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Day 484 – Your Actions Fail the Mirror Test, Mr. President.

Day 484 – Your Actions Fail the Mirror Test, Mr. President.

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Mr. President,

One of the best ways to determine whether a particular situation or solution is valid is to conduct a simple mind game called ‘the mirror test’. When you hold an object to a mirror, you observe it in reverse; the same idea applies to a particular idea, thought, solution or plan. Simply imagine (you DO have an imagination, right?) the opposite of the thought and see from the available facts if it is still valid.

The oldest base idea for this, or at least the one that most frequently applies, is referred to as “The Golden Rule”, namely, “Do unto others as you would have done to yourself.”  This is a precept in practically all religions; even agnostics and atheists preach that idea. Let’s try a few.

Scenario 1: You are born in Scotland.  When you are two, your mother decides to come to the US for a better life, and enters the country, but without proper documentation. The immigration authorities detain you both, but your mom is taken to a detention center on the Canadian border, and you are taken to a military base in Georgia. Remember, you’re only two. How do you feel? How do you think your mother feels?

Scenario 2: The circumstances of your life up to age 7 or so are exactly the same as they are in real life, but then there’s a catastrophe of some sort, and your family is thrown into poverty. Your parents’ divorce, your mom works two and sometimes three minimum wage jobs just to barely keep food on the table and a roof over your head. You get a free breakfast and lunch at school and your mom gets food stamps to help the food budget. One day she comes home and tells you she lost her ‘best’ job, and also gets a letter telling her the government is cutting ALL the social benefits she’s relied on because they’ve given tax breaks to the wealthy and now can’t afford to help the poor.

Scenario 3: You’ve grown up in a middle-class home, gone to college, and had a career as a Federal employee, marrying, raising kids and being generally average sort of citizen. When you retire, you get a pension and a social security check. You have no savings or 401(k) because your wife died early and the medical bills ate those up. Now, you and your second wife live on your retirement and your combined social security checks. You have enough to live on IF nothing else happens. But you’re both aging, the cost of living goes up, and you SSA and pension don’t keep pace because the government can’t or won’t give adequate increases. Yet, Congress, with the President’s blessing, ‘borrows’ (steals) the money YOU’VE paid into the SS fund to cover their excesses, then turns around and tells you what you’re getting is a government ‘entitlement’ that is either being cut or being privatized – you lose, and someone else gets YOUR money.

These scenarios are NOT fictions; they ARE happening all across the United States – but of course NOT to the one percent that you and your GOP favor. So, please use the mirror test with these scenarios, and imagine how the most of America, supposedly the world’s richest nation, is forced to live: over 15% of our children in poverty, veterans who are homeless, people who work for minimum (or below) wage jobs – sometimes more than 2 – yet can’t afford a home or other necessities of life.

Mr. Trump, America is a mess. Maybe it’s unfair to say it’s all on you and the GOP, but I’d say 90% is. I don’t understand why the so- called conservatives in government refuse to be able to see how much of the country is hurting.  Can you honestly apply the golden rule to any of the 3 scenarios? Would you want to live like this?

And that’s the point: do as you would be done by isn’t a pie-in-the-sky ideal, its’s how you need to learn to live.

Think about it.





Day 484 – Letter to American Citizens: Take a Break From Every Piece of Breaking News. Focus on What You Can Do.

Day 484 – Letter to American Citizens: Take a Break From Every Piece of Breaking News. Focus on What You Can Do.

Dear Citizens,

I implored you some weeks ago to not lose heart in these trying times. I suggested ways to combat the feelings of despair and fear many of us have been experiencing as a result of the policies, actions and words of the current administration. I assured you that one day we would all emerge from this toxic cloud of Cheeto Tweets—uh, excuse me, toxic cloud of credible malfeasance (damn autocorrect). Well, I still stand by my position, but these days, I feel as though I need to add to my advice:  Do not pay attention to every piece of “Breaking News.”

