Monday, November 25, 2013


All nations have the right to use atomic energy for peaceful purposes, such as generating electricity. (The wisdom and practicality of that is another matter; see Japan’s recent problems.)

Nations that have signed the international treaty, including Iran, do not have the right to use the atom to build nuclear weapons. Iran has long claimed its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. We, and our allies, don’t believe Iran. We have no trust in them.

The new agreement may help end those doubts. For the next six months we have the right to daily inspections of all aspects of Iran’s atomic program. And Iran pledges to take certain steps way from processes that might lead to atomic weapons.

Six months is a short time, but IF things go well, we just may build on that time for even better controls and agreements that will keep the atomic genie in its bottle. In foreign affairs, “trust is the coin of the realm.” 

In our Senate a recent rule change was made to curb the filibuster. It was opposed by our senator Mitch as “The Democrats are using the nuclear option!”  My Goodness!  Hiroshima on the Senate floor??  More than a little excess language there, Senator.

Maybe the rule change will work out beneficially (as I hope). If so, maybe other changes can be made to end the stalemate in Washington and get needed legislation passed to get our nation moving again. Maybe the two parties will learn that working together for the country’s benefit is the very best type of politics. Domestically, too, “trust is the coin of the realm.”

If we can learn to trust  and live with Iran (because she proves she has earned that trust) maybe Democrats and Republicans can learn to live together and work for the nation’s best interests.

Let us hope. 

I'm just sayin'...

Monday, November 18, 2013


Over 60% of Americans believe there was a conspiracy to kill JFK, that Lee Oswald did not act alone.  I don’t.  

Flawed as the Warren Commission report is, it’s still the best report we have..and several broadcast programs last week added to my conviction Oswald acted alone.

A fine Nova program on PBS/KET “Cold Case JFK” used modern forensic devices..lasers, computers, GPS..none available in 1963.. to show that Yes, Oswald could have and did do it. The “magic bullet” or “single bullet” theory---Oswald’s second shot struck both JFK and Texas Governor Connally--- was right.

Other programs brought out new information,..including that the Warren commission sent a secret official to meet with Fidel Castro off Cuba’s shore to be assured he did not launch the murder. That was news to me.

So was a shocker..that Bobby Kennedy, then attorney-general, point blank asked a top CIA official “Did you kill my brother?” He was told No..but that  he even felt he had to ask seems to me to be worthy of  much more investigation.

All the official records have not been made public. By law some 1200 more must be made public by October of 2017. We should know more then, but I don’t expect the conspiracy theories to end. We just don’t want to believe that a pipsqueak loser with a $20 rifle & scope changed the world. But maybe the 60% will fall drastically.

Til then, there are more good programs to be aired this week, especially on NBC and PBS. Check your local listings.

As time passes we do learn more; we might even learn the importance and necessity of more effective gun control laws…lest some future president fall victim to a home-printed, plastic, invisible to detect, even cheaper deadly weapon..and change all our lives---again.

I'm just sayin'...

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


This is your month—to learn important past history of your country.

I’ve been reviewing all the special programming TV(and to a lesser extent radio, especially NPR) planned for this month. It’s great and while I  pointed out last time we  would be observing anniversary events..of the space program, and even more so the JFK assassinations, events I lived through—and covered as a reporter…the JFK events dominate.

TV is a marvelous teacher; the early programs have been well done, by and large and better ones are coming.

Surveys show most Americans believe Lee Oswald did NOT act alone in killing Kennedy—the conspiracy theory. Several programs on that are scheduled.  Watch and make up your own mind. (The Warren Commission’s report was flawed, but I believe it still to be the best, basic report yet..and yes, I think Oswald did it, alone).

Other programs are on the JFK legacy..and some “what ifs”..Would we have gotten more in, or gotten  out of Vietnam. How would the Cold War have progressed. Only a few examples.

For you UK students, and more, use this month and see as many of these shows as possible. The times you live in  NOW were greatly impacted by what happened THEN..and these special programs during November offer you an unparalleled chance at an education in those times you—we all—badly need.

I'm just sayin'...

Monday, November 4, 2013

AMERICA’S NUMBER ONE FESTERING SORE, and remains Gitmo…more precisely the flaunting of all our traditional rights and liberties, and the unreasonable delay in ending it.

Over 100 men have been jailed there for 12 years, in a military prison, WITHOUT being charged with a crime. Five of them, labeled the 9/11 suspects, including the alleged mastermind, are supposed to have plotted and carried out various aspects of the plan that killed 2800 people.

The mastermind is supposed to have confessed. To whom did he confess, the CIA?  And was this before or after he was “water boarded” 3 times a day for a solid month?  Water boarding was deemed legal by the Bush administration and illegal by the Obama administration. (Strange how lawyers can issue such differing opinions depending on who is asking for them!)

Most of these men were captured by various U-S military units, or allied units, and sent to Guantanamo, being declared “enemy combatants” by President Bush…a strange, little used term… which has the practical effect of denying them rights they would otherwise have under the Geneva convention…or our laws.

Their lawyers cannot discuss whether they were tortured or not, under a strange court ruling..further denying them their rights. And contrary to all U-S judicial standards, the CIA or other government agencies listens in on their private conversations with their attorneys. (Where is our Bar association to protest all these violations of our judicial canons?)

I was reminded of much of this by a new, updated report on “Sixty Minutes” Sunday, still the best investigative program broadcast. But I was also reminded how easy it is for any of us to assume..hey, the Army arrested them in Afghanistan (or Iraq or…); they were fighting against us; the CIA says they took part in planning 9/11, or the USS Cole attack, or…so they MUST be guilty.

Even so astute a reporter as Leslie Stahl has swallowed this line. I am probably the last blogger around who still believes in the presumption of innocence, but her questions were full of..”Now these are really bad guys….our government said they took part in 9/11 which killed all those people…” neatly forgetting that is what a trial is supposed to prove---or disprove.

Gitmo and our holding of these people without even filing charges against them is a blot on America’s human rights record that will take years to remove. Our government should file charges, take these people to trial..or let them go. (I am aware there are some real problems in where they might go; some nations would kill them; some of their home nations refuse to take them back—but surely after 12 years some place can be found. Why not Kirabati?) Which, incidentally would also lessen the burden on U-S taxpayers.

I'm just sayin'...