Dear followers, I am frankly overwhelmed by the events of the last five days. I will mix the good, the bad and the ugly. However, after completing my visit in the Berkshires, I am filled with hope for our future. Let me count the ways.
As a student of history, I am always interested in past events and how they shape our world.
As you know, I support the Brennan Law Center, at NYU School of Law in the West Village. Their mission “ protects “We the People” by insisting on excellence in government, by filing Amicus Briefs in support of fair elections and transparency in campaign financing, and by drawing political maps so that all people are represented. Unlike Justice Roberts’ response on the Court’s undertaking of Wisconsin’s (& Michigan’s) gerrymandering case, gerrymandering should not be political. District maps should reflect the true population of the district in order to count everyone’s vote. FYI: both states were evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, although the maps, drawn by algorithms, obliterates the Democratic constituency. This distortion of the map leads to real life consequences as Democrats become underrepresented in both the state and federal Governments. Electoral votes are also skewed. One man one vote is negated. The Brennan Law Center filed an Amicus Brief in this case pending before the Supreme Court.
Since I and many others are experiencing chaos overload, Wednesday’s topic at the Brennan Law Center proved to be “brain candy”. It was a comparison of Watergate to Trump, as seen through the eyes of John Dean, Nixon’s Counsel, who turned over evidence, after having plead guilty. The other speaker, Elizabeth Holtzman, was the young prosecutor at the time who pursued Nixon’s Impeachment and ultimately got justice! To summarize, they see many similarities between Nixon and Trump’s personality. Both are anti-people individuals with dour personalities and a deep mistrust of the media.
Then as now, though the Democrats were in power, there was a reluctance on the part of Congress to pursue Impeachment. There were grounds, however, the will was lacking. It wasn’t until the People insisted, that Congress pursued their investigation into the facts , giving out onerous prison terms to a few, encouraging them to talk and exposing the complicity involved. In 1973, mega data didn’t exist. It took a painstaking 2 years to complete their investigation. They indicted 69 individuals, including cabinet level personnel and found 49 guilty. What is even more spectacular is that these investigations were carried on in full view of the American people on live television every day.
Today the Republicans are reluctant to pursue Impeachment though the grounds for Impeachment certainly exist. The first lawsuit has been served noting the violations of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution. More indictments must follow. Though Mueller may not indict Trump, if the crime reaches Treason, no one is sure of the next steps. To be Impeached for lessor crimes, under High Crimes and Misdemeanors, one must prove that the public was injured personally or severely. Surely lawsuits may be brought forward indicting the President and various cabinet members for destroying our rights to clean air and water. The 3.5 million people in Puerto Rico may sue Trump for his lack of humanitarian aid and Federal response. The people of Texas and Florida may have claims against him and his cabinet and their Congressional delegation as well.
Be creative and we can keep lawsuits flowing to stall the Trump Administrations egregious agenda. I think it would be fair to say only a small percentage of Trump supporters remain loyal. The rest of us want to see progress in new jobs, new technology and higher wages. None of that will happen, if the Trump Tax Cuts are passed. Wages will not increase with Corporate tax cuts. It’s a fact that rewarding big business, their enablers (lobbyists & Congress), Bankers & Hedge Funds will continue their excessive greed. Think about history, it repeats. The less the rich pay in taxes, the less they give back and create.
These sobering thoughts were set aside when I visited my friend’s artistic exhibition and rediscovered a world of beauty and new friends. On Thursday, I was invited to my friend, Robert Forte’s one man show at the Atlantic Gallery in Chelsea. He sold several paintings and his artistic work will continue to be displayed for several weeks. While I was there, I wandered through several other spaces in the building. To my amazement they were playing live music, offering snacks and entertainment as patrons walked through the galleries to view new work by new Artists or to meet and greet. Thursday night in Chelsea has become a fun evening to view new art and to make new friends. Enjoy!
On Friday I left for the Berkshires with a friend planning to leave at a reasonable hour and visit old friends and places. That idea was thwarted by Enterprise Car Share . Evidently, they are not staffed to process phone orders and only respond to online processing. They neglected to send me my private card allowing me access to my vehicle. Anyone using Car Share, take note. You need a special card to activate and deactivate your vehicle. One and a half hours later we were on the road to fall foliage beauty, artistic beauty and new acquaintances.
I’ll post my photos on face book!
As our journey continued, we visited the Clark Museum , Schantz Gallery, with their amazing exhibit of Contemporary Glass Artists, Nejaime’s wine shop and dined at Bistro Zinc, in Lenox , stopping both ways at the Red Rooster in Brewster for a soft serve ice cream and a yogurt treat. The highlight of our journey occurred Saturday evening in the lounge of the Apple Tree Inn. Three folks, originally hailing from Minnesota, Dallas, and Lincoln, Nebraska shared ideas with us based upon their learning experiences. One of the three was taking a deep dive into climate change awareness. Al Gore was conducting a two day seminar for high school and college professors, teaching them the science behind climate change. The Seminars can accommodate 300-1000 Professionals, giving them the teaching tools to educate their students and the public on the dangers of climate denial and the benefits of climate mitigation using MegaData.
When we think of MegaData and Algorithms I think of Derivatives, Gerrymandering and Social Media. They gave me a book recommendation for better understanding, aptly titled, “Weapons of Math Destruction”. HaHaHa! Many of you may remember Warren Buffet called Derivatives “weapons of mass destruction” ! As a fun read, I recommend “ The Fear Index” by Robert Harris! Be afraid, very afraid.
The other members of the threesome, were attending “White Night” conferences on Algorithms and MegaData. They were using the mathematical equations for the people’s benefit. They were designing and planning cities of the future. That gave me hope. If we can deter those in power from using weapons of math destruction, from insisting upon using old technologies and fuels for personal gain, we could have a more inclusive and prosperous America and planet. 1.5 million people in America are holding back the promise of a better tomorrow from 360 million of us here and millions abroad. We can and must do better.