"In any discussion of the problems in our world today, racism must rank high. Not because we are soft-minded liberals obsessed with countless crimes throughout history induced by colour, religion, tribalism or chauvinism of one kind or another. But because the poison which we hoped and believed had been eradicated in our own time by the knowledge of the ultimate evil- the gas-chamber murders committed by the Nazis--is in fact still present, not in any one area of discrimination or racism, or in a restricted number of specific rulers or governments, but in all humankind. I call it "Inner Racism."-

Gitta Sereny, "The Healing Wound"

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

"Hi-Yo, BILLY! A Blustery horse's ass with the speed of McConnell, a cloud of dust and a hearty sense of humor'... The Attorney General! With his faithful flunky companion, Rod-O, the daring and resourceful unmasked defender of Trump leads the fight for lawlessness


To: Lorne Michaels, Eternal Producer, Saturday Night Live 

As you once so humorously tried to get the Beatles to reune on SNL the American Appoggiatura challenges you now to coax - for one memorable Saturday night - former Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to host your broadcast, perhaps with a generous bribe of $100 over whatever scale is these days, Of course you won't be able to restore whatever dignity this man may have once had but perhaps the allure of a duet with Ms Jones may entice.

from Time Magazine's recent "100 Influential People" issue:

"Now Barr returns to public service with a hearty sense of humor, a lifetime of wisdom and a valuable perspective about the Department of Justice. "


► Watch
The enthusiasm in and around the Department of Justice was palpable when President Trump announced his nomination of Attorney General William Pelham Barr. A brilliant and principled conservative lawyer, Barr brings unique experience to the challenge of working at the intersection of law and politics.During his first stint as Attorney General, from 1991 to 1993, Barr dealt with politically sensitive cases, appointed special and independent counsels, handled delicate national-security issues, and navigated contentious congressional oversight requests. He earned widespread respect for his integrity and professionalism, and he enhanced that reputation in the private sector.Now Barr returns to public service with a hearty sense of humor, a lifetime of wisdom and a valuable perspective about the Department of Justice. He knows the history, he understands the issues, he respects the employees, and he will defend the principles. With Bill Barr at the helm, the rule of law is secure.

January 9, 2019 
Dear Senator,

On behalf of the Alliance for Justice, a national alliance representing 130 groups committed to equal justice and access to justice, I write to urge you to reject the nomination of William Barr to be Attorney General of the United States.

William Barr’s nomination is not occurring in a vacuum; it must be colored by President Trump’s repeated attacks on the rule of law. The President has made clear he expects personalloyalty from those in law enforcement. He has tried to eviscerate any notion of an independent Justice Department, repeatedly demanded investigations into the media and political opponents, and consistently tried to undermine independent investigations of himself, his campaign, and his Administration. The President has attacked judges who have ruled against him. He has abused his pardon authority. He has repeatedly acted in ways struck down by courts.

President Trump fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates because she acted independently, based on the Constitution. He fired Jeff Sessions because Sessions refused to quash the Mueller probe. He then replaced Sessions with Matt Whitaker, an individual whose most notable qualification was likely his public criticism of the Mueller investigation. And, Trump has now nominated William Barr, who also very likely threatens the independent investigation of thePresident, shares the President’s expansive views of unchecked executive power, and will not restrain the President’s attacks on the rule of law.

William Barr has a lengthy record of opposing independent investigations of the President, and in fact strongly considered firing Lawrence Walsh when Barr previously served as AttorneyGeneral. Barr also played a key role in George H.W. Bush’s controversial Iran-Contra pardons that the independent counsel at the time assailed as a cover-up.

It has been reported that President Trump has already asked if Barr would recuse himself from the Mueller investigation. Moreover, Barr is already on record minimizing the seriousness of allegations regarding President Trump and Russia. And, Barr already submitted a lengthy memorandum, shared with the White House, arguing that Robert Mueller should not be able to investigate President Trump for obstruction of justice. He is even on record opposing“congressional incursions” into the president’s power to fire officials, which would be preciselythe issue should Congress enact legislation to protect Mueller.

The Attorney General is critical for protecting the Constitution and rule of law. Yet, there is nothing in the record suggesting Barr will be an independent check on any illegality or untowardconduct by the President. For example, Barr heavily criticized Sally Yates’s decision to followthe Constitution when she directed Department of Justice lawyers not to defend the original discriminatory Muslim Ban (which was struck down by multiple courts). He sees nothing wrong with the president calling for an investigation of his political opponents. Barr reportedly played a role in approving a bulk data collection program and supported immunity for tech companiesthat helped violate Americans’ civil liberties. And, he pushed back on efforts by Congress toprohibit torture.

