Jun 162017
 

A Dreamer Detained

Diego Ismael Puma Macancela, a 19-year-old high school student in Ossining, N.Y., was detained and is scheduled for deportation to his native Ecuador. His arrest took place one day after the arrest of his mother who brought him here illegally while he was still a minor two years ago.

Puma Macancela was arrested on the day of his prom and just days before his high school graduation ceremony.

The arrest of Puma Macancela, a successful student who also held two jobs: one at the local McDonalds and another at a restaurant, was followed by a wave of support. His high school, community, relatives, immigration activists, immigration lawyers, Washington politicians and nearly 20,000 people Online support his cause.

Lawyers representing Puma Macancela have filed for a stay of removal. They also asked that authorities grant him one more year in the United States so he could finish high school and become a certified mechanic.

Puma Macancela didn’t break any law. Even his “illegal” presence in the United States isn’t his fault: he was brought here by his mother as a minor. The mother – in spite of the family’s financial hardship – tried to establish their legal status in America: she lost her fight for asylum, didn’t fail to pursue it. (She was financially unable to continue the fight.) The kid is obviously a champion, being able to catch up with high school curriculum in a foreign to him language and graduating on time… (How many American kids can you think of who could compete with Puma Macancela?….)

Long story short, Puma didn’t do anything wrong. He has done plenty right. He didn’t – and doesn’t – pose a threat to America or Americans. One has to wonder how he made ICE’s priority for removal list. (Didn’t President Trump emphasize that “murderers and rapists” are priority for deportation? Didn’t President Trump express his support for “Dreamers”?)

We don’t have a horse in this race. But it seems wrong that in the Country created by illegal immigrants (the Pilgrims!), the Country where we made ourselves legal, others are denied this opportunity. That in the Country built on achievement and overcoming, an achiever is prosecuted.

We may not know the details of the current immigration law, but we know history and that’s why we thought that it might be appropriate to reprint a statement released by Anne Frank Center For Mutual Respect – a statement by its executive director, Steven Goldstein – on Facebook the other day. (Incidentally, we don’t understand the words in Hebrew: we are not Jewish, just human.)

*

“Tonight, we honor the memory of Anne Frank with the Statue of Liberty nearly in our grasp. We are among the blessed ones, and Anne Frank was not.

Twice on the eve of the Holocaust, the United States denied the Frank family’s application to immigrate to the United States. Again and again, America said no to Jewish refugees, as our government proposes to say no to refugees today.

Now wait. No one is comparing any policies today to the Shoah, a singular atrocity in human history. Am Yisrael Chai.

But we cannot ignore the parallels between pre-Holocaust Europe, and developments in the contemporary world.

The spiraling stages begin with demonization. Second, discrimination. Third, isolation. And unless we stop the spiral, well, that fourth and final step.

Just as you wouldn’t want a doctor to wait until stage four to diagnose cancer, you wouldn’t want an organization like ours to wait until stage four of inhumanity – genocide – to warn America of the potential worst.

When there is an 86 percent increase in Antisemitism in America in 2017, never again to the Jewish people!

When our government proposes an unconstitutional ban on refugees, never again to Muslim people!

When our government does nothing to stop the genocide of a million Nigerians by Boko Haram, never again to African people!

When our government stands idly by the emerging genocide of gay men in Chechnya, never again to LGBT people!

When our government sells arms to nations that view women as the property of men, never again to women everywhere!

In the Talmud, Hillel said, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I?”

Who are we if we turn away vulnerable refugees fighting for their lives?

Who are we if we slam the door on the immigrants who made America great in the first place?

At the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, we don’t see illegal aliens.
We see human beings.
And behind every human being, we see a history.

That’s why we’re the leading the way in fighting for mandatory genocide education in all 50 states.

That’s why we work with Congress to overhaul a federal hate crimes system that doesn’t come close to protecting the oppressed.

And that’s why we have a rapid response system to go into communities ravaged by acts of prejudice to help those communities heal.

We respond immediately. Why? When you wait to condemn hate, you normalize its fate!

Friends, we will not allow America to be pushed off the moral cliff.
Who will stand up for the 4th grader in Arizona targeted by U.S. Immigration just because she was born elsewhere? We will!
Who will stand up for the Syrian grandmother detained at JFK simply because of her faith? We will!
And who will call out our government when it propagates fear of the vulnerable and hate of the oppressed? We will!

If we are to honor the legacy of Anne Frank, we must see the choices before us, and the moral choices to make.
The moral choice insists…
L’olam lo od, never again in Hebrew!
Layees-sah moo-jah-dah-daan, never again in Arabic!
Aylevs yerpek, never again in Armenian!
Bo-le-sheh nikog-da, never again in Russian – and Chechen!
In the universal language of love, we proclaim Never Again to anyone…
with liberty and justice for all.
Thank you, and God bless.”

*

Just something to think about. We were wrong before. If we weren’t, no one would know Anne Frank’s name. It wasn’t supposed to be Republicans vs. Democrats. We were supposed to be Americans (and human beings), FIRST.

Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich

 

 

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Jun 132017
 

Two Attorneys General Lawsuit Against President Trump

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh and Washington D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, allege that President Trump is violating the anti-corruption Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.

