LOVE IS BLIND by Beth Rankin

LOVE IS BLIND by Beth Rankin



We have a candidate for President of the United States of America which, despite some increasing dysfunction, is the voice of the free world. The President is a leader that the rest of the world watches, our allies and the ones that need careful handling. The President needs to be a person the nation and the world can respect.

So, this candidate has said that he can shoot someone on 5th Avenue in New York City and his followers would still love him. Love is blind.

This candidate has said he cannot share his tax returns until the audit is over. The IRS says he can share them. He just says the same thing again. And his followers don’t care. Love is blind.

This candidate has said he believes the Department of Education can be mostly eliminated. He also has said he loves dumb people. His followers smile. Love is blind.

This candidate says that climate change is a hoax.

That it is snowing so it must mean there is no global warming. (See above statement about loving dumb people.)  That he would eliminate the Department of Environmental Protection.  And his followers cheer. Love is blind.



This candidate says Hillary should have stopped Bill from his philandering. His followers ignore his own infidelities and think he is right. Love is blind.

This candidate says he will bring jobs back to America. No one questions why his own clothing line uses factories in Asia. At the first Presidential debate when asked how he would bring jobs back, he did not answer the question. He has no answer but his followers are not needing one. Love is blind.

This candidate says he is a great businessman which is hard to understand with countless business failures and a number of bankruptcies.  More stories are coming out about how he did not pay subcontractors to the point of causing their businesses to fail. But his followers are not those people so they don’t care. Love is blind.

This candidate has made it very clear that women are valued by their shapely bodies and big boobs.



He denigrates women who have pointed out how his behavior is inconsistent with his words on issues.  He did not like how a moderator asked questions during a primary debate so he made a comment demeaning her because she is a woman and has hormones. And his followers, including women, do not react. One told me he didn’t mean it. Love is blind.

This candidate says there are people with good genes and only they should have children. This is only one of many statements he has made that indicate his admiration for Hitler.  But his followers do not recognize themselves. Love is blind.



This candidate made behind closed door deals with Cuba during the United States embargo. He does not act as if laws apply to him. His followers find excuses to not care.  Love is blind.

This candidate thinks there are changes needed to the Constitution, including ending the balance of power between the three areas of government. (See above note about Hitler.) But his followers know only the Second Amendment and nothing more about the Constitution so are not concerned. Love is blind.

This candidate says that more nations should have access to nuclear weapons.



In a world with so much anger, allowing weapons of mass destruction in more hands is not a way to a peaceful existence. But his followers are silent. Love is blind.

And why is love so blind?  Because of “Killery,” they say. Thanks Obama, they say.

These blind people are the ones who claim this is a Christian nation and there should be Ten Commandments in all courtrooms. Can they state them? Do they live by them?

And Jesus made it even simpler….bringing it down to TWO:

                                                 ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart
and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ And
‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’



This is my first entry here, and I had been planning on making a post that dealt with links and numbers and all sorts of information at some point, but have never gotten around to it. Instead I have to share a personal experience with someone, anyone who will read it. So here it goes…

A coworker of mine just came into my office and asked about what was in the news today. I pulled up (against better judgment) and mentioned the breaking news about the Russian-made missile that the dutch are saying took down MH17 which I thought was interesting.

At the bottom half of the page however, there was a picture of Alicia Machado just barely showing.



Now, I know that this coworker is a Trump supporter. He is mostly a “anybody but a democrat” voter and even more of a “anybody but Hillary” one, so I usually stay away from engaging in political conversations with him, but just smile and let him rant from time to time.

This time I could not sit back and do that. He saw the picture, groaned and said: 

“Oh god, her. She must be a real genius. Give me a break…”

And I lost it.

Most people will tell you I am a very calm individual. I don’t get angry often, but when I do, I hear I am scary. Probably because of my usual calm demeanor, nobody expects the claws to come out and it catches them off guard. And boy did I lay into him.

