pushed through the Enabling Act and, “In five brief paragraphs,” took the power to legislate, approve treaties, and initiate constitutional amendments away from Parliament. A divided government essentially “committed suicide,” according to Shirer, and bequeathed its power to a dictator.

There were many others, but “dominance” made them difficult to recognize. Joachim Fest writes in his memoir Not I, “At first, the countless violations of the law by our new rulers still caused a degree of disquiet. But among the incomprehensible features of those months, my father later recalled, was the fact that soon life went on as if such state crimes were the most natural thing in the world.” Those months would turn to years. Not the thousand years that Hitler had predicted, but enough to cause millions of deaths.

We should not waste our time or imaginations trying to reconfigure Trumpism to explain why all of the “good people” supported him. It is more important to see it for what it is and resist. Hopefully, they will join us. If not, it will not be necessary to call them names, they will have named themselves.

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New York City – “Muslims targeted”
The Week, Volume 16 Issue 801, December 16, 2016, News Page 7

Three Muslim women – one of them an off-duty NYPD officer – were attacked in alleged hate crimes in New York City this week. In one incident, a transit worker wearing a Muslim head covering was allegedly pushed down the stairs at Grand Central Terminal by a man who called her a “terrorist.” In another, three intoxicated white men reportedly tried to rip the hijab off a young woman riding the subway as they shouted “Donald Trump!” and “Get the hell out of the country!” Yasmin Seweid, 18, who was born in Brooklyn, said she got off the train crying and shaken. “I’m an American, you know?” she said. Days later, an off-duty Muslim cop who was born and raised in New York City was allegedly abused by a man on the street who said to her, “ISIS [expletive], I will cut your throat.” The Southern Poverty Law Center says there has been a surge in hate crimes since Trump’s election.

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“'Alt-right' groups will 'revolt' if Trump shuns white supremacy, leaders say”
Prominent members of the American far right predict that waning influence on the president-elect could trigger discord and vengeance within the movement
By Rory Carroll in Los Angeles @rorycarroll72 – The Guardian – December 27, 2016

Donald Trump will disappoint and disillusion his far-right supporters by eschewing white supremacy, according to some of the movement’s own intellectual leaders.

Activists who recently gave Nazi salutes and shouted “hail Trump” at a gathering in Washington will revolt if the new US president fails to meet their expectations, the leaders told the Guardian.

The prospect of such disillusion and internecine squabbling may console liberals who fear a White House tinged with racism and quasi-fascism. The analysis is all the more reassuring because it comes from far-right influencers and analysts, not wishful progressives.

Instead of enjoying proximity to power, according to this analysis, vocal parts of the loose coalition known as the “alt-right” could remain on the political fringe, wondering what happened to their triumph.

“Their hearts are bigger than their brains,” said Mark Weber, who runs the Institute for Historical Review, an organisation dedicated to exposing “Jewish-Zionist” power. “Saying they want to be the intellectual head of the Trump presidency is delusional.”

Jared Taylor, a white supremacist who runs the self-termed “race-realist” magazine American Renaissance, said the president-elect had already backpedalled on several pledges that had fired up the far-right. “At first he promised to send back every illegal immigrant. Now he is waffling on that.”

David Cole, a self-proclaimed Holocaust revisionist and Taki magazine columnist, envisaged the movement sliding into bickering and in-fighting, stuck in “rabbit warrens” of online trolling rather than policy shaping.

“In January Trump will start governing and will have to make compromises. Even small ones will trigger squabbles between the ‘alt-right’. ‘Trump betrayed us.’ ‘No, you’re betraying us for saying Trump betrayed us.’ And so on. The alt-right’s appearance of influence will diminish more and more as they start to fight amongst themselves.”

In an email interview Peter Brimelow, founder of the webzine Vdare.com, which alleges Mexican plots to remake the US, said Trump’s failure to deliver “important bones” could trigger a backlash. “I think the right of the right is absolutely prepared to revolt. It’s what they do.”

There is, however, a catch: Weber, Taylor and Brimelow – all classified as “extremists” by the Southern Poverty Law Center – said Trump’s victory energised the far-right and that the movement can grow with or without White House help.

The young crowd that roared “Hail Trump” at last month’s gathering in Washington will fight for its beliefs no matter what, Brimelow said. “None of them were looking for jobs in the Trump administration. These are not party loyalists. They know they’re entirely outside the establishment consensus. And they’re used to guerrilla warfare.”

Trump’s relationship with the far-right – an unruly grouping which includes opponents to illegal immigration, free trade, police reform, political correctness, miscegenation and mainstream Holocaust scholarship – will partly define his administration.

The casino mogul turned Republican insurgent electrified this group during the election by calling undocumented Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals. He vowed to deport 11 million undocumented people, ban Muslims from entering the US and build a wall on the southern border. He was slow to disavow an endorsement from David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan leader.

He put Steve Bannon, who turned Breitbart News into a platform for the far right, in charge of his campaign and rewarded him with a senior White House post.

A few weeks after Trump’s victory the innocuously named National Policy Institute, which espouses an “ethno-state” for Americans of European descent, held its annual conference in the Ronald Reagan Building a few blocks from the White House.

Its leader, Richard Spencer, concluded the event by shouting “Hail Trump! Hail our people!” and “Hail victory!”, an English translation of the Nazi exhortation “Sieg heil”. Some audience members gave the Nazi salute.

Some observers saw their worst fears realised: unbound, exuberant fascism.

But some of the far-right’s intellectuals saw something else: self-sabotage and delusion.

It was an “idiot conclusion” to a conference packed with other speeches and panel discussions, said Brimelow, who addressed the gathering.

Taylor, another speaker, agreed. “It was going very well until (then). Richard Spencer has said that the way he closed the talk was meant as pure irony, and I hope that’s the case, that it was all ironic and over-exuberance. I don’t think that anything that has any whiff of Nazism is a particularly effective way to bring Americans or even Europeans to an effective understanding of race.”

Cole said Spencer, a rising star of the far-right movement, overreached. “He blew a lot of goodwill ... and became an embarrassment to some of his own people.”

Spencer and his supporters will pay for hubris, Cole predicted. “They’ll burn out. After Trump’s victory they had a belief they were behind it, or had a lot of clout. All they can hope for is to get something on the immigration reform/restrictions. Otherwise they’re enjoying the bragging rights, saying they won it, even though they didn’t.”

Asked about that weekend and his impact on the white supremacist movement, Trump told the New York Times: “I don’t want to energize the group, and I disavow the group ... But it’s not a group I want to energize, and if they are energized I want to look into it and find out why.”

Spencer, unabashed, has continued touring university campuses and is considering a congressional run in Montana, where he lives. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

If the critiques are correct he and his supporters will, to co-opt a favoured “alt-right” term, have a rude awakening. “In the eagerness for hope many have latched on to Trump. They’re trying to get a step on the escalator. I’m convinced they’ll be disappointed,” said Weber. Far-right youths are “on fire” but Trump, he said, will not be able to turn the clock back to the 1950s, a perceived golden age for white America.

Taylor said some on the far-right fell, as did liberals, for what he termed media distortions. “Donald Trump was never a racial dissident of the sort that I am. He was never one of us. He’s an American nationalist. The left was wrong to think that he was dancing to the tune of people like myself.”

Taylor said the far right would need patience. “Racial nationalism has not triumphed in America. It will some day. But to think it has done so (already) is delusive.”

This story has been corrected to reflect that Richard Spencer is not a native of Montana.

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Letter: "Trump may be Twain's wrong kind of statesman"
The Berkshire Eagle, December 24, 2016

To the editor:

On Thursday, Vladimir Putin gave a speech and said "We need to strengthen the military potential of strategic nuclear forces."

Shortly thereafter on the same day, Donald Trump tweeted "The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes."

Then, on Friday, Trump said: "Let it be an arms race," and "We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all."

More than 100 years ago, Mark Twain derisively said this game of one-upmanship is what is called statesmanship. "By and by, when each nation has 20,000 battleships and 5,000,000 soldiers, we shall all be safe and the wisdom of statesmanship will stand confirmed," and "This singular game, which is so costly and so ruinous and so silly, is called statesmanship - which is different from assmanship on account of the spelling. Anybody but a statesman could invent some way to reduce these vast armaments to rational and sensible and safe police proportions "

According to the Arms Control Association, we have 7,100 nuclear warheads and Russia has 7,300, which together make up about 90 percent of all nuclear weapons in the world. Our stockpile has been reduced from about 30,000 in the middle 1960s to its current level, of which 1,367 are actually deployed and can be used at the flip of a switch. Russia has about 1,800 similarly positioned.

It seems to me there are enough nuclear weapons already existing to destroy the world more than once, so why would we need more? Have we learned nothing in the past century? I am concerned our 45th president will be suckerpunched by Putin, and then will react as he always does when his pride is wounded, by covering up with some sort or bravado and rash, vindictive response.

We have to give Mr. Trump a chance to lead, but so far he has shown mostly a propensity for reaction, as demonstrated above. We need a statesman at the helm, but not the kind to which Mark Twain referred.

Charles I. Francis,
Becket

*

Letter: “Keep Trump's finger off nuclear button”
The Berkshire Eagle, January 6, 2017

To the editor:

Many of us are extremely nervous about the potential actions of our new president-to-be. With respect to climate change, affordable health care, high- quality public education, economic disparity and many other issues, we are waiting with great anxiety to see what will happen.

Another issue for grim reflection has to do with our next president's thoughts about nuclear weapons.

While I applaud President Obama's efforts to reduce the nuclear stockpiles that imperil life on our planet, I fail to understand why his administration not long ago approved spending roughly a trillion more dollars over the next 30 years on further development of ever more sophisticated nuclear weapons and delivery systems. This makes no sense at all.

Now we have a president-elect who during the pre-election debates seemed to think that if we have nuclear weapons we should be able to use them. He seemed also to be unaware of our nuclear triad. i.e. our ability to deliver nuclear weapons on targets using planes, submarines and ground-launched missiles. He further has speculated that other countries such as Japan and South Korea should also acquire such weapons.

The accidents and close calls from suspected attacks between us and the old Soviet Union suggest that simply having these horrendous weapons in abundance around the planet is not a sane response to fear between nations.

According to my American Heritage dictionary, one of the legal definitions of insanity is: "... a degree of mental malfunctioning sufficient to prevent the accused from knowing right from wrong in the act he is charged with or to render him unaware of the nature of the act when committing it." I therefore conclude that one who would launch potentially civilization-destroying weapons against an another nation fully ready to retaliate, is performing an act of insanity.

Readers who share this concern may wish to click on the following website, where a petition highly relevant to this concern is available: www.ploughshares.org/keep-donald-trumps-finger-off-nuclear-button

Donald Lathrop,
Canaan, N.Y.

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Letter: “Give NRA due credit for Trump's election”
The Berkshire Eagle, January 2, 2017

To the editor:

There has been a continuous barrage of head wind coming from the Clinton and the Democratic Party as to who was responsible for Hillary's defeat. Fingers have been pointed out FBI Director Comey, WikiLeaks, Fox News, the Russians, and the list goes on. It seems like everybody is responsible except the candidate herself. At best, a mediocre candidate with a poor campaign strategy.

Early in her campaign, Clinton stated that she was going to take on the gun lobby. The attack backfired. The National Rifle Association (NRA) was glad to oblige her and is more than happy to take a big piece of the credit in contributing to her defeat. Early on, the NRA endorsed Donald Trump and went to work on an unprecedented campaign to defeat Clinton. It energized its 5 million members as well as the other 80 million-plus legal gun owners in the U.S. According to the NRA's official publication, the American Rifleman, it sent out 38 million mailings, made 15 phone calls, knocked on tens of thousands of doors, and ran millions of television and digital ads across the country. The impact of these efforts had to be tremendous.

The anti-Second Amendment and pro-gun control crowded that supported Clinton took it on the chin. There you have it.

Dennis L. Lattizzori,
Pittsfield

*

Letter: “Clinton lost because she was poor candidate”
The Berkshire Eagle, January 16, 2017

To the editor:

Since Nov. 8, Democrats have blamed the loss on just about everything except where the blame actually belongs, Hillary Clinton herself.

How could she lose? The media was in her corner, the Hollywood elite backed her, minorities were for her, she was endorsed by all but two major newspapers and she outspent her opponent 2 to 1.

Back in 1996, New York Times columnist William Safire diagnosed her real problem. He called her a "congenital liar," which she has definitely lived up to. CBS showed film clips of her and Chelsea greeting officials on the tarmac in Bosnia while she had claimed the landing had been made under sniper fire and they were told to run for their cars. On Benghazi, she told the families of the deceased that it was the fault of an anti-Muslim video, while emailing her daughter the same day that it was terrorism. She claimed that 90 percent of her emails were on the State Department server while the inspector general stated it was 2 percent.

She and the Democratic National Committee claim that the election was lost because of fake news, the Russians, James Comey, angry white men, voter suppression, and the Electoral College. The reason she lost is that she had no message with any substance. In the last month, her main message over and over again that Trump was not qualified.

The popular vote total is meaningless, with California giving her the roughly 3 million votes she needed to win the popular vote. If that was the criteria for picking a president, it would guarantee a Democratic win in all past elections other than Reagan's two wins. Without California, Trump would have won the popular vote by 1.4 million.

Armand "Pic" Delisle,
Hinsdale

*

Letter: “Successful rebellion against arrogant elites”
The Berkshire Eagle, January 22, 2017

To the editor:

On Nov. 8, we experienced a rebellion by the American working class against the liberal/progressive elites who have for many years exercised way too much control over our citizens and our country. These liberal elites believe the average American isn't smart enough to know what's in his or her best interest and therefore must be guided. Elites feel they must have sufficient control of our government to insure we do not make the wrong decisions about how to live our lives.