Now, “Breaking News” is not the equivalent of “Fake News,” not by any stretch of the imagination. Most events reported as “Breaking News” are actual events, and even if certain bone-spur sufferers don’t like such news, you are safe in generally assessing the veracity of “Breaking News” in mainstream media as trustworthy. Nor am I suggesting that you ignore emergency broadcast system alerts; I would hate for you to walk into the path of a tornado or molten lava. Certainly, I would never want you to be kept in the dark about the water main break along your route to work, either. No, citizens, I caution you against expending time and energy on “Breaking News” because we are putting too much hope out there that the next piece of “Breaking News” will end our long nightmare at the hands of an aspiring tiny-handed tyrant. It is exhausting; a serious looking anchor with a short everyperson or long biblical name stares deep into the camera (aka your soul) and tells you that Mueller has found “the thing,” the email, the blocked phone number, the financial records, the literal or figurative smoking gun, the six month old banana peel at the bottom of Michael  Cohen’s Russian steel lunch box slathered with Roger Stone’s DNA, the exhaust fan that will break up that toxic cloud of Cheeto dust, ahem, malfeasance.  You leap to your feet in giddy anticipation and then…nothing. Scott Pruitt goes shopping with Ben Carson, spending a cool 2 million on matching 24 carat gold mouse pads, and Don, Joy and Zaphnathpaaneah forget all about ”the thing,” and comment on the same clip of Maxine Waters giving the side eye. C’mon!

It’s hard to break yourself out of this habit, citizens, I know.  We should know if Trump and his frenemy, Kim, are rolling on DMZ fighting over a replica of the Nobel medal, so we can call our loved ones, but other than that, let’s let Mueller do his job.  Let’s not salivate over the Cambridge Analytica hearings, (though we can talk about that guy’s pink hair, lovely shade).  Call and write Bathsheba, Chris, Chris, Chris, and Chuck, and tell them to stop following Cohen around; he’s a sleaze, he’s going to do sleazy things. As long as you keep the pressure on your congress person, all that sleaze is going to come to light.  We don’t need to watch the pot boil.

We’ll continue to march, continue to register new voters, continue to support the new activists who are fired up, and ready to go and need us to keep them that way.  We will attend school board meetings, support local candidates and vote in every election up to and including dog catcher. We will check on our elderly, keep the food pantries stocked, and insure that the ACLU and SPLC are fully funded. We will ally ourselves with our brothers and sisters who find themselves attacked and maligned.  We will continue to bear witness.

We will be too busy to be wrung out by “Breaking News.” Unless Prince is back or there’s footage of Pence and Trump on a perp walk, we don’t have time for it. In the words of the immortal Lisa Simpson, just don’t look. We—wait…Ronan Farrow said what? Three missing suspicious activity reports? Oh, for f—!



Day 483 – We Are Looking Forward to November Like a Kid Dreaming About Christmas Morning, Mr. President.

Day 483 – We Are Looking Forward to November Like a Kid Dreaming About Christmas Morning, Mr. President.

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Mr. President,

The end can come in many different ways. In mid-May, we made real strides in the momentum and success of several new Democratic candidates for office – perhaps the best way to end the reign of Republicans and your influence in the country and world. From many strong results in Pennsylvania to promising returns in other states, we are continuing forward with full commitment to creating a very different congressional picture come November. While many of your actions do real damage to our country, they also strengthen the resistance against you and your abysmally disappointing party.

As primaries continue to show the strength of Democratic candidates, momentum will grow, enthusiasm will mount, and we will roll toward real change this fall. It can’t come soon enough. The political correction that is coming will dovetail with Special Prosecutor Mueller’s findings, and I suspect that the combination will help move you toward the dustbin of history, where you will be harshly judged for all time.

As we look forward with hope and anticipation to the end of your time as President, and the end of your party’s majority hold, know that history is recording each disastrous decision, verifiable lie, and unethical act.



Day 482 – Grandstanding and Pandering to Your Base. Misleading or False Statements. Brazen Disregard for Fact. All in a Day’s Work, Mr. President.

Day 482 – Grandstanding and Pandering to Your Base. Misleading or False Statements. Brazen Disregard for Fact. All in a Day’s Work, Mr. President.