I said fairly calmly “Thats it, get out of my office.” He laughed. “No, I’m serious, get out now!” Still a bit of laughing, mixed with confusion this time. “I am so sick of all this bulls*** and people treating this like it is some big joke when we may have this f***ing idiot elected to be our president and I am not just going to sit around and listen to this anymore! Please leave now. Its not funny anymore!”

***This would also be a good time to note that I do not swear often, so that only adds to the effect.

He turned and walked out and I immediately shut my door behind him. Now I have a flashing message on my taskbar which I assume is from him, but I will not be reading it. Not now.

Maybe I am just sick of the media and the coverage of this election as if everything that each candidate says is equally bad, even if that means having to distort one side of the debate to force errors where not really existed. Maybe it was listening to Morning Joe in the car this morning and hearing how horrified Mika was by Trump’s doubling down on the weight of a woman who has probably influenced more lives than he ever will. Or maybe I just have not had my coffee today and am extremely irritable.

No. I think this is more. I now have an 11-week old, beautiful daughter who means everything to me. I see in her a life that has not yet been subjected to cruelty, insult or hardness. She is pure and she is happy. We should all strive to be the people who set the examples for our own children and those of others. I will not let her grow up in a world where the leader will and attack and try to discredit women because they do not look the way he thinks they should. A world where you start the race 100 yards behind everyone else, just because you are female. And I especially do not want her to grow up in a world where her gender and looks means more to 45% of the country than all the good she has done with her life up until that point.

I just hope that nobody EVER treats my daughter the way that Donald Trump and his deplorable followers treat women, because I may yell and swear when it is someone else’s daughter, but I cannot fathom what my reaction will be when it is my own.

Thanks for reading!

[Shabby46’s article first appeared in Daily Kos.  As she says, this was her first entry, and I felt what she had to say was not only important, but worth passing on to our readers. Thanks to Daily Kos for permission to re-publish, and thanks to Shabby46 for writing this important message!]


The report also provides compelling evidence that supports Clinton’s contention that her answers to the FBI, described by the FBI’s director as truthful, are completely consistent with the public information she has released on the issue. Fact checkers like Glenn Kessler gave Clinton four Pinocchios for saying Comey said she was truthful in her answers. And yes, this was a short circuit—Comey could of course be only referring to answers given the FBI by Clinton. As Kessler wrote:

For instance, when Clinton asserts “my answers were truthful,” a campaign aide said she is referring to this statement by Comey to Congress: “We have no basis to conclude she lied to the FBI.”

But that’s not the whole story. When House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) asked whether Clinton had lied to the American public, Comey dodged: “That’s a question I’m not qualified to answer. I can speak about what she said to the FBI.”

In her now-deemed “not a press conference” before the NABJ/NAHJ convention, Clinton clarified she misspoke (the famous “short circuit” quote). But now we do have Clinton’s “truthful” answers to the FBI—and we know those answers are completely consistent with Clinton’s public pronouncements on the issues. Clinton was truthful.

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

Here are the main takeaways:

1) Review of technical details of Clinton use of private server

The FBI report commences with an extensive review of its actions with regard to retrieving the Clinton server and her devices (see pp. 1-9 of the report). Interestingly, the FBI reviewed beyond the last day of Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, following the Clinton email trail after February 2013. This made sense because Clinton’s emails as secretary of state remained preserved in those records. (This by the way, is one example of why Clinton’s decision was faulty as a matter of record keeping—she needed to turn over the server to the State Department.) 

The technical details raise two noteworthy issues. First, if Clinton intended to hide the emails in her possession, why didn’t she immediately give the order to have her server and email accounts deleted? This is precisely what Colin Powell did with his private email account while secretary of state (more on this later). Second, there was no evidence of a hack of the Clinton servers during her tenure as secretary of state and in the period after she left.

2) Colin Powell has been untruthful regarding his discussions with Clinton about use of private email

In response to press accounts detailing his discussions with Hillary Clinton regarding the use of private email as secretary of state, Colin Powell told People magazine:

Her people have been trying to pin it on me, The truth is, she was using [the private email server] for a year before I sent her a memo telling her what I did

This is a complete falsehood. We know this as a result of the FBI report, which states on page 11 that Clinton exchanged emails with Powell on the subject on Jan. 23, 2009, just two days after Clinton was sworn in as secretary of state. Thus it was not “a year before” as Powell falsely claimed—it was actually before Clinton made the decision to use private email.

