Was Columbus a Hero or a Villain? You Be The Judge…

Christopher Columbus: Hero or Villain?

Since his death in 1506, Columbus’ life story has undergone many revisions. He is vilified by indigenous rights groups, yet was once seriously considered for sainthood. What’s the real scoop?

Columbus was neither a monster nor a saint. He had some admirable qualities and some very negative ones. He was not a bad or evil man, simply a skilled sailor, and navigator who was also an opportunist and a product of his time.

On the positive side, Columbus was a very talented sailor, navigator and ship captain. He bravely went west without a map, trusting his instincts and calculations. He was very loyal to his patrons, the King and Queen of Spain, and they rewarded him by sending him to the New World a total of four times. While he took slaves from those tribes that fought him and his men, he seems to have dealt relatively fairly with those tribes that he befriended, such as that of Chief Guacanagari.

But there are many stains on his legacy as well. Ironically, the Columbus-bashers blame him for some things that were not under his control and ignore some of his most glaring actual defects.

He and his crew brought awful diseases, such as smallpox, to which the men and women of the New World had no defenses, and millions died. This is undeniable, but it was also unintentional and would have happened eventually anyway. His discovery opened the doors to the conquistadors who looted the mighty Aztec and Inca Empires and slaughtered natives by the thousands, but this, too, would likely have happened when someone else inevitably discovered the New World.

If one must hate Columbus, it is far more reasonable to do so for other reasons. He was a slave trader who heartlessly took men and women away from their families in order to lessen his failure to find a new trade route. His contemporaries despised him. As governor of Santo Domingo on Hispaniola, he was a despot who kept all profits for himself and his brothers and was loathed by the colonists whose lives he controlled. Attempts were made on his life and he was actually sent back to Spain in chains at one point after his third voyage.

During his fourth voyage, he and his men were stranded on Jamaica for a year when his ships rotted. No one wanted to travel there from Hispaniola to save him. He was also a cheapskate. After promising a reward to whoever spotted land first on his 1492 voyage, he refused to pay up when sailor Rodrigo de Triana did so, giving the reward to himself instead because he had seen a “glow” the night before.

Previously, elevation of Columbus to a hero caused people to name cities (and a country, Colombia) after him and many places still celebrate Columbus Day. But nowadays people tend to see Columbus for what he really was: a brave, but very flawed, human being.

More factual information on Christopher Columbus HERE.

October Thoughts As the Foliage In New England Turns To Looking Like America…

I’ve blogged as a conservative, a libertarian, an independent, and most recently as a liberal. Some might say that is because I have no center, no core values. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact I have very strong core beliefs, they have been with me since as far back as I can remember, and, that is a very long time.

Honesty, integrity, hard work, accepting personal responsibility for oneself, being accountable for your decisions and actions, being productive and making a difference, standing up for truth whether it comes from the right, the center, or the left, being willing to live and let live, learning from others at every opportunity, understanding that emotional intelligence can sometimes be more important than your IQ, understanding that a person’s perceptions are their reality whether right or not, being considerate of others, and, to quote Steven Covey, Seek first to understand and then to be understood are all part of my core values. The fact is, most people share these values.

Our political environment has become so polarized and fiercely partisan with the winner take all attitude that as a people we have forgotten that working together, solving mutual problems, and building bridges is the only path to achieving long-term lasting success and social harmony. Our nation is made up of people and cultures from across the globe with ideas and perceptions as varied as the colors of falling leaves in Autumn in New England.

Finding a way to blend the varied ideas and perceptions of our people is our task, and, it should be our goal.  Each and every one of us, including and especially the President of the United States, is responsible for making this happen. Unfortunately the forces working to divide us have achieved the upper hand. “If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand” , these words taken from the Gospel of Gospel of St. Mark are as true today as they were when they were written. They are words every American, regardless of color, ethnicity, or national origin ought to think about in earnest, and, do so daily.  Especially our elected leaders.

