My Bookshelf

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Saviors of Obamacare?



Most familiar with pop culture of the 2010’s know all about the TV series The Walking Dead. The phenomenal zombie thriller, at the end of a nearly decade-long run, finds its survivor heroes under the yoke of a criminal gang known as the Saviors. Its leader, Negan, is a baseball bat-wielding psychopath who kills someone in almost every scene to make some obscure point. The Saviors rule is simple: you go outside the community and forage while avoiding zombies. Whatever you bring back, you hand over as tribute. In return, they allow you to remain alive.

At this point in history, it becomes increasingly difficult to separate fantasy from reality TV, or mainstream news from alt-news or ‘fake news’. In a world of entertainment where Saturday Night Live has turned the American President into a media icon, members of the Cabinet are being immortalized as wrestling-type heels. Leftist protests have turned into flash mob riots in which traveling bands of agitators attack police and vandalize private property wherever the media directs them. Celebrities are stepping out as political pundits, recharging their careers by going on record as being against the Government and all that it stands for. As usual, the Moral Majority stands in silence while the shrill and vociferous leftist fringe rages on.

It is hard to focus as we look back at the Obama regime, a bloated ten trillion-dollar enterprise that grew bigger as the country grew comfortably numb. People lost jobs, collected unemployment, signed up for welfare, sat home, gained weight and got sick. The president signed one of his many executive orders in a day when there were no vigilante judges willing to stand up and restrain said order. He made Obamacare the law of the land, and suddenly the unwashed masses had health insurance despite having no employer to provide it.

The Republicans fought against it, like feeble old women trying to fend off athletic young purse snatchers. They relented as small businesses folded in the face of health care mandates coming at insufferable cost. They shrugged as shrewd bean-counters in banking and insurance recalculated the odds. They used premiums and deductibles as wrecking balls that gave a ‘level playing field’ a new meaning. When industrial giants such as Humana and Blue Cross began steering clear of the train wreck ahead, Republicans smiled smugly and reminded all ‘we told you so’.

Of course, this did nothing for the working class who were under penalty of law for non-compliance. Obama required all Americans to submit to his decree. Like the Saviors, they stood at the threshold as citizens were forced to acquire coverage --- or face the baseball bats of the IRS. Americans complied, and in many cases at a cost they could not sustain. People were interviewed on TV as they testified their monthly premiums were their biggest household expense. Bollocks, we laughed. It is theatre created by the GOP to cast our President’s legacy in a bad light.

Fast forward to the Days of Trump, as our new President is being asked to make good on his campaign promise to abolish Obamacare. The dilemma he faces is that the aged and infirm, the genetically deficient, the morbidly obese, the clinically depressed, and many others are desperately clinging to Obamacare the way the multitudes grabbed at Christ’s robe along the countryside. Pandora’s Box has been opened, and it has become a can of whoop-ass that the GOP cannot close. They have free tickets to the hospital, and will only have them pried from cold, dead fingers.

What Trump must do now, as surveyor and architect, is to assess the landscape before devising his structure and masterpiece. It is bleak and foreboding, a wasteland dominated by insurance companies whose premiums and deductibles threaten to crush all who dare trespass. Swirling overhead are the minions of the medical industry who will pick the bones of anyone unfortunate enough to fall into their hands. Beyond lies an infinite horizon of crises along the path of life: accidents, injury, pregnancy, local epidemics, or anything that can financially crush a person in the blink of an eye.

The first move should be painfully obvious. The President must liberate his people from the yoke of Obamacare, downgrading it from a mandatory requirement. Let us consider the red-blooded American who goes from cradle to grave, visiting the hospital only once at their birth. How many hundreds of thousands will spend a lifetime purchasing something they will never use? The same can be said for any insurance: only car insurance is a necessary evil and home/life insurance defends against the unforeseen catastrophe our loved ones may not endure. Obamacare, for many, is being sent out to scavenge by bat-wielding thugs who take what they will never give in return.