What is more remarkable is the advice Powell actually gave Clinton:

Be very careful, I got around [record keeping requirements] by not saying much and not using systems that captured the data.

Think about that. Not only was Powell advising Clinton to evade her record keeping requirements, he actually admitted that he did so himself! Let’s put it this way: If the media could have put Powell’s words in Clinton’s mouth, the impeachment trial would be on as we speak (even before she was elected). But in fact, Clinton did nothing suggested by Powell to evade her record keeping requirement—to the point of not deleting emails after she left as secretary of state. If this was a criminal enterprise to avoid FARA and FOIA, it sure was an incompetent one.

3) The Bureau of Information Security Management stated there was no prohibition against the use of private emails

On page 11, the FBI report flatly states:

The Bureau of Information Security Management [stated] there was no restriction on the use of personal email accounts for official business.

Thus, Clinton’s use of private email and a private server were not prohibited. 

4) Record preservation

The FBI Report quotes Cheryl Mills as describing the record keeping practice for Clinton as making sure recipients were sent email to their accounts. As I’ve stated repeatedly, this does not, in my view, meet Clinton’s requirements for record preservation. A better practice would have been to turn over all work-related emails in her email account to the State Department on a periodic basis. Alternatively, Clinton could have opened a account and copied the account on all of her work correspondence. This is a clear failing by Clinton.

5) Clinton never used any electronic devices in SCIF (top secret) areas.

The FBI Report (on page 12)  makes clear Clinton never used any electronic devices in Sensitive Compartments Information Facilities (SCIF.) Clinton also had an SCIF area in her residences in Washington and in New York. it is clear that Clinton never intended and in fact, never did, expose properly marked and identified classified information to nonsecure mediums. 

6) Thirteen individuals at state were emailed, or emailed Clinton at her private email.

The FBI Report states only 13 individuals had access to the Clinton email network. Page 13 details how Clinton’s network of senders and recipients to her private email account was extremely limited. Just 13 of her top aides had access to her email, as either senders or recipients. This is an important fact to keep in mind when we discuss classified information and leakage into a unsecured email system.

7) Only three emails contained any indications of classified markings; such markings were improperly placed in each instance and two of the three were not classified.

What was the FBI investigation supposed to be about? Ostensibly, it was about whether Clinton or anyone at State handled classified information in a manner that rose to criminality. Of course the inquiry was ridiculous on its face. But let’s consider what the upshot was—from page 19 of the FBI report:

The FBI identified 3 email chains, encompassing 8 individual e-mails exchanges, to or from Clinton’s personal e-mail account, which contained at least one paragraph marked (C), a marking ostensibly indicating information classified at the CONFIDENTIAL level [the lowest]. The e-mails contained no additional markings, such as a header or a footer, indicating they were classified. [emphasis added]

Why it matters:

Comey had to admit that Clinton’s actions with regard to those emails were reasonable.

And that was it with regard to documents actually marked classified at the time. That’s the entire “scandal.”

8) To the degree “leakage” of classified information onto unsecured systems is a valid concern, it has nothing to do with Clinton and everything to do with decades-long State Department practices.

This is a horse I have beaten to death: Clinton put not one single classified (marked or even argued classified after the fact) document in her emails. Not a single one. Nothing that was put in her emails came from a classified system. Not a single thing! If the State Department’s career officials were sending information on unsecured email for decades that the intelligence community thinks should not have been sent through unsecured channels, this issue is not about Clinton—it is about the State Department and the intelligence community (IC.)

And yet the FBI Report details in pages 22 to 27 that in fact every single document that the IC now claims should have been classified originated from career State Department officials, using the State Department unsecured e-mail system—see “About Those Top Secret E-mails.”

