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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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

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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.”

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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