Among the arguments raised in the lawsuit by the Attorney Generals:

  • The President’s continued ownership of his business empire
  • The Trump businesses’ acceptance of payments from foreign governments without the approval of Congress
  • United States government’s preferential treatment of the President’s businesses
  • Numerous appearances of the President’s use of his position for personal profit

The purpose of the Emoluments Clause is:

  • to prevent a president from exploiting the office for personal gain
  • to prevent national entities from influencing a president’s decisions in their favor by financial means
  • to prevent foreign entities from gaining a president’s favor through a direct or indirect bribe

The Two Attorneys General Lawsuit Against President Trump, the lawsuit filed by Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh and Washington D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, isn’t the first or the only lawsuit targeting President Trump, several dozens of lawsuits have been filed since President Trump took office. The difference between this lawsuit and the many others is that this one is the FIRST filed by government officials. Now the case rests in the hands of a federal judge who will decide whether or not to allow the case to proceed. Should the lawsuit be allowed to proceed, the President would have to disclose his numerous business entanglements, including his businesses’ indebtedness, his personal tax returns, etc.

The significance of this lawsuit can’t be underestimated. The President of the United States should not be beholden to anyone (including his own business intersts) if he is to act in the best interest of our Country and our Country alone.
Until the President comes clean about his business, the American people can’t be certain of the actual motifs of his decisions. As it is, the President’s decisions are open to interpretations: they can be motivated by his sincere desire to “Make America Great Again” or – just as well – by his desire to improve his profit margins in a record time….

While the fate of the latest legal action is being considered, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against the President’s revised travel ban.

Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich

 

 

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Jun 082017
 

United States Senate Building

Like James Comey or not, his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee was concise and clear.

Former FBI Director James Comey described:

  • A one-on-one dinner with the President
  • The President’s request for “loyalty”
  • The President’s repeated inquiries whether he himself was under investigation (Comey assured the President that he wasn’t on three separate occasions.)
  • The President’s “hope” that the FBI investigation of Gen. Flynn will go away because Flynn “is a good guy”.
  • Comey’s request to not be left alone with the President, again
  • and more

James Comey was fired by the President having failed to pledge “loyalty” to the President (above his commitment to impartiality and justice) or drop the investigation of Gen. Flynn as requested by the President. (The firing appears to be a punitive action, at best or an act of retaliation, at worst.)
Immediately after the firing of Comey, President Trump met with two Russian representatives and shared with them his relief clearly assuming that once Comey is gone so will be the investigation of Gen. Flynn.

While questioning James Comey, Senator Rubio emphasized that the President used the word “hope” but didn’t outright demand that the FBI seizes to investigate Gen. Flynn. The word “hope” is innocent when used by an equal. It becomes a demand, order or directive when used by a person in a superior position: when a parent, teacher, boss (or a President!) “hopes”, the “hope” becomes an order, we all know that.

Former FBI Director James Comey showed remarkable courage and integrity during his testimony. Now is the Senate’s turn. Will the Senate match his courage and integrity?
Murder, theft, fraud or obstruction of justice is inappropriate, IN ADDITION to being illegal. We don’t excuse criminal acts by admonishing offenders for their “inappropriate” behavior, criminal acts are prosecuted in accordance with the United States penal code.

According to legal experts however President Trump’s actions may have been inappropriate but not illegal. Vindictiveness, impropriety, lying, asking the FBI Director for “loyalty” and even attempting to influence an open FBI investigation is legally sound and socially acceptable, provided – of course! – you are the President.

James Comey’s testimony doesn’t provide sufficient legal grounds for the impeachment of President Trump. According to legal experts, we can trust President Trump with our lives, the future of our children and our Country.

Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich

 

 

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Unbelievable!

★★★★★
5 5 1
Having watched the entire Senate proceeding today, I can't believe the tolerance of the American justice system. Now, I know that American justice isn't blind and no, we are not equal under the law. Some appear free to break any law they choose and are immune to legal consequences. So sad and disgusting.
Jun 012017
 
President Trump Says No To Paris Climate Accord

Burn baby, burn!

194 countries participate in the Paris Climate Accord which aim to encourage the switch to renewable energy sources and to lower emissions thereby delaying global warming.

Nicaragua is not a part of the Accords because it considers the Paris Agreement’s standards not stringent enough. (The Nicaraguans believe that we all should do more and faster to avoid the ultimate disaster.)

Today, President Trump joined Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in rejecting the Paris Accord. Making America – until now the world’s leader in the efforts to delay global warming – one of only three countries rejecting it.

In a speech President Trump explained that America’s prosperity depends on returning to fossil fuels. If you’d like to fact-check the President’s arguments – for leaving the Paris Climate Agreement – we recommend this article:
http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/fact-checking-trump-s-paris-agreement-speech-n767331

Upon hearing of President Trump’s decision, newly-elected French President, Emmanuel Macron gave a 3-minute speech in English (clearly, addressing the United States) during which he complimented our nation and made several important points. Most notable? His invitation to American scientists and entrepreneurs involved in the development of solutions to climate change to move to France and continue their work there. At the conclusion of his speech, the French President called on Paris Climate Agreement’s partners and the United States to “Make our PLANET great, again.” Well said!

Summary?

  • President Trump: Burn baby, burn!
  • President Macron: Make our PLANET great, again.
  • The French sure know how to pick them!

France’s Message To The U.S.

Bernie Sanders: The Voice Of Reason


 

Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich

 

 

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We don't want to die!

