Issues of Our Time and Destiny


Gentle Reader – The next months and years in our United States will be fraught. How so many of our people could have been convinced to vote for a fraud, a charlatan, a self-described abuser of women, a man who encourages torture and war-crimes, encourages violence upon dissenters, is a question that will consume gallons of ink and reams of paper (or 1s and 0s). There will be much blame to pass around; indeed analysis has already begun.

In this Section –  Issues of our Time and Destiny – we will discuss what went wrong and how we can correct the wrongs. I have some thoughts in this and will post them as well as the thoughts of others. Please comment and criticize if you wish.

By the way, the title of this page, Issues of our Time and Destiny, is from a poem of one of the victims of the first 9/11, Victor Jara, a crime in which we were complicit and for which we have never accounted. A bit of a problem when we only look forward and never back.

43. Gentle Reader –

Mr. Gebelhoff, an assistant editor and opinions contributor for the Washington Post, published the above-cited piece today, 3 January, 2019. I detail the URL for the piece below, and then detail a brief criticism laying out why I think he is off base in his analysis.

Article URL:

progressives can_t be trusted with medicare-for-all – the washington post

Response to Robert Gebelhoff Editorial – Progressives can’t be trusted with Medicare-for-all

Mr. Gebelhoff –
1. The cost of MfA: we currently spend about $3.5 trillion yearly for health care. That’s government spending and what citizens must add in terms of non-coverage, co-pay, drugs, etc. That’s $ 35 trillion, give or take a few billion, over 10 years. About $3 trillion more than MfA costs. With MfA, there would be significant savings due to decreased administrative costs – one study puts these at 30 cents of every dollar spent for health care. That’s another $ 1.05 trillion yearly. Then there is the decrease in drug costs through negotiated prices. Further, there is Evidence Based Medicine which will decrease waste by no less than 20%, another $700 billion yearly….

42. Gentle Reader – This piece was published today by AB Gutman, writing for the Philadelphia Enquirer. It is superb.

AB gets that either there is justice for all of us, or there is no justice. Read.

From Tel Aviv, Marc Lamont Hill’s Palestine comments don’t sound so wrong to me | Opinion

TEL AVIV, IsraelOn Thursday, CNN decided to terminate its relationship with Temple University professor Marc Lamont Hill. The decision followed a speech Hill gave at the United Nations, in which he reiterated his commitment to the fight for freedom of the people of Palestine. Hill called for a boycott of Israel and said the goal is to “free Palestine from the river to the sea.”

When Hill referred to the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, what pro-Israel groups heard is a call for the destruction of the State of Israel, which is in that territory.

CNN’s decision to end its relationship with Hill was an extreme move.

As an Israeli Jew, I understand what is at stake. Tel Aviv is my hometown. As I write this, I am sitting in my parents’ living room. I am literally between the river and the sea, introducing my family to my baby daughter and meeting my newest niece.


— Read on


41. Gentle Reader – This is a piece by Danny Sjursen, co-host of Fortress on a Hill podcast, historian and serving US Army officer. In the context of the piece I just posted in the section of this blog entitled “Survival Tools for a Fascist Era” (How Did We Get Here?), detailing our inability – our Country, our Leaders, us – to learn lessons from our mistakes and failures, Major Sjursen’s piece is important to read.

Will Iraq Become Another ‘Lesson Lost’ Like Vietnam?

The Army commissioned, then sat on a 1,300-page evaluation of the war. It probably fell short of the truth anyway.


According to reports, the Army has delayed the publication of a 1,300-page internal Iraq war study commissioned by General Ray Odierno in 2013. The volume, which few in the public were even aware of, was an admirable project. After all, the U.S. military famously ignored and jettisoned any lessons after its defeat in Vietnam. Most of us would agree that simply can’t happen again.

Will Iraq Become Another ‘Lesson Lost_ Like Vietnam?


40. Gentle Reader – Here are a couple of pieces I wrote rapidly and placed on Twitter recently. I have begun work on a book, directed at my fellow citizens, to discuss these issues. read and comment please!

The first part comes from Ms. Chandra, a former pediatric intensive care unit nurse. She spent nearly six years volunteering on board a hospital ship off the coast of West Africa before her son Ethan’s heterotaxy diagnosis unexpectedly brought her family back to life on land in 2014.


