Friday, December 07, 2018

An Open Letter to Daddy From Ivanka, Eric & Donnie Jr

Dear Daddy:

The boys nominated me to write this on our behalf because everyone knows I'm your favorite child (sorry Tiff!) and Donnie thinks I'm a better writer than he is... and Eric, well....anyway...

So, we're mad daddy! Really mad! We'd be crying, but we don't have tear-ducts or human-like emotions (just like you daddy!)...so...anyway...

...We had everything. Money, fame, power. We could lie, cheat and steal. No one cared. Uncle Mikey always took care of everything. Then you had to make everything messy-messy by running for president. And then throwing poor Uncle Mikey under the bus. Now look at us. Mueller knows everything. We're ruined! Likely going to jail. And our very classy Trump brand is worthless. I think we hate you!

Why did you do this to us? You never even wanted to be president. You always told us you hate all those dirty, lazy, blue-collar "little people" and just wanted all the free publicity we'd get so we could make more money (we love money!). And you'd get so much attention (we know how much you loooove attention, daddy!). But you never even thought you'd win. You promised us you wouldn't win. You gave us and mommy...I mean Melanie...your word. You lied to us! Do you remember how upset Melanie was on Election Night? It was so upsetting. I almost cried again.

We are so mad at you (I'm stomping my feet right now!). We put up with all your warts all these years. I never said one word when you'd awkwardly and inappropriately put your hands all over me and tell people like Howard Stern you'd date me if I wasn't your daughter. How could you say that! How could you say you'd only date me not marry me! I felt so unappreciated!

And all those times you called Eric "stupid" and called him and Donnie "losers." All of this was so unfair. We just took it all. We never said anything back to you (ok, I do remember the boys always yelling "Stop it daddy...we're not stupid losers!").

So what do we do now? What does our big strong tough incredibly physically-fit handsome  "counter-puncher" do now to save us all? Do we hire someone to "take care of things" the way Uncle Mikey used to (wink wink...oh shit, my mascara's running...). Do we tell Corey to have Mueller's legs broken? Have Uncle Vlad poison someone? Get Uncle "M" to bone-saw the shit out of...oops...sorry...I forgot we're not supposed to ever talk about that!

Just please do something, daddy, and do it fast! We're very scared. Time is running out. Donnie's already planning how he's going to escape from prison. This is bad. Very, very bad.

Sincerely,
Your favorite child Ivanka (who's ass you really need to stop touching, ok?) & the los...I mean boys.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

What If Trump Really DID Write Those Answers for Mueller Himself?

Donald Trump seemed especially agitated last week. Can ya blame him? I'm incredibly agitated just watching this chaotic shitshow on TV. He's living it.

Trump and the Republican Party were trounced in the midterms. He was lambasted over his decision not to attend the WW1 ceremony in France and the Veteran's Day gathering at Arlington National Cemetery. The First Lady went rogue and publicly attacked one of his top national security aides, demanding her firing. The stock market continued to sink back to 2017 levels. And he and his lawyers were working on the written answers to special prosecutor Robert Mueller's questions into the campaign's possible collusion with Russia.

Trump insisted all week that he wrote the answers himself.     

"I write the answers. My lawyers don't write answers. I write answers. I was asked a series of questions. I've answered them very easily -- very easily."

Bullshit. There isn't a lawyer alive who'd let an erratic, impulsive, delusional, pathologically-lying client like Trump write his own answers. Especially not on this level, about this subject matter and with the stakes so high. Plus, Trump can't string together two coherent sentences.

But I can't help thinking...what if he did write them? What the hell would that look like...

Mueller Question #1: Mr. President, did you know prior to June 9, 2016 that a meeting at Trump Tower would be taking place on that date between the Russians and your son Don Jr, son-in-law Jared Kushner and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort?

Trump: I knew that a...look...and I'll tell you this...it was a nothing meeting. There was no collusion! You can't do collusion if nobody offers you anything. Don't get me wrong. And I'll...did we try? But...and believe me...no one cuts deals better than me. If you read my book you'd...everyone knows, frankly, it's a witch hunt. FAKE NEWS! We talked about...and let me tell you it was not easy...Donnie said they had stuff...it was a waste of...we talked about adoptions. Babies. Little people. No big deal. NO COLLUSION! But I never...was I there? I mean I could be. Maybe I was. You tell me...

Mueller Question #2: Mr. President: Were you aware that, prior to the election, WikiLeaks provided hacked emails and other confidential documents from Hillary Clinton, John Podesta and/or the DNC to either Roger Stone or anyone else associated with your campaign?

Trump: I love WikiLeaks! I mean...and no one had more access to them than me...you know I know a lot of people. I build...they buy my apartments. Spend thousands. Billions. The Chinese. The Russians. The Saudis. They all love Trump buildings! WikiLeaks...they're very good at what they do. Julian likes me. And I like him. We talked a lot. Met a few times. But I don't know him. He gave me...everybody knows...NO COLLUSION. It's a WITCH HUNT! 12 angry Democrats who...and Mueller and Comey were lovers. Nobody talks about that. There's no...look...it's not illegal to take hacked emails. Everyone would. It's called op-po research. Perfectly ok to...but Roger never gave me anything. He gave it all to Donnie. So I'm in the clear. But there was nothing useful in them...believe me.

Mueller Question #3: Mr. President, did you fire then-FBI Director James Comey in order to stop the special investigation into collusion with Russia?

Trump: No. That's a stupid, stupid....I would nev...but let me tell you this...and, frankly, many people are saying the investigation is illegal. A total WITCH HUNT! There was NO COLLUSION! Did I want to stop the investigation? You could say that. But I'm not afraid of...look...did I think firing Comey would do that? I only hire the best people. Everyone wants to work for me. Comey, he was...people have this phony talk of chaos in the White House. FAKE NEWS! There's no chaos! It's Michelle Obama spreading lies, but nobody wants to talk about that. Comey? Yeah. I can tell you, frankly, I thought if he's gone I could put one of my guys in there...and I have a lot of friends who wanna help me...I should be protected....Rudy Giuliani...everyone knows he's the smartest lawyer in the history of the legal...and let me tell you...Rudy would've killed the whole disgusting, disgusting thing. And by the way, Jim Acosta's ugly and fat....

Mueller Question #4: Are you planning to fire me?

Trump: We'll see what happens...

Friday, November 16, 2018

Making the Case for Hillary 2020

Before I begin, let me first save some of you precious time by writing a few of the hate-replies I'm expecting:

*Hillary? Seriously dude, WTF is wrong with you?
*Nooooooooooooooo!
*No more f**king Clintons! 
*She was the WORST candidate in history!

Actually, she was the most qualified candidate in history, and she kinda sorta won. She received almost 3-million more votes than Donald Trump and, if we all truly believe in Robert Mueller's investigation into collusion and obstruction of justice, then we should argue that Vladimir Putin stole the Electoral College for Trump by a razor-thin 77,000-vote margin which crumbled the blue wall in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Full disclosure: I was all-in for Hillary Clinton in both 2008 and '16. I have three daughters. Like many Americans hungry for progress and gender-equality, I so desperately and passionately yearn for a woman president. Not only because it's about time we shatter that proverbial glass ceiling, but because I truly believe the future is female. That women should take over the controls...because America, and the world, would be a much better place for it. 

And because I continue to believe Hillary is not only the most qualified candidate in history, but that she'd actually be an incredible president.
 
Ok, relax...I'll indulge you haters for a moment. Hillary did run a bad campaign (she never went to Wisconsin, for example). She is a polarizing figure. She is stiff and awkward. She can come off as entitled, arrogant and tone-deaf. And she does have a husband whose baggage is a real liability (but let's be very clear: she's not responsible for her husband’s behavior. She's a victim of it). Were she to run again, she definitely needs massive help (psst...Hillary...I'm available and ready).

In politics, four years is a very long time. Times change. Perceptions change. People change. Voters change. And yes, candidates can change too. Consider Richard M. Nixon, who had the last laugh in 1968 when, after his humiliating loss to JFK eight years earlier, went on to win two terms because America was a much different place than when he lost in '60. I don't believe the political and cultural landscape is much different in real terms now.

Could Hillary be the new-Nixon?

Regardless of what the haters believe, she still has the highest profile of any democrat. She still has tens of millions of voters with her. She's still as qualified as ever. And, assuming she'd be running against Trump and not a successful primary challenger such as Jeff Flake or John Kasich, would have a badly weakened, highly unpopular, scandal-plagued corrupt president she'd be running against. One with a disastrous term that'd be under an unmerciful microscope.

And no James Comey who, many including the candidate herself believe, tragically sunk her campaign in its final days with his public announcement that she was under FBI investigation while concealing that Trump was as well.
 
