FINE REVIEWS: “Gosnell: The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer”

5-Stars!  I recommend “Gosnell” as required reading.

It is the silence of others, despite the grotesque nature of the crimes committed, that continues to bewilder me as I read this startling book. Thankfully, filmmakers Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer refused to avert41h0mkgijcl their investigative glare from the inhumane travesty conducted in Philadelphia—the mutilated, mass killing of born-alive infants within the seedy walls of the Women’s Medical Society Clinic by a certain Doctor Kermit Gosnell. This ‘Doctor’ eschewed the Hippocratic oath and human decency. Instead, Kermit Gosnell chose a bleak path nearer to that of Josef ‘The Angel of Death’ Mengele. Mengele did not act alone. His grizzly deeds in Auschwitz were government sanctioned.

Nor did Kermit Gosnell act in isolation. The complicit role activist media, social radicals, medical colleagues, and incompetent (politicized) government played in perpetuating his crimes is an indictment of the moral wasteland we’re becoming. This is not about equating Gosnell’s crime to the horrific actions of Mengele, except to illustrate contemporary society’s refusal to learn from the past. If we did care, these blood-curdling crimes against babies would have ended earlier. If we did care, a caring nation would collectively march in the streets demanding answers. Instead, there’s muted silence and politicized obfuscation.

For me, this telling of the Gosnell nightmare is the first salvo in the fight for our very souls, and a diminishing chance to avoid us being judged barbaric. It is not okay to set aside fundamental moral principles (by either omission or commission) in the pursuit of blindly furthering an ideology. And, it’s never acceptable to contrive distorted truths and false claims (rationalized that it’s ‘for the greater good’) as a justification for the darkest of human behavior.

In that sense, this book provoked in me a reaction well beyond the Pro-Choice/Pro-Life debate. It touched the core of what it truly means to be an empathetic, civilized society; and how the reprehensible conduct of some bad actors destroys it for all of us. As such, authors McElhinney and McAleer have my thanks. I regard them as ‘canaries in the coalmine’ alerting us, American society, to the consequences of turning a blind eye to the inhumane deeds of a select few. If we continue to get this wrong and allow enablers to disassemble facts in order to cover up crimes against the feeblest among us, history will judge us all harshly.

“Gosnell” is a tough read, but a civilized society has the responsibility to pursue the truth wherever it may take us. There should be zero tolerance for cover-ups or dubious rationales, no matter where one resides on the ideological spectrum. In that spirit, I recommend “Gosnell” as required reading in all institutions dedicated to social sciences, moral ethics, governance, and medicine.

Available on Amazon

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THE TRUMP CONUNDRUM AND A HOPE FOR POLITICAL EMANCIPATION

AUGUST 26, 2015 – Whether it’s a personal predilection, always seeking that silver lining amongst the darkest of clouds, or the happy coincidence that this is the 95th anniversary guaranteeing American women the right to vote—but I already see some interesting positives in Donald Trump’s acerbic quest for the White House. For sake of clarity, I’m by no means endorsing his opportunistic ideological mindset or his pugnacious platform. However, I applaud the fact he actually ran, and in doing so has taught us much about existing blemishes in our modern Constitutional Republic.

We’re Living In the Age of Kardashian. kardashian_family_wAs a nation we’ve plummeted toward a miasma of the trivial, contented in the superficial and the outrageous. Alongside our unbridled delight in the shameful we have paradoxically bridled ourselves with the censorious restraints of political correctness. We now live in a society where celebrity trumps common sense and true human decency is nothing more than an ersatz hashtag.

Our political leaders (a pox on both parties) are incapable of leading as they’ve become obsessed with power and celebrity as the final end product, rather than a means to do Good.  In this dumbed down culture, even a onetime dignified presidential fireside chat to the entire nation is now a flippant appearance on Comedy Central. As for the once respected media, it’s become depressingly “tribal”—no longer the peoples’ ombudsman; instead devolving into paid propaganda shills for their respective sides or fawning over the latest luminary pregnancy.

Are We Angry Enough at Political Leadership to Deserve Change?

