TAKE OUT “Executive” ORDERS

The Limited Intelligence of Our Leader

An obsession with alien lifeforms was a hallmark of American cinema in the 1950s and 60s. The topic of Unidentified Flying Objects, UFOs, filled many hours of late-night TV in that era. The infamous line “Take me to your leader” was used in movies, television shows and cartoons as the first words spoken by creatures from another planet who landed on Earth, but where did that line come from? Some believe it originated in an iconic 1953 cartoon created by Alex Graham in The New Yorker magazine, in which two aliens, their flying saucer parked nearby, stand in front of a horse with the cartoon’s caption reading, “Kindly take us to your President!”

The case of mistaken identity and the twist that intelligent life from a place “where man has never gone before” do not know that humans are the dominant life forms on Earth is funny. One would assume the leader of any planet or country would be intelligent, knowledgeable and worthy of that position. That’s a bad assumption. As proof, just look at President Donald Trump. If they flew out of our skies today, aliens would probably be better off talking to the horse, or they could spin the horse around to talk directly to the horse’s ass.

It’s unlikely that illiterate Donald Trump wrote any of the more than 160 Executive Orders he has signed while in office, but someone had that job. For each one, they probably listened to one of his long rants, took notes, then put those random, stream-of-conscious thoughts into a readable form. Perhaps there is a single person who oversees all of those White House rewrites, but let’s take a close look at Executive Order #139256, signed on June 16, 2020, and what it really says.

The order has a good start with some worthy ideas. This line caught my eye, “By working directly with their communities, law enforcement officers can help foster a safe environment where we all can prosper.” Who can argue with that? And as much as I hate the word “redouble,” the order goes on to say, “Particularly in African-American communities, we must redouble our efforts as a Nation to swiftly address instances of misconduct.”

The notion of certifying and credentialing police departments and their officers is a great idea. The order goes on to say, “…allow for the identification and correction of internal deficiencies before those deficiencies result in injury to the public or to law enforcement officers.” I assume this means find bad cops and get them off the force. This reform deals with law enforcement, meaning the Attorney General has most of the power in the equation. In fact, the A.G. could stop funding any police department or city he or she deemed disqualified.

Let’s now talk about “chokeholds.” This term has recently become so pervasive that it is no longer hyphenated. The order says, “the State or local law enforcement agency’s use-of-force policies prohibit the use of chokeholds — a physical maneuver that restricts an individual’s ability to breathe for the purposes of incapacitation — except in those situations where the use of deadly force is allowed by law.” Someone at the Justice Department will have to spend a lot of time reviewing the laws in every state and city. You see, a local law could be written to allow “chokeholds” and the executive order discussed here would not apply. Don’t beat up Trump. He never read the order; he just signed it. It’s customary that the US states have rights over their own laws, not the federal government. Still, we should be calling Trump out about the words, under which, he signed his name.

Trump tells us that chokeholds can be used “when an officer’s life is in danger,” but that is not in the order. The words “race,” “racism,” “systemic racism,” “violence,” and “brutality” do not appear in the text, either. There’s a liberal sprinkling of soft words and phrases, such as the line that the A.G. is to “encourage” police departments to share instances of excessive use of force with other law enforcement agencies and departments. It doesn’t say must; it only says “encourage.”

The order also states, “The Attorney General shall take appropriate steps to ensure that the information in the database consists only of instances in which law enforcement officers were afforded fair process.” Please forgive me if I am sounding like a first-year law student, but that line indicates that the case of an officer shooting an unarmed man at the Wendy’s in Atlanta, would NOT be in the database. After watching the video of that incident, the department fired the officer. Did his removal involve any “due process?” If the person controlling the database feels like an officer was treated “unfairly,” their misdeeds could be ignored.

The order outlines a need for mental health and addiction counseling, but why should the A.G., the national head of law enforcement, be involved with the social services organization of a state, county or city? Why do we think that the Justice Department should oversee a concept they have never promoted over the decades?