★★★★★
5 5 1
How can it be that ONE PERSON gets to decide about the future of the planet and all our lives?...
May 182017
 

Washington Shenanigans

The shenanigans in Washington D.C. don’t seem to stop:

  • The shocking firing of FBI Director, James Comey
  • President Trump’s strange reference to tapes of their conversations in the White House
  • Comey’s alleged memo which supposedly claims that President Trump asked him to stop investigating Gen. Flynn who – in the words of the President – is “a good guy”
  • The President leaking top-secret Israeli intelligence to his Russian visitors. (No American photographer or reporter was allowed into the meeting, but a Russian photographer was.)
  • President Putin offering to bail out our President with transcripts of the conversation with Russian representatives during the “confidential” White House meeting.
  • Finally, the appointment of Special Counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, a former F.B.I. director, whose sole responsibility will be to oversee the investigation of the Trump campaign and administration’s possible ties to Russia.

In the opinion of many:

  • the President’s reference to “tapes”
  • his alleged request to stop the FBI investigation of Gen. Flynn
  • his repeated inquiries whether he himself is being investigated

have all the characteristics of obstruction of justice. Many draw parallels between Watergate and Trumpgate.

Yes, we have a Special Counsel to investigate the President’s – or his people’s – Russia ties now but such investigations tend to take a very long time. Even when the results come in – and should they be compromising – with the Republican majority in the House of Representatives and Senate there is little likelihood that the President or his administration will be held accountable for any misdeeds that might come to light.

Of course, President Trump – who is at odds with the FBI and the media – calls the investigation “Greatest Witch Hunt In History”. Really? Than why did President Trump fire James Comey in the midst of the Russian probe? Why did he try to discredit legitimate reporting by referring to media as “fake news”? Why did the President – according to numerous reports – explore the legality of prosecuting reporters who report unfavorably on his administration? (What’s on the agenda next? Censorship?) Why did the President consider canceling regular press conferences at the White House? The times are strange and worse, reminiscent of the era when the press – not the FBI, House of Representatives or Senate – brought the then-president to his knees.

Most politicians, entertainers and business leaders welcome the truth. President Trump seems to be terrified of it. He is against any probe into his campaign’s potential collusion with Russia. He fights the media for their ACCURATE reporting since his inauguration into the office. Does he have something to hide?

The integrity, patriotism and journalistic professionalism of reporters saved America in the past. (The investigative reporting of Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward from The Washington Post – yes, the very same Washington Post President Trump dismissed as “fake news” early on – brought down Richard Nixon’s presidency.) It may be up to American media to save the United States, once again.

Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich

 

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May 052017
 

Religious Liberty Executive Order

As a presidential candidate Mr. Trump promised to relax the restrictions on political expression by religious organizations defined by the Johnson Amendment, today he – sort of – kept the promise and signed “Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty” executive order.

Still, the executive order alone, without Congressional approval, does not repeal the Johnson amendment and doesn’t affect in any way the existing rule which prevents religious organizations from endorsing political candidates. Politically, the executive order is largely a gesture without a major impact other than permitting the IRS not to penalize religious organizations for political activities or speeches.

Like many other actions of President Trump’s administration however the executive order has the power to cause harm. It will negatively affect women (as it enables corporations to deny women access to no-cost contraception). It violates the separation of church and state. Furthermore, the President’s executive order isn’t an order on religious liberty or free speech but political liberty within religious organizations which may have dire consequences. Religion always was the glue that held us together, it united us. The latest executive order will lead to divisiveness within religious institutions and will greatly diminish their moral authority.

What’s next? Are we going to sit in separate pews? Go to either a Republican or Democratic church?………..

In the opinion of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti:

“The freedoms enshrined in our Constitution should be revered by all Americans, and the right to worship freely is inseparable from who we are as a people. But there is a clear difference between principles that unite us and politics that divide us. The executive order signed today by the President opens the door to a day when bigotry can be more easily disguised and protected under the cover of religious liberty. That should concern everyone who cherishes the idea that all people have dignity and deserve equal treatment.”

Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich

 

 

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May 042017
 

Latest Threat To Obamacare

Today, the House Republicans will vote on yet another GOP proposal on health care – no, not to “repeal and replace” Obamacare, but modify it – that will limit benefits and costs of President Obama’s 2010 Affordable Care Act. It will be the second (not counting a draft that wasn’t put for a vote at the last moment) attempt of the Trump administration to pass it. After intense negotiations, now the Republicans believe that they’ll have sufficient support to succeed.

The proposed GOP health care bill is very controversial. Patient advocacy groups (including American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society), consumers and Democrats are up in arms over the changes it proposes.

Apart from other unfavorable modifications, it endangers access to medical insurance of patients with pre-existing conditions (such as asthma, diabetes or cancer, not to mention people with congenital disorders and MANY others).

The two previous GOP health care proposals didn’t provide protections for people with pre-existing conditions. This one – as President Trump stated on CBS “Face The Nation” last Sunday – will.

His reassuring words aside, let’s consider the source. In his first 100 days in office alone, President Trump has been caught in a lie or made a misleading statement at least 488 times (according to Washington Post). The statements he made in regard to the 2010 Affordable Care Act alone are blatantly untrue. Here are a few them excerpted from Washington Post. (Click on the link for sources and detailed explanations.)

Falsehood: “We will save perhaps $900 billion….I’m saving a tremendous amount — hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars we’re saving on health care.”

Fact: The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office report on the Republican bill said it would reduce the deficit by $337 billion over the next decade. Trump appears to be referring to a $900 billion reduction in revenue from the repeal of Obamacare taxes, but that’s actually money lost to the federal government. The proposed law would have reduced federal spending on health care by $1.2 trillion but the repeal in taxes means the impact on the budget is significantly smaller.