Responsibility rests with all sides to right our ship. Isn’t it time we get busy doing so?

15 States Challenging Trump’s Decision To Rescind DACA…

It will be interesting to see where this goes. If anywhere.

LOS ANGELES — California and three other states on Monday added to a barrage of states challenging President Donald Trump’s decision to rescind protections for undocumented people brought to the United States illegally as children.
The lawsuit, in which California was joined by Minnesota, Maryland and Maine, comes five days after 15 states and the District of Columbia first filed suit to defend the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Flanked by two DACA recipients in Sacramento, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra called Trump’s order “unlawful and mean-spirited,” arguing it violates due process provisions of the Constitution and would hurt the economy in the nation’s most populous state.

“You don’t become the sixth-largest economy in the world just because,” Becerra said. “It just so happens that one of every four of the DACA recipients in this country — some 200,000 — live and work and call California their home, and they’ve been helping California become the sixth-largest economy in the world.”

He said repealing DACA would unfairly punish productive, law-abiding young people and that the economic cost of deporting them “would be felt by California businesses, California local governments who have depended on the economic success of the DACA program.”

The Trump administration has said the Obama-era executive order is unconstitutional, while Trump said last week that he will delay ending DACA for six months in order to give lawmakers time to craft a legislative solution to protect so-called Dreamers.

More than 200,000 DACA recipients live in California, about one in every four recipients nationwide.

More BELOW THE FOLD.

Perhaps the only good thing that might come of Trump’s decision is it could force the gutless GOP in congress to confront the immigration issue, work with democrats, and ultimately pass into law an equitable, fair, and sensible immigration law.

We can hope.

Trump Again Shows His Heartlessness and Xenophobia…

Trump, pandering to his xenophobic base announces the end of DACA.

A member of Trump’s diversity coalition announces his resignation.

A real President of the United States of America speaks up.

Washington (CNN) – Javier Palomarez, the head of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, announced he was resigning from President Donald Trump’s diversity coalition over the administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Palomarez announced his decision on Tuesday morning, expressing his strong disagreement with the Trump administration on immigration.

“I tried to work as hard as I could with this administration on this issue, and I continue to want to work with them on other issues, like tax reform, like health care reform, and so many other important things,” Palomarez told HLN’s Carol Costello. “But I really don’t see the logic in doing what we’re doing right now.”

He continued, “I am resigning right now from that council.”
Palomarez said his on-air proclamation served as his resignation.

We salute Palomarez’s decision and encourage all politicians with a conscience to support the opposition to Trump’s foolish and self-defeating decision.

And now, thoughts from a former and REAL President of the Untied States.

Immigration can be a controversial topic. We all want safe, secure borders and a dynamic economy, and people of goodwill can have legitimate disagreements about how to fix our immigration system so that everybody plays by the rules.

But that’s not what the action that the White House took today is about. This is about young people who grew up in America — kids who study in our schools, young adults who are starting careers, patriots who pledge allegiance to our flag. These Dreamers are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper. They were brought to this country by their parents, sometimes even as infants. They may not know a country besides ours. They may not even know a language besides English. They often have no idea they’re undocumented until they apply for a job, or college, or a driver’s license.

Over the years, politicians of both parties have worked together to write legislation that would have told these young people — our young people — that if your parents brought you here as a child, if you’ve been here a certain number of years, and if you’re willing to go to college or serve in our military, then you’ll get a chance to stay and earn your citizenship. And for years while I was President, I asked Congress to send me such a bill.

That bill never came. And because it made no sense to expel talented, driven, patriotic young people from the only country they know solely because of the actions of their parents, my administration acted to lift the shadow of deportation from these young people, so that they could continue to contribute to our communities and our country. We did so based on the well-established legal principle of prosecutorial discretion, deployed by Democratic and Republican presidents alike, because our immigration enforcement agencies have limited resources, and it makes sense to focus those resources on those who come illegally to this country to do us harm. Deportations of criminals went up. Some 800,000 young people stepped forward, met rigorous requirements, and went through background checks. And America grew stronger as a result.