Clinton reasonably stated that she relied on the expertise and experience of career State officials regarding classification designation. And frankly, the IC definition of classified is in fact a violation of the law—The Reduce Overclassification Act, signed into law by President Obama in 2010. The intelligence community has blithely broken this law. No one in the media cares.

9) There is no evidence Clinton’s emails or server were hacked.

The authors of the report seem especially upset about the fact they could not discover evidence that Clinton’s server and emails were not hacked. (see pages 26 to33 of the FBI report). But that’s the evidence—no hack. Unlike the State Department systems, which have been repeatedly hacked.

In conclusion, the FBI report makes clear that 1) Hillary Clinton has been truthful to the public regarding her statements on E-Ghazi, 2) she acted reasonably when she accepted the classification determinations of senior career State Department officials, 3) that no properly marked classified information was in her private server or email systems, 4) that use of private email or a private server was not prohibited at the time, 5) that Colin Powell was untruthful in his statements regarding his communications with Clinton on the email issue and that 6) there is no evidence Clinton’s emails or server were hacked.

FBI Director Comey’s unprecedented and improper decision to discuss the investigation publicly was wrong and his opinions on carelessness unfounded. Indeed, his recklessness is what is highlighted here.

While there are a couple of stray questions to be resolved (example: Clinton should explain her answer regarding the (C) markings as the FBI Report is rather unclear), what is clear is that the FBI report fully exonerates Clinton not only from criminal charges, but from any charge of carelessness of recklessness with classified information.

Clinton was careless with her record preservation obligations and, in my view, violated those obligations.

But on the rest? Not only is she cleared, she is fully exonerated.



When the term “alt-right” appeared in the news cycles a few weeks back, I had no idea what it meant or stood for. A little research, however, gave me a handle on the intents and purposes of the Breitbart organization and how it relates to “alt-right,” a euphemism for “alternate right.”

According to Wikipedia, The New York Times says Breitbart News is a “curiosity of the fringe right wing,” with “ideologically driven journalists,” which is a source of controversy “over material that has been called misogynist, xenophobic and racist,” and is now a “potent voice” for Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign.


Breitbart and the “alt-right” came to the political fore when its Executive Chairman Stephen Bannon became the Trump campaign’s CEO in August, 2016. Because of alt-right’s obscurity this would have raised few eyebrows, but Hillary Clinton loudly claimed the hiring of Bannon clearly showed the Trump organization was “embrac[ing] ideas on the extremist fringe of the conservative right” and read published headlines from Breitbart to prove her point.  She went on to say that Trump’s hiring of Bannon “represents a landmark achievement for the alt-right.”

An immediate consequence in the media was connecting Trump and his organization with avowed misogynists (women-haters), xenophobes (strong dislike for foreigners) and racists (belief in the superiority of a particular race). Despite the alarm, Bannon is still CEO of the Trump organization. Then, Trump’s two-day belated disavowal of former Grand Wizard of the KKK David Duke’s “endorsement,” raised additional concern.



Trump repeatedly claimed, according to the February 28 issue of U.S. News & World Report that “he didn’t know anything about Duke, the Klan…or white supremacist groups….” Back in 2000, however, Trump backed away from a Reform Party run for the presidency because, he concluded, their “fringe element,” including “Elvis look-alikes, resplendent in various campaign buttons…anxious to give me a pamphlet explaining the Swiss-Zionist conspiracy to control America,” was off-putting: “I leave the Reform Party to David Duke, Pat Buchanan and Lenora Fulani, whom he labeled in order, “a Klansman, a neo-Nazi, and a communist.”

All this is to say that Donald Trump is, with full knowledge, flirting with ultra-right wing elements of the conservative movement in America. And, furthermore, it is working to his advantage among far right fringes of the Republican Party.



Needless to say, I was astonished by a local, Herald-Dispatch columnist’s affirmation of the “alt-right” in a recent column where he stated, “The alt right believes our nation will never return to greatness under liberal Democrats or establishment Republicans. They support a movement which honors the Constitution, protects the Supreme Court and supports our nation’s sovereignty.”