The document also talks about the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, an office of 25 people that is supposed to help the President with domestic policy matters, excluding economic matters. Joe Grogan, was recently replaced by Brooke Rollins as the Director of the Domestic Policy Council, and she is known as an advocate of criminal justice reform. The order, like most, also adds the standard formatic language that asks Congress to write this into real law, which begs the question, what is an executive order?

The legalese goes this way, Provided the order has a solid basis either in the Constitution, and the powers it vests in the president, as head of state, head of the executive branch and commander in chief of the nation’s armed forces, in laws passed by Congress, an executive order has the force of law.” Smart presidents make sure their order writers provide a certain number of escape hatches, so that the order doesn’t get tied up in lawsuits and legal actions.

An executive order is not necessarily a bad thing. It turns the legal gears faster than the arduous process of Congressional law making, but it’s always important to read the fine print. Executive Order #139256 is not a bad start, but it’s only a start and everyone knows it. The Senate is working on a new bill and we will see what happens.

For now, this order would have been much better if it didn’t include Trump’s political mudslinging and misinformation. He’s not saying in firm and indisputable language that he’s against rogue cops. This order is something he felt he needed to help himself. It wasn’t more than 8 hours before Trump was on TV introducing negative sentiments toward the victim in the Atlanta shooting. He never thought of an executive order on the subject until the protesters took to the streets. This was NOT his idea. His poll numbers are terrible, and this is his way of trying to seem legit. He’s not. Trump remains a PHONY FAKER.

If you read this book, you can see why all this happened to us.

The book that tells it like it is…

Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs: If you only read one chapter of this book, try “Take a Knee for America” and think about our never-ending conflicts between minorities and the police. I’m not asking you to take a stand but having a deep and honest conversation about why some people think the way they do would be productive. This is a book for the moment which seeks to start a conservation about peace. And if you are worried about social media, you really should check out the chapter called “Social Media Menace.”

Get the Kindle Version HERE. Or order your paperback edition HERE.

COPS, ROBBERS, RADICALS & REFORM

Trump Chokes Democracy with Buzz Words and Inaction

Yes, we need police protection at times, but we also have solid rights of “due process” and justice. This implies fair treatment through the judicial system, especially with respect to those laws that protect every citizen’s entitlement. One could fill many football fields with documents showing malfeasance and violations of proper police policies throughout US history.

Some will say that a reasonable amount of fear of the police deters violence and crime. That’s a sad commentary and, judging by American crime statistics, that supposed remedy isn’t working. People steal because of the challenge, thrill and reward of taking things that don’t belong to them. People commit violent crimes and destroy property because they are angry or have some deep-seated mental problems. The physiological make up of every person is unique, but why are we having problems with the police, now?

Trump thinks the police will protect him. He believes that all police, because they have what appears to be unchecked power, think like him, and are therefore loyal to his arcane expression of “law and order.” Trump is simply not very aware. There are Democratic, Republican and Independent policemen and policewomen and most know the difference between right and wrong.

The calls to end systemic racism in police departments were slammed by Attorney General William Barr’s denial of the existence of police systemic racism. What most of these tough guy politicians can’t grasp is that the word, “systemic” doesn’t mean all cops are racists. When you focus on the police and the policies they use on the street, it’s clear that people of color receive more deadly force from the cops than white folk. If you think African Americans are more likely to commit crimes, shouldn’t we spend more time trying to figure why instead of filling up our jails and prisons?

Consider these stats from PrisonPolicy.org. Ten years ago, there were 2,306 African Americans per 100,000 citizens incarcerated, while only 450 Caucasian, non-Latino citizens were jailed out of 100,000. There is some evidence that African American sentences have gone down since 2016, but the decreases are not particularly remarkable.

It’s interesting to note that most of those in Federal prisons have been convicted of activities involving illegal substances. Drug addiction and associative crimes are caused by another aspect of society, but we do not prioritize funding and professional solutions for that obstacle. Cops have their hands full, but the solution cannot be kneeling on the necks of people of color. Why is it okay to shoot and kill an unarmed man because he was drunk and asleep at a Wendy’s? They should have focused on getting him off the road and back home. How did we ever get this far? Let me tell you.