She tweeted a picture of her son’s $231,115 hospital bill to show why laws that protect affordable healthcare are so important.

What she didn’t expect: the hate in response.


Ms. Chandra’s post: It was late on a Friday evening when I collected the day’s letters from the mailbox. One of those envelopes held a medical bill for my 3-year-old son; I’d moved it to the bottom of the pile because I wanted to work up to opening it, but when the ads for roofing companies and oil changes were taken care of, there was nothing else left. I took a deep breath and pulled the sheets of paper from the envelope, scanning them quickly, past line after line of impossibly large numbers, until I found the simple statement, printed in bold letters: PLEASE PAY THIS AMOUNT: $500…..MORE



39. Gentle Reader – A piece on the recently eliminated Individual Mandate and why it mattered – and matters.


 It appears that, barring some action by the Courts, the Republican Tax “Reform” will become law. While there is much to criticize about this bill, including the massive transfer of wealth from the middle and working class to the rich, one item of particular note is the elimination of the individual mandate for health insurance. That is, the requirement that all people have coverage or pay a penalty…..MORE

38. Gentle Reader – This is a piece from the Kaiser Health Network. Quite interesting in as much as it shows – we all should know this – that we have as much to learn as we have to teach.


A Poor Neighborhood In Chicago Looks To Cuba To Fight Infant Mortality

Over the past few months, medical professionals on Chicago’s South Side have been trying a new tactic to bring down the area’s infant mortality rate: find women of childbearing age and ask them about everything.

Really, everything.

“In the last 12 months, have you had any problems with any bug infestations, rodents or mold?” Dr. Kathy Tossas-Milligan, an epidemiologist, asked Yolanda Flowers during a recent visit to her home, in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood. “Have you ever had teeth removed or crowned because of a cavity?”

Though they seem to have little to do with motherhood, these questions are borrowed from the playbook of the Chicagoans’ new mentors — doctors from the Cuban Ministry of Public Health. As Tossas-Milligan administered her survey, two Cuban doctors sat nearby, observing………MORE…infant-mortality/

37. Gentle Reader – This is the last of three on the MSF trip, and the last that will be published in the regional press for a while. I will continue to post here, however.


The Continuation of Hope

My last column noted the amazing work performed by Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF, Doctors without Borders), detailing the Jahun, Nigeria Project. The picture was a sweeping one, the 30,000 foot view of that project. You might ask – you should ask – if there are real examples of the work done by MSF there; specifics, not generalities.

I have, for you, just such an example, and just in time for the holidays. Here is a Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Boxing Day true story of hope fulfilled; this is what we do when we are at our best.

A Fistula Patient’s Story

Asabe is an 18 year old woman from the village of Hantsu in Jigawa State, Nigeria……MORE ‎

36. Gentle Reader – The second of two from Africa.



One of the various, non-religious, definitions of “hope” found in the Oxford English Dictionary is “grounds for believing that something good might happen”. Perhaps the Biblical definition (Hebrews 11:1) is more interesting, “…the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen…”. To believe in either (or both) of these demands a certain faith that is, sometimes, lacking; hope itself often seems in short supply.

And indeed, why should it not be? We have ongoing “generational” wars – some of you who read this were not even born when they were begun – with no end in sight; climate change that threatens the future of our world; and of course, the threat of nuclear war, now more present than in decades………MORE


It had been my intention to write a multi-part series on Health Systems as a way to lead into further discussion about the direction our health system should take. There are also issues related to women’s health, the opiate crisis, mental health services (or their lack), and the role of the “unsung” in the history of medicine and science (who amongst you remembers Bernard Fantus ? More on him later).

But not today. Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and their minions are trying to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), replacing it with legislation that will harm many of us. If you think I am overstating the issue and being excitable, read on. I will not reiterate here the pluses and minuses of the ACA, you may read the several pieces written by me as well as others on that issue. Here, I will “simply” point out the destruction that will be caused by this new attempt to strip health care from the American people…..more follows



“There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”

Those over a certain age will remember this phrase from then Presidential-candidate Robert Kennedy’s 1968 speech. I use it here purposefully, to begin a series on health systems and health. We hear repeatedly – I’ve said this – that our system is inadequate, expensive, unresponsive; a Rube Goldberg system that results in high-cost and poor outcomes. This price is not just in dollars: it is lives lost, potential wasted, opportunities destroyed.