The unintended outcome is a confused citizenry that’s quick to whine, yet slow to act in any meaningful manner. Yes, we all hoped for change but found nothing but a remorseless angry-votersdecline. We turned to our political leaders for guidance; they in turn promised the world in exchange for their reelection—all the while whining the loudest about those from the other tribe, as they systematically accomplished little in a self-serving scheme suited to preserving the status quo.

As the babble of conflicting voices mounted, with those occupying the ideological extremes being the shrillest, it had become apparent that an agent of change was now essential. Yes, the once supine electorate had begun to take notice—and had finally gotten angry. And the two most unlikely candidates have stepped in to fill the void…

Political Polar Opposites Donald Trump & Bernie Sanders.

 Trump and Sanders

Acknowledging this political leadership vacuum, both sides across the political divide have, simultaneously, identified for themselves unconventional champions.  And the sustained embrace of these two unlikely frontrunners can only be interpreted as an unabashed mutiny against the ineffectual status quo; with Trump being the more dramatic manifestation of this public resentment toward the political class (as an Independent Democrat, Bernie remains a politician—though admittedly an iconoclastic one).

This rise of the unconventional candidate alone makes a Trump campaign, despite the sound and the fury, worthy of being. A message is being transmitted to the political hacks; lobbyists and current tenants of the Potemkin village in Washington D.C. that enough is enough. This is an emancipation of sorts from a most unlikely source, and I wonder if we will seize the moment.

Celebrity Equals More Eyeballs and Participation. It’s a Fact.

The fact that more than twenty four million Americans tuned in to watch the first Republican debate on Fox News is an absolute stunner. In this age of apathy and fluff it’s a surprising and welcome windfall of Trump’s celebrity presence. Did those twenty four million tune in to see Rand Paul?  I think not. It appears celebrity is now a necessary inducement to activate higher participation in our democratic process. So be it. It’s certainly preferable to the alternative; a lack of interest and chronic voter apathy. That’s how it should be; the American people should have a loud voice in their democracy—and take a keen interest in those that claim to advocate on their behalf. And so another lesson is gleaned from Trump’s venture into the political arena.

2015 Primary Season has Become Deliciously Egalitarian.  

As unlikely candidate that he is, Trump has already provided another valuable service to this nation. With his bombast he has effectively shattered the death-grip choke hold of the jimmy-fallon-chuck-liddell-choke-hold-political elites. We’ve been indoctrinated with the conventional narrative that politics is only for politicians. And that it’s best political leadership remain in the grasp of professional politicians (and their cadres of lobbyists). With his billion dollars and chuztpah Trump has convincingly proven that’s all bunkum!

Candidate Bench is Now Potentially Deeper.

A virtue of the Trump phenomenon is that by his flawed yet forceful presence, he has dramatically increased the potential talent roster for the highest office in the land. sportsmanshipThe depth of the bench is now that much greater. However, do prospective candidates now realize it? No doubt gifted men and women, with considerable talents and abilities on offer, have been relegated to the cold comfort of the political sidelines. They had bought into the claim that only a professional politician had the nous and sanitized biography to qualify for the job; and that the campaign trail would tear a political neophyte apart. The Teflon Don has proved otherwise, warts and all.

Enter the Perfect Celebrity Substitute.

This has to be an encouraging development for those patriots with an itch to get involved—but had adjudged themselves unqualified due to lack of political experience.

And so we enter the realm of the theoretical; a notion once improbable pre-Trump, but now attractively feasible. We need a celebrity, not a politician,  with a stratospheric recognition Q Score, devoid of “warts and all,” who has the intellect and refinement to lead—appreciated by men and adored by women (no matter their political persuasion), and who happens to be well married. Someone whose smile can replace Trump’s scowl; and ensure our emancipation from the political technocrats is complete.

Wait a moment, there is such a candidate, potentially…

George Clooney!

