by Reid Fitzsimons

George Michael, a British pop star who first achieved fame in the 1980s, died on Christmas Day at the age of 53. His death was likely caused by the scourge of wealthy music celebrities- his body/heart simply gave out after decades of abuse, mostly drugs. He was still a teenager when he first encountered star status, initially as part of a duo called Wham! After five years he transformed into a popular solo performer and continued active until recently. Some of his memorable songs were Wake Me Up Before You Go Go and Faith. In my opinion his songs were generally good in an era of some of the finest post-rock music (99 luftballons, If You Leave, most songs by the Cars) and some of the absolute worst, especially the precursors to Hip-Hop.
In his younger days of fame he was vibrant and handsome and the phrase “teen idol” could well have been applied to him. Much later after his fame and fortune were well established, in 1998, he publicly declared himself a homosexual following an arrest for public lewd behavior. At the time of his death his wealth was in the $130 million range.

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by Reid Fitzsimons

Nobody knows how the Trump presidency will unfold. Perhaps he’ll enjoy the celebrity aspects of the office and leave the actual governing to (hopefully capable) advisors and administrators. Certainly there are conservatives who worry he’s in reality an in-the-closet progressive. He might prove to be erratic in word and action and need to be constrained by constitutional check and balances that all but disappeared during the Obama years, facilitated by feckless Republicans. Or perhaps he’ll prove to be a principled conservative, holding a gentle but steady hand on the rudder of state. Nobody knows at this moment, perhaps not even Trump himself.

What we do know is that on January 20, 2017 we will not have to be subjected to a shrill voice proclaiming, “We are women, and from shore to shore the entire world heard us roar,” or some such inanity that flows so readily from the mouth of Hillary Clinton. We can take pleasure in the knowledge that any number of despots and obscure manipulators of money and power will not be receiving the return on their investment: “for a ‘donation’ of xx million dollars to the Clinton Foundation, I can assure you when I’m in the White House I will…” Hillary and Bill will always have enormous amounts of money and with it will maintain a cadre of people to tell them they are wonderful, but absent power no one will have to listen to them.

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hillary-clinton-yelling  donald-trump-mocks-disabled-reporter

by Reid Fitzsimons

From late 1982 to early 1986 I worked at a medium security Federal Prison. We ran the gamut from Mafioso to urban gang convicts to white-collar criminals, and lots of drug related convicts. Overall an interesting assortment of people with a fairly common thread: despite their crimes, and many were horrendous, the convicts could often present themselves as the nicest guys in the world. Seemingly a paradox until one realizes the nature of sociopathy, or antisocial personality disorder, in that the afflicted are driven to obtain whatever they desire, and to achieve their goal their behaviors can range from violent and murderous to affable and charming, whatever the situation may require. The object of their desire can vary widely and include material things and favors, money and sex, and all the way to domination over others. These are people without a conscience; they may know the concept of right and wrong exists but it doesn’t apply to them. Needless to say, to a sociopath lying is as natural as breathing.

Unfortunately for our country, considering the seemingly limitless amount money in the government coffers and increasing laws, rules, and regulations that allow government to wield unprecedented authority over the citizenry, opportunities abound for sociopaths in the world of politics. In Hillary Clinton we find we find the embodiment of a sociopath. She truly will do and say anything to realize her goal, which is inexhaustible self-aggrandizement. With the exception of abortion, in which she consistently revels, there is no position or belief she holds at a given moment that she won’t cavalierly contradict the next. I recall learning that in the same day she took a pro-Palestinian position while talking to a Palestinian group and a pro-Israeli position while talking to an Israeli organization. The continuing e-mail leaks confirm everything we know of her, her penchant for differing public and private policy positions, her lust for Wall Street money while publicly denouncing it, her (forced) amiability in appearances while angrily demeaning people she sees as beneath her when behind closed doors. And man does she lie.

