Children Who Are Helping, or Have Helped Change the World

by Thea Halo

Of course, as adults it is our job and even our duty to make the world a better, safer place for children around the world to grow into well adjusted, productive, happy adults. Yet throughout history, children around the world have often taken it upon themselves to do the job of grownups because, let’s face it, we’ve often let them down. 

Some of their activities are local endeavors. Some are global. Here is a list of only a few of the extraordinary young people who have helped, or are helping to change the world. 

For instance, we’ve all heard of Greta Thunberg, the young environmental activist from Sweden who believes that no one is too small to make a difference. Perhaps she learned that from Licypriya Kangujam, a Nine-year-old from india. Licypriya started an organization in July, 2018—a month before Thunberg’s—called “The Child Movement” for Climate Change, to call on world leaders to take immediate climate action to save our planet and our future. Licypriya said: The best gift parents can give to their children, is not lots of money or expensive houses, but a beautiful planet.”1

Louis Braille, was blinded by the age of three in his father’s workshop. Luckily for Braille, his parents didn’t allow their son’s blindness to keep him from going to school. By the age of 15, Braille invented a system of raised dots that could allow the blind to read using their fingers. Braille had improved on an earlier invention by Charles Barbier. Braille’s system was presented to his peers for the first time in 1824.2 It is still in use today.

Malala Yousafzai was only around 11 or 12 years old when she began to write a blog decrying Tehrik-i-Taliban’s military occupation of Pakistan’s Swat. The Tehrik-i-Taliban is an organization that often banned girls from attending school. After receiving prominence from an article in the New York Times that made their plight known to the world, Malala and two other girls were shot by the Tehrik-i-Taliban in an effort to silence them. After healing from the gunshot wounds, Malala would go on to become a prominent activist for the right to education and “co-founded the Malala Fund, a non-profit organization, with Shiza Shahid.” From 2013 to 2015 Malala  was featured in issues of Time magazine “as one of the most influential people globally.”3

Marley Dias is an all-star reader who organized a book drive called #1000BlackGirlBooks in November 2015, when she was not quite 11 years old. The campaign delivered more than 8,000 books to young girls.4 

Kid Blink and the Newsies (1899) were kids who sold newspapers on street corners for major newspaper men like Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer. When those two pioneers of the news business decided to charge the boys an additional penny to buy each paper they sold—as if Hearst and Pulitzer needed those extra pennies more than the poor kids who sold their papers—“Kid Blink and other ‘newsies’ …mobilized to protest the increase with raucous rallies and a strike. They won so much support from readers that the papers went from printing 350,000 copies a day to only 125,000!”5 

Claudette Colvin, refused to give up her seat to a white woman in Montgomery, Alabama. She was only 16 when she was arrested. That was nine months before Rosa Parks took the same action and was widely celebrated in Montgomery’s Black community. “Claudette was told by many adult leaders that she wasn’t fit to be a role model.” Undeterred, Claudette then became “one of four plaintiffs in the important busing desegregation case Browder v. Gayle.”6

Iqbal Masih was only four years old when his family in Pakistan sold him into slavery to pay off a debt, the equivalent of $12 at the time. He worked in a rug factory. “He would rise before dawn and make his way along dark country roads to the factory, where he and most of the other children were tightly bound with chains to the carpet looms to prevent escape. …After learning that bonded labour had been declared illegal by the Supreme Court of Pakistan,” Masih escaped and attended “the Bonded Labour Liberation Front (BLLF) school for former child slaves and quickly completed a four-year education in only two years.” He went on to help “over 3,000 Pakistani children that were in bonded labour escape to freedom and made speeches about child labour all over the world.” At the age of 12, he was gunned down by the “carpet mafia” near Lahore, Pakistan.7 

William Kamkwamba, a semi-educated 14-year-old from Malawi, Africa, was forced to leave secondary school when his family could no longer afford to pay the fees. William “then went to his local library, read up on his science, found a DIY guide to making a wind generator and set about trying to build it. Using a tractor fan, shock absorbers, PVC pipes, a bicycle frame and anything else he could lay his hands on, he then built a rudimentary wooden tower, plonked his home-made generator on the top, and eventually got one, and then four bulbs to light up.” His generator was then used to draw water from the family well to water their fields during a terrible drought. “He is now known as ‘The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind’ – a book that was made into a film. He wrote on his blog: “I managed to teach myself about how motors and electricity worked. Another book featured windmills on the cover, and said they were used to pump water and generate power. I was so inspired I began collecting scrap metal and old bicycle and tractor pieces. Many people, including my mother, thought I was crazy.”8

Garrett Lowry “lost his grandfather and his beloved cat to cancer. …Thanks to his grandmother’s knitting lessons, the then 11-year-old Garrett turned a class philanthropic project into an ultimate act of compassion.” Garrett began to knit caps for kids with cancer. He has now “knitted more than 150 caps for kids suffering from cancer, donating the caps to hospitals in California and Colorado so the young patients can feel better after losing their hair” from Chemotherapy. His parents, Sheryl and Don Lowry, are now “helping him develop a foundation to continue his efforts.”9

There are so many other young people around the world who have taken it upon themselves to make this world a better place for others who may be suffering. They should be an inspiration to all of us to do better. 


  1. Child environmental activist: ‘Our leaders are ruining our lives’ DW.
  2. Louis Braille. Wikipedia.
  3. Malala Yousafzai. Wikipedia.
  4. Marley Dias. Wikipedia.
  5. Kid Blink and the Newsies.
  6. See more child activists @
  7. Iqbal Masih, Wikipedia.
  8. John Vidal, “Tilting at Windmills: The boy Who Harnessed the Wind, The Guardian, October 2, 2009. 
  9. These 6 Kids Are Doing Amazing Things For Their Communities, Huffpost. August 29, 2017.


Thea Halo is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir, Not Even My Name, a former news correspondent for WBAI in NYC, and a former producer for public radio in upstate NY. Not Even My Name was instrumental in garnering the first state-level resolutions in the U.S. that recognized the genocide of the Pontian and other Asia Minor Greeks and Assyrians. She was a co-sponsor and driving force, along with Prof. Adam Jones, of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) resolution that affirmed the Ottoman Genocides of Pontian and other Asia Minor Greeks and Assyrians as comparable to the genocide of the Armenians. She has also published a collection of poetry, and a number of Thea’s historical papers on the Genocides of Greeks and Assyrians have been published in books on the Ottoman Genocides. In 2009, Thea, along with her mother, Sano Halo, who passed away in 2014 at the age of 105, were awarded honorary Greek citizenship by the Greek government. In 2002, Thea was awarded the AHEPA Homer Award and, in 2012, the Association of Greek American Professional Women honored Thea and Sano for their “Profound contribution to Literature and to Hellenic Cultural Heritage and History.” Thea has also won numerous awards for her poetry and literary essays.

Parenting: The Most Important Human Activity!

by Thea Halo

Probably the most important activity in a human being’s life is parenting. Even animals know the importance of parenting for the survival of their offspring. Yet in the US, and in most countries around the world, parenting skills are left to chance, or to what one learns from one’s own parents. This sometimes leads to disastrous results, as one’s parents are sometimes just as ill equipped as the child to know how to raise well adjusted, kind, productive members of society who will at least have a chance of fulfilling healthy ambitions that benefit themselves and society at large.

Reports of gun violence and mass murders are on the rise, and children are often left to fend for themselves, adopting like minded associates who are sometimes just as ill-equipped to know how to lead a productive life.

So I would like to propose a Resolution to be presented to the US Congress. If you think it’s worthy, please support this resolution by writing to your own legislators. Send them a link to this blog as a suggested Resolution.


H. Res. ___

In the House of Representatives, U. S.,

March 10, 2022.  

Whereas the most important activity in which humans take part is parenting; 

H. Res. ___

In the House of Representatives, U. S.,

March 10, 2022.  

Whereas “proper parenting or child rearing promotes and supports the physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood”;

Whereas proper parenting skills prepare the next generations to lead healthy, productive lives;

Whereas young parents are often unprepared for the rearing of healthy, well-adjusted children;

Whereas poverty, lack of education, poor parenting skills, and isolation are often precursors to our youth looking for, and finding alternative ‘families’ among other alienated members of society;

Whereas poverty, lack of education, and isolation are often precursors to a life of crime;

Whereas poverty, lack of education, and isolation are also often precursors to drug abuse;

Whereas poverty, lack of education, and isolation often contribute to the inability of the next generation to raise healthy, well-adjusted children of their own; 

Whereas the cycle of alienation and exclusion from society is often a pernicious result of improper parenting and a lack of education; 

Whereas “According to statistics compiled by the Guttmacher Institute, the US has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the developed world.”

Whereas lack of sex education often contributes to unplanned pregnancies in our youth;

Whereas parenting skills do not always come naturally to all parents;

Whereas young parents sometimes learn from parents who were ill equipped to properly parent and prepare their children for a well adjusted, productive life;

Whereas education is the most important aspect of parenting for both the child and the parent;

Whereas proper parenting more often insures the raising of healthy, well adjusted adults who will have a better chance at being fully integrated into society in a healthy, productive manner;

Whereas healthy, educated, well adjusted adults usually add to the health, wealth, and well-being of the nation; 

Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that it is the policy of the United States to: 

(1) make it mandatory to teach a course on parenting in all Junior/Middle Schools;

(2) make sex education mandatory in all Junior/Middle Schools;

(3) make lunches free for all students in public schools;


Thea Halo is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir, Not Even My Name, a former news correspondent for WBAI in NYC, and a former producer for public radio in upstate NY. Not Even My Name was instrumental in garnering the first state-level resolutions in the U.S. that recognized the genocide of the Pontian and other Asia Minor Greeks and Assyrians. She was a co-sponsor and driving force, along with Prof. Adam Jones, of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) resolution that affirmed the Ottoman Genocides of Pontian and other Asia Minor Greeks and Assyrians as comparable to the genocide of the Armenians. She has also published a collection of poetry, and a number of Thea’s historical papers on the Genocides of Greeks and Assyrians have been published in books on the Ottoman Genocides. In 2009, Thea, along with her mother, Sano Halo, who passed away in 2014 at the age of 105, were awarded honorary Greek citizenship by the Greek government. In 2002, Thea was awarded the AHEPA Homer Award and, in 2012, the Association of Greek American Professional Women honored Thea and Sano for their “Profound contribution to Literature and to Hellenic Cultural Heritage and History.” Thea has also won numerous awards for her poetry and literary essays.

Sir Winston Churchill, Heart of Darkness & Light

Perhaps the best way to write about Sir Winston Churchill and present some of his best quips, is to begin with one of the best comeback lines in history. And it’s not his!

When Sir Winston saw his wife Clementine talking to a street sweeper for a while, he asked: “What did you talk about for so long?”

Clementine replied with a smile. “Many years ago he was madly in love with me.”

Churchill smiled ironically, “So you could have been the wife of a street sweeper today.”

“Oh no, my love,” Clementine replied. “If I had married him, he would have been the prime minister today.”

Winston Churchill has his own clever quips. However, I thought it would be remiss of me to offer only that clever side of Winston without showing the complexity of the man and, in turn, the complexity of mankind, the most complex of nature’s creatures. We have the capacity to both think and feel, to use language to devastate, create, explore, and heal, and to take action to either destroy or repair what we see. Humans have even conquered space by sending men to the moon. Yet, too often, humans have used their genius to destroy rather than create, and to become the master murderers and thieves of the planet. 

“In Churchill’s view, White Protestant Christians were at the top, above white Catholics, while Indians were higher than Africans. ‘Churchill saw himself and Britain as being the winners in a social Darwinian hierarchy.’”1

So, before going into greater details about Winston’s views,  let’s start off by reminding everyone that, unless grand theft of the art and culture of other nations is the measure of the greatness of one’s own nation, Britain should return the so-called ‘Elgin’ Marbles stolen from Greece. So far, Britain has refused. Theft of other people’s culture does not make one’s own culture great.2

Churchill’s legacy is rich with examples of both triumphs that have reached heights most of us will never achieve, and a slew of less than noble acts and pouts. He represents the dichotomy between the good, the brilliant, the petty and, some might even say, the evil that can dwell in one and the same person. 

Labour candidate Benjamin Whittingham once tweeted that Churchill was “a racist and white supremacist”. Whittingham later apologized if his statement caused offense, and deleted the tweet, as if calling someone “a racist and white supremacist” could be conceived of as a compliment by some. Others argued that Churchill was simply a “paternalist who believed that Britain had a profound moral duty to improve the lives of the peoples of her Empire, but it was incidental that these peoples exhibited different colours and creeds.“3 

Not only has Winston Churchill and Britain been accused of draining “over $45 trillion from India, which to date has hampered the country’s ability to come out of poverty,”4 Churchill has also been accused of Genocide in India, especially in his handling of the India rice famine. “In 1943, India, then still a British possession, experienced a disastrous famine in the north-eastern region of Bengal—sparked by the Japanese occupation of Burma the year before,—and Churchill’s actions, or lack thereof, have been the subject of criticism. …[Churchill’s] War Cabinet ordered the build-up of a stockpile of wheat for feeding European civilians after they had been liberated. So 170,000 tons of Australian wheat bypassed starving India—destined not for consumption but for storage. …Churchill even appeared to blame the Indians for the famine, claiming they ‘breed like rabbits’ … it was difficult for people to get him to take the [famine] issue seriously.”5 In light of the 3 million Indians who died during the famine, who Churchill could have saved, the view of Churchill as a ‘paternalist’ has more holes in it than a sieve.

As to those ‘rabbits,’ Winston couldn’t know that one of those ‘rabbits,’ Subramanyan Chandrasekhar, would win “the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1983 “for his theoretical studies of the physical processes of importance to the structure and evolution of the stars.”6 And then there’s that other ‘rabbit,’ Srinivasa Ramanujan, a poor, self-taught Indian mathematician who was immortalized in the film, The Man Who Knew Infinity.’ “One of his last discoveries, before dying at 32 of a liver infection, was of mock modular forms, functions currently being used by physicists to study the thermodynamics of black holes.”7

Winston’s brag about being a member of a superior race, suggests he also forgot about the great achievements of other cultures before the British even existed as a people. Britain emerged from various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms around July 927 A.D. Even then, the Brits, like most of the western world, were woefully behind the times. No offense to the British. We love them. This is simply meant to be a reality check to all those who believe that Western White folks have always been the superior race throughout history, because they are “the winners in a social Darwinian hierarchy,” as Churchill put it. More likely they are the winners of the development of more lethal modern weapons, and the will to use them to invade, crush, and rob other nations and their people… just like those who came before them all through history. Even then, those weapons wouldn’t have been available to the British if it hadn’t been for the early Mesopotamians, Sumerians, Babylonians, and Greeks. Around 5000 to 6000 years ago, Early Mesopotamians were the first to fully harness the ability to extract and work with copper. “Archaeological evidence suggests the transition from copper to bronze took place around 3300 B.C.… Prominent Bronze Age kingdoms included Sumer and Babylonia in Mesopotamia and Athens in Ancient Greece.…The use of iron became more widespread after people learned how to make steel, a much harder metal, by heating iron with carbon. The Hittites—who lived during the Bronze Age in what is now Turkey—may have been the first to make steel.”8

In fact, Britain and most other Western Nations often lagged behind when it came to things we now take for granted. For instance, during the Neolithic Ozieri civilization in Sardinia [3200 to 2800 BC] ceramic ladles and spoons were already in use.9 In the stone age, spoons were made from hollowed out pieces of wood or seashells that were connected to wooden sticks. Animal horns also were used as a means to eat liquid foods.”10 Some sources claim “archeological findings can place some of the ornamental and religious spoons in the area of 1000 years BC in Egypt. Yet by 1611 AD, “England continued to live without spoons, which were first introduced to them by the traveling records of Thomas Coryat. His teaching sadly managed to take hold only after half a century.” Forks go way back to the ancient Greeks and were in “common use by the 4th century.11 The personal table fork was most likely invented in the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire.”12 

In the eighth or ninth century, some Persian nobility may have used a fork like tool. In the 11th century, “Italian nobleman Domenico Selvo married a Greek princess who brought with her [the] first recorded fork in central Europe. Her addition of the fork to the eating practice was regarded as scandalous and heretic.”13 It wasn’t until the “Early 17th century [that] Forks became commonplace across entire Europe. Majority of people still used sharply pointed knives for that purpose,”14 or they used their fingers to eat.

And let’s not forget the civilizing effects the Romans had on the British. The Romans ruled from 43 AD to 410 AD. “With the Roman Conquest in 43 AD came the first written records of England’s history.”15 The Romans taught Britains “about hygiene, about clean drinking water, a calendar, laws and the legal system. They also introduced new infrastructure such as straight roads, central heating, aqueducts as well as concrete. Basically, the Romans changed the British culture, geography and even their way of thinking and had an effect on the British language.”16 And where did the ancient Romans acquire much of their knowledge and art? From the ancient Greeks, of course.17

We should not forget however, that Britain has produced some of the greatest poets, painters, and playwrights, Shakespeare among the greatest. They’ve also produced great actors and filmmakers. And, of course, Britain does have the clock tower known as Big Ben and London Bridge. And it does have a few grand castles and palaces. However, other nations also have grand castles and great bridges. In fact, “The Neolithic people built boardwalk bridges across marshland. The Arkadiko Bridge (dating from the 13th century BC, in the Peloponnese) is one of the oldest arch bridges still in existence and use.”18

The ancient Assyrians were inhabitants of Mesopotamia, one the world’s earliest civilizations, which began to emerge around 3500 B.C. Some claim the Sumerians invented the world’s first written language around 3100 bce in southern Mesopotamia. The Assyrians produced what’s believed to be the world’s oldest book, The Epic of Gilgamesh, written down around 2000 B.C.19 The Assyrians invented the 360-degree circle, established Hammurabi’s code of law, created the first library, i.e. The Library of Ashurbanipal, and are credited with many military, artistic, architectural, agricultural, and other great achievements, including the invention of the wheel.20 The Assyrians were also among the first to accept Christianity, with the founding of the Assyrian Church of the East by the apostle Thomas in 33 C.E.21

Then there’s that North African nation, Egypt, a civilization that coalesced around 3100 B.C. and left a lasting legacy. Its art and architecture were widely copied, and its antiquities carried off to the far corners of the world. “The many achievements of the ancient Egyptians include the quarrying, surveying, and construction techniques that supported the building of monumental pyramids, temples, and obelisks, [thousands of years before modern machinery or tools]; a system of mathematics, a practical and effective system of medicine, irrigation systems and agricultural production techniques, the first known planked boats, Egyptian faience and glass technology, new forms of literature, and the earliest known peace treaty, made with the Hittites, probably written on papyrus, “the first writing material to assume many of the properties of what we now know as paper. It was invented by the Egyptians in approximately 3000 B.C.,” a precursor to the paper we use today, that was invented by the Chinese in 105 A.D. And although, like other ancient civilizations, ancient Egypt did have slaves, or more accurately, prisoners they had won during wars, those prisoners “could marry Egyptian women and had similar jobs as other inhabitants of the Nile Valley. Contrary to popular belief, they did not build the pyramids, and their life was not harder than that of Egyptians doing hard jobs.”22 

The British on the other hand, didn’t abolish slavery until 1833, but it didn’t take effect until August 1, 1834. And even a quick read of Dickens, who wrote in the mid-1800s, tells us that British society had a strict class system, and Britain had not taken care of its poor and struggling citizens. The Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 simple established workhouses in place of the old poor houses, which some called: “Prisons for the Poor.”23

Soap was invented 5000 years ago by the Sumerians, and later expanded by the Babylonians and Egyptians. “Evidence has been found that ancient Babylonians understood soap making as early as 2800 BC. … Records show ancient Egyptians bathed regularly.”24 Soap was later “exported from Syria to other parts of the Muslim world and to Europe.”25 That invention alone saved many millions of lives throughout history. The English didn’t begin making soap until the 12th century.26 And, unfortunately, even after the Romans taught the English about bathing, bathing was often only available to the wealthy.

Then of course there are the Greeks. The findings of the ancient Greeks “in the areas of astronomy, geography, and mathematics made them pioneers in the field of science. The Greeks’ interest in the scientific specification of the physical world can be seen as far back as the sixth century B.C., and they have often been hailed as the fathers of science, medicine, zoology, and many other areas.” Their gifts to the world include: The Water Mill; the Odometer; the alarm clock; Cartography; the Olympics; Basis for Geometry; Earliest Practice of Medicine; Modern Philosophy; Concept of Democracy; Discoveries in Modern Science.”27 

In today’s Islamophobic atmosphere, there is constant denigration of Arabs, Islam, and Muslims, so it’s easy to forget about ’The Islamic Golden Age.’ It began in 622 AD, and was devastated in 1258, when the Mongols under Tamerlane invaded and took over Bagdad and other Middle Eastern lands, slaughtering millions of inhabitants.28 The Ottoman Turks finished the job, bringing the Golden Age of Islam to an end. During the Golden Age of Islam, the world was given coffee, universities, a flying machine, algebra, optics, music, the toothbrush, the crank, and hospitals.29 Science, economic development, and cultural works also flourished. During the Golden Age of Islam, Arabs brought that culture, science, and philosophy, as well as extraordinary architecture to Europe.30

As to education, one source claims: “the earliest formal school was developed in Egypt’s Middle Kingdom under the direction of Kheti, treasurer to Mentuhotep II (2061-2010 BC)31 According to the Guinness World Records, “The oldest existing, and continually operating educational institution in the world is the University of Karueein, founded in 859 AD in Fez, Morocco. The University of Bologna, Italy, was only founded in 1088 and is the oldest one in Europe. …The Sumerians had scribal schools or É-Dub-ba soon after 3500 BC”32 Mesopotamian civilization flourished almost simultaneously with Egypt during the first civilizational phase (3000–1500 bce).33 England’s first school was the “King’s School, Canterbury, founded in 597, apparently related to a school of royal charter 1541.”34

“From the 11th to the 13th century, Europe absorbed knowledge from the Islamic civilization. …Around the year 1,000, the celebrated doctor Al Zahrawi published a 1,500 page illustrated encyclopedia of surgery that was used in Europe as a medical reference for the next 500 years.”35 Under Muslim rule, “medieval Spain holds the distinction of being the sole place in Europe where Jews, Muslims, and Christians lived side by side on the same soil, frequently in harmony.”36 Many claim the Italian Renaissance, which flourished during the 15th and 16th centuries, was inspired by Muslim contributions in Spain.37

And how did the Arabs come about many of their ideas? From reading Greek books of philosophy and science. Those Greek books were first found by Assyrian scholars who translated them into Syriac and Arabic.36 The Arabs took those text, studied them, and went back to the original Greek. 

In David Fromkin’s A Peace to End All Peace, Fromkin writes: “Winston Churchill, no scholar of ancient languages or literature, was as jealous as a child. “Those Greeks and Romans,” he protested, “they are so overrated. They only said everything first. I’ve said just as good things myself. But they got in before me.”38

It’s difficult to believe Churchill wasn’t joking. This ‘tongue in cheek’ humor was and is quite common. However, judging by the way the most impressive nations and peoples in history have been brought to their knees, and their people sometimes ridiculed in modern times, one has to wonder if jealousy was shared by less ingenious peoples throughout history, especially those of the West. 

So, although Churchill claimed: “A nation that forgets its past has no future,” he apparently forgot some of Britain’s past. Ditto his assertion of being “winners in a social Darwinian hierarchy.”

To read more about Churchill’s darker side, see: Tom Heyden, The 10 greatest controversies of Winston Churchill’s career. BBC News Magazine. 26 January 2015. 

Meanwhile, here are examples of Churchill’s wit, the other side of the coin: 

Diplomacy is the art of telling people to go to hell in such a way that they ask for directions.

You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.

Fear is a reaction. Courage is a decision.

If you’re not a liberal at twenty you have no heart. If you’re not a conservative at forty, you have no brain. [This one is rather questionable]

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.

A good speech should be like a woman’s skirt: long enough to cover the subject and short enough to create interest.

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

One man with conviction will overwhelm a hundred who have only opinions.

However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.

Life can either be accepted or changed. If it is not accepted, it must be changed. If it cannot be changed, then it must be accepted.

We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.

I’d rather argue against a hundred idiots, than have one agree with me.

In the course of my life, I have often had to eat my words, and I must confess that I have always found it a wholesome diet. 

Life is fraught with opportunities to keep your mouth shut.

An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last. 


  1. Tom Heyden, The 10 greatest controversies of Winston Churchill’s career. BBC News. 26 January 2015.
  2. Zachery Small, Prominent Lawyer Suggests That Officials Committed Fraud to Keep Elgin Marbles in England During 19th Century. Art News. February 26, 2020.
  3. Andrew Roberts and Zewditu Gebreyohanes, Cambridge: “The Racial Consequences of Mr. Churchill,” A Review. The Churchill Project, Hillsdale College. March 14, 2021.
  4. Business Today. How much money did Britain take away from India? About $45 trillion in 173 years, says top economist. Nov 19, 2018.
  5. Tom Heyden, The 10 greatest controversies of Winston Churchill’s career. BBC News. 26 January 2015.
  6. The prize was shared with with William A. Fowler for “…theoretical studies of the physical processes of importance to the structure and evolution of the stars”. Wikipedia.
  7. Ramin Skibba, Mathematicians And ‘The Man Who Knew Infinity’. Inside Science. April 29, 2016. A quick internet search will reveal other Indians who contributed to the world’s knowledge and art.
  10. Eating Utensils,
  11. Ibid.
  12. Sources for these dates are all over the map, so perhaps none are completely accurate, but you get the idea.
  13. Timeline of Eating Utensils.
  14. Ibid.
  15. Ben Johnson, The Romans in England. Historic UK.
  16. The Romans in Britain.
  17. Culture and religion. Britannica.
  19. J.M. Roberts, History of the World. Oxford University Press. New York. 1993. P. 41.
  20. Assyrians. Syriacs, Chaldeans, and Arameans are all Assyrians. 
  21. Encyclopedia.
  22. Egyptologist: The life of slaves in Egypt. Ancient Egypt, Wikipedia
  23. The National Archives.
  24. Cleaning Institute.
  25. Ahmad Y. al-Hassan (2001), Science and Technology in Islam: Technology and applied sciences, pp.73-74 2017-12-09 at the Wayback Machine, UNESCO.
  26. Cleaning Institute.
  27. Saugat Adhikari, Top 10 Inventions and Discoveries of Ancient Greece That Are Remarkably Used Today. Ancient History Lists. February 3, 2021.
  28. Biography of Tamerlane, 14th Century Conqueror of Asia.
  29. Olivia Sterns, Muslim inventions that shaped the modern world. CNN. January 29, 2010.
  30. Ahmedessa with Othmanali, The Muslim Contribution to the Renaissance. International Institute of Islamic Thought, 2012. 
  31. Marie Parsons. “Education in Ancient Egypt”. Tour Egypt. 
  32. Guinness World records
  33. Britannica. Education in earliest civilizations.
  34. List of the oldest schools in the United Kingdom. Wikipedia.
  35. Guinness World Records
  36. Jane S. Gerber, Ornament of the World” and the Jews of Spain. National Endowment for the Humanities. December 17, 2019. 
  37. Nestorians of 9th-Century Iraq as a Source of Greek, Syriac and Arabic. Chapter 9. From the Greeks to the Arabs and Beyond. Volume I: Graeco-Syriaca and Arabica. Brill. May 4, 2021
  38. David Fromkin’s A Peace to End All Peace. Henry Holt and Company. 1989. P. 24.


