Junior NY Senator Kristen Gillibrands has announced her candidacy for president.

Junior NY Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has announced her candidacy for president. 2020 has boat load of  Dems running.

Kirsten Gillibrand: Saint or Scammer

By D.S. Mitchell and T.K. McNeil


The Pendulum Swings

Any of the last 6 Westminster champs could probably do as good a job as Trump

Any of the last 6 Westminster champs could probably do as good a job as Trump

It seems like each new each day brings us a new candidate for the job of president of the United States. At the beginning of Trump’s third year, anyone able to walk and talk at the same time, thinks they can do a better job than Trump. In fact, not to bring peels of laughter from the audience, I am sure that I could do a better job. Being able to do a better job than Trump however could probably be accomplished by any of the last six Westminster champions.

Blinded By Desperation

There are those who say there is no way Trump can win in 2020.  Didn’t everyone say that about Trump in 2016? The prognosticators also said George W. Bush couldn’t win in his second term in 2004. Single term presidents do occur, although not often. In every case such losses occurred it was due to a compelling opponent. The most recent instance, when relatively unknown Arkansas governor Bill Clinton ran against, and beat George H.W.Bush. Who was, by all accounts, in line for a second term.

A Champion Shall Rise?

Kirsten Gillebrand has tossed her hat in the 2020 presidential fray

Kirsten Gillibrand is married to a British national, Jonathan Gillibrand and has two sons.

If the Republicans stick with tradition and name Donald Trump their nominee for 2020. The key to victory for the Democrats will be selecting the right candidate. Someone with a specific set of attributes that appeal to the base, as well as making them impervious to Trump’s already proven attacks and tactics. One of a bevy of Democrats to recently throw their hat into the ring is second-term New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

Upper Middle Class Life

Kirsten Gillibrand is a child of American privilege. Not a Kennedy or a Rockefeller by any means, but both her parents were attorneys. Her father also worked as a lobbyist.  Kirsten Gillibrand was born Kirsten Elizabeth Rutnik in 1966. She attended a private girl’s school, the Emma Willard School. When she graduated she went on to Dartmouth where she graduated Magna cum Laude in 1988 with a degree in Asian studies. After Dartmouth she attended UCLA School of Law and passed the bar exam in New York in 1991.

Philip Morris

Kirsten Gillibrand worked on several important Philip Morris criminal and civil lawsuits

Kirsten Gillibrand worked on several important Philip Morris criminal and civil lawsuits

Gillibrand went to work for Davis, Polk and Wardwell, as an associate. While at Davis she served at defense attorney for Philip Morris defending them in at least three major lawsuits, including civil and criminal racketeering and perjury cases. Her work for Philip Morris and later large financial contributions to her from the company has created multiple and lingering questions about that relationship. Gillibrand says associates don’t get to choose their client load. Comments by Davis insiders refute that, insisting associates always have a choice. She counters with her work at Davis and later at Boies, Schiller & Flexner allowed her to take on pro-bono work (no charge cases) defending poor and abused women, injured tenants against negligent landlords, and other clients with social justice issues.

The Clinton’s

Hillary Clinton has reportedly had a big impact on Gillibrand

Hillary Clinton has reportedly had a big impact on Gillibrand

During the last year of Bill Clinton’s presidency Kirsten Gillibrand served as Special Counsel to Secretary of HUD,  Andrew Cuomo.  In 1999 Gillibrand began working for Hillary Clinton’s 2000 N.Y. senate run. Clinton and Gillibrand became close and Gillibrand gave a $12,000 donation to the campaign. Gillibrand later said that Hillary Clinton had been an inspiring mentor to her.  Furthermore, she said Clinton was the principle reason she had decided to enter politics.

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Mental Illness “I.M. PRISM” by Jack Babcock

Sometimes being smart and doing all the right things doesn't make your life easy

Being smart and doing all the right things doesn’t protect you from mental illness.