While our concerns with the Mueller probe and executive power are foremost, AFJ has othergrave concerns with Barr’s nomination.
Attorney General Barr will be the most influential figure in enforcing some our nation’s civilrights laws. Unfortunately, the Justice Department under Attorney General Sessions repeatedly took positions hostile to the rights of all Americans. The Department has attacked the rights of persons of color, women, LGBTQ Americans, persons with disabilities, and immigrants, and webelieve William Barr’s confirmation would also undermine equal justice under the law.

Barr has a troubling record on the protection of rights of LGBTQ Americans. He has spoken disparagingly of gays and lesbians. He led the effort to maintain a policy of preventing HIV- positive non-citizens from entering the country and was reportedly a proponent of keeping HIV- positive Haitians housed at Guantanamo Bay, even though they were approved for asylum. And,Barr praised Jeff Sessions’s decision to rescind guidance protecting transgender Americans.

Barr also has a troubling record on women’s rights; he has repeatedly called for overturning Roe v. Wade. As just one example, after the Supreme Court decided Planned Parenthood v. Casey,Barr said “I think Roe v. Wade should be overturned” and he reaffirmed that the JusticeDepartment “will continue to do what it’s done for the past 10 years and call for the overturningof Roe v. Wade in future litigation.”

Further, Barr has a troubling record with regard to persons of color. Barr served as attorney general during the so-called War on Drugs, which disproportionately impacted communities ofcolor. Notably, he wrote a report titled “The Case for More Incarceration.” In a 1992 speech, Barr said “The choice is clear. More prison space or more crime.” He defended laws that made prison sentences for crack cocaine much harsher than prison sentences for powder cocaine, which had a significantly disparate impact on communities of color. He opposed the bipartisan Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 and applauded Jeff Sessions’s decision to revertto harsh charging policies.

Barr also has a disturbing record on the rights of immigrants. He supported President Trump’s discriminatory Muslim Ban. He has argued that “[o]ne of the biggest problems we have withimmigration . . . is the abuse of the asylum laws.” He tried to prevent Haitian asylum seekers from reaching the U.S. After the Rodney King riots in LA, Barr stated that “the problem ofimmigration enforcement – making sure we have a fair set of rules and then enforce them – Ithink that’s certainly relevant to the problems we’re seeing in Los Angeles.”

Finally, we do not believe a Barr Justice Department will truly ensure the Justice Department serves all Americans. At the same time that the Trump Justice Department has fought to have a

court declare the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional – taking away health insurance from millions of Americans – it is perhaps no coincidence that the President has nominated an individual who also challenged the constitutionality of the landmark law, filing a brief arguing the law was unconstitutional. Moreover, Barr, who received $10 million from Verizon when he left the company, has fought vigorously against critical consumer protections for internet users. He has opposed important protections for investors Congress put in place after the Enron and WorldCom scandals. He has opposed the False Claims Act.

Given all these concerns, and as detailed on our fact sheet on his nomination, which can be found at the following link, https://afj.org/reports/william-barrthe Senate should reject William Barr’s

nomination to be U.S. Attorney General.


Nan Aron President

Friday, April 19, 2019


from  IN SEARCH OF MEMORY by Eric R. Kandel:

"....each mental function in the brain - from the simplest reflex to the most creative acts in language, music, and art -- is carried out by specialized neural circuits in different regions of the brain...all of these circuits are made up of the same elementary signaling units, the nerve cells. (These) neural circuits use specific molecules to generate signals within and between nerve cells...(And) these specific signaling molecules have been conserved - retained as it were-- through millions of years of evolution. Some of them were present in the cells of our most ancient ancestors and can be found today in our most distant and primitive evolutionary relatives: single-celled organisms such as bacteria and yeast and simple multicellular organisms such as worms, flies, and snails. These creatures use the same molecules to organize their maneuvering through their environment that we use to govern our daily lives and adjust to our environment.

Thus, we gain from the new science of mind not only insights into ourselves--how we perceive, learn, remember, feel, and act--but also a new perspective of ourselves in the context of biological evolution. It makes us appreciate that the human mind evolved from molecules used by our lowly ancestors and that the extraordinary conservation of the molecular mechanisms that regulate life's various processes also applies to our mental life.."

So after millions of years of evolution how is that all we have to show for ourselves is :

Saturday, April 13, 2019



As a word it can refer to a particular time and place (though as we’ve seen a wide variety of particular times and places), legally binding as a definite location but also as a quasi-mythical realm, and it can function as the grammatical intensifier of “America!” That process of the name being shouted out as mere orgasmic intensifier is what lends itself to being utilised in hawking beer under the brand name “America”, to the charlatan’s call to “Make America Great Again.” Used cynically, the word “America” is conceptualised not as that

undiscovered country yet to be born on maps yet printed, but rather it is to employ the word as simple superstitious talisman. They take the Lord’s name in vain.

