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.

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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.

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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.

Highlights of Declaration of Independence

The Fourth of July is upon us and I wanted to share some independent facts that many Americans may not have learned in history books or in their classrooms.*

The Declaration of Independence was first printed in a German-speaking newspaper and not an English one. The Colony of Pennsylvania had a large German population and when people of what became the Keystone State voted on which language to use, German lost by only one vote. Continue reading

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

Sign language opens my heart to neighbors

My greatest concern when I placed the political signs on my lawn was whether they would offend someone in my neighborhood. I live in a working class section of Pennsylvania, some 15 miles outside of Philadelphia. It was dependent on steel and manufacturing for many years but eventually saw a decline as jobs left the little borough of Conshohocken for elsewhere. Continue reading

’12 Angry Men’ helps presume innocence

Twelve Angry Men” influenced my decision to practice law more than any movie I can remember while growing up in a working class neighborhood of Philadelphia and being the first in my family to go to college. The movie has done more for understanding the workings of our criminal justice system than any books or school classes could possibly provide. Continue reading

Fear of the black stranger causes tragedies

I cried when I saw a woman comforting a black police officer who was helping others get hospital treatment from an assassin’s attack in the streets of Dallas last night. The cop was like many I knew in the legal profession, good guardians of the peace who laid their lives on the line every day to protect us civilians, particularly those of us in the inner cities. Continue reading

Congress protest makes me proud of USA

I’ve never been so proud of being an American as I was the past week when some forty members of the Senate held an unprecedented filibuster and it was followed up by Congressional Democrats who took the House Chamber hostage for a“sit-in” protest against our nation’s inability to halt the sale of high-powered weapons now being used for mass destruction. Continue reading

Cause of All Wars Questioned in Confederate Flag Controversy

President Barack Obama may have raised an issue on all wars when he eulogized a fallen comrade on June 26, 2015, at the funeral for the pastor of the AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

While never detracting from the valor that Confederate soldiers fought with in the Civil War, he offered a plain and simple truth.

The cause they fought for was wrong. Continue reading

State of Our Spiritual Union is Flourishing

The State of Our Spiritual Union is flourishing.

Seeds planted in the 1960s have flowered, and the Age of Aquarius has finally dawned on the world, awakening many of us to a new way of living, a new way of forgiving. The first signs of this new enlightenment began in the 1990s as the Berlin Wall fell, God revealed secrets in the Celestial Prophecy and the mystical Wisdom of Kabbalah was made known to non-Jews and all women, regardless of age or religious backgrounds. Continue reading

To be or not to be gay and in love again

Deborah loved with a love that was more than a love. Cupid’s arrow struck her just as a choir of angels sang and a special cherub played the most beautiful music in all the land over an ancient lyre, the same instrument that a shepherd boy named David once played to honor the god of the psalms. Continue reading

Friar Pope champions single moms, Chastises clergy for shutting ’em out

He’s at it again. This time, the Friar Pope is championing what I call the “untouchable class” of Catholics, the single mother, also known throughout Christianity’s Dark Ages as the “UN – WED  MOTHER.”

(Funny, but those dark ages seem like only yesterday!) Continue reading

Doors are Opening for All Doing Good!

There’s a passage in Mark’s Gospel in which Jesus’ disciples complain that someone — one who is not one of them — is casting out demons in Jesus’ name. It seems that fundamentalists of all ages have held a belief that there was only one way to get to the kingdom; only one way, and that was through Jesus. Continue reading

Happy Mothers’ Day, Poor Little Thérèse

How could I – a mother of two with a 10-year drug problem – be facing a life sentence for something stupid I did at the local Rite Aid store? Continue reading

Vietnam War veteran recalls his journey

Dealing with the Vietnam War becomes a little easier each time I write about it. I “desensitize” myself. I now see my actions as separate from the emotions I felt while a young soldier, as well as the feelings of guilt many veterans like me,  imposed on ourselves while readjusting to civilian life. It’s helpful when a high school student asks questions and you try to be honest and direct. Continue reading

Where is the boy I left home for the war?

I knew a boy

Who went to war

And left his home

Behind him.

I knew him well,

That boy was me

And now I cannot

Find him.

