America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, April 14, 2021

Amid the seemingly endless shootings of men of color by police, it would be easy to dismiss last December’s traffic stop by two Windsor, Virginia police officers as a minor incident – after all, no black people were shot or killed. But it stands out for different reasons. The motorist brutalized by one of the police officers wasn’t a kid, a drug addict, or a person of interest to the police for any reason. Caron Nazario is a second lieutenant in the U. S. Army Medical Corps who was returning from work in uniform with his dog on the back seat. He was stopped for driving his new SUV without a license plate, because the car dealer had taped his temporary plate to the back window and neither of the cops noticed it.

A simple misunderstanding, right? And it would have been if, for example…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, April 10 2021

When I was a kid everyone took the post office for granted. Everyone in my building knew our mailman’s name, and our parents left $$-filled envelopes for him at Christmas. In the years after WW2, when everyone yearned for a return to normalcy, the reliability of mail delivery was an anchor to cling to in a chaotic world.

I remember the 1946 Fourth of July parade in Brooklyn, holding my father’s hand – he’d only been discharged from the army for a month. He stood passively as companies of soldiers and sailors marched by, lost in the cacophony of overlapping marching bands, experiencing (I learned, years later) what we now call PTSD. I was oblivious, cheering wildly as each cohort of men and a few women in uniform marched by. I cheered just as loud when a few hundred mail carriers passed in full uniform…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, March 27, 2021

I’m not an expert in either government or politics, but if there’s anything in our history that has a worse record of hypocrisy than the Senate filibuster, I’m not aware of it. As we learned in seventh grade civics, the filibuster is a procedural mechanism unique to the Senate that prevents a majority party from steamrollering the opposition and effectively governing by one-party rule. There are many arguments for or against, and many claims about what its true purpose is, most of which are hypocritical in the extreme.

For example, in the latest incarnation of the filibuster debate, Democrats are calling the filibuster a racist tool. That’s like calling a knife a tool designed primarily for murder. The filibuster is a parliamentary procedure that is an essential element of the way the Senate does business. Inherently neither good nor evil, how it is used depends…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, March 13, 2021

In her morning newsletter, today, historian Heather Cox Richardson wrote “the American Rescue Plan launched the country in the direction it has avoided since 1981, using the national government not to cut taxes, which favors those with wealth, but rather to support working families and children.” Quietly, needing no ego gratification, and without slinging insults at anyone, President Biden changed the direction of our country for the better. He needed neither hyperbole nor fabrication to push through a law that has the approval of 76% of Americans including 59% of Republicans, both virtually unprecedented numbers.

The Rescue Plan will prevent more than thirty million Americans from falling into permanent poverty because of the pandemic and will enable millions more to pay rent and stop draining their remaining savings to feed their families. Despite congressional Republicans’ anger over its $1.9 trillion price tag, unlike the 2017…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, March 5, 2021

Many people in Congress have been tiptoeing around the elephant in the room, but last month, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who at eighty, isn’t intimidated by speaking the truth, said, “The enemy is within.” When asked for a clarification by CBS News, she replied, “It means that we have members of Congress who want to bring guns on the floor and have threatened violence on other members of Congress.” Some, like Georgia’s Marjorie Taylor Greene, refuse to pass through metal detectors at the Capitol. They just walk around them unchallenged, because the Capitol Police have not been ordered to confront them.

A 2,000 page report issued last week by California Representative Zoe Lofgren documented publicly reported contacts between members of Congress and individuals involved in the January 6th demonstration and the insurrection at the Capitol. Representatives Paul Gosar (AZ), Mo Brooks (AL), and Andy Biggs…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, February 26, 2021

The 2020 election and its aftermath demonstrated that the majority of Americans wanted an end to the lies and hateful rhetoric of the Trump years. They proved that nationally by electing Joe Biden, and in Georgia, under the intense scrutiny of the entire world, by defeating two incumbent Republicans Senators in a cherry-red state, turning it a lovely shade of purple. No amount of extremist media reporting can change what we saw and heard. On the other hand, fifty years after the fact, there are still people who claim the Apollo moon landings were faked.

Back in the day, I worked on the lunar landing craft, (LEM,) so I have no doubt that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin really stepped onto the lunar surface and planted the flag. Even so, having observed the lunar simulator used to train Armstrong and his colleagues first hand, and…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, February 22, 2021

Did you ever wonder why beavers spend so much time and energy building dams? When I asked Google, it said because those that do survive and those that don’t, don’t. Beavers are rodents, and not terribly smart ones; they don’t think too hard about what they do. They’re instinct-driven, and their most basic instinct is survival. Their dams create ponds where they can live safely, relatively free of predators most of the time. But every so often, their creek floods, and there’s too much water for their dam to hold back. Their security is breached.

Substitute Donald Trump for the beaver, an army of high-priced lawyers and henchman for the twigs and detritus that form the dam, and the safe harbor Trump retreats to whenever courts and law enforcement start looking into his affairs for the pond. Now you understand why the Supreme Court decision…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, February 19, 2021

If we learned anything during the last few years it’s to be wary of anything that comes out of a politician’s mouth, especially when there’s a good chance there is a hidden agenda behind the words. Trumpers and Tea Partiers constantly rail against federal regulations, often claiming they’re part of a conspiracy to replace capitalism with socialism. That’s about the same as suggesting that teaching children manners is equivalent to suppressing their creativity and freedom of expression. The intent of federal regulation is no more about restricting capitalism than teaching our children to behave civilly is about turning them into robots.

It might help to remove the mantle of bogeyman from regulation. Our Constitution grants Congress the sole power to pass laws, which in a perfect world, are supposed to reflect the will of the people. But laws tend be statements of principles and concepts…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, February 2, 2021

Despite Donald Trump’s ability to take over the news cycle, there are more critical issues on President Biden’s plate that involve saving and improving the lives of Americans. Getting people vaccinated against the pandemic as quickly as possible and providing financial relief for those drowning in COVID-related debt make Trump nearly irrelevant.

The debate over a new stimulus package has been predictable. Based on the recommendations of economists and health professionals, Biden proposed an aid package that’s really a bailout of the American people. But it’s different from other bailouts. The bank and automobile company bailouts invested taxpayer dollars to save industries considered too critical to our nation’s security to fail. The 2017 tax cut was also a bailout of sorts, a desperate rescue plan to prevent billionaires from slipping back into the ranks of mere multi-millionaires.

At the end of 2016, America had…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, February 1, 2021

Today’s military coup in Myanmar is a warning to Senate Republicans eager to avoid going on record convicting former President Trump of insurrection. Myanmar has been at war with itself since its independence from Britain in 1948. Its economy is terrible, its people largely in poverty. Until 2012, Myanmar lived under military rule for fifty years amid constant resistance from pro-democracy groups.

Prime Minister Aung San Suu Kyi’s stunning victories in 2012 and 2015 achieved majority control of both houses of Myanmar’s Parliament, seemingly overturning the autocratic military government in power since 1962. If this were a fairy tale, the country’s economy would have flourished, and everyone would have lived happily ever after. But the reality was that Myanmar’s society was fractured, and ceaseless gridlock, turmoil, and political assassinations prevented progress, resulting in today’s detention of Aung San Suu Kyi and a declaration of national…

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