Once this is resolved, Trump must focus on plowing and developing the wasteland. The insurance companies must realize that the 99% rule must no longer apply. Regardless of their objections, they must come to realize that their board of directors earning a half million per year can afford pay cuts to keep Joe Blow from paying $400 per month in premiums. The logic of the 20th century can no longer apply. True, bigger insurance companies offer more and better-paying jobs. Only the margin of profit must be drastically narrowed to give the working class the opportunity to afford what they need at a maintainable price.

From there, our leader must look overhead and follow the buzzards to their nesting place. The medical industry will continue to point to the matrix: the spiraling cost of pharmaceuticals, the astronomical price of modern technology and equipment, and the overhead expense that resulted in $50 aspirin in hospitals in Seventies NYC. Yet as we look around at the rest of the world community, the question is obvious. Why is medical coverage in the wealthiest nation on earth so costly? Our neighbors from Cuba to Canada provide health benefits to their citizens, and neither government is collapsing under the burden. Certainly a financial genius like Trump will find an answer for a problem defined by corporate greed.

One thing that burns in our minds is the image of St. Jude’s Children’s Center. This is a specialized institution dedicated to the care of children in various stages of cancer diagnosis and treatment. It relies on public and private funding to operate; in turn it proclaims its services free to all children and their families. Their tenet is that no one is ever turned away. As we know, cancer is an incurable disease. Billions of dollars have been spent on research, equipment and pharmaceuticals designed to combat the affliction. The treatment is astoundingly expensive in many cases, and the Center has literally saved thousands of lives.

The question, for purposes of this essay, is to how far this horizon may be extended. If the care can be provided for children, then why not men and women at some future time? If these services one day cover all Americans, can they not be expanded to cover other illnesses? And if St. Jude’s becomes a beacon of hope for patients across the country, why can we not open more of these centers? Granted, this becomes a long trickledown process. Yet if it begins to fill the middle ground between St. Jude’s at the apex and public health clinics as the bargain basement, America may be on the way to providing free medical benefits to its citizens at last.

Some of the technical issues facing Trump’s Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price are just as challenging. Democratic opposition led by Senator Patty Murray point to ongoing arguments. The issue of Federal support for abortion has been a flashpoint between conservative Christians and leftist groups for over half a century. There is also the question of health insurance voucher programs affording the needy an opportunity to buy private insurance. Price will indeed join the fray on the floor of Congress, but the bigger battles await.


President Trump and Tom Price will be required to deal with major health care problems with the wellbeing of millions at stake. They must not allow these concerns to be reduced to a matter of dollars and cents.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Opening Salvos? (Excerpt from JRD's "Dynasty!")

          In retrospect, none of it should have been totally unexpected. Yet the events surrounding the inauguration of Donald J. Trump sent seismic waves around the planet. On January 20th, 2017, the 45th President of the United States took his oath of office. A highly enthusiastic crowd of Trump supporters came out to cheer the triumphant event. Yet just blocks away, an anti-Trump mob came out to throw stones at police and set fire to a limousine. His inaugural speech was wildly populist although iterating most of the rhetoric he developed on the campaign trail. Yet the press reported it as a right-wing nationalist call to arms that would set American diplomacy back a half century.

          What it does predict is a likely war of attrition that may possibly continue over the next four years of the Trump presidency. The liberal press, firmly entrenched after eight years of predominance over the Obama administration, has viewed the Trump ascension as the advent of an Orwellian reactionary super-state. Trump blasted back using the same analogy, citing the double-speak of Orwell’s 1984 as the leftist recipe for serving ‘alternative news’ to the American public and the nations of the world. Whatever the case may be, both sides are portending a future series of events that will serve no good purpose as time goes by.

          The size of the crowds attending the inauguration became the first item of interest over the weekend. The media derided the turnout as one of the lowest in recent decades. Trump called the declaration a bald-faced lie meant to debase the Trump Nation. He insisted it was as well-attended and enthusiastic as that of any previous Democratic inaugural events. The press countered with aerial photos, showing enormous crowds at the first Obama inauguration. Trump fired back with clips of plastic-covered areas that covered the White House lawn, resulting in the crowd being divided into sectors that appeared to be sparsely occupied.

