Public Defender Advocate Lives On!

Walter Mondale, the Minnesota resident and former candidate for president of the United States, was a staunch advocate for providing legal services to poor people charged with crimes and I firmly believe that his legacy will live on.

I remember Mondale through my wife who took a leave of absence from her work as a copy editor at The Inquirer Newspaper of Philadelphia to work for Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman endorsed by a political party to run for vice-president. Wendy, who passed away three years ago this month, drove in a calvacade of volunteers assisting celebreties who met and supported the congresswoman from New York. She met Mary Travers – of Peter, Paul and Mary – who asked for a side trip to eat a cheese steak at Pat’s Steaks in South Philadelphia, which Mary claimed she heard so much about!

Even though Mondale served as vice president under Jimmy Carter and ran against and lost to Ronald Reagan for president, he also served as an attorney general for the state of Minnesota. It was in 1962 that he encouraged more then 20 attorney generals throughout the country to join in an amicus brief in support of a poor man from Florida who asked for but was denied the assistance of a lawyer for his criminal trial.

Clarence Earl Gideon was found guilty when he went to trial and was sentenced to five years in jail. The pool hall owner claimed the defendant stole $5 in change along with some beer and soda and $50 from a jukebox.

While in prison he used prison stationary and a prison-approved pencil to write an appeal to the US Supreme Court. (The actual hand-written appeal is on display at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia!)

Mondale convinced 22 other attorney generals throughout the United States to join in the amicus brief in support of Gideon. Some believe it helped to sway the court which decided unanimously to grant relief to the poor Gideon, who was in his early 50s and considered to be a drifter when convicted in 1961. (He had no more then an 8th grade education who ran away from home when he was in middle schol.)

The landmark decision – in a case cited as Gideon v Wainwright – lead to the creation of the vast public defender system in the United States. I served as a criminal defense lawyer for 20 years in Philadelphia and owe the creation of my job to Gideon.

Well what happened after the court case? Gideon – such an unlikely hero – was appointed a lawyer to represent him at another trial and he was found not guilty! In 1980 Henry Fonda played the part of Gideon in a made for television movie called “Gideon’s Trumpet.”

Thank you Walter Mondale for your support of the underdog and your compassion for the poor in our society.

Champion for the poor and underpriveleged

Let’s boycott Georgia firms to save the vote

Should I boycott Coca Cola?

How about refusing to fly on Delta Airlines?

Coke and Delta have been some of my favorite product choices my entire life. I can swear by the rich and delicious taste of Coke over its rival Pepsi. I always felt comfortable and reassured when flying while hooked up with Delta airlines, a pleasure I first experienced when first stationed at Fort Benning, Ga. for OCS, and later for the US Army’s jump school.

They’re both headquartered in the state of Georgia. The state where the legislature, the senate and the governor rammed through in one day the most severe curtailment of voting rights in my adult lifetime.They claim it’s to insure voter integrity – to prevent voter fraud – but we all know that the 2020 election was the most secure election in history.

We also know that black voters in Georgia turned out in large numbers for the the Democratic presidential candidate as well as the two fellows running for the senate in the run-off election Jan. 5, 2021. They supported a Catholic for president and then a Jew and a black Baptist preacher for the Senate. You can’t get much more ecumenical than that!er

So the powers that be in the “Empire State of the South” want no more liberal election outcomes in their state. They figure the only way to preserve their power and to win is is to suppress the vote of blacks and other minorities as well as younger people and the poor who generally vote Democratic.

Georgia state gov’t needs to stop voter suppression

————–

How can we stop this?

Get the powerful corporations with headquarters in Georgia, particularly in the Atlanta area, to speak out against these shameful and undemocratic measures. Make them lean on the government leaders and curtail any and all campaign funding for ‘em. Boycott the businesses if that is what it will take to right this wrong in Georgia. It worked in North Carolina years ago when protesting that’s state’s actions against another minority group – transgenders.

I believe people of all races and all religions would gladly take part in such a political actions.

It would simply be the right thing to do!

—————
(For another Georgia boycott suggestion, please check this out 😦Apartheid Georgia)

Delta Airlines and Coca Colo both came out against the Georgia law to suppress voting. See Retaliation) In addition, Major Legue Baseball announced that it will NOT play the All-Star game in Georgia. (No All-Star game.)

Meanwhie, in Texas where other Republicans are seeking to suppress the vote, two firms came out against the. American Airlines and Dell Corporatoon. (Vote against opression.)


More than 100 executives of US corporations met by Zoom to discuss how to combat voter infringements laws passed by Georgia and those being considered by other state governments lead by Republicans.

