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Monday, September 5, 2022

Trump and the 60-day rule

 Justice delayed is justice denied. It is past time for justice to be done for the majority of Americans despite the 60-day "rule" (Unwritten Rule Poses Dilemma for 2 Inquiries. New York Times, September 5, 2022: A1, A10).

In a couple of months between the election and the January 6, 2021, meeting to certify the election, Mr. Trump and his allies managed to file (and lose) 59 cases alleging election fraud and win one case. They attempted to suborn election officials in multiple states. They managed to harvest over 150 votes in congress to decertify the electoral votes of several states. That is quite an achievement in a short amount of time.

In contrast, America has shown great deference to the former president. The January 6th Congressional Committee Has presented evidence that would provide the basis for charges to be laid against the President. No charges have yet been laid. The FBI has uncovered evidence that the former president has mishandled government documents and that he or his associates have obstructed an FBI investigation. As yet, no charges have been laid.

Mr. Trump is devious and has a reputation for "lawyering up". He must be brought to justice now. He should be arrested as soon as possible and denied bail.

Mr. Trump has always acted as though rules are for other people; he should not be protected by the 60-day rule.

Submitted to the New York Times.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Does the Commonwealth need more money?

 Ms. Leung (Boston Globe, August30, 2022) should be assured that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts definitely does NOT have enough money. The money from the Fair Share tax increase is definitely needed. The amounts that Ms. Leung mentions in her column (Budget Surplus minus payback, $1.9 billion; Rainy Day fund, which should be inviolate, $6.9 billion; Federal Relief, $2.3 billion) are dwarfed by the shortfall in the Commonwealth’s Pension funds, $10.44 billion.   

The State Pension Fund is currently badly underfunded. As of June 30, 2021, the Massachusetts State Pension fund had a shortfall of 23% (assets $36.04 billion, liabilities $46.48 billion). This is worse than the average state which Pew Charitable Trusts estimated to have a shortfall of 16% after the stock market gains of 2020-21. All have probably worsened after August’s stock market losses. 

The budget surplus and the Federal Relief funds ($4.2 billion) should be invested in the Pension Fund. If we added $4.2 billion to the assets of the pension plan, the assets would rise to $40.24 billion, and the shortfall would be reduced to 13% making us one of the better states for Pension Plan financing. With this level of funding, future generations would be less likely to be taxed to make up the shortfall.

Alas, the Massachusetts Teachers Pension Fund will still be badly underfunded. Some of the tax increase on the wealthy should be dedicated to topping up that pension fund.

Submitted to the Boston Globe

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Images of Gun Violence

 Scroll down this link for my letter on grisly images of gun violence:

No need for pictures to understand carnage of gun violence - The Boston Globe

Boston Globe

Saturday, July 24, 2021


 Scroll down for my Boston Glone  lettter:

For those outides the firewall. This is what I said. They edited out the material in brackets.

Some 70 years ago when I was ten or eleven years old, I suffered from sinusitis. It was severe enough that I was in hospital for a few weeks in the winter at the Bristol (UK) Children’s Hospital. All I remember about the treatment was that at night, they bundled us up warmly and trundled our hospital beds on to an open balcony so we could get fresh air while we slept. [I do remember that the patients were cared for by rotating shifts of nurses from the West Indies; part of the Windrush diaspora that saved the expanding British National Health Service in its early years.]

During the day we were free to sit in bed, walk around our ward, and venture a little into nearby wards as long as they were not filled with infectious children.

Our ward was adjacent to the polio ward. Several kids were usually swinging around on their crutches making good time going from friend to friend. They were the lucky ones. Others, sicker, were propped up in their beds reading or listening to headphones. The sickest were cocooned in their iron lungs that wheezed while squeezing air into these critically ill kids to help them stay alive.

I always remember that the kids on crutches were awed that I could walk around without any help.

Within ten years, polio vaccinations eliminated this devastating disease from our lives.

Right now the COVID-19 vaccines are keeping this disease from further ravaging our society. They will only do so if all of us who can get vaccinated do get vaccinated. Any adverse reactions to the vaccine are miniscule compared with the suffering that one might experience if COVID-19 struck.

I will never forget how as a child, I saw polio stricken youngsters my age facing a life on crutches or in iron lungs, just like COVID-19 sufferers on ventilators are immobilized. That haunting memory made me set aside vaccination hesitation.