Falsehood: “You’ve all heard my speeches. I never said repeal it and replace it within 64 days. I have a long time.”

Fact: He repeatedly pledged he’d start the repeal process on “day one” and that the repeal would be immediate. In a January 2017 interview, he said an Obamacare repeal vote would happen before his inauguration and replacement would come “very quickly or simultaneously, very shortly thereafter.”

Falsehood: “First of all, it covers very few people. And it’s imploding. And ’17 will be the worst year. And I said it once, I’ll say it again — because Obama is gone — things are going to be very bad this year for the people with Obamacare. They’re going to have tremendous increases.”

Fact: Credible estimates suggest the health-care law boosted the number of people with health insurance by 20 million. The Congressional Budget Office said that the individual market would be stable in most markets at least for the next ten years under the Affordable Care Act.

Falsehood in regard to Obamacare Website: “This is a website that works. This is not the $5 billion Obamacare website. Do we remember that? Nobody remembers that. Does anybody remember the $5 billion website? No, I don’t think so.”

Fact: The Obamacare website did not cost $5 billion. The Department of Health and Human Services offered an estimate that topped $800 million. A study by Bloomberg News, with a more expansive definition of federal spending, came up with an estimate of $2.1 billion. Moreover, while the website had trouble in its early months, those were quickly fixed and it now works.

Falsehood: “The House plan follows the guidelines I laid out in my recent address to Congress – expanding choice, lowering costs, and providing healthcare access for all.”

Fact: The House plan, as drafted, does not expand choice, lower costs and was estimated by the Congressional Budget Office to reduce the number of people with health insurance compared to current law.

Bottom line: be afraid, be very afraid especially if you or someone you love has a preexisting condition. Unlike any other president in American history, President Trump doesn’t consider taking care of vulnerable populations his responsibility.

UPDATE: Republicans succeeded in the first stage of the process; their bill passed in the House.

Mayor Garcetti in response to House vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act:

“Americans have been clear: If this is Trumpcare, we want to opt out. Health care is a fundamental right for all, not a privilege for the wealthy few — and the bill pushed through today by House Republicans would put lifesaving care out of reach for millions who desperately need it. No one should be allowed to die because they can’t afford to live, and this legislation would reintroduce that nightmare into the lives of families across America.”

Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich

 

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Apr 282017
 

The First 100 Days

As President Trump approaches the first 100 days in office benchmark, here is a brief overview of his effectiveness from a liberal perspective.

The accomplishments: Well… there are just four, really. 1/ The nomination and confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court which ensures its conservative majority. (The process wasn’t smooth and the President had to rely on the so called “nuclear option” to get his nominee through Congress, but he did achieve his goal.) 2/ Setting a record for the most issued and signed executive orders in the last 72 years. 3/ Setting a record for the most taxpayers’ money spent on a President’s weekend recreation, in history. 4/ Setting a record for the lowest popularity after the first 100 days in office since the standard was introduced in 1945.

The not-so-good: with the exception of nominating and confirming Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, President Trump was unable to keep any other of the promises he made during his run for office. He failed to establish the travel ban (twice); he failed to secure funding for his border wall; he failed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and most recently, he failed in his attempt to withhold funds from sanctuary cities.

The good: in spite of the unexpected attack on Syria, we are not actively involved in any war. There are no immediate plans to launch an attack on North Korea. In spite of the negative changes introduced and promoted by President Trump, the Earth is still here and we are not cooked to death, yet. Science is suffering, but still surviving. There are still national monuments. The Obamacare is going strong. The prospect of the Wall seems to be fading. Travelers of all faith are still allowed to enter the United States. Sanctuary cities stand strong in their commitment to immigrants.

The great: After 90 days in office, President Trump stated for the record: “No administration has accomplished more in the first 90 days.” We can safely assume that in spite of his statement “I thought it would be easier.” he is still satisfied with his performance after the first 100 days and continues to bask in his greatness.

The hope: God willing, President Trump will continue being as ineffective as he’s been in the first 100 days in office for the remainder of his presidency. Perhaps this way, the Earth, air, drinking water, the United States’ budget and America will still be salvageable once his presidency is over. Hopefully then we’ll be able to repair the damage and rebuild our Country on a foundation of renewed citizen awareness and renewed appreciation of the values that made America great long before President Trump took office.

Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich

 

 

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Apr 142017
 

American Super-Bomb Deployed In Afghanistan

On Thursday 04/13/17 the United States has dropped its largest conventional bomb on an alleged ISIS stronghold in the Achin district of Nangarhar Province in eastern Afghanistan. This was the first time that the “Mother Of All Bombs” was used outside of a testing facility.

The bomb officially called GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb weighs an astonishing 21,000 lbs and has the power to destroy anything within nearly one mile radius. Even though the bomb is non-nuclear it is certainly a weapon of mass-destruction. The development of the “Mother Of All Bombs” cost 300 million dollars. A single bomb costs $16,000 million.

(Our “Mother Of All Bombs” is the second most powerful conventional / non-nuclear bomb in the world. Russia developed – and has at its disposal – the most powerful non-nuclear bomb, called Aviation Thermobaric Bomb of Increased Power which so far has never been used in combat.)

President Trump described the Afghanistan bombing as: “another very, very successful mission.”