Thea Halo is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir, Not Even My Name, a former news correspondent for WBAI in NYC, and a former producer for public radio in upstate NY. Not Even My Name was instrumental in garnering the first state-level resolutions in the U.S. that recognized the genocide of the Pontian and other Asia Minor Greeks and Assyrians. She was a co-sponsor and driving force, along with Prof. Adam Jones, of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) resolution that affirmed the Ottoman Genocides of Pontian and other Asia Minor Greeks and Assyrians as comparable to the genocide of the Armenians. She has also published a collection of poetry, and a number of Thea’s historical papers on the Genocides of Greeks and Assyrians have been published in books on the Ottoman Genocides. In 2009, Thea, along with her mother, Sano Halo, who passed away in 2014 at the age of 105, were awarded honorary Greek citizenship by the Greek government. In 2002, Thea was awarded the AHEPA Homer Award and, in 2012, the Association of Greek American Professional Women honored Thea and Sano for their “Profound contribution to Literature and to Hellenic Cultural Heritage and History.” Thea has also won numerous awards for her poetry and literary essays.

Time to Pay the Piper for Climate Change

Who Should Pay?

If a person robs another person of substantial funds and is caught, there’s hell to pay, and the money must be returned. At least that’s the intent. With our judicial system, however, one never knows. 

So if a nation robs other nations of their resources, (some might even call it rape) or has robbed other nations of their resources in the past, shouldn’t there also be hell to pay in some form?

The slogan: “The sun never sets on the British Empire” was a boast of how far reaching was British control of the Planet. “Britain rushed to control African land not just for palm oil but also for gold, ivory, diamonds, cotton, rubber, and coal.”1 Britain was also accused of draining “over $45 trillion from India, which to date has hampered the country’s ability to come out of poverty,” says a top economist.2 

However, the British were not the only ones to requisition whole nations. By 1900 a significant part of Africa had been colonized by mainly seven European powers—Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, and Italy. After the conquest of African decentralized and centralized states, the European powers set about establishing colonial state systems.3

Many inhabitants of those nations were made slaves in their own lands, or deprived of their lands and the resources that may have made their lives more manageable and, in some cases, equivalent to those of the invaders. Natives of those stolen lands were sometimes even killed and/or mutilated if they didn’t obey their foreign masters. Humans have a long history of putting money and/or resources before human life.

For example, on February 5, 1885, Belgian’s King Leopold II established the so called ‘Congo Free State’ by brutally seizing the African landmass as his own personal possession. King Leopold’s stated goal was to bring civilization to the people of the Congo, an enormous region in Central Africa. Instead, King Leopold enslaved and even killed and/or mutilated the native people if they didn’t obey his commands. His goal was to rob the nation of its ivory and rubber. One resource claims that as many as 10 million people died in the Congo Free State. International pressure finally forced Leopold to turn the Congo Free State over to the country of Belgium in 1908, 23 years after Leopold seized control.4 That doesn’t necessarily mean the rape of resources  stopped. 

Germany’s colonization of East Africa was also particularly nefarious. Germany committed the first Genocide of the 20th Century against the Nama and Herrera Tribes of Namibia. “Of a population totaling 100,000, about 80 percent of all Herero are believed to have died. … About half of the 10,000 Nama people are also believed to have died.”5 The chief economic minerals of ‘German East Africa’ were mica, gold, garnet, coal, iron ore, uranium minerals, copal, soda, and salt.6 

Africa wasn’t the only continent whose resources benefitted other nations, rather than the native populations themselves. Colonization throughout the Americas and the Middle and Far East was also prevalent. It would also be difficult to believe that the extensive bombing of nations such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, and parts of Syria by the US and her European allies, and all the military paraphernalia that goes with wars hasn’t added to both global warming, and the inability of those damaged or destroyed nations to comply with measures to combat climate change. In addition to the destruction of those nations, millions of citizens were killed, and millions displaced. By 1996, seven years before the second bombing campaign and invasion of Iraq, it was reported that half a million children in Iraq had already died from US sanctions. Then Secretary of State, Madeline Albright declared on 60 Minutes, “the price is worth it.” “For decades, the heavy U.S. military footprint in the Middle East has been justified by the need to preserve access to the region’s oil reserves. The industrial extraction of those same reserves has been one of the major drivers of global carbon dioxide emissions.”7

And let’s not forget to mention how the US under President Warren G. Harding turned a blind eye to Turkey’s genocide of the Pontian and other Anatolian Greeks under Mustafa Kemal. In so doing, Harding gave tacit consent to their outright slaughter of Pontic Greeks in the Pontus region of Turkey, and to the long death marches to exile that took so many more Greek lives,8 and to the burning of Smyrna and the slaughter of Greeks and Armenians there, simply because the US desperately wanted to do business with Turkey. The result was the final obliteration of the Christian populations of Turkey, a land the Greeks, Assyrians, and Armenians had inhabited for over 3,000 years, more than 2,000 years before the first Turkish invaders arrived. While the US and other nations did business with the newly formed Turkey, the families of the Christians were never compensated for the lost lives or their lost lands. 

So now perhaps, it’s time for those nations who stole so much of the world’s resources from poorer nations—or stole from their own nationals—to assist poorer nations to do what is necessary to help control climate change. And while they’re at it, help those poorer nations build infrastructure, develop safe water sources and sanitation facilities, and build schools and medical facilities in rural areas. 

Then perhaps the piper will be paid, and climate control to save our planet will be a real possibility. 


  1. Wikipedia.
  2. Business Today, How much money did Britain take away from India? About $45 trillion in 173 years, says top economist. Nov 19, 2018.
  3. Wikipedia
  4. Adam Hochschild, King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa. Houghton Mifflin (October 1, 1999) Also see Wikipedia.
  5. Norimitsu Onishi and Melissa Eddy, A Forgotten Genocide: What Germany Did in Namibia, and What It’s Saying Now. The New York Times. May 29, 2021.
  6. Adam Jones, Genocide, A Comprehensive Introduction. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, London and New York, Third edition. Also see: Wikipedia.
  7. Murtaza Hussain, War on the World, Industrialized Militaries Are a Bigger Part of the Climate Emergency Than You Know. The Intercept. September 15 2019.
  8. Thea Halo, Not Even My Name. Picador USA. 2000.


Thea Halo is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir, Not Even My Name, a former news correspondent for WBAI in NYC, and a former producer for public radio in upstate NY. Not Even My Name was instrumental in garnering the first state-level resolutions in the U.S. that recognized the genocide of the Pontian and other Asia Minor Greeks and Assyrians. She was a co-sponsor and driving force, along with Prof. Adam Jones, of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) resolution that affirmed the Ottoman Genocides of Pontian and other Asia Minor Greeks and Assyrians as comparable to the genocide of the Armenians. She has also published a collection of poetry, and a number of Thea’s historical papers on the Genocides of Greeks and Assyrians have been published in books on the Ottoman Genocides. In 2009, Thea, along with her mother, Sano Halo, who passed away in 2014 at the age of 105, were awarded honorary Greek citizenship by the Greek government. In 2002, Thea was awarded the AHEPA Homer Award and, in 2012, the Association of Greek American Professional Women honored Thea and Sano for their “Profound contribution to Literature and to Hellenic Cultural Heritage and History.” Thea has also won numerous awards for her poetry and literary essays.


Covid and the Glory of the Old West

by Thea Halo

There’s a film on Netflix called: My Heroes Were Cowboys. And yes. Who didn’t love cowboys as a child? My favorite was Alan Rocky Lane, a serial Western shown on Saturdays in our neighborhood movie theater years ago. Alan Rocky Lane used to race to his horse and mount him by slapping his hands on the horses rump, and then catapulting himself over the horse’s rear right into the saddle before galloping off after the bad guys. What kid wouldn’t love a guy like that?  

Many men, and perhaps women in the US, have never abandoned the romance, freedom and, some might say, the bravery of the old West. Perhaps putting aside how often men were shot down in gunfights, ranchers were robbed of their cattle, and trains and stage coaches were robbed, the glory of the old West has remained in our memory as a time of freedom, of bravery, and of independence. Women of the old West were often portrayed as independent, strong, and sometimes wisecracking, putting men in their place. Of course, most of the women portrayed like that often worked in a saloon or brothel, but certainly not all. Even good girls had a mind of their own and they weren’t taking any guff from no two bit cowpoke. 

Why wouldn’t Americans want to keep that image alive and try to live it in their daily lives today? No one is going to tell them how to live, scare them into believing they could get sick and die from a virus, and when to wear a mask or get vaccinated. Viruses didn’t lay any cowboy low in my recollection. A bullet, perhaps. But not a virus. But even in the case of a bullet, one could hope to rely on one’s own skill with a firearm to beat the odds. If you didn’t learn to draw and shoot fast and straight enough, that was on you. Real men didn’t run from a fight, even when facing death. Remember High Noon? The odds were certainly against the sheriff, but he stood his ground.

So is it any wonder that many men and women in the US, especially in areas where cowboys once roamed and ruled, resist being told what to do, when to do it, and that they should be afraid? My Mom used to say, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” And right she was. Indeed, even with all the death and destruction, the portrayal of the old West for some still represents a world of freedom and manliness. That’s difficult to give up when some snooty east coast city doctor or scientist sticks his nose into one’s business and tries to tell you you’re not invulnerable… that you should be afraid of something you can’t even see…that this unseen thing can lay you flatter than a Colt 45, and a quick draw won’t save you. Who’d want to believe that?

Copyright October 2021. All rights reserved


Thea Halo is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir, Not Even My Name, a former news correspondent for WBAI in NYC, and a former producer for public radio in upstate NY. Not Even My Name was instrumental in garnering the first state-level resolutions in the U.S. that recognized the genocide of the Pontian and other Asia Minor Greeks and Assyrians. She was a co-sponsor and driving force, along with Prof. Adam Jones, of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) resolution that affirmed the Ottoman Genocides of Pontian and other Asia Minor Greeks and Assyrians as comparable to the genocide of the Armenians. She has also published a collection of poetry, and a number of Thea’s historical papers on the Genocides of Greeks and Assyrians have been published in books on the Ottoman Genocides. In 2009, Thea, along with her mother, Sano Halo, who passed away in 2014 at the age of 105, were awarded honorary Greek citizenship by the Greek government. In 2002, Thea was awarded the AHEPA Homer Award and, in 2012, the Association of Greek American Professional Women honored Thea and Sano for their “Profound contribution to Literature and to Hellenic Cultural Heritage and History.” Thea has also won numerous awards for her poetry and literary essays.

The Un-Strategy of the US in Afghanistan

By Thea Halo

There’s an old saying by Mark Twain, “It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt.”

That can be reworked to: Better not invade a country and appear weak, than invade a country and remove all doubt when you fail.  

Then there’s this one by Frank Herbert, author of Dune. “Power attracts the corruptible. Suspect any who seek it.” 

However, it’s these quotes by Joe Biden that stand out under the circumstances:

“Fighting corruption is not just good governance. It’s self-defense. It’s patriotism.” 

“Corruption is a cancer, a cancer that eats away at a citizen’s faith in democracy, diminishes the instinct for innovation and creativity.” 

So if President Biden knew corruption was so devastating, why didn’t he make sure the corruption in the Afghan government and its military didn’t insure Afghanistan’s defeat by the Taliban? 

As early as 2016, a 23-year-old 1st Lt. Hayatullah Frotan met with US troops in Kandahar and told them that “Some generals pocketed pay meant for soldiers. Others were supposed to buy the best rice for their troops. Instead they bought the cheapest and lowest quality possible and pocketed the difference. Still others sold government-issued firewood meant to keep the troops warm. Frotan said the system was marked by cronyism, with not enough loyalty to the troops. The military leaders were not only corrupt, some of them were illiterate.” Some couldn’t even count.1

“The lack of education led to basic problems with tasks such as maintaining equipment, from rifles to vehicles, to ordering spare parts. …not knowing how to write meant these leaders couldn’t even read the maps properly. NPR was with an Afghan army unit six years ago when it was shooting artillery rounds at the Taliban. It was off by a kilometer because it couldn’t figure out the proper grid coordinates. Not only that, but Frotan says commanders often had trouble filing simple paperwork to give soldiers time off.”2 Without being afforded leave, meant troops were exhausted. 

“Ahmadi, 27, a member of a logistics battalion, complained that: If someone calls me and tells me to go somewhere, I can’t read the street signs.” To overcome the problem of illiteracy for the Afghan army, a private company, Pulau Electronics of Orlando, Fla., was hired to run a program that aims to make 50 percent of the troops “functionally literate,” within the first year of the program. The target is for them to be able to write their name and their weapon’s serial number.”3

Not sure that’s even worth a response. Why not simply give them all a rubber stamp with their particular information on it?

In a more recent report: “After weeks of fighting, one cardboard box full of slimy potatoes was supposed to pass as a police unit’s daily rations. They hadn’t received anything other than spuds in various forms in several days, and their hunger and fatigue were wearing them down.”4 Ammunition to fight the Taliban was also in short supply. They didn’t even have enough bullets for the machine guns,5 which makes US secretary of state, Antony Blinken’s blaming of the Afghan security forces “for not defending their country despite all the money the US has provided” all the more ridiculous and insulting.6 Blinken apparently forgot to mention that the Biden Administration had removed key military equipment needed by the Afghan troops to actually fight off the Taliban.7

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that when you treat your fighting forces like animals, not even feeding them properly, keeping them warm, or supplying them with enough ammunition and key equipment to actual fight the enemy, because you’re too busy robbing them of their wages, food rations, and ammunition, loyalty to that corrupt government or those military officials is not usually the outcome. Perhaps the Afghani troops, who had already lost 66,000 national military and police, and 47,245 Afghan civilians,8 thought the Taliban would treat them better. One news source reported that officials were even stealing the soldiers Sims cards so they couldn’t call their families.9 

Why didn’t the US know the government it helped set up in Afghanistan was so corrupt? And why didn’t the US correct the infractions and thefts? Nobel Prize laureate, Rigoberta Menchú wrote: “Without strong watchdog institutions, impunity becomes the very foundation upon which systems of corruption are built. And if impunity is not demolished, all efforts to bring an end to corruption are in vain.” 

Perhaps he would have added if considering the Afghan debacle: Don’t expect to win a war if the government and military corruption goes unchecked. 

Of course, this cannot be blamed solely on President Biden. George W. Bush started this debacle in 2001 after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Towers planned by Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden was later found and killed in Pakistan during the Obama administration. President Obama then picked up the fight in Afghanistan and carried on for another eight years, apparently doing little or nothing to control the corruption. As the documentary film: Afghanistan—Land of endless war illustrates, the Afghan government the United States spent two decades trying to prop up was said to be corrupt in all aspects during its time in power.10

Then came President Donald Trump, who actually bypassed the Afghan government to negotiate directly with the Taliban to release 5,000 Taliban fighters. Those fighters would undoubtedly later help overthrow the Afghan government the US alleges it supports. Trump also promised to pull all U.S. troops out by May 1, 2021.11 In so doing, the US indicated that the Afghan government is irrelevant. The Donald, true to form, apparently wanted the Taliban, and the rest of us, to know he was running the show, and only he could get things done. Were they the right things seems to have been irrelevant to the Donald. As we’ve seen in the past, he seems to love dictators and strong men. A video reveals that Donald Trump actually discussed how he empowered the Taliban to take over Afghanistan after America’s departure.12 This rendered the last 20 years, the tens of thousands of lives lost, and the trillions spent, simply thrown to the wind. So, shouldn’t we give most of the blame for this disaster to the Disaster Artist himself?  

President Joe Biden was left to clean up the last 20 years of the mismanagement of his predecessors. Unfortunately, that doesn’t leave President Biden off the hook. The Biden administration also went directly to the Taliban, bypassing the Afghan government. And there is still the matter of the cart and horse analogy. Is it too much of a stretch to expect our leaders to know that if one expects the horse to pull the cart, one never puts the cart before the horse? In other words, one doesn’t withdraw troops before evacuating those who need to be evacuated if one expects to get them out without danger. Yet even that simple rule was apparently ignored. To make matters even more ridiculous, even the Taliban thinks the US withdrawal plan was absurd: “The Taliban rejects responsibility for the Kabul airport chaos, saying the West could have had a better evacuation plan.”13 Indeed. 

The US is one of the most powerful nations in the world. At least that’s what we like to tell ourselves, because our military arsenal seems to prove that premise. We also have a vast amount of brave men and women who are willing to give their lives for a just cause. However, without viable leaders and strategies, none of that really matters in the end. The US lost 2,443 American troops, and spent more than $2 trillion, on the war effort.14 We also have the US invasions and destruction of Iraq and Libya, and the destruction of parts of Syria and elsewhere to account for.

So now what? Initially, the invasion of Afghanistan by US forces gave hope to Afghani women and girls. Now it will most likely be taken away again. One has to wonder, what’s worse? Having a taste of freedom and education, and discovering what one is capable of, or having it yanked away again after accomplishing so much? 

Can the US and other nations hold the Taliban to their sketchy promise to allow girls and women to continue education and other freedoms? What about the saying: Money talks, the old carrot and stick metaphor? Is that the key to holding the Taliban’s feet to the fire, so to speak? Western bank accounts can be frozen and no outside financial aid will be forthcoming. Other sanctions can also be imposed if the Taliban doesn’t keep their promises. Perhaps a promise that the Taliban won’t force girls and women to go around covered up like ghosts should also be included, as well as freedom of movement without a constant chaperone. 

When Afghanistan becomes so poverty stricken and unable to function, perhaps that would do the trick. Unfortunately, as we’ve learned from past experience, it’s the general public who actually suffer the most, not the leadership. And China and Russia have already sided with the Taliban. 

So what’s left? The US must learn that invasions are not the answer to every problem in the Middle East. Nor is the way the US has conducted the so-called ‘war on terror’ the answer. How many Middle Eastern countries must the US destroy in the name of its ‘war on terror’ before we realize that it often creates more terror and terrorists where none previously existed. Think of the Taliban, al-Quaeda, and ISIS. All sprung up during ME wars, al-Quaeda and the Taliban during the war with Russia, and ISIS after the US invasions in the ME. When will we learn?

In fact, according to documentary evidence, the fanatical, fundamentalist members of the Taliban regime came to their extreme views and even their violence, because of the traumas and violence many of them suffered from early childhood, helplessly watching their own families destroyed.15

Perhaps in the end, if the US is actually serious about nation building, we would realize that education is the real equalizer, and that’s not just the education of girls and women. It includes education in general. Illiteracy is rampant in Afghanistan as the reports of illiteracy among military personal and government officials demonstrate. Islam itself is not the problem. Other Muslim countries have educated both girls and boys, men and women. Iraq was said to be one of the most educated nations in the Middle East, as is Syria. Even under Gaddafi, literacy improved dramatically. “In spite of Gaddafi’s infamous legacy, his reign was also marked by irrefutable gains in the educational system. Libya’s citizens enjoyed unparalleled access to education and the literacy rate increased from 25 percent to 87 percent.”16

Afghanistan’s own past demonstrates how vibrant the nation and her people could be, and actually was, before the wars and chaos.17 So education for all Afghanis, including the Taliban and other men, is probably the most important solution to bring Afghanistan back into the 21 Century, with a society of which all can be proud. 

The answer to the question of how one accomplishes educating the fanatical, fundamentalist members of the regime that’s in power, and the population it controls, is worth millions! Perhaps we should take a page from President John F. Kennedy’s initiative. The next time the US decides to wage a war on terror, perhaps it should send the Peace Corps, instead of military troops and bombs. Better yet, send the Peace Corps before any terror arises.


  1. Tom Bowman and Monika Evstatieva, The Afghan Army Collapsed In Days. Here Are The Reasons Why. All Things Considered. NPR. August 20, 2021. 
  2. Ibid.
  3. Illiteracy Slows Afghan Army, U.S. Pullout. CBS News. September 14, 2009.
  4. Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Fahim Abed and Sharif Hassan, The Afghan Military Was Built Over 20 Years. How Did It Collapse So Quickly? The New York Times. Aug. 13, 2021. Updated Aug. 18, 2021.
  5. Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Fahim Abed and Sharif Hassan, The Afghan Military Was Built Over 20 Years. How Did It Collapse So Quickly? The New York Times. Aug. 13, 2021. Updated Aug. 18, 2021.
  6. Mary Kaldor, The main lesson from Afghanistan is that the ‘war on terror’ does not work. The Guardian. August 24, 2021.
  7. Sami Sadat, I Commanded Afghan Troops This Year. We Were Betrayed. The New York Times. August 25, 2021.
  8. Ellen Knickmeyer, Costs of the Afghanistan war, in lives and dollars. AP. August 17, 2021.
  9. Mary Louise Kelly, The Afghan Army Collapsed In Days. Here Are The Reasons Why. NPR. August 20, 2021. 
  10. Afghanistan—Land of endless war/DW Documentary.
  11. Ron Elving, Withdrawing From Afghanistan May Be The One Thing Biden And Trump Agree On. NPR. August 18, 2021.
  12. FLASHBACK: In February 2020, Donald Trump discussed how he empowered the Taliban to take over Afghanistan after America’s departure.
  13. Elizabeth Melimopoulos and Tamila Varshalomidze, US warns citizens to avoid Kabul airport over security: Live News. Aljazeera. August 21, 2021.
  14. Adela Suliman, Nearly 20 years of war, 10 days to fall: Afghanistan, by the numbers. The Washington Post. August 20, 2021.
  15. Afghanistan—Land of endless war/DW Documentary.
  16. Eric Paulson, Education in Libya During and After Gaddafi. The Borgen Project.
  17. Afghanistan—Land of endless war/DW Documentary.


Thea Halo is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir, Not Even My Name, a former news correspondent for WBAI in NYC, and a former producer for public radio in upstate NY. Not Even My Name was instrumental in garnering the first state-level resolutions in the U.S. that recognized the genocide of the Pontian and other Asia Minor Greeks and Assyrians. She was a co-sponsor and driving force, along with Prof. Adam Jones, of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) resolution that affirmed the Ottoman Genocides of Pontian and other Asia Minor Greeks and Assyrians as comparable to the genocide of the Armenians. She has also published a collection of poetry, and a number of Thea’s historical papers on the Genocides of Greeks and Assyrians have been published in books on the Ottoman Genocides. In 2009, Thea, along with her mother, Sano Halo, who passed away in 2014 at the age of 105, were awarded honorary Greek citizenship by the Greek government. In 2002, Thea was awarded the AHEPA Homer Award and, in 2012, the Association of Greek American Professional Women honored Thea and Sano for their “Profound contribution to Literature and to Hellenic Cultural Heritage and History.” Thea has also won numerous awards for her poetry and literary essays.

Ignorance or Criminally Negligent Homicide?

by Thea Halo

The US is one of the richest countries in the world, with some of the most prestigious, award winning scientists in the world. The very speed at which multiple vaccines were developed for the Coronavirus should inform us that the US has brilliant minds at our disposal. Yet some of our leaders seem incapable or unwilling to utilize these rich resources. Government officials should not be allowed to base their decisions during a crises on whim, personal beliefs, or ignorance. Our medical experts are not here as window dressing. They are here to advise our leaders during a crisis. Failure to follow guidelines suggested by those experts—that lead to the death of citizens—should not be tolerated. Yet multiple government officials seem to rule by whim and ignorance.

“Despite Florida representing one in every five new COVID-19 cases in the country and the state’s ICUs and hospitals reaching capacity, [Gov.] DeSantis recently pushed Florida’s health and education departments to issue a rule barring school districts from implementing mask mandates. The executive order has already been met with multiple lawsuits, with parents noting that many children are currently too young to receive a coronavirus vaccine.”1

The Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, who also tried to ban the mask mandate, is no better. These people are a danger to society and should be banned from holding any office that has authority over the public.

With the surge in Corona Virus cases in multiple states, and the rogue responses to those surges by the governors of those states, one has to wonder how those governors got elected. Do they simply hate people so much that they wish to hold other people’s lives in their hands—even the lives of children? Or perhaps they are simply too stupid to adhere to the age old adage: ‘Better safe than sorry.’

It’s bad enough to not require masks during a pandemic. But actually barring school districts from implementing mask mandates during a surge is beyond stupid. It’s criminal. If even one person dies from Covid on their watch, because of their ban on masks and encouragement not to be vaccinated, these D’Idiots should be arrested and locked up on charges of Criminally Negligent Homicide.

“Negligent homicide is a criminal charge brought against a person who, through criminal negligence, allows another person to die.”

Recently, a father “was charged with manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, [for] acting in a manner injurious to a child,” not because he physically attacked his child, but because he left his 9 and 11 year old sons to care for his 19-month old baby, while he went to work. While the father was at work, their family dog mauled the baby, killing him.2

After lifting the statewide mask mandate in March, Texas Gov. Abbott actually “stripped cities, counties and school districts of the ability to put their own mask rules in place if the pandemic flared up again. As the delta variant has spread unchecked, Abbott has held firm.”3

One of the saddest news reports reads: “Texas Judge Says There Are No Kid ICU Beds: Have To ‘Wait For Another Child To Die’”4

In the case of Abbott and di Santis, perhaps Deliberate Homicide by way of Russian Roulette should be the charge. They put tens of thousands of citizens in their states at risk for hospitalization and death from the virus.