— A Vietnam veteran’s tweak of a World War II sailor’s song about war
(Photo of this young World War I “Doughboy” courtesy of greatwar.nl/oldsoldiers/lloydcleme… )

Trayvon Martin prosecution fully justified

If I were prosecuting George Zimmerman for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, I would charge him with murder and conspiracy to obstruct justice, adding several named officers of the Sanford. Fla., police department – as well as the state attorney – as co-conspirators. Continue reading

Rush Limbaugh should study reproduction

We should accept Rush Limbaugh’s apology for calling a woman a slut only if he agrees to take, and pass, a course on female reproduction. Then, and only then, can we be assured that someone other than locker-room juveniles has finally taught him the real facts about the birds and the bees. Continue reading

Let Catholics ‘opt out” in birth control plan

I don’t understand all the fuss that Catholic universities and hospitals are raising over providing health care for woman that includes mandatory birth control provisions. Why not let “practicing Catholics” following the teachings of their church to “opt out” for the coverage, while permitting non-Catholics what doctors and women’s groups say is a health benefit? Continue reading

We the People, not We the Corporations

“Corporations are people, my friend”

Well, if you trace the history of something called corporate “personhood,” you can blame this inglorious recognition on an unelected clerk writing a summary of a court decision that never actually decided this issue. Continue reading

Don’t ‘better’ yourself by berating another

I was seething when I saw my former US senator decry Blacks receiving food stamps from the government. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania told an Iowa audience this week that he would tackle this “race problem” if elected president, thus echoing the sentiments of his old congressional colleague, Newt Gingrich, who suggested poor students in city schools clean the bathrooms for their more affluent ones, rather than grow up to be pimps or prostitutes. Continue reading

Too afraid to say a woman scared you

“Why did you shoot her?”

“I don’t know.”

With these three words, the defendant buried himself, and no matter what I did to rehabilitate a self-defense claim before the jury, we were sunk. It showed that no matter what one plans, sometimes something can, and always will, go wrong. Continue reading

All-women jury renders “unknown” verdict

The one and only time I stood before an all-women jury, I ended up asking for a mistrial after the judge and prosecutor entered the jury deliberation room without my knowledge and in violation of the sequestration rule to safeguard against jury tampering. Continue reading

Newt, a big-headed, brain-bloated bully

Newton Le Roy Gingrich is a big-headed, brain-bloated bully who is best understood if you picture what kind of kid he might have been and remember why you disliked him and his sophomoric antics while growing up. Continue reading

Reaching Higher In Women’s Company

I love women. I’ll take them in all shapes and sizes, the old and the young, the rich and the poor.

If it wasn’t for women, I — and a lot of guys I know — wouldn’t even be here! Continue reading

My life is dependent on the rest of you

I am as dependent on you as you are on me, as we all are on the kindness and labor of others we too often take for granted.

As I look around, I see that my fortune is dependent on the cooperation and contributions of others. Continue reading

Right to work–a state of our Union

I’m a union man. Even though I held but one adult job as a dues-paying member, I will always be a union man. Why? Because I believe it’s the truly right path for the working man to walk. Continue reading

War is never the answer 11-11-11

On this Veterans Day, 11-11-11, what would you tell yourself if you could go back in time and greet that young man recently returned home from the war?

War is never the answer, but only a failure on all sides to reach an answer. Continue reading

A noble banker needs to occupy here

Is there a noble banker in the world? Only someone in the lending business who sees his calling as a “service for the people,” I believe, could correct past abuses and recommend changes for, and in the best interests of, us “99 percenters.” Continue reading

A Message to the 99 Percenters

“This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, Continue reading

Advice to a Wall Street operative

“We all dream of a kinder, happier world. But if we wish to make it a reality, we have to ensure that compassion inspires all our actions. This is especially true with regard to our political and economic policies. Given that probably half the world’s population lacks the basic necessities of adequate food, shelter, medical care and education, I believe we need to question whether we are really pursuing the wisest course in this regard. Continue reading

These are true signs of our times

When I read the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators were unfocused and without a coherent message, I took a closer look at them in Philadelphia, and disvovered some were disheveled street persons looking for handouts, and one a graduate school political science major spouting Marxist teachings.

They represented only one percent.

The 99 percent of the other protestors were mostly young, highly educated unemployed or underemployed men and women who got tired of the debt-ceiling fiasco and took to the streets to mobilize against the Tea Party followers. Continue reading

For the signs they are a’changing

(From Part I, These are true signs of our Times/)

The greatest protest of our generation is seeking change in all shapes and sizes. You can see it in the signs the demonstrators carry, writing the letters out really big with magic markers so that passersby need not squint to get the messages.

There is not just one message, but many, which all have one thing in common: a belief that our world can do better for all and not  just the few Continue reading

End needless suffering in US debates

Tone it down America. You are cutting off your nose to despite your face. The face of the body politic, that is, and we are creating needless hurt for the countrymen we’d like to lead to our mutual goal: the pursuit of happiness. Continue reading