Through their activist activities, the media, which are overwhelming liberal, and universities, most of which are controlled by liberals, and with the help of liberal judges, have been able to force their views on the rest of us. Liberal judges believe that the Constitution and Bill of Rights are "living documents" that they can change as they see fit. The liberal elites' control over us culminated with the election of Barack Obama. These arrogant elites jammed their views down the throats of citizens once too often and now we have rebelled against them.

Through this election, the working class has given the Republican Party the tools necessary to bring our wonderful country back to the traditional values on which it was founded. This rebellion took place for all of our citizens regardless of race, religion, gender or national origin. We are all Americans. Continued success, President Donald J. Trump. "Make America great again."

Thomas Gilardi,
Pittsfield

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"House Republicans voted to gut the congressional ethics office, set up after corruption scandals. The move was made without notice."
The New York Times, January 2, 2017

House Republicans, defying their top leaders, voted Monday to significantly curtail the power of an independent ethics office set up in 2008 in the aftermath of corruption scandals that sent three members of Congress to jail.

The move to weaken the Office of Congressional Ethics was not public until late Monday. The full House is scheduled to vote Tuesday on the rules, which would take away both power and independence from an investigative body, and give lawmakers more control over internal inquiries.

*

"Donald Trump rebuked House Republicans, saying there were more important things to do than “weakening" the independent ethics office"
The New York Times, January 3, 2017

President-elect Donald J. Trump on Tuesday criticized House Republicans for their surprise move to gut an independent congressional ethics office on the eve of a new legislative session, saying they should focus instead on domestic policy priorities such as health care and a tax overhaul.

In a pair of postings on Twitter, Mr. Trump called the Office of Congressional Ethics “unfair,” but said focusing on it now was a case of misplaced priorities. He appended the hashtag “DTS,” an apparent allusion to his promise to “drain the swamp” in Washington.

*

“House Republicans reversed course and withdrew a plan to gut an ethics office, after intense criticism from Donald Trump and others”
The New York Times, January 3, 2017

The reversal came less than 24 hours after House Republicans, meeting in a secret session, voted to eliminate the Office of Congressional Ethics, created in 2009 in the aftermath of a series of scandals involving House lawmakers.

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115TH CONGRESS [Republican Party's] AGENDA:

* Repeal/Replace ACA aka Obamacare
* Cut Medicaid (more than 1 in 5 Americans rely on Medicaid for healthcare insurance)
* Kill the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
* Repeal Dodd-Frank
* Privatize Veteran's care (the VA)
* Tax cuts

Source: The Rachel Maddow Show on January 2, 2017.

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“House GOP passes rules aimed at preventing lawmaker protests”
The Hill, January 3, 2017

House Republicans adopted new rules on Tuesday to slap hefty fines on lawmakers who take photos or video on the floor, a move meant to deter Democrats from staging another sit-in similar to last year’s gun violence protest.

The new rules enforce a previously existing prohibition on taking pictures or video on the House floor. Lawmakers of both parties routinely ignored the rules over the years and snapped photos at big events such as the State of the Union and addresses from foreign leaders.

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"GOP aims to rein in liberal cities"
The Hill, January 5, 2017

After consolidating power in Washington, D.C. and state capitals under President-elect Donald Trump, Republicans are moving to prevent large cities dominated by Democrats from enacting sweeping liberal agendas.

Republican state legislatures are planning so-called preemption laws, which prevent cities and counties from passing new measures governing everything from taxes to environmental regulations and social issues.

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January 6, 2017

Elizabeth Warren announced this morning that she is running for reelection in 2018, seeking a second term as US Senator from Massachusetts.

“The people of Massachusetts didn’t send me to Washington to roll over and play dead while Donald Trump and his team of billionaires, bigots, and Wall Street bankers crush the working people of our Commonwealth and this country,” she wrote in an e-mail to supporters. “This is no time to quit.”

Source: The Boston Globe




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"Trump calls for investigation into intel leaks to NBC"
The Hill, January 6, 2017

President-elect Donald Trump on Friday called for lawmakers to investigate U.S. intelligence leaks to NBC about information on Russian interference in the election.

“I am asking the chairs of the House and Senate committees to investigate top secret intelligence shared with NBC prior to me seeing it,” Trump tweeted Friday.

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“Spicer: Media doesn’t treat Trump with respect, cheers on Democrats”
The Hill, January 8, 2017

The media doesn’t treat President-elect Donald Trump with the proper respect, the man set to be the next White House spokesman says in an interview with The Hill.

Sean Spicer, the longtime GOP operative and strategist for the Republican National Committee, criticized a media landscape that he said mocked Trump even as it cheers on Democrats.

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“Senate readies for blizzard of confirmation battles”
The Hill, January 8, 2017

The Senate will begin a blizzard of confirmation hearings Tuesday [January 10, 2017] for Donald Trump’s prospective Cabinet, as Republicans race to get members of the president-elect’s team in place on day one of his administration.

But the fast-tracking of nominees is frustrating Democrats, who hope to use the hearings to press Trump’s team on a host of issues.

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“Law enforcement officials see Sessions as 'police-first' attorney general pick”
The Hill, January 9, 2017

Police and law enforcement officials are backing Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) as Donald Trump's pick to lead the Department of Justice.

Law enforcement groups view Sessions as someone who will bring a "police-first" mentality to Justice that they say was absent during President Obama's eight years in office.

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“Government ethics chief blasts Trump business plan”
The Hill, January 11, 2017

The head of the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) on Wednesday slammed President-elect Donald Trump’s plan to separate himself from his business interests, calling it “wholly inadequate” in resolving potential conflicts of interest.

“The plan the president-elect has announced doesn’t meet the standards that the best of his nominees are meeting and that every president in the last four decades have met,” OGE Director Walter Shaub said during a speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

"Stepping back from running his business is meaningless from a conflict of interest perspective," he said.

*

"Donald Trump will turn over business operations to a trust run by his sons and an associate, but won’t divest himself of his empire"
The New York Times, January 11, 2017

He will donate to the United States government all profits from foreign government payments to his hotels, top officials with his company said Wednesday, describing the arrangements as voluntary measures taken to answer concerns about potential conflicts of interest that would allow Mr. Trump to focus on running the country.

The Trump Organization will also refrain from entering into any new deals with foreign partners, his legal advisers said, backing off from an earlier claim by Mr. Trump that his company would have “no new deals” of any kind during his presidency. Instead, the Trump enterprise will have to clear any new transactions with an ethics adviser to be chosen by the president-elect in coming days.

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"CNN in Trump’s crosshairs"
The Hill, January 14, 2017

CNN has become public enemy number one for Donald Trump and the latest media outlet to become entangled in a high-stakes stand-off with the president-elect.

Trump has long been critical of CNN, claiming it is biased against him and labeling it the “Clinton News Network.” During the presidential campaign Trump ripped the network as “dishonest as hell” and “disgusting.”

That feud escalated this week with CNN’s decision to run a controversial report highlighting Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, which provoked an explosive public exchange between Trump and CNN’s chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta.

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POLITICS
“Anti-Immigrant French Candidate Marine Le Pen Visits Trump Tower”
A spokesman for Trump said Le Pen would not be meeting with the president-elect.
By Christina Wilkie, White House reporter, The Huffington Post, January 12, 2017

French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen and some of her campaign staff were spotted Thursday morning at Trump Tower, prompting speculation that the leader of the hard-line conservative National Front party would be meeting with President-elect Donald Trump.

A Trump spokesman denied that Le Pen would meet with the president-elect or anyone from the transition team, telling reporters that “Trump Tower is open to the public.”

An aide to Le Pen said a meeting with Trump “is not on her public agenda,” but added, “We don’t communicate about private visits.”

Le Pen is a deeply polarizing figure in France, where she is frequently accused of racism and xenophobia for her nationalist, anti-immigrant policy positions. The daughter of National Front founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, she regularly claims to be “fighting the Islamisation of French society.” In a 2010 speech, she likened the presence of Muslims in France to the Nazi occupation.

Le Pen was accompanied to Trump Tower by her partner, George “Guido” Lombardi, a longtime friend of Trump’s who lives in the building and was active in the “Citizens for Trump” campaign this fall. Lombardi is also the leader of a group called the North Atlantic League, which espouses anti-Islamic views, and warns that “Judeo-Christian civilization” is under attack from Islam, the media and a “cultural assault.”

Like Trump, Le Pen’s presidential campaign is built on a populist, nationalist ideal that promises a return to bygone days. Both she and Trump supported Britain’s vote to exit the European Union last year, and both are champions of strict border controls to prevent the arrival of undocumented immigrants.

Le Pen has repeatedly said she admires Trump, calling his victory in November “a sign of hope” for hard-line conservative European politicians.

Trump has met several times with another populist European politician, Nigel Farage, the former leader of the U.K. Independence Party.

It was unclear late Thursday morning whether Le Pen would ride the elevator to Trump’s offices, or just sit downstairs and drink coffee.

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Marine Le Pen, Leader of French party Front National (FN) speaks during a conference of European right-wing party ENF, Europe Nations and Freedom, in Koblenz, Germany, 21 January 2017. Several European leaders of national right-wing parties will deliver speeches at the conference organized by the AFD. EPA/Sascha Ditscher.

“Le Pen predicts year of ‘awakening’ at European nationalists’ meeting”
By Geir Moulson, Associated Press, January 21, 2017

KOBLENZ, Germany — French presidential hopeful Marine Le Pen declared Saturday that 2017 will be the ‘‘year of the awakening of the people of continental Europe’’ as she joined fellow nationalist leaders in Germany at the beginning of a year of high-stakes national elections.

The mood was celebratory a day after Donald Trump was sworn in as U.S. president, following a campaign buoyed by anti-establishment and protectionist themes.

‘‘Yesterday, a new America. Today, hello Koblenz, a new Europe!’’ Dutch anti-Islam leader Geert Wilders said as he opened his speech at a congress center on the banks of the Rhine river, under heavy security.

‘‘The people of the west are awakening. They are throwing off the yoke of political correctness,’’ he said. ‘‘This year will be the year of the people ... the year of liberation, the year of the patriotic spring.’’

Wilders’ anti-Islam Party of Freedom could win the largest percentage of votes in the March 15 Dutch parliamentary election, though it is shunned by rivals and highly unlikely to be able to form a coalition. Le Pen is among top contenders in France’s April-May presidential vote. In September, Frauke Petry’s four-year-old Alternative for Germany party hopes to enter the German parliament.

The meeting of the Europe of Nations and Freedom group in the European Parliament also featured Matteo Salvini of Italy’s Northern League and Harald Vilimsky, the general secretary of Austria’s Freedom Party, which last year narrowly failed to win the country’s presidency.

‘‘We are experiencing the end of one world and the birth of another,’’ Le Pen said. ‘‘We are experiencing the return of nation-states.’’

The first ‘‘real blow to the old order’’ was last June’s British vote to leave the European Union, she said — followed closely by Trump’s election. The new U.S. president, she said, ‘‘will not support a system of oppression’’ in Europe.

Last year saw the awakening of Anglo-Saxon countries, she said, and ‘‘2017, I am sure, will be the year of the awakening of the people of continental Europe.’’

She denounced the EU as ‘‘a force of sterilization,’’ and assailed German Chancellor Angela Merkel — whose name was booed loudly — for allowing in large numbers of migrants.

‘‘Everyone sees that this migration policy is a daily disaster,’’ Le Pen said.

Left-wing protesters staged a sit-in outside the hall shouting slogans like ‘‘no border, no nation, stop deportation.’’

Not far away, demonstrators from the global AVAAZ activist group placed statues of Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini and Josef Stalin, among others, in front of a landmark statue of German Kaiser Wilhelm.

AVAAZ organizer Pascal Vollenweider said the statues of the dictators were meant to send a ‘‘strong message’’ to the nationalist politicians meeting that ‘‘global citizens are rejecting their old dangerous ideas.’’

‘‘They are not fascists in jackboots, it’s a different type of fascism, of course, but if you look at the ideas ... it’s very dangerous, and we have to face it: these guys are carrying old, dangerous fascist ideas,’’ he said.

Marcus Pretzell, Alternative for Germany’s European lawmaker and Petry’s husband, denied accreditation to German public broadcasters and several other German outlets. Public broadcaster ARD has said it was refused access for ‘‘not meeting journalistic standards in its past reporting on the party,’’ a claim it has rejected.

Pretzell opened the congress lamenting the current state of the EU, its passport-free travel zone and the euro. He praised Trump’s opposition to trade agreements such as a planned EU-U.S. trade deal, and said that ‘‘we have a problem with political Islam.’’

‘‘Who would still want to become a member of the European Union of their own free will?’’ he asked.

‘‘We have to turn back some steps that have gone too far,’’ he said. ‘‘The solution is sitting in this room.’’

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Donald Trump tweeted that Congressman John Lewis was an inactive congressman whose district was “crime infested” and “falling apart.”

Many people, including Democrats, Republicans and residents in his district, immediately came to Lewis’ defense on social media and noted that Trump’s argument couldn’t be further from the truth.

That Trump attacked a civil rights icon, who marched alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma, on Martin Luther King Day weekend is, unfortunately, not a surprise. The support pouring in for Lewis, however, is inspiring and on par with the respect he deserves.

Source: News Article – “John Lewis’ Book Sales Skyrocket After Trump’s Appalling Tweet”, By Taryn Finley, Black Voices Associate Editor, The Huffington Post, January 16, 2017

List of Lewis’ books:

* March, his graphic novel trilogy set

* Walking the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement

* Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change (2012)

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The hotel’s decision to ban media from property owned by the federal government and from a hotel controlled by the president-elect comes amid a broader debate over media access to the incoming administration. | Getty

"Trump's D.C. hotel bans press during inauguration week"
By Daniel Lippman, POLITICO, 1/18/2017

The Trump International Hotel in Washington is banning the media from its premises during inauguration week.