Fortunately, there are still officials in Texas with functioning brains.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic pushes Texas hospitals to the brink, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins implored a judge late Monday to buck Gov. Greg Abbott and give local officials the ability to make it mandatory for residents to wear masks.”5

As of August 8, 2021, there were 36,038 cases a day, with a seven day average of 110,360. From July 26, to August 8, there were 245,475 cases in Florida, 160,475 in Texas, and 154,301 in California.6 In fact, “Children accounted for 15% of reported COVID-19 cases” in the US in early August.7

Republican Governor of Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson, had also signed a law banning mask mandates in the state. Gov. Hutchinson now says “he regretted the move amid surging case numbers linked to the delta strain of COVID-19.”8

It seems it’s only when some of these politicians get Covid themselves that they see the light. For some, it’s too late by then. Texas Republican Executive Committeeman, H. Scott Apley was admitted to the hospital with ‘pneumonia-like symptoms,’ and put on a ventilator, where he would die from Covid. Two days before he was admitted to hospital, Apley—who was only 45-years old—had posted his “anti-vaccination sentiments on his Facebook feed, mocking people for worrying about COVID-19.” His post stated: “In 6 months, we’ve gone from the vax ending the pandemic, to you can still get Covid even if vaxxed, to you can pass Covid onto others even if vaxxed, to you can still die of Covid even if vaxxed, to the unvaxxed are killing the vaxxed.”9 In other Facebook posts, Apley “showed support for mask burning and called incentives to encourage vaccinations ‘disgusting.’”10

Right wing radio host “Dick Farrel was a vociferous critic of Dr Anthony Fauci and urged people not to get vaccinated.” Farrel had described Dr Fauci as a “power-tripping, lying freak” who conspired with “power trip lib loons,” and as recently as June, “urged people not to get vaccinated. … Described as an ardent supporter of Donald Trump, Farrel went all-in on unsubstantiated 2020 election fraud conspiracy theories … and questioned the efficacy of coronavirus vaccines.”11

Of course, all of that was before Farrel got the virus and landed in the hospital. He then told friends to get the vaccine, before dying on August 4, at the age of 65.

There are so many more stories like these. They would be hilarious if they weren’t so tragic, and possibly avoidable. How many others were influenced to their detriment by Trump, other politicians, and public personalities who have the ability to reach millions of people? Apley not only lost his own life at the age of 45, he left behind a wife and 5-month-old son who also tested positive for the virus. Presumably many others who lost their lives also left behind those who cared about them.

So who do we blame for this idiocy? Can we still blame the cult of Trump? It was Trump who “compared the coronavirus last year to little more than a case of the flu, and insisted 18 months ago that cases within days would go down ‘close to zero.’ He did this while being fully aware of how deadly the virus is and admitted he had downplayed the threat.12 In fact, President Trump’s White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, had admitted while addressing the pandemic in September 2020: “President Trump had the facts about the coronavirus as early as February [2020]. If he had not taken bold and swift action, those facts could have spread like wildfire.”13

In May 2020, Trump indicated that vaccines weren’t all that important. He claimed: “I feel about vaccines like I feel about tests. …This is going to go away without a vaccine. It’s gonna go away, and we’re not going to see it again.”14 Yet Trump and former first lady Melania Trump had received the Covid-19 vaccine at the White House in January 2021. Trump had also benefited from the monoclonal antibody cocktail, when he fell sick with the virus something almost none of the millions of US citizens who fell sick with the virus would receive.15

Trump’s refusal to inform the nation to take precautions for something he admits he knew was more deadly than the flu, cannot, and should not be swept under the rug. The price paid by many of his followers, some of whom seem incapable of thinking for themselves, has been, and continues to be, heavy indeed.

If this isn’t a description of Negligent Criminal Homicide on Trump’s part, and on the part of other government official who disregard the lives of those they govern, than what is?

True to form, Trump recently said on a call-in talk show hosted by Dan Bongino of Fox News:

“Could you imagine if I were president right now and we had this massive attack from the coronavirus? … If that were me, they would say, ‘What a horrible thing, what a horrible job.’ And I don’t ever hear that.”16 

Trump doesn’t hear that because he seems to still be living in his own universe where he hears and sees only what he wants to hear and see. In other words, Donald’s Dungeon of Delusion, where too many other D’Idiots have joined him. 

“The U.S. ended up tallying 25 million cases of COVID-19, and deaths topped 400,000 by the end of his administration.”17 In other words, on Donald Trump’s watch!

“In the immediate hours following Biden being sworn into office on Wednesday, sources with direct knowledge of the new administration’s Covid-related work told CNN one of the biggest shocks that the Biden team had to digest during the transition period was what they saw as a complete lack of a vaccine distribution strategy under Trump, even weeks after multiple vaccines were approved for use in the United States.”18

How can we justify locking people away for life for one or two murders, when we allow these politicians a free ride after hundreds, and sometimes tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands die because of their deliberate misinformation about a deadly threat, a failure to distribute vaccines in a timely manner, or because of mandates that actually block precautions from being implemented?

How many US citizens must die before these politicians are held accountable? A charge of Criminally Negligent Homicide, or even deliberate Homicide by a kind of Russian Roulette, should be seriously considered for these derelict ‘leaders’.


1. Justin Baragona, GOP Senator: I ‘Disagree’ With DeSantis’ Ban on Local Mask Mandates. The Daily Beast. August 08, 2021.
2. Katie Campione. 19-Month-Old Baby Boy Dies After Being Attacked by Family Dog. People. August 11, 2021.
3. Joshua Fechter and Isabella Zou The Texas Tribune. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins sues Texas Gov. Greg Abbott over mask mandate ban. Fort Worth Dallas Telegram. August 10, 2021.
4. Lee Moran, Texas Judge Says There Are No Kid ICU Beds: Have To ‘Wait For Another Child To Die’. Huffpost. August 14, 2021. 
5. Joshua Fechter and Isabella Zou The Texas Tribune. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins sues Texas Gov. Greg Abbott over mask mandate ban. Fort Worth Dallas Telegram. August 10, 2021.
6. Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count. The New York Times. August 9, 2021.
7. Hayley Miller, Children Made Up 15% Of U.S. COVID-19 Cases Last Week: Report. Huffpost. August 10, 2021.
8. Nick Visser, Arkansas’ Republican Gov. Says It Was An ‘Error’ To Sign Law Banning Mask Mandates. huffpost. August 9, 2021.
9. Walter Einenkel, Texas Republican who promoted mask burning dies of COVID-19. Daily Kos. August 06, 2021.
10. Mike Stunson, Republican official who mocked COVID in final Facebook post dies of virus in Texas. Fort Worth Star-Telegram. August 06, 2021.
11. Edward Helmore, Rightwing radio host and anti-vaxxer dies of Covid. The Guardian. August 8, 2021.
12. Trump Tells Woodward He Deliberately Downplayed Coronavirus Threat. NPR. September 10, 2020.
13. Andy Borowitz, Kayleigh McEnany claims no one has worked harder than Trump to Protect Americans From The Facts. The New Yorker. September 10, 2020.
14. Mary Papenfuss, Trump Declares COVID-19 Will Vanish ‘Without A Vaccine,’ Contradicting Experts. Huffpost. May 10, 2020.
15. Jim Acosta and Caroline Kelly, Donald and Melania Trump received Covid vaccine at the White House in January. CNN. Updated 5:04 PM EST, Mon March 1, 2021.
16. Mary Papenfuss, Trump ‘Imagines’ How People Would Squawk Had COVID-19 ‘Attack’ Erupted On His Watch. Huffpost. August 8, 2021.
17. Ibid.
18. Jim Acosta and Caroline Kelly, Donald and Melania Trump received Covid vaccine at the White House in January. CNN. Updated March 1, 2021.

Thea Halo is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir, Not Even My Name, a former news correspondent for WBAI in NYC, and a former producer for public radio in upstate NY. Not Even My Name was instrumental in garnering the first state-level resolutions in the U.S. that recognized the genocide of the Pontian and other Asia Minor Greeks and Assyrians. She was a co-sponsor and driving force, along with Prof. Adam Jones, of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) resolution that affirmed the Ottoman Genocides of Pontian and other Asia Minor Greeks and Assyrians as comparable to the genocide of the Armenians. She has also published a collection of poetry, and a number of Thea’s historical papers on the Genocides of Greeks and Assyrians have been published in books on the Ottoman Genocides. In 2009, Thea, along with her mother, Sano Halo, who passed away in 2014 at the age of 105, were awarded honorary Greek citizenship by the Greek government. In 2002, Thea was awarded the AHEPA Homer Award and, in 2012, the Association of Greek American Professional Women honored Thea and Sano for their “Profound contribution to Literature and to Hellenic Cultural Heritage and History.” Thea has also won numerous awards for her poetry and literary essays.

Quotes, Naughty, Helpful, and Nice

by Thea Halo

Keep your eyes open before marriage, half shut afterwards.
— Benjamin Franklin

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.
— General George Patton

Life is an adventure. Whether the ride is bumpy or smooth, it will give you something to write about.
— Thea Halo

Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn’t know you left open.
— John Barrymore

The big difference between sex for money and sex for free is that sex for money usually costs less.
— Brendan Behan

It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt.
— Mark Twain

Democracy is a team sport, we are all in the starting lineup, & every day is game day.
— Indivisible

Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other.
— Walter Elliot

It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.
— Oscar Wilde

Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.
— Mark Twain

I have given her [Greece] my time, my means, my health. And now I give her my life! What could I do more?
— Lord Byran

The distance between insanity and genius is measured only by success.
— Bruce Feirstein

Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.
— Margaret Mead

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.
—Robert Louis Stevenson

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
— Eleanor Roosevelt

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.
—Helen Keller

It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.
— Aristotle

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

When someone is broken, don’t try to fix them. You can’t.
When someone is hurting, don’t attempt to take away their pain. You can’t.
Instead. Love them by walking beside them in hurt. You can.
Because sometimes people simply need to know they aren’t alone.

The two things in life you are totally in control over are your attitude and your effort.
— Billy Cox

To Tell Someone They’re Wrong, First Tell Them They’re Right.
— The 17th century philosopher Blaise Pascal

Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.
— C. S. Lewis

Education is preeminently a matter of quality, not amount.
— Henry Ford

If Santa gives you diamonds and pearls, it’s because you’ve been very nice. Or very naughty.
— Lauren Bacall.


Thea Halo is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir, Not Even My Name, a former news correspondent for WBAI in NYC, and a former producer for public radio in upstate NY. Not Even My Name was instrumental in garnering the first state-level resolutions in the U.S. that recognized the genocide of the Pontian and other Asia Minor Greeks and Assyrians. She was a co-sponsor and driving force, along with Prof. Adam Jones, of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) resolution that affirmed the Ottoman Genocides of Pontian and other Asia Minor Greeks and Assyrians as comparable to the genocide of the Armenians. She has also published a collection of poetry, and a number of Thea’s historical papers on the Genocides of Greeks and Assyrians have been published in books on the Ottoman Genocides. In 2009, Thea, along with her mother, Sano Halo, who passed away in 1914 at the age of 105, were awarded honorary Greek citizenship by the Greek government. In 2002, Thea was awarded the AHEPA Homer Award and, in 2012, the Association of Greek American Professional Women honored Thea and Sano for their “Profound contribution to Literature and to Hellenic Cultural Heritage and History.” Thea has also won numerous awards for her poetry and literary essays.

Happy Father’s Day

Love and Forgiveness

by Thea Halo

UPDATE: Today, June 22, 2021, I proposed to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand that we should have Mandatory Teaching of Parenting Skills in Schools.

One of the most important jobs for both men and women from the beginning of time, was the rearing of healthy, happy, productive children. Yet teaching parenting skills in our schools is still not mandatory, and too many hapless teens and young adults begin parenthood ill equipped to raise their children to be well adjusted, productive members of society.

There is only one major drawback to teaching young men and women how to raise a healthy family. That drawback is leaving our prison system without full cells.

Today is Father’s Day, and many fathers can feel proud of the offspring they helped create and raise. So Happy Father’s Day to all those men who fathered their own children with love and care. And Happy Father’s Day to all those men who fathered other men’s children as if the child was his own. And Happy Father’s Day to all those men who mentored children to become strong and secure, regardless of who sired them. Many of their offspring can rightly feel proud of their fathers today and everyday.

Today’s fathers are often taught how to love and nurture their children. Unfortunately, not all fathers learn the lesson. But at least the lesson is now there to be learned. However, since it’s relatively recent that parents were taught a more lovely approach to raising their family, perhaps it’s appropriate to also address those fathers who were raised in an earlier time, to understand how child rearing mores have changed. Perhaps it will give meaning to the adage that forgiving helps oneself more than the one at fault.

Of course, there are fathers who are or were simply cruel. This is not about them. It’s about the many fathers born and raised in the early and middle part of the last century, whose duty it was to discipline his offspring, sometimes without a clue as to how to go about it. Sometimes that meant fear, and hard work. I would venture to guess that many men who grew up during an earlier time, truly believed they were doing the right thing in raising their children with a heavy hand as prescribed in the bible.

The discipline and fear was often meant for his children, not because he didn’t love them, but because he was taught the old adage: “Spare the rod, spoil the child,” as the bible warns in the Proverbs 13:24. The New King James Version goes even further, “He who spares his rod hates his son. But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.” In Leviticus 20:9, the bible goes even further. A child who curses his parents should be put to death, a sentence believed to have been brought about by the child. In Deuteronomy 21:18-21, an unruly child should be brought to the town gate and all the men of the town are to stone him to death. Even earlier psychologists didn’t go that far. Until relatively recently however, corporal punishment was still even permitted in schools.

Today, child psychologists warn against corporal punishment, as it damages the child’s sense of self and could destroy his or her feeling of self worth. Corporal punishment may also lead the child to become an abuser of others, perhaps especially an abuser of women. Yet it wasn’t until December 2017, that “domestic corporal punishment has been outlawed in 56 countries around the world, most of them in Europe and Latin America, beginning with Sweden in 1966.”1

Many years ago, a noted artist friend, Allan D’Arcangelo, who was dying of Leukemia, told me that he wasn’t afraid of dying. He was only concerned about what he leaves behind. At the time I took it to mean his house, its furnishings, his paintings, and his other possessions. But I’ve since come to believe that he also meant his family and his legacy.

Socrates believed that philosophy should achieve practical results for the greater well-being of society. He attempted to establish an ethical system based on human reason rather than theological doctrine. Socrates pointed out that human choice was motivated by the desire for happiness. In Plato’s Symposium, a wise woman, Diotima of Mantineia, instructs Socrates how one attains immortality, i.e. either through the loins by procreating, or by creating great or Noble works.

For some, especially those who struggled to raise a family during difficult times, their offspring are their greatest legacy.

Happy father’s Day to all those who succeeded in raising strong healthy children. And Happy father’s Day for those who tried their best in the only way they knew how.


  1. Wikipedia

Thea Halo is the author of Not Even My Name; a former news correspondent for WBAI in NYC; and a former member of both the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) and the International Network of Genocide Scholars (INOGS). Ms Halo’s historical papers are published in a number of Academic books: Genocide in the Ottoman Empire; Sayfo 1915: An Anthology of Essays on the Genocide of Assyrians/Arameans during the first World War; and an upcoming anthology on the Genocide of the Pontic Greeks (during the first World War in Ottoman Turkey). You can view one of her presentations at the Boston State House @

Happy Mother’s Day

Remembering Mom

by Thea Halo

One day a friend called me and told me that when he read my book, Not Even My Name, he couldn’t stop marveling at how sweet and forgiving my mother was, even after all she had endured. It’s not an easy feat to put things into focus and stay true to one’s nature after so much trauma. Yet my mother had this wonderful ability to keep things in perspective. It’s not that she forgot what happened. She made a point of remembering even the smallest details so she could one day share them with the world. That’s why she became known as the Yia Yia (grandmother) of all Pontians.

But she was determined not to let her trauma ruin the rest of her life, or the lives of her children. Even though she was so young when she experienced the genocide, she was able to realize the difference between the Turkish people and the Turkish government.

When my mother, the only known survivor of her family, was asked how she could have suffered so much and still not hate the Turks, her answer was priceless and should be a lesson to us all. She said: “Why should I waste my life hating, when there is still so much beauty in the world?” Perhaps that’s why she lived to be almost 105.

Some of her other gems as we were growing up have also stayed with me and I thought I’d share them.

She once said: “Never envy anyone for what they have. Go out and get your own.” I have always lived by that rule.

“Don’t wait until I’m gone before you realize how much you love me.”

“When I see something I want to do, I just have to imagine it, and then I put my mind to it and find a way to do it.”

And her humor was often priceless. When asked how she managed to take care of 10 children, she told the interviewer: “They come and you take care of them. You can’t send them back.”

There is not a day that goes by that I don’t miss her or think of her. Each spring I am especially reminded of my mother when everything begins to bloom, as they are now. Remembering her love of nature helps keep her in my thoughts and in my sight every time I look out my window and see a bird or a flower… every time I water the fig bushes that I took home from her garden and watch the lush green of their leaves grow, and the tiny nubs of figs mature into fruit. Or I see the tiny leaves on grape vines begin to sprout and grow, like those in her garden, and I know that soon clusters of deep purple grapes will dangle from their spreading vines.

I have come to believe that those we love are never truly gone… that everything that ever existed still exists in some form. I remember when I first realized this as a circle of life. Although it may seem self evident after one becomes aware of it, I remember when I first asked myself what happened to the soil in a potted plant when the roots overtook the bounds of the pot, and the plant became “pot bound.” The soil in the pot seemed to simply disappear. It was as if a light bulb went on in my brain. Of course! The soil became the plant. And when the plant dies, the plant will once again become soil. And the seeds from the plant will root themselves in the soil and become new plants. And on and on, round and round, so that the energy that existed always exists and is simply transformed. The Great Greek philosophers and story tellers knew this so well.

Perhaps like Persephone, the souls of our loved ones simply sleep in the deep, until spring brings their energy back to life in some form. I know that my mother—like all of our loved ones who have passed on to another realm— will always be with us. So let’s speak of them as if they stand beside us, because on our lips, they will never die.

Happy Mother’s Day!

The Ottoman Genocide of the Indigenous Christians: Greeks, Assyrians, and Armenians, not an exclusive Armenian Genocide.

by Thea Halo

Armenians have called on President Biden to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, and today the president did so without mentioning the other 1.5 million victims of this crime. Many people were very pleased that the US House of Representatives finally, after over 100 years, passed (H.Res.296) on October 29, 2019– “affirming the United States record on the Armenian Genocide.” It was definitely long overdue. However, although the resolution did refer to the Greeks, Assyrians, and other Christians, it mentions them in a rather cryptic way and as an afterthought.

It reads: “Whereas the United States has a proud history of recognizing and condemning the Armenian Genocide, the killing of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923, and providing relief to the survivors of the campaign of genocide against Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, Arameans, Maronites, and other Christians;”1

To refer to the other victims of the genocide in this manner, tends to confuse what the other victims actually suffered, and fails to address the extent of this great crime. Is this wording intended to give the impression that the “Greeks, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, Arameans, Maronites,2 and other Christians” actually survived the genocide while most of the Armenians did not?

To put Martin Niemöller’s3 poem in a new context, it should be pointed out that:

First they came for the Greeks of Eastern Thrace in 1913,
And no one stopped the slaughters.

Then they came for the Greeks in Western Asia Minor (Anatolia) in 1914,
And no one stopped the slaughters.

Then they came for the Assyrians in Eastern Anatolia in 1914,
And no one stopped the slaughters.

Then they came for the Armenians in 1915,
And no one stopped the slaughters.

Then they came for the Pontic Greeks in 1916,
and again in 1919 under Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk),
And no one stopped the slaughters.

Then they exiled the remaining Assyrians
—whose ancestors had arrived in Anatolia around 2,400 BC.—
and the Greeks—whose ancestors had arrived in Anatolia in 1200 BC.—
and the Armenians, whose ancestors had arrived in Anatolia in 600 BC.,
thus ending over four thousands years
of Assyrian, Greek, and Armenian presence in Anatolia.

Then they gave Anatolia to the Turks
—the perpetrators of the Genocides—
descendants of the Turks who had invaded Anatolia
and conquered Constantinople in 1453 AD,
almost 4,000 years after the arrival
of the Assyrians, Greeks, and Armenians.

Then they renamed Anatolia Turkey.

Total Assyrians slaughtered: 275 thousand, more than half their population.

Total Anatolian and Pontian Greeks slaughtered: 1.2 Million

Total Armenians slaughtered: 600,000 to 800,000, although Armenian scholars estimate deaths as high as 1.5 million.

Totaling over 3 Million Assyrian, Greek, and Armenian victims of the Ottoman Genocide.

Yet news reports often fail to mention the 1.5 million Greek and Assyrian victims of this Genocide, and continue to refer to this crime as The Armenian Genocide.

My mother, a Pontic Greek, lived through that genocide. By age 12, after an inhuman death march to exile by her entire community, she was the only known survivor of her family. It was an Armenian family from Diyarbekir who took my orphaned mother in, and brought her to safety in Aleppo, Syria when they fled Turkey. My father was an Assyrian who fled Turkey on pain of death in 1905 and came to America. In 1925 he visited cousins in Aleppo, Syria who had been driven out of Turkey during the genocide. The Armenian family, who lived in the same building, arranged my mother’s marriage to my father. My mother was only 15. My father was 45. He brought her to America in 1925. Inasmuch, all three of these ethnic peoples, the Pontic Greeks, the Assyrians, and the Armenians became my extended family.

Memorialized in Not Even My Name, my mother’s story represents the story of millions of other Greeks, Assyrians, and Armenians who lived through that terrible genocide. Rep. Anna Eshoo reminds us, her Assyrian family were also victims of that genocide. The Greeks and Assyrians should not be dealt with as an afterthought by the press, by Congress, or by the president.

In 2007, the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS), hundreds of genocide scholars overwhelmingly confirmed in an historic resolution, that the Greeks, Assyrians, and Armenians suffered Genocides from 1914-1923. This period was ruled by the Ottoman ‘Young Turks’ and then Mustafa Kemal Atatûrk and his Nationalists.

Even after the Exchange of Populations in 1923, Greek exiles continued to die due to the years of prolonged starvation and abuse. According to the census of 1928 1,221,555 refugees arrived in Greece.4 Among them were 100,000 Armenians, 1,000 Assyrians, and 9,000 Circassians.5 Therefore, of the estimated 2.5-3 million Greeks of the Ottoman Empire, little more than 1.1 million arrived in Greece by 1923.

It is now over 100 years since this terrible crime. We often hear that denial is the last stage of genocide. However, denial, as unconscionable as it is, still conjures up the victims of the genocide, which allows them to be remembered. Silence, on the other hands, erases the victims of the genocide from memory, as if they never existed. Therefore, silence is the final killer. We must not let that happen.

It’s important to note that the Congressional Resolution H.Res.296 ended with reference to Elie Wiesel’s Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act of 2018. Elie Wiesel describes denial as a double killing, as it also murders the memory of the crime. But he also reminds us that “To remain silent or indifferent is the greatest sin.” That should be a message to all of us.

After the IAGS Resolution passed with overwhelming support of the hundreds of Genocide Scholars present, Sweden (2010), The Netherlands (2015). Austria (2015), Armenia (2015) and New South Wales (2015) have all issued historic resolutions acknowledging the destruction of the three indigenous Christian peoples of the Ottoman Empire: Greeks, Assyrians, and Armenians, as genocide.


WHEREAS the denial of genocide is widely recognized as the final stage of genocide, enshrining impunity for the perpetrators of genocide, and demonstrably paving the way for future genocides;

WHEREAS the Ottoman genocide against minority populations during and following the First World War is usually depicted as a genocide against Armenians alone, with little recognition of the qualitatively similar genocides against other Christian minorities of the Ottoman Empire;

BE IT RESOLVED that it is the conviction of the International Association of Genocide Scholars that the Ottoman campaign against Christian minorities of the Empire between 1914 and 1923 constituted a genocide against Armenians, Assyrians, and Pontian and Anatolian Greeks.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Association calls upon the government of Turkey to acknowledge the genocides against these populations, to issue a formal apology, and to take prompt and meaningful steps toward restitution.


  2. Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, Arameans, are ethnically Assyrians.
  3. Martin Niemöller was a German Lutheran pastor and theologian born in Lippstadt, Germany, in 1892.
  4. Statistical Annual of Greece; National Printing-Office: Athens, Greece, 1931.
  5. Edward Hale Bierstadt, The Great Betrayal. pp. 248-249.

Thea Halo is the author of Not Even My Name; a former news correspondent for WBAI in NYC; and a former member of both the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) and the International Network of Genocide Scholars (INOGS). Ms Halo’s historical papers are published in a number of Academic books: Genocide in the Ottoman Empire; Sayfo 1915: An Anthology of Essays on the Genocide of Assyrians/Arameans during the first World War; and an upcoming anthology on the Genocide of the Pontic Greeks (during the first World War in Ottoman Turkey). You can view one of her presentations at the Boston State House @

It’s a New Day- Quotes From the Famous and The Infamous

Collected by Thea Halo

Tragedy isn’t getting something or failing to get it. It’s losing something you already have.
— Euripides.

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.1
— Robert J. Hanlon

President Trump had the facts about the coronavirus as early as February. If he had not taken bold and swift action, those facts could have spread like wildfire.2
— Kayleigh McEnany, President Trump’s White House press secretary.

The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
— Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.
— Socrates

The United States, for all its faults, is still the greatest nation in the country.
— Spiro Agnew

I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.
— Will Rogers

Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress….
But then I repeat myself.
— Mark Twain

Outside of a dog a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.
— Groucho Marx

I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.
— Winston Churchill

A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.
— George Bernard Shaw

Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.
— James Bovard, Civil Libertarian (1994)

Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer of money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.
— Douglas Casey, Classmate of Bill Clinton at Georgetown University

Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.
— P.J. O’Rourke, Civil Libertarian

Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.
— Frederic Bastiat, French Economist (1801-1850)

Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you!
— Pericles (430 B.C.)