George Clooney Cool 2016 copy

Graphic rendered by MARK FINE

The man brings the luster of refined celebrity to any task and has lived a life replete with decency and unheralded activism. As for being an actor, Ronald Reagan has already resolved that question. In a word, Mr. Clooney is the manifestation of “Cool.” A refreshing contrast to the petulant, hot under the collar Lilliputian leaders—or aspiring leaders that are currently clogging the airwaves with their spiteful propaganda. And George Clooney is successful, suggesting he is capable of being his own man—not depending on the graft of lobbyists and special interests. In the celebrity hands of folks like Clooney our emancipation from the elite political class would be complete.

Curious to know what you might think about a possible celebrity presidency? Good or bad thing…what’s your opinion?

Note: To my knowledge Clooney has shown no interest in seeking the Presidency. I’ve merely used him for illustrative purposes, as an example of how politics in the United States could well change in light of Donald Trump’s illuminating campaign. And to show that it is feasible, in this environment of insurgent politics, for an outsider to seek higher office.

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About the Author: Mark Fine was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has made the United States his home since 1979, living in New York, Minneapolis, and Los Angeles. For four decades he has worked alongside world famous recording artists. He eventually launched his own award-winning record label, Hammer & Lace, with a mandate to produce benefit albums in support of such causes as breast cancer awareness, at-risk children, and wildlife conservation. Featured Image -- 304For these philanthropic initiatives Mark was voted by Variety magazine as the “Music Executive with 20/20 Vision.” He has also contributed articles to entertainment industry publications, and conducted public speaking engagements at multimedia events. Now he resides in the South Bay, where he lives with his two sons, his “significant other” and Charlie, a neighborhood dog that drops in from time to time. There he wrote the historic romance novel, The Zebra Affaire. Set in politically extreme apartheid South Africa, Mark brings an insider’s perspective to the gripping account of a bi-racial couple’s forbidden love.

Visit the author’s website and blog at www.markfinebooks.com

Famed theatre critic and playright Robert Brustein checking out Mark Fine’s novel THE ZEBRA AFFAIRE

Famed theatre critic, producer, educator and playright Robert Brustein checking out THE ZEBRA AFFAIRE. He founded both Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut and the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and is the theatre critic for The New Republic. He comments on politics for the Huffington Post.

Honored!

Robert Brustein Doreen Beinart

NELSON MANDELA: A Legacy Not Honored

Much has happened since Nelson Mandela’s passing, and none of it is good. In Mandiba’s absence the “Rainbow Nation” he so valiantly struggled to build has turned decidedly gray.

Nelson Mandela Wallpaper Design By mRm

The magnificent vision of Africa’s great statesman has been selfishly squandered and corrupted by the lesser men that unfortunately succeeded him.

The current incumbent of South Africa’s presidency, Jacob Zuma, being the most egregious. Zuma has eroded the institutions of government (both the constitution and the checks-and-balances of democracy) by his flaunting display of self-interest, corruption and tribal cronyism; all in his effort to protect his illicit financial gains by using that nation’s treasury as his personal piggy bank.

Zuma

Alas, I anticipated this. In the closing chapter of my South African themed novel The Zebra Affaire I wrote the following as a final coda:

But former prisoner Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela had no desire to become a sovereign: he relinquished the power voluntarily—so refreshing on a continent where provincial tyrants strive to rule forever.

But here I remain fearful (though I dearly hope to be proven wrong). Mandela was the nation’s talisman—his very presence held the various peoples of South Africa on a rainbow path of dignity and equality, and by his noble example all tribal rivalries were set aside and all were welcomed at the table.

But now he’s gone, I fear the quiet vow of loyalty to his vision of a united South Africa will be abrogated. With Mandela no longer living, lesser mortals will not feel bound by any allegiance to the “Father of the Nation”; instead, in a lust for power, they will once again unleash the tribal tensions that have forever plagued the continent.

But rather than dwell on the bleak let us be hopeful that in remembering Mandela’s legacy, the South African people will duly honor his life by electing future leaders, based on merit, not cronyism.

(How about a woman? Now that would be something!)

In doing so they would honor the hope and desire for all-equality, with no single individual above the law.

Indeed, that was Nelson Mandela’s life’s work.