According to reports, the government of Afghanistan was informed of the bombing in advance. Afghanistan’s former president, Hamid Karzai, was quick to condemn the latest bombing on Twitter: “This is not the war on terror but the inhuman and most brutal misuse of our country as testing ground for new and dangerous weapons.”

In the latest update, the Afghan military reported that 36 ISIS-Khorasan and Taliban fighters (out of estimated 800) were killed by the U.S. MOAB which has also destroyed three out of four tunnels which enabled the fighters to move around undetected. (The tunnels were an important asset to ISIS and Taliban.) No civilian casualties were reported. In contrast, last week’s missile attack on Syria killed 18 American allies in the fight against Islamic State terrorists.

The overall outcome of the two latest U.S. military actions suggests that both are largely statements of the U.S. power and the President’s willingness to use it.

While the tense situation in North Korea looms large, President Trump said in an interview: “North Korea is a problem. The problem will be taken care of.” Hopefully by political – not military – means. The use of military power is not a substitute for a sound, long-term foreign policy and not the only way to exercise power. Diplomacy is a safer, not to mention cheaper option.

 

 

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Apr 072017
 
U.S. Strikes Syria

The photo depicts the 04/07/17 deployment of a Tomahawk missile from the USS Ross on the Shayrat air base in Syria. Photo property of US Navy

 

America stood up for Muslims barred from entering the United States by President Trump’s suspended travel ban!

 

Less than 48 hours after the city of Sheikhun, in Syria’s Idlib province was bombarded with a lethal nerve gas which killed more than 80 including at least 30 children (presumably by the Assad regime), United States launched 59 Tomahawk missiles from US Navy destroyers (USS Ross and USS Porter) in the Mediterranean Sea with the goal of destroying / damaging Syrian government’s ability to deliver more chemical weapons.

The US attack on Syria’s Shayrat airbase was surprising, especially given President Trump’s laconic initial reaction to the massacre in Sheikhun and his vehement opposition to US military action following a similar use of chemical weapons on Syrians by their own government just a few years ago. (It is unclear whether this was a one-time retaliatory action or a beginning of a larger U.S. military campaign.)

The unexpected military action was announced by Pentagon in advance to the Russians to warn their military forces stationed in the area and prevent accidental losses of their personnel or equipment. (It is suspected that the warning which was intended to prevent conflict between the U.S. and Russia may have backfired. According to some reports, our well-intentioned warning may have been shared by the Russians – who support Assad’s government in Syria – with the Syrian regime: several aircrafts have been seen leaving the Shayrat airbase in a hurry just before the U.S. missile strike.)

In a statement, President Trump – apparently moved by images of Syrian children, men and women dying from exposure to nerve gas – said: “No child of god should ever suffer such horror.”

President Trump isn’t easy to understand. He tried repeatedly to ban travel from Syria to the United States. He doesn’t welcome Syrian refugees. His feelings about Islam and its followers are well-known. His sudden urge to retaliate for the massacre in Sheikhun is confusing. It seems to indicate compassion. The statement “No child of god should ever suffer such horror.” suggests that the President may realize that Muslim people in Syria are God’s children even though he’s done more than any other U.S. President to keep them outside of our borders. The sudden act of U.S. retaliation against Assad puts America in a politically difficult position (the missile strike may lead to a conflict between the U.S. and Russia!) in defense of people for whom we – officially! – have no compassion….

Meanwhile, Russian media portrayed the American missile strikes in a negative light, stating that they jeopardize the fight against terrorism in Syria and can be interpreted as an act of United States’ aggression against a sovereign nation. Russia considers calling for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council. Bolivia supports it. Iran also condemned American missile strike. American allies: Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia, UK, Italy and Australia praise President Trump military action.

While President Trump believes that he acted in our “vital national security interest”(?), many Americans disagree. A spontaneous, one-time missile strike did little to diminish – leave alone eradicate – Syria’s capability to manufacture or deliver chemical weapons. Meeting such a goal would require a much larger military commitment and put America at risk of conflict with Russia. As it is, the single strike is nothing more than an act of interference, an inflammatory show of power by a President who referred to himself – during his presidential campaign – “Not a President of the world”. (Let’s be honest, with President Trump’s policy on immigration and his temporarily suspended travel ban, we have no moral authority to interfere or intervene in Syria.)

Neither the United States nor Syria needs a war. There are over 13 million of Syrians in desperate need and nearly a million facing life-threatening circumstances, the Syrians need HUMANITARIAN help which the U.S. under the current administration denies them.

I may not know the cost of a single Tomahawk missile (leave alone 59 of them!) but I can easily imagine that bringing survivors of the chemical weapons attack in Sheikhun to the United States, providing them with medical care, recovery assistance and – yes! – granting them political asylum would be better, wiser and cheaper, not to mention more humane – and American! – than launching missiles. Better, it would help improve America’s image in the world more effectively and lastingly than a one-time military action which can be seen as a political provocation.

Bottom line? The missile strike didn’t relieve human suffering, it won’t prevent future chemical weapon attacks on Syrians, either. If we don’t care to help the suffering, or reach a political solution, why did we waste American taxpayers money on the military action?…. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that Syria won’t become another Iraq where we didn’t solve either American or Iraqi problems but sacrificed many American lives and lost money badly needed at home.

Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich

 

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Apr 052017
 

War Crime In Syria

Yesterday, on Tuesday 04/04/17, poisonous nerve gas was dropped by warplanes on the city of Khan Sheikhun, in Syria’s Idlib province. (The city happens to be one of the last rebel bastions in Syria.)