          The media proved even more divisive in televising the nationwide demonstrations following the inauguration. Relatively few networks (such as Fox News and One America Network News) followed the Trump celebration at the inaugural ball.  The majority chose to provide non-stop coverage of the anti-Trump events, from the riotous protests in Washington DC to the so-called ‘female protests’ in large cities across the country and around the world. It was publicized as a women’s backlash against a misogynistic Trump regime. Yet it can be seen how the events were misrepresented in order to enhance the turnout.

          Women around the globe had been fed a steady stream of propaganda by the Clinton campaign depicting Trump as a male chauvinist. Making matters worse was Trump’s strong position on Christian issues, one of the foremost being anti-abortion. It made him an opponent of pro-choice groups; even worse, it placed him against health legislation that linked benefits to abortion options. Activist groups were quick to promote the idea that Trump would repeal women’s health benefits along with Obamacare upon assuming office. The world-wide response appeared as if the women of the world had united in opposition to the new President.

One of the more problematic selling points facing the media was the composition of the Trump administration. Trump’s wife Melania had already announced herself as being a champion of family issues. Ivanka Trump was already consolidating her position as one of the most influential ‘first daughters’ in history. There was also campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, education secretary Betsy DeVos and UN ambassador Nikki Haley, among many others. Unlike many women in the Obama and Bush administrations, these persons do not seem to be hired according to gender. Most come from backgrounds that indicate they will come out swinging from the opening bell. If Trump was assembling a male-dominated staff, he seemed to be uncharacteristically near-sighted in doing so.

At that juncture, White House press secretary Sean Spicer excoriated the media over their purveyance of ‘alternative facts’ and biased opinion during the inaugural weekend. Trump followed up by asking Cabinet and Congress members to refrain from disseminating information that might prove detrimental to the administration’s agenda. It was the equivalent of setting skirmish lines along the political battlefield. The media rose up in arms, and Orwell’s futuristic novel found a resurgence that took it to Number One on Amazon’s bestseller list. 1984 had flash-forwarded to 2017, and the fate of the world was at stake once more.

Once again Trump took the offensive, pointing to the press’ claim that Hillary Clinton had won the popular vote and should have been President were it not for the electoral college. He went on to announce that he would conduct a formal investigation of Democratic strategies in utilizing illegal immigrant votes to decide city and state election results. This reopened a can of worms surrounding allegations that the Putin regime in Russia masterminded the Internet hacks of the Democratic National Convention. The Clinton campaign contended that Russia had leaked information convincing voters that their integrity was highly questionable at best. It led to a new round of mud-slinging that has a long way to go.

One thing that stands out is the Democrats’ indignation over the alleged Russian interference in the electoral process. The most profound revelations were the DNC’s betrayal of Bernie Sanders in favor of Clinton, as well as the financial indiscretions of the Clinton Foundation. Although the exposes were, in all likelihood, disastrous to the campaign, the vital question remains. In an America where freedom of information has been declared an inalienable right, would it have been moral for voters to have been denied access to those details?

Another angle that many conservatives had forgotten was the intense backlash in many areas of the country over the Obama regime of the past eight years. Although the liberal press was strongly supportive of the Obama administration, the Republicans’ adversity was so strong that Obama was forced to rely on executive orders to make progress on key issues. There was also the fact that Obama received more death threats than any other President in history. The media conveniently downplayed much of this, making it seem as if America had entered a blissful era of inclusivity and diversity on both sides of the aisle and across Main Street USA. The Republican right was now uncovering what the media had swept under the rug.

The question of validity surrounding the electoral college brings the Democrats’ sense of values into light. The reason for the electoral college was to prevent major cities with overwhelming populations to dominate American politics. It allowed states with comparatively small populations to enjoy their fair share of influence over the outcome. Further, it is a sociological fact that citizens of lower income flock to large cities due to the abundance of public assistance programs. They become a magnet for demographic groups who will vote for liberal groups supporting welfare platforms. If the electoral college were abolished, conservative parties might never win another election.