A friend of is in the hospital. Jack Babcock has schizophrenia but right now he is fighting another battle. He has been diagnosed with kidney failure. Hopefully, his doctors will get him back on his feet soon. Dialysis has offered many years of life to people who are unable to have a kidney transplant. At this point we are not sure what the way forward will bring, but I thought it would be an appropriate time to share several of Jack’s poems from his book, I.M. Prism. Jack graduated from U of O with a degree in English and he went on to Lewis and Clark law school. Although passing his courses, he became too sick to practice law. Please enjoy Jack’s quirky take on life, and the deep pain of his mental illness.

brown door

the brown door is shut……

I’m mentally ill. I smash the door, howl and scream.

Let me out of this madhouse quoth I.

and behind the brown door are lunatics.

drooling, sneezing, coughing, playing

with themselves.

what do they need?

just not to be put behind the brown door.

they need sunshine and music, laughter.

but, the brown door is shut.


sweet Julia

i compared you

to a movie star

you balked

said you weren’t that attractive

is it possible

you don’t know how pretty you are


i told someone

i write you letters, poems

they thought that was sweet and kind

nothing of the sort

i do what i have to do

i feel i must write to you

looking at things

my aunt left me

an utrillo print

a few rings

a spode china set

all so pretty

so real, i love them, i loved my aunt

and there is you

my dear

i think i love you too.



yotta yotta yata

so it goes

pornography or poetry

yadda yadda ya

whats the diff

it seems important to smile

death has no

yadda yatta

freedom and obscurity

yotta yotta ya

what now my love?

yotta ya.

The Efforts to Curtail Voting Rights

Voting in America is far from guaranteed

Voting in America is far from guaranteed

The Efforts to Curtail Voting Rights 

By Jones William and D.S. Mitchell

Voting is fundamental to our democracy. The right to vote however has been the target for disenfranchisement since the founding of the country. Our Constitution (before amendments) does not clearly stipulate who can vote. In the early years state legislators voted for the president.

Another Amendment

The Constitution has had many amendments

The Constitution has had many amendments

From the beginning many of the states used every means available to limit voting. At the origin of the United States, many groups, including slaves, landless white men, women and free blacks could not vote. But many  amendments to the Constitution (XV, XVII, XIX, XXIII, XXIV, XXVI) significantly expanded voting rights and other political freedoms to previously unprotected groups.

Voting Rights Act of 1965

The passage of multiple constitutional amendments was geared towards enhancing voting rights for all citizens. The federal government was spearheading the expansion of voting rights throughout the United States. Numerous states, particularly the states of the old confederacy, habitually passed laws that did not specifically bar black citizens from voting but placed unrealistic burdens on them. Poll taxes and “guess how many beans are in the jar” kinds of absurdities. For that reason, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was introduced and President Lyndon B. Johnson signed it into law.

Expand or Contract Participation

the Supreme Court has become the friend of big business

The Supreme Court is the friend of big business.

The aim of the 1965 Act was to abolish legal barriers established at local and state levels that were specifically aimed at barring African-Americans from participating in the election process. People of color have had to battle the governments of many states to guarantee their right to vote. In 2013, the Supreme Court abolished an important part of the Voting Rights Act, which required states with racial discrimination history to get the consent of the DOJ before making changes to their state voting rules. Since the weakening of the original law, southern states have gone back to their old ways. As a result, politicians in many states have gone on a new offensive to suppress the right’s of voters through meddling with 1) the Electoral College, 2) passing unnecessarily strict voter identification laws and 3) partisan gerrymandering 4) purging of the voter rolls.

1) Electoral College

“The Electoral College consists of 538 electors. A majority of 270 electoral votes is required to elect a President. Each state’s entitled allotment of electors equals the number of members in its Congressional delegation: one for each member in the House of Representatives plus two for each state Senator.” Wikipedia

Electoral College=Voter Suppression

Electoral College=Voter Suppression

The founding fathers of our nation designed the Electoral College (EC). One main reason for its creation was to prevent the direct election of the president by popular vote. Quite honestly, the founding fathers feared the mindlessness of the uneducated “mob”. They feared an oppressor could exploit the (stupid) public and a demagogue would come to power. In fact, according to Wikipedia, “The Electoral College serves as a compromise between the election of the president by a vote in Congress and choice of the president by a popular vote of “qualified citizens”. The founders believed that it would be better for a president to be elected by the popular vote of “qualified citizens”, thus the Electoral College. Most Americans do not understand the Electoral College and its role. Basically, the founding fathers designed the voting system so that the “masses could not have their way” with the government. The founders were no where close to seeing one-person, one-vote as necessary, or desired.