And Russia. We now know the extent of Putin's meddling to help elect Trump. That too would be under a microscope and perhaps much less of a factor if our intelligence community is effective in waging its counter-offensive.

To be sure, Hillary has been one of the most vilified political figures in modern history. And I’m in the camp that believe it’s largely due to sexism. Sadly, America still has a big problem with smart, strong, ambitious, determined, powerful women.

America needs to get over itself.

Think of the incredible message a Hillary victory would send to our daughters. That in the face of adversity, no matter who tries to keep you down, that even if you fail, you get back up and fight...and show the world you are smart, strong, ambitious, determined and powerful and successful in the end.

So what would Clinton need to do differently in 2020? She should avoid direct confrontations with Trump (or any other Republican nominee should Trump resign, not run, be primaried or be in prison). Stay away from personal attacks. Avoid the negative. Focus purely on the issues that Americans care most about, not the testy back-and-forth between candidates that frustrates, angers and exhausts them.

On the policy side, the pitch is simple:

Issue #1: Health care. In 1993 Hillary, as chair of the Task Force on National Health Care Reform in her husband's new administration, took on an angry, obstructionist Republican Congress and the insurance industry to fight for affordable, universal health care. While her proposal ultimately failed in a bitter partisan and self-serving economic battle, Hillarycare served to pave the way for Obamacare 25 years later.

Issue #2: Middle-class tax cuts. She could run on providing the working class with the meaningful tax cuts Trump promised but forgot to give "the forgotten men and women."  

Issue #3: Public education. Trump and his woefully inept and unqualified Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have a general disdain for public education, pushing through a budget which starves the system of critical funding.

Issue #4: Gun control. There's been more frequent and deadlier mass shootings than ever. Americans want sensible, responsible gun legislation which involves raising age limits; expanding background checks and eliminating loopholes; increased waiting periods for gun purchases; bump-stock, high-capacity magazine and assault weapons bans; and increased funding for mental health care programs while prohibiting those with mental illness from buying guns.

Issue #5: Climate change. The planet is hotter, the weather more erratic and the storms more violent and deadly than ever. Americans want clean air, safe drinking water and a healthy Earth for themselves and their children.

Issue #6: Women's rights. Women are still fighting for equal pay, reproductive rights and protection from sexual-harassment and assault. The Me Too movement is a prime example of a major cultural shift since the '16 election.

Issue #7: LGBTQ rights. Equality for all Americans, regardless of sexuality. Need she say more...

Issue #8: Immigration reform. Kids were not caged pre-2016. Immigrants/refugees were not relentlessly demonized. America's values were not under siege. It's time for an immigration-reform policy which incorporates decency, compassion, humanity and increased border security. 

These are slam-dunk issues. Hillary would have to effectively hammer them home with genuine passion and concern, and without engaging in personal mud-slinging with the Sociopath-in-Chief. Her campaign would need to be about her and what she can deliver to both democrats and republican voters, and not merely that Trump is an ignorant, sexist, misogynist, racist, xenophobic, corrupt traitor. That needs to speak for itself. And it will.

But there's still the personality problem. Hillary lacks the natural gifts that ooze from politicians like her husband and Barack Obama. The charm, the charisma, the public ease, confidence and comfort of their own skin. This is where she needs the most work. She needs to stop listening to the overpaid, under-qualified consultants with old-school instincts and an over-reliance on nerdy data. She needs to be able to sit with average folks on both sides of the political spectrum and be the girl they wanna have a beer with. She can do it. She just needs to let her hair down and trust her own instincts.

In short, she'd need to stay on message, avoid putting her foot in her mouth and connect on a real human level, while receiving the votes cast for her in '16 and, this time, campaign like an animal in the key swing states.

Yes. Those are some very big "ifs"...

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Caravan: The Deadly Invasion That Never Was

It’s been almost a week since Election Day. And in the run up to the midterms, Donald Trump waged an unrelenting xenophobic campaign to convince Republicans America was on the verge of a 'deadly invasion of thugs, MS-13 gang members and Middle Eastern terrorists' masquerading as a caravan of desperate freedom and asylum-seeking Hispanic immigrants--many of them women and children--walking thousands of miles through difficult conditions to escape persecution and the threat of death.

But miraculously, the nanosecond the election was over, the incendiary rhetoric, which had been feverishly spewing from Trump's mouth like projectile vomit, immediately stopped. As if the caravan doesn't exist and never did. Astounding that this grave national-security emergency, a crisis so out-of-control that it required Trump to hurriedly dispatch the United States military to protect the Southern border, has now suddenly and swiftly vanished.

Which if course means there is no imminent danger. And that there never was. No threat. No invasion. Just a rancid cesspool of cowardly fear-mongering. These immigrants are not thugs, gang members or terrorists. Their only crime is that they continue to see America as their great beacon of hope and promise...where they could keep their kids alive, work hard and pursue the American dream. 

Which or course also means that Trump was lying. Again. That he shamelessly demonized these poor souls as pawns in his partisan shill-game to gin up the hate-vote. That he unconscionably exploited our troops for self-serving political purposes. That he yet again lashed out like a cornered rat because his fragile manbaby ego and political fortunes were threatened.

And once again he lied to the base. Those zombie-like cultists who would walk through fire for the sociopath who rewards their undying loyalty by summarily disrespecting and deceiving them with each syllable he speaks. By using and abusing their sons and daughters...who patriotically signed up to serve their country and asked for only one thing in return: to send them into conflict as a last resort. But instead of being mad-as-fucking hell they keep lapping up his deceptive bullshit like stray cats to a bowl of milk.

To be sure, over the past few weeks Trump has fed his base so much red meat they should be going into cardiac arrest. But they haven't. And probably never will. They are so brainwashed they'd likely follow him into the ether like the cyanide-swallowing Jonestown masses.

The unfortunate caravan saga is just one example of Trump's high crimes and misdemeanors. Just one example of how he's eroding our moral, ethical and legal foundations and normalizing ignorance, incivility, intolerance, racism, dishonesty and criminality.

Trump took an oath to uphold the Constitution. To defend and protect America's interests and the rights of its citizens. But almost every minute of every single day he violates that oath. He's betrayed his country and the people he was elected to serve. He puts his own interests before anyone or anything else. And as evidenced this past weekend in Paris, he's decimated our standing on the world stage. In doing so, our safety and national security is now at great risk.

Our future, and everything we stand for, is uncertain. 

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Dear Media: It's Time to Stand the F**K Up With/For Jim Acosta

CNN's Chief White House press correspondent Jim Acosta has been stripped of his access. For asking a question about the RussiaGate investigation. For simply doing his job. Free speech and freedom of the press are under attack. And it would behoove every single other White House correspondent to turn in their access as well until Acosta's is returned. Because an attack on one of them is an attack on them all.

Trump's ferocious attacks on the media is nothing new. His relentless incendiary "the media is the enemy of the people" rhetoric has persisted for years and is believed to have inspired the recent bombing attempts on George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, CNN and his other perceived opponents. It's the same brand of hate-speak that's also inspired the mass shooting-murder at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Which is why Trump's continued aggressive behavior and rhetoric towards Acosta, CNN and the media overall is beyond irresponsible and reprehensible and remains potentially deadly.  

Adding insult to injury, the White House, through its Baghdad Bob press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, even resorted to tweeting a doctored video (grounds for a massive libel suit?) Wednesday night to support the administration's nefarious claim that Acosta was menacing and physical towards a young female intern who attempted to grab the microphone away from him at Trump's surreal 90-minute East Village-worthy performance-art presser earlier in the day.

So it's time. It's time for the media to stand up to Trump and Sanders. To stand up for and with Acosta. To stand up for itself. For journalism. For freedom of the press and the Constitution. For decency, civility and the truth.

Because you can't have respect without self-respect. 

And no self-respecting White House correspondent could/would/should allow this egregious, tyrannical neo-Fascist ban to happen without a strong rebuke and act of defiance and unity.

Stop covering Trump. Stop attending his White House charades. Stop waiting for him to bloviate his pathological lies on the lawn. Stop attending the useless, irrelevant Sanders briefings.

It is a privilege to be president and serve the people. It is a privilege to live in a democracy that allows for a free and open press that can criticize and question its leaders.

Despite the oath he took to protect it, Trump does not respect the Constitution. He openly disdains and attacks the media. He doesn't appreciate the job of journalists and the critical role it serves in our democracy.

He needs to be reminded of that. He needs to learn a valuable lesson. Now.  

The worst thing you can do to Trump is to ignore him.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Hey Trump: You Begged Voters to Make the Election All About You. They Did

Dear Trump (I still refuse to acknowledge you as a legitimate president. Or even a "Mr"):

Congratulations! For months you've literally begged voters to make the midterm elections all about you. Night after night, rally after rally, tweet after tweet, you implored them to hit the polls yesterday thinking one thing: that it was you on the ballot. Well they did.