“Media is not allowed in this week in respect of the privacy of our guests,” Patricia Tang, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing wrote in an email.

President-elect Donald Trump and his three adult children own the project after winning a 2012 bid to redevelop D.C.’s Old Post Office. They have a 60-year lease with the federal General Services Administration, which owns the property. The lease that the GSA signed with Trump says (on page 30) that the public is allowed to access historic sections of the building "subject to such reasonable rules and time restrictions as Tenant may formulate from time to time and as approved in writing by Landlord" unless there is a "risk to public safety."

The hotel’s decision to ban media from property owned by the federal government and from a hotel controlled by the president-elect comes amid a broader debate over media access to the incoming administration. Trump has resisted forming a protective pool around him, instead opting for a “semi-protective pool” that afford the media less access than previous presidents allowed.

Further, D.C. legal code prohibits public places like hotels from denying “the full and equal enjoyment” of its facilities to people based on “source of income,” among other reasons, calling it an “unlawful discriminatory practice.” “Source of income” could reasonably include one’s occupation as a journalist.

Tang did not immediately reply to an email asking whether the hotel was in violation of this part of the lease by barring media. The GSA did not immediately reply for a request for comment.

On Wednesday morning, the hotel was encircled by metal barricades while police officers stood nearby and a firetruck and ambulance lingered outside on Pennsylvania Avenue. An official-looking black car with red and blue lights was also seen entering the hotel driveway followed by a black SUV with flashing red lights.

A POLITICO reporter attempted to enter the hotel Wednesday [1/18/2017] morning for a previously scheduled breakfast meeting but was stopped at the door. He then identified himself as a journalist and was told “media” was not allowed.

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January 20, 2017

NEVER! I come from the Human Rights school of politics. My place in politics is to be a voice for the voiceless! Those without rights or power, they all have rights or power under my leadership. I represent the most disadvantaged people in our society! I am for the homeless, the underclass, the bullied, the friendless, and the good that exists in everyone's heart. I despise anyone who believes they are superior to "other" people because of their class and status. I will never be a top-down, corrupt, insider big government or big business bureaucrat. I would never be a lobbyist for K Street's corporate elite. I need to sleep at night. I will always speak my good conscience as long as I live. I want the powerful to legally and legitimately fear people like me who stand for Human Rights for ALL people and peoples. I hope that my character and leadership will stand in sharp contrast to the fascist 45th U.S. President Donald Trump!

- Jonathan Melle

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POLITICS
“In His Inaugural Address, Donald Trump Embraced Anti-Semites’ Slogan”
The Anti-Defamation League asked him to stop using it. He didn’t care.
By Nick Baumann, Senior Enterprise Editor, The Huffington Post, January 20, 2017

During Donald Trump’s campaign for president, the Anti-Defamation League, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry, asked him to stop using the phrase “America First” to describe his foreign policy views. As the ADL explained, the slogan was used by people who warned, ahead of World War II, that Jewish Americans were pushing the U.S. to enter the war because they put their own interests ahead of the country’s.

But Trump never stopped using the slogan. And on Friday, he made it a key part of his inaugural address. “From this day forward,” he proclaimed, “A new vision will govern our land. From this moment on, it’s going to be America First.”

The crowd went wild.

People who aren’t Jewish or familiar with the history may not realize this, but “America First” makes many people deeply uncomfortable. In 1941, as members of the America First movement campaigned against U.S. involvement in World War II and expressed sympathy for the Nazis, plenty of people already knew that Jews were being persecuted in Hitler’s Germany. Even Charles Lindbergh, the famous aviator who led the America First movement, knew it.

“It is not difficult to understand why Jewish people desire the overthrow of Nazi Germany,” Lindbergh said in Des Moines, Iowa, in September 1941. “The persecution they suffered in Germany would be sufficient to make bitter enemies of any race.”

But Lindbergh blamed Jewish Americans for pushing the country towards war, and warned that tolerance of Jews in America could not “survive” war with Germany. The greatest danger to the U.S., he argued, came not from the Axis powers but in what he saw as Jewish “ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio and our government.”

This is dark stuff ― so dark it’s even inspired literature. Philip Roth, perhaps the most famous Jewish American writer, published The Plot Against America in 2004. The novel imagines an alternate U.S. history in which America First’s Lindbergh won the presidential election in 1940, defeating Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Things don’t go too well for the Jews after that.

“How can people like these be in charge of our country? If I didn’t see it with my own eyes, I’d think I was having a hallucination,” Roth’s father says in the book.

In real life, Lindbergh ― a celebrity who was at least as famous as Trump at a time when public anti-Semitism was far more acceptable than it is today ― actually faced some backlash for his speech, as The New Yorker’s Louisa Thomas noted in July:

Anti-Semitism was prevalent in Lindberg’s time; his attitudes were not fringe. He had not made a secret of his interest in eugenics, nor his racial attitudes, which today seem reprehensible. But with that 1941 speech he seemed to cross a line. He was strongly and swiftly condemned for his anti-Semitic and divisive words—not only by interventionists who were opposed to America First but by those who had lionized him. The Des Moines Register called his speech “so intemperate, so unfair, so dangerous in its implications that it cannot but turn many spadefuls in the digging of the grave of his influence in this country.” The Hearst papers, which were generally sympathetic to the non-interventionists—and open about their hatred of Franklin Roosevelt—condemned Lindbergh, calling his speech “un-American.” His home town took his name off its water tower.

Trump has received some similar criticism: “For many Americans, the term ‘America First’ will always be associated with and tainted by this history,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt warned last April. “In a political season that already has prompted a national conversation about civility and tolerance, choosing a call to action historically associated with incivility and intolerance seems ill-advised.”

The new president doesn’t seem chastened.

“To me, America First is a brand-new modern term,” he told The New York Times’ David Sanger in July. “I never related it to the past.”

But the past has a way of catching up to you. David Duke, the Holocaust denier and former KKK leader who endorsed Trump and celebrated his ascension to power, has long been happy with the slogan (he used it in his campaign for U.S. Senate), and can hear the dog whistle loud and clear.

David Duke @DrDavidDuke
Great Trump Speech, America First! Stop Wars! Defeat the Corrupt elites! Protect our Borders!, Fair Trade! Couldn't have said it better!
11:46 PM - 21 Jul 2016 - http://davidduke.com/

After Trump’s speech on Friday [1/20/2017], Duke tweeted:

David Duke @DrDavidDuke
"Trump Inauguration Speech Declares War on the Neocons & Promotes Our Slogan "America First!"
4:06 PM - 20 Jan 2017 - http://davidduke.com/

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Letter: “Learn from history, and remain vigilant”
The Berkshire Eagle, January 20, 2017

To the editor:

An unprecedented election? Perhaps here, but a glance back to European history tells us otherwise.

I have recently begun reading Volker Ullrich's "Hitler: Ascent 1889-1939" (Knopf, 9/16). In his introduction, the author explains his intention to explore several issues.

Per Ullrich: "The artistry with which Hitler was able to conceal his real intentions from both friends and foes was [a] main key to his success as a politician. Seventeen years after the fall of the Third Reich, in his memoirs the former Finance Minister Lutz Schwerin von Krosigk identified `bottomless mendacity' as Hitler's primary personal characteristic. `He wasn't even honest towards his most intimate confidants,' Krosigk recalled. `In my opinion, he was so thoroughly untruthful that he could no longer recognise the difference between lies and truth.'"

Additionally, according to Ullrich, the German chancellor deliberately sowed uncertainty and discord within his government, stating that "Hitler's unusually improvisational and personal style of leadership, which created constant responsibility conflicts and an anarchic tangle of offices and portfolios, was anything but an expression of political incompetence. On the contrary, it served to make Hitler's own supremacy essentially unassailable."

To me, these assessments strike uncomfortably all too close to home. As President Obama cautioned us in his closing address just this past week, we must all be vigilant.

Iris Bass,
Lee

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“President Trump has proposed a 20 percent tax on all Mexican imports to pay for the border wall, his spokesman said”
The New York Times, January 26, 2017

President Trump plans to make Mexico pay for his border wall by imposing a 20 percent tax on all imports into the United States from Mexico, raising billions of dollars that would cover the cost of the new barrier.

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“President Trump's strategist Stephen Bannon attacked the media as the "opposition" and said it should "keep its mouth shut"”
The New York Times, January 26, 2017

Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s chief White House strategist, laced into the American press during an interview on Wednesday evening, arguing that news organizations had been “humiliated” by an election outcome few anticipated, and repeatedly describing the media as “the opposition party” of the current administration.

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President Donald Trump halts immigration from 7 countries:

Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen

Source: The Rachel Maddow Show on "The Refugee Ban", January 27, 2017.

*

“President Trump's temporary ban on refugees establishes a religious test: Christians from Muslim nations will be given priority”
The New York Times, January 27, 2017

President Trump on Friday closed the nation’s borders to refugees from around the world, ordering that families fleeing the slaughter in Syria be indefinitely blocked from entering the United States, and temporarily suspending immigration from several predominantly Muslim countries.

Declaring the measure part of an extreme vetting plan to keep out “radical Islamic terrorists,” Mr. Trump also established a religious test for refugees from Muslim nations: He ordered that Christians and others from minority religions be granted priority over Muslims.

*

“Dems eye legislation to overturn Trump's immigration ban”
The Hill, January 29, 2017

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Sunday said Democrats are considering legislation to overturn President Donald Trump’s recent executive actions on immigration.

“If we get a few more Republicans, I think we might be able to pass legislation to overturn it,” Schumer said at a press conference in New York. “It will be up to getting more Republicans.”

*

“A federal judge stayed part of President Trump's immigration order, barring refugees stopped at U.S. airports from being sent back”
The New York Times, January 28, 2017

A federal judge blocked part of President Trump’s executive order on immigration on Saturday evening, ordering that refugees and others trapped at airports across the United States should not be sent back to their home countries. But the judge stopped short of letting them into the country or issuing a broader ruling on the constitutionality of Mr. Trump’s actions.

Lawyers who sued the government to block the White House order said the decision, which came after an emergency hearing in a New York City courtroom, could affect an estimated 100 to 200 people who were detained upon arrival at American airports in the wake of the order that Mr. Trump signed on Friday afternoon, a week into his presidency.

*

“Airlines were allowing formerly barred passengers to fly after a federal judge blocked President Trump's immigration order nationwide”
The New York Times, February 3, 2017

A federal judge in Seattle on Friday temporarily blocked President Trump’s week-old immigration order from being enforced nationwide, potentially reopening the country’s door to visa holders from seven predominantly Muslim countries and dealing the administration a humbling defeat.

The White House vowed late Friday to fight what it called an “outrageous” ruling, saying it would seek an emergency halt to the judge’s order as soon as possible and restore the president’s “lawful and appropriate order.”

*

“Justice Dept. appeals federal judge's ruling halting immigration order”
The Hill, February 4, 2017

The Justice Department on Saturday evening filed a notice that it will formally appeal a federal judge's ruling halting President Trump's immigration order.

The notice was filed in response to a temporary nationwide restraining order issued Friday that halted Trump's executive order banning citizens of seven countries from entering the United States.

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“Trump: Torture 'works'”
By Jordan Fabian – The Hill – 1/25/2017

President Trump said Wednesday [January 25, 2017] he believes that torture “works” and would consider reinstating banned interrogation methods depending on the advice of members of his national security team.

In an interview with ABC News, Trump indicated he wants to resume the use of torture in order to fight back against groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) that have committed atrocities against U.S. citizens.

“We have to fight fire with fire,” he said.

Trump would spark a major legal and political battle if he decides to resume the use of torture.

The comments came as a draft memo leaked to the Associated Press shows the Trump administration is seeking to review interrogation techniques and the use of CIA “black site” prisons overseas.

*

“Trump’s pick for CIA No. 2 prompts fears”
The Hill, February 4, 2017

Senate Democrats and human rights activists are rallying against Donald Trump’s selection of an officer linked to the CIA’s controversial enhanced interrogation program to take the number-two seat at the agency.

As a clandestine officer, Gina Haspel oversaw the brutal interrogation of two terrorism suspects at a black site in Thailand — and then later played a role in the destruction of video tapes documenting the harsh treatment of the detainees, according to multiple reports.

In 2013, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) reportedly blocked her promotion to head the agency’s clandestine service over her role in the program.

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In an interview with ABC News anchor David Muir on January 25, 2017, President Donald Trump repeated his position that the United States “should have taken the oil” from Iraq during the occupation of the country following the 2003 US-led invasion. Trump has sought to justify this position as victor’s justice and as a move that might have stopped the rise of the Islamic State (also known as ISIS). When Muir pressed him about critics who say doing this would have violated international law, Trump dismissed them as “fools.” Trump’s position on taking Iraq’s oil amounts to “pillage,” a serious violation of international humanitarian law, or the laws of war.

Source: “Trump, Iraqi Oil and International Law”, By Sarah Saadoun, Researcher, Business and Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, January 27, 2017.

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Letter: “Trump represents the dawn of fascism in US”
The Berkshire Eagle, February 3, 2017

To the editor:

I am second generation American. My grandparents emigrated to escape violent anti-Semite pogroms. Now I watch fascism evolve due to an incompetent demagogue`s personal agenda. Heil King Trump!

