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...