The chemical gas – suspected to be sarin – caused the death of at least 60 (11 of the dead are small children!) and severe injuries in at least a 100 of people. The suffering inflicted by this type of nerve gas is inhumane: the unfortunates who have been exposed experience pain and other sensations that are hard to imagine. The symptoms range from foaming at the mouth, bleeding from the nose and mouth, convulsions, seizures, paralysis and eventually respiratory failure. (This is not the complete list!)

Local hospital struggling to save the injured was also hit by the toxic gas. Efforts to save the survivors are on-going in Syria; according to reports some of the injured have been taken to Turkey for treatment.

No one, anywhere in the world and for no reason whatsoever should ever experience such level of suffering. That’s why the use of chemical and biological weapons is outlawed worldwide since shortly after World War I. The world community confirmed and strengthened the ban to prohibit not only the use of such weapons, but their development, production, storage and even ownership of materials necessary for production of chemical and biological weapons again and again (in 1972 and 1993). The worldwide, total ban on chemical and biological weapons is part of an arms control treaty called CWC: the Chemical Weapons Convention. Plain and simple: the use of chemical and biological weapons is a WAR CRIME.

The international community – especially in Europe! – reacted to the tragedy in Khan Sheikhun, Syria with outrage and condemnation of the use of chemical weapons. It called for an in-depth investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators as war criminals.

Syria denied its involvement in the barbaric attack. So did Russia, the supporter of the Bashar al-Assad regime. (Syria has a history of using chemical weapons on its people. Sarin gas was dropped on Ghouta, toxic chlorine gas was deployed over time in several areas of Syria, unidentified as of yet toxic gas killed 93 in an area not far from Khan Sheikhun just last December.

In his initial reaction to the news of the tragedy President Trump called the attack a “heinous” act and after a few words of condemnation shifted blame for the attack on… President Obama(!) accusing him of not taking a more decisive (aggressive?) action against Syria.

Others blame recent statements made by current U.S. officials (secretary of state, Rex Tillerson and US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley; both of whom stated that the removal of the Syrian regime isn’t a priority for the United States anymore) for emboldening Syria.

At the request of Britain and France, the UN Security Council is holding an emergency meeting on Tuesday’s war crime in Syria, today.

Syrian refuges are NOT welcome in the United States.

Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich

 

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Apr 032017
 

Suicide Bomber Caused Explosion At St. Petersburg Subway

Early afternoon on April 3rd 2017, a lone suicide bomber killed 11 and wounded 45 with a homemade bomb on a subway in St. Petersburg in Russia.

Luckily, a second bomb – disguised as a fire extinguisher – was found and disarmed at another subway station in St. Petersburg before it could inflict more devastation.

The identity and affiliations of the suicide bomber are not known at this time. Speculations include an extremist Chechen as well as a terrorist affiliated with ISIS angered over Russia’s military support of Syria.

Following the attack, security was increased at all mass-transportation facilities throughout Russia.

The governor of St. Petersburg, Georgi S. Poltavchenko, declared a three-day morning period in the city. He also called for increased alertness.

Russia isn’t immune to terrorist attacks. Moscow’s subway system was attacked twice in 2004; 48 people have died as a result. Another attack at Moscow’s metro (in 2010) killed 33 people. In 2011 a suicide bomber’s attack at Moscow’s Domodedovo International Airport killed over 36 people. In 2013 terrorist attacks on a bus and a train station took the lives of 30. A bomb killed 224 aboard a Russian plane flying from Egypt to Russia – and downed the plane – in 2015. A mystery still surrounds the tragic crash of a plane carrying members of the legendary Alexandrov Ensemble Choir from Russia to Syria in 2016; 92 have perished… Most of the attacks were carried out by Chechnya’s Islamic terrorists, in some the Islamic State claimed responsibility.

It is note-worthy that the latest attack took place during Russian President Putin’s one-day visit to St. Petersburg. The President laid flowers for the victims and injured and was briefed on details of the attack.

President Trump expressed his feelings about the attack by saying: “terrible thing”.

St. Petersburg is the second largest city In Russia and its original capital. It’s a city of historic significance, spectacular architecture and museums that hold some of world’s most impressive art collections. It is also Los Angeles sister city. On this sad day, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti issued a statement on the Tragedy in St. Petersburg:

“My heart is with the people of St. Petersburg, who are coping with tremendous loss and sorrow after today’s deadly explosions. I hope that the source of this unthinkable tragedy is discovered quickly, so that their minds can be eased and normalcy restored. On behalf of all Angelenos, I send prayers for peace and offer whatever assistance we can provide to Governor Poltavchenko and everyone in our beautiful sister city on the Baltic Sea.”
Mayor Eric Garcetti

Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich

 

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Mar 252017
 

Obamacare Remains The Law

Common sense along with pressure from constituents prevailed and the Affordable Care Act was NOT repealed. All Democrats and at least 10 Republicans (the latter figure varies from 10-15 according to reports) were ready to vote the new and not improved Republican healthcare bill down. To avoid the embarrassment of defeat, the bill was withdrawn from the House floor even before votes were cast.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said: “Obamacare is the law of the land. It’s going to remain the law of the land until it’s replaced.” Or not. A sigh of bipartisan relief was heard throughout the land….