They included firms like Starbucks, Target, Linked-In, Levi Strauss, Boston Consulting Group as well as the

owner of the Atlanta Falcons. The April 10 meeting was led by the former chief executive of American Express and chief executive of Merck. (See Washington Post story.)

Condemn veterans who attacked Capitol

Any veteran that took part in the January 6th insurrection at the US capitol should be stripped of his or her VA benefits and labeled a “traitor.” 

There is a disturbing number of current and former military persons identified among those who broke into the capitol to overturn the election. About 20 percent of the nearly 300 arrested, according to NPR. They should no longer receive treatment at VA hospitals, get the GI Bill for attending school or obtain a mortgage loan. 

They have acted against the United States by taking part in a rebellion and should be viewed as turncoats who have betrayed their country and the Constitution that all of us veterans vowed to protect and follow upon our enlistment. 

Congressman Ruben Gallegos, a combat Marine Corps veteran, has contacted the head of the VA as well as Homeland Security and Attorney General Merrick Garland to seek action against the veterans who betrayed our country. The Democratic congressman from Arizona, who is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, has suggested that all forego disability compensation, educational benefits, access to health care, employment opportunities and access to veteran-affiliated state programs. 

The US Code governs benefits for veterans and their dependents. Under Sections 6104 and 6105, veterans and other individuals receiving VA benefits who commit mutiny or treason or who are convicted of ‘subversive activities,’ as listed in Section 6105(b), forfeit their right to VA benefits.” 

————-

I would go further and suggest the government publish the names of the traitors in the newspapers and identify them on television and the radio. Contact their bosses where they work and the churches their families attend decrying them as traitors and deserters of the worst order. 

Remember that five people were killed in the attack on the Capital building. One was a police officer. 

No veteran should have taken part in such a heinous action, let alone follow the instructions of a draft-dodging coward.  

Justice demands a guilty verdict for Trump

I look forward every day to reading the news of an indictment against the former president and/or an update on all of the civil lawsuits against him.

You know they’re coming. All the highly experienced lawyers need do is to simply confirm their concrete and rock-solid facts before going to court and contacting the news media for reporters to share the information on the law with the entire world.

The criminal cases could develop in New York City, Washington DC, or in the state of Georgia. Or possibly all together, with court dates spread out over a series of months. They would highlight either fraud, the January 6th attempted insurrection, or the attempt by Trump to alter a state’s presidential election count. Charges could include collusion, obstruction of justice, inciting violence, racketeering, sexual assault, bribery, intimidation, missuse of assets, and dereliction of duty.

Would they focus once again on the Stormy Daniels payoff by Trump’s lawyer, the fixer and lawyer Michael Cohen, who was convicted and sentenced to jail? Please remember that Trump was named as “Individual-1” in that legal action.

The civil actions could focus on the 2016 Inauguration moneys unaccounted for, his groping of a former Apprentice television contestant, or a defamation case from a woman who said Trump raped her in a clothing store in the mid 1990s.

“Individual-1” facing a large number of criminal and civil lawsuits

The former president will lose despite the arguments and the millions of dollars his lawyers will charge while offering a dead-dog loser of a defense in each case. The main question I have is whether he will be ordered to serve time in jail like the former leader of France who bribed a judge was recently sentenced for his corruption. Or will Trump be given a form of house arrest like France did when demanding that Napoleon Bonaparte be exiled to the island of Elbo before escaping and meeting his Waterloo shortly after.

I believe justice requires swift and reassuring action against Trump. It has taken too much of America’s time and patience for the legal process to finally confront and hold him accountable, the worse president of the United States.

It will bring about a peace and a much-needed comfort our country has been seeking these many years.

————— 

Would Richard Nixon had faced a similar dilemma if he wasn’t pardoned by President Gerald Ford? He would have been ordered to go to jail or be banished to live and never leave his sprawling mansion in San Clemente, Calif.

Trump could be banished to and ordered under penalty of imprisonment never to leave his Florida home at Mar-a-Logo. He could also be ordered to relinquish use of any Twitter, Facebook or any other social media outlet.

(For more reading on Trump’s legal jeapordy please see this NPR report.)

Universe conspires: All roads lead to Georgia

Today, I am a Georgia boy once again. And if we try hard enough, all of us could be Georgians!

Over the next several weeks I hope Americans join with me in offering positive intentions to convince the universe to focus and raise up the wonderful State of Georgia. 

We need all who can possibly vote in Georgia to march to the poles or to drop their mail-in ballots in favor of the two candidates that would create enough Democrats in the Senate to support President-elect Joe Biden help America heal and grow stronger. 