Her opponent, in a convoluted manner, is almost refreshingly honest in a “what you see is what you get” kind of way. He is boorish, crude, loutish, and coarse. He says vile, stupid, and outlandish things and offends even people who don’t take great pleasure in being offended. Like his opponent’s husband, he thrives in the porcine world, though apparently limiting himself to words as compared to Bill Clinton’s actions. No one really knows if he can be taken seriously, and in a bizarre way this is to his advantage: if everyone knows he’s buffoon he can be reasonably accommodated. The real danger in this election is that a soulless person, one who defines what is right exclusively by what benefits her, might well become President. Trump is clearly a blowhard, but I’ll take the blowhard over the sociopath without too much trepidation.







by Reid Fitzsimons (note: this is to be published under the heading No Excuse For Political Sign Defacement in the Forest City (Pennsylvania) News

Many people view Hillary Clinton unfavorably and even despicably, and not without justification. Were it not for a biological characteristic, her sex, she would have no significant political standing: her resume’ is as empty of gravitas as her policy ideas are vacuous, unoriginal, and exhausted. She comes across as shallow and insincere- not Presidential but much more like the director of some low-level government bureaucracy who achieved her position through sycophancy and scheming rather than competence. Still, I wonder if some degree of pathos can be felt for this shrill and unappealing person.

Consider her habitual lying. There is no doubt it reflects some degree of sociopathic drive for money and power, but I can’t help but think it protects her against her own unaccomplished self: an ardent feminist not self-made but husband made; a (faux) champion of the poor who amassed a tremendous fortune without earning it. This must be difficult if she has any degree of conscience. Perhaps by fabricating, for example, her story of dodging sniper fire in Bosnia, she becomes a courageous figure of some sort, if only in her own mind. It is possible she is the type of person for whom her own lies become truth; essentially a fantasy life that assuages her inadequacies.

During this campaign she has come to rely on the guise of experience as a shield of sorts. I spent most of my working years as a medical practitioner (PA) and knew too many practitioners who simply were not very good, and especially seemed incapable of learning from their mistakes. Given enough years of misdiagnosis and prescribing ineffective and even harmful therapies, even the worst could claim, “25 years of experience!” I’m sure most people who have spent time in the real world have known similar people.

The reason I am writing, however, is not simply to disparage Hillary Clinton. Her rival, while I will vote for him, sadly shares most of her failings, just not to the same degree. The other day driving through Wayne County I observed that several Hillary for President yard signs had been defaced. This behavior is unacceptable for people supporting Trump. While it can now to be expected from the Obama (punish your enemies) and Clinton (basket of deplorables) progressive left, who are intimidated and frightened by free speech and opposing ideas, it has no place for those who value Constitutional ideals. While it is inconceivable to me that anybody could support Hillary Clinton (perhaps with the exception of being in opposition to Trump), those who opt to lobby for her via signs or other means should be allowed to do so unimpeded. Trump supporters should not want to be viewed as cowards and thugs- leave that to the Clintonites.

false attribution

by Reid Fitzsimons, more or less

If a raving lunatic, or a chronic prevaricator such as Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump for that matter, proclaims the earth is round, does it make it less likely to be true? Notwithstanding it is conceivable Clinton would declare the earth flat for the right speaking fee, we accept the roundness of the earth as a fact. The reason I mention this is because I received one of those e-mails making the rounds ostensibly titled "A German's View on Islam" attributed to Dr. Emanuel Tanay, a well-known psychiatrist who died in 2014. It appears Dr. Tanay did not write the article, but rather it was authored by a Canadian named Paul Marek in 2006 under the title of “Why the Peaceful Majority is Irrelevant.” Needless to say, it’s always a good idea to check the provenance of things found on the Internet, though I have no idea why it was falsely attributed. If only I wrote an article that circulated for 10 years!

It is certainly possible I was the absolute last person in our round earth to find this article in my inbox, but in case others missed it (though the readership of this blog is probably in the single digits), it will be published here, mainly because it is reasonably compelling. For me, its theme is consistent with what I’ve experienced in the “third world,” for example the vast majority of people I’ve known in Honduras are peaceful, but crime, often violent, is nevertheless ubiquitous and underlies daily life in Honduras. Here is the article:

A man, whose family was German aristocracy prior to World War II, owned a number of large industries and estates. When asked how many German people were true Nazis, the answer he gave can guide our attitude toward fanaticism.

'Very few people were true Nazis,' he said, 'but many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to care. I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen. Then, before we knew it, they owned us, and we had lost control, and the end of the world had come.'  My family lost everything.  I ended up in a concentration camp and the Allies destroyed my factories.

'We are told again and again by 'experts' and 'talking heads' that Islam is a religion of peace and that the vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace. 'Although this unqualified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant.  It is meaningless fluff meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the spectre of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam.

'The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history. It is the fanatics who march.  It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars worldwide.   'It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave.  It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or honour-kill. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque. It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and homosexuals. It is the fanatics who teach their young to kill and to become suicide bombers.  'The hard quantifiable fact is that the peaceful majority, the 'silent majority,' is cowed and extraneous.

