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Day 526 – Letter to the American People: Call the Con Artist-In-Chief and All of His Supporters Out.  When It Smells Like BS, It Probably Is BS.

Day 526 – Letter to the American People: Call the Con Artist-In-Chief and All of His Supporters Out. When It Smells Like BS, It Probably Is BS.

Image from Democratic Underground

Dear American people,

On the series finale of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the concluding monologue has Jon Stewart warning us that “BS is everywhere.”

That was August 6, 2015.

Almost 3 years later, here we are, and the cow poop is flying all around us seemingly always at high speed. And it has taken control – we are becoming immune to the smell.

Donald Trump is the best con artist of his time. He once plied his skills to sell real estate and manipulate local officials, vendors, or buyers of his properties.

But how do we handle a con artist? Unfortunately, the elderly are subject to scams regularly and the AARP has a great article for its members to help them identify a con artist and how he plies his trade. It should sound all too familiar.

First, the con artist develops a persona: “Assume a false personality or social mask that makes it easier to pull off the deception. Swindling is really acting, and you play a character who will help you appear legitimate, confident and successful … even when you are not.” Check!

Second, “it’s about emotion, not logic.” He states his “first objective (is) to get the victim ‘under the ether.’ Ether is that fuzzy state when your emotions are stirred up and you’re so agitated that you won’t know which way is up and which is down. Once I have gotten you into this condition, it doesn’t matter how smart or dumb you are. Ether trumps intelligence every time.” Check (pun intended)!

And last, find the “perfect victim.” That’s us. Politically polarized, disillusioned, dependent on social media, primed to be scammed. Check!

Remember what we’ve been told:

Democrats do not support immigration reform.

I can’t prevent kids being separated from their parents at the border.

The media is the enemy of the people.

The Eagles were kneeling and are disinvited from the White House.

We have thousands of immigration judges.

My inauguration crowd was the largest ever.

There was voter fraud, millions of illegal votes against me.

Mexico will pay for the wall.

There’s more – and the hits just keep on coming from the president and his administration.

Now what do we do?

Call him out. To your family, your friends, to anyone who will listen.

Many will say it won’t matter, people believe what they want to believe. People stay within their own bubbles.

Silence is not the answer. Eventually, collectively, we can get people out of the ether.

Or as Jon Stewart put it, “BSers have gotten pretty lazy; the best defense against BS is vigilance… when you smell something say something.”











Day 522 – Letter to Fellow Americans: We Can and Must Be the Light.

Day 522 – Letter to Fellow Americans: We Can and Must Be the Light.

Image from Anythink LIbraries

Dear Fellow Americans,

For all you who have been contributing to and reading this site since Trump took office, we are all on the same page.  This is not the country we know we can be. These are not our values.  The “new normal” of lies, fake news, discrimination and cruelty is not who we are.  Patriotism can be positive when it celebrates and upholds true values of love, peace, freedom and equity.  Patriotism memorializing only white male success is not something to celebrate, nor is it our country’s truth.

If you contribute to and read posts on this site you know that we are truly in a state of crisis.  The rhetoric and hate are not our ideals. This country is divisive. It would be a falsehood to believe that we could “win” or the other side could “win.”  Life in this country is not a zero sum game.  We all need to be better at figuring out how to find that common ground and shared human decency. Opening dialogue with someone who doesn’t seem to hold the same beliefs can be scary and frustrating, but not doing so can be destructive to us all.  We need to hold our politicians to higher standards than we currently do.  Re-election at all costs is absurd. Our country was not built on that principle.  We need strong voices in government to carry the will of the people and aren’t afraid to push back for what is right.

Across this last year and a half, our civil rights, our safety, our place in the world, our healthcare, and even the air we breathe have been under assault.  We are not people who rip children from their parents and put them in cages. Our history has very dark periods in it, but I would like to believe that we have learned from those mistakes. We need to continue to teach, discuss and use those lessons to ensure our country’s future isn’t created in those images.

I am going to continue to fight- not for my side to win, but for all of us to achieve the country and life we want, need and have worked so hard to build.  We are all tired, but to rest now is not an option.

Please volunteer for local campaigns, continue to contact your elected representatives and let them know your thoughts, donate to causes that help us restore decency, and open a dialogue with someone you didn’t think you could discuss issues with. We are experiencing a dark period, but we can be, and must be, the light.

Thank you for your persistence.





Day 519 – Letter to Melania: Yeah…You Meant It.

Day 519 – Letter to Melania: Yeah…You Meant It.