He also asserted, “The alt right represents a segment of constitutional, Reagan conservatives who realize we’ve arrived at a political impasse where the needs of the American people have become inconsequential in the political theater. And they’re open to a paradigm shift in politics which once again puts Americans first.”

What’s that I hear?  Is it Ronald Reagan rolling over in his grave?

FOUR NEW SKETCHES from James Merritt

FOUR NEW SKETCHES from James Merritt



The sun rose. Waking the small leaf, the last of the season. His creator had already killed the rest of his siblings, sucking the nutrients from their bodies to prolong its own life over the long winter. This leaf refused to give back to the creator, fighting back…a losing battle. Night after night it got colder, creeping towards frost.

The sun rose with each morning and the leaf had hope for another day, knowing it would soon die. Choosing to take its nutrients with it to the grave and die green instead of brown and red like his brothers and sisters before him.

The sun rose, then exploded into the most beautiful glow. A solar flare so large it burnt the planet into embers. The leaf instantly ash and its beautiful green forgotten. Still the image of the leaf and its refusal to conform to the fear of death was saved and passed down backwards in time for generations before the end of life occurred.



She was sitting surrounded by trash bags, down on the sidewalk she hid among the homeless. No one recognized her from People, from Times. At one time her face was plastered everywhere; then the fall, when she lost her child and chose to leave the limelight. She soon found that one homeless person contained more humanity then every director, producer, and manager put together. Hunger pervaded every inch of her being. She had long ago donated her entire fortune to her heart…the poor, minorities, and endangered animals, leaving herself nothing.



She would not accept help or go to a shelter for fear someone might recognize her hidden, hated self. Lying, she shook, enjoying the cold ground against her burning skin. She would soon be found, perhaps, by the tabloids, but hopefully continually forgotten. Lost forever after the fall. No longer beautiful, or immortal. She defecated on her star, collapsing in her own waste, spending her last breath in waste of what her teachers hoped for her; a waste of the doctors who worked on her after her fall. Perhaps. it would be better if all fell down and learned what mortality actually means.



Pooh woke up earlier than he had ever before, Christopher Robin had passed away, as did his son, and yesterday Christopher Robin the 3rd had his own grandchild born. Pooh was a magical bear, living in the 100-acre forest, a magical place. Even here he began to feel his ninety-two years. His stitching popped daily if he ate too much, and his fabric was growing thin. He even had a few patches on his knees and his tail replaced with a new one as the old one had gone completely flat. Joey had married Piglet and moved to London to open a toy store of non-scary toys.



Rabbit, Owl, and Kanga had passed on twenty years ago. Tigger had disappeared on his seventieth birthday in search of great adventures, still bouncing and souring to great heights. Eyore was Pooh’s last companion in the forest. He was still unchanged, except that he had moved into Rabbit’s old house. The day he moved in the roof sprang a leak, and a spring popped up pouring water from the bedroom out the front door. When it stormed Eyore came to stay with Pooh as his home had become a home to the fish.



Pooh wandered the wood in the early morning with a smile on his face, thinking of honey.  He looked up to see the sun slowly rise and as it did the magic slipped away from his old fabric body. He disappeared, only to be left in the minds and hearts of all who loved him and his many adventures, leaving Eyore alone for the rest of all time.


One drink down and she gets up to dance, twirling, swirling, and inviting others in the bar to join. Two drinks in and she is laughing gaily. By drink number three she is flirting with men both single and taken alike. By drink number four she hardly cares of the stares, the rednecks judging, hating, and treating her with disdain. By drink number five her hairy legs matter to her not; her bass voice singing along to the karaoke machine. Yes, she is a Dancing Queen!



By drink number six the bar must close, and she finds a lonely straight man to take her and hold her close. So what, he won’t kiss…there is more to this. By morning regret and loneliness will creep back in. The man will not stick around in fear of “sin”. A made-up thing of a religious man’s delight to control the masses to his will by causing fear and fright…. She doesn’t believe in sin; but tomorrow it doesn’t matter, for she will become a man…once again.