The election boiled down to a simple "yes" or No." Yes if you like Trump, no if you don't.

Americans said "No." Most of them, that is.

They said no to ignorance, intolerance, incivility and bullying. They said no to gaslighting and pathological-lying. They said no to sexism, misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia, anti-Semitism and racism. They said no to corruption, criminality and treason.

They said yes to decency, civility, tolerance and humanity. They said yes to reality, facts and the truth. They said yes to women, Jews, blacks, LBGTQ, Hispanics, refugees and immigrants. They said yes to the Constitution and the rule of law. They said yes to checks and balances. Most importantly, they said yes to democracy.

Voters sent a strong message to you that you are not above the law. That you do not defy political gravity. That the system worked. That 242 years of process hasn't been destroyed no matter how hard you've been trying.

You acted. You used. You abused. You broke the law. You've betrayed America. And now you and your complicit Republican Congress are paying the price. It's all catching up to you.

We let Trump be Trump, and guess what? The experiment failed. You are not only our worst enemy, but your own.

To be fair, last night did not usher in the big blue tsunami Democrats had hoped for. And that's disappointing. Because it means there's still way too many Americans who are still seemingly ok with pussy-grabbing, sexual-abuse, white nationalism and hate-speak. But to acknowledge the overall results as anything but a huge Democrat victory would be dishonest and foolish.

All across America the political landscape is changing. And not in your favor. Democrats flipped at least 28 House seats and re-took control. They even won seats in Texas and Oklahoma, for example. There's a Democrat governor of Kansas now. Beto O'Rourke and Stacey Abrams came way closer than they should've in deeply red states like Texas and Georgia respectively.  Seven governorships flipped. And state and local seats flipped as well. You did that. You cost your party this power.

The election was a big win for women, minorities and LGBTQ. These victorious candidates not only represent the diverse cultural patchwork that is America, but are well-poised to be incredible Senate candidates in 2020.  

You asked for it to be all about you and we delivered.

You can spin the election as a "tremendous success" all you want, but we both know you understand the critical impact of losing the House. Of what it means to you and your crime family personally. You're most likely crappin' your pants right now. Because you know the investigations are coming. And the subpoenas. And the hearings.

And we haven't even gotten to Mueller yet...

So lawyer up... and strap yourself in. It's gonna be a bumpy ride...

Sunday, November 04, 2018

The Most Important, Most Terrifying Election in Our History

America's democracy is about to die. 242 years of freedom is on the ropes. Our time-tested system of checks and balances is about to fail. We are at dictatorship's doorstep. And that loud knock you hear is coming from Donald Trump's tiny hands.

We are about to give a blank check to a madman. A sociopath. A malignant narcissist who will stop at nothing to feed that rapacious beast of an Id. Be afraid. Be very, very afraid.

I'm sorry to be Chicken Little, but the sky is fucking falling...and I'm gonna cluck like a motherfucker till Tuesday.

America's facing its first true existential crisis. The America we know and love is being tested like never before. And so far it's miserably failing the test.

The Founding Fathers created three co-equal branches of government to serve as checks on each other. The thinking was, that even if Americans elected an amoral monster as president, Congress and the Supreme Court would, in their oversight roles, prevent a rogue leader from turning the nation into a self-serving oppressive cesspool. But what they never expected is that the other branches would not just abdicate this oversight role, but instead defend, protect and enable this monster.

So then what happens? No checks, no democracy. Welcome to the Reign of Trump. Where America has become unrecognizable. 

On Tuesday Americans will go to the polls for the midterm elections. Traditionally, turnout is low for midterm elections. Young people don't show up. Blacks and Hispanics don't show up. The poor and middle class whites don't show up. Those who do show up are fired up. About something. And that anger is usually directed at the party whose president occupies the Oval Office.

Which is why one or both houses of Congress usually flips in the midterms after the presidential election. And more so, if the sitting president's approval rating hovers in the 40%-45% range, as Trump's does, there's typically a loss of 40-60+ House seats and an appreciable pick up of Senate seats.

So the conventional wisdom is that the Blue Wave's-a-comin', right?

But we have a sociopath madman in the White House. So fuck conventional wisdom. Conventional wisdom opened the window when Trump won the GOP nomination and then jumped to its frightful death the night he won.

To be sure, if there was a list of "The 1000 Disgusting, Horrible, Unconscionable Things a Presidential Candidate and President Should NEVER Do" Trump has done them all. Repeatedly. By now this teflon maniac...this corrupt, criminal traitor...should've been impeached, indicted and imprisoned. But...

...that GOP Congress. That complicit GOP Congress. The check that never was.

Tuesday you will have a choice. As clear a fucking choice as there ever was. A choice between Democrat and Republican. Decency vs incivility. Good vs evil. Love vs hate. Freedom vs oppression. Democracy vs autocracy.

Say it out loud. Over and over again. Until you realize this is the most important, most critical, most unfathomably terrifying election in our nation's history.

You've gotta show up.

You've gotta do whatever's humanly possible to get yourselves to the voting booth.

You've gotta VOTE DEMOCRAT.

You've gotta vote to have that check on Trump, because if Republicans maintain control of both Houses, it's over. He will be more empowered, more emboldened and more destructive than ever. His dream of saying and doing whatever he wants and being above the law, of being a dictator, will finally be realized.

Show the fuck up. 

This time.

Because there's no next time. 

Because this election is like no other election in US. history. Because no other election in history is truly about the imminent survival or death of our precious democracy. 

So vote like your life and your children's lives depend on it.

Because it does.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

12 Years Ago Today My Wife Was Murdered By An Undocumented Immigrant

Twelve years ago today, at approximately 5:30 pm, I walked into my wife's office and found her dead in what appeared to be a suicide. And she remained a suicide until five days later when her killer, a 19-year-old undocumented immigrant from Ecuador, was arrested.

It was unquestionably the worst, most unfathomably horrific day of my life, and there's not been a day since where I haven't grieved Adrienne's tragic loss and her bright light which was so senselessly snuffed out. The pain and sorrow I feel is a life sentence.

Adrienne's death re-shaped me. Who I am. What I believe in and what I stand for. Including my thoughts about immigrants and immigration. And I am saddened by where we are as a nation today.

Let me be clear about a few things: I love my country and would do anything to defend and protect her. I am not for open-borders. I advocate strong border security. I believe immigrants should enter our country legally. And that undocumented criminals should be deported.

And let me be even clearer about this: I hate Adrienne's killer. I hate him for what he did to her. For so brutally extinguishing the life of a kind, beautiful soul. I hate him for robbing our daughter, now almost 15, of the adoring mother who loved her more than anything. I hate that my older children live life without the amazing stepmother they loved so dearly. And I hate him for taking Adrienne away from her own adoring mother and the brothers who no longer have their incredible sister.

But I also hate what Donald Trump has done to America in exploiting murders like Adrienne's to summarily demonize and scapegoat an entire segment of our population because, for political purposes, he's compelled to tear the nation apart and turn us against each other. I hate how he's broad-stroked immigrants--who in desperation seek to cross our borders for a better, safer life--as gang members, thugs and murderers...a reprehensibly false charge not supported by statistics. The truth is, Americans have more to fear from their fellow citizens than from undocumented immigrants.

But that hasn't stopped Trump from pathologically-lying about immigrants. His relentless flame-stoking about the caravan of America-bound, asylum-seeking immigrants which left Honduras weeks ago is just the latest example. As the election nears, and his fear, desperation and panic over a Democratic landslide intensifies, he's been ginning up his base with wildly false claims that we're being "invaded" by these 'violent criminals' who include 'Middle-Eastern terrorists.' Despite that every credible news organization traveling with the caravan has failed to see anyone but freedom-seeking Hispanics, many of them families with children.

Trump justifies his draconian xenophobic positions with claims that there's "30-million" undocumented immigrants in the United States, a grossly inflated figure which is approximately three times the actual number. And that this situation is so dire, so threatening to America, that it requires him sending 5,000-15,000 troops to the border to defend us from this 'evil enemy.'

Not only is this military move an unconscionable exploitation of our troops to support Trump's politically-motivated animus towards immigrants, it will also cost taxpayers a ton in unnecessary expense when our deficit is already swollen. It's a solution in search of a problem. And he's layered this campaign of hate with a new vow to unilaterally end birthright citizenship despite its clear protection in the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.

But will it end there? How might Trump, who proudly labeled himself a "nationalist', increase the ferocity of his rhetoric? As outrageous as it sounds, it would not shock me if over the next several days, as a flipping of the House and/or Senate becomes more likely, he amps up the fear-mongering and suggests a Hitler-like "Final Solution" to save America from these dangerous brown people who he claims threaten our way of life. That this seems even a remote possibility shows just how low Trump has sunk our great democracy to the fringes of terrifying fascism.