'Communist Russia was comprised of Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian Communists were responsible for the murder of about 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant.

'China 's huge population was peaceful as well, but Chinese Communists managed to kill a staggering 70 million people.

'The average Japanese individual prior to World War II was not a warmongering sadist. Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its way across South East Asia in an orgy of killing that included the systematic murder of 12 million Chinese civilians; most killed by sword, shovel, and bayonet.

And who can forget Rwanda, which collapsed into butchery? Could it not be said that the majority of Rwandans were 'peace loving?

'History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt. Yet for all our powers of reason, we often miss the most basic and uncomplicated of points: peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their silence. Peace-loving Muslims will become our Enemy if they don't speak up.  Like my friend from Germany, they will awaken one day and find that the fanatics own them and the end of their world will have begun.

'Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans, Serbs, Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and many others have died because the peaceful majority did not speak up until it was too late.

'Now Islamic prayers have been introduced in Toronto and other public schools in Ontario, and, yes, in Ottawa, too, while the Lord's Prayer was removed (due to being so offensive? The Islamic way may be peaceful for the time being in our country until the fanatics move in.

'In Australia, and indeed in many countries around the world, many of the most commonly consumed food items have the halal emblem on them. Just look at the back of some of the most popular chocolate bars, and at other food items in your local supermarket. Food on aircraft has the halal emblem just to appease the privileged minority who are now rapidly expanding within the nation's shores.

'In the U.K, the Muslim communities refuse to integrate and there are now dozens of "no-go" zones within major cities across the country that the police force dare not intrude upon. Sharia law prevails there, because the Muslim community in those areas refuse to acknowledge British law.

'As for us who watch it all unfold, we must pay attention to the only group that counts - the fanatics who threaten our way of life.'

'Lastly, anyone who doubts that this issue is not serious and just deletes this email without sending it on, is contributing to the passiveness that allows the problems to expand.

Extend yourself a bit and send this on. Let us hope that thousands world-wide read this, think about it, and send it on before it's too late, and we are silenced because we were silent!!


by Reid Fitzsimons

On election night 1982 I was in my 1974 Datsun pick-up truck pulled over to the side of the road outside of Lake Placid, NY, listening to the returns. I was just about to start my first job as a Physician Assistant (PA) at a nearby Federal Prison. Being frugal by nature and not excessively wealthy, my hotel that night was the back of the pick-up. The big race was for the Governor of NY, pitting the Lieutenant Governor Mario Cuomo against zillionaire Lewis Lehrman. Cuomo shared the biography of many, if not most, politicians: college, law school, law practice, politics. Lehrman was born rich but his life has been (he’s still around) multifaceted, interesting, and reasonably accomplished, plus he’s not a lawyer (Cuomo’s parents were “penniless” immigrants from Italy but it seems had reasonable success with a grocery store in Queens). Cuomo won in a pretty close contest and thus began his long run as Governor of NY (and my mostly continuous 25-year run as a resident of the NY and the Adirondack Mountains).

Cuomo became a darling of the left (A “Liberal Beacon” proclaimed the NY Times in his 2015 obituary), but like many spineless politicians he tried to be two things at once- specifically a Catholic in good standing and ardent pro-abortionist. And he generally succeeded, at least politically (doubtful in regards to Christian salvation, going to Heaven and all that), but NY voters lead the way in hearing only what they want to hear. The basic spiel is this: “I’m personally opposed to abortion (usually abortion but it can be other topics as well) but I can’t force my beliefs on others.” This reasoning has always sounded vacuous and cowardly to me, but seems to be a mainstay of modern US politics. At times I’ve yearned to hear a candidate say something like, “I am personally opposed to abortion and the voters should know that about me, and I’d be glad to discuss the basis of my belief.” In other words, a credible person stands up for his or her beliefs, whereas Mario Cuomo demonstrated his cowardice as he ejaculated from both sides of his mouth: “I’m personally opposed to abortion but (essentially) will do everything in my power to facilitate and promote abortion.”