He demoralizes women, fires staff for disagreeing with him; promotes nepotism in the White House (now a kingdom?) and surrounds himself with the likes of Steve Bannon, a known anti-Semite and KKK apologist. He has implemented unprecedented gag orders and disputes climate change because it is not favorable to big oil. He is reckless and rash, as proved by his recent Muslim ban, attack on Mexicans, other immigrants and refugees and his continued unrealistic quest to build a wall along the Mexico/U.S. border.

His refusal to make his tax filings public, to divest himself of his business holdings and his Trump University scam only prove what a shyster he is. If you exercise your First Amendment right he says you should be stripped of your citizenship and put in prison. As his egomania grows, will he target those of us who protest and speak out against him and strip us of our citizenship and put us in prison?

His attempts to manipulate and silence the free press and replace their reporting with "alternate facts" is horrifying. He tweets like an insolent eighth grader, and bullies and attacks anyone who disagrees with him. He is impulsive and dangerous.

This is the dawn of fascism in America. Richard Rorty accurately termed it "politically acceptable sadism." No wonder Melania's platform is anti-bullying!

Candace Docimo Mahony,
Lee

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“Trump administration withdraws protections for transgender students”
The Hill, February 22, 2017

The Trump administration rolled back an Obama-era regulation extending certain protections to transgender students.

*

“The Trump administration has rescinded protections for transgender students that allowed them to use bathrooms of their choice”
The New York TImes, February 22, 2017

The Trump administration on Wednesday rescinded federal rules that allowed transgender students to use the bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity.

The new policy overruled the advice of President Trump’s education secretary and placed his administration firmly in the middle of the culture wars that many Republicans have tried to leave behind.

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“White House hand-picks select media for briefing”
The Hill, February 24, 2017

The White House blocked a number of news outlets from covering spokesman Sean Spicer’s question-and-answer session on Friday afternoon.

Spicer decided to hold an off-camera “gaggle” with reporters inside his West Wing office instead of the traditional on-camera briefing in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room.

Among the outlets not permitted to cover the gaggle were news organizations that President Trump has singled out for criticism, including CNN.

The New York Times, The Hill, Politico, BuzzFeed, the Daily Mail, BBC, the Los Angeles Times and the New York Daily News were among the other news organizations not permitted to attend.

*

“Journalists from several organizations, including The Times, were kept from attending a briefing by President Trump’s press secretary”
The New York Times, February 24, 2017

Reporters from CNN, Politico and The New York Times were not allowed to enter the West Wing office of the press secretary, Sean M. Spicer, for a scheduled briefing.

The White House Correspondents’ Association, which represents the press corps, issued a quick rebuke of the White House’s actions.

*

“At CPAC, Trump lashes out at media”
The Hill, February 24, 2017

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — President Trump lashed out at the press from the beginning of his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), saying his administration was in a fight against “fake news.”

“I want you all to know that we are fighting the fake news. It’s phony, fake,” Trump said before a crowd that appeared to love the media hits.

“I called the fake news the enemy of the people. They are the enemy of the people, because they have no sources. They just make them up when there are none.”

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“Bannon needles media at CPAC”
The Hill, February 23, 2017

NATIONAL HARBOR, M.D.-- White House chief strategist Steve Bannon chided the media throughout his appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference Thursday, tagging reporters with his favorite nickname: the opposition party.

Speaking alongside White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, the controversial former head of Breitbart News framed the media as part of a global war against the president’s agenda.

"The corporatist globalist media is adamantly opposed to economic nationalist agenda like Donald Trump has," Bannon said.

*

“Conservatives at CPAC grapple with the rise of the alt-right”
The Hill, February 24, 2017

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — White nationalist Richard Spencer arrived at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Thursday, appearing to be a sign of the “alt-right” movement’s attempts to fit in with conservatives.

And then he got kicked out.

Spencer’s abrupt exit was just one way conservatives tried to grapple with the rise of the alt-right movement at CPAC, offering differing interpretations about who falls into that category and even what the term means.

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“State legislators take steps to criminalize protests”
By Reid Wilson, The Hill, February 24, 2017

Republican state legislators across the country are advancing bills that would criminalize or penalize some public protests just a month after millions of Americans took to the streets in opposition to President Trump.

In North Dakota, where protesters occupied land around an unfinished section of the Dakota Access oil pipeline, Gov. Doug Burgum (R) on Thursday signed four laws that would stiffen penalties against protests. The measures increase sanctions for offenses related to riots and broaden the definition of trespassing, allowing law enforcement officers to issue citations and fines.

The new laws, passed under emergency provisions that allow them to take effect immediately, came just hours after a protest camp near the pipeline was evacuated.

Senators in neighboring South Dakota on Thursday passed a bill that would allow the governor to create a "safety zone" in emergency situations. Anyone who entered the zone would be fined.

Legislators who backed the measure specifically cited the Dakota Access project and possible protests against the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which will run through South Dakota. Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R), who sponsored the legislation, said it was needed to deter “professional agitators.”

“Certainly, the Keystone XL pipeline would be a likely prompt to these types of demonstrations,” Daugaard told reporters at a press conference last week.

Native American tribes objected to the legislation, which they say improperly targets them.

Minnesota lawmakers say cracking down on protesters who block access to highways is among their top priorities this legislative session. On Wednesday, two legislative committees voted to increase penalties for protests that block access and to make protesters liable for costs incurred by police responding to their demonstrations.

The Minnesota legislation follows protests against the shooting deaths of several black men by police. Those protests blocked roads leading to the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport. Legislators in Indiana and Iowa have also considered bills to criminalize blocking streets during protests.

Arizona Republicans have introduced a measure to expand racketeering laws, which target organized crime groups, to include rioting. The bill would allow police officers to arrest and then seize the assets of those who organize protest events.

Civil libertarians say the measures are unconstitutional overreactions to a historic era of protests.

“Robust protest activity is a sign of the health of our republic. Our democracy is literally designed for citizens to get out in the streets and make their voices heard to their legislators,” said Lee Rowland, a senior attorney with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project.

“To see legislators in these states make it a priority not to listen to the voices of their constituents, but to silence them, is deeply troubling and fundamentally un-American.”

One measure in Tennessee goes so far as to give civil immunity to a driver who hits a protester blocking traffic.

The legislation, sponsored by state Rep. Matthew Hill (R), comes after a car hit volunteers helping protesters cross a street in Nashville as they demonstrated against the Trump administration’s orders blocking immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Hill’s measure passed its first test in a state Senate committee earlier his month. Hill did not respond to a request for comment on Friday.

A similar bill failed in the North Dakota legislature earlier this month.

Republican-led legislatures in Michigan and Virginia have already rejected their own measures increasing penalties on protests.

Rowland, who has been following state legislatures for about a dozen years, said the measures represent a “fairly unprecedented level” of action against protestors. The wave of bills come after high-profile protests including the Occupy movement, Black Lives Matter, and the Women's March on Washington, which took place the day after Trump’s inauguration.

The women’s march drew more than 3 million participants in cities across the nation. It attracted more people to Washington’s subway system than Trump’s inauguration, the city's transit authority reported.

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The cover of this English translation of The Camp of the Saints calls it “a chilling novel about the end of the white world.”

Revelation 20:9

“And they went up on the breadth of the Earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city; and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.”

Source: King James Bible version.


On his Breitbart News radio show, Stephen Bannon repeatedly used The Camp of the Saints as a metaphor for migrants and refugees.

“This Stunningly Racist French Novel Is How Steve Bannon Explains The World” – “The Camp of the Saints” tells a grotesque tale about a migrant invasion to destroy Western civilization.”
By Paul Blumenthal, Money in Politics Reporter, JM Rieger, Producer, The Huffington Post, March 4, 2017

Stephen Bannon, President Donald Trump’s chief strategist and the driving force behind the administration’s controversial ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries, has a favorite metaphor he uses to describe the largest refugee crisis in human history.

“It’s been almost a Camp of the Saints-type invasion into Central and then Western and Northern Europe,” he said in October 2015.

“The whole thing in Europe is all about immigration,” he said in January 2016. “It’s a global issue today — this kind of global Camp of the Saints.”

“It’s not a migration,” he said later that January. “It’s really an invasion. I call it the Camp of the Saints.”

“When we first started talking about this a year ago,” he said in April 2016, “we called it the Camp of the Saints. ... I mean, this is Camp of the Saints, isn’t it?”

Bannon has agitated for a host of anti-immigrant measures. In his previous role as executive chairman of the right-wing news site Breitbart — which he called a “platform for the alt-right,” the online movement of white nationalists — he made anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim news a focus.

But the top Trump aide’s repeated references to The Camp of the Saints, an obscure 1973 novel by French author Jean Raspail, reveal even more about how he understands the world. The book is a cult favorite on the far right, yet it’s never found a wider audience. There’s a good reason for that: It’s breathtakingly racist.

“[This book is] racist in the literal sense of the term. It uses race as the main characterization of characters,” said Cécile Alduy, professor of French at Stanford University and an expert on the contemporary French far right. “It describes the takeover of Europe by waves of immigrants that wash ashore like the plague.”

The book, she said, “reframes everything as the fight to death between races.”

Upon the novel’s release in the United States in 1975, the influential book review magazine Kirkus Reviews pulled no punches: “The publishers are presenting The Camp of the Saints as a major event, and it probably is, in much the same sense that Mein Kampf was a major event.”

Linda Chavez, a Republican commentator who has worked for GOP presidents from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush but opposed Trump’s election, also reviewed the book back then. Forty years later, she hasn’t forgotten it.

“It is really shockingly racist,” Chavez told The Huffington Post, “and to have the counselor to the president see this as one of his touchstones, I think, says volumes about his attitude.”

The plot of The Camp of the Saints follows a poor Indian demagogue, named “the turd-eater” because he literally eats shit, and the deformed, apparently psychic child who sits on his shoulders. Together, they lead an “armada” of 800,000 impoverished Indians sailing to France. Dithering European politicians, bureaucrats and religious leaders, including a liberal pope from Latin America, debate whether to let the ships land and accept the Indians or to do the right thing — in the book’s vision — by recognizing the threat the migrants pose and killing them all.

The non-white people of Earth, meanwhile, wait silently for the Indians to reach shore. The landing will be the signal for them to rise up everywhere and overthrow white Western society.

The French government eventually gives the order to repel the armada by force, but by then the military has lost the will to fight. Troops battle among themselves as the Indians stream on shore, trampling to death the left-wing radicals who came to welcome them. Poor black and brown people literally overrun Western civilization. Chinese people pour into Russia; the queen of England is forced to marry her son to a Pakistani woman; the mayor of New York must house an African-American family at Gracie Mansion. Raspail’s rogue heroes, the defenders of white Christian supremacy, attempt to defend their civilization with guns blazing but are killed in the process.

Calgues, the obvious Raspail stand-in, is one of those taking up arms against the migrants and their culturally “cuckolded” white supporters. Just before killing a radical hippie, Calgues compares his own actions to past heroic, sometimes mythical defenses of European Christendom. He harkens back to famous battles that fit the clash-of-civilizations narrative — the defense of Rhodes against the Ottoman Empire, the fall of Constantinople to the same — and glorifies colonial wars of conquest and the formation of the Ku Klux Klan.

Only white Europeans like Calgues are portrayed as truly human in The Camp of the Saints. The Indian armada brings “thousands of wretched creatures” whose very bodies arouse disgust: “Scraggy branches, brown and black … All bare, those fleshless Gandhi-arms.” Poor brown children are spoiled fruit “starting to rot, all wormy inside, or turned so you can’t see the mold.”

The ship’s inhabitants are also sexual deviants who turn the voyage into a grotesque orgy. “Everywhere, rivers of sperm,” Raspail writes. “Streaming over bodies, oozing between breasts, and buttocks, and thighs, and lips, and fingers.”

The white Christian world is on the brink of destruction, the novel suggests, because these black and brown people are more fertile and more numerous, while the West has lost that necessary belief in its own cultural and racial superiority. As he talks to the hippie he will soon kill, Calgues explains how the youth went so wrong: “That scorn of a people for other races, the knowledge that one’s own is best, the triumphant joy at feeling oneself to be part of humanity’s finest — none of that had ever filled these youngsters’ addled brains.”

The Camp of the Saints — which draws its title from Revelation 20:9 — is nothing less than a call to arms for the white Christian West, to revive the spirit of the Crusades and steel itself for bloody conflict against the poor black and brown world without and the traitors within. The novel’s last line links past humiliations tightly to its own grim parable about modern migration. “The Fall of Constantinople,” Raspail’s unnamed narrator says, “is a personal misfortune that happened to all of us only last week.”

Raspail wrote The Camp of the Saints in 1972 and 1973, after a stay at his aunt’s house near Cannes on the southern coast of France. Looking out across the Mediterranean, he had an epiphany: “And what if they came?” he thought to himself. “This ‘they’ was not clearly defined at first,” he told the conservative publication Le Point in 2015. “Then I imagined that the Third World would rush into this blessed country that is France.”

Raspail’s novel has been published in the U.S. several times, each time with the backing of the anti-immigration movement.

The U.S. publishing house Scribner was the first to translate the book into English in 1975, but it failed to reach a wide audience amid withering reviews by critics. A rare favorable take appeared in National Review. “Raspail brings his reader to the surprising conclusion that killing a million or so starving refugees from India would be a supreme act of individual sanity and cultural health,” then-Dartmouth professor Jeffrey Hart wrote in 1975. “Raspail is to genocide what [D.H. Lawrence] was to sex.” Hart added that “a great fuss” was being made over “Raspail’s supposed racism,” but that the “liberal rote anathema on ‘racism’ is in effect a poisonous assault upon Western self-preference.”

The book received a second life in 1983 when Cordelia Scaife May, heiress to the Mellon fortune and sister to right-wing benefactor Richard Mellon Scaife, funded its republication and distribution. This time it gained a cult following among immigration opponents.