          There is also a concern over the nature of Donald J. Trump as a self-made billionaire. He is a general in the world of commerce with few peers, a man who has developed successful campaigns and conquered markets on an international scale. He is an understandably proud man who has earned the respect of millions around the globe. Being vilified, slandered and libeled is something he is not used to and is not taking lightly. It is something he will have to get used to if the White House war against the media will ever come to a truce.


          For certain, the American public and the nations of the world will have to learn and discern in separating fact from fiction. If not, tidal waves of ‘alternative facts’ may evolve into the tsunami disaster of the decade. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

"The Storm" --- coming in 2017!!!



And so it was that Manx learned of his brother’s gift to him and Ingrid. Within the next twenty-four hours they found themselves, along with Stuka and April, aboard a Sunday afternoon flight on the Hindenburg. It was a promotional flight that took guests for a three-hour spin above the skies of Berlin. Even the gangsters found themselves impressed by the spacious interior of the zeppelin. The two couples watched out the windows as the craft floated above the clouds, and once they reached full altitude the girls went off to powder their noses.

“I’ve been wanting to have a word,” Manx said, being unusually reserved on this day. “How do you think Rolf paid for this? The tickets are four hundred fifty marks apiece. That’s eighteen hundred, an entire weekend night’s take at the club.”

“He’s having a good run,” Stuka shrugged. “That crew of his works seven days a week. Thor and the Von Erichs, they’re good earners. We could be scoring like that if we weren’t spending so much time at the club.”

“You’ve gone out with them a few times. Have you seen them dealing any drugs?”

“Come, now,” Stuka held up his hands. “I’ve told you more than once. I won’t come between you and your brother. You want answers, you go ask him.”

“Blitz has really been pressing. You know he beats around the bush, but he’s becoming more direct. The Berlin Police are hitting the streets hard looking for the drug ring. It’s not just his Detective Squad anymore. He tells me the Gestapo is going to get involved any day now. You know what that means. It’s a one-way trip to a concentration camp.”

“And you think that’ll be the end of it?” Stuka smirked. “This is turning into a police state, just like it is in Russia. They’re already getting rid of the Jews and the communists, as well as the queers and the gypsies. They haven’t come after the wise guys because they’ve been taking advantage of all the snitches on the street. Once they’ve outlived their usefulness and the Nazis run out of targets, they’ll come after us next.”

“Think so?”

“Face it, boss, they’ll be closing us down by next year for sure. We should start looking over the border. We can make a deal with the Alsatians and move into Alsace-Lorraine. With the network in Germany disrupted, the black market’ll be booming along the border. We should start thinking of the future before the past catches up with us.”

“All right, forget about it for now. Here come the girls.”

Manx and Stuka watched as Ingrid and April were intercepted by two families who entreated them for autographs. Others noticed the commotion and approached the Hollywood starlets as well. They were joined by a couple of well-dressed businessmen, prompting Manx to stroll over and assert his position. Stuka followed suit, glancing around to make sure they were attracting no undue attention. They stood by as the girls signed menus and shook hands. The rich young men shook their heads as they walked off, wondering how Manx and Stuka had gotten so lucky.

“You two are making people think Harlow and Hepburn are aboard,” Manx smiled.

“Glad you think so,” Ingrid cooed.

The girls took their arms as they proceeded along B Deck of the luxurious craft. They passed the smoking room, which was kept air-tight to avoid the slightest possibility of hydrogen being ignited by a heat source. It was located next to the bar, where the couples sidled for cocktails. Manx and Stuka had LZ-129 cocktails, which were made of gin and orange juice. The girls had Maybach 12 cocktails, which were of a special recipe. They admired the art deco ambiance of the lounge, particularly the jazz murals depicting black musicians. It seemed fitting that it was all so far above the routine of the Berlin regime many miles below.

“Here’s to America,” Ingrid proposed a toast. “May next year be the time we all join together in Hollywood. A new movie, a new beginning. It’ll be wonderful.”