But today, that shadow has been cast over some of our best and brightest young people once again. To target these young people is wrong — because they have done nothing wrong. It is self-defeating — because they want to start new businesses, staff our labs, serve in our military, and otherwise contribute to the country we love. And it is cruel. What if our kid’s science teacher, or our friendly neighbor turns out to be a Dreamer? Where are we supposed to send her? To a country she doesn’t know or remember, with a language she may not even speak?

Let’s be clear: the action taken today isn’t required legally. It’s a political decision, and a moral question. Whatever concerns or complaints Americans may have about immigration in general, we shouldn’t threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own, who pose no threat, who are not taking away anything from the rest of us. They are that pitcher on our kid’s softball team, that first responder who helps out his community after a disaster, that cadet in ROTC who wants nothing more than to wear the uniform of the country that gave him a chance. Kicking them out won’t lower the unemployment rate, or lighten anyone’s taxes, or raise anybody’s wages.

It is precisely because this action is contrary to our spirit, and to common sense, that business leaders, faith leaders, economists, and Americans of all political stripes called on the administration not to do what it did today. And now that the White House has shifted its responsibility for these young people to Congress, it’s up to Members of Congress to protect these young people and our future. I’m heartened by those who’ve suggested that they should. And I join my voice with the majority of Americans who hope they step up and do it with a sense of moral urgency that matches the urgency these young people feel.

Ultimately, this is about basic decency. This is about whether we are a people who kick hopeful young strivers out of America, or whether we treat them the way we’d want our own kids to be treated. It’s about who we are as a people — and who we want to be.

What makes us American is not a question of what we look like, or where our names come from, or the way we pray. What makes us American is our fidelity to a set of ideals — that all of us are created equal; that all of us deserve the chance to make of our lives what we will; that all of us share an obligation to stand up, speak out, and secure our most cherished values for the next generation. That’s how America has traveled this far. That’s how, if we keep at it, we will ultimately reach that more perfect union.

Real and true patriotic Americans grasp the truth and wisdom of President Obama’s words. We are hopeful that a overwhelming majority of our elected officials from both parties do as well.

 

 

What A Real Peresident Sounds Like…

Reflecting on the previous seven months and the chaotic and divisive Trump administration we thought the letter that President Obama left the incoming Trump worth publishing. The stark difference between President Obama and Trump are truly troubling, and, does not bode well for America.

Dear Mr. President

Congratulations on a remarkable run. Millions have placed their hopes in you, and all of us, regardless of party, should hope for expanded prosperity and security during your tenure.

This is a unique office, without a clear blueprint for success, so I don’t know that any advice from me will be particularly helpful. Still, let me offer a few reflections from the past 8 years.

First, we’ve both been blessed, in different ways, with great good fortune. Not everyone is so lucky. It’s up to us to do everything we can (to) build more ladders of success for every child and family that’s willing to work hard.

Second, American leadership in this world really is indispensable. It’s up to us, through action and example, to sustain the international order that’s expanded steadily since the end of the Cold War, and upon which our own wealth and safety depend.

Third, we are just temporary occupants of this office. That makes us guardians of those democratic institutions and traditions — like rule of law, separation of powers, equal protection and civil liberties — that our forebears fought and bled for. Regardless of the push and pull of daily politics, it’s up to us to leave those instruments of our democracy at least as strong as we found them.

And finally, take time, in the rush of events and responsibilities, for friends and family. They’ll get you through the inevitable rough patches.

Michelle and I wish you and Melania the very best as you embark on this great adventure, and know that we stand ready to help in any ways which we can.

Good luck and Godspeed,
BO

If only the present occupant of The White House, the current POTUS, had the intelligence, wisdom, character, and empathy that our former President had/has.