May’s money has also been instrumental in funding the efforts of John Tanton, the godfather of the anti-immigration movement in the U.S. Tanton, who began as an environmentalist and population control proponent, founded a host of groups focused on restricting immigration, including the Federation of American Immigration Reform, the Center for Immigration Studies, NumbersUSA and U.S. English. May’s fortune has fueled these groups with tens of millions of dollars in contributions over the years.

Linda Chavez was recruited in 1987 to head U.S. English, which advocates for English to be designated the country’s official language. But then a series of disturbing stories painted Tanton’s motives in a racial light. Among other issues, Chavez said she learned that his funding came from the pro-eugenics Pioneer Fund and from May, who Chavez knew had helped publish The Camp of the Saints. Chavez recalled seeing Tanton’s staffers carrying the book around their offices. She quit the group.

Tanton, who insists his opposition to immigration is not connected to race at all, told The Washington Post in 2006 that his mind “became focused” on the issue after reading The Camp of the Saints. In 1995, his small publishing house, Social Contract Press, brought the book back into print for a third time in the U.S., again with funding from May. Historians Paul Kennedy and Matt Connelly tied the book to then-current concerns about global demographic trends in a cover story for The Atlantic.

“Over the years the American public has absorbed a great number of books, articles, poems and films which exalt the immigrant experience,” Tanton wrote in 1994. “It is easy for the feelings evoked by Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty to obscure the fact that we are currently receiving too many immigrants (and receiving them too fast) for the health of our environment and of our common culture. Raspail evokes different feelings and that may help to pave the way for policy changes.”

In 2001, the book was republished one more time, again by Tanton, and again gained a cult following among opponents of immigration like the border-patrolling Minutemen and eventually the online “alt-right.”

Bannon’s alt-right-loving Breitbart has run multiple articles over the past three years referencing the novel. When Pope Francis told a joint session of Congress that the U.S. should open its arms to refugees in September 2015, Breitbart’s Julia Hahn, now an aide to Bannon in the White House, compared his admonition to Raspail’s liberal Latin American pontiff. And the novel’s thesis that migration is invasion in disguise is often reflected in Bannon’s public comments.

The refugee crisis “didn’t just happen by happenstance,” Bannon said in an April 2016 radio interview with Sebastian Gorka, who now works for the National Security Council. “These are not war refugees. It’s something much more insidious going on.”

Bannon has also echoed the novel’s theory that secular liberals who favor immigration and diversity weaken the West.

“Do you believe the elites in this country have the backbone, have the belief in the underlying principles of the Judeo-Christian West to actually win this war?” he asked Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), now the attorney general, in June 2016.

“I’m worried about that. … They’re eroding, regularly it seems to me, classical American values that are so critical to our success,” Sessions replied.

Like Raspail, Bannon has reveled in the past victories of Christendom over Islamic forces.

“If you look back at the long history of the Judeo-Christian West struggle against Islam, I believe that our forefathers kept their stance, and I think they did the right thing,” he said in a 2014 speech broadcast to a conference at the Vatican. “I think they kept it out of the world, whether it was at Vienna [the Battle of Vienna in 1683], or Tours [the Battle of Tours in 732], or other places. … They were able to stave this off, and they were able to defeat it, and they were able to bequeath to us a church and a civilization that really is the flower of mankind.”

Now Bannon sits at the right hand of the U.S. president, working to beat back what Bannon calls “this Muslim invasion.” And Trump is all in on the project. During the campaign, he called for a ban on all Muslims entering the country. His Jan. 28 executive order, since blocked in the courts, turned this campaign idea into executive policy.

Trump has continued to defend the executive order as a life-or-death national security issue. “We cannot allow a beachhead of terrorism to form inside America,” he said in his first speech to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday.

Five days earlier, Trump had called his immigration enforcement efforts a “military operation.”

Although Department of Homeland Security officials walked back that statement, the president’s conflation of immigration with warfare did not go unnoticed.

“They see this as a war,” Chavez said.

Chavez, who supports some of Trump’s economic policy proposals, called the direction the White House is taking on immigration and race “extremely dangerous.” She said Trump’s immigration moves are “a kind of purging of America of anything but our Northern European roots.” Bannon, she added, “wants to make America white again.”

----------

About Me

My photo
Amherst, NH, United States
I am a citizen defending the people against corrupt Pols who only serve their Corporate Elite masters, not the people! / My 2 political enemies are Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr., nicknamed "Luciforo" and former Berkshire County Sheriff Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr. / I have also pasted many of my political essays on "The Berkshire Blog": berkshireeagle.blogspot.com / I AM THE ANTI-FRANK GUINTA! / Please contact me at jonathan_a_melle@yahoo.com

50th Anniversary - 2009

50th Anniversary - 2009
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Columbus Avenue in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Pittsfield Politics: Capitanio, Mazzeo agree on budget cuts, public safety

Pittsfield Politics: Capitanio, Mazzeo agree on budget cuts, public safety
Paul Capitanio, left, speaks during Monday night's Ward 3 City Council debate with fellow candidate Melissa Mazzeo at Pittsfield Community Television's studio. The special election (3/31/2009) will be held a week from today (3/24/2009). The local issues ranged from economic development and cleaning up blighted areas in Ward 3 to public education and the continued remediation of PCB's.

Red Sox v Yankees

Red Sox v Yankees
Go Red Sox!

Outrage swells in Congress!

Outrage swells in Congress!
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., left, and the committee's ranking Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., listen during a hearing on modernizing insurance regulations, Tuesday, March 17, 2009, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh). - http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20090318/pl_politico/30833

Beacon Hill's $pecial Interest Tax Raisers & $PENDERS!

Beacon Hill's $pecial Interest Tax Raisers & $PENDERS!
Photo Gallery: www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/03/15/St_Patricks_Day_Boston/

The path away from Wall Street ...

The path away from Wall Street ...
...Employers in the finance sector - traditionally a prime landing spot for college seniors, particularly in the Northeast - expect to have 71 percent fewer jobs to offer this year's (2009) graduates.

Economic collapse puts graduates on unforeseen paths: Enrollment in public service jobs rising...

Economic collapse puts graduates on unforeseen paths: Enrollment in public service jobs rising...
www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/03/14/economic_collapse_puts_graduates_on_unforeseen_paths/

Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis

Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis
Should he be fired? As Bank of America's Stock Plummets, CEO Resists Some Calls That He Step Down.

Hookers for Jesus

Hookers for Jesus
Annie Lobert is the founder of "Hookers for Jesus" - www.hookersforjesus.net/home.cfm - Saving Sin City: Las Vegas, Nevada?

Forever personalized stamped envelope

Forever personalized stamped envelope
The Forever stamp will continue to cover the price of a first-class letter. The USPS will also introduce Forever personalized, stamped envelopes. The envelopes will be preprinted with a Forever stamp, the sender's name and return address, and an optional personal message.

Purple Heart

Purple Heart
First issued in 2003, the Purple heart stamp will continue to honor the men and women wounded while serving in the US military. The Purple Heart stamp covers the cost of 44 cents for first-class, one-ounce mail.

Dolphin

Dolphin
The bottlenose is just one of the new animals set to appear on the price-change stamps. It will serve as a 64-cent stamp for odd shaped envelopes.

2009 price-change stamps

2009 price-change stamps
www.boston.com/business/gallery/2009pircechangestamps/ -&- www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2009/02/27/new_stamps_set_for_rate_increase_in_may/

Red Sox v Yankees

Red Sox v Yankees
Go Red Sox!

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama
AP photo v Shepard Fairey

Rush Limbaugh lackeys

Rush Limbaugh lackeys
Posted by Dan Wasserman of the Boston Globe on March 3, 2009.

Honest Abe

Honest Abe
A 2007 US Penny

Dog race

Dog race
Sledding for dogs

The Capital of the Constitution State

The Capital of the Constitution State
Hartford, once the wealthiest city in the United States but now the poorest in Connecticut, is facing an uphill battle.

Brady, Bundchen married

Brady, Bundchen married
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and model Gisele Bundchen wed Feb. 26, 2009 in a Catholic ceremony in Los Angeles. www.boston.com/ae/celebrity/gallery/tom_gisele/

Mayor Jimmy Ruberto

Mayor Jimmy Ruberto
Tanked Pittsfield's local economy while helping his fellow insider political hacks and business campaign contributors!

Journalist Andrew Manuse

Journalist Andrew Manuse
www.manuse.com

New Hampshire Supreme Court Building

New Hampshire Supreme Court Building
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Hampshire_Supreme_Court

Economic State of the Union

Economic State of the Union
A look at some of the economic conditions the Obama administration faces and what resources have already been pledged to help. 2/24/2009

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama
The president addresses the nation's governors during a dinner in the State Dinning Room, Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009, at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari).

The Oscars - 2/22/2009.

The Oscars - 2/22/2009.
Hugh Jackman and Beyoncé Knowles teamed up for a musical medley during the show.

The 81st Academy Awards - Oscars - 2009

The 81st Academy Awards - Oscars - 2009
Hugh Jackman pulled actress Anne Hathaway on stage to accompany him during his opening musical number.

Rachel Maddow

Rachel Maddow
A Progressive News Commentator

$500,000 per year

$500,000 per year
That is chump change for the corporate elite!

THE CORPORATE ELITE...

THE CORPORATE ELITE...
Jeffrey R. Immelt, chairman and chief executive of General Electric

The Presidents' Club

The Presidents' Club
Bush, Obama, Bush Jr, Clinton & Carter.

5 Presidents: Bush, Obama, Bush Jr, Clinton, & Carter!

5 Presidents: Bush, Obama, Bush Jr, Clinton, & Carter!
White House Event: January 7, 2009.

Bank Bailout!

Bank Bailout!
v taxpayer

Actress Elizabeth Banks

Actress Elizabeth Banks
She will present an award to her hometown (Pittsfield) at the Massachusetts State House next month (1/2009). She recently starred in "W" and "Zack and Miri Make a Porno," and just signed a $1 million annual contract to be a spokesmodel for Paris.

Joanna Lipper

Joanna Lipper
Her award-winning 1999 documentary, "Growing Up Fast," about teenaged mothers in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

Happy Holidays...

Happy Holidays...
...from "Star Wars"

Massachusetts "poor" economy

Massachusetts "poor" economy
Massachusetts is one of the wealthiest states, but it is also very inequitable. For example, it boasts the nation's most lucrative lottery, which is just a system of regressive taxation so that the corporate elite get to pay less in taxes!

Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon
Hollywood Actress

Peter G. Arlos.

Peter G. Arlos.
Arlos is shown in his Pittsfield office in early 2000.

Turnpike OK's hefty toll hikes

Turnpike OK's hefty toll hikes
Big Dig - East-west commuters take hit; Fees at tunnels would double. 11/15/2008.

The Pink Panther 2

The Pink Panther 2
Starring Steve Martin

Police ABUSE

Police ABUSE
I was a victim of Manchester Police Officer John Cunningham's ILLEGAL USES of FORCE! John Cunningham was reprimanded by the Chief of Police for disrespecting me. John Cunningham yelled at a witness: "I don't care if he (Jonathan Melle) is disabled!"

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
The 44th US President!

Vote

Vote
Elections

The Bailout & the economic stimulus check

The Bailout & the economic stimulus check
A political cartoon by Dan Wasserman

A rainbow over Boston

A rainbow over Boston
"Rainbows galore" 10/2/2008

Our nation's leaders!

Our nation's leaders!
President Bush with both John McCain & Barack Obama - 9/25/2008.

Massachusetts & Big Dig: Big hike in tolls for Pike looming (9/26/2008).

Massachusetts & Big Dig: Big hike in tolls for Pike looming (9/26/2008).
$5 rise at tunnels is one possibility $1 jump posed for elsewhere.

Mary E Carey

Mary E Carey
My FAVORITE Journalist EVER!

9/11/2008 - A Show of Unity!

9/11/2008 - A Show of Unity!
John McCain and Barack Obama appeared together at ground zero in New York City - September 11, 2008.

John McCain...

John McCain...
...has all but abandoned the positions on taxes, torture and immigration. (A cartoon by Dan Wasserman. September 2008).

Dan Wasserman

Dan Wasserman
The deregulated chickens come home to roost... in all our pocketbooks. September 2008.

Sarah Palin's phobia

Sarah Palin's phobia
A scripted candidate! (A cartoon by Dan Wasserman).

Dan Wasserman

Dan Wasserman
Family FInances - September, 2008.

Mark E. Roy

Mark E. Roy
Ward 1 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Theodore “Ted” L. Gatsas

Theodore “Ted” L. Gatsas
Ward 2 Alderman (& NH State Senator) for Manchester, NH (2008).

Peter M. Sullivan

Peter M. Sullivan
Ward 3 (downtown) Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Jim Roy

Jim Roy
Ward 4 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Ed Osborne

Ed Osborne
Ward 5 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Real R. Pinard

Real R. Pinard
Ward 6 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

William P. Shea

William P. Shea
Ward 7 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Betsi DeVries

Betsi DeVries
Ward 8 Alder-woman (& NH State Senator) for Manchester, NH (2008).

Michael Garrity

Michael Garrity
Ward 9 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

George Smith

George Smith
Ward 10 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Russ Ouellette

Russ Ouellette
Ward 11 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Kelleigh (Domaingue) Murphy

Kelleigh (Domaingue) Murphy
Ward 12 Alder-woman for Manchester, NH (2008).

“Mike” Lopez

“Mike” Lopez
At-Large Alderman for Manchester, NH. (2008).

Daniel P. O’Neil

Daniel P. O’Neil
At-Large Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Sarah Palin for Vice President.

Sarah Palin for Vice President.
Republican John McCain made the surprise pick of Alaska's governor Sarah Palin as his running mate today, August 29, 2008.