Changing the Plan

the federal government has pushed for voter's rights while many states have held to old behaviors

The federal government has pushed for voter’s rights while states have held to old behaviors

Even though many Americans trust the Electoral College to give them the most suitable president, the institution currently suffers manipulation. Forty eight of the 50 states give all the votes to popular vote winner. However, two small states, Nebraska and Maine, allocates two electoral votes to the popular winner of the statewide popular vote, and then one apiece to the winner of each congressional district. Unfortunately, many Republican legislators around the country are proposing to follow the Maine and Nebraska strategies. This idea is to mandate electoral votes allocated by congressional district mainly in states where Republicans fear they will lose the statewide popular vote. If a candidate wins big in one part of the state but loses the state he (or she) will at least get one vote. If they manage this feat, it will dramatically change the way presidents are elected.

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RESPONSE to “IN MY OPINION: Clean and Sober”

RESPONSE to “IN MY OPINION: Clean and Sober”

By David Shadrick


Street Level Resources works with the homeless

Street Level Resources works with the homeless

Hello, my name is Reverend David Shadrick but I’d appreciate it if you would just call me Dave. I run a small non-profit called Street Level Resources. I would like to respond to Jennifer’s Troy’s two recent articles; “Homeless Helping Homeless” and her follow-up article, “Clean and Sober.”

Education is my goal, not conflict. Most people understand that a large part of the homeless population are mentally ill, or are alcoholics or drug addicts, or all three. The reality of homelessness is that 85% of the chronically homeless are mentally ill.  “Chronically homeless” is a category that describes people who are homeless in excess of one year.

Who Are We Talking About?

Homeless housing is popping up at locations across the country

Homeless housing is popping up all over

I’m not sure how the homeless participants for the Kenton Women’s Village were selected.  Did the project contain only handpicked people who complied with certain prerequisites?  Were they required to be clean and sober? Were they on prescribed anti-psychotic medications? The reason I ask is because Jennifer’s results are very good when the demographic for the homeless is applied. One to two participants out of such a group of 14 is good.


As I mentioned a full 85% of the homeless have a diagnosed mental illness.  If that statistic is applied this project’s attendance was amazing.  The Kenton Women’s Village had 14 homeless shelter participants and if 85% of them were mentally ill then statistically only two of them would be able to work in the NewSolutions workshop, or produce a quality product consistently.

Mass Eviction

Reagan sending the mentally ill on to the streets is one of the worst presidential decisions of all time

Reagan sent the mentally ill on to the streets. It was one of the worst presidential decisions of all time

Mass eviction. That’s what I said. I hope that fact doesn’t surprise you but I’m afraid it will be a revelation to many. Ronald Reagan’s decision to repeal President Carter’s Mental Health System’s Act has proven to be one of the most disastrous decisions by any modern-day president. The repeal was accomplished by the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981. With a wish to cut the federal budget and little thought to the long-term effects on the mentally ill, Reagan cut federal funding to mental health and in effect de-institutionalized mentally ill patients nationwide. The effects were disastrous to the  patients, their communities, social service agencies, hospitals and police departments that have been left to deal with the devastating results forty years later.

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SOBER Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato sings a painful song about her failure to stay clean and sober. The lyrics are incredibly beautiful and from the news stories, Demi has lived rehab and relapse. Hopefully she will succeed in her sobriety and the same wish for all those others struggling with addiction and broken relationships. Darlene

Clean and Sober

Portland, Oregon has a large number of homeless people

Portland, OR has a large homeless community. Numerous social service agents work on the problem.