To be sure, Trump has destroyed the values on which America has existed for centuries. He's turned "Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free" into "Stay the fuck out of our white America!" He's convinced his angry white base that they somehow have a greater right to lay claim to the country than their black, brown and yellow neighbors.  

Two years ago, less than three weeks before the election, I shared my views on this subject in a New York Times op-ed.  I feared what the country would become if Trump became president. He of course won, and not surprisingly his incendiary anti-immigrant rhetoric is more vile than ever.

So on this 12th anniversary of Adrienne's death I'm appealing to voters to fight back. To reject Trump's un-American hate-speak. To rise up and say ENOUGH! To take this country back from his angry, narrow-minded frightened fellow nationalists who've sadly forgotten that we are all descendants of immigrants. Than none of us is better, or more American, than the person beside us.

This is not Trump's America. But it surely has become Trump's Republican Party. It's shameful that the GOP-led Congress has failed to defend the nation from this moral monster. How it's enabled his chaos, corruption and treason and allowed it to spread like a cancer unchecked.

Which is why five days from now we must swarm the polls and vote...them...out. We must vote for Democrats up and down the ballot. We must vote to bring back decency, civility and humanity to America.

To truly make America great again.

Before it's too late...


Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Dear Fellow Democrats: WTF Is Wrong With YOU?

Dear fellow Democrats:

What the fuck is wrong with you? Better yet, what the fuck are you waiting for? After almost two years of Donald Trump's oppressive reign of terror we're still wondering if you're gonna go out and vote November 6th? That you still might not be motivated enough to replace the cowardly, complicit Republican-controlled Congress that enables this monster? Really? So again I ask, what the fuck is wrong with you? What the fuck are you waiting for?

Do you really need more reasons to vote? Is pussy-grabbing, sexual-abuse, pedophile-endorsing, Brett Kavanaugh, pathological-lying, disabled mocking, war-hero bashing, neo-Nazi-loving, Kleptocractic corruption and High Crimes and Misdemeanors not enough for you?

Do you not understand the gravity of this situation? Let me help you. In two weeks, if Democrats do not win back at least the House, American democracy as we know it is dead. Trump will no longer be a dictator-wannabe. With all concerns and fears about the election behind him, his dictator status will be official. He'll be unchecked by Congress, unchecked by his Kavanaugh-inspired "president is above the law" Supreme Court. He'll be empowered to consolidate power and misuse and abuse that power to advance his self-serving agenda and to further discriminate, bully and violate the Constitution. His rapacious ego will be out of fucking control.

There'll be no stopping him.

Attacks on his opponents will no longer be comprised of mere verbal threats. He will finally be emboldened to rule like the many foreign strongmen he perversely worships. He will attempt to "lock up" his detractors. He will limit free speech and freedom of the press. He will further weaponize the FBI and Department of Justice for personal protection and gain. He will sign even more outrageous Executive Orders, change regulations and circumvent existing law.

Because there'll be no one to stop him. 

Given this terrifying landscape, there should be no question whether Democrats will get off their asses and vote. There should be no doubt that Democrats won't do everything humanly possible to get to the polls. That they'd crawl 10 miles in a blizzard if they had to. That turnout would be at historic levels, in the 90% range. But yet here we are. Fearing that Democratic turnout won't be enough to flip at least one chamber of congress. Here we are, less than two weeks away, with the election way too close for comfort. Un-fucking-believable. 

Democrats, make no mistake: there is no 'next time.' There's no room for message-sending (like staying home because you're fed up with politics). You have a simple albeit chilling binary choice: Democrat vs Republican. Democracy vs autocracy. Freedom vs oppression. Good vs evil.    

If you're black or brown you must VOTE because your health, your future and your life depends on it.

If you're a woman you must VOTE because your reproductive rights, your health, your future and your life depends on it.

If you're a survivor of sexual-abuse or rape you must VOTE because your credibility, your health, your future and your life depends on it. 

If you're an immigrant you must VOTE because your relatives, your health, your future and your life depends on it.

If you're elderly you must VOTE because your health insurance, your health, your future and your life depends on it.

If you're young you must VOTE because your health, your future and your life depends on it.

If you're LGBTQ you must VOTE because your health, your future and your life depends on it.

If you're sick and have preexisting conditions you must VOTE because your health, your future and your life depends on it.

If you fear America's out-of-control gun culture you must VOTE because your health, your future and your life depends on it.

If you care about public education you must VOTE because you and your children's health, future and lives depend on it.

If you feel left out of our economic growth and believe there are two Americas--one for the rich and corporations and another for everyone else--you must VOTE because your health, your future and your life depends on it.

If you care about climate change and science you must VOTE because your health, your future and your life depends on it.

If you care about voter suppression and voting rights you must VOTE because your freedom, your health, your future and your life depends on it.

If you believe in “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”and American values you must VOTE...because other peoples' health, future and lives depend on it.

If you want to restore decency, civility, compassion, empathy, acceptance, tolerance, inclusion and humanity you must VOTE because your health, your future and your life depends on it.

If you value facts, truth, transparency, honesty and reality you must VOTE because these virtues will be extinct.

If you hate how Mitch McConnell and the Republican Congress has justified, defended, protected and enabled Trump's criminal, treasonous acts by abdicating their oversight role you must VOTE because your health, your future and your life depends on it.

If you've been shocked and outraged how the GOP steals elections, steals Supreme Court seats and puts accused sexual-abusers on the bench, endorses sexists, racists and pedophiles, disenfranchises voters, gerrymanders/redistricts and undermines the rule of law you must VOTE because your health, your future and your life depends on it.

If you are fed up with the exhausting chaos of the Trump administration you must VOTE because your health, your future and your life depends on it.

If you are incensed by Trump's relentless unAmerican attacks on our intelligence community and independent judiciary you must VOTE because your health, your future and your life depends on it.
 
If you are angered by Trump's sick, twisted sycophantic suck-uppery with America's brutal enemies while he alienates our allies you must VOTE because your health, your future and your life depends on it.

If you are angered by Trump's refusal to hold Saudi Arabia, North Korea and Russia accountable for acts of oppression, barbaric brutality, murder and/or attacks on America's citizens, residents and democracy you must VOTE because your health, your future and your life depends on it.

If you find 'very fine Nazis' terrifying you must VOTE because your health, your future and your life depends on it.

If you are fed up with Trump's ethical and moral bankruptcy and his utter disdain for the rule of law you must VOTE because your health, your future and your life depends on it. 

If you are disgusted with Trump's blatant, shameless sexism, misogyny, racism, xenophobia and bullying you must VOTE because your health, your future and your life depends on it.

If you are repulsed that we have a malignant narcissist sociopath traitor in the Oval Office who puts his own interests before those of America's you must VOTE because your health, your future and your life depends on it.

If you are outraged that Trump's incendiary hate-filled rhetoric has lead to acts of terrorism like leaving explosive devices at the homes and offices of George Soros, the Clintons, the Obamas, CNN and elsewhere you must VOTE because your health, your future and your life depends on it.

Is this not enough?

Trump has begged voters to make this election all about him. A referendum on his presidency. I say, let's make his wish come true. Let's go to the polls November 6th remembering how ignorant, divisive and corrupt he is. How he's tearing the nation apart at the seams.

Democrats, you must accept that you are fighting an enemy that has done and will continue to do everything it can--including and especially lie, cheat, steal and engage in reprehensible racist scapegoating--to maintain power.

Because there is no one to stop them. 

You can stop them. And the only way to stop them is by VOTING. Every vote matters. Your vote natters. Every...single...one...of...them.

We should be making history. We should have the biggest Democrat turnout in decades. 

There's no excuse for not voting. There's always time. Always a way to get away from work or the kids and get to the polls. Make believe you're going out to buy a $1.6-million Powerball ticket. The stakes are much higher. 

And remember that your health, your future and your life depends on it.   

Monday, October 22, 2018

Dear Trump Supporters: WTF Is Wrong With You?

Dear Trump Supporters: what the fuck is wrong with you? That's a serious question. It's not rooted in any sort of innate partisan vitriol or blind tribalism. Rather, it's based purely on logic and common sense, or a lack thereof. So again I ask...what the fuck is wrong with you?

Donald Trump once famously boasted that no matter what he did you'd still support him. Even if he shot someone in the middle of NYC's 5th Avenue. Not for nothing, but that outrageous claim could only have been made if Trump thinks you're all a bunch of fucking morons who are simply too stupid, loyal or both to ever hold him accountable for anything...even murder.  