U.S. Representative John Olver, D-Amherst, Massachusetts.

U.S. Representative John Olver, D-Amherst, Massachusetts.
Congressman Olver said the country has spent well over a half-trillion dollars on the war in Iraq while the situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate. 8/25/08.

Ed O'Reilly for US Senate in Massachusetts!

Ed O'Reilly for US Senate in Massachusetts!
John Kerry's 9/2008 challenger in the Democratic Primary.

Shays' Rebellion

Shays' Rebellion
In a tax revolt, Massachusetts farmers fought back during Shays' Rebellion in the mid-1780s after The American Revolutionary War.

Julianne Moore

Julianne Moore
Actress. "The Big Lebowski" is one of my favorite movies. I also like "The Fugitive", too.

Rinaldo Del Gallo III & "Superman"

Rinaldo Del Gallo III & "Superman"
Go to: http://www.berkshirefatherhood.com/index.php?mact=News,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=699&cntnt01returnid=69

"Income chasm widening in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts"

"Income chasm widening in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts"
The gap between rich and poor has widened substantially in Massachusetts over the past two decades. (8/15/2008).

Dan "Bureaucrat" Bosley

Dan "Bureaucrat" Bosley
"The Bosley Amendment": To create tax loopholes for the wealthiest corporate interests in Massachusetts!

John Edwards and...

John Edwards and...
...Rielle Hunter. WHO CARES?!

Rep. Edward J. Markey

Rep. Edward J. Markey
He wants online-privacy legislation. Some Web Firms Say They Track Behavior Without Explicit Consent.

Cindy Sheehan

Cindy Sheehan
She gained fame with her antiwar vigil outside the Bush ranch.

Olympics kick off in Beijing

Olympics kick off in Beijing
Go USA!

Exxon Mobil 2Q profit sets US record, shares fall

Exxon Mobil 2Q profit sets US record, shares fall
In this May 1, 2008, file photo, a customer pumps gas at an Exxon station in Middleton, Mass. Exxon Mobil Corp. reported second-quarter earnings of $11.68 billion Thursday, July 31, the biggest quarterly profit ever by any U.S. corporation, but the results were well short of Wall Street expectations and its shares fell as markets opened. (AP Photo/Lisa Poole, File) 7/31/2008.

Onota Lake 'Sea Serpent'

Onota Lake 'Sea Serpent'
Some kind of monster on Onota Lake. Five-year-old Tyler Smith rides a 'sea serpent' on Onota Lake in Pittsfield, Mass. The 'monster,' fashioned by Smith's grandfather, first appeared over July 4 weekend. (Photo courtesy of Ron Smith). 7/30/2008.

Al Gore, Jr.

Al Gore, Jr.
Al Gore issues challenge on energy

The Norman Rockwell Museum

The Norman Rockwell Museum
Stockbridge, Massachusetts

"Big Dig"

"Big Dig"
Boston's financially wasteful pork barrel project!

"Big Dig"

"Big Dig"
Boston's pork barrel public works project cost 50 times more than the original price!

Mary E Carey

Mary E Carey
My favorite journalist EVER!

U.S. Rep. John Olver, state Sen. Stan Rosenberg and Selectwomen Stephanie O'Keeffe and Alisa Brewer

U.S. Rep. John Olver, state Sen. Stan Rosenberg and Selectwomen Stephanie O'Keeffe and Alisa Brewer
Note: Photo from Mary E Carey's Blog.

Tanglewood

Tanglewood
Boston Symphony Orchestra music director James Levine.

Google

Google
Chagall

Jimmy Ruberto

Jimmy Ruberto
Faces multiple persecutions under the Massachusetts "Ethics" conflict of interest laws.

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
Obama vows $500m in faith-based aid.

John McCain

John McCain
He is with his wife, Cindy, who were both met by Colombian President Alvaro Uribe (right) upon arriving in Cartagena.

Daniel Duquette

Daniel Duquette
Sold Mayor James M. Ruberto of Pittsfield two tickets to the 2004 World Series at face value.

Hillary & Barack in Unity, NH - 6/27/2008

Hillary & Barack in Unity, NH - 6/27/2008
Clinton tells Obama, crowd in Unity, N.H.: 'We are one party'

John Forbes Kerry

John Forbes Kerry
Wanna-be Prez?

WALL-E

WALL-E
"out of this World"

Crisis in the Congo - Ben Affleck

Crisis in the Congo - Ben Affleck
http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/popup?id=5057139&contentIndex=1&page=1&start=false - http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/story?id=5234555&page=1

Jeanne Shaheen

Jeanne Shaheen
NH's Democratic returning candidate for U.S. Senate

"Wall-E"

"Wall-E"
a cool robot

Ed O'Reilly

Ed O'Reilly
www.edoreilly.com

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
World Champions - 2008

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
J.D. Drew gets the same welcome whenever he visits the City of Brotherly Love: "Booooooo!"; Drew has been vilified in Philadelphia since refusing to sign with the Phillies after they drafted him in 1997...

Joe Kelly Levasseur & Joe Briggs

Joe Kelly Levasseur & Joe Briggs
www.2joes.org

NH Union Leader

NH Union Leader
Editorial Cartoon

Celtics - World Champions!

Celtics - World Champions!
www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_18_08_front_pages/ - www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_17_08_finals_game_6/ - www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_17_08_celebration/ - www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_15_08_celtics_championships/

"The Nation"

"The Nation"
A "Liberal" weekly political news magazine. Katrina vanden Heuvel.

TV - PBS: NOW

TV - PBS: NOW
http://www.pbs.org/now

The Twilight Zone

The Twilight Zone
List of Twilight Zone episodes - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Twilight_Zone_episodes

Equality for ALL Marriages

Equality for ALL Marriages
I, Jonathan Melle, am a supporter of same sex marriages.

Kobe Bryant leads his time to a Game 5 victory.

Kobe Bryant leads his time to a Game 5 victory.
L.A. Lakers holds on for the win to force Game 6 at Boston

Mohawk Trail

Mohawk Trail
The 'Hail to the Sunrise' statue in Charlemont is a well-known and easily recognized landmark on the Mohawk Trail. The trail once boasted several souvenir shops, some with motels and restaurants. Now only four remain. (Caroline Bonnivier / Berkshire Eagle Staff).

NASA - June 14, 2008

NASA - June 14, 2008
Space Shuttle Discovery returns to Earth.

Go Celtics! Game # 4 of the 2008 NBA Finals.

Go Celtics! Game # 4 of the 2008 NBA Finals.
Boston took a 20-second timeout, and the Celtics ran off four more points (including this incredible Erving-esque layup from Ray Allen) to build the lead to five points with just 2:10 remaining. Reeling, the Lakers took a full timeout to try to regain their momentum.

Sal DiMasi

Sal DiMasi
Speaker of the Massachusetts State House of Representatives

Kelly Ayotte - Attorney General of New Hampshire

Kelly Ayotte - Attorney General of New Hampshire
http://doj.nh.gov/

John Kerry

John Kerry
He does not like grassroots democracy & being challenged in the 2008 Massachusetts Democratic Party Primary for re-election.

Tim Murray

Tim Murray
Corrupt Lt. Gov. of Massachusetts, 2007 - 2013.

North Adams, Massachusetts

North Adams, Massachusetts
downtown

Howie Carr

Howie Carr
Political Satirist on Massachusetts Corruption/Politics

Polar Bear

Polar Bear
Global Warming

Elizabeth Warren - Web-Site Links

Elizabeth Warren - Web-Site Links
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Warren & http://www.creditslips.org/creditslips/WarrenAuthor.html

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren
Consumer Crusader

Leon Powe

Leon Powe
Celtics forward Leon Powe finished a fast break with a dunk.

Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett
Kevin Garnett reacted during the game.

Rajon Rondo

Rajon Rondo
Rajon Rondo finished a first half fast break with a dunk.

Teamwork

Teamwork
Los Angeles Lakers teammates help Pau Gasol (16) from the floor in the second quarter.

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant took a shot in the first half of Game 2.

Kendrick Perkins

Kendrick Perkins
Kendrick Perkins (right) backed down Lamar Odom (left) during first half action.

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
The Boston Symphony Orchestra performed the national anthem prior to Game 2.

K.G.!

K.G.!
Garnett reacted to a hard dunk in the first quarter.

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce reacted after hitting a three upon his return to the game since leaving with an injury.

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
Kobe Bryant (left) and Paul Pierce (right) squared off in the second half of the game.

James Taylor

James Taylor
Sings National Anthem at Celtics Game.

John Forbes Kerry & Deval Patrick

John Forbes Kerry & Deval Patrick
Attended Celtics Game.

Greats of the NBA: Dr. J, Bill Russell, & Kareem!

Greats of the NBA: Dr. J, Bill Russell, & Kareem!
Attend Game 1 of the 2008 NBA Finals.

Bruce Willis

Bruce Willis
The actor (left) and his date were in the crowd before the Celtics game.

John Kerry

John Kerry
Golddigger attends Celtics game

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton
Ends her 2008 bid for Democratic Party nomination

Nonnie Burnes

Nonnie Burnes
Massachusetts Insurance Commish & former Judge

Jones Library

Jones Library
Amherst, Massachusetts

Barack Obama & Hillary Clinton

Barack Obama & Hillary Clinton
2008 Democratic Primary

"US vs Exxon and Halliburton"

"US vs Exxon and Halliburton"
U.S. Senator John Sununu took more than $220,000 from big oil.

Jeanne Shaheen

Jeanne Shaheen
4- U.S. Senate - 2008

William Pignatelli

William Pignatelli
Hack Rep. "Smitty" with Lynne Blake

Ben Bernanke

Ben Bernanke
Federal Reserve Chairman

Gazettenet.com

Gazettenet.com
www.gazettenet.com/beta/

Boys' & Girls' Club

Boys' & Girls' Club
Melville Street, Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Denis Guyer

Denis Guyer
Dalton State Representative

The Berkshire Eagle

The Berkshire Eagle
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Carmen Massimiano

Carmen Massimiano
Williams College - May 2008

Larry Bird & Magic Johnson

Larry Bird & Magic Johnson
www.boston.com/lifestyle/gallery/when_the_celtics_were_cool/

Regressive Taxation! via State Lotteries

Regressive Taxation! via State Lotteries
New Massachusetts state lottery game hits $600 million in sales!

Andrea Nuciforo

Andrea Nuciforo
"Luciforo"

John Barrett III

John Barrett III
Long-time Mayor of North Adams Massachusetts

Shine On

Shine On

Elmo

Elmo
cool!

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce kissed the Eastern Conference trophy. 5/30/2008. AP Photo.

Kevin Garnett & Richard Hamilton

Kevin Garnett & Richard Hamilton
Kevin Garnett (left) talked to Pistons guard Richard Hamilton (right) after the Celtics' victory in Game 6. 5/30/2008. Reuters Photo.

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce showed his team colors as the Celtics closed out the Pistons in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals. 5/30/2008. Globe Staff Photo / Jim Davis.

Joseph Kelly Levasseur

Joseph Kelly Levasseur
One of my favorite politicians!

Mary E Carey

Mary E Carey
In the Big Apple: NYC! She is the coolest!

Guyer & Kerry

Guyer & Kerry
My 2nd least favorite picture EVER!

Mary Carey

Mary Carey
My favorite journalist EVER!

Nuciforo & Ruberto

Nuciforo & Ruberto
My least favorite picture EVER!

Jeanne Shaheen

Jeanne Shaheen
U.S. Senate - 2008

NH Fisher Cats

NH Fisher Cats
AA Baseball - Toronto Blue Jays affiliate

Manchester, NH

Manchester, NH
Police Patch

Michael Briggs

Michael Briggs
#83 - We will never forget

Michael "Stix" Addison

Michael "Stix" Addison
http://unionleader.com/channel.aspx/News?channel=2af17ff4-f73b-4c44-9f51-092e828e1131

Charlie Gibson

Charlie Gibson
ABC News anchor

Scott McClellan

Scott McClellan
http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/scott_mcclellan/index.html?inline=nyt-per

Boise, Idaho

Boise, Idaho
Downtown Boise Idaho

John Forbes Kerry

John Forbes Kerry
Legislative Hearing in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, BCC, on Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson
My favorite classical U.S. President!

NH Governor John Lynch

NH Governor John Lynch
Higher Taxes, Higher Tolls

Paul Hodes

Paul Hodes
My favorite Congressman!

Portland Sea Dogs

Portland Sea Dogs
AA Red Sox

New York

New York
Magnet

Massachusetts

Massachusetts
Magnet

New Hampshire

New Hampshire
Magnet

New Hampshire

New Hampshire
Button

Carmen Massimiano

Carmen Massimiano
"Luciforo" tried to send me to Carmen's Jail during the Spring & Summer of 1998.

Kay Khan - Massachusetts State Representative

Kay Khan - Massachusetts State Representative
www.openmass.org/members/show/174

Luciforo

Luciforo
Andrea F Nuciforo II

B-Eagle

B-Eagle
Pittsfield's monopoly/only daily newspaper

Jon Lester - Go Red Sox!

Jon Lester - Go Red Sox!
A Red Sox No Hitter on 5/19/2008!

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Dustin Pedroia & Manny Ramirez

U.S. Flag

U.S. Flag
God Bless America!

Jonathan Melle's Blog

Jonathan Melle's Blog
Hello, Everyone!

Molly Bish

Molly Bish
We will never forget!

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
Celtics guard Rajon Rondo listens to some advice from Celtics head coach Doc Rivers in the first half.