The national law enforcement website says there are more than 800,000 sworn law enforcement officers now serving in the United States, which is the highest figure ever. Perhaps we have too many cops. The site also points out that a total of 1,627 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty during the past 10 years, which is an average of one death every 54 hours or 163 per year. Law enforcement is not an easy job. The plain truth is police work is damn dangerous, but we’ve got to get better on both sides of the thin blue line.

12% of those 800,000 US officers are women. The annual salary of an average female officer is $61,850, while the average male officer receives $70,272 per year. This is not systemic racism, but one could argue that it’s systemic discrimination. This brings us to the assumption that if we had more African American police officers, we would have less racism in those agencies. According to Governing.com, the black police officer percentage in Minneapolis is 8.8%, while the African American population of the city is 17.7%. Sadly, those figures do not stop bad things from happening and in the case of George Floyd not all the officers were white, yet Floyd was still murdered.

What is systemic in all US police departments is a codified law called “qualified immunity.” Now here’s a real bag of worms. Qualified immunity is a judicially created doctrine that shields government officials from being held personally liable for constitutional violations, such as the right to be free from excessive police force. So long as officials do not violate any “clearly established” law, a suit requiring the payment of money cannot be brought against them. Just reading this stuff should make your brain explode. You mean to tell me that someone wrote a law shielding a government official or employee from legal action if they violate my constitutional right? Why? What are those “clearly established laws” mentioned above? Where does it say that a group of cops can hold an unarmed person on the ground and kneel on his neck until he dies? The police officers involved have been arrested and charged, but how many times have similar actions been swept under the rug? Qualified immunity should be eliminated.

There is another aspect of police reform that must be reviewed and evaluated. It’s called Consent Decree, and It’s one of the more intrusive forms of court interventions. A consent decree entails a settlement agreement filed in federal court between plaintiffs and the local government agency in charge of the police. Typically, a consent decrees is overseen by a judge, who can legally enforce its provisions. A consent decree is intended to promote police department integrity and prevent conduct that deprives individuals of Constitutional rights, privileges and immunities. The reality is consent decrees have not worked and they should be abolished. Police departments have been hiding behind them for years.

Today (6-16-2020), once again, President Donald Trump used police brutality and the death of African American men and women as a prop in his quest to maintain his image of a “Law & Order President” and get re-elected. While his speech had little to do with order, it does outlaw “chokeholds” unless, as Trump said, “an officer’s life is threatened,” which is an excuse often used in investigations. Why is that exemption there? The executive order also establishes a national database of abusive police personnel. Could a national gun ownership database be far behind? Fat chance!

During his Rose Garden speech, the Donald attempted to promote all the “great things” he’s done for minority communities, but went over the line when he claimed that “school choice,” a legal form of segregation, is the greatest civil rights movement of today. WHAT? The greatest, immediate civil rights challenge is how minorities are being treated by the police. This president is more than tone deaf, he’s a vegetable, a rotten, smelly cabbage patch doll.

Trump spent less time in his speech talking about the hurt, the pain and the racial injustice that has occurred, than he did putting down previous administrations and gushing his love for the police. They don’t need love right now; they need review, reform and forgiveness. They must stop killing people to solve domestic disturbances. The world is watching. We all have video cameras and we will document when police departments deprive our rights and privileges. You are on notice, Mr. President.

Trump’s lack of empathy is notoriously lame and disheartening to anyone who has suffered unfair treatment by the police. People of color, please remember that Donald Trump is not your friend and you need to help us get rid of this superficial bureaucratic bullshit artist. His art is ugly and his mind is unqualified to lead.

If you read this book, you can see why all this happened to us.

The book that tells it like it is…

Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs If you only read one chapter of this book, it’s called, Take a Knee for America and thought about this never-ending conflict between minorities and the police. It’s not really taking a stand I’m asking you to do, but having a real frank conversation about why some people think they way they do would be productive right now. It’s a book for the moment and starts the conservation of peace. And if you are worried about social media, check out the chapter called Social Media Menace.