Are you that stupid and loyal? So far you're proving him right. With flying colors. And bells and whistles.

Ok, so Trump hasn't committed murder...yet. But he has:

*mocked disabled people
*bullied women
*cheated on his wife with porn stars, Playmates and God knows who else
*paid hush money to silence his many mistresses
*refused to release his tax returns as promised
*paid zero taxes for years
*lied about self-funding his campaign and not being beholden to special interests and big donors/corporations
*promised to “drain the swamp” but instead filled his administration with it
*lied to you when he said he’d be “too busy to golf”…and then golfed 70 times

*defended neo-Nazis and white nationalists
*caged children
*promised to build the wall and have Mexico pay for it...then demanded YOU pay for it
*disrespected and attacked war heroes like John McCain (even as he lay on his death bed)
*conspired with Russia to steal the election
*obstructed justice to cover up the conspiracy
*put an accused sexual-abuser and rapist on the Supreme Court
*refused to believe sexual-assault victims while defending and protecting the accused
*lied to the middle-class about getting huge tax cuts (remember "You'll see it in your paychecks starting Feb 1!"?)
*lied to you about giving you better and more affordable healthcare than Obamacare
*lied to you that coverage for preexisting conditions will be protected
*increased the deficit to $797-billion, the highest in 6 years
*increased the national debt to $25 trillion
*started trade wars which has negatively impacted farming, manufacturing & automobile industries
*violated the Emoluments Clause and has enriched himself since day-one
*created unparalleled chaos and turnover (70%+) in the White House
*called the Mueller probe a "witch hunt" despite 30+ indictments & 6 convictions including his top aides
*stood on a stage with Putin and defended him while calling our intelligence community liars
*said he's "in love" with Kim Jong Un
*lied to you that there is "no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea" 
*allowed Saudi Arabia to murder and dismember a journalist and U.S. resident without consequence
*repeatedly disrespected and attacked the FBI, Department of Justice, the intelligence community and our independent judiciary
*claimed the media is "the enemy of the people" 
*incited violence at his rallies
*praised a convicted criminal for body-slamming a reporter
*cursed like a pimp and allowed Kanye West to say "motherfucker" in the Oval Office
*lied to you over 4000 times (according to Washington Post fact-checker)
*treated you as if you're all a bunch of brainwashed ignorant fools

That's quite an impressive resume.

So can you please explain how you still support this crooked, corrupt treasonous monster after all these unconscionable offenses? How you could stand behind him at rallies as he disrespects and undermines democracy and the Constitution? How you could let him lie to you about his undying support of veterans, the military, the police and law & order as he attacks war heroes, POW's and Gold Star families while praising convicted criminals for violent acts? Worse, how you could stand behind him and laugh and cheer like pathetic sheep as he does it?

What kind of Americans are you? Why kind of humans are you? What kind of parents are you? What do you tell your children when you come home from these rallies? Are you proud of your president and what he says and does? More so, are you you proud of how you've acted at these mob-like events? Do you teach your kids to behave like Trump? Do you encourage them to lie, cheat, steal, bully, assault women and mock those less fortunate? Do you teach them to 'respect the law' by treating convicted criminals like heroes? Do you tell them violent men are "your guys?"

And how about all the pussy-grabbing, sexual assaults, rapes and the "boys will be boys" culture? Do you have daughters? Wives? Girlfriends? Mothers? You ok with them having their pussies grabbed by rich, powerful, famous men who think they're entitled to it? You ok with them being sexually-assaulted and raped? Or is it ok only when it's someone else's kid or spouse who's attacked, discredited and degraded?

Lastly, are you religious? Do you go to church and synagogue? Is this what they preach there? Is this what they tell you God wants? That this is the way to behave? That this is how you treat your fellow man and woman? Do you go to church on Sunday and pretend to be compassionate, tolerant, God-fearing faith-based Christians only to head to the Trump rally the next day to engage in angry, hateful unholy behavior like complicit frauds as he demonically breaks every sin in the bible?

And...would you really rather be Russian than Democrat?

So I ask you yet again: what the fuck is wrong with you? Because for the life of me I cannot figure you out.

 


Friday, October 19, 2018

Donald Trump is a Coward

Donald Trump was born and raised in Queens, NY. I was born and raised in Queens, NY. Trump's Queens was the Queens of preppies, wealth, privilege, fancy boarding & military schools, Ivy League universities, trust funds, "small $1-million loans" and $400-million inheritances from daddy. My Queens was blue-collar, stickball, public schools, city/state colleges and tough street kids.

My neighbors' sons were the kids who went off to fight and die in Vietnam. Trump and his pals used their rich daddies' connections to dodge the draft...so they could stay home and wage their own 'personal Vietnam' against STD's.

This backdrop explains Donald Trump. He's the proverbial rich entitled brat born on 3rd base who thinks he hit a triple. The son of an unemotional, affection-adverse but hugely wealthy real-estate tycoon who filled his son's wallet but left his heart empty.

Trump is often called a bully. But like most bullies, he is a weak, feckless coward. He's been a coward his whole life. And he'll be a coward till the day he dies. He fears confrontation. He's a self-proclaimed "counter-puncher" who talks a tough game on Twitter and at rallies of his brainwashed base, but who folds like a $2 lawn chair when face-to-face with his opponents and America's enemies.

Trump is on a perpetual mission to prove himself. Thus the constant bragging, exaggerated self-promotion and outright lying to embellish his accomplishments. The result is an ethical, moral and truth-bankruptcy which fuels this dysfunction. He's a shell of a adult human who craves the attention, praise and credit he never received growing up. And he's terrified. Always. Like a frightened little child. So he lashes out, at anything and anyone, in order to feel even the slightest kernel of self-worth.

Which is why it's never enough for Trump to merely state an accomplishment. He must also claim it's 'the biggest, the best and that everyone before him is stupid and inept and could never have done what he just did.' The hole in his soul is so large that nothing can ever fill it....not even the fact that he's one of only 45 people in America's 242-year history to hold this revered position. He constantly swirls in a dizzying vortex of self-loathing, put-downs and an insatiable quest for validation. He's a prisoner of his rapacious Id. I'm sure it's as exhausting for him as it is for us.

But most of all, Trump is a coward. A shameful, despicable coward.    

A coward who cages children.

A coward who bullies and degrades women.

A coward who's used his power to sexually-assault women.

A coward who belittles and name-calls his opponents.

A coward who mocks disabled people.

A coward who pathologically lies like a terrified cornered rat.

A coward who scapegoats people of color to divide the country.
 
A coward who boasts that "body-slammers" are "his guys."

A coward who calls the media "the enemy of the people" to distract from his personal scandals.

A coward who incites violence and chants of "lock her up" at his rallies.


A coward who "falls in love" with North Korea's Kim Jong Un who murdered U.S. citizen Otto Warmbier.

A coward who shares a stage with and defends Putin while publicly disrespecting and undermining our intelligence community.


A coward who sits by and does nothing after Saudi Arabia savagely murders and dismembers a journalist and U.S. resident.

A coward who's filled his staff and cabinet with generals because he thinks that surrounding himself with military men projects the true strength and bravery he's never had. 

A coward who's in awe of dictators and strongmen because he sees them as the "tough guy" he never was but so desperately wants to be.

A coward who's compelled to mock and disparage war heroes like John McCain (even as he lay dying) to compensate for his own lack of military valor and heroism. 

A coward who's selfish, self-serving and puts his own personal interests before those of America.

A coward who's traded America's reputation, values and defense of human rights for money.

To be sure, Donald Trump has many truly repulsive, reprehensible qualities. But his cowardice, as president of the United States, Commander-in-Chief and Leader of the Free World, reigns supreme.



Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Dear Democrats: WTF Are You Waiting For?

I was talking the other day with someone who's active in the Congressional midterm elections. A Democrat. I asked her how she thinks it looks for the party on Election Day.

"Feeling good," she sheepishly said. "But it really all depends if our people get out and vote." 

Yes. The concern is always about turnout. But it shouldn't be now. Given all that's at stake, you'd think Democrats would be so fired up that they'd camp out at the polls the night before as if Led Zeppelin reunion-concert tickets were going on sale at 6am. Because the truth is, if they're not fired up enough to vote now, what...the...fuck...are...they...waiting...for?

Let me be perfectly clear: America is on the verge of autocracy. We are led by a sociopath. A malignant narcissist. A dangerous demagogue. A rabble-rousing, race-baiting dictator-wannabe bully who's shattered all norms, boundaries and any sense of decorum and decency in his rapacious quest to consolidate power and self-enrich. A sick, twisted, reincarnated Morton Downey Jr who derives a creepy masturbatory thrill from instigating and dividing people.

Which is why the upcoming midterm elections are everything. Everything.