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
Celtics forward Kevin Garnett and Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace embrace at the end of the game.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon calls for the ball as he charges toward first base. Papelbon made the out en route to picking up his 14th save of the season.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka throws to Royals David DeJesus during the first inning.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka delivers a pitch to Royals second baseman Mark Grudzielanek during the second inning.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox right fielder J.D. Drew is welcomed to home plate by teammates Mike Lowell (left), Kevin Youkilis (2nd left) and Manny Ramirez after he hit a grand slam in the second inning.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell crosses the plate after hitting a grand slam during the sixth inning. Teammates Manny Ramirez and Jacoby Ellsbury scored on the play. The Red Sox went on to win 11-8 to complete a four-game sweep and perfect homestand.

JD Drew - Go Red Sox

JD Drew - Go Red Sox
www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/gallery/05_22_08_sox_royals/

Thank you for serving; God Bless America!

Thank you for serving; God Bless America!
Master Sgt. Kara B. Stackpole, of Westfield, holds her daughter, Samantha, upon her return today to Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee. She is one of the 38 members of the 439th Aeromedical Staging Squadron who returned after a 4-month deployment in Iraq. Photo by Dave Roback / The Republican.

Kathi-Anne Reinstein

Kathi-Anne Reinstein
www.openmass.org/members/show/175

Ted Kennedy

Ted Kennedy
Tragic diagnosis: Get well Senator!

Google doodle - Jonathan Melle Internet search

Google doodle - Jonathan Melle Internet search
http://blogsearch.google.com/blogsearch?hl=en&q=jonathan+melle+blogurl:http://jonathanmelleonpolitics.blogspot.com/&ie=UTF-8

John Forbes Kerry

John Forbes Kerry
Billionaire U.S. Senator gives address to MCLA graduates in North Adams, Massachusetts in mid-May 2008

Andrea Nuciforo

Andrea Nuciforo
"Luciforo"

A Red Sox Fan in Paris, France

A Red Sox Fan in Paris, France
Go Red Sox!

Rinaldo Del Gallo III

Rinaldo Del Gallo III
Interviewed on local TV

Andrea Nuciforo

Andrea Nuciforo
Luciforo!

John Adams

John Adams
#2 U.S. President

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I stood under a tree on the afternoon of May 9, 2008, on the foregrounds of the NH State House - www.websitetoolbox.com/tool/post/nhinsider/vpost?id=2967773

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Inside the front lobby of the NH State House

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Bill Clinton campaign memorabilia

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Liberty Bell & NH State House

Jon Keller

Jon Keller
Boston based political analyst

Jon Keller

Jon Keller
Boston based political analyst

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Franklin Pierce Statue #14 U.S. President

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
NH State House

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Stop the War NOW!

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
"Mr. Melle, tear down this Blog!"

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I stood next to a JFK photo

Jonathan Levine, Publisher

Jonathan Levine, Publisher
The Pittsfield Gazette Online

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I made rabbit ears with John & George

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I made antenna ears with John & George

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I impersonated Howard Dean

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
mock-voting

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
pretty ladies -/- Go to: http://www.wgir.com/cc-common/cc_photopop20.html?eventID=28541&pagecontent=&pagenum=4 - Go to: http://current.com/items/88807921_veterans_should_come_first_not_last# - http://www.mcam23.com/cgi-bin/cutter.cgi?c_function=STREAM?c_feature=EDIT?dir_catagory=10MorningRadio?dir_folder=2JoesClips?dir_file=JonathanMelle-090308? -

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Go Red Sox! Me at Fenway Park

Mary E. Carey

Mary E. Carey
My favorite journalist! Her voice sings for the Voiceless. -/- Go to: http://aboutamherst.blogspot.com/search?q=melle -/- Go to: http://ongeicocaveman.blogspot.com/search?q=melle

Velvet Jesus

Velvet Jesus
Mary Carey blogs about my political writings. This is a picture of Jesus from her childhood home in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. -//- "How Can I Keep From Singing" : My life goes on in endless song / Above Earth's lamentations, / I hear the real, though far-off hymn / That hails a new creation. / / Through all the tumult and the strife / I hear its music ringing, / It sounds an echo in my soul. / How can I keep from singing? / / Whey tyrants tremble in their fear / And hear their death knell ringing, / When friends rejoice both far and near / How can I keep from singing? / / In prison cell and dungeon vile / Our thoughts to them are winging / When friends by shame are undefiled / How can I keep from singing?

www.truthdig.com

www.truthdig.com
www.truthdig.com

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Concord NH

The Huffington Post

The Huffington Post
http://fundrace.huffingtonpost.com/neighbors.php?type=loc&newest=1&addr=&zip=01201&search=Search

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
smiles & beer

Jonathan Lothrop

Jonathan Lothrop
A Pittsfield City Councilor

Michael L. Ward

Michael L. Ward
A Pittsfield City Councilor

Peter Marchetti - Pittsfield's City Councilor at Large

Peter Marchetti - Pittsfield's City Councilor at Large
Pete always sides with the wealthy's political interests.

Gerald Lee - Pittsfield's City Council Prez

Gerald Lee - Pittsfield's City Council Prez
Gerald Lee told me that I am a Social Problem; Lee executes a top-down system of governance.

Matt Kerwood - Pittsfield's Councilor at Large

Matt Kerwood - Pittsfield's Councilor at Large
Kerwood poured coffee drinks for Jane Swift

Louis Costi

Louis Costi
Pittsfield City Councilor

Lewis Markham

Lewis Markham
Pittsfield City Councilor

Kevin Sherman - Pittsfield City Councilor

Kevin Sherman - Pittsfield City Councilor
Sherman ran for Southern Berkshire State Rep against Smitty Pignatelli; Sherman is a good guy.

Anthony Maffuccio

Anthony Maffuccio
Pittsfield City Councilor

Linda Tyer

Linda Tyer
Pittsfield City Councilor

Daniel Bianchi

Daniel Bianchi
A Pittsfield City Councilor

The Democratic Donkey

The Democratic Donkey
Democratic Party Symbol

Paramount

Paramount
What is Paramount to you?

NH's Congresswoman

NH's Congresswoman
Carol Shea-Porter, Democrat

Sam Adams Beer

Sam Adams Beer
Boston Lager

Ratatouille

Ratatouille
Disney Animation

Ruberto Details Plans for Success - January 07, 2008

Ruberto Details Plans for Success - January 07, 2008
"Luciforo" swears in Mayor Ruberto. Pittsfield Politics at its very worst: 2 INSIDER POWERBROKERS! Where is Carmen Massimiano? He must be off to the side.

Abe

Abe
Lincoln

Optimus Prime

Optimus Prime
Leader of the Autobots

Optimus Prime

Optimus Prime
1984 Autobot Transformer Leader

Cleanup Agreements - GE & Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites

Cleanup Agreements - GE & Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/cleanupagreement.html

GE/Housatonic River Site: Introduction

GE/Housatonic River Site: Introduction
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/

GE/Housatonic River Site - Reports

GE/Housatonic River Site - Reports
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/thesite/opca-reports.html

US EPA - Contact - Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites

US EPA - Contact -  Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/contactinfo.html

GE Corporate Logo - Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites

GE Corporate Logo - Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/index.html

Commonwealth Connector

Commonwealth Connector
Commonwealth Care

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Healthcare Reform

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Healthcare Reform

Network Health Forward - A Commonwealth Care Plan

Network Health Forward - A Commonwealth Care Plan
Massachusetts Health Reform

Network Health Together: A MassHealth Plan - Commonwealth Care

Network Health Together: A MassHealth Plan - Commonwealth Care
Massachusetts Health Reform

www.network-health.org

www.network-health.org
Massachusetts Health Reform

Neighborhood Health Plan - Commonwealth Care

Neighborhood Health Plan - Commonwealth Care
Massachusetts Health Reform

Fallon Community Health Plan - Commonwealth Care

Fallon Community Health Plan - Commonwealth Care
Massachusetts Health Reform

BMC HealthNet Plan

BMC HealthNet Plan
Massachusetts Health Reform

Massachusetts Health Reform

Massachusetts Health Reform
Eligibility Chart: 2007

Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare

Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare
Massachusetts Health Reform

Business Peaks

Business Peaks
Voodoo Economics

Laffer Curve - Corporate Elite

Laffer Curve - Corporate Elite
Reagonomics: Supply Side

Corporate Elite Propaganda

Corporate Elite Propaganda
Mock Liberal Democratic Socialism Thinking

Real Estate Blues

Real Estate Blues
www.boston.com/bostonglobe/magazine/2008/0316/

PEACE

PEACE
End ALL Wars!

Freedom of Speech

Freedom of Speech
Norman Rockwell's World War II artwork depicting America's values

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln
A young Abe Lincoln

RACHEL KAPRIELIAN

RACHEL KAPRIELIAN
www.openmass.org/members/show/218 - www.rachelkaprielian.com

Jennifer M. Callahan - Massachusetts State Representative

Jennifer M. Callahan - Massachusetts State Representative
www.openmass.org/members/show/164 - www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/05/04/legislator_describes_threat_as_unnerving/

Human Rights for ALL Peoples!

Human Rights for ALL Peoples!
My #1 Political Belief!

Anne Frank

Anne Frank
Amsterdam, Netherlands, Europe

A young woman Hillary supporter

A young woman Hillary supporter
This excellent picture captures a youth's excitement

Hillary Clinton with Natalie Portman

Hillary Clinton with Natalie Portman
My favorite Actress!

Alan Chartock

Alan Chartock
WAMC public radio in Albany, NY; Political columnist who writes about Berkshire County area politics; Strong supporter for Human Rights for ALL Peoples

OpenCongress.Org

OpenCongress.Org
This web-site uses some of my Blog postings

OpenMass.org

OpenMass.org
This web-site uses some of my blog postings!

Shannon O'Brien

Shannon O'Brien
One of my favorite politicians! She stands for the People first!

The Massachusetts State House

The Massachusetts State House
"The Almighty Golden Dome" - www.masslegislature.tv -

Sara Hathaway

Sara Hathaway
Former Mayor of Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.
A corrupt Pol who tried to put me in Jail

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.
Another view of Pittsfield's inbred, multigenerational political prince. Luciforo!

Luciforo

Luciforo
Nuciforo's nickname

"Andy" Nuciforo

"Andy" Nuciforo
Luciforo!

Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr., Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer)

Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr., Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer)
Nuciforo's henchman! Nuciforo tried to send me to Carmen's Jail

Andrea Nuciforo Jr

Andrea Nuciforo Jr
Shhh! Luciforo's other job is working as a private attorney defending wealthy Boston-area corporate insurance companies

Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer) Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr.

Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer) Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr.
Nuciforo tried to send me to Carmen's Jail! Carmen sits with the Congressman, John Olver

Congressman John Olver

Congressman John Olver
Nuciforo's envy

The Dome of the U.S. Capitol

The Dome of the U.S. Capitol
Our Beacon of American Democracy

Nuciforo's architect

Nuciforo's architect
Mary O'Brien in red with scarf

Sara Hathaway (www.brynmawr.edu)

Sara Hathaway (www.brynmawr.edu)
Former-Mayor of Pittsfield, Massachusetts; Nuciforo intimidated her, along with another woman, from running in a democratic state election in the Spring of 2006!

Andrea F. Nuciforo II

Andrea F. Nuciforo II
Pittsfield Politics

Berkshire County Republican Association

Berkshire County Republican Association
Go to: www.fcgop.blogspot.com

Denis Guyer

Denis Guyer
Dalton State Representative

John Forbes Kerry & Denis Guyer

John Forbes Kerry & Denis Guyer
U.S. Senator & State Representative

John Kerry

John Kerry
Endorses Barack Obama for Prez then visits Berkshire County

Dan Bosley

Dan Bosley
A Bureaucrat impostering as a Legislator!

Ben Downing

Ben Downing
Berkshire State Senator

Christopher N Speranzo

Christopher N Speranzo
Pittsfield's ANOINTED State Representative

Peter J. Larkin

Peter J. Larkin
Corrupt Lobbyist

GE - Peter Larkin's best friend!

GE - Peter Larkin's best friend!
GE's FRAUDULENT Consent Decree with Pittsfield, Massachusetts, will end up KILLING many innocent school children & other local residents!

GE's CEO Jack Welch

GE's CEO Jack Welch
The Corporate System's Corporate Elite's King

Economics: Where Supply meets Demand

Economics: Where Supply meets Demand
Equilibrium

GE & Pittsfield, Massachusetts

GE & Pittsfield, Massachusetts
In 2007, GE sold its Plastics Division to a Saudi company. Now all that is left over by GE are its toxic PCB pollutants that cause cancer in many Pittsfield residents.

Mayor James M Ruberto

Mayor James M Ruberto
A small-time pol chooses to serve the corporate elite & other elites over the people.

Governor Deval Patrick

Governor Deval Patrick
Deval shakes hands with Mayors in Berkshire County

Deval Patrick

Deval Patrick
Governor of Massachusetts

Pittsfield High School

Pittsfield High School
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Sara Hathaway

Sara Hathaway
Pittsfield's former Mayor

Rinaldo Del Gallo III

Rinaldo Del Gallo III
Pittsfield Attorney focusing on Father's Rights Probate Court Legal Issues, & Local Politician and Political Observer

Rinaldo Del Gallo III

Rinaldo Del Gallo III
Very Intelligent Political Activists in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Rinaldo Del Gallo, III, Esq. is the spokesperson of the Berkshire Fatherhood Coalition. He has been practicing family law and has been a member of the Massachusetts bar since 1996.

Mayor Ed Reilly

Mayor Ed Reilly
He supports Mayor Ruberto & works as a municipal Attorney. As Mayor, he backed Bill Weld for Governor in 1994, despite being a Democrat. He was joined by Carmen Massimiano & John Barrett III, the long-standing Mayor of North Adams.