“Hear, hear,” Stuka said quietly. Despite the familiarity of his relationship with Manx, he was impressed by the fact they had come this much closer.

“Here’s to new friendships,” April gazed meaningfully into Stuka’s eyes. “A new tomorrow, a new hope.”

As they touched glasses, Manx silently wished his brother Rolf would find his way out of whatever he got himself into. If it was drugs, he wished Rolf Godspeed.


And he prayed that the SS and Gestapo would play no part influencing his decision.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Rebuilding of America?

(Excerpt from JRD's DYNASTY! The First 100 Days of the Trump Presidency)


The nation and the world continue to watch and wait as the ranks of Trump’s new Cabinet slowly begin to fill. An intriguing new pattern starts to emerge as we see more and more antithetical figures taking positions in organizations they had once campaigned against. Although Dr. Ben Carson was not an opponent of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, he has been vociferous in denouncing the welfare policies it has long espoused.

Carson typifies the self-made black American that white activists consider ‘a credit to his race’. In fact, most of his achievements would leave white supremacists speechless. There is no way he could have accomplished such things regardless of reverse discrimination or social engineering theories. Born in Detroit, he was a graduate of Yale University and the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland for three decades. Carson credits his belief in Christ for having been able to overcome a violent spirit in his youth. He presents himself as an example of how hard work and dedication can overcome any obstacles in one’s journey through life.

His major arguments against HUD have been over its socialist policies in redeveloping public housing and providing havens for the impoverished in cities throughout America. Over a half century, ‘the projects’ have been a term for subsidized apartment buildings that have become a blight on the urban landscape. They are dumping grounds for welfare families, the unemployed and criminal elements who often use them as a base of operations. Carson’s voice resonates, oddly enough, with white activists and black separatists who see these as blights on society that should be obliterated and replaced as living alternatives for the poor.

Exploitation of the housing market has been a plague on society since the turn of the 20th century. Landowners often provided space for refugee families dating back to the Great Depression. They allowed people to set up tents and build shacks, providing water and outhouse amenities in exchange for rates they could barely afford. As people migrated to large cities in search of livable domiciles, tenements became a viable choice for new residents. They were often located in neighborhoods that soon became overcrowded and fell into neglect. The slum became a term to describe these downtrodden areas, and the rise of the slumlord paralleled that of exploitation and housing scams that would permanently disfigure communities across America.

Controlled housing was a gentleman’s agreement by which slumlords would fix rates so that welfare families could afford to pay the rent through a voucher system. The slumlord would then abandon the building to its own devices. He would often provide a manager with free rent in exchange for maintenance services. The manager took care of basic electrical and plumbing repairs but had no remedy for major hazards within the building. Many became overwhelmed by vermin, structural damage and inadequate resources. Once the manager vacated the property, families could only watch their homes collapse before their eyes.

Another phenomenon that gained in popularity in the late 20th century was blockbusting. Real estate brokers would buy a property in a targeted area for a bargain price. They would immediately sell it to an ethnic minority, mostly blacks. The white neighborhood would begin to panic before the broker began soliciting homeowners. They would take advantage of the situation, warning potential customers that they should sell before their property values began to fall. The exodus began as the broker replaced white families with black ones. The Flatbush area of Brooklyn NY is a classic example of middle-class white residents superseded by black minorities, mostly blacks from the Caribbean Islands.

The blight that devastated neighborhoods throughout the Midwest from Detroit to Chicago, St. Louis to Milwaukee soon spread across the USA. Yet the projects were where the situations metastasized, the nesting spots from where the subculture spread. Welfare families took advantage of HUD programs that gave them the false hope of owning a home of their own. What they actually received was a worn-down building in a high-crime neighborhood, exchanging their apartments for family-size dwellings with no significant change in environment or living conditions.

What HUD administrators did not understand or could not control were those very conditions that afflicted the communities. Police and security forces were vastly undermanned and could not control the criminal activity plaguing the projects, much less entire neighborhoods. The gang culture dominated such areas in providing a sense of belonging for children of dysfunctional families. They offered means of earning money from criminal activities in the drug trade, gambling, prostitution, theft and robbery. No matter how lofty the goal of building modernized and attractive housing projects, eventually they would fall victim to the very people they sought to shelter from the urban blight.