I have been extremely critical of the so-called “Repeal and Replace” or “Just Replace” process that Representative Ryan, Senator McConnell and Mr. Trump attempted to institute; that it unwound is a plus for our citizens. This does not mean that what we have in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is optimal, or even just ok. Thus, I dream of what could be and say: Why not?…..more follows


he House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act of 2017 (House Resolution 1628) on 4 May 2017. While the Senate is in the process of re-writing this legislation, it is being done completely in secrecy. Democrats, Independents and even Republicans are being kept in the dark. When Republican Senators are asked about even the broad outlines of the bill, their response is: We don’t know. Because they don’t know……more follows


Maybe Death Isn’t All That Bad: Trump’s Budget Proposal Slashes Spending by $3.6 Trillion Over 10 years – Guess Who Pays ?

The “oil spot” theory of counter-insurgency asserts, in brief, that if we take an area and make it safe for the population, the effect of this improved safety would spread beyond the confines of the area made safe(er), kind of like an oil spot spreads. Not being a counter-insurgency expert, I can’t be sure I have this exactly right, nor that it actually works – Viet Nam, Afghanistan and Iraq come quickly to mind – but you get the point.This oil spot analogy may work in life as well; at least in my life as I am living it now. I am thinking, specifically, about death.…s-guess-who-pays/


Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., right, speaking with Lanny Breuer, an assistant attorney general, ahead of their testimony in 2010 before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, which investigated the causes of the 2008 financial crisis. Credit Jim Lo Scalzo for The New York Times

There are many facets to the populist, anti-establishment anger that swept Donald J. Trump into the White House in Tuesday’s election. A crucial element fueling the rage, in my view, was this: Not one high-ranking executive at a major financial firm was held to account for the crisis of 2008.

18. Gentle Reader – Adrian says what I have been thinking better than I. How could we ? Stay home ? Not vote ? Carp about Hilary’s flaws ? Complain about her changing positions ? (don’t serious people change their positions when faced with new facts ?). How could we let her and ourselves down by not standing by her, and in so doing, allow a racist, KKK and American Nazi-supported, woman hating and abusing, would-be-torturer thug and his minions into the office of the President ?

This will be a bad four years, a bad generation. Yes, generation. The men  – and they are likely to be men – that this President-elect puts into the Supreme Court will color our lives for a generation.

I am a Muslim

I am a Jew

I am a woman

I am a man

I am a Mexican

I am an American

This criminal will never be my president.

(the subtitle is mine, Adrian isn’t responsible)


Adrian J Anchondo

Owning Our Shit

(or: Hilary Didn’t Let us Down, We  Failed Her)

I’m about to piss y’all off. I might even lose some friends because of this. If you’re too much of a (grab ’em by the) pussy to handle it or tired of angry rants, maybe you should stop reading now because I’m going in on all of us. It’s been a week since the election and I’ve had some time to weep, rage, drink a bottle of wine, gather my thoughts, eat lots of carbs, weep again and drink two more bottles of wine, but still I have not yet been able to come to peace with the worst thing that has happened to this country since they made a standalone movie for Catwoman. But maybe bitching to you, my friends, my fellow progressives, may help bring some solace and help us understand where we went wrong so we can come together and kumbaya or whatever.

17. Gentle Reader – Is this what our fellow citizens who voted for the President-elect wanted ? If not, speak up. Words have power, my friends. The President-elect’s words are there for all to see.


 ‘You Deserve to Be Gassed’: Hate Crimes Skyrocket After Trump’s Win

U.S. Election 2016 – Haaretz – Israel News

Debra Nussbaum Cohen Nov 13, 2016 4:35 PM

NEW YORK – In the days since Donald Trump won the American election, as many 250 reports of hate crimes were filed with the Southern Poverty Law Center, it says — roughly the amount they receive in a typical five or six month period.