Image from CBS News

Mr. President,

Every time I read the news, I hope that I will find a new narrative coming from you. As I reviewed your speech from Tuesday’s 37th annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service on Capitol Hill, I was somewhat disappointed.

I am not disappointed that you attended this event and chose to speak highly of our nation’s officers. Although I didn’t necessarily have the best interactions with police officers growing up, as an adult, I have come to know and appreciate several officers personally. Many are brave, selfless, and empathetic. Within the community where I work, the local police officers go above and beyond to foster relationships with citizens and build rapport. I am certainly not writing this letter to insist that you should have disparaged our nation’s officers at this event. I am glad you attended, and I am glad you paid tribute to our officers who have lost their lives serving our cities, states, and nation.

Sadly, the way you addressed our nation’s officers was familiar; you invoked fear. You brought up the “dangers” of our borders and sanctuary cities. You suggested the death penalty would be an appropriate consequence for people who kill police officers. You asserted, “We must confront and condemn dangerous anti-police prejudice.”

I would like to address these three statements, beginning with your references to border control and sanctuary cities. As hard as I looked, I could not find any evidence that shows a correlation between immigration (legal or illegal) and increased violence against police. So…why would you insinuate there is a connection? Are you really concerned about the true causes of anti-police sentiment…or are you (once again) trying to pander to a certain political base? Were you trying to show support for law enforcement….or were you trying to push your own agenda? It certainly seems like the latter.

Let’s take a look at your statement about the death penalty. Again, I have a difficult time understanding why you would take your speech in that direction. According to both the Gallup poll and the Pew Research Center, support for the death penalty has declined steadily over the past decade, and is currently at its lowest level since the 1960s. Why would you be touting a punishment that a growing number of Americans are against? Is it because its supporters are also your supporters? The same research showed that the death penalty is supported by a much higher percentage of Republicans than Democrats and Independents. Additionally, would the same death penalty apply for citizens who are murdered by police officers?

My previous question leads me to my final point. During your address, you referred to growing anti-police prejudice. I am wondering if you have been living under a rock, as there have been issues with trusting law enforcement for decades. Unfortunately, there are many of our citizens that fear our police, and they have reasonable cause to do so! Stories of police corruption and abuse of power are not new in our culture. Did you suddenly forget about Los Angeles in the early 1990s? What about our history of over-incarceration of people of color? Were these issues just unfortunate occurrences? More likely, these are very real problems that need to be addressed in our country.

Your speech on Tuesday would indicate that you are ignoring facts and larger issues in order to promote your personal agenda of improving your (falling) ratings. Using stories of fallen police officers to strengthen your base is politicizing an issue that has deep roots in our nation, and playing upon deep-seeded emotions. It’s shameful and disrespectful to our officers who DO work so hard to protect the common good of our nation’s populace.

Quit grandstanding. Stop performing. Come back down to the ground, and address the real issues in our society. You talk way too much without having any kind of knowledge of, or solutions for, our true problems. If you want police to be respected as a whole, look at ways that departments can foster relationships and earn trust. Many of them already do, and they haven’t needed your hollow words to do so. These police departments recognize the issues that you continue to ignore, and seek to mend the divisions in our society that you continue to promote.




Day 481 – Letter to Congress: Context, Perspective and the Real World (With Some Wisdom From Bob Dylan Thrown In).

Day 481 – Letter to Congress: Context, Perspective and the Real World (With Some Wisdom From Bob Dylan Thrown In).

Image from SnapGalleries

Dear Senators and Congressmen,

The District of Columbia, where you all spend some of your “working,” time has been described, with varying degrees of cynicism, as “100 square miles surrounded by reality.” Just  in case you hadn’t noticed, those of us who are required by life’s odd little circumstance (like not having rich mega-donors to supplement our meagre incomes) to live in the real world are becoming a trifle tetchy about the way things are running there in the political version of La-La Land.

Why, you may wonder is this the case. It’s easy – I mean really easy – to put the blame on the orange hairball in the White House and the collection of moss, cat litter and possum excreta he has assembled as an administration. However, those of us of an age fortunate enough to have had an eighth-grade civics class remember there are three branches of our government, which are designed to provide checks and balances to combat the excesses of the others. That is the context we are working from.