Does your vote matter? Yes.

Can you change the course of history with your vote? Yes.

Election Day is the one day in the year when the billionaire and the janitor have the exact same power. That any democrat wouldn't exercise this power during Trump's reign of terror is mind-numbing.   

Do democrats really need a reason to vote? Consider how Trump and the Republican Party have turned America into a rancid cesspool:

*Neo-Nazis marching in the streets, and in at least one case, murdering liberal protestors
*Sexism and racism blatantly promoted and enabled
*Disabled people mocked
*War heroes, POW's and Gold Star families attacked
*White House/administration choked by daily chaos and rampant corruption
*Sexual-abusers, rapists and pedophiles protected and defended
*Supreme Court seats stolen, with accused sexual-predators on the bench
*Gerrymandering and voter-suppression 
*EPA gutted
*Climate-change denied; TPP and Paris Climate Accord abandoned
*Healthcare attacked
*Social-Security threatened
*Public education deteriorating
*Children caged / family-separation
*Muslims banned
*DACA attacked
*Increased gun violence
*Tax cuts for the rich and corporations
*Unions and workers' rights under attack
*Women's reproductive rights attacked
*Same-sex marriage attacked
*Religious fanaticism
*FBI/Justice Department assailed and undermined
*Media attacked as "the enemy of the people"
*Constitution and the rule of law disregarded
*Enemies emboldened, allies alienated
*Sycophantish sucking up to brutal dictators
*Treason accepted

For the first time in our nation's 242-year history our democracy is having an existential crisis. Checks and balances only works if the checks do their job. So what happens when Congress is complicit and allows a kleptocrat despotic traitor to consolidate power? What happens when the Supreme Court has a tie-breaking justice who believes the president is above the law and should be insulated from subpoena and indictment? Tyranny happens, that's what.

Is Trump a tyrant? Yes. Is Mitch McConnell a tyrant? Yes. Has the GOP-led Congress cravenly abdicated its oversight role in exchange for tax cuts, deregulation and a conservative judiciary? Yes.

The only way to stop this terrifying spiral into fascism is for democrats to vote. And vote en masse. To break records. To win the House with a huge enough margin to scare the shit out of Republicans that 2020 will be an even bigger bloodbath...where both the Senate and White House will be in major play.

But make no mistake: the main reason to take back the House is to give Democrats the ability to conduct investigations into Trump's corruption and treason. To have subpoena power. To protect special counsel Robert Mueller and his RussiaGate investigation. To return law and order back into the political landscape. To protect democracy. To impeach if necessary. And to provide the check that's so desperately missing right now.

Because the alternative is chillingly unthinkable...

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Dear America: Wake the Fuck Up!

The sudden announcement by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy of his retirement next month sent terrifying shock waves through democratic circles. But make no mistake: the almost certainty that President Trump will replace the swing-voting Kennedy with a hard-line conservative like Neil Gorsuch, thus giving the court a solidly right-wing majority for the next 30-40 years, should terrify everyone except wealthy, white Christian men.

Those on the about-to-be-royally-screwed list include women, seniors, immigrants, Muslims, blacks, Hispanics, Jews, LGBTQ, students, workers, unions, the sick (especially those with preexisting medical conditions), the poor, the middle class, the environment, small business, campaign finance, our free and open press, the intelligence community, our national security and the rule of law.

Strap yourselves in. It's about to get crazy. The first hot-button issues a newly constituted conservative court will seek to reverse are abortion, same-sex marriage and affirmative action.

At least two dozen red states will assuredly move immediately to ban all abortions given this new judicial landscape. They'll be betting that when these laws are ultimately challenged in the Supreme Court, the 5-4 right-wing tilt will make their Draconian dreams come true in finally overturning Roe v Wade, the 1973 landmark ruling which currently protects a woman's right to have an abortion.

With regard to LGBTQ rights, Kennedy was either the swing vote, one of the swing votes and/or wrote the majority opinion in many critical rulings protecting LGBTQ people's basic human/civil rights and freedom to marry whom they choose: Romer v. Evans, 1996; Lawrence v. Texas, 2003; United States v. Windsor, 2013; Obergefell v. Hodges, 2015. Kennedy's loss in this evolution is devastating.

Kennedy has also been a moderate voice regarding affirmative action. In 2016's Fisher v University of Texas ruling, he was the swing vote in upholding the school's affirmative action policy which considered race as a factor in the admissions process.

(Note: roughly two-thirds of Americans are pro-same-sex marriage, pro-choice and pro-affirmative action).

To be sure, it's been a lot of fun and games so far for Trumpsters, who've basked in Dear Leader's braggadocious, bulling bluster. You guys love the tough talk, the "un-PC" behavior and the exciting circus-like rallies. But Kennedy's retirement is a game changer. You now need to decide if you want to be one of the gazillion people who'll get hit by the wrong end of the shit-stick from a staunchly conservative court.

And you Trump women: his macho sexist rhetoric, for example, isn't a big deal until you can no longer buy contraception. Or get an abortion. Or have healthcare which covers your reproductive rights. Remember when Trump said women should be "punished" for getting abortions? Think about that. Think about being arrested and jailed for it. Think about sitting in cages, without rights, like those defenseless immigrant kids at the border.

What about your mother, father, sister, brother, son, daughter, aunt, uncle, cousin or best friend who's gay? People you love. Do you want them stripped of their rights? To be discriminated in the courts, in the workplace and by healthcare & insurance companies? To not be able to marry whomever they want?

And to you Log Cabin Republicans... I never understood how, as members of the LGBTQ community, you could support a party that hates you for who you are. Well guess what? It's 100 times worse now. The judicial safety-net you've come to rely on of late, as you comfortably pursue your conservative agenda, will be gone. You will be shamed and scared back into the closet by the party you've dedicated yourselves to and who, in return, systematically demeans you and discriminates against you.

And if you're black or Hispanic and support Trump? It's serious reality-check time. If you haven't gotten this by now, Trump doesn't give a shit about you. Nor does your party. Your world is about to change as this court becomes a 5-4 right-wing majority.

'But the court won't change existing law' you say? No one should feel comforted by the 'doctrine of precedent' known as stare decisis (Latin for “to stand by things decided”). This assumes that the Supreme Court would be compelled to uphold the settled law of the land (i.e Roe v Wade). But Kennedy himself said “stare decisis is not an inexorable command” in his recent South Dakota v. Wayfair majority opinion, a ruling which overturned the landmark 1992 Quill Corp. v. North Dakota use-tax ruling.  And the court just this week reversed the 40-year-old Janus v. AFSCME decision, ruling that nonunion workers cannot be forced to pay fees to public sector unions.

But perhaps the most significant reason to fear a right-wing court is with special prosecutor Robert Mueller's RussiaGate investigation. It's almost certain that the decision on whether Trump can be subpoenaed to testify will come before the Supreme Court. Fill in the blanks. It's chilling to think that, as it did with 2000's decidedly non-Federalist Bush v. Gore ruling which essentially handed the presidency to George W. Bush, the highest court in the land will put partisan politics before national security and the law....especially over an issue with such critical foundational consequences.

Even more alarming, what happens when and if Mueller hands Congress incontrovertible, beyond-a-reasonable-doubt proof that Trump conspired with Russia to steal the election, and has since been engaged in a 24/7 campaign to cover up his high crimes and misdemeanors? What happens if this heretofore complicit GOP continues to turn a blind eye to The Manchurian President's dirty deeds?

The Senate cannot allow Trump to appoint anyone other than another moderate, swing vote justice. And it will come down to Republicans such as Jeff Flake (AZ), Susan Collins (ME) and Lisa Murkowski (AK) to vote their conscience and principles, not their party. With a 51-49 chamber, democrats must pull out all stops to convince at least two Republicans to vote with them. Maybe even dangle the border wall in exchange for a moderate jurist. Or even put Merrick Garland's name back in play for the wall. In the past, Garland had bi-partisan support. If Trump were truly smart and politically calculating, he'd consider how such a nomination would provide a  tremendous boost to his popularity beyond the base; how it would quickly move to repair the divisiveness in the country; and the coup it'd be legacy-wise. But that's not Trump, so don't hold your breath.

Complicating matters for democrats is that Senate incumbents such as Jon Tester (MT), Joe Manchin (WVA), Claire McCaskill (MO), Joe Donnelly (IN) and Heidi Heitkamp (ND) face tough re-election campaigns in states Trump won. For these moderates, they're forced to choose between political self-survival and satisfying their liberal constituents. Won't be a surprise if at least one opts for job-security.

So what to do?