Get the Kindle Version HERE. Or order your paperback edition HERE.

WAKE UP AND GO TO SLEEP

Brave New Trump, Just Ignore Problems

There was a running routine in the Three Stooges comedy movies in which the three men were in a small bed together attempting to sleep. Brother Larry Fine was snoring loudly which motivated brother Moe, the antagonist, to slap him and use this ironic line, “Wake up and go to sleep!” America is in this place right now, and the adversary in our current story is the President of the United States.

Donald Trump attempts to be the president he has defined as “normal,” but his actions fail to mirror any reasonable or customary expectations. When one says to me that I should respect the office of the presidency, that doesn’t mean I have to award the current resident of the White House deference he hasn’t earned. After reviewing his hundreds of actions, thousands of comments and stacks of executive orders, I have no reverence for Donald Trump’s administration. To the contrary, I disagree with 99.999% of all he’s done.

When the COVID-19 global pandemic appeared, Trump was faced with something he claimed had totally taken him by surprise. It didn’t take medical professionals and scientists by surprise; they knew the facts and even authored papers about it. Because Trump decided the pandemic would never be a problem, his administration expelled many experts who could have helped him and us with competent public health decisions.

It’s too bad Trump didn’t bother to surf the internet. Had he done so he might have learned about the ongoing struggle between man and virus. If Trump just looked at Wikipedia he would have seen this. During Donald Trump’s time in office, the world has suffered through Dengue fever in Pakistan, Gorakhpur encephalitis, the 2017 flu, the Nipah virus outbreak, the Kivu Ebola epidemic and measles eruptions in the Congo, New Zealand and the Philippines. There have been Kuala Koh, Samoa measles and then, the big one, COVID-19. The slowness in Donald Trump’s action and the overly naïve way he downplayed the reality of this virus led to more disease and death than was necessary. It’s Trump’s fault that we have had unnecessary death.

Trump made a Faustian bargain and sold his soul to the greed and money devil. Simply put, Trump has decided that all we have to do is kill some of our elderly, sick and weak citizens to get the economy moving. He justifies the need to grow the economy through more deaths but, until the man himself gets the virus, he will never take it seriously. I froze when I heard a teenager answering a TV reporter’s question about why he wasn’t wearing a mask. “Why should I wear a mask, the President doesn’t wear one.” That’s when I understood this whole human kindness thing was over and that Trump’s words and lack of action on this one aspect of the pandemic was utterly hurtful and stupid, I cannot scream this loudly enough.

You don’t stop someone’s snoring by slapping them awake then telling them to go back to sleep. They will eventually slip into a deeper state and begin snoring again. The reason people snore when sleeping is because they aren’t breathing properly. The concept of not being able to breathe has a new, special meaning in America, but it’s just another virus that Trump will deny. He’s incompetent and cannot deal with the racism hurting our country, as evidenced by this comment he made in Dallas last week, “The work of confronting bigotry and prejudice will ‘go quickly and it’ll go very easily.’” The man clearly lacks intelligence. A peace treaty in the Middle East and the eradication of racism in America cannot be fixed by Trump’s magic wand. As for racism, America has known it since 1619, the year the first slave was brought to America from Africa. But let’s get back to our snoring problem.

According to USNews.com, “US Governors across America have eased lockdowns, but a new analysis shows coronavirus cases are rising in nearly half of U.S. states.” The Washington Post reports, “Since the start of June, 14 states and Puerto Rico have recorded their highest seven-day averages of new coronavirus cases since the pandemic began. Those states are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Kentucky, New Mexico, North Carolina, Mississippi, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.” Two big lies are exposed here. One is the half-baked presidential theory that when the temperature goes up the virus will go away, like a “miracle.” The other is the hype and push by Trump to open the country based on his “analysis” of which states could reopen. The Republican governors first carried his water and they are now carrying caskets. Trump’s push to restart the economy has caused the virus to spread faster in many states.