Now for the perspective. News Flash: you honorable ladies and gentlemen of the Senate and Congress are missing in action. I primarily fault the Republicans, but too many Democrats fall into this category also. Depending on whose polling you read, your approval rates are somewhere between 10% and 17%. This is ridiculous.

With the extreme narcissism and lack of ability the president displays as a regular habit, it becomes more and more of a necessity for the Legislative branch to start checking and balancing the Executive, reminding him of who truly elected him and why. And yes, it would probably be a good idea for all of you to do a bit of soul-searching in that area also. The real world, ladies and gentlemen, the one which the majority of Americans are of necessity living in, simply does not work the way you in D.C. would wish. Here, people are struggling to make ends meet. Hell, a lot of us are struggling just to find those ends.

The American people – citizens or not – deserve, by birthright, to be able to provide decent food and shelter for our families, to guarantee our children a decent education, college included. We deserve safe roads, bridges and clean water and power supplies.

We deserve to have wages that keep our children, elders, and infirm from living in poverty. We deserve health care for all, which is not governed by greed and excess profit motives, and which allows a level of health security at least equal to the rest of the developed world.

We deserve the opportunity to go to school, church, a concert or theater without worrying about being shot by a piece of ordinance deigned to fight wars. We deserve the absolute right to life, and not worry about being killed or otherwise hated because of the color of our skin or the religion (or lack thereof) we choose to practice.

Ladies and Gentlemen of Congress, the fact that we don’t have most of these things right now and are experiencing some of the toughest times America has had is, in the largest part, on you! It is far past time for the Legislative branch to start flexing its muscles, put steel in your spines, or whatever cliché moves you, and do what’s right and  proper for our country.

There are elections coming up. The days of reckoning are at hand. As Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan said,

“Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin’.
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’.”





Day 480 – Don’t Forget to Show Love, Mr. President. Words of Advice from a Four-Year-Old Superhero.

Day 480 – Don’t Forget to Show Love, Mr. President. Words of Advice from a Four-Year-Old Superhero.

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Mr. President,

My message to you this Monday is simple: watch this video.

Austin Perine reminds us all just what it means to be human. Is this simplistic? Yes, but that is exactly the point. When you see someone in need, help. When you see someone hurting, help. When you have the means to help, help.

This small child is not out for political gain or money or extra credit. Austin wants to feed the homeless because he knows it is the human thing to do. He is right. This four year old boy has already realized what it means to be a part of a society, part of humanity.

The beauty too is that since Austin was featured on the news, his mission has taken off. The power of the positive is contagious. Perhaps you could even help Austin on his GoFundMe page.

Austin Perine is a superhero. I hope that you, Mr. President, can follow in the footsteps of this future president.

Don’t forget to show love.






Day 479 – Letter to Moms: The Kids Are All Right

Day 479 – Letter to Moms: The Kids Are All Right

Dear Moms,

My life as a mid-level communications professional in Washington, DC requires that I stay connected. I read the news daily. I get alerts on my phone about everything going on in our nation’s capital and around the world. I have many, many conversations about matters of national security, immigration, diversity, health care and many other topics I find important. Sometimes I think I have the answers. Sometimes I know I don’t and I’m daunted by the complexities of it all. From 9-5 my mind is churning with these thoughts.

When I’m not at work thinking about how to fix literally everything, I am with my two kids under 6. I make a concerted effort to put serious world concerns out of my head when I am with them. My kids deserve, I think, my attention, my patience, and my most positive self. All this time, I was trying to provide a positive space and energy for them. But guess what: they are the source of my positive energy, my happiness, and my hope. They are not the beneficiaries but the creators. And you know what? We’re all going to be all right. I’m not talking about just my kids, either. Kids everywhere are on fire for love and justice. It is amazing.