Dear Melania Trump,

I have no idea what it would be like to be you, but I am sure being you is not easy. Last week, the media went viral about some news photo of you sitting alone and yesterday you found out you can’t wear clothes with words on them without everyone losing their minds. But I don’t feel any sympathy. In all honesty, I don’t think you wore that $35 jacket with the words, “I don’t care, do you?” written on the back to mean anything toward or about the detention center you were visiting at the time. I think it was more a reaction against the media making a huge deal of you sitting alone. Regardless, to explain to reporters that it has no meaning at all is an insult to us all. For one, you never wear anything that inexpensive and two, you have been very deliberate and thoughtful about this so far. So no, it was not unintentional. Who knows, I wouldn’t put it past your husband to convince you to wear it, judging from his tweet explaining its supposed true significance.

Nevertheless, I bring all this up to illustrate that it’s time you faced the enormity, potential and power behind your role. Perhaps you did not sign up for this; perhaps you imagined marrying Donald would mean endless hours at pools or relaxing on island beachfronts. I don’t know, but this is your role now and girl, you better get your act together. Here are some tips.

  • Don’t allow yourself to be used as a puppet. If the $35 jacket was your husband’s idea, you allowed yourself to be used. Shame on you.
  • Wake up! You have power. By virtue of being the first lady, you have enormous influence. Read up about other first ladies, what they’ve been able to accomplish. Studying them would be an excellent starting point.

Yes, you did not ask for this, but this is the hand you’ve been dealt. Now you’re going to have to toughen up and play your part to the best of your ability.

Last piece of advice…follow your heart. I believe 99.9% of the people in this world are good and want to do good things. I believe you’re in that group, and we all need you to trust in that goodness to know how to proceed next. Yes, the world is watching, always, but the world also wants to feel hopeful. So gather all your assets and take on this destiny that’s been dealt to you.




Day 515 – Letter to Humanity: We Can Be Better. We Should Be Better. But Really…It Starts With Love for All.

Day 515 – Letter to Humanity: We Can Be Better. We Should Be Better. But Really…It Starts With Love for All.

Image from Fine Art America, Smile of the Sunrise by Marie Green

I have a new ritual.

I have a hard time falling asleep, every night. I’m exhausted, every night, like most all of us, but just when I set down my book and turn off my light, my brain pumps a shot of adrenaline into my system, every night. Even if I’m half-asleep already, it happens. Right down to the cellular level, my body knows something ain’t right.

Then I take deep breaths, as full as I can. I activate my flabby diaphragm and fill my lungs over and over again. I hold my spouse. I picture peace. I flip through the snapshots in my mind until I finally fall asleep.

Somehow, I manage to have good dreams some of the time.

When I wake, groggily because I fall asleep too late every night, I have to remind myself who I am and where I am. That’s how badly I sleep now—I have to reset every morning. But worse than the falling asleep is that long daily moment when I rejoin reality. Every morning, I sit up, put my feet down, and my brain has to pause for a moment and say to itself, “It’s real. It’s happening. The country you call home, the one with a founding message that changed the world, a dream of equality as deeply ingrained in you as oxygen, is being run by a hateful special-interest minority group obsessed with profit and the power it brings.”

Granted, this is usually about 5:30 a.m., so my brain really just says, “Ooooooooh f—,” but that’s just shorthand for the longer version. Pre-dawn is no time for unnecessary verbiage.

I doubt this story is unique.

The thing is, the important parts come before and after that moment when I re-enter reality.

Before it, I’m often in a dream, and usually a happy one. More than once, that dream has clearly been of a world after the end to all this. These dreams are recent. For a long time, my dreams were tense. I don’t even know what they were about, but my jaw hurt when I awoke. Clenched.

Lately, though, my dreams are nice. They are of an after-times. I’m there. You’re there. Even you weirdos who hate-read these letters are there, and though I’m sorry for you and your hate now, the after-times hold more beauty for you, too. I believe they will. My cells believe we can make it there.

And we can make it. We know what’s at stake. Many of us always did, but a large swath of America now knows much more about who we really are. Stop saying “We’re better than this” to the news about putting asylum-seeking children in nouveau-concentration camps. We’re not better than that, never have been. Ask a historian. Better yet, ask a Native American, a Black American, a Japanese American about America and children.

We’re not better than that. But we can be. We should be. Most of us aim to be.

My brain comes back to reality every morning, and I remember that we haven’t been the country many of us thought we were. I feel an icy chill for a moment as I come around to who I am and where I am and what’s going on around me, but then I remember what we can be.