Trump has moved on from the global pandemic and has pushed the COVID-19 Task Force from public view. It has been more than a month since the last nationally televised press conference by this important group. It’s clearly Trump’s way of taking emphasis off healthcare, medicine and virus-fighting in favor of goosing the stock market. Trump dastardly deeds have not only hurt people, they have killed people and, apparently, he has decided it doesn’t matter.

Grasp the gravity of these statistics. The New York Times reports 115,472 people have died from coronavirus in the United States. There have been at least 75,560 cases of coronavirus in Florida and at least 2,930 people have died there. The state of Georgia has seen 54,874 cases of coronavirus with at least 2,416 deaths. There have been at least 35,953 cases of coronavirus in Arizona and at least 1,194 people have died. As of Monday morning, Texas has seen at least 89,542 cases of coronavirus with at least 1,995 people dead. These are the states that followed our inept leader. They reopened early and are now suffering from the weight of Trump’s ignorance. This did not have to happen.

I could go on, but I’m sure you can see the picture. After being taunted by Governors and public healthcare officials, Donald Trump finally told us the global pandemic was going to be bad and that we should all be angry with China for starting it. His vindictiveness was more important to him than strong public health measures. He urged you to follow his White House guidelines, then unilaterally disregarded them, including the need to wear a mask in public. Donald Trump is a denier and that’s dangerous. People are dying. Don’t wake up and then go back to sleep; wake up and stay awake!

Trump seeks the approval of his mysterious base of miscreants and forges that feedback into public policy. Republicans often claim that whistleblowers and other strong voices of dissent are not credible because those folks were not ELECTED. May I remind those right-wing wackos that Supreme Court justices are also not elected, yet they decide how we live our lives under the rule of law. Let’s also remember that Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson were never elected, yet they have a strangely powerful influence over Trump on public policy. Who vetted them?

We will be able to breath better and protect our rights, but to do so we must remove Trump from office.

If you read this book, you can see why all this happened to us.

The book that tells it like it is…

Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs If you only read one chapter of this book, it’s called, Take a Knee for America and thought about this never-ending conflict between minorities and the police. It’s not really taking a stand I’m asking you to do, but having a real frank conversation about why some people think they way they do would be productive right now. It’s a book for the moment and starts the conservation of peace. And if you are worried about social media, check out the chapter called Social Media Menace.

Get the Kindle Version HERE. Or order your paperback edition HERE.

 

PROVOCATION & EXACERBATION

Trump’s Aspirations Are Not America’s Aims

It’s beginning to look like a revolution. In 1968, after meeting with some of the leaders of the student demonstrations against the Vietnam War, John Lennon, wrote a message to them in the lyrics of the song “Revolution.” It wasn’t a simple pop song, it was a missive. One of the lines in the song is, “We all want to change the world, but when you talk about destruction, don’t you know that you can count me out.”

One theory about those lyrics was that Lennon was being careful and didn’t want to send an endorsement of violence. Not only was John Lennon distancing himself and the Beatles from the looting and destruction, but he was also showing disdain for communism with this line, “You tell me it’s the institution, Well, you know, you better free you mind instead, but if you go carrying pictures of chairman Mao, you ain’t going to make it with anyone anyhow.” Perhaps learning the lesson of his statement two years earlier about the Beatles being bigger than God, John Lennon toned down a song about revolution. Really?

In 2020 America, the discussions about police misconduct and systemic racism are forcing fissures and factions. People who have a family member in law enforcement will generally take the cops’ side in these tragedies of misconduct. On the other hand, people are seeing videos, some beautifully captured in high definition, and no longer guessing about what happened; it’s plainly seen in the videos. Of course, there are some less than productive souls who are just sitting around waiting for a chance to break in, loot and burn down businesses to get attention. They may be angry, but they aren’t the majority of those who want justice.