At the turn of the next century, Generation X made an impact on urban society in a way that proved entirely unpredictable. The Punk Revolution gave way to alternative music, much of which could be characterized as industrial music. It was a computerized sound that was a soundtrack for a generation of youth inundated by state of the art gadgetry and electronic equipment. If the Blank Generation was about individuality and rejecting authority, Generation X was defined by communities of unique characters drawn together by a common need to build their own subculture amidst a cult of conformity. And they had to find a way to establish their new parameters.

What happened next was the urban trend towards buying warehouses and turning them into loft apartments. Artists, musicians and yuppies eagerly began renting these spaces, turning brick-wall and high-ceiling industrial spaces into stylistic dream homes. Lower-class kids were astonied by the results and dreamed of ways to become part of the new urban phenomenon. They opted to rent out storage areas, aluminum sheds on fenced properties allowing customers to safely secure their property away from home. Musicians began using the spaces as rehearsal studios, and soon others began living in the sheds.

This hit a peak in the early 21st century as small groups began pooling their resources in renting warehouse buildings in the same manner as the original loft pioneers. Only they became more imaginative, with mechanics, welders and other trade laborers moving in alongside artists, musicians and commuting students. The lack of building supervision turned into a major problem. It eventually garnered national attention after a warehouse fire during a rave concert in Oakland claimed over thirty lives.

Therein lie the challenges facing Ben Carson. There must be some way to establish and reinforce housing guidelines that allows for property owners to acquire funding for urban development. Beyond that, there has to be a way to supervise and maintain properties to assure to safety and integrity of the housing projects and their residents. The ‘build it and leave it’ mentality must be replaced by that of investors resolved and dedicated to develop their properties as long-term investments. There are many programs available to homeowners who can acquire funds to remodel properties provided they live in the home for a specified time. This principle should be the exception rather than the norm, and penalties should exist to make the agreement enduring and disadvantageous to speculators and opportunists.

It is what makes Carson the best choice for the job. Knowing the business is not what will revolutionize the housing industry. Someone who is devoted to change the moral and social integrity of HUD agreements is required. More than likely, no one is better suited for the undertaking.


Thursday, November 24, 2016

Enemies Closer?

(Excerpt from JRD's DYNASTY! The First 100 Days of the Trump Presidency)


President Trump’s appointment of Nikki Haley to the position of United Nations ambassador in his new administration proved to be another eyebrow-raiser among pundits across the nation. Yet it can be argued that this may be another Trumpian maneuver designed to provide a false sense of security to the country’s rivals and enemies. It may also serve to placate opposition forces at home as well as give Trump enormous leverage in taking preemptive action against subversives both foreign and domestic.

Nimrata Randhawa is the daughter of Indian Sikh immigrants, a graduate of Clemson University with a BA in accounting. Her marriage to Michael Haley complemented her Anglicized nickname in becoming Nikki Haley. She became one of six Asian governors in the United States upon her election in South Carolina. Though she was a vocal opponent of Donald Trump during the election, she is a pro-life advocate and a supporter of immigration reform.

Although South Carolina was a Confederate state, its antebellum demographics changed over two centuries. It is estimated to have a seventy percent white population, the majority being Southern Baptists. The remaining third of the state is largely comprised of blacks, most of whom belong to the African Methodist Episcopal Church. The economic downturn of the 21st century had a major impact, and the state supreme court ruled that South Carolina was failing to provide minimally adequate education. It was also ranked as thirty-third out of the fifty states for quality of health care. It is also of interest to note that the Palmetto State was once considered a bastion of the Ku Klux Klan in the previous century.