Here are a few things I have observed recently:

  1. Young kids marching on Washington for gun control.
  2. A neurotypical kid being kind, un-prodded by his parents, to a child with Down’s Syndrome.
  3. A 5 year-old who insisted on hugging his brother goodbye before a one-hour gymnastics class, in case he got lonely.
  4. My (white, Christian) children playing with their Jewish, Black, and Egyptian (just to name a few) friends at school.

Every time I look closely at them, my kids teach me something. And it turns out they, not even in Elementary School, have already surpassed me in compassion and wisdom. They are all right. The world will be in good hands. We are going to be all right.

Happy Mother’s Day.



Day 478 – Letter to All: A Poem on Longing for America

Day 478 – Letter to All: A Poem on Longing for America

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Longing for America

I long for a leader who inspires and nourishes my soul:

For public words richly melting in my mind as I savor each nuance of thought;

For sparkling phrases confirming human dignity and rejoicing in hope.


I long to escape the president’s relentless throbbing blackness:

The spewing of torrents of pain through pitiable calls for attention;

To find cover from the tidal wave of his insatiable greed.


I long for a leader strong enough to confront tyranny and to protect the weak;

Smart enough to embrace the power of commitment to our ideals,

Open to the world, with a sense of wonder for the miracles around us.


I long to see giants of character rise up in the Chambers of Congress;

Embracing the decency of our citizens, striding across the mall to proclaim fidelity to their oaths “to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies

foreign and domestic”.


Oh, how I long to end the hypocrisy, dis-infect the lies, and shine in the light;

To confront the greed, the graft, the grifters, and the mobsters,

To restore the honor of the domestic peace keepers as defenders of the public.

To wash away the sleaze, and the chaos, and the pervasive decay of corruption.


I long to sleep again, secure in freedom, watching humanity march toward justice.

Marveling in the products of science, technology, and literature – the mosaic of intellect creating a better world for everyone.


I long for a President who treats our friends with respect and our adversaries with strength.

A mature, secure, leader who gives his word, honors his office, and holds both sacred.

I want to be proud of the United States again.


I long to know if we will defy human history.  If democracy will survive this assault.

If we can rejoice in God’s many paths to truth, in the strengths of men and women, and the infinite variety of human experience.


I long for a leader, a good leader, a smart leader, an educated leader. I long to witness courage, and character, principled discussion, and compassion.


I long for the day our nation’s leadership is restored.

I long for democracy and America.









Day 477 – Letter to Republican Lawmakers: Forced Labor for Immigrant Detainees and Lost Immigrant Children. Way to Make America Inhumane Again.

Day 477 – Letter to Republican Lawmakers: Forced Labor for Immigrant Detainees and Lost Immigrant Children. Way to Make America Inhumane Again.

Image from New York Times

Dear Republican Lawmakers,

You are aiding and abetting a monstrous variety of inhumane policies.

Let’s start with immigrant detainees, forced to work for $1 a day by private prisons such as the GEO Group and CoreCivic. These are human beings convicted of no crime, coerced to work for pennies an hour so that companies can line their pockets with the $160 a day our government pays them to house these detainees. And eighteen Republican lawmakers have gone out of their way to stamp their approval on this policy.

Jeff Sessions promises more of the same, with the added inhumanity of promising to separate children from their families if they are caught at the border. These children will be turned over to the Department of Health and Human Services, the department that recently admitted to losing track of nearly 1,500 migrant children it had placed with sponsors. We know of one case two years ago where HHS placed migrant children with “sponsors” who turned out to be human traffickers, and they still have not put in place new guidelines to prevent this from happening.

So this is who we are as a nation. We take adults who cross our borders and treat them as slaves without even bothering to prosecute them. If they have children, we take them away and don’t even have the due diligence to make sure they end up with relatives or responsible adults as opposed to human traffickers.

Perhaps before you throw your support behind stricter enforcement of a border that is already seeing fewer illegal crossings than in recent years, you should make sure that we are treating people humanely.



Day 476 – Letter to Fellow Citizens: The Rot Runs Deep.

Day 476 – Letter to Fellow Citizens: The Rot Runs Deep.