No man’s life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.
— Mark Twain (1866 )

Talk is cheap…except when Congress does it.
— Cullen Hightower

The true measure of your worth includes all the benefits others have gained from your success.
— Cullen Hightower

The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.
— Winston Churchill

The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin.
— Mark Twain

There is no distinctly Native American criminal class…save Congress.
— Mark Twain

What this country needs are more unemployed politicians.
— Edward Langley, Artist (1928-1995)

When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realized that the Lord doesn’t work that way, so I stole one and asked for forgiveness.
— Emo Philips, comedian (1956- )

If his IQ slips any lower, we’ll have to water him twice a day.
— Molly Ivins about a local congressman.

She reminds us that dissent is what rescues democracy from a quiet death behind closed doors.
— Lewis Lapham, editor emeritus of Harper’s magazine about Molly Ivins.

The illegal we can do now; the unconstitutional will take a little longer.
—Henry Kissinger, in The Trial of Henry Kissinger )

I’m the commander—see … I do not need to explain why I say things. That’s the interesting thing about being the president. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don’t feel like I owe anybody an explanation.
—George W. Bush from Bob Woodward’s Bush at War.

Bombing for peace is like f**king for virginity!!!
— unknown author, used during the Viet Nam war by protestors, but believed to be from an elderly female survivor of war.

If a man is proud of his wealth, he should not be praised until it is known how he employs it.
— Socrates

You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.
— Bob Marley

If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, then they can sure make something out of you.
― Muhammad Ali and other sources.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
— Socrates


  1. Similar statements have been made by Goethe, and indeed, Robert Heinlein: In The Sorrows of Young Werther Goethe declared, “Misunderstandings and neglect occasion more mischief in the world than even malice and wickedness. At all events, the two latter are of less frequent occurrence.” In his story Logic of Empire (1941) Heinlein declares: “You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity”. He calls this the “devil theory” of sociology. His character Lazarus Long also voices a variation on the theme in the novel Time Enough for Love: “Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.”
  2. Andy Borowitz, Kayleigh McEnany claims no one has worked harder than Trump to Protect Americans From The Facts. The New Yorker. September 10, 2020.

Thea Halo is the author of Not Even My Name; a former news correspondent for WBAI in NYC; and a former member of both the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) and the International Network of Genocide Scholars (INOGS). Ms Halo’s historical papers are published in a number of Academic books: Genocide in the Ottoman Empire; Sayfo 1915: An Anthology of Essays on the Genocide of Assyrians/Arameans during the first World War; and an upcoming anthology on the Genocide of the Pontic Greeks (during the first World War in Ottoman Turkey). You can view one of her presentations at the Boston State House @

The Q of Wisdom

Twisting Philosophy into Sophistry
by Thea Halo

In a time of universal deceit,
telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
— George Orwell

In researching for this blog post I realize how difficult it is to convince anyone that what they believe is totally off the wall. It’s easy to tell someone that he/she will one day realize that what they’ve been told is nonsense. However, simply saying it isn’t terribly convincing, especially when so many others seem to share and promote those beliefs. All through history, so much of what we take as fact today, was challenged at the time, and the challengers were just as convinced that they were right as those being challenged. Even when presented with “scientific proof,” it was often futile to try and convince someone he/she may be wrong, especially if their beliefs were either tied to religious doctrine, or were reinforced by others. When religious leaders are those spreading fantasies as fact, the futility is greatly increased, and the belief is sometimes elevated to a pathological fervor.

After reading my blog entry on QAnon, I received an email from someone I thought I knew fairly well, asking me to remove her from my mailing list. She sent me a document, and pointed to a passage in it that she claimed she lives by. It states in part:

“I enjoy [Ralph Waldo] Emerson’s Essays and (in my youth) was especially intrigued by a quote on Self Reliance…… ‘To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, that is genius.’1 It felt righteous to believe that my own thoughts should be true for everyone… until I reflected on my own life and recognized that my family also believed their thoughts should be true for me. I think that true genius lies in understanding that all thinking and beliefs have merit and consideration.”

To conclude that “all thinking and beliefs have merit and consideration,” actually sounds loving and open-minded, that is if one is thinking and believing that chocolate ice cream tastes better than vanilla. But to suggest that belief in any number of realities should be accepted as true if someone, or a group of people, believe it, then we cross over into sometimes dangerous ground. If we are to become a society in which belief is as highly regarded as fact, what do we teach our children? Should various realities be taught in our schools, since teaching only one theory or reality might conflict with, or insult those who believe in a different reality?

In fact, there was a time when teaching a specific reality was not only the norm, it was vigorously enforced and, unfortunately, it was not always a reality based on fact or proven by science. For instance, believing the earth is the center of the universe was Church doctrine at the time of Galileo. Consequently, when Galileo suggested otherwise in 1633, he was brought to Rome to face charges of heresy. Had Church elders believed that all thoughts are equally valid, perhaps Galileo would have been saved from being convicted of heresy. Galileo was not only forced by the church to recant his findings, he “spent the rest of his life under house arrest in his villa in Arcetri, near Florence,” and his book, The Dialogue, “was placed on the Catholic Church’s Index of Forbidden Books, where it remained until 1835.”2

“Aristotle (384–322 BCE) provided observational arguments supporting the idea of a spherical Earth…[and] The notion that the Earth revolves around the Sun had been proposed as early as the 3rd century BCE by Aristarchus of Samos…” It took more than two thousand years before Galileo came to the same conclusions as the Greeks, after studying “the work of Nicolaus Copernicus, a Polish astronomer who had put forward the theory that the Earth was not even the center of the solar system, let alone the whole universe.”3

Darwin’s theory of evolution also went against Church doctrine. In fact, some still believe that to teach evolution is ‘blasphemy’. Many remember the “Scopes Monkey Trial” in which “a high school teacher, John T. Scopes was accused of violating Tennessee’s Butler Act, which had made it unlawful to teach human evolution in any state-funded school.”4 Scopes was actually found guilty and ordered to pay $100, equivalent to over $1,500 today.

There was also a time when almost all believed the world is flat. Some people—which includes a surprising number of famous male athletes— still believe the world is flat.5 Some people believe the bible tells them so. It does not. Should a compassionate society—one that believes everyone has a right to his/her beliefs—simply tell those believers to be careful not to go too close to the edge? And where should we claim the edge exists? In our backyard? In some foreign land? And what of those disturbing images from space that show a spherical world? Are those images, like images of men walking on the moon, just clever manipulations of technology? Some believe they are.

If all theories and beliefs are valid, simply because some people believe each theory, and everyone’s beliefs should be honored, what should be taught in our schools? And how does that effect our advancement of science? Should we have an either/or curriculum for our students? Or an either, or, or, or, curriculum? Where do facts come into the picture? Will history and science be taught as relative to a student’s beliefs?

The above-mentioned document goes on to state:

“We want to respect the thoughts of others without feeling the necessity to justify our own. There are more meaningful interests in life that can be shared and expressed… especially among those who have a lifelong caring connection. In this final chapter of our lives we hope to enjoy harmony with those we love while regarding the differences that exist… if that is still possible in this changing world.  We love our family and friends… and we all deserve the unchallenged sanctity of our own true thoughts.”

Who can argue with that? Of course we should not unnecessarily burden our loved ones… unless, of course, one’s “own true thoughts” are not actually true and they instigate a violent attack on the Capital building, in which one’s loved ones take part, because of the warped belief that one’s actions can actually overturn an election that was allegedly stolen from the former president, and any violence committed to stop certification is justified.6 Or one’s loved ones refuse to follow safety guidelines, because they believe the lie that the Coronavirus is a hoax. What then?

In considering the above arguments, it’s easy to see how any philosophical saying—like that of Ralph Waldo Emerson—can be twisted to conform to one’s intended purpose, making them seem to have weight. Here’s another:

“Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Imagine that: “To be great is to be misunderstood.” And apparently, one is in good company… Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton. So believing CNN’s Anderson Cooper eats babies simply shows how great one is for believing something others deny, including Anderson Cooper, the alleged baby eater himself.7 Or one believes, as Michael Flynn apparently does, that “vaccines contain Communist microchips” and men … “say they’ve had sex with space aliens.”8

Or believing men walking on the moon, and the attack on the World Trade Center Buildings were simply hoaxes, even if the buildings ceased to exist in less than two hours after the world watched planes crash into them. More recently, “California wildfires were intentionally set by a Jewish space laser.”9 Cool! I want one of those. Soon there will be denial that Perseverance Rover landed on Mars.10

Ralph Waldo Emerson tells us: “Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.”

Is Emerson really advising people to simply go forth with any crazy notion or scheme he or she can dream up and follow it, because doing so shows the courage of a soldier?

If any theory or belief is valid, why bother to teach anything in our schools other than a trade? Why waste time on courses in science and philosophy? Why assign literature and the writing of essays, or teach critical thinking? Why bother to teach students to read? Why try to develop vaccines for the CoronaVirus if it’s just a hoax? In fact, why believe there is such a thing as reality? Perhaps we are all living in our own dream. Why wake us up? It’s nice in here. I finally have people who agree with me, so I’m no longer alone.

Yes. Even philosophy can be twisted for one’s own ends. That’s the danger of half an education. That’s the danger of failing to teach students how to actually think and decipher what they are reading or hearing, and to actually search for answers. As William Arthur Ward reminds us: “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”

That is what we need more of… the great teacher who inspires students to go out and find the answers… to not simply rely on the easy answers that someone hands out like popcorn.

Here’s one to chew on:
It is as fatal as it is cowardly to blame facts because they are not to our taste.
— John Tyndall


  1. For the entire quote see:
  2. Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac for Saturday, February 13, 2021. Galileo’s book was called Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems.
  3. History of the Center of the Universe.
  4. Scopes Trial. Wikipedia
  5. Joey Haverford, 10 Celebs Who Actually Believe The Earth Is Flat (10 Who Believe Worse) The rich and famous believe in some seriously wacky things. The Travel. Published November 05, 2018.
  6. Jesselyn Cook, I Miss My Mom’: Children Of QAnon Believers Are Desperately Trying To Deradicalize Their Own Parents. Huffpost. February 11, 2021.
  7. Catherina Gioino, A Former QAnon supporter apologized to CNN’s Anderson Cooper for thinking he ate babies in a shocking clip aired on Saturday night. The Sun, January 31, 2021.
  8. Nick Robins-Early, Michael Flynn’s Wild Ride Into The Heart Of QAnon. Huffpost. February 21, 2021.
  9. Jonathan Chait, GOP Congresswoman Blamed Wildfires on Secret Jewish Space Laser, Intelligencer. Jan. 28, 2021.
  10. Nasa Science, Mars 2020 Mission Perseverance Rover.


Thea Halo is the author of Not Even My Name; a former news correspondent for WBAI in NYC; and a former member of both the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) and the International Network of Genocide Scholars (INOGS). Ms Halo’s historical papers are published in a number of Academic books: Genocide in the Ottoman Empire; Sayfo 1915: An Anthology of Essays on the Genocide of Assyrians/Arameans during the first World War; and an upcoming anthology on the Genocide of the Pontic Greeks (during the first World War in Ottoman Turkey). You can view one of her presentations at the Boston State House @

Scoundrels, Toadies, and Spineless Miscreants

Welcome to Donald Trump’s Republican Party

by Thea Halo

Top of the list of Scoundrels, Toadies, and Spineless Miscreants is Mitch McConnell, the Senate Minority Leader who delayed the trial of Donald Trump—or DT1 as he’ll henceforth be referred to here—until DT left office, so McConnell could acquit DT based on the trial being held after DT left office. Can anything be more cynical than this blatant ploy by McConnell in order to justify his dereliction of duty?

Not only was there overwhelming evidence that DT instigated the attack on the Capital, McConnell was unequivocal about DT’s responsibility. “There is no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day,” he said, and added that DT watched the events unfold on television. McConnell said, “A mob was assaulting the Capitol in his name. These criminals were carrying his banners, hanging his flags and screaming their loyalty to him.”2

McConnell called DT’s behavior ‘a dereliction of duty’. However, history will remember McConnell for his own dereliction of duty in voting to acquit. His children and grandchildren will most likely remember him for both his duplicity and his cowardice in refusing to follow his conscience and his oath of office.

To thank McConnell for his vote—or perhaps for his subsequent unequivocal indictment— DT, or ‘the other guy,’ as Biden now calls him, called the Senate minority leader “third rate” and “one of the most unpopular politicians in the United States.” He also called McConnell: “a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack.” Surely McConnell must have expected such a generous thank you from his master.

This is not the first time McConnell deliberately and publicly violated his oath of office in order to toady up to DT and his supporters. The Atlantic reported that during DT’s first impeachment trial McConnell said: “Everything I do during this, I’m coordinating with White House counsel. There will be no difference between the president’s position and our position as to how to handle this to the extent that we can. …”3

Next in line for the top list of Scoundrels, Toadies, and Spineless Miscreants is Senator Lindsey Graham who made a similar confession during the first impeachment of DT: “This thing will come to the Senate, and it will die quickly, and I will do everything I can to make it die quickly. …I am trying to give a pretty clear signal I have made up my mind. I’m not trying to pretend to be a fair juror here.”4

It should come as no surprise, therefore, that DT was not the only person to ask Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to throw out ballots to help Trump win the election. “Raffensperger accused Graham of asking him to throw out valid ballots in the Peach State during a recent phone call.”5

For the latest impeachment trial, Graham walked the same crooked path as the last. He acknowledged DT could have done more to stop the riot. Yet Graham told Fox News his advice to the Republican Party is: “if you want to win and stop the socialist agenda, we need to work with President Trump. …We can’t do it without him. … I’m into winning.”6 In other words, Graham is fine with lying, cheating, riots, death and anything else DT is guilty of, because Graham is guilty of some of the same crimes. His sole purpose is to win.

According to lawmakers who were later briefed on the expletive-laced phone call with House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, who begged DT to call off the attack on the US Capitol to no avail, DT said to McCarthy: ‘Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.’”7 Yet even McCarthy voted to acquit.

During the impeachment trial, Rep. Herrera Beutler recounted Rep. McCarthy’s call to DT.8 About DT’s refusal to stop the assault, she said: “That line right there demonstrates to me that either he didn’t care, which is impeachable, because you cannot allow an attack on your soil, or he wanted it to happen and was OK with it, which makes me so angry.” Herrera Beutler added, “I’m trying really hard not to say the F-word.”9

Only seven principled Republicans honored their oaths of office: Sens. Bill Cassidy (La.), Richard Burr (N.C.), Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Mitt Romney (Utah), Ben Sasse (Neb.) and Pat Toomey (Pa.).10  They will go down in history as examples of how principled members of our congress should perform their duties to the American people, even knowing there would be backlash from loyal DT supporters.

In fact, “The Louisiana Republican Party’s executive committee voted unanimously to censure Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) for casting a ‘guilty’ vote…”11 Even more dramatic, “Eleven members of Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger’s family sent him a vitriolic letter accusing him of being a member of the ‘devil’s army in light of his criticism” of DT. They wrote: “Oh my, what a disappointment you are to us and to God. We were once so proud of your accomplishments. Instead you go against your Christian principals and join the Devil’s army… you have embarrassed the Kinzinger family name.”12

What more proof do we need that the phenomenon of DT is a cult—and perhaps a kind of mass hysteria—when a family is willing to reject and denigrate a distinguished member of the family for being loyal to his oath of office and for performing his constitutional duty?

It is doubtful that the 43 Republican members of Congress who voted to acquit, truly believed that DT was innocent of the charges brought against him. They are the ones who have actually stained their legacy and joined the Devil’s Army. And they and their families will have to live with that. Unfortunately, so will we.

According to news sources: “Feeling emboldened by the trial’s outcome, he [DT] is expected to reemerge from a self-imposed hibernation at his club in Palm Beach, Florida, and is eyeing ways to reassert his power.”13 Good Grief! What’s next?

What does this say about out government? It’s rather terrifying to know that we are being led by this array of miscreants who place their own interests ahead of those of the American people and the Constitution, to which they swore an oath.

To add to the theater of the absurd, Texas state Rep. Kyle Biedermann (R) shared on Facebook, “The federal government is out of control and does not represent the values of Texans. That is why I am committing to file legislation this session that will allow a referendum to give Texans a vote for the State of Texas to reassert its status as an independent nation.”14 Good idea!

Perhaps Democrats should also file a petition to form their own nation. Republicans can do the same. Blue Nation/Red Nation. Purple Nations can be divided down the middle. Then the Republicans—who seem to condone any and all of DT’s acts—or are too frightened to hold him accountable—can revel in their adoration of him in their own nation with no pesky interference from the Democrats, or as Lindsey Graham calls them, ‘Socialists’. And Democrats can finally begin to form the just, compassionate nation they claim to want, based on the principals more closely aligned with that old ‘Socialist,’ Franklin Delano Roosevelt, with no filibusters from the Republicans to stop them. Perhaps that’s the only way each party will finally see whether the world they had so long envisioned for themselves and the American people is the right one.

To take this sad farce to its extreme, perhaps there should be a wall dividing Red nations from Blues to make sure no one cheats by taking advantage of the policies of the other nation. McConnell and Graham can beg their master, DT, to make Mexico pay for it.

Yes, Ms Herrera Beutler. We are all “trying really hard not to say the F-word.”


  1. DT stands for Delirium tremens, a rapid onset of confusion usually caused by withdrawal from alcohol. However, here DT will stand for Delirium Terrors, a rapid onset of confusion and rage caused by the loss of the presidency to Joe Biden, the man DT claimed was the “worst candidate in the history of presidential politics.” 
  2. Grace Segers, Cassidy McDonald, McConnell says Trump was “practically and morally responsible” for riot after voting not guilty, CBS News. February 14, 2021.
  3. Quinta Jurecic and Benjamin Wittes, The Remedy for Mitch McConnell, The Senate majority leader seems uninterested in fulfilling his constitutional duties. The Atlantic. December 16, 2019.
  4. Quinta Jurecic and Benjamin Wittes, The Remedy for Mitch McConnell, The Senate majority leader seems uninterested in fulfilling his constitutional duties. The Atlantic. December 16, 2019.
  5. Colin Kalmbacher, ‘What We in the Legal World Call a Felony’: Lawyers Condemn Lindsey Graham, Call for DOJ and Senate Investigations. Law & Order. Nov 17th, 2020. Also see: Andrew Prokop, Lindsey Graham’s controversial call with Georgia’s secretary of state, explained. MSN VOX. 11/18/2020.
  6. Hayley Miller, Sen. Lindsey Graham Brushes Off Trump’s Election Lies: ‘I’m Into Winning.’ Huffpost. February 14, 2021.
  7. Dustin Gardiner, Trump, Kevin McCarthy had expletive-filled call as rioters stormed Capitol. MSN. San Francisco Chronicle. February 19, 2020.
  8. Nicholas Fandos, Herrera Beutler Says McCarthy Told Her Trump Sided with Capitol Mob, NY Times, February 13, 2021.
  9. Jamie Gangel, Kevin Liptak, Michael Warren and Marshall Cohen, New details about Trump-McCarthy shouting match show Trump refused to call off the rioters, CNN. February 12, 2021.
  10. Sara Boboltz and Dominique Mosbergen, 7 Republican Senators Explain Why They Voted To Convict Trump, Huffpost. February 13, 2021.
  11. Eric Quintanar, Louisiana GOP Censures Bill Cassidy Over ‘Guilty’ Impeachment Trial Vote. The Clarion. February 13, 2021.
  12. Caroline Kelly, New York Times: House Republican shunned by family members over Trump criticism, CNN. February 16, 2021.
  13. Jill Colvin, Trump Looks To Reassert Himself After Impeachment Acquittal. ABC News. February 15, 2021.
  14. Marina Pitofsky, Texas lawmaker to file bill calling for vote on secession from US. MSN. December 10, 2020.


Thea Halo is the author of Not Even My Name; a former news correspondent for WBAI in NYC; and a former member of both the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) and the International Network of Genocide Scholars (INOGS). Ms Halo’s historical papers are published in a number of Academic books: Genocide in the Ottoman Empire; Sayfo 1915: An Anthology of Essays on the Genocide of Assyrians/Arameans during the first World War; and an upcoming anthology on the Genocide of the Pontic Greeks (during the first World War in Ottoman Turkey). You can view one of her presentations at the Boston State House @

In Praise of Compassion

A New Deal—Conservatives vs Liberals

by Thea Halo

Justice will not be served
until those who are unaffected
are as outraged as those who are.
— Benjamin Franklin, (1706-1790)

When did we become a country in which so many citizens seem to hate each other and reject compassion? Perhaps it’s time to remind everyone that the Constitution begins with the words: We the people. It doesn’t begin with, We, some of the people. And although many like to compare themselves to Abraham Lincoln, as Donald Trump has done on numerous occasions, they seem to forget that Lincoln freed the slaves and his Gettysburg address famously ends with the words: “… government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” Lincoln did not end with: …government of some of the people, by some of the people, for some of the people…

Many who consider themselves Conservatives seem to hate the notion of ‘Liberalism.’ So perhaps we should explore a society ruled by Liberals. If we look at history—our history—it was under Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s government—a government many called ‘Socialist’ at the time—that Americans were saved from the most economically devastating era of our nation’s history, i.e. The Great Depression. In a few respects at least, it’s comparable to what we’re living through right now during this Pandemic, although then it was far worse. Rich and poor alike were affected, although the poor and middle classes are always the most affected.

The banks were failing and on the verge of collapse. A few investors even leaped from rooftops when they realized their entire savings were gone when the stock market crashed. There were runs on the banks by a multitude of people who most certainly would have lost their entire life savings. The banking crisis threatened to destroy America’s economy. FDR confronted his greatest challenge on his first full day in office.

“Declaring a ‘bank holiday,’ he temporarily closed all the nation’s banks. Then he called Congress into special session to pass emergency banking legislation. Treasury officials feverishly began work on the Emergency Banking Act. Rushed to Congress four days later, it was approved within hours. The Act gave the government authority to examine bank finances, provide needed capital, and determine which banks were fit to reopen. The healthy banks were authorized to reopen on March 13. But would people trust them? On March 12, FDR went on nationwide radio to reassure Americans. His appeal worked. The following morning, when the banks reopened, depositors lined up to return their money. The banking crisis was over.”1

FDR’s temporary Emergency Banking Act was followed by the 1933 Banking Act, or Glass–Steagall Act, which established the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). It was signed into law by Roosevelt on June 16, 1933.2

At the time of the Great Depression, some people were feeding their children from what they could glean from garbage cans. There was no work for millions of Americans. Long lines at soup kitchens were a common sight. Songs were written with words such as:

“Once I built a railroad, I made it run
I made it run against time.
Once I built a railroad, and now it’s done.
Brother can you spare a dime?”3

Farmers also suffered. The ‘Dust Bowl,’ made worse by inefficient farming practices, devastated both the farmers and the economy. Many Americans seem to forget that almost every American whose family lived in the US during the Great Depression, including the families of some of our Politicians, were saved by the policies of that so-called Socialist, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

While fighting his own battle with the effects of Polio, FDR jumped into action and enacted some of the most sweeping programs in our nation’s history. And who was to pay for them? The wealthy. Roosevelt, known as The Great Communicator, famously said:

“We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace—business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering. They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob. Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me—and I welcome their hatred.”4

Today one might conclude that we are back where we started. As long as our politicians are forced to raise millions of dollars in order to run for office, “business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, [and] war profiteering,” have surely taken over government interests.

Although FDR was a wealthy member of the ruling class, he set to work designing programs for struggling Americans. FDR created work programs that put millions of Americans to work, and it was work that benefited the entire society, i.e building roads, managing the forests, building walls in Central Park and the Brooklyn Navy Yard. My stonemason father was given work on those two projects. Although they may seem like small accomplishments to some, they stand in my memory of him as part of his lasting contribution to his new country. He is long gone, but the walls he helped build still stand.

“In the first six years …WPA employed about 8,000,000 workers. Monthly earnings for all types of workers averaged $41.50 in 1935 and $50 in 1939. The New Deal paid special attention to the nation’s dispossessed youth. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) put approximately 2,750,000 idle young men to work to reclaim government-owned land and forests through irrigation, soil enrichment, pest control, tree planting, fire prevention and other conservation projects. The young men earned a dollar a day, and they had to send part of their wages to their families back home.”5 In 1930, $1 was equivalent in purchasing power to about $15.60 today.

Even school children benefited from the New Deal. “Through the National Youth Administration (NYA) the government made it possible for 1.5 million high school students and 600,000 college students to continue their education by providing them with part-time jobs to meet their expenses.”6 Even artists were hired to create public works.7

FDR also set up a commission to teach farmers how to better manage their farmland by teaching them better plowing methods that would reduce the erosion of the soil during wind storms. And FDR created “the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), which produced and sold cheap electric power and fertilizer in a seven-state area (about four-fifths the size of England), whose farms were among the nation’s poorest and least productive, and where only a fraction of the inhabitants possessed electricity to light their homes and operate their equipment.” The TVA soon forced the privately owned power companies to substantially lower their rates.8

One of FDR’s most lasting initiatives, is Social Security, an essential safeguard that many claimed was threatened during Trump’s presidency. Imagine working for your entire life at a low paying job, or even a mid-level job, only to find yourself unable to pay your rent or feed your family when age made it difficult or impossible to continue working. Without Social Security, those who weren’t fortunate enough to have worked at a job that ensured a pension—as members of congress enjoy—or hadn’t been able to save for their old age, were poverty stricken when they could no longer work. Social Security gave the elderly the dignity to go on without the embarrassment of becoming beggars.

First Lady Eleanor was also a first rate activist. The “First Lady successfully advocated for expanded roles for women in the workplace, the civil rights of African Americans, and the fair treatment of Asian Americans, and championed the rights of World War II refugees.”9 Eleanor famously said: “A woman is like a tea bag — you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.”

FDR’s New Deal initiatives were extraordinary achievements during an extraordinary time in our nation’s history. FDR didn’t ask if the recipients of his initiatives were Republicans or Democrats. He didn’t ask to which social class they belonged. They were Americans in need at a very desperate time. That’s all FDR needed to know.

On July 30, 1965, another Democrat, President Lyndon B. Johnson, signed Medicare and Medicaid into law. Medicare and Medicaid guaranteed that elderly Americans and low-income Americans would have access to medical attention regardless of their ability to pay.10

Those who call themselves Conservatives should also ask themselves why they are so opposed to programs that help their fellow Americans and, in fact, help themselves. Republicans often cite government deficits as the reason for cutting social programs. However, according to a study published in the New York Times, the annual non-farm growth under Democrats was 4.8% as opposed to 1.0% under Republicans. The G.D.P. was 4.6% under Democrats as opposed to 2.4% under Republicans.11

In fact, the deficit history of the last 40 years tells a powerful story as to who is more fiscally responsible, Democrats—with their more liberal policies—or deficit-minded Republicans.