Clean And Sober

By Jennifer Troy


There’s one around every corner

There seem to be drug addicts everywhere. Just look around.

There seem to be drug addicts everywhere. Just look around.

I am surrounded by drug addicts and alcoholics. Not intending to be snarky, but it’s almost as if it is a sick craze these days. Addicts abound. Everyone’s an addict or has a family member who is an addict, or has a neighbor or a co-worker who is abusing drugs. Resort rehab facilities are popping up everywhere.  Holistic, Ayurvedic, Cognitive, etc. The list goes on, and the cost accelerates.

Cost is Prohibitive

Generally speaking, most rehab programs start at about $10,000 a  month and the roof on that can go up to $50,000.  There is always someone who wants the best treatment for their kid. Great insurance can go a long way, but only once or twice. As if a month of yoga and massage can fix a life-time of mistakes. I believe with all my heart that the luxury spa approach to addiction is a mistake. If nothing else, it is price prohibitive for most addicts.  Call me crazy but how is someone so down and out that they need residential treatment going to have the cash or the insurance to pay for a bed at Serenity by the Sea?  Most hard-core addicts, have long ago left the halls of respectability, their parent’s home and their job. Residents of Skid Row usually don’t have a blanket or a bar of soap.  It must be obvious that people who set up these luxury rehab facilities are not targeting street people.

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Australia is sadly a Tier 1 level country in terms of human trafficking

Australia is sadly a Tier 1 country in terms of international human and sex trafficking.


By T.K. McNeil

On the Surface

Human and sexual trafficking is rampant in Australia

Human and sexual trafficking is rampant in Australia. It is a tier 1 country by any standard.

Australia is generally seen as a tough, sporty, happy-go-lucky western democracy. A small isolated continent surrounded by water in a geographic region known as Oceania. A tangle of contradictions and mix of traditions making it one of the most unique, unusual and interesting nations on earth. Sadly it is also a tier 1 level country in terms of international human and sex trafficking. This despite consistently complying with minimum requirements.

Not Enough

It turns out the minimum is not quite enough. Trafficking is rampant in Australia in terms of both labor and sexual exploitation. It is difficult to know exactly how bad the problem is, as there is little reliable data on the issue. The government is quite scattershot in terms of acknowledging the issue. Often downplaying it as not to sully their international reputation.

No Significant Steps

It turns out the minimum is not quite enough

It turns out the minimum is not quite enough.

According to a report by the United States Justice Department, while levels of sex trafficking are relatively low, it remains a persistent problem. Mostly due to a lack of significant steps on the part of the government. Of the 87 cases of sex trafficking in 2014, less than half ended in prosecution. Despite cases such as a 15-year-old girl who, after suffering horrific abuse requiring surgery for severe damage to her anus, was sold to an undercover police officer for $5,000.

Not All Bad

Most sex trafficking victims brought into the country are from Asia or the former Eastern Bloc

Most sex trafficking victims are brought from Asia or the former Eastern Bloc

To be fair, Australian Law is in line with other civilized nations in terms of punishing sex traffickers. This includes hefty monetary fines and a maximum of 25 years in one of the nation’s notoriously violent prisons. The sex trafficking of children is comparatively rare. The market seems largely limited to older teenagers. Most of the victims being either Australian or brought in from elsewhere, particularly Asia and the former Eastern Bloc. Both notorious sources for sex trafficking. “Exporting” thousands of women and girls per year to all parts of the globe.

But Still

The sexual trafficking of any human being is heinous. No matter how old they are or how comparatively pleasant the country they are going to. They are still being abused, exploited and dehumanized. Often kept dependent on their traffickers by way of violence (one 13-year-old’s legs were broken after trying to get away), intimidation, isolation and drug dependency. The grooming process in Australia being very similar to that of other Western nations such as the USA and the UK. Vulnerable girls being identified and “befriended” by traffickers and slowly induced into sexual slavery. In terms of Australian women and girls, those from the impoverished Aboriginal community are most at risk.

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