Donald John Trump believes that the best way to make America great is to give his rich friends in the 1% wealth stratosphere more money. He takes care of the millionaires who buy and sell stock and the businesses that admire his antics. Trump has absolutely no idea how hard it is to make a life on minimum wages across multiple jobs. Even good institutions that help society can be castrated by Trump if they do not profusely and publicly adore him. He would rather provoke a response from people via Twitter than talk to them and work on solutions together. Lack of resolution can lead to revolution, so he’s reaped what he sowed.

This president seizes every opportunity to take a stand and blast out his opinion about those acts and incidents which he believes mirror the credos of his base. He does this capricious communication without intelligent discussion or fact-based deliberation. Trump is an exposed nerve with no feelings for the pain of real people and the cancerous problems in front of us. His bullshit “I’m trying to be a cheerleader” excuse for not being straightforward about the facts on COVID-19 hurt and killed people. His blindness on the current rage against the removal of Confederate monuments and renaming military bases is pouring more salt into long-term wounds. He could care less about solving problems and is decidedly more of a political whore than you ever believed. Yeah, me, too.

What is America’s goal? What is the best result from all this contempt? Certainly, we cannot bake out, legislate away or demand that human beings stop being bigoted and racist, but we must understand the causes. Living in the south gives one a perspective on this issue. I have a North Carolina friend who argues that the South won the civil war and his southern comrades were such gentlemen they allowed the North to say they won. Huh? I would suggest that if you ask young people in the south what caused the Civil War, they would claim it was over states’ rights. That’s not the right answer; it was SLAVERY.

African American Slaves

In my book, Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs, I write about how long it took to move the needle of change here in the US. It took 144 years for women to get the right to vote in our country. Why? We had hundreds of years of slavery in North America, while even with the Declaration of Independence it took 87 years to end slavery. Why? The people of 2020 do not have the patience to wait for change. There is something about Trump that keeps the question of equality and justice front and center. One is never sure where he stands with respect to the bright white supremacists who endorse him.

It was never Donald Trump’s goal to bring us all together. He has always been an US and THEM president without a core American value in his body. His only aspiration is making a country where everyone loves him and money flows to him and his rich, elitist friends. He cannot devote himself to analyzing facts. He would rather provoke someone with an outrageous statement or boorish putdown. And so, the cycle continues. The media focuses on Trump’s stupid diversions, which lessens the attention needed to solve our problems. The renaming of military bases is not important. What truly matters is using the power of the Federal government in orders and funding to make law enforcement better.

The aim of America has always been stability. We progress faster and more decisively when we aren’t obsessing about demanding problems. Wars, pandemics and financial recessions steal our attention and slow the processes of government and society. Having two of those things at once is debilitating. I cannot begin to imagine what would happen if Trump was also handed a war right now. But let’s think good thoughts; we have an election in four months.

There’s are lines in the Beatles’ Revolution song that warrant mention here. “You say you’ll change the constitution…We all want to change your head… You tell me it’s the institution…You better free you mind instead.” Yes, we need many Americans to free their minds from the grip of this inept, wannabe dictator and the damage he has brought. Trump supporters frustrate me because they have not figured out how this president has made their lives worse. Can they say they are better off now than they were in 2016? No, they cannot. Trump constantly wails against institutions and has lowered the respect for the very institution he runs, the government. Trump demonstrates that we are not supposed to respect the intelligence community and not to trust the FBI. He’s sold the proposition that all judges are biased, partisan people, but observe the importance of the appointments of “his judges.”

We don’t need destruction, tough cops or a revolution; we just need A BETTER PRESIDENT! The Beatles’ collection of music will be remembered forever, while Trump’s library of lies will eventually be burned to the ground by investigation and truth. As I said before, history will paint a picture that few will be proud of and I, for one, will never whitewash.

If you read this book, you can see why all this happened to us.

The book that tells it like it is…

Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs If you only read one chapter of this book, it’s called, Take a Knee for America and thought about this never-ending conflict between minorities and the police. It’s not really taking a stand I’m asking you to do, but having a real frank conversation about why some people think they way they do would be productive right now. It’s a book for the moment and starts the conservation of peace. And if you are worried about social media, check out the chapter called Social Media Menace.