“Reagan took the deficit from $70 billion to $175 billion. Bush 41 took it to $300 billion. Clinton got it to zero. Bush 43 took it from zero to $1.2 trillion. Obama halved it to $600 billion. Trump got it back to a trillion.”12

Being opposed to social programs is tantamount to “cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face” as the saying goes, since social programs actually help all Americans in big ways and small. Some even argue that they help the rich and middle classes more than they help the poor. Consider the poem called A Quiet Life by Baron Wormser, which is only partially reprinted here. It so aptly explains all that went into the simple act of boiling an egg.

What a person desires in life
is a properly boiled egg.
This isn’t as easy as it seems.
There must be gas and a stove,
the gas requires pipelines, mastodon drills,
banks that dispense the lozenge of capital.
There must be a pot, the product of mines
and furnaces and factories,
of dim early mornings and night-owl shifts,
of women in kerchiefs and men with
sweat-soaked hair.

The wealthy should ask themselves if they could have achieved their wealth without the labor and inventions that went into the products and services that helped them achieve their wealth.

Politicians who object so strongly to immigration and programs that help the poor and middle classes, should ask themselves how much wealth their own ancestors brought with them when they first came to the US. One of Trump’s plans on immigration would have greatly cut down on visas for immigrants without advanced skills.14 However, Donald Trump’s own grandfather was banned from returning to Germany because he fled to avoid the national draft. The Independent reports that Trump’s grandfather: “started working as a barber in the US, before going on to run a restaurant, bar and allegedly even a brothel — enterprises that made him wealthy.”15 Donald Trump’s mother, who billed herself as a domestic, or maid—again hardly considered skilled labor—fled poverty in Scotland to find a better life in America.16 Had she been denied entry, Donald Trump would not exist, since it was in America, working as a maid, that his mother met and married Donald Trump’s father.

It was not always easy for the new arrivals. Many Americans resented each new wave that came from other countries. Yet, all except Native Americans came from someplace else during the last 400+ years, often at a time when so many were struggling just to put food on the table. That means many were destitute when they arrived. Think of the Irish who fled Ireland because of the Irish Potato Famine, also known as The Great Hunger. The Irish Potato Famine was not caused by the Irish who suffered the blight.17 Around one million Irish died in Ireland during that time, and about two million fled the country to find safe haven. Around one million Irish arrived in America, most of whom were probably destitute. The same search for safety and a better life holds true for Jews who arrived in the US during or after the Holocaust. And it holds true for Greeks and Italians, and so many others who fled abuse, poverty, wars, and famines in their native lands.

It would be interesting, and perhaps a profitable project for the US government to estimate how much it would cost to help alleviate some of the problems in the South and Central American countries from which so many migrants or refugees flee. They flee from poverty and violence. They don’t walk thousands of miles with their children in tow—with no guarantee of acceptance—for the fun of it. As British Somali poet Warsan Shire wrote in her perfect poem called ‘Home’: “No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark.”18 If we wish to lessen the onslaught of these disparate people, perhaps we should ask if there is something the US could do to make it desirable for them to stay safely in there own countries. The remedy may cost less then a wall that is not only unfinished, but many claim is ineffective.19

The inscription at the bottom of the Statue of Liberty doesn’t say: Give me your rich White Scandinavian professionals who hope to rake in millions in America. It famously reads: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.”

Yet today, some of the offspring of those “huddled masses” and “wretched refuse” have raked in millions, and some of their offspring hold important positions in science, industry, education, the arts, banking, and government, thereby contributing to the wealth and prestige of the nation.

Of course, there must be sensible immigration policies. However, sensible immigration policies shouldn’t translate into abusive immigration policies where children are taken from their parents and put in cages, while their parents are deported with no known contact info for reuniting the family in future.20

It would also be interesting to know whether the parents or grandparents of those members of Congress—who are so adamantly against social programs—lived through the Great Depression and whether the policies of that old ‘Socialist’ FDR helped them survive, and even prosper. We do know that Mitch McConnell’s great great grandfathers owned 12 slave.21 Yet Mitch McConnell was famously opposed to reparations for the descendants of slaves.

Without humane programs such as those initiated by FDR, America would be a much different place today. Because of the Coronavirus Pandemic, the US is once again at one of those crossroads. It’s now up to President Joe Biden and VP Kamala Harris to undo some of the failed policies of the previous administration. And it’s incumbent on the Republicans in Congress not to make this a partisan fight. Everyone in congress took an oath to uphold the Constitution. The country does not belong to one party or the other. It belongs to the American people.

Let’s help them get it right.


  1. Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, Saving the Banks.
  2. 10 Major Accomplishments of Franklin D. Roosevelt:
  3. Edgar Yipsel Harburg (born Isidore Hochberg; April 8, 1896 – March 5, 1981) was an American popular song lyricist and librettist who worked with many well-known composers. He wrote the lyrics to the standards “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” (with Jay Gorney), “April in Paris”, and “It’s Only a Paper Moon”, as well as all of the songs for the film The Wizard of Oz, including “Over the Rainbow”.[1] He was known for the social commentary of his lyrics, as well as his liberal sensibilities. He championed racial and gender equality and union politics. He also was an ardent critic of religion. Wikipedia.
  5. Harry Kelber, How the New Deal Created Millions of Jobs To Lift the American People from Depression, The Labor educator, May 9, 2008.
  6. Harry Kelber, How the New Deal Created Millions of Jobs To Lift the American People from Depression, The Labor educator, May 9, 2008.
  7. WPA Art Collection. US Department of the Treasury.
  8. Harry Kelber, How the New Deal Created Millions of Jobs To Lift the American People from Depression, The Labor educator, May 9, 2008.
  9. Anna Elenor Roosevelt, The Japanese internment camps remain a blight on FDR’s legacy.
  10. CMS. gov.
  11. David Leonhardt, Good morning. Why has the U.S. economy fared so much better under Democratic presidents than Republicans? The New York Times. February 2, 2021.
  12. Daniel Funke The Poynter Institute’s PolitiFact, July 29, 2019. According to The Poynter Institute’s PolitiFact, these figures are only slightly off.
  13. A Quiet Life” by Baron Wormser, from Scattered Chapters. © Sarabande Books, 2008. Seen on The Writer’s Almanac, with Garrison Keillor, June 2, 2008.
  14. Margaret E. Peters, Why did Republicans become so opposed to immigration? Hint: It’s not because there’s more nativism. The Washington Post. January 30, 2018.
  15. Harriet Angerholm, Donald Trump’s grandfather was banished from Germany, records reveal President-elect’s relative pleaded to stay in the country — but was refused. Independent. Monday 21 November 2016.
  16. Michael Kramish and Marc Fisher, Trump Revealed: The Definitive Biography of the 45th President. Scribner; Reprint edition (January 10, 2017.
  17. Mark Thornton, What Caused the Irish Potato Famine? The Libertarian Institute. Mar 18, 2017
  19. K. Grace Hulseman, Trump’s Border Wall Is an Expensive, Ineffective Application of Eminent Domain, Center For American Progress. April 25, 2019.
  20. Parents of 545 Children Separated at the Border Cannot Be Found, New York Times. October 21, 2020.
  21. Yaron Steinbuch, Mitch McConnell’s ancestors owned slaves: report. New York Post. July 9, 2019.

Thea Halo is the author of Not Even My Name; a former news correspondent for WBAI in NYC; and a former member of both the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) and the International Network of Genocide Scholars (INOGS). Ms Halo’s historical papers are published in a number of Academic books: Genocide in the Ottoman Empire; Sayfo 1915: An Anthology of Essays on the Genocide of Assyrians/Arameans during the first World War; and an upcoming anthology on the Genocide of the Pontic Greeks (during the first World War in Ottoman Turkey). You can view one of her presentations at the Boston State House @

The QAnon Phenomenon

by Thea Halo

When did we become a country where millions of (presumably otherwise intelligent) people believe in conspiracy theories which are so absurd that one has to wonder why those believers aren’t locked up in some exclusive ‘Made for QAnon’ loony bin? We could blame it on Donald Trump. However, simply having Trump as president seems to have given his QAnon followers license to go wild. It’s as if Trump swung open a magic door into the vast unknown and told his followers, “go on in. The universe is the limit there! Let your wildest fantasies run free! I’ll be here to save you from all your most outlandish fantasies when they come true!”

Here are a few of those fantasies/conspiracies:

“An Evil Cult Is Ruling the Planet.”
“Donald Trump Is an American Hero.”
“The Democratic Party Has Sinister Intentions.”
“Barack Obama armed North Korea with Nuclear weapons and he’s Satan.1

And, of course, there was Pizzagate. “Proponents of the Pizzagate conspiracy theory falsely claimed that emails contained coded messages that connected several high-ranking Democratic Party officials and U.S. restaurants with an alleged human trafficking and child sex ring.”2 One ex-QAnon believer confessed that he actually believed CNN’s Anderson Cooper ate babies.3

A new book is also circulating that claims: “Democrats murder and eat children and that the government created AIDS, polio and Lyme disease [and] the world is run by a Satanic cabal led by Hillary Clinton.”4 When asked about QAnon, Donald Trump answered that QAnon conspiracy theorists: ‘like me very much’ and ‘love our country.”5 Apparently that’s good enough for Donald Trump. If they love him, they could do and say what they will.

Some reports claim the QAnon insanity began in March 2016 during the Obama Administration. Donald Trump formally launched his presidential campaign on June 16, 2015. The second alleged QAnon launch date of 2017, would have been after Donald Trump became president.

While Trump’s popularity and all of those QAnon conspiracies might make for some decent sci-fi films, they are reminiscent of mass hysteria. It’s the kind of hysteria that took place when a few school kids in Tanzania began to laugh as a joke. But then the laughter began to spread and those laughing couldn’t stop. At least 1000 people, including parents, fell victim to the laughing sickness when the laughing children returned home. “Now we call it Mass Psychogenic Illness.”6

There have also been ‘epidemics’ of ‘dancing mania’ reported in the Middle Ages,7 and “In the early 14th century in northern France, nuns at a secluded Catholic convent began meowing like a cat. Within one week, all the nuns at the convent started to meow and purr.”8 Many other cases of mass hysteria have been reported.

Purdue University’s Christian Hempelmann told the Chicago Tribune:

“It’s psychogenic, meaning it is all in the minds of the people who showed the symptoms. It’s not caused by an element in the environment, like food poisoning or a toxin. There is an underlying shared stress factor in the population… It’s an easy way for them to express that something is wrong. Mass hysteria begins with a few people experiencing symptoms of severe stress, such as fits, headaches, or nausea. When these manifest, they become rapidly magnified throughout the rest of the stressed population, driven by our innate tendencies to imitate and follow others with whom we closely sympathize.”9

And that is apparently the key… “…driven by our innate tendencies to imitate and follow others with whom we closely sympathize.”

On the surface, the stress that caused QAnon seems to be an astonishing Republican fear of Liberalism, exaggerated, or perhaps born, when a Black man occupied the White House, and accelerating when one of his cohorts, Hilary Clinton, threatened to take his place. The Black Lives Matter movement seemed to have exacerbated the fear that African Americans, and perhaps the offspring of Latino migrants, would become the majority and would one day replace Whites to lead the country.

It appears that many believe Liberalism and Socialism—another boogieman term thrown out by the Trump crowd—is a form of Communism. However, it’s becoming more clear that they are simply code words to disguise the racism hidden in the right wing agenda. Socialism and Communism are now often used when Trump supporters want to convince a Liberal of the dangers that await them if Trump is no longer president. Do they actually believe Trump was saving us from Communism, and that Communism is just around the corner if the Liberals take over? Perhaps those who are not smart enough to get the joke believe that. Or perhaps some of those who spread that fear hope others won’t be smart enough to guess what the use of those terms disguise.

The cult of Trumpism is also reminiscent of mass hypnosis.

“Donald Trump, in his presidential … race, speaks directly to the voters’ imagination. This is nothing more, or less, than political hypnosis. The ‘hypnosis hypothesis,’ even better than Byron York’s ‘brief theory of Trump’s outrageousness,’ may explain Trump’s persistence as the Republican front runner.”10

One of the most distressing aspects of the cult of Trump is that his followers would rather give up family and friends, and those in their community who actually make a difference for their community, than give up their belief that Trump, a total stranger, is somehow their savior. As Illinois Republican congressman, Adam Kinzinger said on NBC’s Meet the Press, after voting to impeach Donald Trump for the Capital assault, “all of a sudden imagine everybody that supported you, … your friends, your family, has turned against you. They think you’re selling out.” Kinzinger was even told he’s “possessed by the devil.”11

What will these people do when they wake up and realize they’ve been duped, although that realization may be years away, if ever? After all, even the death of over 400,000 Americans under Trump’s watch during the Pandemic made not a dent in his popularity for most. He still received over 63 million votes in the last election. It seems his supporters have an answer for everything. That they worship him because “he’s a businessman and not a politician” is in itself amusing, as black as that humor is. Since when does a businessman accused of tax evasion and other tax crimes, with multiple bankruptcies under his belt, and a claim related to allegations of rape pending in the court, somehow become more honorable than a politician? Judging by the behavior of some of those in congress, that’s not saying much.

It’s as if Trump is the second coming of Christ for some of his supporters. No sacrilege seems off limits.


  1. Rick Loomis, What Is Qanon? Here Are 5 Core Beliefs of the Shocking Conspiracy Theory, September 26, 2020.
  2. Pizzagate conspiracy theory. Wikipedia.
  3. Catherina Gioino, A Former QAnon supporter apologized to CNN’s Anderson Cooper for thinking he ate babies in a shocking clip aired on Saturday night. The Sun, January 31, 2021.
  4. Shawn Langlois, ‘QAnon’ book claiming Democrats eat children is climbing the Amazon charts, Market Watch. March 5, 2019.
  5. Courtney Subramanian, Trump says QAnon conspiracy theorists ‘like me very much’ and ‘love our country’, USA Today, August 19, 2020.
  6. Rose Pomeroy, When a Village Started Laughing… and Couldn’t Stop, Real Clear Science. February 10, 2013.
  7. Dancing plague of 1518, Wikipedia.
  8. Khalid Elhassan, 12 of History’s Most Baffling Mass Hysteria Outbreaks.
  9. Rose Pomeroy, When a Village Started Laughing… and Couldn’t Stop, Real Clear Science. February 10, 2013.
  10. Ralph Benko, Donald Trump, Political Mass Hypnotist? Forbes, November 28, 2015.
  11. Myah Ward, Rep. Kinzinger: They claim ‘I’m possessed by the devil’, Politico, January 31, 2021.

Thea Halo is the author of Not Even My Name; a former news correspondent for WBAI in NYC; and a former member of both the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) and the International Network of Genocide Scholars (INOGS). Ms Halo’s historical papers are published in a number of Academic books: Genocide in the Ottoman Empire; Sayfo 1915: An Anthology of Essays on the Genocide of Assyrians/Arameans during the first World War; and an upcoming anthology on the Genocide of the Pontic Greeks (during the first World War in Ottoman Turkey). You can view one of her presentations at the Boston State House @

The Failure of Reason

by Thea Halo

One has to wonder how a well educated, somewhat privileged, employed human being comes to hang on every word of a known serial liar and instigator of public mistrust such as Donald Trump. It is far from true that Trump’s supporters are all a bunch of semi-literate low lives and ‘Deplorables,’ although the storming of the Capital Building seems to prove those are certainly his loudest and most violent supporters. Many of Trump’s supporters are warm, caring individuals, at least to family and friends. Many are also professionals, even educators. So the question is: How did this alliance with Trump come about? And how has it taken such a strong hold on people who should know better and who should be more discerning, such as people who claim to believe in God and family… people, who in other instances, may be ruled by reason?

This question is not for the wealthy who champion Donald Trump. Most believe the stock market is in his hands, and tax breaks for the rich are guaranteed. We know why they believe. And we are not addressing the Republican Congress members who feel they must acquiesce to Trump’s every demand in order to protect their own hides, secure his base for future runs as president, or perhaps secure jobs for their wives.1 And it’s not for those who are more interested in Trump’s policies in other countries, than they are in his policies and failures here in the US. Very little will shake them free. The question is for the general public, including women, who seem to believe in Trump, even when his words and deeds are clearly against their own interests.

The line: “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity”2 comes to mind. Although that’s certainly a catchy line, it doesn’t really explain the phenomena, except perhaps for the mob who stormed the Capital Building to stop the certification of Joseph Biden as our next president. In the case of that mob, it seems clear that it is both malice and stupidity that drives them. How could they possibly have believed they could win that one?

When Trump shouts “Make America Great Again!” What exactly is he claiming we are lacking now, that we had in the past? Has Trump ever explained that? Has anyone of his supporters asked him to explain what they were lacking, or what they are hoping he’ll accomplish, other than building walls to keep out desperate migrants searching for safety and a decent life, and banning Muslims from entering the US? Has anyone of his supporters asked Trump how our lives are now better than they were four years ago when he first took office?

Rather than simply claiming stupidity on the part of Trump’s supporters, or even ignorance, the phenomenon leaves one feeling rather sad, as it points to such a deep disappointment in our government and/or in our world, that millions of Americans, many of whom have relatively secure lives, throw reason to the wind and simply believe in Trump’s slogans without proof of meaning or a demonstration of delivery. It makes one wonder if personal disappointment in their own lives—without knowing how to remedy that disappointment—allows millions of people to grasp at any straw that this Straw Man throws their way…anything that will make them feel less alone…that someone is on their side… someone who they believe “tells it as it is,” even if what he tells them, and his dereliction of duty, has led to devastation.

For instance, Kayleigh McEnany, President Trump’s White House press secretary addressing the pandemic in September 2020 announced: “President Trump had the facts about the coronavirus as early as February [2020]. If he had not taken bold and swift action, those facts could have spread like wildfire.”3

So how does that square with telling it as it is? By September 2020, the death toll had already topped 200,000, and was averaging 700 deaths a day in the US.4 The number of Covid 19 cases in the US is now over 21,865,591 with 370,073 dead as of January 7, 2021, so asking what President Trump did for Americans or how he tells it as it is, are rather tricky questions. His supporters seem unwilling to ask those questions. Those were fathers, mothers, grandparents, husbands, wives, children, brothers, sisters, and grandchildren who died. They are not just numbers.

Keeping the facts from the American people was not just a dereliction of duty, it was criminal negligence on Trump’s part. If a parent had committed a similar act of withholding aid for his or her child, and the child died or became critically ill, the parent would surely be arrested and charged with endangerment at the very least, or negligent homicide and/or manslaughter.

Yet Trump’s fans seem to ignore anything that demonstrates he is not worthy of their support. It’s as if they are under some sort of spell. How do otherwise intelligent people become so hypnotized by a lying misogynist such as Donald Trump? How empty must one’s life be to hitch one’s star to this dying comet?

Trump—a man who is three times married and twice divorced, brags about grabbing women by the p**sy, and is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans, is their man to represent ‘God and family’. And this is said by his supporters without a wink or any sense of irony.

We now have President Donald Trump on tape trying to pressure “Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a fellow Republican, to recalculate the state’s tally of presidential election votes to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s win.”5 In fact, Trump was pressuring Raffensperger to rig the election in his favor by pulling more Trump votes out of thin air. Thankfully, Raffensperger demonstrated that he is an honorable man and refused. And yet, some still stand by their kingpin.

To make matters even more dramatic and insane, Donald Trump instigated a run on the Capital Building by his deranged supporters, resulting not only in a panicked Congress, but the death of four of Trump’s supporters and a Capital policeman. Molotov cocktails and pipe bombs were even found. And yet eight Republican senators and 139 Republican Representatives who intended to question the legitimacy of Biden’s win, still challenged the results of the election.6 One has to seriously question whether they are fit for office.

For the general public, perhaps support for Trump is as simple as needing to belong to something greater than oneself, even if that means belonging to one of the most destructive forces in our nation’s history. Considering the fact that the ultra conservative Tea Party within the Republican Party was launched in February 2009—one month after Barack Hussein Obama became president— and officially died on July 22, 2019, three years after President Obama left office, one has to wonder if the cult of Trump is the fear that one day another BLACK MAN might occupy the WHITE HOUSE if they’re not careful.7 Although most will probably swear it is not about race or religion—and perhaps for some it is not—Trump rose to political prominence using Obama’s birth place as a rallying cry claiming: “(Obama) doesn’t have a certificate. He may have one, but there’s something on that, maybe religion, maybe it says he is a Muslim. I don’t know. Maybe he doesn’t want that.”8 Anti Obama incidents after his election usually revolved around his race.9

Obama was not Trump’s opponent in the presidential race at the time. In fact, Obama’s two terms as president were ending, so such speculation about his birth was both unnecessary and gratuitous. It appeared to many as just another dog whistle, which led some to believe that the subtext of Trump’s slogan to Make America Great Again, was Make America White Again.

The Black Lives Matter campaign only seemed to add to the fear. At Trump’s despicable anti election rally, shirts with slogans such “Auschwitz, Work Brings Freedom,” with a skull and bones worn by a Trump supporter, smacks of antisemitism and hate. At a pro-Trump rally earlier in the week, Illinois Rep. Mary Miller made the contentious remark that ‘Hitler was right on one thing.’10

Many claim they are for Trump because he kept his campaign promises. Some promises were kept, while others were left dangling.11 The Tea Partiers had professed to be against higher taxes and Universal Health Care. Apparently to some, Universal Health Care means Socialism or even Communism. Donald Trump “decried socialism as the destroyer of societies,”12 and made it his mission to dismantle Obamacare, and any other initiative President Obama accomplished while in office. The question is, why would citizens want to deprive fellow citizens of health care? The Republican Party professes to be against a high government deficit. Yet the NY Times reported on January 2, 2021:

“Over the past four years, President Trump and his allies in Congress have all but obliterated the Republican Party’s self-professed commitment to less spending and smaller deficits, pushing policies that have bloated the federal budget deficit to record levels. Even before the pandemic ravaged the economy, the deficit — the gap between what the United States spends and what it receives in taxes and other revenue — had ballooned, driven by a $1.5 trillion tax cut and more generous government spending.”13

And although “President Trump pledged to eliminate the national debt within eight years, … it has actually increased” during his four year term. “The U.S. is $3 trillion more in debt than it was when Mr. Trump entered the White House. In nearly three years, it rose 15% — from $19.9 trillion to $22.9 trillion, according to the latest numbers from the Treasury Department.”14

As to the deficit, Forbes reported:

“During Obama’s last three years the total deficits were $1.5 trillion vs. Trump’s $2.4 trillion. These periods were after the Great Recession and before the pandemic impact. In the Federal government’s fiscal 2020 year that is ending in three days, President Trump will have overseen a deficit exceeding $3 trillion. This will be after a year where it almost topped $1 trillion in fiscal 2019 when the economy was at least healthy.”15

The National Review’s, Brian Riedl writes of Monday’s deal: “The decade-long shredding of these hard-fought budget constraints mirrors the shredding of Republican credibility on fiscal responsibility.”16 That article was written in July 2019, before the Covid pandemic.

In fact, if we look at the deficit history of the last 40 years, it appears that the Democrats, not the Republicans are more fiscally responsible, even with their more liberal policies.

“Reagan took the deficit from $70 billion to $175 billion. Bush 41 took it to $300 billion. Clinton got it to zero. Bush 43 took it from zero to $1.2 trillion. Obama halved it to $600 billion. Trump got it back to a trillion.”17

The blind support Donald Trump enjoys, seems to have little to do with facts and reason. Yes, he did appoint super conservative judges to the Supreme Court who may reverse abortion laws. However, perhaps a profound loneliness or fear, and a search for meaning in a world that has left many feeling disconnected, or threatened by a changing country that demands more diversity and inclusion, is at least part of the key to Trump’s popularity for some. Even while connecting us remotely by technology in ways never before dreamed of, it seems clear that many feel unheard or left out in a country that elected a Black man as president and now demands citizens and police acknowledge that Black Lives Matter, which, for some, may appear to jeopardize the notion of White privilege to run the show.

Perhaps the real key to Trump’s support is knowing that someone as powerful as the president expresses the same anger and discontent that they feel, making it unnecessary to be precise about how Trump has or will change their lives, or the truth of his claims. It also seems beside the point that his own niece and other psychologists and psychiatrists suggested Donald Trump is mentally Ill. It is the loud and emphatic slogans of discontent, and perhaps, the catch phrases like ‘Shithole countries,’ ‘murderers and rapists,’ ‘socialists,’ that need no further explanation to make at least some of those who feel unheard, feel heard. Trump even “told China’s president that building concentration camps for millions of Uighur Muslims was ‘exactly the right thing to do’”18

Apparently, Trump need not demonstrate how he will improve the lives of his supporters, or explain why he has already massively failed them. It’s the pure emotion of the cry that seems to count. It’s “the triumph of hope over experience.”19 It’s the triumph of fear over reason. Like a cry from the wilderness. A howling. The roar of the crowd tells them others hear it too. That roar tells them they are not alone.

Thankfully, we will soon start a new chapter in our democracy with a new president and a new agenda, and perhaps this time we’ll get it right.


