Monday, February 13, 2017


I JUST FINISHED listening to Stephen Sondheim give a young Jaye Griffiths instruction on how to execute the song, "Send In The Clowns."

Great stuff.

Sondheim focuses on the role of each word in the lyric. Each word having the function of revealing the emotional state of the character, as well as serving to evoke emotion from the listener. One word in the line serves multi faceted functions. One word provides information about the interaction between the environment, the character and the listener.

I recognize Sonheim's purpose here, because it is similar to how I craft narratives. In a narrative, I may have a choice of stating, "It brings a tear to my eye." The fear is that this colloquial expression, may have lost its evocative power by being reduced to a sterile cliché.

The alternative expression would be, "I was nearly brought to tears..." In crafting the narrative sentence, of course, it is not intended to portray the narrator as crying. The act of crying would literally reach a resolve. Crying is resigning to a conclusion. It is the final episode of an emotional wellspring, boiling in an event that the narrator seeks to avoid. The continued boiling of emotions, the description of being on the edge of resolve, evokes a more powerful response from the reader, than it would be to conclude the episode with the act of crying.

Sondheim and I have the same eye in our understanding of the critical function of each word in a narrative or in lyrics to a musical.

Now do not jump all over me, accusing me of being presumptuous by equaling myself to Stephen Sondheim. The fact is that I am a demonstrated genius, who speaks on topics in which genius is based.

In other words, patronize me here, if you feel more comfortable.

In the video clip, Sondheim focuses on Jayes' interpretation of the word, "WELL...maybe next year." Sondheim explains that in song, the word 'Well" should be an "angry separation." Exclaiming in song,
"WELL..." and then coloring the expression, "maybe next year."

These are very subtle literary and lyrical skills to acquire. They require keen insight into language, linguistics and concepts in linguistics.

But, ultimately these are skills which distinguish great work from the very good work of others.
Ray Oliver
See More
Stephen Sondheim teaches a student from the Guildhall School of Music, London a fragment of 'Send in the Clowns'

Sunday, February 12, 2017


AN ABSOLUTELY AMAZING powerful musical program being broadcast on the Arabic Music Program, on WDIY.ORG fm from Allentown, Pa and into Northern New Jersey through translators.
Powerful and moving music.

If you have studied at the college level, Introduction to Classical Music and more advanced music, you recognize the movements, the melody and the synthesis of sound to create full sound from few instruments. There is the pre-Renaissance concerto, created centuries before in Arabic and Lebanese music, where the vocalist sings to the instruments, violin or other instrument and they answer each other.

Leonard Bernstein stated that "music follows language."  He emphasized that music will follow the pronunciation, tone and inflections of its language.  Arabic developed more vowels than Hebrew acquired, after both Arabic and Hebrew were borrowed from the Phoenician Alphabetic language.

Selections in the program included music from Egypt and other regional Arabic music.

Full and emotionally moving groups of pleasant notes is the essence of music.

The vowel derived melody in the spoken words of Arabic, its ancient history from the arrival of the Phoenician Lebanese in their Canaan around 3000 BC is all brought together in the mesmerizing linguistic music of Palestine-Syria-Lebanon, now broadcasting from Allentown, Pennsylvania. Program selections included music from Egypt and other regional Arabic.

A beautiful and important music program today on WDIY.ORG
Ray Oliver
can be reached at: 973.856.8000 or cell phone: 862.276.1505

The author prides himself in having stood on stage with Joe Walsh and The James Gang, having stood next to the great jazz composer and conductor, Stan Kenton, during recording of an album and having been an early scout for the later emerging band, "Kansas." Oliver was introduced to Stan Kenton through his famed music professor, Rogers.
Oliver earlier served as an elected Governor to the Board of Governors for the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, New York Emmy Awards and served as Chair of the ATAS Emmy Awards Membership Committee.



(Paterson, NJ,  Feb. 12, 2017)
REPRESENTATIVE BILL PASCRELL, a former Mayor of Paterson, New Jersey, former state legislator and current resident of Paterson and member of Congress' powerful House Ways and Means Committee, has requested the committee chair, Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, to request the US Treasury Department to provide copies of Donald Trump's IRS Tax Returns.

Bill Pascrell is relying on a 1924 provision in the federal statutes that allows congressional committees the power to examine tax returns, if those committees set tax policy.

In explaining his determination to obtain copies of Donald Trump's tax returns, reported by USA Today, Pascrell stated,

“If I get a ‘no’ answer on this, I’ll be very honest with you: If these guys think I’m walking away from this, they’re absolutely nuts," Pascrell commented. "The calls we’re getting, the calls other congressmen are getting, it’s unbelievable, we never expected this.”

Bill Pascrell is a resident of the City of Paterson's 6th Ward, which has a significant, vocal middle eastern constituency.

The 6th Ward has the largest population of Middle Eastern ethnic residents in Paterson. The 6th Ward, commonly referred to as "South Paterson," is also the location of numerous, long ago established, middle eastern businesses along Main Street. South Paterson is similar to the middle eastern business district of Atlantic Street in Brooklyn.

Pascrell was also a leading proponent for the early release of Israeli Mossad agent, Jonathan Pollard.
Pollard had been convicted of espionage and treason against the United States, in what was described by the federal sentencing judge, as "Causing the greatest damage to US National Security in history." Pollard's sentence was commuted by President Obama. After completion of assignment to a half way house, Pollard received a hero's welcome in Israel.