The proposed Republican bill would have left 24 million Americans uninsured. The costs of health insurance would have risen sharply for all and for senior citizens in particular. It would have hurt badly women, families, those with chronic conditions and those who depend for their healthcare on Medicaid. The list goes on and on. Obamacare may use some improvement, but as President Trump has proven, a program that took years to develop can’t be “repealed and replaced” quickly and his proposed substitute was rejected by Americans who know that the job of any head of household is to provide for ALL household members, putting the most vulnerable, FIRST.

Hopefully, the President is learning from his latest failure: a country isn’t a corporation. The CEO of a corporation generates as much profit as possible for its shareholders at ANY cost. The responsibility of a president – in contrast – is to provide for all citizens, including the most vulnerable. Governing a country isn’t “The Art Of The Deal”, it involves conscience, compassion and some respect for the wisdom of the nation.

So far, the President isn’t making friends or influencing people. Our ally nations are confused about the intentions (and direction) of the United States. The President’s approval ratings are at a historic low. His legislative efforts (like the infamous travel ban or Obamacare “repeal and replace”) are failing. The President’s ignorance (NATO!) and predatory approach to economy (the Dakota Pipeline construction which is moving forward against so many protests) are on full display. His lavish spending of tax-payers money is raising eyebrows. His lack of fiscal foresight is shocking: between the unprecedented cost of the President’s weekends and security for his large family, his excessive spending on defense and the cost of building the wall – it is estimated to run into hundreds of billions of dollars! – has anyone familiar with the concept of a budget, terrified. His plans to cut programs for youth, the poor and the elderly outrage us all. His exaggerations, “alternative facts” and unsubstantiated allegations are making Americans nervous.

Let’s NOT make America great, again. Let’s preserve what we had just a few months ago. It seems not only better but wiser than the President Trump’s vision of the future. Definitions of ”greatness” vary. Our America won’t be great without education, with starving seniors, sick people without healthcare, with environmental destruction, hate crime, isolationism, increase in armament or without civil rights. This isn’t making America great again. The America we all know and love is threatened and disappearing in front of our eyes. Thanks God, Obamacare survived, for now….

Anything L.A. Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich

 

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Feb 092017
 

The Rule Of Law Prevails: Travel Ban Remains Suspended

Three Honorable Justices: Judge Michelle T. Friedland, appointed by President Barack Obama; Judge William C. Canby Jr., appointed by President Jimmy Carter; and Judge Richard R. Clifton, appointed by President George W. Bush UNANIMOUSLY upheld Judge Robart’s ruling (which temporarily lifted the travel ban) and refused to reinstate it.

The Rule Of Law Prevails: The Travel Ban Remains Suspended!

Even though the government’s lawyers attempted to argue that the President’s decisions are “unreviewable”; their contention has been not only dismissed but rebuked. The United States of America have a Constitution and a legal system. No one, the President included, is above the law or “unreviewable”.

The three judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, pointed out that the President’s travel ban violated the constitutional law of non-discrimination based on religion, inflicted hardship on individuals, businesses and learning institutions. (National security experts noted that President Trump’s executive order on the travel ban poses a threat to national security, inspires terrorism, attracts more followers to ISIS and worse: it alienates U.S. allies in the fight against terrorism.)

Government lawyers failed to substantiate the President’s claim that travelers from the seven singled out predominantly Muslim countries pose a threat to national security: there is no current terrorism threat, there has never been a terrorist act against America committed by anyone from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen.

President Trump has reacted with anger and tweeted: “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!” indicating his intent to appeal the decision in the Supreme Court. (To his credit at least this time he didn’t refer to the judges as “so-called-judges”…)

There are three branches of government in the United States: Executive, Legislative and Judicial. For the President to disrespect or disparage any one branch of the government (which – by the way – is his equal!) is shocking.

Even his own nominee for a Supreme Court justice, Judge Neil Gorsuch, called the denigration of judges (President Trump calling U.S. District Senior Judge James Robart “so-called-judge” or his statements about U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel would be excellent examples) “disheartening” and “demoralizing”.

We hope that the President’s wrath won’t harm either the judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco or their careers. Their shared commitment to upholding the Constitution and the law, their judicial integrity and personal courage deserve the highest respect.

Anything L.A. Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich

 

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Feb 042017
 

Travel Ban Lifted

George W. Bush’s appointee, U.S. District Senior Judge James Robart, issued an order lifting travel ban affecting travelers and refugees from seven mostly Muslim countries effective immediately. The Department of Homeland Security was legally-bound to comply and did. The travel ban is temporarily lifted. Muslim arrivals to the United States are welcomed once again.

In response to the ruling Lee Gelernt, the lawyer who argued for the stay against Trump’s ban in federal court in Brooklyn, N.Y. and succeeded, said on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union:
“The decision in Washington reaffirms that the courts will stand up to the president.”
and:
“The courts have and will continue to recognize that this executive order favors Christians and disfavors Muslims and that is antithetical to American values and flatly inconsistent with the United States Constitution.”

President Trump – in a tweet no less! – said: “When a country is no longer able to say who can, and who cannot, come in & out, especially for reasons of safety &.security – big trouble!”

First and foremost the country didn’t say who can and who can’t enter: President Trump issued an arbitrary and contrary to the Constitution executive order. The country took to the streets and courts and prevailed. The Christians and the Jews, all decent human beings came to defend the Muslims….