Manchester, NH Mayor Frank Guinta

Manchester, NH Mayor Frank Guinta
Cuts Dental Care for Public School Children-in-Need

Manchester, NH City Hall

Manchester, NH City Hall
My new hometown - view from Hanover St. intersection with Elm St.

Manchester NH City Democrats

Manchester NH City Democrats
Go Dems!

2008 Democratic Candidates for U.S. Prez

2008 Democratic Candidates for U.S. Prez
Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, John Edwards

NH State House Dome

NH State House Dome
Concord, NH

Donna Walto

Donna Walto
Pittsfield Politician -- She strongly opposes Mayor Jim Ruberto's elitist tenure.

Elmo

Elmo
Who doesn't LOVE Elmo?

Hillary Clinton for U.S. President!

Hillary Clinton for U.S. President!
Hillary is for Children. She is my choice in 2008.

The White House in 1800

The White House in 1800
Home of our Presidents of the United States

John Adams

John Adams
2nd President of the USA

Hillary Clinton stands with John Edwards and Joe Biden

Hillary Clinton stands with John Edwards and Joe Biden
Hillary is my choice for U.S. President!

Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton
Former President Bill Clinton speaks at the Radisson in Manchester NH 11/16/2007

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
U.S. Senator & Candidate for President

Pittsfield's 3 Women City Councillors - 2004

Pittsfield's 3 Women City Councillors - 2004
Linda Tyer, Pam Malumphy, Tricia Farley-Bouvier

Wahconah Park in Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Wahconah Park in Pittsfield, Massachusetts
My friend Brian Merzbach reviews baseball parks around the nation.

The Corporate Elite: Rational Incentives for only the wealthy

The Corporate Elite: Rational Incentives for only the wealthy
The Elites double their $ every 6 to 8 years, while the "have-nots" double their $ every generation (or 24 years). Good bye Middle Class!

George Will

George Will
The human satellite voice for the Corporate Elite

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren
The Anti-George Will; Harvard Law School Professor; The Corporate Elite's Worst Nightmare

The Flag of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

The Flag of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
I was born and raised in Pittsfield, Massachusetts

State Senator Stan Rosenberg

State Senator Stan Rosenberg
Democratic State Senator from Amherst, Massachusetts -/- Anti-Stan Rosenberg Blog: rosenbergwatch.blogspot.com

Ellen Story

Ellen Story
Amherst Massachusetts' State Representative

Teen Pregnancy in Pittsfield, Mass.

Teen Pregnancy in Pittsfield, Mass.
Books are being written on Pittsfield's high teen pregancy rates! What some intellectuals do NOT understand about the issue is that TEEN PREGNANCIES in Pittsfield double the statewide average by design - Perverse Incentives!

NH Governor John Lynch

NH Governor John Lynch
Supports $30 Scratch Tickets and other forms of regressive taxation. Another Pol that only serves his Corporate Elite Masters instead of the People!

U.S. Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter

U.S. Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter
The first woman whom the People of New Hampshire have voted in to serve in U.S. Congress

U.S. Congressman Paul Hodes

U.S. Congressman Paul Hodes
A good man who wants to bring progressive changes to Capitol Hill!

Paul Hodes for U.S. Congress

Paul Hodes for U.S. Congress
New Hampshire's finest!

Darth Vader

Darth Vader
Star Wars

Dick Cheney & George W. Bush

Dick Cheney & George W. Bush
The Gruesome Two-some! Stop the Neo-Cons' fascism! End the Iraq War NOW!

WAROPOLY

WAROPOLY
The Inequity of Globalism

Bushopoly!

Bushopoly!
The Corporate Elite have redesigned "The System" to enrich themselves at the expense of the people, masses, have-nots, poor & middle-class families

George W. Bush with Karl Rove

George W. Bush with Karl Rove
Rove was a political strategist with extraordinary influence within the Bush II White House

2008's Republican Prez-field

2008's Republican Prez-field
John McCain, Alan Keyes, Rudy Guiliani, Duncan Hunter, Mike Huckabee, WILLARD Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, Ron Paul

Fall in New England

Fall in New England
Autumn is my favorite season

Picturing America

Picturing America
picturingamerica.neh.gov

Winter Weather Map

Winter Weather Map
3:45PM EST 3-Dec-07

Norman Rockwell Painting

Norman Rockwell Painting
Thanksgiving

Norman Rockwell Painting

Norman Rockwell Painting
Depiction of American Values in mid-20th Century America

Larry Bird #33

Larry Bird #33
My favorite basketball player of my childhood

Boston Celtics Basketball - 2007-2008

Boston Celtics Basketball - 2007-2008
Kevin Garnett hugs James Posey

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
All heart! Awesome basketball star for The Boston Celtics.

Tom Brady

Tom Brady
Go Patriots!

Rupert Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch
Owner of Fox News - CORPORATE ELITE!

George Stephanopolous

George Stephanopolous
A Corporate Elite Political News Analyst

Robert Redford

Robert Redford
Starred in the movie "Lions for Lambs"

Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep
Plays a jaded journalist with integrity in the movie "Lions for Lambs"

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise plays the Neo-Con D.C. Pol purely indoctrinated by the Corporate Elite's political agenda in the Middle East

CHARLIZE THERON

CHARLIZE THERON
"I want to say I've never been surrounded by so many fake breasts, but I went to the Academy Awards."

Amherst Town Library

Amherst Town Library
Amherst, NH - www.amherstlibrary.org

Manchester NH Library

Manchester NH Library
I use the library's automated timed 1-hour-per-day Internet computers to post on my Blog - www.manchester.lib.nh.us

Manchester NH's Palace Theater

Manchester NH's Palace Theater
Manchester NH decided to restore its Palace Theater

Pittsfield's Palace Theater

Pittsfield's Palace Theater
Pittsfield tore down this landmark on North Street in favor of a parking lot

Pleasant Street Theater

Pleasant Street Theater
Amherst, Massachusetts

William "Shitty" Pignatelli

William "Shitty" Pignatelli
A top down & banal State House Pol from Lenox Massachusetts -- A GOOD MAN!

The CIA & Mind Control

The CIA & Mind Control
Did the CIA murder people by proxy assassins?

Skull & Bones

Skull & Bones
Yale's Elite

ImpeachBush.org

ImpeachBush.org
I believe President Bush should be IMPEACHED because he is waging an illegal and immoral war against Iraq!

Bob Feuer drumming for U.S. Congress v John Olver in 2008

Bob Feuer drumming for U.S. Congress v John Olver in 2008
www.blog.bobfeuer.us

Abe Lincoln

Abe Lincoln
The 16th President of the USA

Power

Power
Peace

Global Warming Mock Giant Thermometer

Global Warming Mock Giant Thermometer
A member of Green Peace activist sets up a giant thermometer as a symbol of global warming during their campaign in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2007. World leaders launch marathon negotiations Monday on how to fight global warming, which left unchecked could cause devastating sea level rises, send millions further into poverty and lead to the mass extinction of plants and animals.

combat global warming...

combat global warming...
...or risk economic and environmental disaster caused by rising temperatures

www.climatecrisiscoalition.org

www.climatecrisiscoalition.org
P.O. Box 125, South Lee, MA 01260, (413) 243-5665, tstokes@kyotoandbeyond.org, www.kyotoandbeyond.org

3 Democratic presidentional candidates

3 Democratic presidentional candidates
Democratic presidential candidates former senator John Edwards (from right) and Senators Joe Biden and Chris Dodd before the National Public Radio debate yesterday (12/4/2007).

The UN Seal

The UN Seal
An archaic & bureaucratic post WW2 top-down, non-democratic institution that also stands for some good governance values

Superman

Superman
One of my favorite childhood heroes and movies

Web-Site on toxic toys

Web-Site on toxic toys
www.healthytoys.org

Batman

Batman
One of my favorite super-heroes

Deval Patrick & Denis Guyer

Deval Patrick & Denis Guyer
Massachusetts' Governor stands with Dalton's State Rep. Denis E. Guyer.

Bill Cosby & Denis Guyer

Bill Cosby & Denis Guyer
TV Star Bill Cosby stands with Denis E. Guyer

Denis Guyer with his supporters

Denis Guyer with his supporters
Dalton State Representative

Denis Guyer goes to college

Denis Guyer goes to college
Dalton State Representative

Peter Marchetti

Peter Marchetti
He is my second cousin. Pete Marchetti favors MONEY, not fairness!

Matt Barron & Denis Guyer with couple

Matt Barron & Denis Guyer with couple
Matt Barron plays DIRTY politics against his opponents!

Nat Karns

Nat Karns
Top-Down Executive Director of the ELITIST Berkshire Regional Planning Commission

Human Rights for All Peoples & people

Human Rights for All Peoples & people
Stop Anti-Semitism

Massachusetts State Treasurer Tim Cahill

Massachusetts State Treasurer Tim Cahill
State House, Room 227, Boston, MA 02133, 617-367-6900, www.mass.gov/treasury/

Massachusetts State Attorney General Martha Coakley

Massachusetts State Attorney General Martha Coakley
1350 Main Street, Springfield, MA 01103, 413-784-1240 / McCormick Building, One Asburton Place, Boston, MA 02108, 617-727-4765 / marthacoakley.com / www.ago.state.ma.us

Bush v. Gore: December 12, 2007, was the seventh anniversary, the 5-4 Supreme Court decision...

Bush v. Gore: December 12, 2007, was the seventh anniversary, the 5-4 Supreme Court decision...
www.takebackthecourt.org - A political billboard near my downtown apartment in Manchester, NH

Marc Murgo

Marc Murgo
An old friend of mine from Pittsfield

Downtown Manchester, NH

Downtown Manchester, NH
www.newhampshire.com/nh-towns/manchester.aspx

Marisa Tomei

Marisa Tomei
Movie Actress

Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities (MCHC)

Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities (MCHC)
www.masschc.org/issue.php

Mike Firestone & Anna Weisfeiler

Mike Firestone & Anna Weisfeiler
Mike Firestone works in Manchester NH for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign

James Pindell

James Pindell
Covers NH Primary Politcs for The Boston Globe

U.S. History - Declaration

U.S. History - Declaration
A 19th century engraving shows Benjamin Franklin, left, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Philip Livingston and Roger Sherman at work on the Declaration of Independence.

Boston Globe Photos of the Week - www.boston.com/bostonglobe/gallery/

Boston Globe Photos of the Week - www.boston.com/bostonglobe/gallery/
Sybregje Palenstijn (left), who plays Sarah Godbertson at Plimouth Plantation, taught visitors how to roast a turkey on a spit. The plantation often sees a large influx of visitors during the holiday season.

Chris Hodgkins

Chris Hodgkins
Another special interest Berkshire Pol who could not hold his "WATER" on Beacon Hill's State House!

The Big Dig - 15 tons of concrete fell from a tunnel ceiling onto Milena Del Valle's car.

The Big Dig - 15 tons of concrete fell from a tunnel ceiling onto Milena Del Valle's car.
Most of Boston's Big Dig highway remains closed, after a woman was crushed when 15 tons of concrete fell from a tunnel ceiling onto her car. (ABC News)

Jane Swift

Jane Swift
Former Acting Governor of Massachusetts & Berkshire State Senator

Paul Cellucci

Paul Cellucci
Former Massachusetts Governor

William Floyd Weld

William Floyd Weld
$80 Million Trust Fund Former Governor of Massachusetts

Mike Dukakis

Mike Dukakis
Former Governor of Massachusetts

Mary E. Carey

Mary E. Carey
Amherst, Massachusetts, Journalist and Blogger

Caveman

Caveman
www.ongeicocaveman.blogspot.com

Peter G. Arlos

Peter G. Arlos
"The biggest challenge Pittsfield faces is putting its fiscal house in order. The problem is that doing so requires structural changes in local government, many of which I have advocated for years, but which officials do not have the will to implement. Fiscal responsibility requires more than shifting funds from one department to another. Raising taxes and fees and cutting services are not the answer. Structural changes in the way services are delivered and greater productivity are the answer, and without these changes the city's fiscal crisis will not be solved."

James M. Ruberto

James M. Ruberto
"Pittsfield's biggest challenge is to find common ground for a better future. The city is at a crossroads. On one hand, our quality of life is challenged. On the other hand, some important building blocks are in place that could be a strong foundation for our community. Pittsfield needs to unite for the good of its future. The city needs an experienced businessman and a consensus builder who will invite the people to hold him accountable."

Matt Kerwood

Matt Kerwood
Pittsfield's Councilor-At-Large. Go to: extras.berkshireeagle.com/NeBe/profiles/12.htm

Gerald M. Lee

Gerald M. Lee
Pittsfield's City Council Prez. Top-down governance of the first order!

Mary Carey

Mary Carey
Mary with student

Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox
Jonathan Papelbon celebrates with Jason Varitek

Free Bernard Baran!

Free Bernard Baran!
www.freebaran.org

Political Intelligence

Political Intelligence
Capitol Hill

Sherwood Guernsey II

Sherwood Guernsey II
Wealthy Williamstown Political Activist & Pittsfield Attorney

Mary Carey 2

Mary Carey 2
California Pol & porn star

Pittsfield's Good Old Boy Network - Political Machine!

Pittsfield's Good Old Boy Network - Political Machine!
Andy "Luciforo" swears in Jimmy Ruberto for the returning Mayor's 3rd term

Berkshire Grown

Berkshire Grown
www.berkshiregrown.org

Rambo

Rambo

The Mount was built in 1902 & was home to Edith Wharton (1862-1937) from 1903 to 1908.

The Mount was built in 1902 & was home to Edith Wharton (1862-1937) from 1903 to 1908.
The Mount, the historic home in Lenox of famed American novelist Edith Wharton, is facing foreclosure.