16. Gentle Reader – A Trump failure might doom our country, perhaps even our world. Yet I am unsure that success will be any better. How can I wish success to a man who wants to evict 11 million people from our country ? How do I wish success on a man who says he will order our soldiers, sailors, and marines to torture ? In what world do I wish success for a man who believes – and insists he will – commit war crimes by killing the families of those we believe are terrorists ? How can I wish success to a man who brags about his sexual predations ? And anyway, how could I face my daughter, Maria, and my granddaughters – Marianna, Sloane, Harry – if I wished him well in these things ?
 My parents are 1st generation Lebanese, both sets of their parents came over to the US about the time WW I began. My mother’s parents came through Ellis Island, the “legal way”; my dad’s parents entered through Canada and then simply crossed the border into the State of North Dakota. My paternal grandfather became an active participant in the populist movement in North Dakota.  During WW II, my dad was a sailor on the USS Yorktown; my mom a Coast Guard’s Woman. My son is a former Marine.
My son asked me to help with the Military Medical Corps so, even though I am not the person who follows orders or enters into a disciplined body of people with ease, I complied with my son’s request. I signed up for the (first) Army and then Navy Medical Corps. If my son needed better care, so did his buddies and if they deserved it, so did our enemies. After all, I am a physician; we take care of all who seek our aid.
My Navy packet is in its last stages of either acceptance or rejection ( I am a bit older than they prefer but have pretty good trauma and burn skills). If they were to have said “Yes”, I would have gone.
Would have.
I am pulling the packet. I cannot serve under a commander in chief who has said he would order torture. The reasons I walk with little spring in my step these days are the following: not only do I fear the President-elect’s behavior, his policies on a woman’s right to control her body, climate change, and so forth. No, not only that.
I wanted to serve my people more than I have done in the last 35 years; I was to have been a Navy physician. And now, because I will not serve a man who would have us torture, commit war crimes, I cannot.
Gentle Reader, one simply carries on.

Where I wish President Trump failure

Opinion writer November 14 at 7:28 PM

The people chose Hillary Clinton. But it’s the electoral vote that counts, not the popular vote, so Donald Trump will be president. And no, I’m not over it.

15. Gentle Reader – I don’t know Professor Tuttle, but I wish I did. If I met her, I would address her as “sister”.
A fine piece, detailing the concerns many of us have after the election of a man fulfilling the definition of a fascist, and appointing people to positions of power in a way that does nothing to limit that concern.

Go to the profile of Sarah Tuttle

We are not ok.

Note: This has been removed by the AAS from the Committee for the Status of the Women in Astronomy. It has been replaced with a modified version. I (ST) was told it was an unacceptable “legal and reputational risk” to them.

14. Gentle Reader – Sometimes laughter is the best way to make the pain and sorrow abate, if only for a short time. This really is Hilaryous. (Sorry !)

Go to the profile of Hillary Clinton [parody]

Are You Fucking Kidding Me

by Hillary Clinton

Hey America! Remember me?

You know, Crooked Hillary? Lucifer’s BFF? Benghazi with the good hair?

Well, you did it. You got rid of me. You don’t have to look at my pained smile or listen to my nagging voice anymore.

13. Gentle Reader – Dissent is as American as our Republic. The very Republican Party that spent 8 years blocking every program President Obama attempted to put into place is in no position to be telling us to “just pull together”.

The President-elect has given voice to some rather terrifying positions, from banning an entire religion, to anti-Semitism, through support for torture, to violence against women.

Does ANYONE need wonder why there are protests in the streets ?

And to my fellow citizens who are in the streets, a word. Peaceful protest is the way. And remember, it is easier to take to the streets than to build a movement.  We must do the latter, as well.


 What Trump Needs to Learn About Protests


12. Gentle Reader – We ignore the coalition of Roosevelt at our peril.


Dangerous Idiots: How the Liberal Media Elite Failed Working-Class Americans

Sarah Smarsh
October 13, 2016
Trump supporters are not the caricatures journalists depict – and native Kansan Sarah Smarsh sets out to correct what newsrooms get wrong.

11. Gentle Reader – Another analytic piece attempting to assist us in our understanding of what we missed, how we made this error.


Notes From a Very Close Election

Bill Fletcher, Jr.
November 11, 2016
In the Trump era it is the movement that Sanders was part of coalescing that becomes key in building a resistance with a positive vision. One of the weaknesses of the Sanders message was its failure to unify matters of class with race and gender. This is about telling the right story about the United States. It is also a matter of tapping into significant social movements—Occupy; immigrant rights; LGBT, environmental justice; Black Lives Matter. This is where hope lies.