Haley’s rise as a default political leader was facilitated by weak opposition from state Representative Larry Koon in 2004 and Governor Vincent Sheheen. She found support from Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney, both of whom had collapsed before Barack Obama’s campaigns in 2008 and 2012 respectively. There was also support from the estranged wife of the ex-governor, Jenny Sanford. Power vacuums are characteristic of sociological paradigms predicating weak leadership. One considers the admonitions of the apostle Paul, who considered outspoken women in the congregation as ‘shameful’. Scholars note that it is not based on misogyny; rather, the lack of male leadership prompting a female to rise to the occasion out of necessity.

Haley took a stand against Trump during the election, citing his seemingly extremist stance against immigration as well as his failure to denounce support from the KKK. Trump fired back with remarks about her weak position against illegal immigration. Yet it appeared as a sitzkrieg between Republicans divided by what was proving to be an internecine war of attrition. Trump’s extension of an olive branch was surprising but not as stunning as his overtures towards Mitt Romney after winning the election.
   
The immediate benefit to the fledgling administration is the inclusion of an Asian female to the ranks. Haley’s comely looks and Southern accent make this far less sensational than it may seem. It is also of note that Haley has characteristically downplayed her race and gender, focusing instead on her resolve and integrity. Breaking racial barriers has been a necessity along her journey through Southern politics. Only the race card may prove a vital asset along the next leg of her sojourn.

The geopolitical nature of international relations in the 21st century makes this an essential factor. Although Sikhs and Muslims are as different as Catholics and Protestants, they share common ground in the polemics against European Christianity. There has only been one white Christian holding the office of UN Secretary General since 1961. It reflects the changing of the guard in world politics, where Third World nations are growing more powerful and homogenous in their unity. Having someone like Haley representing Trump before these multinational emissaries will have obvious benefits.

The shock waves rippling across America has had a delayed effect on the global community. The military presence of the Obama regime around the world as well as its impact on international terrorism have left the nations in bewilderment. Many expected a black leftist Muslim president to have withdrawn from the Middle East and to have sought peace with ISIS and Al Qaeda. The increase in deportations of aliens from the USA proved to be even more perplexing.

Only now the ascendancy of Trump to the presidency has come with a sharp curtailing of his campaign rhetoric. He calls for unity among all Americans regardless of race, color or creed. The sloganeering of ‘making America great again’ comes as general relief to the world community. For everyone knows that the USA has provided artificial providence to most of the planet over two centuries. It gives financial support to its enemies, military protection to its allies and agricultural relief to countries on the other side of the Earth. This has ultimately resulted in a ten trillion dollar debt that threatens to collapse an already weakened Goliath. If this return to grassroots principles transforms America into an Antaeus, how can the world help but be a better place?

No competitor ever wants to stand against an omnipotent foe, and this is where Haley’s ‘weaknesses’ will become her assets. Despite the world community’s call for inclusivity and diversity, many Third World nations are decidedly chauvinistic in nature. A major Trump criticism of the Clinton Foundation was its acceptance of millions of dollars in contributions from Muslim nations where women are treated as second-class citizens at best. Delegates from such countries will be naturally inclined to think that Haley, as Trump’s advocate, is a subliminal indication of the magnate’s weakness. They would hardly suspect that the opposite may be true.

In an increasingly Muslim European Union, Haley’s appointment will be seen as a major concession. The influx of refugees from the Middle East is rapidly changing the constituency of the continent. The desperate need to assimilate is causing extreme reactions, from white nationalism to radical Muslim activism in every country. Many nations have elected female leaders and Muslim politicians in attempts to restore equilibrium. Seeing a mirror image in an American UN delegate will reassure the EU that things are the same all over, yet not as bad as they seem.

Alternately, the United Kingdom’s ‘brexit’ reflects accelerated effects beyond those seen on the Continent. In a desperate attempt to rediscover their national identity, they have isolated themselves though finding their ties with the US as a stabling influence. They will look past Haley in seeking assurance in Trump, just as the Moral Majority throughout America. They overlook what he is doing in expectation of what he promised to do. And so the Anglo-American alliance waits and prays.

Nikki Haley is a link in a new chain of command, though nowhere as weak as may be perceived. She offers hope and assertion that there is strength in unity, though many may fear she is but a velvet glove covering an iron fist.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Coming In 2017 --- JRD's "The Storm"!!!