The time is now for mass protests in the streets. Like the 1960's. Non-stop. Voters must demand that politicians vote in a manner that's consistent with the moderate views of an overwhelming majority of Americans...while demanding that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell abide by his own rule of not allowing presidents to appoint Supreme Court justices in an election year (which is how he robbed Barack Obama of Garland's seat). Voters must make this a central tenet of every protest between now and the November midterms. To shame McConnell and Republicans with their own hypocrisy, duplicity and shameless partisanship at the expense of America's national security and best interests. Democrats must give voters a clear choice in the election: country vs party.

The most critical election in U.S. history is four months away. At stake? Everything. Checks and balances. Co-equal branches of government.  Congressional oversight. The rule of law. Democrats must take the House. And hopefully the Senate. Every democrat must get out and vote. The same is true for independents and even Republicans, who staunch conservative George Will implored last week to vote for democrats as a crucial check on Trump.

The U.S. Constitution, and our 242-year-old democracy, is facing it's first true existential crisis. It's being tested like never before in history by the very tyrant the system was designed to prevent from taking control. But if one or even both co-equal branches of government abdicate their Constitutional responsibilities, American democracy as we know it is officially over.

Autocracy is at our doorstep.

America, wake the fuck up!

Friday, May 25, 2018

The North Korea Debacle: How Trump Put the "No" in Nobel

"Everyone thinks so, but I would never say it." 

That's how president Donald Trump two weeks ago answered the question, "Do you think you deserve a Nobel Peace Prize?"

Clearly, 14 days is a lifetime in politics. Two weeks, one Nobel and a now-obsolete commemorative coin later Trump, on the global stage, is the sad clown. An ignorant, erratic, diplomacy-bankrupt megalomaniac buffoon who was predictably outplayed by North Korea's Kim Jong Un. 

So what went wrong? Why did the June 12th Singapore summit-to-end-all-summits get cancelled? What went wrong is that on one side of the table is a ridiculously-coiffed bloated sociopath dictator with the discipline, maturity and impulse-control of a 10-year-old. And Kim's no better.

Trump, the self-proclaimed King of Negotiation, had convinced himself that, despite the failed efforts of his much smarter diplomatic predecessors, he had the recipe for success: shoot off some nasty tweets; meet with "short, fat Little Rocket Man," (but get him to agree to totally de-nuke beforehand...thus rendering the meeting, and all subsequent negotiating, completely unnecessary), shake hands; stuff face with Bibimbap; and then hop back on Air Force One and Google "How to Apply For a Nobel Peace Prize." 

And just like that, 70 years of conflict would end.  

(note to Trump: it's never a good thing to call yourself the "king" of anything. It never ends well. Just ask Elvis, Charles I or Michael Cohen's business partner Evgeny "Taxi King" Friedman)
 
Did anyone with even half a brain really believe this summit would take place? And even if it did, that somehow an inept dictator-wannabe with a bad temper was going to tame his hero who has an even worse temper? That Kim, whose sanction-ravaged, economically destitute country, which has nothing to brag about except nuclear weapons, was suddenly going to totally capitulate to a bloviating bully who has no plan, no vision and no concept of the foreign policy process?

Trump certainly talked tough, made "fire and fury" threats to destroy Kim and his people and had most Americans believing the United States was teetering on nuclear war. But the MAGAsturbators loved it. And that's the only thing that matters to Trump: make the base happy. It was pure Trump performance art.

But unfortunately in the end, Trump gave Kim exactly what he's been craving. He's legitimized him as a world power; mitigated his brutality by calling him "honorable"& "excellent;" and let him play him for a fool. America and the presidency have been gravely weakened as a result.

And the only real impact of fire and fury is that it gave Michael Wolff a great title for a book that made him a fortune. And thanks in no small part to Trump, whose relentless attacks and threats to sue to stop its publication, helped sell bigly bazillions of copies. 


So now the big question is, are talks with North Korea really dead? Just one day after news of the summit's cancellation broke, Trump said the two nations are speaking again and that the historic meeting could still happen.

"It could even be the 12th," he suggested this morning.

Trump then fondly referred to the "warm" statement Kim released yesterday (which came after his own romantic overture: "If you change your mind...call me or write"), continuing to sound more like a pathetic jilted lover than the U.S. president.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Debunking the Ridiculous "We've Seen No Evidence of Collusion!" Claim

What do innocent people do when they're being investigated? They fully co-operate. They do whatever's humanly possible to assist the investigation so that they can not only vindicate themselves but, more importantly, help uncover the truth.

What do guilty people do? They wage a relentless war against such investigations. They do everything humanly possible to undermine and discredit the process. They mercilessly attack the character of those investigating them. They obfuscate, misrepresent, lie and manufacture bizarre alternatives to create chaos. The more chaos and confusion the better. The truth appears to be the last thing that concerns them.

The guilty often enlist an army of foot soldiers to help execute their propaganda campaign. With regard to President Trump, who's fighting wars on multiple fronts involving Russia, porn stars, Playmates, money-laundering and rogue lawyers, these loyal warriors include cabinet members and White House staff; Congressmen/women; his legal team; an over-caffeinated duplicitous gaggle of media surrogates; and the brainwashed MAGAsturbasers. And of course, the president himself.

Trump loves to tweet and shout "NO COLLUSION! NO COLLUSION WHATSOEVER! NO OBSTRUCTION! TOTAL WITCH HUNT!" 

And his well-trained ground troops, having gone through rigorous boot camp under the leadership of General John Kelly, are like flawless snipers in shooting the witch-hunt shit:

"NO EVIDENCE! WE'VE SEEN ABSOLUTELY NO EVIDENCE OF COLLUSION!!" 

So of course, when there's "no evidence," you have Trump and his henchmen calling for an end to the special investigation being conducted by independent counsel, and former FBI director, Robert Mueller.

Even vice-president Mike Pence, who's curiously kept himself from swirling in the RussiaGate vortex, recently told NBC's Andrea Mitchell:

"I would very respectfully encourage the special counsel and his team to bring their work to completion....In the interests of the country, I think it’s time to wrap it up.”

In just one year Mueller's probe has so far resulted in 22 indictments, five guilty pleas and more to follow, including Paul Manafort, who is rumored to be on the verge of pleading guilty. Through this investigation we now know there were 75 contacts (including 22 meetings) between the Trump campaign and Russians (Trump, Nov 11, 2016: "There was no communication between the campaign and any foreign entity during the campaign").

Hardly a partisan witch-hunt, unless Trump expects us to believe that criminals like Mike Flynn, George Papadopoulos and Rick Gates are actually just nice, innocent folks who decided to plead guilty and go to prison just to make Mueller happy.

Furthermore, Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (in charge of the investigation after Jeff Sessions recused himself) are Republicans. Rosenstein appointed Mueller. FBI Director Christopher Wray is a Republican Trump appointee. Partisan you say?

So let's get to this "NO EVIDENCE!" bullshit. May I remind Trump and his disingenuous band of fake-news thugs that the reason they haven't 'seen any evidence' is because they're not fucking supposed to! They're not on Mueller's team. He's not sharing his files with them. He doesn't contact them every time he uncovers new evidence. No one knows what Mueller has except Mueller and his crackerjack investigators. And no one but them is going to see what evidence they have or don't have until this investigation, which is ongoing and likely will remain so well beyond Summer, ultimately concludes and Mueller issues his report.

(by the way, one could successfully argue that we've in fact so far seen plenty of evidence of collusion given the indictments, guilty pleas and the lies about not having over 6-dozen contacts with Russians)

Nothing screams GUILT like calling for a premature end to this investigation.

Which is precisely why Trump, his legal team and his shamefully complicit Republican cohorts in Congress (including Paul Ryan, Devin Nunes, Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan) will stop at nothing to derail and kill it...including allowing our kompromised Manchurian president to hurl us into a full-fledged Constitutional crisis. It's Party first/fuck America.

Wow.

I'm old enough to remember when the Republican Party would've jailed traitors. Now they support, enable, defend, protect and lie for them.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Are Trump Supporters Racist?

Dear Trumpsters:

I've been trying to "get" you for almost three years now. I've tried to keep an open mind about your motivations. I even for a time accepted the notion that your support for Donald Trump might be rooted in that "economic anxiety" you and Fox News keep talking about and not because you're all a bunch of angry white racists. But no matter how hard I try to give you the benefit of the doubt, it keeps coming back to racism. There's simply no other explanation...

You claim to be "the forgotten people" yet you support a president whose policies benefit only himself, his family, his rich pals and corporations.

You call yourselves fiscally conservative Republicans, but you support a president who's added $1-trillion in new debt.

You claim you voted out of "economic anxiety," yet you support a president whose tax bill doesn't benefit you; your wages remain stagnant; the income gap is widening; you, not Mexico, are paying for his wall (if it ever gets built); he screwed you out of affordable healthcare; whose trade policies threaten our economic stability.