I am confident that the former vice president will follow the dictates of my old alma mater — the Officers Candidate School at Fort Benning, GA — and “accomplish the mission” while “looking out for the welfare” of the men and women he has been elected to lead. 

Yes, we should all focus on Georgia and create such a wonderful and spiritually-lifting vibe to win over the senate in the runoff election January 5, 2021. 

GEORGIA ON MY MIND

– – – – – – – – – – 

John F Kennedy helped the world to focus on another state, a war-torn land, that was split during the what historians call the Cold War. He wrote his own speech stating “We are all Berliners.” Years later, the Berlin Wall came down and the world prospered along with a united and allied Germany. 

I believe the same highly focused intention can help America accomplish a similar Herculean task and provide the votes to win this war against the virus, the failing economy and the negativity of the past several years. 

Yes, today we are all Georgians and will be united for the good of all the people. I spent six months in the state training for the battlefield in Vietnam and then three more weeks to learn how to jump out of an airplane to accomplish that mission. I revere the state and feel enlightened by the words of Ray Charles “All roads lead back to you” Georgia! 

And let’s not forget what the book “The Alchemist” shared with us all: “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.

The Universe smiled upon us and granted the Georgia blessing for all America!

Protesting – a really great democratic right

I have protested more in the past several months than I had ever exercised that American Constitutional-right in my entire life and feel really good about my actions!

I protested the attempted curtailment of postal services at the Conshohocken Post Office and knelt for eight minutes and 46 seconds at the Montgomery County Courthouse in protest of the police killing of George Floyd.

Meanwhile, I took part in a rally against the current president by waving banners of Biden-for-president in West Conshohocken that was created by a Hispanic youth from Norristown who was but 19-years-old.

And, as a former combat infantry platoon leader, I felt honored to have joined forces with Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf at the courthouse steps in Norristown to protest gun violence a few months ago.

Today is the anniversary of the world’s largest protest ever. It was on October 15, 2011, that global protests were held inspired by the Arab Spring, the Icelandic protests, the Portuguese “Geração à Rasca”, the Spanish “Indignants”, the Greek protests, and the Occupy movement. Global demonstrations were held in more than 950 cities in 82 countries. The protests were launched under the slogan “United for Global Democracy.”

I had taken part in only three protests prior to my most recent activities. I felt it was my duty to speak out and assert my right guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution which says the following:

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

My first protest occurred in Philadelphia outside the former Inquirer building. I was a union organizer representing The Newspaper Guild and proudly marched in the job action against management.

My next two protests also took place in Philadelphia a block away from Independence Hall as I joined a bunch of Buddhists protesting the Chinese occupation of Tibet. I carried signs and smiled and waved at motorists who honked in support while passing us in the rain that poured on both occasions.

Protesting the actions of the postmaster general in Conshohocken

I feel that protesting is a form of duty, if you know what I mean. As an issue arises, I believe the universe is providing me a way to show my feelings.

It was most rewarding to join my fellow public defenders outside the county courthouse in support of Black Lives Matter and against police brutality. I also took pride as a veteran to outwardly protest the use of assault rifles in America.

Like I said. It’s a way of doing my duty for God and country. You ought to try it sometime!

Soldiers I knew were no ‘losers’ Mr. Trump

First Lieutenant Victor Lee Ellinger was no loser, Mr. Trump.

He was shot and killed by an enemy sniper during the Vietnam War and I forced marched my platoon to come to his aid only to find out we got to him too late to help.

He was no “sucker,” having enlisted the same year that you miraculously developed bone spurs on one of your feet, getting your fifth deferment to keep you out of the military and any chance of being in harm’s way. It was the same year I was drafted and later commissioned to lead a bunch of other young men into battle.

I was livid when I saw the news report of you disparaging the men who were killed in combat. An Atlantic Magazine’s journalist,  Jeffrey Goldberg, citing multiple anonymous sources who had firsthand knowledge of the conversations, reported Thursday on the comments. They were confirmed later by another reporter and responded to by Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for president.

Lieutenant Victor Lee Ellinger was the pride of Staunton, Va., and his remains are interred with his mother and father in a family plot where I laid a wreath, saluted him, yelled at God for taking him away and cried my heart out.

——————————–

Now I learned that you would not even honor the hundreds of US Marines who gave their lives during “The War to End All Wars” in France. You refused to go to a cemetery near the site of the Battle of Belleau, blaming the rain for the cancellation. But Goldberg said that you rejected the idea because you feared your “hair would become disheveled in the rain,” and because you “did not believe it important to honor American war dead.”