The Storm centers on the exploits of Manx Herzberg, a Berlin gangster and club owner in 1933 Germany. He is trying to weather the storm brewing after the recent election of Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler to the office of Chancellor. Local gangs are preparing for the worst, as are homosexuals, Communists and many other groups threatened by the Nazis. Manx’s cabaret club, the Black Pussycat, is the hippest nightspot in Berlin. Yet it is being targeted by the Nazis for its social decadence. Manx is faced with the option of selling the goldmine and leaving Germany. Only vacating his underworld throne is a difficult choice to make.

Making things more challenging is the arrival of Hollywood starlet Ingrid Strasbourg. She has been invited by Reich Minister Josef Goebbels to work on an upcoming movie. She makes an appearance at the club and tells Manx she wants to help him upgrade his product to meet Reich standards. He is unaware she is working for the American OSS to leverage the SA in their bid for power in the Reich. The SA and the SS are in a bitter struggle, and few know that the SS is planning a blood purge to eliminate their paramilitary rivals.

Manx’s younger brother Rolf is a known homosexual currently having an affair with SA Captain Artur Bremer. The co-leader of the Herzberg Gang, he is a psychotic killer with a reputation as a criminal mastermind. He is aware of the plot against the SA and is plotting a pre-emptive strike against the SS on Bremer’s behalf. Manx is appalled at the thought of failure and imminent SS reprisals. He confides in Ingrid, who offers to intercede by engaging the aid of ‘influential friends’. She begins bringing OSS agents into the club, and soon it becomes a center of activity for foreign spies seeking to destroy the SS and possibly oust Hitler from power.

The conflict develops as rival gang leader Dot Schellenberg is hired by Communists for a joint campaign to take down the SS and turn the public against Hitler. They reach out to the SA, only to find the Storm Troopers to be fanatical Hitler supporters. The SS finds out about the overture and use it as the foundation for their own project in destroying their SA opponents. Ingrid learns of the machinations and warns Manx. He tries to warn his brother to abandon Bremer to no avail. Rolf is convinces that an armed showdown between the SA and the SS will convince Hitler which is the greater and more valuable force. Manx is faced with the prospect of betraying his brother or allowing him to continue on to his doom.


Rich with the glamor and glitz of Berlin nightlife, packed with action and suspense surrounding the events leading to the infamous Night of the Long Knives, this is a romantic adventure novel that any and all audiences will find unforgettable.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Death Of A Legend --- JRD's Tribute to Bowie?

He was known by as many names as he gave himself, from the Thin White Duke to the Chicken-Headed Straw Man (as Lester Bangs once called him), the Man Who Fell To Earth, Aladdin Sane, Ziggy Stardust. He was a founding father of glam rock, the godfather of new wave, pioneer in disco and alternative music. Call him what you will, but one of the greatest influences in 20th century pop culture is gone.

I was one of the disillusioned rockers watching rock music sliding down the tubes during the progressive era of the mid-70's. All of a sudden there was the Alice Cooper Band and an eccentric from England named David Bowie. He was doing all this space-themed stuff (Space Oddity, Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars). Behind the scenes, he was hooking up with Velvet Underground founder Lou Reed and garage rock legend Iggy Pop. Next thing we knew, Reed released Transformer alongside Iggy's Search and Destroy. People accused Bowie of manipulating the underground icons, but they laid the foundation for the Punk Revolution thereafter. Who could argue with that?

He went on to put out over a dozen albums between the Seventies and Eighties, riding disco to its grave before jumping on the Next Big Thing and making it happen. Pop, alternative, rhythm and blues, electronic music, you name it, he did it. He appeared in several movies, most recently The Prestige (as Nikolai Tesla) with Bale and Jackman. As the decades passed, we realized he wasn't manipulating anyone, he influenced and enhanced their careers. And no one who worked with him could ever forget him.

Entrepreneur, rock artist, producer, songwriter, actor, cultural icon, the list goes on and on. What do you call someone like David Bowie?

Call him a Legend. A legend who will live forever.