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obama-muslim quote

by Reid Fitzsimons

Barak Obama is a liar, which is not a preposterous thing to say. Bad people lie and good people lie. Sometimes lies are told out of cowardice, other times to help a person through a troubled period, sometimes to facilitate a seemingly greater good, and other times to facilitate a selfishly desired goal. At times people lie to themselves, at times to others, and sometimes to both. Politicians are probably more accomplished liars than average though some are notoriously unskilled and hence entertaining, Richard Nixon, Gary Hart, and John Edwards being examples. The Clintons are not particularly adept at lying in that the truth eventually reveals itself. Their success is based more on the concept found in the lyrics of Are You Lonesome Tonight- “I'd rather go on hearing your lies than to go on living without you.” As difficult as it may be for a rational person to accept, just as there are people who actually watch and receive pleasure from morning network news programs and reality shows, there are masses totally enamored with Bill and Hillary. The Clintons may not be particularly adept liars but they know their intended audience, and this has served them well for many years.

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by Barry King, November 28 2015

Thanks to Reid's son Forest for introducing me to this book. If you buy it, or buy anything else from amazon.com, please shop at smile.amazon.com instead of www.amazon.com, and select The Virunga Fund as your beneficiary. It won't increase your price, but amazon will make a donation to Virunga.


Book review: Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed, by James C. Scott.

Prototypical scheme: A wild forest was designed by God, or by Darwinian evolution, to "succeed" as an ecosystem capable of sustaining a bio-diverse assortment of plant, animal, insect and bird species (and many other kinds). Modern "scientific" forestry, on the other hand, in its early stages, focused on maximizing board-feet of lumber produced, and chose mono-culture: a whole forest of trees of a single species, planted in rows. Many such projects worked for a few years, then failed as the whole forest ecosystem collapsed for unforeseen reasons involving complex interdependencies. The key insight is: these projects, and many others like them, were promoted as "modern", "scientific" and "rational", but were nevertheless unsustainable.

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by Reid Fitzsimons

(Warning: this article includes gender stereotypes, which might be viewed as microaggressive)

One day, 30 plus years ago, a guy I worked with (we were friendly if not exactly friends) kind of blurted out, “We do IT once a week, straight missionary, over in five minutes.” Obviously he needed to express some frustrations pertaining to this aspect of his marriage. Often marriage is described as a series of compromises, which is probably true in many cases, and doesn’t necessarily imply problems beyond resolution. In regards to intimacy, typically or perhaps stereotypically, the husband wants IT more frequently or adventurously while the wife is looking for more cuddling and romance. Neither is wrong, and within the foundational concept of marriage, compromise may well enhance the relationship for both. True compromise, however, requires working within a mutual framework.

Say a husband is a selfish ass who read one Penthouse Forum (is that still around?) too many, you know- “You might not believe it, but my wife caught me looking at the hot young divorcee who moved in next door. Instead of being angry she told me to go ahead, as long as she could watch!” He’s not thinking of trying to be more affectionate if maybe his wife would be willing to experiment with this or that. Rather he pictures himself as some swinging orgy guy, which inconveniently falls outside the bounds of marriage, even if he begins to convince himself otherwise. Compromise becomes coercion, though he still presents it as the former. “Come on honey, why can’t you be reasonable- if I’m satisfied I’ll be a better husband to you.” Perhaps the wife is strong and deftly disabuses him of his fantasy or tells him to get lost, but perhaps she is not. For some reason she is capable of submitting herself to humiliation: maybe being with him offers her a desired social standing, or she can’t overcome deep personal insecurities, or she has evolved some less-than-healthy concept of love. She’s grasping for anything to justify an acceptance of this situation she knows is wrong and unfair to her. If he says, “I may be having sex with a lot of different girls, but you’re the only one I truly love,” it is enough. It has to be enough, because it’s the best he’s going to give.

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sen csey

by Reid Fitzsimons

Note: The following appeared as a Letter to the Editor in the Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania Times-Leader newspaper on Sep 17, 2015 with the title "Sen. Bob Casey Parrots Planned Parenthood's Dubious Statistics."  Below that (“Follow-up”) reflects a discussion subsequent to when the letter was written (early August 2015) with one of Sen. Casey’s policy staffers in his Washington office on Sept. 10, 2015.

A majority in the US Senate recently voted to terminate Federal funding of Planned Parenthood (PP), but a “supermajority” was not obtained, hence the motion failed. Among those voting in support of the half billion dollar plus subsidy of PP was Sen. Robert Casey, Jr. Those who follow such things know that Sen. Casey frequently declares himself to be “pro-life,” but of course he is not- his obsequiousness when it comes to the severe progressive liberalism of Barak Obama disallows whatever independent thought he might possess. Perhaps claiming to be “pro-life” buys him few votes or, less cynically, it helps assuage a sense of inadequacy in his inability to live up to his father’s moral standard.

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