  1. Elaine Chao, Mitch McConnell’s wife, appointed Transportation Secretary by Donald Trump and assumed office on January 31, 2017. The New York Times and Politico ―  said of Chao: “Several reports indicate that you have used your official position to benefit Foremost Group, a shipping company owned by your father and sisters that is headquartered in New York and operates a fleet that transports materials to and from China.” Dominique Mosbergen, Democrats Investigate Transportation Chief Elaine Chao Over ‘Troubling’ Ethics Questions, Huffpost, September 17, 2019.
  2. Robert J. Hanlon. Similar statements have been made by Goethe, and indeed, Robert Heinlein: In The Sorrows of Young Werther Goethe declared, “Misunderstandings and neglect occasion more mischief in the world than even malice and wickedness. At all events, the two latter are of less frequent occurrence.” In his story Logic of Empire (1941) Heinlein declares: “You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity”. He calls this the “devil theory” of sociology. His character Lazarus Long also voices a variation on the theme in the novel Time Enough for Love: “Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.”
  3. Andy Borowitz, Kayleigh McEnany claims no one has worked harder than Trump to Protect Americans From The Facts. The New Yorker. September 10, 2020.
  4. Associated Press, ‘Unfathomable’: US death toll from coronavirus hits 200,000, NewsMax. Sept. 22, 2020.
  5. Hayley Miller, Trump Urges Georgia Secretary Of State To ‘Find’ Votes In Recorded Phone Call, Huffpost, January 1, 2021.
  6. Karen Yourish, Larry Buchanan, Denise Lu, The 147 Republicans Who Voted to Overturn Election Results, The New York Times. January 7, 2021.
  7. Andrew Kirell, When CNBC Created the Tea Party, Daily Beast, Oct. 30, 2015, Updated Apr. 13, 2017. Rick Santelli, a Business News on-air editor of CNBC, is allegedly responsible for launching the Tea Party when he “went on a dramatic rant against President Obama’s Homeowners Affordability and Stability Plan, a stimulus package aimed at helping homeowners in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure.”
  8. John Hawkins, The 25 Worst Quotes from Donald Trump, Town Hall, Jan 19, 2016.
  9. Kimberly Mehlman-Orozco, Conservatives forget history in discrediting Trump protesters, The Hill, November 12, 2016.
  10. Jenna Amatulli, GOP Congresswoman Doubles Down On ‘Hitler Was Right On One Thing’ Remarks, Huffpost, January 7, 2021.
  11. US election 2020: Has Trump delivered on his promises? BBC News, October 15, 2020.
  12. Bret Samuels, Trump blasts socialism as ‘destroyer of societies’ in UN address, The Hill, September 24, 2019.
  13. Jeanna Smialek and Catie Edmondson, As Some Deficit Hawks Turn Dove, the New Politics of Debt Are on Display, The New York Times, January 2, 2021.
  14. Caroline Cournoyer, Trump promised to eliminate the national debt. It has risen by $3 trillion, CBS. October 29, 2019.
  15. Chuck Jones, Trump Will Create More Debt Than Obama, Forbes, September 27, 2020.
  16. Chris Cillizza, The day the tea party died, CNN. July 23, 2019.
  17. Daniel Funke The Poynter Institute’s PolitiFact, July 29, 2019. According to The Poynter Institute’s PolitiFact, these figures are only slightly off.
  18. David Choi, Sonam Sheth Trump told China’s president that building concentration camps for millions of Uighur Muslims was ‘exactly the right thing to do,’ former adviser says, MSN, Business Insider. June 17, 2020.
  19. Samuel Johnson in James Boswell’s Life of Samuel Johnson, 1791.

Thea Halo is the author of Not Even My Name; a former news correspondent for WBAI in NYC; and a former member of both the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) and the International Network of Genocide Scholars (INOGS). Ms Halo’s historical papers are published in a number of Academic books: Genocide in the Ottoman Empire; Sayfo 1915: An Anthology of Essays on the Genocide of Assyrians/Arameans during the first World War; and an upcoming anthology on the Genocide of the Pontic Greeks (during the first World War in Ottoman Turkey). You can view one of her presentations at the Boston State House @

Famous Quotes to Live By

Compiled by Thea Halo

The two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.
— Mark Twain

If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.
— Albert Einstein

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.
— Albert Einstein

Reexamine all that you have been told, dismiss all that which insults your soul.
— Walt Whitman

Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.
– Omar Khayyam

The mind is everything. What you think you become.

If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin.
— Ivan Turgenev

… Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.
— Goethe

History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but, if faced with courage, it need not be lived again.
— Maya Angelou

I know what I’ve given you, but I don’t know what you’ve received.
— South American poet, Antonio Portia.

I’m always doing things I can’t do. That’s how I get to do them.
—Pablo Picasso

The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man’s determination.
—Tommy Lasorda

It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.
— Andre Gide

Falling down is not a failure. Failure comes when you stay where you have fallen.
— Socrates

I was in darkness, but I took three steps and found myself in paradise. The first step was a good thought, the second, a good word; and the third, a good deed.
— Friedrich Nietzsche

There will always be rocks in the road ahead of us. They will be stumbling blocks or stepping stones; it all depends on how you use them.
— Friedrich Nietzsche

Whoever gives nothing, has nothing. The greatest misfortune is not to be unloved, but not to love.
— Albert Camus

Anybody who preserves the ability to recognize beauty will never get old.
— Franz Kafka

Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love.
— Fyodor Dostoevsky

A woman is like a tea bag — you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.
— Eleanor Roosevelt

My poverty is not complete. It lacks me.
— South American poet Antonio Portia.

Breath is God’s gift. The rest is up to us.
— Thea Halo, Not Even My Name


Trump, the ‘Right to Life’ President Who Orders Death

by Thea Halo

Update: The following blog post was written before Donald Trump ordered a series of presidential pardons for his cohorts, and four Blackwater operatives who were tried and convicted of the mass murder of Iraqi civilians, which seems to prove the last line of this blog.

In a last ditch effort to hold people’s lives in his hands before he leaves office, Trump ordered more federal executions with the execution of Brandon Bernard on December 10, 2020. Bernard was 18 when he took part in a senseless and brutal murder “of married youth ministers Todd and Stacie Bagley, ….”1 One of his teenage accomplices, Christopher Vialva has already been executed for the crime. “Bernard is the ninth federal inmate killed since the Trump administration ended a 17-year pause on federal executions in July. It is the first during a presidential lame-duck period in 130 years.”2

The very next day, Trump put to death a Louisiana truck driver. Alfred Bourgeois “was found guilty of murdering his two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, who the Department of Justice says he also abused and tortured.”3 “His lawyers argued Bourgeois had an IQ that puts him in the intellectually disabled category, saying that should have made him ineligible for the death penalty under federal law.”4 The three new executions that Trump ordered to proceed will bring “the total number of people executed by the federal government since July up to 10, the highest in a single year since 1896.”5 More are scheduled to be executed before Trump leaves office, including the only woman on Federal death row. Lisa Montgomery’s crime was also despicable. However, Lisa Montgomery is “a mentally ill victim of sex trafficking,” who was also a victim of sex abuse when she was a child, “including being raped by her stepfather, handed off to his friends for their use, sold to groups of adult men by her own mother and repeatedly gang raped, and relentlessly beaten and neglected.”6

There are most likely many people who believe that the death penalty is appropriate when they know the heinous nature of some of the crimes committed, as in the Bourgeois, Brandon, and Montgomery cases. So perhaps the question is not whether the punishment fits the crime. Perhaps the question is whether we should have a double standard of a ‘right to life.’ By allowing the government to order and carry out the execution of anyone, even those criminals who don’t honor that same principle of the ‘right to life’ for others, can we, as a nation, really claim to believe in and preach the right to life without asking about the quality of life Americans have a right to expect?

Although in rallies Trump claimed he included the born and the unborn to a ‘right to life’—sometimes referred to as ‘Pro life’—the term is usually used by anti-abortionists, and refers to the unborn fetus. So perhaps the term should be adjusted to: the right to life for the unborn, because in our government’s sometimes cruel laws, like the death penalty, and the denouncement and/or neglect of the poor, once a child is born, he or she is often on their own and, therefore, their lives are sometimes at risk.

“Nearly half of women who have abortions live below the federal poverty level.”7 Yet those Americans who often claim their most cherished beliefs are God and family, often complain about the poor needing government assistance. It’s as if we are saying to a poor child that was saved from abortion: your parent, who is sometimes an unwed teenage mother, may not have the means to feed and cloth you, or give you a proper education and medical care once you’re born, but too bad on you and your parent. We don’t want you on our welfare roles or ruining the prestige of our cities by sleeping on our streets.8 We just want to show how humane we are by not killing you before you were born.

In fact, as noted in earlier blogs, this government is so disinterested in the quality of life for struggling Americans, that even during a pandemic when it’s clear that millions are struggling, sometimes through no fault of their own, Trump tried to deny food stamps to 700,000 Americans. He also tried to wipe out Obama’s healthcare initiative without a replacement, which would leave millions of Americans uninsured during the pandemic. So apparently, according to Trump, and many of his loyal Trumpies, God and family, and the right to life, doesn’t necessarily mean the right to a good or healthy life. Nor does it seem to acknowledge any right to compassion. It simply means a right to life for the unborn, even if once born, the child winds up living, or dying, in the gutter.

So perhaps we need better government slogans, such as: The right to eat. The right to be housed. The right to a proper education. The right to be clothed. The right to health care. The right to have a government that doesn’t take bribes from big business to allow the destruction of our environment, and medicine and healthcare prices to skyrocket; that doesn’t allow our food and water to be contaminated, or reward bankers who take a grand holiday on government bailout money after causing a financial disaster that resulted in the foreclosure of 10 million home.

And how do invasions of other countries and the lives crippled and/or lost on both sides of that crime, square with the ‘right to life’? We need another slogan about the billions or trillions of dollars our government spends on those needless invasions of other nations, and the prolonged human and financial toll that entails… a slogan that redirects that money to improving our schools, paying teachers a proper wage, and properly training our police force to know when lethal force is actually necessary, and when compassionate help is the right way to address a problem.

The right to life should mean… the right to a decent, educated life, so young men like Brandon Bernard don’t turn to crime. No. It won’t wipe out all crime. And it certainly won’t stop some Welfare cheats who are just too lazy to work unless forced, just as the threat of exposure or prison never stopped some in the banking industry from indulging in their illegal activities, or those in the pharmaceutical industry from committing their crimes. It also doesn’t seem to stop some members of Congress, who took an oath, yet indulge in insider trading,9 and accept huge campaign contributions that often come with strings attached, whether spoken or unspoken. There will always be those who can’t help themselves, apparently including Donald Trump. So to complain about the many who are in need—because of the laziness of the few—as an excuse to withhold aid and compassion, without holding Trump and Congress members responsible for their own alleged crimes, simply demonstrates an unreasonable bias, and the height of hypocrisy. A proper education for the less fortunate among us, with the possibility of a decent life for themselves and their families, would surely reduce the incentive to commit crimes. So would a society that doesn’t marginalize some of these youths, who sometimes have parents who are also struggling and ill-equipped to know how to guide their own children, because of their own poor education.

Perhaps a personal story is in order here:

When I attended school as a child, I was always in the ‘smart’ classes. However, when I was 12 years old, I attended 7th grade in a different neighborhood in order to take care of my sister’s son after school, so she and her husband could work. There too I was in the ‘smart’ class. Near the end of the term, however, I made a teacher angry by grabbing her wrist when she smacked me on the back for chewing gum in the hallway. I’ve never been a fan of using one’s hands when words could do the job. My homeroom teacher then gave me three Ds to punish me. When I returned to my own neighborhood for the 8th grade, those three Ds landed me in what was commonly known as ‘the dumb class.’

Perhaps it’s true that some things happen for a reason. It was only by attending that ‘dumb class’ that I realized calling it a ‘dumb class’ was way off base. Without that experience, I may have gone through life believing that some people are just dumb. What the class should have been called was the class in which the students couldn’t possibly get a proper education, because half the class were non-English-speaking Puerto Ricans who, presumably, had recently arrived on the mainland and needed English instructions. The other half of the class were Black students who did speak English. Our teacher—who would later become my Spanish language teacher—was wonderful, but overwhelmed by the task at hand. She immediately recognized that I didn’t belong in that class. She asked if I would teach the Black students while she concentrated on the Spanish speaking students until she could transfer me to a proper class. I was not quite 13 years old, but I immediately said yes. True to her word, by the next day she had me transferred to the most advanced 8th grade class. Looking back, I could only surmise that—unless those students were extremely lucky or incredibly determined—both the Black students and the Spanish speaking students were destined to go to the factory, the military, or prison, because none of those students could possibly have had a proper education through no fault of that teacher, and through no fault of their own. It also seemed that it wouldn’t be until the 9th grade in my own neighborhood school, that we were being taught the lessons we had learned in 7th grade in my sister’s neighborhood.

I can’t pretend to know what our education system is like today in NYC and elsewhere in the country, but those poorly educated students most likely became parents and grandparents. I also can’t pretend to know what kind of parents and grandparents they became. I only mean to imply that lack of a proper education, often leads to marginalized and improperly trained parents and grandparents who struggle to make a living, which in turn sometimes leads to the next generation also being marginalized, if the failure in our schools continued. Feeling marginalized then sometimes induces at least some to turn to drugs, or to the only ‘family’ that understands them, i.e. other like-minded disenfranchised youth—sometimes with a chip on their shoulders—who are looking to belong to anything that makes them feel less alone and powerless. Those are sometimes gangs that give them a feeling of importance and faux belonging, because without a proper education, it often feels impossible to mingle with those who have had a proper education.

So perhaps we should finally develop a slogan that says our citizens have a right to a healthy, properly educated life, that gives them a chance for a bright future. Perhaps then we will all be safer from disenfranchised young men such as Brandon Bernard and his companions.

Although Donald Trump claimed on numerous occasions: “I will always defend the sacred right to life,”10 Trump’s rush to order executions before he leaves office, demonstrates that those claims are simply rallying cries for his anti-abortion supporters. Many of us remember when Trump “infamously took out full-page ads in New York City newspapers calling for the reinstatement of the death penalty in conjunction with the arrests of the five [Black] teenagers accused of the brutal rape of a white female jogger in Central Park three decades ago.”11 The young men were later found to be innocent after spending so much of their lives behind bars.

And what of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have died from the Coronavirus because Trump was more interested in the stock market, than he was in warning Americans about the dangers we faced and how we could properly protect ourselves? Trump and his cohorts, Ben Carson, and Rudy Giuliani, only spent three days in hospital, Chris Christie spent four. They were privileged to receive the rare drug ‘cocktail’ that reduces the effects of the virus. Perhaps that privilege allowed Trump to be cavalier with the lives of those who have no chance of receiving the drugs, those he decided should be Guinea pigs for his ‘herd immunity’ debacle.12

The question is: Did Crede Bailey, head of the White House security office receive the ‘cocktail’ when he came down with the virus? Crede spent more than two months in the ICU with irreversible damage. “McCrobie’s big toe on his left foot as well as his right foot and lower leg had to be amputated.”13

So when and if Donald Trump gets charged with tax fraud and/or other crimes, should he be given a pardon when he mainly reserved his own pardon powers to the most privileged? In Trump’s world, apparently only some have a sacred right to life.


1.Paul Best, Brandon Bernard put to death Thursday night after Supreme Court denies stay of execution. 4 more inmates are scheduled to be put to death before Biden is inaugurated. Fox News, December 11, 2020.

2. Jaclyn Diaz, U.S. Executes Brandon Bernard After Supreme Court Denies Stay, NPR, December 11, 2020.

3. Madeleine Carlisle, The Trump Administration’s Unprecedented Spree of Executions Is Scheduled To Continue This Week. Here’s What To Know, Time, December 9 2020.

4. Associated Press, Trump administration puts second man to death in two days, The Guardian, December 11, 2020.

5. Madeleine Carlisle, The Trump Administration’s Unprecedented Spree of Executions Is Scheduled To Continue This Week. Here’s What To Know, Time, December 9 2020.

6. Melissa Jeltsen, U.S. To Execute Only Woman On Federal Death Row 8 Days Before Biden Inauguration, Huffpost, November 24, 2020.

7. Meera Jagannathan, Nearly half of women who have abortions live below the federal poverty level, Market Watch, October 4, 2019.

8. Sarah Ruiz-Grossman, Trump Says Homeless Californians Are v Cities’ ‘Prestige’, Huffpost, September 17, 2019.

9. Mark Kelly, Senators Accused Of Insider Trading, Dumping Stocks After Coronavirus Briefing, Forbes, May 20, 2020.

10. Mary Margaret Olohan, President Trump: “I Will Always Defend the Sacred Right to Life” LifeNetNews. com Sep 23, 2020

11. Sara Boboltz, ‘Central Park Five’ To Trump: Death Penalty Ad Put A ‘Bounty On Our Head’, Huffington Post, 06/08/2019.

12. Bess Levin, “Who Cares”: A Trump Administration Official Wanted to Purposely Infect “Infants, Kids,” and the “Middle Aged” With COVID-19, Vanity Fair, December 17, 2020.

13. Yaron Steinbuch, White House security official reportedly loses leg in fight against COVID-19, New York Post, December 15, 2020.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly!

Some of the most memorable historic quotes

Compiled by Thea Halo

You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something in your life.
— Winston Churchill 1874-1965

In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
— George Orwell

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.
— William Arthur Ward.

To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.
— Abraham Lincoln

… the greatest regret that I have as I look back on my administration is the fact that when the awful Adana massacre occurred, this government did not take steps against the outrage on civilization!1
— Theodore Roosevelt

I think that the people that were bringing these decisions to me felt that the Congress was still reeling from what had happened in Somalia, and by the time they finally– you know, I sort of started focusing on this and seeing the news reports coming out of it, it was too late to do anything about it.  And I feel terrible about it because I think we could have sent 5,000, 10,000 troops there and saved a couple hundred thousand lives.  I think we could have saved about half of them.  But I’ll always regret that Rwandan thing.  I will always feel terrible about it.2
— Pres. Bill Clinton  (May, 2003)

We could have actually saved hundreds of thousands. … Nobody was interested.3
— Gen. Romeo Dallaire, U.N. Force Commander, Rwanda, (1994)

There can be no peace without law. And there can be no law if we were to invoke one code of international conduct for those who oppose us and another for our friends.4
— Dwight D. Eisenhower

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.
— Albert Einstein

Some people change when they see the light, others when they feel the heat.
— Caroline Schoeder

It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it.
— Upton Sinclair

Conceal a flaw, and the world will imagine the worst.
— Martial (Marcus Valerius Martialis)

Laziness travels so slowly that poverty soon overtakes him.
— Benjamin Franklin   

Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.
— Benjamin Franklin, (1706-1790)

A person usually has two reasons for doing something: a good reason and the real reason. 
— Thomas Carlyle, (1795-1881)

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. 
— George Santayana, (1863-1952)

…and those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music…  
— F.W. Nietzsche

The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.5
— William Butler Yeats

What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.6
— Oscar Wilde

Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad.
— Aldous Leonard Huxley

All great truths begin as blasphemies.
— George Bernard Shaw

It is as fatal as it is cowardly to blame facts because they are not to our taste.
— John Tyndall

All truth passes through three stages: First, it is ridiculed; Second, it is violently opposed; and Third, it is accepted as self-evident.
— Arthur Schopenhauer

Loyalty to a petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul.
— Mark Twain

Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward; they may be defeated, but they start a winning game.
— Goethe

The high-minded man must care more for the truth than for what people think.
— Aristotle

You can recognize a pioneer by the arrows in his back.
— Beverly Rubik

Nothing capable of being memorized is history.
— R. G. Collingwood

History repeats itself.
— Plutarch

History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.
— Karl Marx

History is little else than a picture of human crimes and misfortunes. —Voltaire

History is written by the victors.
— Winston Churchill

History is a vast early warning system.
— Norman Cousins

We learn from history that we do not learn from history.            
— Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel

History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon. — Napoleon

 History is more or less bunk.              
— Henry Ford

Not to know what happened before one was born is to remain always a child.
— Cicero

History is a continuous process of interaction between the historian and his facts, an unending dialogue between the present and the past.
 — E.H. Carr

Of course the people don’t want war. But after all, it’s the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it’s a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger.
— Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
— Voltaire

And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything…. Grab them by the p****. You can do anything.7
— Donald Trump

The only people brave enough to vote out this corrupt establishment is you, the American people.8
— Donald Trump

People never lie so much as before an election, during a war, or after a hunt.
— Otto von Bismarck, (1815-1898)

They promise you the sun, the moon, and all the stars before they’re elected. But once they are elected, Poof! All the promises fade away.
— Sano Themia Halo

Imagine all the people livin’ life in peace.9
— John Lennon

Show me a hero and I’ll write you a tragedy.
— F. Scott Fitzgerald

Poetry is everywhere; it just needs editing.
—James Tate

When envy turns to hatred, it’s not about you. You are just the symbol of what they know they can never achieve.10
— Thea Halo


  1. The Adana massacre of Armenians occurred in the Ottoman Empire Vilayet of Adana in April 1909 by orders of Sultan Abdülhamid II. However, the Young Turk regime was suspected of being behind the massacres. Anti-Armenian pogroms were later expanded throughout the province.
  2. US warned about Rwanda genocide. Declassified U.S. documents show the Clinton administration refused to label the 1994 mass killings in Rwanda as a genocide. One State Department document read: “Be careful … Genocide finding could commit U.S.G. to actually ‘do something.’” BBC News, August 21, 2001.
  3. Ken Shiffman, As genocide raged, general’s pleas for help ignored. BBC News, December 10, 2008.
  4. President Dwight D. Eisenhower during the 1956 Suez Crisis when he stopped and reversed the invasion of Egypt by Britain, France and Israel. In a memorable speech on October 31, 1956 to the nation in support of the rule of law and the United Nations.
  5. The Second Coming.
  6. Lady Windermere’s Fan (1892), Lord Darlington, Act III.
  7. Rachael Revesz, Full transcript: Donald Trump’s lewd remarks about women on Days of Our Lives set in 2005. The presidential candidate talked about groping women and the right to do ‘whatever he wants’ as a ‘star’. Independent, October 7, 2016.
  8. Donald Trump’s Speech Responding To Assault Accusations. October 13, 2016.
  9. From John Lennon’s song: Imagine.
  10. On December 8, 1980, a deranged young fool, shot and killed John Lennon, hoping it would bring him fame.

Thea Halo is the author of Not Even My Name; a former news correspondent for WBAI in NYC; and a former member of both the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) and the International Network of Genocide Scholars (INOGS). Ms Halo’s historical papers are published in a number of Academic books: Genocide in the Ottoman Empire; Sayfo 1915: An Anthology of Essays on the Genocide of Assyrians/Arameans during the first World War; and an upcoming anthology on the Genocide of the Pontic Greeks (during the first World War in Ottoman Turkey). You can view one of her presentations at the Boston State House @

The Hilarious, But Sad and Frightening Ending to Our Despot-in-Chief

by Thea Halo

For every loser there’s a winner, and after the polls closed on this divisive presidential election, the winner this time is the American people, and perhaps the entire world. However, as writer Oliver Goldsmith once said, “Every absurdity has a champion to defend it.”1

Rudolph Giuliani is only one of a multitude of Donald J. Trump’s champions. One has to question, however, just how much of a champion Giuliani really is. Perhaps not being privy to the joke Giuliani deliberately, or ignorantly played on him, Donald Trump first announced via Twitter that “there would be a ‘big press conference’ at the Four Seasons in Philadelphia.” Trump later had to clarify that the event would be at Four Seasons Total Landscaping in Philadelphia. One has to wonder if, in a last ditch effort to pretend to defend the indefensible, this was Giuliani’s way of making sure that Trump’s ending as our Despot-in-Chief was as ludicrous as possible.

Making the location for the ‘big press conference’ even more ludicrous, Four Seasons Total Landscaping is situated on the outskirts of town “between a crematorium and sex shop.”2 In fact, that seems totally appropriate since the first Republican poll watcher called to the podium to speak by Giuliani, was Daryl Brooks. Described as a political gadfly, he is also a convicted sex offender from New Jersey.

“Brooks served three years and eight months in prison in 1998 after he was convicted on several charges of lewdness, sexual assault, and endangering the welfare of a minor for allegedly exposing himself in front of two girls who were ages 7 and 11. According to, Brooks maintained his innocence, claiming he was set up by Trenton police and other elected officials because of his work as a city activist.”3

Clever titles for the event immediately popped up to give the event and the location some context: ‘Make America rake again’ and ‘Lawn and Order’ were the apparent favorites. And they are right on target. President Trump wanted the citizens of this great nation to see him as the law and order president. However, it’s on Trump’s watch that Black men and women continued to be needlessly killed by police, and peaceful protests sometimes degenerated into riots.4 Frightened business owners across the country also chose to board up their store fronts, fearing Trump’s supporters might go on a violent rampage if Trump lost the election.5 When was the last time citizens felt so frightened because of an election in America?

Apparently, that fear is not farfetched. The NY Times reported that: A police chief in Marshall, Ark. resigned after he posted on a right-wing messaging site, a call for volunteers “to travel to Washington, D.C., to arrest, shoot and kill Democrats.”6 Add that to the foiled plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer,7 and a pattern of fear and intimidation from the more radical of Trump supporters seems to emerge.

Yet, too often, Trump’s supporters seem more afraid of ‘liberalism’ than policies that help destroy the quality of life of so many Americans, including theirs, like failing to warn us of the extreme danger of the Corona virus; failing to advise us on how to protect ourselves; failing to supply equipment to hospitals to do so; playing down the dangers of the virus; and in the midst of such a devastating health crisis, during which more than 10 million Americans were infected and almost 243,000 have died, trying to take away the health care that millions of Americans have come to depend on, with no replacement in site.

Donald Trump seemed to believe that the economy and the stock market were more important than American lives. But if so many Americans became sick and died, it’s like giving a party when there’s so few left alive to attend. Or perhaps Trump believes that the wealthy would survive because they have better means and could afford better care, just as he did. Or they could escape to their second homes to wait out the danger. So perhaps the party was only meant for them.

On this Veteran’s Day, it’s sad to remember how Trump insulted the military personnel who gave their lives in past wars. And his treatment of immigrants and asylum seekers is an insult to the many immigrants who joined our military to defend this country, some of whom also gave their lives. And it’s an insult to the many immigrants who actually helped make this country great.

So perhaps Giuliani isn’t as stupid as he sometimes sounds. Perhaps his choice of the landscaping company is a perfect metaphor for cleaning up the out of control ‘political landscape’ of the last four years. What better way to ding his employer than to choose a venue, with a name used by a famous high end hotel and restaurant chain, i.e. The Four Seasons, only to find it’s actually a landscape company. It’s as if Giuliani consciously or unconsciously wanted to make the comparison of where Trump started, i.e on top of the world, to where Giuliani has him ending up, at a tool shop on the outskirts of town, “Situated between a crematorium and a sex shop.”

I’m afraid you can’t make this stuff up to make it any sadder or funnier. The subtext is spot on and priceless. Yet some of our politicians deny they are liberals when accused, as if it’s something to be ashamed of or fear? Why haven’t reporters asked those Trump supporters who decry liberalism if they actually know what liberalism means? Some seem to believe it’s like communism, or a precursor to communism.