Orthodox Jews write the name of “G-d” with a dash of negation, a type of apophatic punctuation that acknowledges that the written Lord is never the real Lord.

The stipulation on taking great care in writing the Hebrew letters of the Tetragrammaton was in part so that the pious were careful not to see mere crafting of ink and manuscript as replacement for ultimate reality. Without suggesting that “America” is an equivalently mystical word, I do wish to propose that it’s a term which endlessly defers and gestures towards something much greater than and beyond itself.

 “The United States” may be a country bound in history and time, and by space and geography, like all countries which exist before it and which will exist after it.


That “America” is in her title is a function of historical contingency, but we should be careful not to reduce that particularly mythic place to simply the nation which most prominently displays her in her title. Do not misread this as pedantic argument that the word “America” also encompasses a variety of other 
 places, for as true as that may be, it is not the focus of what I claim here. Rather it is that the word “America” may be decoration or adornment for the names of various historical polities, but the actual location of a place called “America” is in a Republic not of this world. There is the semantic meaning of the word, and then true to a four-fold hermeneutic there is an anagogic
meaning of the word. “America” may have first been printed on Waldseemüller and Ringman’s map, but its truest location in an atlas not available in our reality, for “America” is a place as mythic as the previously mentioned Eden or Utopia. But though she may not truly exist, this understanding of a New World that is full of equality, liberty and freedom is an Arcadian belief which not only can, but must structure our own yearnings towards a more perfect union. 

This America is not on any map, and yet necessity requires us to set our course towards her and sail in that direction regardless. 

 America may not be real, but we must always be in the process of discovering, and more importantly creating her.

About the Author:

Our text was joyfully mooched from Ed Simon, who was described at the time as a doctoral candidate in English at Lehigh University/ 

Monday, March 18, 2019



                          HON. ELAINE G. LURIA

                              of virginia

                    in the house of representatives

                        Thursday, March 14, 2019

  Mrs. LURIA. Madam Speaker, I rise today to recognize Rabbi Israel 
Zoberman and include in the Record this article, Learning a Shared 
History of Sorrow:

       On February 22, 2019, George Washington's birthday, during 
     Black History Month, I was privileged to travel to the 
     Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and 
     Culture, close to the Washington Monument on the inspiring 
     National Mall of our nation's capital. I was in good company 
     for the long-awaited tour organized by the Virginia Beach 
     Human Rights Commission. The 44 passengers on the bus 
     included members of the Commission, of which I am a grateful 
     member, representation of the Virginia Beach City Council and 
     the Mayor's office along with the Virginia Beach Police 
     Department, students and staff of the Virginia Beach City 
     Public Schools as well as leaders of the African American 
     Culture Center of Virginia Beach. What an impressive array of 
     civic commitment!
       As a family member of the Holocaust's surviving remnant of 
     European Jewry. I knew ahead of the searing visit of the 
     tragic bond between the African American experience and the 
     destruction of European Jewry, of the binding bond among all 
     affected by infectious racial, religious, ethnic, national 
     and gender hatred seeking to demean, dehumanize and demonize 
     the `other'. There is an unmistakable thread connecting the 
     2015 murder of 9 Black members at Emanuel African Methodist 
     Episcopal Church in Charleston S.C., with the gunning down of 
     11 Jewish worshippers at a Sabbath service in Pittsburg's 
     Tree of Life Synagogue in 2018; between the historical 
     lynchings of Blacks and the 2017 White Supremacist mayhem in 
     Charlottesville, Virginia, resulting in a murder, with the 
     dreaded shouts of ``Jews will not replace us!'' still ringing 
     in our ears. Vitriolic anti-Semitism is precipitously on the 
     rise in the United States and Europe.
       The imposing structure of the African American Museum 
     stands within sight of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. I 
     recalled my first visit there and the subsequent ones, when I 
     felt the overcoming sense of uncontrollable loss. It was the 
     same sensation of being assaulted to the core of my humanity 
     that I experienced traveling the challenging halls of the 
     African American Museum. Yet, I emerged from both encounters 
     with greater resolve to mend the world, Tikkun Olam, turning 
     blemishes into blessings. Who can remain untouched gazing at 
     the casket of brutally murdered 14-year-old Emmett Till and 
     the photo of his agonizing mother, the only exhibit we are 
     forbidden to photograph that we should focus uninterruptedly?
       We were guided by an incredible docent telling the story of 
     proud Africans forcibly and so cruelly separated from their 
     rich roots and brought to America--those who made it through 
     the terrifying Middle Passage--and brought here to be 
     violated of all that is sacred. Both they as slaves and 
     Europe's Jews were deemed sub-human. The former ones by 
     colonial powers and a new America promising to advance 
     liberty's cause, and the latter ones by a Germany regarded 
     the world's most civilized nation. The vital Jewish and 
     African American partnership during the Civil Rights Movement 
     of the 1960s, needs to be revitalized in the context of a 
     wider coalition to move America forward.
       I wish that both museums could be connected by a bridge or 
     a tunnel to visualize their inseparable bond. Recently heroic 
     French Father Patrick Desbois had a memorable presentation in 
     Virginia Beach. He is renowned for documenting unknown Nazi 
     massacres with local collaboration in occupied lands during 
     WWII along with ISIS's mass crimes in Iraq. He shares a 
     stunning statement in his unsettling book, In Broad Daylight, 
     that applies as well to the inhumane treatment of African 
     Americans, ``I feel a mounting disgust for our species. The 
     sort of nausea that makes you want to quit the human race.'' 
     But we dare not quit the human race. Great strides have taken 
     place though progress is an arduous work in the making. The 
     large number of visitors at the museum, particularly the many 
     students, is a hopeful sign. We dare not despair of past and 
     present pain, for that only serves the hateful aggressor, 
     while indifference, as Eli Wiesel taught us, only enables 
     evildoers to succeed.
       We need better tools to fight the scourge and resurgence of 
     all forms of hatred, bigotry and discrimination. Democracies 
     are at risk of backsliding, as was the case in Germany, and 
     require eternal vigilance.
       A precious teachable window is open to us following trying 
     circumstances, as we celebrate this year the 400th 
     Anniversary of Virginia with its dark shadows and shining 
     lights. Let us pledge, one diverse but united family, to rise 
     together higher and higher.