Goldberg added:

In a conversation with senior staff members on the morning of the scheduled visit, Trump said, “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.” In a separate conversation on the same trip, Trump referred to the more than 1,800 Marines who lost their lives at Belleau Wood as “suckers” for getting killed.

Goldberg said later in the article that Trump had also referred separately to John McCain, the late senator and war veteran, as a “fucking loser.”

Veterans and the families of veterans will make you pay a price for these cowardly assertions. You, Mr. President are not even worthy enough to tie the laces of their combat boots.

——————–

Update: On Veterans Day — 11-11-2020 — it was reported that four out of five military election ballots opened in Allegheny County of my home state of Pennsylvania were votes for President-Elect Joe Biden. And while most military personnel are rather conservative and usually vote Republican, service members did not forget what Trump said, and he paid for his disrespect to the troops.

The Masking on America’s Streets Today

I want to unmask my true feelings about the Masking of America and how to get people to care enough for one another to be a little more considerate while walking outdoors.

First off, you should always honor social distancing and stay at least six feet away from persons. And you should always wear a mask when entering a business establishment, supermarket or one of my favorite places, a Target store.

But you don’t necessarily need to wear it when exercising by walking on the street, pushing a baby carriage, or attending to your dog outside in suburban areas like the town I live in , Conshohocken, PA.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn’t address whether people should wear face coverings while exercising outdoors; it only specifies what people should do when they come into contact with others. For the time being, whether or not you choose to wear a face cover when you’re outside is at your own discretion.

Unlike going to the supermarket where it might be harder to keep six feet of distance in narrow aisles, “people generally do not need face coverings while walking in their neighborhoods and practicing social distancing,” said Judith Lightfoot, DO, chief of infectious disease at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Stratford, New Jersey.

In rural and suburban neighborhoods where the foot traffic is light and people honor social-distancing guidelines, some people choose to walk without face coverings. You may feel comfortable doing this because you’re outside in fresh air, and you aren’t coming within six feet of anyone else in your travels.

—————-

Now for my real gripe. Everywhere you look in America, it seems, there are discarded gloves and masks in streets and parking lots, left behind by people who couldn’t be bothered to find a nearby trash bin.

I counted seven masks on a walk a few weeks ago and I called the borough government to complain. Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember exactly where each discarded piece of crap was located except for the local library where kids usually play. It was removed within hours. The next day I carried a plastic rubber type of glove my son gave me and I picked up ten masks and got rid of ‘em properly.

discarded mask.jpg

People who discard their masks should be fined for their disregard for others

——————

In New England, someone abandoned their gloves in a cart at Costco, leaving an employee to fish them out and sanitize the cart before it could be used again.

It got so bad in New York City, that Ryan McKenzie, a restauranteur who lives in Manhattan, began cleaning it up. “I couldn’t believe what I saw so I went to the store and bought a grabber and for the last two hours in three square blocks of the East Village, this is what I found,” he told HuffPost. “It’s abhorrent and needs to be brought to people’s attention.”

—————–

In the wake of complaints, local authorities are reminding folks of the penalties of littering.

After receiving so many reports of gloves and masks left behind in Parsippany, New Jersey, the local police department issued a warning on Facebook: “Clean up and properly dispose of your used gloves and wipes. If you do not, you can be charged and fined up to $500.”

In Yorktown, New York, the current fine of $500 for littering will be doubled to $1,000 for the first violation for anyone caught improperly discarding face masks and gloves.

Let’s hope our fellow Americans can pick up after themselves before a discarded mask or a  glove cause the virus to spread to you or me.

Change Confederate generals’ names now

As a veteran of several military bases, I would vote to change the names of all the facilities named for generals who fought for the Confederate army during our nation’s Civil War.
I offer such action with a heavy heart because of the link I still have with the facilities that helped to create the soldier I had become and the lessons learned in the US Army. Continue reading

‘False in One, False in All’ never failed me!

“False in one, false in all.”

That’s the jury instruction I’d request a judge to provide when a witness at a trial said one thing one time and another thing at another time. Also, when one or more witnesses said something different than what the first witness had sworn to tell the truth about while sitting on the witness stand. Continue reading

The printer’s life for Ben Franklin and me!

“Here lies Ben Franklin — a printer” is the message gracefully displayed at the gravesite of my favorite Founding Father in the City of Philadelphia.  He was ambassador to both England and France as well as a signer of the Declaration of Independence and contributor to the US Constitution. He was also an inventor, a philosopher and creator of the first library, the first zoo and the first fire company in the New World. Continue reading