Here’s Wikipedia’s definition of Liberalism:
Liberalism is a political and moral philosophy based on liberty, consent of the governed and equality before the law. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but they generally support free markets, free trade, limited government, individual rights, capitalism, democracy, secularism, gender equality, racial equality, internationalism, freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of religion.

So what’s not to like?

  1. Oliver Goldsmith was a writer born somewhere in Ireland, probably on this date in 1730. His most famous works are The Vicar of Wakefield (1766) and his play She Stoops to Conquer (1771). See Garrison Keeler’s Writer’s Almanac, November 10, 2020.
  2. Victoria Bekiempis, ‘Make America rake again’: Four Seasons Total Landscaping cashes in on Trump fiasco, The Guardian, 9 Nov 2020.
  3. Pilar Melendez, ‘Vote Fraud’ Witness at Rudy Giuliani’s Four Seasons Total Landscaping Presser Is a Convicted Sex Offender, Daily Beast, Nov. 09, 2020.
  4. Karma Allen, Man who helped ignite George Floyd riots identified as white supremacist: Police said. CNN. July 29, 2020.
  5. Alina Selyukh, A Sign Of The Times: Across U.S., City Storefronts Boarded Up Ahead Of Election, NPR, November 2, 20202.
  6. John Ismay, Arkansas Police Chief Resigns After Calling for Democrats to Be Executed, The New York Times, Nov. 9, 2020.
  7. Christina Carrega, Veronica Stracqualursi and Josh Campbell, 13 charged in plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, CNN, October 8, 2020.

Donald Trump, The President America Needed

by Thea Halo

Donald Trump has performed, and is continuing to perform, an important service for the American people. In the past, some might have complained that government wasn’t working as fast, or as efficiently as we’d like. Perhaps there was government partisanship on certain issues. But the Donald has shown us in no uncertain terms that our government is broken, and it has been broken for a very long time. It is so dysfunctional that Congress couldn’t even subpoena someone and compel that person to testify. He/she could simply blow Congress off as if it’s someone’s drunken uncle begging for money for his fifth pint of the day. Giving someone the finger has never been quite so dramatic… or revealing. Giving 435 members of Congress the finger is impressive. On the issue of Trump’s High Crimes and Misdemeanors, Congress seemed as useful as a toothache on a first date, especially when we have a majority Republican Senate (or should we call them Repugnican Senators) that didn’t even allow witnesses during the trial phase. In fact, we had the leader of the pack, Mitch McConnell, stating in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity:

“Everything I do during this, I’m coordinating with White House counsel. There’ll be no difference between the president’s position and our position as to how to handle this.”1

So how can we view the swearing in of the Senate for the Impeachment trial as anything but a joke? As both jurors and as legislators they take the following oath:

”I solemnly swear (or affirm) that in all things appertaining to the trial of __, now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws, so help me God.” 

Before Donald Trump was elected, he publicly claimed “I Could Stand In the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.” He was elected anyway, and, over the last four years in office, he has proven that he’s probably right. More recently, his lawyers, who argued against releasing his tax returns, claimed that Trump “could not be criminally investigated while in office.”2 In fact, they argued: “The President could ‘shoot someone on Fifth Avenue’ and not be charged in office.”3 And through it all, almost all of his Repugnican lapdogs stuck by their kingpin. Fortunately, the Supreme Court ruled otherwise. In fact, the president is not above the law. The Supreme Court’s Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. affirmed: “In our judicial system, ‘the public has a right to every man’s evidence. Since the earliest days of the Republic, ‘every man’ has included the President of the United States.”4

During the question and answer phase of the Impeachment trial, Alan Dershowitz made the ‘inane’ argument: ‘If a president does something which he believes will help him get elected [is] in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment.’5 Really? Where have these people shoved their brains? He didn’t even seem embarrassed to allow that drivel to fall from his mouth. And he didn’t seem to care that his reputation, already badly tarnished with allegations of involvement with Epstein’s under aged victims among other allegations, would be irretrievably ruined by that idiocy. Dershowitz even had the audacity to claim that his job is to defend the Constitution. Nancy Pelosi suggested that Dershowitz and the rest of Trump’s legal team should be disbarred.6 Thankfully, the Supreme Court ruled that Trump does not have complete immunity. Did we really have to go to the Supreme Court to find that out? We were supposed to do away with kings in this country. How did the argument of complete immunity even come up?

Even more troubling, Trump’s behavior, and that of his lackeys, simply adds to Trump’s power and popularity with many in his base. Does his base see any of his alleged improprieties of asking foreign leaders for quid pro quo favors to defeat his potential political rival, or paying off prostitutes and grabbing women by their P…y, as aberrant behavior for a president? Apparently not. I’d venture to guess that they still see Trump as ‘draining the swamp’ while standing nose high in green, murky, swamp slime. “Everyone makes mistakes” is one excuse from the Trumpies. One supporter claimed he likes Trump because he speaks in plain language that he could understand. Apparently, for many, that’s the true measure of a great president. Do they care about the content of the language, or the integrity of their government officials? Apparently not. Inasmuch, Trump again does us a great service in helping us understand what many citizens hold most dear in their leaders. I vaguely remember that George W. Bush’s popularity among some of his supporters was due to a notion that one could comfortably have a beer with him. Joking about not finding Iraq’s nuclear weapons under the table even seemed to make the death and destruction Bush rained down on Iraq and her people palatable… even amusing. Why didn’t someone shout to his supporters: Then by all means, go and have a beer with him. But please, please, please don’t vote for him as our president!!!

Then there are the Evangelicals and their defenders. Dennis Prager, a non-Evangelical conservative radio talk show host writes in both the National Review and Town Hall, “this Jew would like to defend Evangelicals and other Christians who support President Donald Trump.”7 Apparently, although Prager sites four questions to be answered, his defense can be boiled down to two issues, anti-abortion and Israel. He asks:

“Who should pro-choice voters support: a pro-life activist of fine character or a pro-choice activist of dubious character?”

“Whom should pro-Israel voters support: an anti-Israel activist of fine character or a pro-Israel activist of dubious character?”

On point number one, Prager apparently got a little confused. I assume he meant just the opposite of what that quote implies. However, here again, Trump has done us a great service, by demonstrating how little a huge segment of our society gives a flying you know what about integrity, honesty, morality, the Constitution, and the rule of law when it comes to their celebrity king, and their own issues. Apparently, according to Prager, anti-abortion legislation and Israel, not the US Constitution or US interests, are worth anything else Trump throws at us.

We are the media generation. We’ve grown up admiring celebrities. Ronald Reagan was president for crying out loud. But at least Reagan helped bring down the Berlin wall, and made detente with a Russian leader to shut down the cold war.

What has Trump done other than renege on treaties; praise dictators and murderous strong men, openly ask foreign governments to interfere in our elections; allegedly try to bribe an ally to get dirt on his political opponent, using US allocated funds as the bribe; betray our Kurdish allies* by withdrawing US troops from Syria, while knowing Turkey would try to annihilate them; insult our allies; use the most vile policies against migrants and even their youngest children at our borders, and leaving around 500 children with no means of being reunited with parents. Some might consider this torture. Trump has also created drama with foreign leaders to make himself look tough with policies that sometimes hurt US interests; assassinate an Iranian official without congressional oversight, which risked the lives of our troops and might have gotten us closer to war with Iran—which some believe might have been his purpose—and, in general, use the office of the presidency to further his financial gains? The betrayal of the Kurds,* the treatment of immigrant children, and his handling of the Corona virus pandemic will especially resonate through history.

Trump’s response to the Corona virus is akin to the following scenario:

Suppose Trump drove his pick-up truck …(just kidding). Suppose Trump had his security guards drive him into the wilderness for an outing. While there, still sitting safely in the car, he spots a pack of wolves chasing down and devouring a man and woman on the trail in front of him. Soon a group of hikers come along. Trump waves at them and wishes them a good day. The hikers return the greeting and keep walking. After a short time, some of the hikers come running out of the forest screaming for help. Trump rolls down his window and asks if they met up with the pack of wolves eating the unfortunate couple? They shout “why didn’t you warn us if you knew there was a pack of dangerous wolves in front of us?” Trump tells them, “it’s such a lovely day. You seemed happy to enjoy it, and I didn’t want to spoil it for you. You might have panicked. Anyway, I see some of you made it back alive. You should thank me.”

Would Trump’s supporters be as sanguine about that scenario? Because that’s exactly what Trump did, except we should replace ‘lovely day’ with “good economy/stock market”.

Trump now even warns supporters that if Biden wins, he’ll listen to scientists. Good lord almighty!! Not that!!! Don’t listen to scientist just because the world’s Corona virus cases have now surpassed 42 Million, and the US death toll is 227,399 and climbing during this second wave. Over 8 million Americans have been infected after listening to Donald Trump’s “not to worry” idiocy. Right on cue, Trump trashed Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, calling him and other experts ‘idiots’. Trump recently told his crowd at a campaign rally in Nevada. “If I listened totally to the scientists, we would right now have a country that would be in a massive depression, instead of, we’re like a rocket ship. Take a look at the numbers.”8

So let’s take a look at the numbers of a nation that did listen to the scientists. In contrast to Trump’s approach to the Coronavirus, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, has successfully stamped out the virus in her country and brought the economy back to life in record time. New Zealand had only 1,934 cases with 25 deaths.

“New Zealand’s finance minister, Grant Robertson, said the government’s plan to go “hard and early” against the virus had been a success. “We have one of the most open economies in the world because we set out a plan and stuck to it. We have eliminated our second wave, as others are still grappling to get this virus under control.”9

That’s in sharp contrast to Trump’s response to the Corona virus, which his supporters seemed to accept without much ado, even with the extraordinary number of deaths and infections. In fact, “the U.S. has the highest COVID-19 case count and death toll of any country in the world.”10 

What a legacy!!! And still much of his base stands firm, with only a few hushed squeaks from a few GOP Senators.

Now we have a new problem, i.e. Trump’s selection of a very young lifetime appointee to the highest court in the land… an appointee who got soft ball questions and praise from the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and who refused to give straightforward answers to relevant questions put to her by Democrats that would allow us to know for sure what we all already suspect… that she is far right in her thinking and appears to be an ideologue with an agenda, rather than an impartial arbiter of the law.

As to Trump’s denial of climate change? Why would anyone believe that such an egocentric, maniacal blowhard such as Donald Trump would want the world to exist after he’s gone? Yet, apparently, here again our Congress seems to have no say in deciding whether the US withdraws from the Paris Climate Accord. This one man was allowed to decide the fate of one of the most important issues that is affecting the entire world. During the wildfires in California in mid-September, when Trump was reminded about the effects of climate change, Trump retorted: “It will start getting cooler. Just you watch.”11 Apparently Trump thinks the warming climate means its summer, and as soon as winter comes we’ll be fine.

I don’t suggest that all of Trump’s supporters are ‘deplorables,’ as the deplorable Hillary Clinton seemed to suggest. If, indeed, she was suggesting that they are all poor, under educated racists, she is wrong. I know some who voted for Trump who are well educated, well-off individuals. However, with these, the well-off aspect of the support may play a major role. The stock market was souring, and tax breaks for the rich are nothing to sneeze at. So what’s not to like?

And perhaps some of the other less fortunate admirers are hoping some of that elusive wealth will rub off on them through osmosis. Good luck with that! All they’re good for is paying higher taxes than Trump, who paid nothing for years and only $750 for 2016 and 2017.12 And evidence shows that Trump paid more to China in taxes than in the US13 and claimed millions in losses. Consequently, “the [US] government … gave back all of the federal income tax he’d paid from 2005 to 2008, along with interest,” amounting to $72.9 million.14 And yet many parrot Trump’s talking points as if they were gospel, instead of the rantings of an Islamophobic, racist, mean spirited, conman who simply uses language and sound bites he knows some of those powerless supporters understand and embrace.

What a relief it must be to have someone so powerful not only allowing one’s prejudices, but encouraging them with dog whistles of his own. Shouting “lock her up!” directed at a governor who had just narrowly escaped an attempt to kidnap her and do her harm by Trump’s supporters, should be the last straw for our congress. Yet all we hear is the deafening sound of silence. Where are the National Guard to haul his ass away and throw him in jail for inciting violence against a government official? Trump’s behavior is certainly a violation of 18 U.S. Code § 2385. Advocating the overthrow of Government, which includes the government of any state is a violation of that law. A partial reading of the law is as follows:

Whoever knowingly or willfully advocates, abets, advises, or teaches the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying the government of the United States or the government of any State, Territory, District or Possession thereof, or the government of any political subdivision therein, by force or violence, or by the assassination of any officer of any such government; or

Whoever, with intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of any such government, prints, publishes, edits, issues, circulates, sells, distributes, or publicly displays any written or printed matter advocating, advising, or teaching the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying any government in the United States by force or violence, or attempts to do so; or

Whoever organizes or helps or attempts to organize any society, group, or assembly of persons who teach, advocate, or encourage the overthrow or destruction of any such government by force or violence; or becomes or is a member of, or affiliates with, any such society, group, or assembly of persons, knowing the purposes thereof—

Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction.

So where is our Congress with the handcuffs? What is Congress good for? And why is it possible without congressional oversight for one or two people in office to start wars, assassinate foreign officials, and grant foreign territorial transfers in countries that don’t belong to the US government? It’s as if the US President is some sort of ancient monarch, or a Mafia boss divvying up territories for future or past payment for his personal account? Even the ancient Romans demanded the Emperor get consent from the Senate when starting wars. So how can one man start wars and decide the fate of tens of thousands of former allies, by leaving them to Turkey, a country with the world’s 9th largest army, and one that still won’t admit to the Genocide of more than three million Christians: Greek, Assyrians, and Armenians during and after WWI? And how is he allowed to break treaties and reverse every initiative of the last president, because of what appears to be personal insecurity and spite? Where is congress? And where is their allegiance to the American people?

Trump’s blind supporters also include Republican Senators. Shouldn’t we assume they are also well-off and well educated, even if their choices at times are homophobic and racist and, in many cases, deplorable?

For the rest of society who struggle to put food on the table and who don’t have sufficient, or any healthcare coverage to allow them to concentrate on anything other than mere survival, the message is clear. Stop ruining the prestige of our major cities by being poor and sleeping on the street! Yes. Our Ill-lustrous president said the homeless were ruining the prestige of our major cities by being homeless. Trump even attempted to slash food stamps during the pandemic for 700,000 Americans, but was thankfully smacked down by a federal judge.15 Perhaps it was one of the judges Trump failed to place on the bench. So let’s hope Trump’s $4 million personal debt reported by the NY Times, isn’t what rubs off on his supporters in higher taxes for the already overly taxed, and his destruction of the Affordable Care Act doesn’t add them to Trump’s deplorable homeless lying in the street when their homes are taken away for failing to pay their medical expenses. There are clips as early as January 2017 of Trump claiming he has a better health care plan, and he has repeated his claim every year since. Apparently Trump’s plan will usually be ready in two weeks.16 Where is it? And why destroy one plan before his ‘superior’ plan is ready to be put in place? And let’s not forget Trump’s threat to Social Security and Medicare. Is it that Trump only loves dictators and despots? Does Trump simply despise the poor and struggling middle classes? Will his supporters ever wake up before they realize their lives are going down the drain?

It’s no surprise that Rudy Giuliani is Trump’s personal lawyer. When Rudy was mayor of NY, perhaps those who didn’t know him called him America’s Mayor, but some who did know him as Mayor of New York, called him ‘Mayor Mussolini’. The Rudy had a propensity for threatening the homeless with jail if they didn’t move out of downtown Manhattan to the Bronx or some other out of sight, out of mind location. No wonder Trump seems to have an affinity for ‘Mayor Mussolini’. I’m rather surprised that some of these Repugnicans, especially Trump, didn’t run on a platform of “Let them eat cake!” Perhaps that will be Trump’s last minute 2020 campaign slogan if he doesn’t get put in jail before then.

On second thought, that wouldn’t stop him. In fact, it didn’t stop a convicted murderer, who was serving a life sentence for two murders, from running for a U.S. Senate seat in Minnesota.17 And, of course, let’s not forget that Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens was convicted on seven felony counts of corruption, yet Stevens also ran for reelection.18 The only drawback for Trump would be his inability to vote for himself once convicted. But even that restriction has changed in some states. Perhaps he should make an executive order pronto to remedy that restriction, just in case.

Even when Trump designated his own resort in Florida as the next location for the G7, a clear violation of the Emoluments Clause of the US Constitution, Republicans hesitated to act. As Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) put it, the decision was “another outrageous example of the President using his office to funnel money from American taxpayers and foreign sources into his own pockets.”19 Walter Shaub, the former head of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, put it succinctly: “There is no definition of corruption that would not cover the president participating in a contract awarded to himself. So, if this is not corrupt, nothing is corrupt.” Shaub claimed that the decision was “so overtly corrupt that it can’t be viewed as anything but a loyalty test for Senators….If they are corrupt enough to look the other way, Trump will know he can do anything. In that case, he will do everything.”20 Yet, before Trump wisely scraped his intentions, Republicans announced they were ready to use Trump’s resort for their campaign event.

So where in the constitution does it say that members of Congress swear they will do all in their power to protect their own jobs, in this case by protecting what many believe is a popular ‘corrupt’ president, even if it means violating their oaths of office? Where in the constitution is it written that government was to be ruled by the highest bidder? Where in the constitution is it written that the president can rule the armed services without oversight; can break treaties; can enrich himself with his outside interests while in office; can forbid those in his administration to testify before congress; can incite violence against the press and anyone else he deems an enemy; can dismiss and smear loyal government diplomats who might not acquiesce to his plan of alleged corruption; to lock up babies and small children taken from their desperate parents at the border, and force them to live in filth; and to bomb sovereign nations, assassinate foreign officials and arm foreign militants without Congressional oversight?

I’ll say one thing in favor of Trump. He hasn’t started any new wars… although he’s not done yet. Let’s just hope he means what he says for once when he rightly claims that it shows more strength to not resort to war against Iran. That does not mean he’s a peacenik. Trump has accelerated Obama’s legacy of the long distance killing of thousands of people in multiple countries by drone strikes.21 Civilians who get caught in the fire be damned.

During the president’s NBC appearance on October 15, there was one bright spot when NBC moderator Savannah Guthrie questioned President Donald Trump about tweeting Qanon conspiracy theories. When Trump claimed he was only retweeting someone else’s tweet, Guthrie retorted: “You’re the president. You’re not just someone’s crazy uncle who can just retweet whatever!”22 If only Trump could remember that. But unfortunately, as his niece Mary L. Trump revealed in her book: ‘Too Much and Never Enough’, it seems Trump is also someone’s crazy uncle.

While it’s true that the American public doesn’t always get it right, our leaders are paid to get it right, but too often they too get it woefully wrong. And they get it wrong, not because they’re too stupid to know better. Trump’s presidency, perhaps more than any other, shows us in no uncertain terms, how deliberately dysfunctional, and even corrupt our government has become. When Republican Senator Lindsey Graham refuses to even read the transcript presented to Congress to see if indeed Trump is guilty as charged concerning a quid pro quo discussion with the Ukrainian president, you can be sure he doesn’t believe that his job description, and the job description of his fellow Republicans, is about truth and justice for the American people, or about the Constitution of the United States. It’s about their own hides and personal interests. reported that “Trump’s legal team gave thousands in contributions to Republican senators ahead of impeachment trial.” and that “Trump’s lawyers also gave thousands to Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, and Ted Cruz before the trial began.”23 And Federal Election Commission records show that “President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign has repeatedly accepted donations from well-known white supremacists, extremists and bigots.”24

Someone once suggested that we should pay our politicians so much money they won’t be tempted to be corrupt. However, how often has anyone heard a rich man shout: “Please! Don’t give me any more money! I have more than enough already!” There are few so honorable.

No. It’s clear. That solution would not work. So here’s a novel idea. Perhaps our President and Congress should get no more than a priest might receive, plus room and board, or relative living expenses, because the job of running the country should be one that is akin to a higher calling… almost religious (no Mega Church leaders need apply). That should weed out those who are in it for the money. As it stands now, however, it’s difficult, if not impossible for most candidates to get the exposure they need without raising money for their campaigns. So perhaps legislation should be passed that allows qualifying candidates—those who have garnered enough signatures to warrant a run for office—to be sponsored by the US government, with equal funds going to each qualifying candidate regardless of political affiliation. For example, the government would pay to get each candidates to and from events held in public venues. The reasoning being, that such government expenditures would be in the public interest!

In addition—since campaigners would not be allowed to receive any funds from any entity other than the US government—in addition to the televised debates, each qualifying candidate would receive an allotted amount of time to state his or her platform on all relevant radio, TV, internet, and print news outlets if national, and in the relevant presses and stations when the election is local. This arrangement would be a mandatory public service by those outlets as a precondition for keeping their operating licenses. Candidates could also be given free air time on CSpan. In addition, anyone caught giving money or other unrelated services to a candidate for any reason should be promptly charged with, and arrested for, bribery and influence peddling. In the case of an organization or corporation, the head or CEO should be charged.

Because let’s not be afraid to say it loud and clear.


At least we should say to Trump: Thank you, Mr President, for making the dysfunction and corruption of our government crystal clear.

Here’s how the Swedes do government:

1. Mariam Khan and Libby Cathey, McConnell to work in 'total coordination' with White House on impeachment trial. ABC News, December 13, 2019.

2. Michael Gold, Trump Lawyers Argue He Cannot Be Criminally Investigated, The New York Times, Sept. 23, 2019

3. Emily Saul and Lia Eustachewich Trump has blanket immunity even if he shoots someone on Fifth Avenue, his lawyer says, New York Post, October 23, 2019.

4. Paul Waldman, The Supreme Court just declared Trump isn’t above the law. But he also got a reprieve. Washington Post, July 20, 2020.

5. Allen Smith, NBC News, 1/29/20.

6. Mike Lillis , Pelosi says Trump lawyers have 'disgraced' themselves, suggests disbarment, The Hill, 01/30/20.

7. Trump shocks again by encouraging China to investigate the Bidens, PBS News Hour, Oct 3, 2019. Also see: David A. Graham, Trump Just Did It Out in the Open, The Atlantic, October 3, 2019.

8. Ryan Grenoble, Trump Blames ‘Fauci And These Idiots’ For His Own Coronavirus Ineptitude, HuffPost, October 19, 2020.

9. Martin Farrer, New Zealand's Covid-19 response the best in the world, say global business leaders, The Guardian, October 7, 2020.

10. Curtis M. Wong, Biden Has 1-Word Response To Trump’s Insult That He’ll ‘Listen To The Scientists.’ Huffpost, October 19, 2020.

11. Amy Graff, Trump on climate change: 'It will get cooler," he says without evidence during Calif. visit. SFGate, September 14, 2020.

12. Giovanni Russonello, The Trump Tax Bombshell, The New York Times, Sept. 28, 2020.

13. Lily Kuo, Donald Trump paid nearly $200,000 in taxes to China, report claims, Huffpost, October 21, 2020.

14. Nicholas Reimann, Report: Trump Only Paid $750 In Taxes For 2016 And 2017, Forbes, September 27, 2020.

15. Spencer Hsu, Federal judge strikes down Trump plan to slash food stamps for 700,000 unemployed Americans The Washington Post, October 18, 2020. 

16. Sara Boboltz, Senators Demand Answers On Decision To Hold G-7 Summit At Trump Doral, Huffpost, 10/18/2019. 

17. Associated Press, New York Post. July 13, 2018.

18. Del Quentin Wilber, Washington Post Staff Writer, Tuesday, October 28, 2008. 

19. Sara Boboltz, Senators Demand Answers On Decision To Hold G-7 Summit At Trump Doral, Huffpost, 10/18/2019.

20. Lee Moran, Ex-Ethics Chief: If Trump Resort Hosting G-7 ‘Is Not Corrupt, Nothing Is’. Huffpost, 10/19/19.

21. Daniel Larison, Trump Escalates Killer Drone War and No One Seems to Care, The American Conservative, June 26, 2020. 

22. Kathryn Watson, Savannah Guthrie calls out Trump: "You're the president — you're not like someone's crazy uncle.” CBS News,  October 16, 2020 / 12:06 PM.

23. Igor Derysh, Trump Legal Team Donated Thousands to GOP Senators Ahead of Impeachment Trial, Salon January 29, 2020. Also see: Graig Graziosi, Trump legal team made donations to impeachment jurors, The Independent, 10/29/20.

24. Christopher Mathias, The White Supremacist And Extremist Donors To Trump’s 2020 Campaign, Huffpost 10/24/20.

* Although Trump’s abandonment of the Kurds should be condemned, the Kurds have much to answer for. The Kurds have a long history of attacks against their Assyrian neighbors in Northern Iraq, the burning of churches, and the theft of Assyrian homes and land. Earlier in history, during the Ottoman period, they were used to kill Assyrians and Armenians. 

Thea Halo is the author of Not Even My Name; a former news correspondent for WBAI in NYC; and a former member of both the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) and the International Network of Genocide Scholars (INOGS). Ms Halo’s historical papers are published in a number of Academic books: Genocide in the Ottoman Empire; Sayfo 1915: An Anthology of Essays on the Genocide of Assyrians/Arameans during the first World War; and an upcoming anthology on the Genocide of the Pontic Greeks (during the first World War in Ottoman Turkey). You can view one of her presentations at the Boston State House @

Homage to the 9/11 Victims and the WTC

by Thea Halo

The following was written on September 13, 2001.

From Greenwich Street looking towards where the WTC once stood

For those of you who are concerned and interested in what is happening in downtown NYC, I finally went back on Thursday to check on my loft. I live in Tribeca about 10 blocks from the Trade Center site. I had left my windows open when I left town, so I was concerned about smoke and debris. The drive back on Thursday afternoon was unobstructed, since the bridges and tunnels had only recently been reopened. At 21st Street, traffic was diverted away from the West Side Highway. At 14th Street, the streets were closed off to regular traffic. I parked my car on 8th Avenue and 18th Street and walked home, about two miles. 

At 14th Street there was a check-point where one had to show identification to prove he or she lived or worked below 14th Street. As I passed through Greenwich Village, smoke with an odor of burning rubber and plastics, began to fill the air. Passers-by commented that the fires must have resumed because the smoke had not reached so far uptown before. But a wind was blowing from the south, bringing the foul smelling smoke with it. 

