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Gaffney’s lies reach new low – and this time it’s personal

Michael Gaffney, currently a city council member and chair of the Worcester Republican City Committee, must be getting desperate. That’s the only explanation for his increasingly desperate – and sleazy – attacks on his political opponents. He also wants and needs to divert attention away from the sleaze that he sponsors on the increasingly-under-fire Turtleboy Sports website. Yours truly was the most recent recipient of Gaffney’s dishonest venom. A few days ago, I was honored to be elected by the city council to the Worcester Public Library’s board of directors. Gaffney is now taking the opportunity on Facebook (in a sponsored advertisement no less) to rail against the council members who voted for me. According to Worcester’s sleaziest council member, I’m a communist who hates…

The Dante Comparetto I Know

If you read Turtleboy Sports, you’ve most likely seen a couple of hit pieces about a friend of mine, Dante Comparetto. As is usual, Turtleboy gets it wrong. This time, though, they’ve actually stumbled upon something: the reason Worcester residents should vote for Dante for school committee. In the Holden, Mass.-based blog, which operates as a propaganda outlet for Worcester Republican city committee chair Michael Gaffney, Aidan Kearney (the blog’s owner and main author) called a Dante a “junkie” and loser. After a Turleboy reader stuffed a racist note in Dante’s mailbox, Aidan posted yet another story to his Turtleboy site, this time claiming that Dante created the flier himself, just like he claimed that no one could possible use the N-word at Fenway Park….

After Trump fires Comey, time for a real “anti-fascism”

The political events of the past few days have been downright frightening. Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey puts on full display the fact that the current president has no intention of abiding by the rules of democracy. The New York Times noted in the wake of Comey’s abrupt dismissal that the FBI director “was fired because he was leading an active investigation that could bring down a president,” referring to the Russia scandal, and “whether the presidency was effectively stolen by a hostile foreign power.”  The Times, continued that “this is a tense and uncertain time in the nation’s history,” and that the Russian situation could be “one of the biggest political scandals in the nation’s history.” Much like the famous frog in…

Thoughts on the North Korea situation

Watching the current situation unfold on the Korean peninsula, it’s hard not to think, “We’ve been here before,” or “Been there, done that..” While it’s always a dangerous idea on anyone’s behalf to ratchet up tensions in that corner of Asia, this seems particularly the case now, with Donald Trump in the White House. However qualified Mattis is, Trump has the final say on what happens, and he is dangerously inexperienced. With that said, here are a few thoughts on the Korean situation. 1. As evil as the regime is, its collapse might be worse than its existence, at least currently. Reports of gulags that make Stalin’s look like Disney World, concentration camps, mind control practiced by the state, the mass rape of women and…

Trump and the unthinkable: Reichstag USA?

America has entered a new age of extremes. The extreme right has become more powerful than it has been in modern American history with the inauguration of Donald Trump as president. At the same time, a monumental outpouring of dissent against his nascent administration has begun to take shape, as anyone who saw the Jan. 21 women’s marches across the nation can see. As much as it is exhilarating to see a huge, grassroots fightback against the darkness that Trump represents take shape, the unstable power dynamic between the protesters and Trump, and the weakening of democratic institutions marks a grave danger. The Trump administration is in both a position of strength and weakness. Trump is the president and wields enormous power, especially given that…

Burning the flag is not going to help save the world from Trump. It’s also stupid.

It’s right to be mad. An authoritarian who openly embraces a rising fascist movement has taken the White House. On top of that, hate crimes have spiked dramatically across the country. I cannot purport to know what it’s like to be a member of one of the targeted groups (though I do have a Jewish last name), but I can understand why people from any of the groups Trump mentioned in his hate-filled rhetoric would be mad or, more likely, terrified about what the future holds for them. Just like you, I feel enraged that so many people (though not a majority) voted for the monster Trump. I feel scared for my friends who are undocumented, or Muslim, or who are better at being Jewish…

Identity politics or Sanders’ class reductionism? The answer is neither.

Bernie Sanders issued a strong critique of identity politics today when speaking to a sold-out crowd at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. While he’s right to criticize this largely middle-class form of political consciousness, neither his timing nor his alternative strategy are particularly well thought out. No one could call Sanders a racist; this is a man who marched with Martin Luther King, Jr., after all. And in his comments, he pointed out Trump’s racist, Islamophobic, misogynistic, and xenophobic thuggery, denouncing all of these. Still, this is a time when a white nationalist has been appointed to a powerful position in the White House, swastikas are appearing across the country, a fascist movement has taken hold, and America’s non-white-male population are expressing genuine…

Electoral disaster: where do we go from here? First thoughts

I have spent the past few days processing the election results, interacting with people on social media (probably to an extent that has annoyed many), and reading elections post-mortem from various experts and organizations, as well as tried to keep abreast of the news. Given my still mixed feelings, as well as the deep horror and sorrow I feel at the Trump ascendancy, I don’t have a full essay to post now. However, I do have a few sketches of thoughts that I plan to elaborate on further. Below are some still very preliminary thoughts. Hope and horror: Of course, the election results and the recent rise in violence against minorities, people of color, the LGBTQ community, Muslims, immigrants, and other people has filled me…

This election is about morality, not your self expression

By now, it’s pretty obvious: if you support Trump’s bid for the presidency, you’re probably not a good person. Hillary was being charitable when she said that only half of Trump’s supporters were in the basket of “deplorables.” In reality, there’s only one barrel, and all of its apples are rotten to the core. The good old days, when George W. Bush was president I’ve tried, but I simply do not know how to maintain a friendship with a supporter of Trump. Either I say what basic morality dictates I say, and the friendship is harmed, or I bite my tongue, maintaining the friendship but harming my conscience. Those are the only choices. In previous election cycles, people of goodwill could chalk up their disagreements…

Yesterday’s Terror: Are We Already Starting to Forget?

A strangely quiet Chelsea, Manhattan. Courtesy Santi Suthinithet.

As I write this, the block where I used to work in Chelsea, New York City, is still an active crime scene, as investigators try to determine who is responsible for yesterday’s terrorist attack on Manhattan. What is most remarkable, however, is how unremarkable much of the public seems to find what happened. For the record, I am calling yesterday’s attempt at carnage by a thankfully incompetent plotter a terrorist attack, even though Mayor DeBlasio, whom I support, and Hillary Clinton, my favored presidential candidate, have not done so yet. While they are trying to be prudent, I have to agree with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who noted that when someone detonates a bomb in New York City, there really is not much else to call…

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