In his usual low-blow style, President Trump sought to denigrate yet another respectable judge (this time, District Senior Judge James Robart who lifted the unconstitutional travel ban): “The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!” The President is developing “diplomatic mastery”: in a single tweet he managed to offend former President George W. Bush AND U.S. District Senior Judge James Robart!

(Who was the other judge Trump attempted to tear-down? Indiana-born, U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel whose judicial integrity – the then presidential candidate Trump claimed – would be compromised by his Mexican heritage if he were to rule in a lawsuit against Trump University… Obviously a guilty verdict would have meant that the judge is biased, not that the Trump University was a scam that defrauded consumers. Got it?)

“Incidental casualty” of the travel ban? Sally Yates United States Deputy Attorney General – with impeccable reputation! – who got fired by President Trump for refusing to defend the unconstitutional executive order on travel ban. The ruling of U.S. District Senior Judge James Robart further affirms Sally Yates professional integrity and commitment to upholding the rule of law in the United States.

Not surprisingly, the new federal government will challenge Judge James Robart’ decision. For now, America has won, but it isn’t over, yet. Stay tuned.

Anything L.A. Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich

 

 

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Jan 222017
 
Women’s March on Washington

Women’s March on Washington

On the day after the inauguration of President Trump America – and the world! – awakened.

There were no celebrations honoring President Trump. Millions of people have taken to the streets across America to speak up for women rights, human rights, civil rights, immigrant rights, Black Lives Matter, LGBT and transgender rights and many other rights threatened by the new President’s agenda.

Mass Protests In Texas

Mass Protests In Texas

The turnout was unbelievable. The Women’s March at the Washington Mall which planned on 200,000 participants attracted more than 500,000. Many planned marches became in-place demonstrations because the massive turnout left no place to march. Over 600 mass protests against President Trump’s values and anticipated policies took place throughout the world today.

The immediate reaction of President Trump? None. He didn’t address the protesters. Not on the street. Not via media. Not via Twitter. He attended a prayer service, spoke to CIA and bowled with his family in the White House. America first….

The good news: America is well and alive. Another good news, the world stands behind us: demonstrations in support of ours took place throughout Europe, Australia and other continents. More good news, we have artists and politicians who use the power of their celebrity for good.

The bad news: the leading theme of the marches and protests were cherished American values. The message: this is our wishlist. There is no concrete plan on how the wishlist should be implemented.

Final thought: where were all these good people on Election Day, the day before the election and on the day the election results were announced? There was time, opportunity and ways to express and assert our values effectively, take control over the issues and the Country we all hold dear. America awakened the day AFTER President Trump took the oath of office.

Former President of Mexico, Vicente Fox Quesada addressed President Trump in a tweet:
“….. America was already great and successful, then you happened!”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said:
“We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience.”

Let us NOT forget it: stay awake America!

Protests the day after 2017 Presidential Inauguration

Women’s March on Washington

Article by Anything L.A. Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich

 

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Jan 212017
 

2017 Presidential Inauguration

President Donald J. Trump took the oath of the office and became the 45th president of the United States on Friday, January 20th 2017 at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Sen. Roy Blunt issued the call to order. Next, Cardinal Timothy Michael Dolan, The Rev. Dr. Samuel Rodriguez and Pastor Paula White-Cain have given readings and invocations.

With dignitaries and former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton (accompanied by Hillary Clinton, Trump’s rival for presidency and the winner of the popular vote) in attendance, the incoming President and Vice President were sworn in. The first to take the oath was Michael R. Pence whose oath was administered by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Then, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath to Donald Trump. The oath ceremony was followed by the Marine Band’s “Hail to the Chief”.

Then President Trump delivered his Inaugural Address. Many characterized his speech as inappropriate for the occasion, inflammatory, divisive, too closely related to his campaign rhetoric, offensive to both parties, not to mention disrespectful of Obama’s legacy. Obviously, the same speech is open to many interpretations.

Following the Inaugural Address, Rabbi Marvin Hier, Rev. Franklin Graham and Bishop Wayne T. Jackson delivered benedictions.

The event concluded with Jackie Evancho singing the National Anthem.

Protests were held in Washington D.C. during the Inauguration ceremony. More protests were held in all 50 States. Some are on-going. The day after the inauguration a huge (200,000+) Women’s March on Washington is taking place.

A new chapter in America’s history has begun.

The new President achieved business success already. He doesn’t need money or fame. He is patriotic. He is against “establishment” politics. He notices some problems that are troubling us all. He is the oldest President to be sworn into the office. Based on his age and history, he’s been there, he’s done that and as an individual, he succeeded at everything he took on so far.

While concerned about the many controversial goals of the platform he’s run on, we are wondering what will Trump’s presidency mean for us. There is a possibility that we might be asking the wrong question. So far no one raised the question of President Trump’s expectations of the presidency. It may just be where it’s at.

What does HE need from the presidency he fought so hard to win? Given his history, accomplishments and age, he may just put America ahead of his business interests and make America his legacy “project”. He has run against all odds. He was elected against all odds. He may just put America first and for “self-serving” reasons – and against all odds! – be a good president. There is a chance that President Trump’s presidency will not be defined by his political rhetoric but his personal “agenda” of leaving a positive legacy.

Political affiliations aside, no American takes issue with America being great. Hopefully, the varying definitions of greatness will eventually align.

Guys, before you set my stake on fire: I’m merely looking for some hope for us ALL! As individuals we have to move on, a little hope is badly needed…. Just doing my job. Don’t shoot.

Anything L.A. Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich

 

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