Only hope can save us!

I’ve kept silent in this hellish political season. That’s a hard thing for a journalist/attorney to do. I’ll admit I was unsure until last night but the light bulb went off as President Obama addressed the Democratic Convention.

I remember that night in 2004 when he first took the national stage. I was mesmerized by his forceful, infectious optimism, not yet tarnished by the corroding abrasion of Washington lawmakers. If you remember, his message was one of hope.

Well, a lot has happened since then. America is living under a cloud of fear. The fear of  parents who can’t imagine how they’ll pay for college for their child; the fear of grandparents who don’t turn on the lights because they can’t afford the bill; the fear of children who see friends shot in the safe harbor of a school and the fear of teens who see heroin as a cheap Saturday night.  Fear has grabbed hold of the black population, scared to send their young men for a container of milk and cops operating under a trigger point state of paranoia for their lives.

History has shown us what fear can do to a population. History in our time and not in the dusty books of a university library. Fear is palpable all around us.

The two candidates who saw that fear in our eyes took the baton and ran to places we never imagined. One who continues to ply that fear and the other whose burn to change it fell short.

Only Americans can change this malaise, this anxiety-ridden cloud that is suffocating us faster than a swath of disease-carrying mosquitoes on a stagnant pond. We are choking with fear. We long for the security of a country that can protect us, rather than a country who is chided and viewed with derision on the global stage. We long for the days when we could send our kids out on a summer night to play safely in the streets without fear of random gunfire. We long for the day when bankruptcy was the taboo and not the norm for every other American. We are Americans. We hope, we dream that our best days are still ahead. Our eternal optimism is what makes us stand out and what makes us strong in this world. That is precisely what makes us Americans.

If we, as Americans, are going to win in November, the candidates need to take our fears seriously, not ignore them. Listen to what the fear mongers are saying and give us a concrete path to tomorrow. That’s the only way to win the election. That’s the only way to tip the numbers in our favor.

Of course we are afraid. It’s a scary world but baseless propaganda which panders to that is not the solution. You’ve got this America, now get out and do something about it and vote. It is your birthright! It is our future.

If you want change……….we’ve come this far……..after 240 years of male leadership, why not let women take the lead!

Time for a change

Westchester attorney wonders what price freedom after death of Bin Laden

As an American I value the freedoms I have enjoyed since birth, often taking many of them for granted.  As a journalist I value the freedom of speech I have to write whatever I want, for the most part, without fear of being censored or sued.  As an attorney, I value the privilege to defend these freedoms for those whose rights have been violated.  It is with these liberties in mind that I am greatly troubled by the dancing in the streets celebrated by dozens of Americans over the death of Osama Bin Laden last night.

Image – Michael Elliott/

I was angered by the attack on the United States on September 11, 2001 and I remain fearful of the world which lies in its aftermath.  We have become, with good reason, a society of anxious, nervous individuals, seemingly willing to abandon America’s fundamental principles in retaliation for the great wrongs bestowed on us nearly ten years ago.  Yet, are we then not becoming just as the freedom-deprived individuals who attacked us out of envy and ignorance?

War is a conflict between nations and NOT between individuals.  Generally, individuals are placed on trial for war crimes and not assassinated.  Many other suspected terrorists have gone on trial here and abroad and their fate has been adjudicated accordingly.  That’s what civilized people do.

In the 19th century, British philosopher and noted pacifist Bertrand Russell stated “War does not determine who is right – only who is left.”  Only time will tell what we are left with.  Only time will tell if Islamic terrorists will deify Osama as a martyr or be liberated from his mental grip to enjoy the freedoms most Arabs now seem to want.

Westchester attorney says it’s time for action not speeches on US debt crisis

As a kid we all have fantasy jobs – mine was an astronaut for the longest time and then, when I finally became a network journalist, my dream job changed and I wanted to be the White House press secretary.  I figured if I was going to be a paid flak I might as well dream big, right?  A trip to the West Wing with my graduate journalism class cemented the dream.

Give me something to believe in again!

Then life happens while you’re busy dreaming and a journalism career gave away to law school but that did not erase the morning habit of watching all three network news programs simultaneously.  So, this morning, I woke up and turned on my two TVs. (I still don’t have picture in picture)  and I watched President Obama’s press secretary, Jay Carney, in his briefing about the budget crisis.  He looked awful and he’s only been on the job less than two months.  Some Presidents go through staff quicker than others and as the face of the administration, press secretary has got to be the toughest position.  You may think I’m crazy but think about it……….Cabinet members make tough decisions but they are shielded, just as the Chief of Staff.  The press doesn’t get near them unless there’s a photo op or an interview granted.  It’s the press secretary who must face the world each day and the hardened West Wing media corps.  It is the press secretary who must deliver good or bad news from a podium in front of barking reporters.  It is the press secretary who must be wondering how can I sell this crap to the American people.  And you wonder why Jay Carney looks awful after less than two months on the job?

President Obama with press Secretary Jay Carney

Just listen to how little was said during yesterday’s briefing on deficit reduction.  Carney is well paid to say nothing and we are paying him to say nothing.  Is this a great country, or what?

This administration knew the economy was its biggest crisis upon election and what has been done in the past two years?  Right now foreign countries hold 1/3 of the note on the the US debt….the Chinese hold more than a $trillion, while the Germans now own the New York Stock Exchange (which they bought at a bargain rate, by the way).

I am not an economist and I won’t pretend to be one of those media pundits who spout drivel as they feign some sense of expertise.  I am an American who sees this country in the worst economic shape it has ever been in and we have a White House talking about raising the debt ceiling so more foreigners can own a piece of us.  Something’s wrong in these United States, to borrow a turn of phrase.

If I was in debt to the tune of $14.29 trillion and tried to raise my debt ceiling without cutting spending, I would be laughed at by every bank who held my credit lines.  Yet, here we are, an alleged super power with a super idiot in the White House being advised by “expert” economists as to how to dig a deeper financial hole………I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the crazy train bypassed Washington a long time ago while the insane rocket has blasted us into the stratosphere of stupidity.

Those in favor of raising the debt ceiling beyond the already unthinkable $14.29 trillion claim that unless the United States is allowed to borrow more money then the nation will default by early summer.  Hey, if you thought the savings and loan crisis, the Madoff Scandal and the bank bailout were bad, you have no idea what a U.S. default would do to the global economy.

Raising the debt ceiling is nothing new on the Hill.  They’ve done it dozens of times in the last half-century, ten of those times in the last ten years since 911.  And sometimes, just sometimes, you have to restructure your debt to get out of it……….sometimes you just have to say enough is enough.  I don’t know what we do at this point. I don’t have the easy solution and I doubt that the old guard or the new Tea Party does either but unless drastic measures are taken immediately and not just “discussed,” bread lines, soup kitchens and “Made in China” will all take on new meaning for a country whose streets used to sparkle with the dreams of visionaries for a better tomorrow.