Some restaurants were closed in Greenwich Village, but many were open for business. The sidewalk tables at the White Horse Tavern on 8th Avenue, about 1 1/2 miles from the site, were full of people eating an early dinner or having drinks. Signs in many restaurant windows invited police and fire fighters to come in for drinks and snacks. The most dramatic change that far downtown was the lack of car traffic on the streets, but the streets were still populated with people. Or perhaps the most dramatic change was that people looked each other in the eyes, bound together by a common feeling of loss. 

By Canal Street the people on the streets had diminished to only a few; an occasional group of relief workers wearing masks walking their way uptown away from the scene, or some stragglers pulling their luggage towards 14th Street. At Canal Street there was another check-point where again one had to show identification. Canal Street was lined with trucks and buses of various descriptions in which relief workers or other equipment had been transported. Further south, a street was lined with parked bulldozers. Another contained police vans and more buses, that had brought relief workers to the scene. The smoke had thickened considerably. On passing a relief worker who was loading a truck with water, soft drinks and masks, he asked if I wanted a mask. I had been holding my sweater over my nose to block out the thickening smoke. I gratefully accepted and continued to my street.

Walking down Greenwich Street below Canal, I could see the cloud of thick yellow smoke where the Trade Centers had once dominated the skyline and filled in the space between the buildings on either side of Greenwich Street. It was difficult to adjust to the empty space there. On my street, other trucks were parked on both sides. I am told they used my street to lay out bodies at one time during the rescue operations. Volunteers with masks hung out outside The Tribeca Grill, a neighborhood restaurant on my street that seemed to be open for the sole purpose of accommodating relief workers. Most of the relief workers that far south stood at check points or waited to be of use. I heard a great rumble and was told that part of the teetering wall of one of the buildings had finally come crashing down. Of course, the mood was somber. 

Upstairs my loft was full of smoke and a layer of dust from the disaster, covered everything. But the windows were still in tact and only a few papers had blown off the counter. I looked out of the windows to the empty smoke filled space that used to house the great rectangles of the World Trade Centers, and again the eerie knowledge that these two great monuments of our city were gone was difficult to grasp. 

I realized how much a part of us they had become over the years; how much they had dominated every visual aspect of the skyline and the downtown scene. They were the landmarks one told visitors to look for to get their bearings when they emerged from subways; the landmarks that would silently inform them which way was south, and consequently, which way was east or west. They were the landmarks on which one blamed the wind tunnel that blew diagonally uptown, so that on windy days one could actually be blown off one’s feet at 6th Avenue and White Street when taking the next step to cross the road. They were the landmarks from which Godzilla had dangled, and from which daredevils had performed their dare-devilish feats of bravery and skill. They were the landmarks that housed a diverse array of peoples in business, government, and the arts. Recently, artist’s studios had been offered at the Trade Center by one of the state or city arts counsels. I would like to think this last was meant as a thank-you to the many artists whose labors and love of lower Manhattan had brought the districts, now known as SoHo and Tribeca, back to life over the last thirty-five years. 

The Trade Centers were monuments of vast strength and proportion, dwarfing even the tallest surrounding skyscrapers, yet they appeared to be held up by the thinnest possible supports, like broad-backed spiders on needle-point legs. At times they disappeared in a cloud of mist, but always emerged again, gleaming with sparks of silver as the sun burned the mist away. They had always been there in the twenty-seven years I have lived in their grace. They were there on waking with their spiral antenna poking at a cobalt sky, or spearing gray, slumbering, clouds. And they were there at bedtime as the lights in thousands of their windows illuminated the night. 

What had begun forty years ago as the butt of jokes and criticism for the designers and financiers of these nondescript monuments to America’s financial domination, had somehow over the years become less like real estate, and more like old trusted friends; always there, always giving comfort that some things never change. With a capacity the size of small vertical cities, housing upward of 50,000 people, they became living, breathing entities at the edge of Manhattan; guardians that oversaw the whole of the island and outlying boroughs and states. And like parental figures, they had achieved a mysticism akin to the symbol of the flag still flying as bombs burst in the night. 

As I looked up from my debris encrusted windows to where the World Trade Centers once stood, I now saw only a cloud of yellow smoke rubbing its billowing haunches on a brilliant blue sky. It was difficult to imagine these friends would not emerge victorious this time as they had emerged from the mist so many times before. It was even more difficult to imagine that the remains of so many of their inhabitants, people from every spectrum of our great city, nation, and globe, who had breathed life each day into the halls and cubicles of these two great entities, were now inexorably mixed with the dust of their tragic demise. 

I offer my condolences to the multitude of people who tragically and needlessly lost family, friends, and co-workers to this senseless terror. And I offer my condolences to our great city for the demise of two beacons that had served as reminders to us and the world, of the extraordinary human capacity to achieve great feats, and that now remind us how fragile life is, and how tentative is our moment on the earth, even in the face of seeming strengths and apparent superhuman achievements.

As no other tragedy of recent times, this for me brings to mind John Donne’s famous Meditation XVII that “No man is an island entire to itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main …. Any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”  

In demonstrating solidarity with Americans in this time of mourning, the world demonstrates the spirit of Donne’s sentiments that we are all “a part of the main.” I can only hope that in the days, weeks, and months ahead, when more talk of war whips the country into a frenzy of revenge, we can all remember that John Donne’s “every man”, knows no country of origin; no ethnic, racial, or religious separation. Perhaps heeding Donne’s sentiment can be the greatest homage one can pay to the victims of this sad event.

Photos by Thea Halo

Update: September 11, 2020.

Since writing the above article, the US has invaded Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. None of those nations had anything to do with the World Trade Center terrorist attacks. World opinion has shifted since 9/11. Many nations believe the US had squandered the good will demonstrated after the attacks. The following is only a partial list of responses from nations voicing their disappointment and concern. 

By 9/11/2006, NBC News reported: “A Divided World Remembers Sept. 11, 2001”

PARIS — The nations of the world joined Monday in solemn remembrance of Sept. 11 — but for many, resentment of the United States flowed as readily as tears. 

“Critics say Americans have squandered the goodwill that prompted France’s Le Monde newspaper to proclaim “We are all Americans” that somber day after the attacks, and that the Iraq war and other U.S. policies have made the world less safe in the five years since.

“Le Monde itself wrote an editorial stating that “since Sept. 11, America has not, it’s true, been attacked on its territory, but the world has changed for the worse.” 

Extraordinary Ordinary People Helping to Repair this Broken World

First published July 24, 2020

By Thea Halo

Apparently, you don’t have to be a billionaire to help repair this broken world. We all know there are a multitude of medical workers, and those who work in the medical industry behind the scenes, who potentially sacrifice their own health to heal strangers. However, there are many other extraordinary ordinary people around the world who save lives, simply because they see a problem, and take it upon themselves to do what they can to help. 

Take Lou Xiaoying, who lived in poverty in China. Yet, when Lou Xiaoying found an abandoned baby on a garbage heap in 1972—one of the unwanted girl babies of China’s one child policy—she took the baby home, nursed her back to health, and raised her. Lou Xiaoying would go on to save and raise 30 Children and was still at it even at the ripe old age of 82, when she and her husband saved and raised their last child.1 

You’ll also find “Gino Strada, an Italian surgeon and humanitarian who left a lucrative career in medicine to serve as a war surgeon with the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC). Treating civilians and soldiers around the world, many in some of the most war-torn and remote places, Strada spent the last two decades performing surgeries in addition to setting up hospitals in a wide range of countries that include Sudan, Afghanistan and Iraq. In 1994, Strada co-founded an organization called EMERGENCY, that now runs over 60 hospitals, clinics and first aid posts, all of which offer free medical and surgical assistance to victims of war, landmines and poverty. Strada has personally performed over 30,000 life-saving surgeries to people who would not otherwise have access to medical care.”2 

Then there are numerous others, such as barbers who have taken it upon themselves to give free hair cuts to the homeless and others in need, to help them regain a sense of self. Cory Gilmour, aka ‘Happy’ Gilmour, whose barbershop is in Downtown Santa Ana, and other barbers “open their arms to homeless people and any other needy folks who’d like a free haircut.…The first 100 to arrive also will get a free burger and a drink from Monster Energy, which is helping to sponsor the event.3 Brennon Jones, a Chester native who now lives in West Philadelphia, has given haircuts to more than 1,000 people who are homeless, and Steve Powell are among numerous others. Powell “knew there was more to life than floating… Powell said he had a dream in which hoards of angry, disheveled people approached a building. They were hopeless and battered when they walked in. But when they walked out, their spirits were lifted — and they had new haircuts.” Although Powell was not a barber, he decided to buy a mobile barbershop, which “provides free haircuts and cosmetic services to homeless people, students, veterans, senior citizens and low-income families in the Jacksonville area.”4 There are many others not mentioned here. Unfortunately, Juan Carlos de Orca’s story, among others, is an example of how government sometimes thwarts such selfless acts.5

Then there is Gregory Kloehn, who has “built some 50 tiny houses and distributed them to homeless people in West Oakland,” in what some call “acts of guerrilla philanthropy.”6

And of course, there were so many people who risked their own lives to save Jews in Nazi Germany and elsewhere. And there are those who now risk their careers and reputations to speak out for the human rights of the Palestinians. There were also people like Martin Luther King, Jr. and the recently deceased Senator John Lewis, who fought for equal rights and got beaten and jailed for their efforts, but it didn’t stop them. Only death stopped Martin Luther King, Jr. We also have the longtime deceased, but not forgotten, Harriet Tubman, who was “Born into slavery in Maryland, … escaped to freedom in the North in 1849 to become the most famous ‘conductor’ on the Underground Railroad. Tubman risked her life to lead hundreds of family members and other slaves from the plantation system to freedom on this elaborate secret network of safe houses.”7 Tubman needn’t have continued after saving herself and her family, but she chose to continue to save so many more lives.

Yes, humans are sometimes the worse of Nature’s creations. But humans are also sometimes the best of Nature’s creations. Humans have the power and ability to make choices, and to prove there is something greater than one’s own selfish needs, as those listed above and so many others have proven. In fact, they have proven that the Christian proverb that ‘it is more blessed to give than receive,” not only helps the other, but it immeasurably helps the giver by making him or her an example, or a beacon of hope for all of humanity. It demonstrates that humans are capable of defying the more base instincts of nature to sit among the gods… to become immortal, in fact, because their names, and their deeds, will live on long past their physical form. Just check the internet and you’ll find the names and stories of those listed above, and so many other names and stories of otherwise ordinary people, who took the time to help repair this broken world. In other words, these extraordinary, ordinary people, might write on their tombstones:

I helped repair a broken world. 
Therefore I am, and always will be. 

  1. The Denver7 Team:
  2. The Right Livlihood Foundation, Gino Strada Emergency, 2015 Italy.
  3. Theresa Walker, Barber reopens in Santa Ana, will give free haircuts for homeless people, The Orange County Register, May 29, 2020. 
  4. Paige Cushman, Little Rock (KATV), September 25th 2019.
  5. Ed Fuelner, The cosmetology cops, The Washington Times, Monday, January 15, 2018. Also see: Brittany Hunter, Haircuts for the Homeless: The Latest Public Menace. Foundation for Economic Education, Thursday, February 16, 2017.
  6. Paul Lewis, Tiny houses: salvation for the homeless or a dead end?, The Guardian, March 23, 2017.
  7. Harriet Tubman Biography (c. 1820–1913) Biography, Jun 5, 2020.

Can We Help Fix This Broken World?

First published July 13, 2020

A belated Earth Day Message, Part 4
by Thea Halo

Leaving an Eternal Legacy:

Many of us have heard the proposition of French philosopher, René Descartes: “I think therefore I am.” Descartes never intended thinking to become a mere dalliance, however. Descartes’s first maxim provided guides or touchstones that would lead to the performance of morally good actions. Socrates posited that there were two roads to immortality. One is through procreation. The other through performing great works. So, how would this epithet look on one’s tombstone, or on a plaque next to one’s name at the UN? 

I helped repair a broken world, 
therefore I am, and always will be.

There is no logical reason why people living on this abundant earth should be starving, or deprived of clean water to drink and to clean themselves. There is no reason why people can’t depend on getting proper health care when the need arises. And there is no reason why children around the world can’t get a proper education. Actually, there is one reason: lack of sufficient interest to solve these problems by those who have it in their power to do so. Or perhaps it has been a simple lack of vision by otherwise willing participants.

Let’s concentrate on the more broken communities of the world… broken in the sense that too many in small villages around the world don’t even have the bare essentials that most people take for granted.

Suggested Plan of Action:

The following suggestions are for the first phase of a project to repair the world. These projects would also give much needed training and employment to members of the communities helped, by putting local villagers to work on the projects:

  1. Drilling communal wells in each village around the world where there is no clean water available for miles, as the first stage to eventually pipe water into homes; 
  2. Constructing sewer systems in each village, and constructing communal toilets and showers as the first stage to eventually supplying homes with indoor plumbing;
  3. Constructing roads from village to village… even rudimentary roads for a start, so that villagers can transport their produce or other wares more efficiently in order to sell or trade; 
  4. Building schools in villages around the world, supplying them with teachers and books, and inspiring students to think outside the box to help their own communities: See the film: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (2019);
  5. 1.2 billion people worldwide don’t have access to electricity. Brazilian mechanic Alfredo Moser, who worked with MyShelter,1 devised a simple, yet effective device that brought light to homes that had no windows. He used plastic water bottles filled with water and bleach. By slipping a test tube with a small LED lightbulb into the bottle, which in turn is hooked up to a mini-solar panel, the bottle can still refract outside light during the day, then also used as a lightbulb at night.2
  6. Installing solar panels to bring electricity to rural villages, i.e. street lighting for a start, and later bringing electricity into homes;
  7. Constructing health facilities in villages that rural doctors can visit; 
  8. Set up a program for medical doctors to train gifted villagers in the rudimentary practice of medicine, where there is no resident medical doctor on site; 
  9. Helping villagers set up victory gardens, and supplying them with seeds and fencing to keep out predators. Perhaps a goat can also be given to each family for milk; 
  10. Teach and implement sustainable organic farming, irrigation techniques, and pest control;
  11. Supply free birth control and other indispensable medicines.
  12. Encourage wireless companies to supply free wifi and/or cell service;

Tens of Thousands of Villages Could be Helped.

According to one website, the cost to build a septic system in Africa, for example, varies widely from as little as $1,500 to upward of $4,000.3 Water Wells For Africa (WWFA)4 claims the average well in Malawi and Mozambique, for instance, would cost $8,000. Combined, that would mean each village would need only $12,000 for those two vital services if they were communal. Doubling that amount for two wells and two septic systems for a slightly larger village, and we still only need $24,000. If each village was allocated $100,000, which would also pay for a solar system, a schoolhouse, a health center, and other basics, almost 21,000 villages could be served. If only $50,000 is needed to accomplish these rudimentary improvements in each village, 42,000 villages could be served.

Who would pay for these projects? 

According to Forbes, after the Coronavirus outbreak, there were still around 2,095 billionaires in the world — their (known) total net worth exceeds $8 trillion dollars as of 3/18/2020. Let’s say, for arguments sake, that each billionaire pledged to give a measly 1/10 % of one billion dollars to a project that would help bring the poorest villages around the world the bare minimum of services that most of the world takes for granted, such as wells for clean water, sewer systems, schools, health centers, solar power, victory gardens, and rural roads from village to village. If each of those billionaires contributed just 1/10% of one billion dollars, i.e. one million dollars, the total would amount to a staggering $2,095,000,000. 

Are we our brothers’ keepers? 

All of the major religions preach generosity for one’s fellow humans. Yet without fail, except for the relative few, those who practice those religions fall far short of the message, or they believe the message only applies to their own ethnic or religious communities.

Christianity’s Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Acts 20:35 “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Judaism: The Obligation of Tzedakah: Giving to the poor is an obligation in Judaism, a duty that cannot be forsaken even by those who are themselves in need. Some sages have said that tzedakah is the highest of all commandments, equal to all of them combined, and that a person who does not perform tzedakah is equivalent to an idol worshipper. 

Islam: One of the five pillars of Islam, is the obligatory charity known as Zakaat. 

Hinduism: Dana (giving) is an important part of one’s dharma (religious duty).

Buddhism: Generosity (dàna or càga) is a glad willingness to share what one has with others. Generosity is the proactive (carita) aspect of the second precept to abstain from taking what belongs to others. In Buddhism, generosity is seen as a strategy to weaken greed, a way of helping others and a means of lessening the eic disparities in society. 

Perhaps it’s time for our world’s billionaires to take these religious precepts to heart and head to the bank.

  1. MyShelter was founder Illac Diaz, a Filipino native. 
  2. Sarah Ruiz-Grossman, These Plastic Bottles Full Of Water And Bleach Light Up Homes Without Electricity. Huffington Post, July 19,1917.
  3. Bonface, What is the best sewerage strategy for Africa? Construction Review Online: by Africa for Africa, Feb 4, 2016.

Thoughts on the Coronavirus Pandemic

First published June 9, 2020

Do Humans Deserve This Beautiful Earth?
A belated Earth Day Message—Part 2
by Thea Halo

During this Coronavirus pandemic we’re reminded of the multitude of people working on the front lines around the world, risking their own lives every minute of every day to save strangers they don’t even know, and the multitude of others bringing food and services to fellow citizens. We must also acknowledge the scientists who spend their lives finding solutions for such crises, or work to find ways to improve our lives in general. Most of these scientific discoveries are now intrinsically woven into our daily lives.1 Tim Bernes Lee’s invention of the World Wide Web, for instance, has connected us in ways not even dreamed of in former times. Other scientists we will probably never hear about are working to give us a greater understanding of the world we inhabit and the greater universe in which we live.

However, one has to wonder if pandemics such as the Coronavirus are Nature’s way of telling us that as a species we have failed in our stewardship of the earth and the creatures that dwell upon it. We have failed to listen to the warnings of those scientists. We have failed to heed the repeated environmental disasters: the floods, the mudslides, the wildfires, the tornadoes, the hurricanes. So now perhaps we’ll listen to the sound of hundreds of thousands of coffins being slammed shut around the world.

Even then, the sound of that warning may only be temporary, just as the observance of all other warnings were temporary, or even ignored. As in the past, everything will go back to the old normal soon after this particular crises passes. After all, even as thousands and perhaps millions around the world died from air pollution, and the weather became more erratic made worse by human activities, we went back to the devastating normal that created those crises. In fact, in the midst of this deadly virus, we read: “White House poised to weaken coal plant mercury rule. The Trump administration is expected to withdraw justification underpinning Obama-era environmental regulation…”2 The Trump administration even decided to weaken the auto emissions standards,3 and withdrew the United States from the landmark 2015 Paris climate agreement, and the nuclear agreement with Iran. As late as April 02, 2020, in the midst of this deadly Coronavirus, Trump was still attempting to erase the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obama Care.4 It’s as if Trump thinks his penis will fall off if he doesn’t reverse all of Obama‘s initiatives.

How often must we read that certain species are going extinct because of the destruction to their habitat, because of poaching, or because some fool wants to hunt our most beautiful wild animals: lions, tigers, giraffes, rhinos, and elephants for sport. Think of that. For sport!!! We are wiping out some of the most beautiful creatures on earth for sport. Pangolins are being killed by the ton for their meat and scales, as are elephants and rhinos for their tusks. And people are eating bats. Can anyone claim that bats and pangolins were ever meant to be eaten by humans? Perhaps in the stone age or in desperately poor nations where the food source amounts to whatever one is able to find and kill, like eating rats and cats during world wars, and during periodic mass starvation as in China before the 1980s. However, for those nations that are responsible for most of the slaughters, i.e. those nations that create a market for these animals, such as China, that necessity no longer exists. Apparently, for some, old habits developed during times of famine or wars do not die easily. Consequently, there are too many who fail to realize or care, that each of those species has a purpose on this earth, such as helping to keep nature in balance. Or perhaps, they simply don’t care. Greed and immediate gratification takes precedence over conservation and the health of our planet. For the poorer nations where poachers rely on any means to support themselves and their families, we should ask why they are so desperate in a world where some have billions of dollars, while others don’t have clean water to drink?

“A study published … in the journal Cell found that antibodies in llamas’ blood could offer a defense against the coronavirus.”5 In other words, the animals we kill off may have been the saviors of the human species. Nature always provides unless we choose to annihilate her creations.

If these pandemics only killed off those who are responsible for the devastation, at least we could believe there was justice in nature. However, that we are all at risk, and sometimes suffer the consequences of these deplorable crimes, perhaps Nature no longer gives a damn who is at fault. Perhaps Nature behaves—and perhaps rightly so—as if we are all at fault, because let’s face it, we all continue in our old ways out of convenience or because we haven’t figured out how to effectively stop using non-recyclable plastic containers, for instance… how to demand pesticides are no longer used on our produce and land… how to stop companies from polluting our air and waters… how to stop nations from killing off some of these precious animals… and how to stop the wars and the insane targeting of minorities in various societies.

If this pandemic can destroy businesses in such a short span of time, perhaps we can go on strike against the large corporations, banks, and nations that refuse to abide by conservation and environmental standards, and the standards of decency, to give them an economic pandemic they won’t forget.

This Coronavirus pandemic may be Nature’s WWIII. Global carbon monoxide emissions were down by at least 17% during this pandemic, so perhaps Nature has won, if only temporarily.6

That should give us a hint as to where to go from here if we want to avoid an even greater pandemic in future. Our first step should be to vote for those politicians who educate themselves and who listen to and fund our scientists. The Coronavirus pandemic has proven that we are all connected around the world—that we are one people, regardless of race, religion, national origins, or economic status. We are all subject to Nature’s rules and, in the end, Nature will have her way with us.

  1. Also see:
  2. Brian Snyder/Reuters, Aljazeera, April 16, 2020.
  3. Nathan Rott and Jennifer Ludden, Trump Administration Weakens Auto Emissions Standards, NPR March 31, 2020
  4. Nan Aron, Trump Wages War on the Affordable Care Act in the Midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Ms Magazine, April 2, 2020.
  5. Matthew Cantor ‘Llamas are the real unicorns’: why they could be our secret weapon against coronavirus, The Guardian, May 17, 2020.,
  6. Doyle Rice, USA Today, Coronavirus lockdowns have caused a whopping 17% drop in global carbon emissions. May 19, 2020.

The Crime of Breathing While Black

First published May 31, 2020

On April 20, 2021, Derek Chauvin was found guilty of three counts of murder of George Floyd.

A belated Earth Day Message—Part 1
by Thea Halo

Perhaps the world has finally gone mad, and although the burning and looting of stores and buildings—that had nothing to do with George Floyd’s death—is rather mind boggling, the anger about the cold-blooded murder of George Floyd is not. That Police Officer, Derek Chauvin kneeled on George Floyd’s neck and actually watched his life drain from him, as bystanders told him Floyd is now bleeding from his nose, and finally not moving, is the most cold-blooded crime I have ever witnessed. Even the video of Eric Garner’s murder, although equally reprehensible and criminal, doesn’t compare in how deliberate, calm, and cold-blooded Floyd’s murder was. There was no struggle from Floyd. He had no chance to struggle. He was pinned firmly to the ground on his stomach, with his hands cuffed behind him, and Derek Chauvin’s knee and weight on his neck. We all know there are compassionate cops. These were not among them.

Why Derek Chauvin and his accomplices are not charged with first degree murder is beyond reason. For what crime was Floyd murdered? For allegedly trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill. Even if true, without an investigation, we have no way of knowing if he knew the bill was counterfeit. It could have been passed to him from an unknowing party. But even if Floyd knew the bill was counterfeit, does that really deserve a death sentence? As with Eric Garner’s murder, is selling loose cigarettes really a capital offense undeserving of a trial and a jury of one’s peers? Is it even worth a citation? Doesn’t selling loose cigarettes tell the police that this man is just trying to make a few cents, perhaps to buy food? In a civil society, the police would have asked Garner if he needed help, and directed him in how to seek help, instead of wrestling him to the ground and choking him to death.

Who are we as a country… as a people? How have we become so ruthless? How did those who are supposed to be entrusted to serve and protect become the people we must fear? How does Atatiana Jefferson, the 28-year-old Black woman who is simply playing video games in her own home with her nephew, get shot dead by police through her second story window? How does an innocent Black woman, Breonna Taylor, who is sleeping in her own bed, get shot dead by police who break into the wrong home? How does Philando Castile, a 32-year-old Black man, get shot seven times by police during a traffic stop, while in a car with his fiancé and her four-year-old child? What kind of trauma must that child face, not to mention the trauma to Castile’s fiancé and his family?

How does a stupid White woman, who is breaking a local leash law with her dog, think it’s acceptable to threaten a Black man—who simply reminds her to follow the law—that she is calling the police to tell them an African American man is threatening her life?

How did we get so ignorant and cruel as a society? Where is this heading? And how is burning and looting our cities supposed to help? Unless it’s to remind us that in some cruel way we are all to blame for not demanding that our police are not chosen from the bottom of the barrel. That they are tested and trained properly to deal with every situation to determine which situations are actually life threatening enough to need force. Selling loose cigarettes on a street corner is not life threatening to anyone. Nor is sleeping in one’s bed. Nor is playing video games in one’s home. Even passing a counterfeit bill threatens the life of no one.

However, instead of burning businesses and looting, causing trauma to even more people, which in turn may cause more animosity, wouldn’t it be more of a tribute to George Floyd’s memory if each of those protestors marched peacefully and gave even one dollar to help fund after-school projects in Black communities, or bought musical instruments and books for gifted Black children? With so many protestors, hundreds of thousands of dollars could have been raised to honor the life of George Floyd and the many other Black Americans whose lives were cut short by police brutality. There are so many others not mentioned here. They are all equally tragic.

Witnessing Chauvin watch Floyd die as he presses his knee into Floyd’s neck, while ignoring Floyd’s pleas that he can’t breath, is beyond cruel. It is almost inhuman. I say almost because, although humans are the most brilliant, creative, innovative, and versatile creatures on earth, and have a great capacity for compassion and kindness, we have demonstrated that we are also some of the most diabolical creatures on earth. Most other creatures on earth kill to survive. Nature is cruel after all. Every creature must eat. But humans sometimes kill for sport. We kill for revenge. We kill out of depravity. We kill to even scores. We kill because of greed. We kill in the hundreds of thousands, even millions, by dropping bombs. We sometimes even hire others to do our killing for us. What a legacy we have left on this earth.