Then, every day, I rise. The work lies before me. I do my part in the ways I know how, and I do it every day. I work hard to create a better reality for my children, your children, all children. I work hard to create a better reality for me, for you, for everyone. I don’t go and count money. I count worth. I do the work with the tools I have in the ways I know how.

Friends, many of us do. Let’s wear our hearts on our sleeves so our neighbors see that too. Good work is contagious. Worthy beliefs are contagious. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as unalienable rights? That’s a worthy belief. None of our country’s founding documents are perfect. No text is because all text is written by humans. We are inherently flawed. We all are.

But we have the capacity for love. Deep love. Real love. For all.

You’ve cried watching a video on Facebook or somewhere like it of a soldier surprising the kids upon returning home, of the pitcher hugging his friend he just struck out because his friend means more to him than a trophy, of a stranger caught on video helping an old person across a dangerous road, of a baby laughing. You have. We all have. You don’t know any of the people in those videos. But you cared about the people in them. You have the capacity for deep, real love for people you don’t even know.

You have been conditioned to distrust the unknown. You have been conditioned to fear, usually, brown people. You have been conditioned to assume money is paramount.

Knock that shit off.

We have the capacity for love. Deep love. Real love. For all.

My own children just finished a school year in which, every day, they recited the Pledge of Allegiance. None of our country’s documents—and certainly none of our people—are perfect, but I refuse to release the pure visions of our country. The flag is just cloth. We aren’t pledging the flag itself. It’s symbolism. What my children pledged to every morning, what we have all pledged to, is each other. We’re pledging to liberty and justice for all.

For all.

With liberty and justice for all.

My good dreams are interrupted every morning by a jolt back to a grim reality, but the thing about reality is that we get to shape it. I rise from my side of the bed. I rise and go back to the world, day after day, because I love you.





Day 512 – A Birthday Letter for You, Mr. President. A Day Late, but It’s  the Anger and Contempt-Driven Thought that Counts.

Day 512 – A Birthday Letter for You, Mr. President. A Day Late, but It’s the Anger and Contempt-Driven Thought that Counts.

Image from Patch

Mr. Trump,

This is a bit uncomfortable to say, given our history over the last year and a half, but here it is: today, I know exactly what I’m going to focus on in my letter to you.  Sure, other days I’ve had to grab wildly at the storm of incoherent tweets, unconstitutional executive orders, unsustainable tax cuts, unwanted and environmentally destructive policies, and unwarranted trade wars in order to find a single topic to consider, but today, I’ve got it.

Your “charitable” foundation just got sued by the New York attorney general.

Happy birthday, Mr. President.  Happy birthday to you.

I notice that you’re already vowing not to settle the suit, just like you did when Trump University got sued.  And maybe, like then, you’ll settle the suit anyway, paying out a substantial sum of money, essentially admitting guilt in order to wave away the charges.

Nice of you, to provide such entertainment around your birthday.  It’s like hiring a clown for your own party, only it turns out that you’re the clown and everyone is seriously creeped out and wondering why this old, sexist, racist dude is playing a clown at his own party.

And by the way: your balloon animals look nothing like the real thing.  Seriously, do you even know what a giraffe looks like?

Also, clowns usually paint their faces white, not orange.

So, this “charitable” foundation got sued and… wait…


You just praised North Korea’s dictator as the “strong head” of his country.  You just claimed that “he speaks and his people sit up at attention” and that “I want my people to do the same.”


How am I supposed to write about the lawsuit against your “charitable” foundation when you’re wondering how you can become more of a lunatic dictator than you already are?  When you’re wondering what you have to do in order to make the USA more like North Korea?  When you’re claiming the American people as “yours?”

Alright.  This is what we’re going to talk about today.  The fact that you serve the people of America, not the other way around.  The fact that you swore — on a freaking Bible, mind you — to protect the constitution, not to turn the United States into a kleptocracy.

And Paul Manafort is going to jail.

Wait, what?

Your former campaign chairman just got his bail revoked and is going to jail?

[Deep breath].

Okay.  That’s what I want you to think about today.  It seems like maybe you don’t understand the difference between bail being revoked and being found guilty, as you tweeted about the “tough sentence” that Paul Manafort had just received, but, all the same, this is not a good look for you.

So, let’s think positive.  In a week in which you saluted a North Korean general, claimed the American people as your own dictatorial property, saw your “charitable” foundation sued, and witnessed the Republican establishment panic over the potential long-term loss of Virginia to the Democratic Party, the week ends with the focus more on one of your cronies than on you.