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My fellow citizens,

Trump is nothing but a scab on a deep, putrid wound that is the American republic.  We drifted far from our Constitutional moorings long ago.  The drift has been swift at times and barely perceptible at others, but often linked to whatever existential crisis/threat we were led, as a nation, to fear – e.g., newly freed slaves after the war and free blacks right up until today; immigrants, from Italians and Irish to Mexicans; Socialists and then Communists; hippies to terrorists; and always the other.

And we spend endless hours on Stormy Daniels and Trump’s sleazy payoff.

Our nation has killed from Central America and the Philippines to Syria today.  The president can order drone strikes anywhere in the world and order the killing of any human being, including American citizens without regard to the legality.  We’ve been at constant war since 2001 without a declaration from Congress.  We have nuclear weapons and pledged to spend trillions more to update them, but we’re willing to bomb countries to prevent them from acquiring them, so we can maintain our advantage.  They no longer insure our freedom – if they ever did; they are but the biggest weapons in our arsenal of destruction.

And we spend endless hours thinking it makes a difference if we elect a Democrat instead of a Republican.

We spy, we torture and we ignore the rule of law whenever it suits us.  We surveil and jail our citizens, shoot the black ones and protect the murderers behind the fictitious shield of governmental immunity.  We’re searched without regard to the 4th Amendment.  We are told where and when it’s okay to protest and neuter the 1st Amendment.  We sanctify the 2nd Amendment to justify the presence of killing machines in the hands of whoever wants them for whatever purpose.  Our rights are being stripped away with each passing day.

And we spend endless hours having Congressional inquiries about Facebook and fake news.

Students are subjected to body searches, searches of their cell phones, searches of their lockers and drug dogs are brought in.  Zero tolerance is the rule in and out of school.  We allow cops to use asset forfeiture to illegally appropriate hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars even when no crime is ever proved and excess military equipment is provided to police forces just for asking.

And we spend endless hours on mindless twaddle and Nazis in the streets.

Millions are spent each year lobbying Congress.  Money is free speech, and corporations are the same as people.  Millions are spent on covert wars and actions to destabilize governments and elections around the globe.  We have supported and continue to support dictatorships across the globe, especially if they protect “our interests”, which usually translates into corporate interests.

And we spend endless hours talking about Russian influence of our elections.

We have become a Nation of Jailers just as Hunter S. Thompson said, but ironically too, a Nation of Jailed.  The Constitutional Rubicon has been crossed.  We are a democracy in name only.  Our laws – the ones that aren’t twisted and corrupted – are unequally applied and of no significance against the powers that be.  Most, if not all, of our Presidents since 1940 have been war criminals.  Dick Cheney is still advocating the return to torture and black-sites.  The current nominee for the CIA can’t answer whether torture is immoral or not.  We lock up nuns and pacifists protesting nuclear weapons.  We drive people like Snowden and Assange to seek the shelter of other countries when we should be giving them parades.  We vilify leakers and yet allow Sarah Huckabee Sanders to lie daily – and Trump too for that matter.  We have just about destroyed the press in this country – instead we have Fox News, MSNBC, CNN and any number of talking pundits that thrive on the cheap and easy vapid news cycle while ignoring the real rot.  We are but a shell of what once was.  A facade of freedom.  We are no longer that shining beacon on the hill, but the evil eye of Mordor.

And we reelect over 90% of Congress every cycle.

I’m not hopeful for the reasons that the game is rigged and we’re too focused on the wrong things.  Further, significant numbers of Americans support many of the things I’ve laid out.  So long as the system stands and we try to stay within the system, the system wins – it always has.  As the saying goes, never bet against the house, especially the White House.  So long as substantial numbers of Americans support what’s done in their name (Trump has a 44% approval rating), I am not hopeful.  I don’t discount the fervor we’ve seen and the collective action.  I believe in many of the causes people are protesting and trying to influence.  But, the rot goes deeper.  No matter how many of those things we change, it doesn’t address the real problem.  Thing is, we’ve been fooled again and again; Red or Blue doesn’t matter.  As the Who sang:  “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

If we want to Make America Great Again, we must tear it down and rebuild.



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