In "Fair Disclosure" under Journalistic Standards, it is noted that this writer served as 6th Ward Leader of Paterson, during his role as Chief Campaign Counsel for the city mayor at the time, Martin "Marty" Barnes in two successful mayoral elections. Marty Barnes was the first African American Mayor of Paterson.
Ray Oliver
can be reached at: 973.856.8000 or cell phone: 862.276.1505

Tuesday, February 7, 2017


(New York Feb. 7, 2017)
LEGAL ARGUMENTS WERE presented to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit today, on the matter of Donald Trump's executive order on immigration policy.

The legal issue that the court must decide on appeal is a narrow one.

The legal issue on appeal is whether the Temporary Restraining Order which the lower US District court entered, which temporarily enjoined the federal government from enforcing the ban, should continue, pending a full trial on the merits of the case.

Here is what to watch for.

Two states, Washington and Minnesota, have challenged Donald Trump's sweeping ban of entry into the United States by visa applicants from seven, predominantly Muslim countries.

The lower federal court granted an application for an injunction to temporarily stop the government from enforcing the ban. This Temporary Restraining Order continues until the case could be heard on a full evidentiary trial.

In granting the TRO, the lower court agreed with the challengers to the federal ban, that unless the court issued a stay of the government's enforcement of the ban, the plaintiffs would suffer "immediate and irreparable harm." The plaintiffs were also required to prove to the lower court that they had a "probability of prevailing on the merits, when the case comes to a full evidentiary trial." Further, the plaintiffs proved to the US District Court that the "defendants would not suffer substantial prejudice" by the entry of the TRO.

These are the legal elements that the plaintiffs were required to establish before the lower federal court. These are the legal requirements for entry of an Injunction and Temporary Restraining Orders as set out under the Federal Rules of Civil Practice and by US Supreme Court and other federal court case decisions.

By granting the application for a Temporary Restraining Order, the lower court found that the plaintiffs had met their legal burden under the Federal Rules.

The government appealed to the US District Court of Appeals in order to vacate the TRO. Today's legal arguments centered on whether the lower court erred in its finding that the plaintiffs had met their legal burden under the federal rules and the applicable case law.

When construing the facts before the US Court of Appeals, it is clear that the appeals court will affirm the lower court's ruling. The appeals court is highly likely to continue the Temporary Restraining Order against the federal government.

Clearly, neither Donald Trump or any part of the government CSIS branches may indiscriminately ban persons reentering the US, who have a legal liberty and property right entitlement, arising from their status as Permanent Resident Card holders.

Moreover, it is clear that under Trump's overly broad executive order, the government could not restrict entry of persons who held valid visas to enter the US and had "touched US soil."
The US Supreme Court had earlier determined that any person, who has touched US soil or is found within US Territorial Waters, is entitled to a Due Process hearing before a court of competent jurisdiction. This means that any alien who is undocumented or out of status, can only be deported after having an opportunity to defend themselves before an Immigration Judge, in court.

Surprisingly, news reports of the oral arguments made today before the Ninth Circuit, did nor indicate that "property and liberty" interests were at stake. This is a major deficiency in the argument by the plaintiffs in failing to make a Due Process and Liberty and Property entitlement argument.

The other issues, which were widely covered was whether the executive order constituted religious discrimination. This is a difficult argument for the plaintiffs to prevail on. Although, the seven banned countries are predominantly Muslim, the population's religion is not sufficient alone to evidence a case of religious discrimination.

The plaintiffs would be on firmer ground to argue that the issuance of Permanent Registration Cards and lawful visas, constitutes an enforceable liberty and property right under the US Constitution. Other issues of religious discrimination, should have been secondary. The pitfall that plaintiffs need to avoid, is being tempted to argue that all aliens residing in the banned countries have a legal right to apply for visas and obtain entry into the US.

This would be a fatal argument. Aliens who are overseas have no rights under US law.
The focus must be on the aliens who were restrained from entering the US at a point of entry, despite having obtained lawful permanent US residency status and a valid visa under the eligible categories.
With the widespread news accounts covering the activity before the Ninth Circuit on the Trump immigration fiasco, you can be reasonably certain that, based on reasons explained here, the US Court of Appeal will DENY the appeal and will AFFIRM the lower court's entry of the TRO, pending a full evidentiary trial.

The consequence of AFFIRMING the lower court, is to allow any alien who continues to be restricted from entry in the US while at points of entry, to be permitted entry pending a full trial on the legality of Trump's executive order.

At the same time, the Court of Appeals may AFFIRM IN PART, by allowing all aliens at US Points of Entry to continue into the US, but will remove any part of the Temporary Restraining Order which limits the government's ability to deny visas to future applicants within the seven banned countries.
Those who arrived prior to entry of the court's decision, will likely be permitted their entry and stay within the US. Those aliens who apply in the future for a visa within one of the seven banned countries may be legally banned from entering the US.

The lower court's decision may be AFFIRMED or AFFIRMED IN PART, with the provision that the executive order may ban future visa applicants from the seven designated countries.

By affirming in part, both sides will have won. Not only would this comply with applicable law, but it appeals as the Solomon solution.
Ray Oliver
can be reached: 973.856.8000 or cell: 862.276.1505
Ray Oliver is a past Chair of the New Jersey State Bar Association, Transnational Litigation and Arbitration Committee and is past Chair of the NJSBA, Administrative Law Section. He has been referred to in legal publications as being a lawyer with "vast international law experience." He has represented clients on international issues, in immigration, including representation of UN Diplomats and foreign countries. He holds a JD degree from John Marshall Law Chicago and post legal instruction in Transnational and Multi District Litigation from Harvard Law.