10. Trump health-care agenda evolves toward core Republican thinking – The Washington Post

9. Labor Leaders Deserve Their Share of the Blame for Donald Trump’s Victory


8. Gentle Reader – Blowback, indeed. We are about to reap the whirlwind.


Through the Gates of Hell

7. Gentle Reader – This man is not a firebrand, not a radical. If he’s worried, we should worry.


6. Gentle Reader – The first, by no means last, profound disappointment we will see with the election of this man.

Three items are particularly poignant:

1. Carrier Executives have said too bad so sad, we’re leaving;

2. The increase in salaries for working people OCCURRED UNDER THE PARTY OF ROOSEVELT. THE ONE WE JUST REMOVED. There were none under the Party of the Rich – er, Republicans.

3. In this article, one of the workers interviewed comments that Hilary has “never worked a day in her life”.  What a profound lack of understanding of what it takes to study, to study The Law. And then to vote for a man who has done more harm to workers than we can imagine.



Can Trump Save Their Jobs ? They’re Counting on it

Nelson D. Schwartz

The New York Times

11 November, 2016

5. Gentle Reader – Allegory sometimes makes it easier to see what is happening to us.

Teju Cole is the author, most recently, of the essay collection “Known and Strange Things.” He is the New York Times magazine’s photography critic.


A Time for Refusal

Teju Cole

4. Gentle Reader – yet another piece trying to understand how we could have made this historic error.


America’s Dark Underbelly is Now its Face

Nov. 13, 2016

By Peter Certo | ( |

3. Gentle Reader – The next months in our United States will be fraught. How many of our people could have been convinced to vote for a fraud, a charlatan, a self-described abuser of women is a question that will consume gallons of ink and reams of paper (or 1s and 0s). There will be much blame to pass around; indeed analysis has already begun.

In this Section –  Issues of our Time and Destiny – we will discuss what went wrong and how we can correct the wrongs. I have some thoughts in this and will post them as well as the thoughts of others. Please comment and criticize if you wish.

By the way, the section title, Issues of our Time and Destiny, is from a poem of one of the victims of the first 9/11, Victor Jara.



NOVEMBER 12, 2016

Lies in the Guise of News in the Trump Era

Nicholas Kristof

2. Gentle Reader – this thoughtful piece is from the Washinton Post. Authored by Steven Pearlstein, a WaPo business and economics writer, he is also Robinson Professor of Public Affairs at George Mason University.

Some data before you go on to the article:


1. 129 million of us – including about 19 million children – with pre-existing conditions are protected from denial of coverage and reduced benefits;

2.  105 million citizens have benefitted from annual caps on out of pocket spending;

3. Prior to this year’s (2016) open enrollment period, 16 million uninsured have gained coverage;

4. Another 14 million of us – in addition to the above 16 million – have received coverage through Medicaid since Obamacare’s first open enrollment in 2013;

5. Tax credits have helped 7.8 million Americans, who otherwise couldn’t have afforded it, buy insurance in the Health Insurance Marketplaces;

6. 5.7 million young adults gained coverage under Obamacare because they could stay on their parent’s health plans until age 26.


All of this is real. All of this shows the positive power of government intervention.

All of this is at risk now.

There are consequences to our choices.


Repeal Obamacare ? Not Quite So Easy….Unless You’re Peddling Hokum

Steven Pearlstein

13 November, 2016

1. Gentle Reader – it may be me, my own flawed character or even lack of “pedigree”, but I’ve thought for years that way too much attention is given the brainiacs on the East Coast. Here is a beautiful and haunting piece by our own Gary Fincke, the Charles B. Degenstein Professor of English and Creative Writing at Susquehanna University.

Would that we paid attention to more like him.


 Post-election empathy

Gary Fincke

Nov 12, 2016

For the last two days, I’ve tried to put the best face on the election results. There’s no point in ranting. There’s little to be gained by accusing others of being racist or misogynist or just plain stupid for voting for Trump even though, despite the claim that working-class America elected him, I know that in the working-class neighborhood in which I grew up, Trump would have been dismissed as a “pig” or worse.

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