Monday, February 25, 2019



                       HON. ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON

                      of the district of columbia

                    in the house of representatives

                       Friday, February 22, 2019

  Ms. NORTON. Madam Speaker, I rise today to ask the House of 
Representatives to join me in recognizing the important contributions 
of Armand Derfner to the advancement of civil rights in the United 
  In 1940, on his second birthday, Armand Derfner and his Jewish 
parents fled Nazi Germany to America. Derfner graduated from Princeton 
University in 1960. He would go on to receive Princeton's Koren Prize 
in History and a Woodrow Wilson Foundation Fellowship directly 
following his graduation. Derfner attended Yale Law School, where he 
was the Note & Comment Editor of the Yale Law Journal and was Order of 
the Coif.
  Following his graduation from Yale Law School, Derfner clerked for 
Chief Judge David L. Bazelon on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 
District of Columbia Circuit. Derfner then became an associate at 
Covington & Burling.
  After practicing law in the District of Columbia, Derfner moved to 
Jim Crow Mississippi to practice as a civil rights lawyer. His passion 
for social and political justice led to his being stalked. His dog was 
even poisoned, and he and his wife were shot at multiple times.
  While in Mississippi, Derfner acted as a civil rights attorney for 
the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. In 1968, Derfner represented 
voters in Greenwood, Mississippi, on the first day that the Voting 
Rights Act became effective. At just 29 years old, Derfner argued and 
won his first Supreme Court case. From the 1960s through the 1990s, 
Derfner played a vital role in civil rights cases, taking many of them 
to the Supreme Court. Derfner argued before the Supreme Court five 
times and won every case. These Supreme Court arguments helped shape 
the Voting Rights Act and its amendments.
  Derfner also contributed to the passage of the Civil Rights Attorneys 
Fees Awards Act in 1976 and the Equal Access to Justice Act of 1980. It 
was Derfner's work that led to the freeing of the Charleston Five, a 
protest group that was falsely accused of inciting violence. In the 
1980s, while still attached to civil rights work in Mississippi, 
Derfner worked closely on civil rights issues with Massachusetts 
Senator Edward Kennedy and simultaneously taught at American 
  In 2002, Derfner was awarded the Trial Lawyer of the Year Award by 
the Trial Lawyers for Public Justice. In 2009, the American Bar 
Association named Derfner's firm, Derfner & Altman, Public Interest 
Lawyers of the Year. He is an honorary lifetime trustee on the Board of 
Trustees for the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Derfner 
has just been named the recipient of the 2019 Commitment to Justice 
Award from the Center for Heirs' Property Preservation.
  I ask the House of Representatives to join me in recognizing Armand 
Derfner for his dedication to civil rights and for his significant 
contributions to recognizing equal justice under the law.