You call yourselves "law and order" Republicans yet you support a president who summarily dismisses, disrespects, demeans and undermines the FBI, the Justice Department, the independent judiciary and the rule of law.

You call yourselves "law and order" Republicans yet you support a president who believes he's above the law.  

You call yourselves "law and order" Republicans yet you support a president who has us on the verge of a Constitutional crisis.

You call yourselves patriotic Republicans, but you support a president who likely colluded with an enemy state, conspired to obstruct justice and cover it up, who's desperately undermining the special investigation in every possible way and who continually threatens our national security.

You call yourselves patriots (and many of you are veterans and/or have children who serve in the military), yet you support a president who dodged the draft, attacks Gold Star families and war heroes, says he "knows more than the generals" and exploits the military for constant photo-ops while calling it "a disaster."

You call yourselves strong defenders of democracy, yet you support a president who repeatedly kisses the ass of brutal dictators whose ultimate goal is to destroy America and its democracy...while disrespecting and alienating our allies in Germany, England, France, Australia, Japan, Canada, Mexico and elsewhere. 

You claim to be evangelicals, yet you support a president who is a pathological liar; admitted sexual abuser; a serial philanderer; who mocks the sick, disabled, poor; who's obsessed with money and material things; who cares about no one but himself. 

You claim to be people of 'faith'...but you support a president whose behavior strikingly contrasts the teachings of Jesus.

You claim you're not racist, but you support a president who consistently disparages & disrespects   black and brown people and immigrants and whose policies discriminate against them...while simultaneously normalizing and enabling white supremacists, neo-Nazi's and bigots. 

I'm sorry...

You claim you're not racist but...you are.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Time to Rethink Mother's Day

On November 1, 2006 my daughter Sophie and I became statistics. Not quite three, she joined the motherless children's club. And I became part of the 8% of U.S. households where a single father is raising a child.

That was the day my wife, actor and filmmaker Adrienne Shelly (WAITRESS), was brutally murdered while working in her West Village office. 

For the past eleven years I've struggled to get through Mother's Day. It's not a celebration in my home. Just a rewind into horror. An intense, sudden punch to the gut like a 24-hour stomach virus.

It's an especially difficult day for my little girl, who went to bed one cold Autumn night as happy as an innocent toddler can be and woke the next morning to a dark, unrecognizable world.

Sophie is 14 now. Despite my conscientious and at times feeble attempt to wear both parental hats, she's been forced to navigate through life without the guidance, nurturing and love that only a mother can provide. So fucking unfair. And heartbreaking.
 
I remember walking down the street a few days after Adrienne died and feeling raging anger and resentment at all the people who were going about their business like any other normal day while my world had just been mashed into a meat-grinder. Why do they have to look so happy? Don't they know what just happened to Adrienne? To me? To Sophie? To our families? 

That's what Mother's Day feels like now.

Because not everyone has a mother. And not everyone has a mother they like. Or even love.

Many have mothers who've died. Or are dying. Or who's body is thriving but whose mind has deteriorated.

Others may have mothers who are neglectful. Or worse, physically and/or verbally abusive.

Mother's Day is a cruel reminder that when it comes to moms, we are not all equal.

Sophie and I had a long chat last night before bedtime. I held her tight and acknowledged that it must've been a hard day for her. It was. Of course, she misses not having Adrienne in her life. She mourns the loss of a mother she never got to know. She can only close her eyes and imagine. Imagine what it must be like to have a mother. Her mother.

Mother's Day makes her feel different. Because it seems like everyone has a mother and she doesn't.

"I'm jealous," she said.

At one point during the day she stopped looking at her social media apps because they were dominated by 'mom and me' shots. It was too upsetting.

Maybe next year we can all be a bit more sensitive to all the folks for whom Mother's Day is a hardship. A day that drowns them in painful realities instead of Rockwellian thoughts of mom and apple pie.

We should especially consider the children. Acknowledge their loss. Life is hard enough just being a kid. It's a more complicated landscape to navigate when they've been robbed of the beautiful, kind, loving mommy they tragically only know through photos and videos.

Send them a message. Let them know we are thinking of them too. That they are not alone...

Friday, May 04, 2018

It's Time to End the Daily White House Press Briefings

It's been roughly 130 years since the establishment of White House "beat" reporters. The practice of the administration giving these correspondents daily briefings dates back to 1910.  In 1995 Bill Clinton's press secretary Mike McCurry started televising the daily briefings. Today, 23 years later, these gatherings have unfortunately become an embarrassing travesty; a total waste of time and they should end.

Under President Donald Trump, America has witnessed an all-out attack on the media, which he's referred to as "the enemy of the people." This relentless, merciless battle with the press is, at its core, an effort to distract from his political and legal troubles relating to a number of sensational scandals including collusion with Russia over the election; obstruction of justice; money-laundering; accusations of sexual assault; affairs with porn stars and Playmates; staff chaos; and campaign-finance violations.

Under Trump's media narrative, if the coverage is positive he embraces and retweets it. If it's negative it's attacked as "fake." He doesn't care about the optics of praising the Washington Post and NY Times one day as reporting the 'truth' while shredding them the next day as "failing" and "fake news." He knows his loyal 30% base will lap it up like stray cats with a bowl of milk. 

Trump's attack on the media is a direct attack on free speech and freedom of the press. But more importantly, it links to his direct attacks on the Department of Justice and the FBI, and thus the rule of law. The linkage continues with "fake news" as the basis for the "witch hunts" he claims are perpetrated by these law enforcement agencies. And it's led to the firings of perceived opponents including Sally Yates, Preet Bharara, Andrew McCabe and James Comey...while leaving others like Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Assistant AG Rod Rosenstein on thin ice over 'disloyalty.' The ultimate link is to Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller, who's wearing the biggest bullseye of all as the main protagonist in Trump's existential crisis. A+B+C+D=E.

Nowhere is Trump's dysfunctional relationship to the truth more on display than at Sarah Huckabee Sanders' daily press briefings. These sessions have become a cesspool of misrepresentation, deceit and shameless lying.

The chaotic lying hit a tipping point Thursday over the $130K hush-money payoff made by Trump lawyer Michael Cohen to porn star Stormy Daniels prior to the 2016 election. Sanders had for weeks maintained and repeated Trump's denial of an affair with Daniels and knowledge of the payoff. A denial for which he was unequivocal two weeks ago aboard AirForce One when asked if he knew about the payment:

"No. “You'll have to ask Michael Cohen. Michael is my attorney.”  

Contradicting that denial, Trump's new attorney Rudy Giuliani dropped a bombshell Wednesday night when he told Sean Hannity that the president obviously knew about the payoff because he in fact paid Cohen back the $130K.

Giuliani then opened mouth and changed feet the following morning on Fox & Friends:

"...imagine if that came out on October 15, 2016, in the middle of the last debate with Hillary Clinton...Cohen made it go away. He did his job."

"Cohen made it go away?" No, this is not an episode of The Sopranos we're watching. This is the Unites States presidency in action. That's way scarier than a gaggle of brooding mobsters. And it certainly did help Trump that his new attorney essentially called him and his former lawyer liars (not for nothin', but if Trump and his lawyers can't make it through Fox & Friends and Sean Hannity without committing political and legal suicide...imagine what Mueller & Co's gonna do to them...).

On Thursday, and again today, Trump tripled-down on the original denial, even claiming that, while "Rudy is a great guy who started a day ago" (it's actually been two weeks), "he needs to get his facts straight." 

When asked at Thursday's briefing when she first learned that Trump paid back Cohen, Sanders stated it was during Giuliani's interview with Hannity. She looked foolish. And it certainly didn't instill confidence in a press corp already convinced that everything told them daily is a misrepresentation or a lie.


At the briefings themselves, there's been an unprecedented bankruptcy of facts and truth since Trump took office...starting with former press secretary Sean Spicer's now-infamous anger-management-worthy insistence (and the birthing of Melissa McCarthy's brilliant season-long SNL spoof) that Trump's inaugural crowd was the largest ever. And now Sanders has lost whatever microscopic morsel of credibility she had left. Honesty with the press, and by extension the American public, is sacrosanct in her ability to perform her duties.

Going forward, Sanders is either going to willfully and unapologetically (almost gleefully) regurgitate her boss's lies every day, or continue to look foolish when caught unknowingly in a web of his blatant deception. Either way she's screwed, and so are Americans. America deserves so much more than the 2003-style propaganda of Saddam Hussein and Baghdad Bob.
  
If Sanders can no longer do her job, which appears to be the case, these briefings should be shut down. Or, reporters need to get tougher. They need to call out the lies more directly and aggressively. They need to demand the truth from this White House. And if they can't get the truth, they should get up, walk out and not return until the next administration moves in.