Small victories, Mr. President.  Small victories.  Tiny victories, even.  The kind you can hold in your pathetic, tiny, corrupt hands.

We didn’t have to check for a file baked into your birthday cake this year.  But, you know, fingers crossed.




Day 510 – Letter to 2018 Grads: We Need You.

Day 510 – Letter to 2018 Grads: We Need You.

Image from Univ. of Rochester

Dear Graduates of 2018,

Good afternoon!  I’m addressing all of you, everyone that has graduated from a program of studies this year.  High school graduates, college graduates, those of you receiving degrees of mastery, or professional credentials, anyone who has successfully completed a curriculum that offers you preparation for the life ahead of you, I am talking to you.

We need you.

All of us.  The world. Your parents.  Your siblings. Your future children (should you opt to have any).  The woman living in a 4th story walk-up in San Francisco.  The elderly man living in a ranch house outside Mobile. The child playing in a park in Bogota.  The teenager riding his bike in the streets of Bamako.  We need you.

We need you to take all of the things you learned in books and lectures and discussions and put them to practical use. We need you to sift through all of the material that has been presented to you by your parents, teachers, the experts and scholars that have had your ear for years and figure out what is true.  We need you to then push for that truth in the world. Please.  We don’t have time to waste.

To the high school graduates: we need you to seriously consider the kind of life you want to lead. I’m not talking about how much money you could stand to make, but the impact you could have in the spaces you inhabit now and want to explore in the next few years. What is it you would change? Why? How can you best go about evincing that change?  If you plan to move on in your formal education, we need you to disregard the Forbes, the US News and World Reports, the some-guy-who- purports- to know-these-things blog about what schools/degrees/majors will guarantee employment.  You will most likely work your entire adult life.  Don’t conscript yourself to the highest entry-level salary. Instead, refuse to declare a major, work as a volunteer doing something that you love, take more than the prescribed credits, intern at a company that intrigues you, shadow someone for a week who works in the field that you wanted to be in when you grow up, then decide what you most want to study.  Aunt Marge may be a tort lawyer, and Cousin Bart may be an orthopedic surgeon, but you need to find your own path.  Not because you are following your bliss, whatever that means, but because if you love what you do, you will fight like hell for its integrity, stock options or no.   We need you to do that.

If you don’t continue on to college and you decide instead to serve your country or community, don’t do it because you worship a piece of cloth, do it because you want to defend what matters most, the people who make this country what it is. Remember that those people come in all shades, believe in different things, and want to live their lives in the manner they see fit, just as you do.  We need you to protect ALL of us.

Those of you who opt for a vocation, please strive to do well and insist that others do well around you. Safety is important; no one is expendable, especially not in favor of the bottom line. Demand you be paid a living wage, and that you have access to quality health care.  Understand your value. We need you to speak your truth to power.

To those of you that have earned degrees, look to see where you are most needed. We need English lovers in the classrooms, to write sincere speeches, for sincere people who make sincere policy, to work hard within the Fourth Estate to make sure everyone knows how this person’s election here, this storm there, and this tragedy in our front yard affects us.  We need those who have studied art to preserve, protect, and advance the varied expressions of what makes us human.  We need engineers to solve our collective problems, we need historians to record what happens to us and how what has already happened exerts its influence on us now.  We need foresters to protect our resources. We need nurses to nurture us, we need financiers to handle the economy holistically, we need designers to reflect who we are and who we can yet be as a people.  We need you to fight against those that would try to monetize and exploit your area of interest.

To those of you who are now experts in your field, we need you to change the world. We need you to cure the diseases that plague us, we need you to protect the species of flora and fauna that are dying out.  We need you to translate the universe for us. We need you to dismantle the institutions that are destroying our collective: racism, sexism, classicism, fascism, and every other ism that seeks to limit our lives. We need you to take pride in your edification, to use what you have learned to raise all of us up so that we can be a better society.

We need you to hurry; you are the first generation that has lived under the practical application of egalitarianism.  You know that leadership does not mean white cis male default. You have had black doctors, Asian teachers, LGTBQ mentors, and a myriad of friends and neighbors from all walks of life who have been able to live their best lives. Your mothers have worked, your fathers have been your caregivers, you have inhabited the worlds of superheroes of all hues, your life’s soundtrack is composed by musicians from all around the globe, you have all the mysteries of existence literally in the palm of your hand. We need you to save us from ourselves.  Class of 2018, we need you.




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