Get the Kindle Version HERE. Or order your paperback edition HERE.

WHAT IS RACISM REALLY?

Harmful Warnings, Witch Hunts & Hoaxes

I have always loved words. From the moment they taught me “Dick” and “Jane” in first grade, collections of letters into words, words into sentences and sentences into paragraphs have always fascinated me. In any language, the meanings are propelled by how those words are spoken. From facial expressions to inflections to volume, we take more than a modicum of meaning from sounds.

How many times has Donald Trump said something and within the hour, his staff had to “clarify” or “explain” what he “really” meant? It’s too easy for me to say. He’s a lousy communicator, yet, people believe him. When Republican Senators and Representatives in Congress run away from reporters, so they don’t have to answer a question about what Trump said about racism, what they are really saying is Trump’s tweets aren’t important to them. REALLY? He’s their party leader.

Most intelligent politicians openly condemn racism, but now run away from the truth and  don’t want to comment on how Trump handles the subject. They are more afraid of Donald Trump than the COVID-19 virus. Sure, Trump says OPEN, and they say NOW! What a foolish set of self-absorbed careless money grabbing grifters. Stronger description to follow.

What is Racism? First, you must decide where you belong. According to the anthropologist Carleton S. Coon, humans are a member of one of these five: Negroid (Black), Australoid (Australian Aborigine and Papuan), Capoid (Bushmen/Hottentots), Mongoloid (Oriental/Amerindian) or Caucasoid (White). In America, we focus on our populations of Black, Brown, Asian and White human beings.

Although we are pretty much the same biologically, there are differences in appearance from hair, to eyes, to the color of our skin. The things that might be not be so evident are certain diseases, ailments and disorders, which can be more likely the providence of one race. But as we meld into one human race, those traits can be eradicated by mix race births, medical advancements, better diets and the environment. We are more alike than ever.

Trump mostly focuses on some imaginary voter who he thinks is just like him. During a meeting with faith leaders in Dallas yesterday, Trump warned against labeling “tens of millions of decent Americans as racist or bigots.” Not sure why this was said during a discussion on justice disparities, but Trump’s “causes” here is slightly out of sync with 75% of the citizenry. I am never sure if the Donald really understands complicated words, like racism and bigotry. It’s almost as if he thinks someone has to stick up for white people.

We know a racist is person who holds some prejudice, uses or endorses discrimination, or embraces some antagonism toward someone of a different race. Although they may not admit it, they base their racism on the belief their own race is superior.

Robert Sapolsky

One of my favorite books is Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Stanford University professor Robert M Sapolsky. In his work, Sapolsky cites tests when certain pictures of people of different races were shown to participants. Scientists could see that brain waves reacted to certain races of people doing a variety of activities in the pictures. This kind of “systemic” and biological reaction to how we view people based solely on visual cues and skin color is real. People judge people and their brains react chemically.

One of the most absurd questions TV interviewers keep asking people on camera is, “Do you think there is systemic racism in police departments?” The answer is predictable. If the person is from the Trump administration, they will quickly answer “No!” If you are talking to someone who has been working to end police brutality in America, they will say, “Yes!” You cannot say that racism exists but declare our police departments as NOT systemically racist. People are confusing the meaning of systemic; it doesn’t mean everyone in the department is racist, it means that the system of policing provides a place where racism can grow unchecked. Pretty much what we have. Consider the facts (Stastita.com): “The rate of fatal police shootings among Black Americans was much higher than that for any other ethnicity, standing at 30 fatal shootings per million of the population as of June 2020.”

Trump isn’t trying to protect tens of millions of Americans from a “racist” or “bigot” label, he’s doing a preemptive strike against those who will call him a racist. He’s worried more about what people think about him and refuses to really comprehend the reasons behind inequality. One of the great online reference sites I use is the Urban Dictionary. I go there to decipher not only black culture and speech, but also to pick up on youth patois.

Urban Dictionary says a “witch hunt” is when a person decides to target another person for reasons which may or may not be obvious. It’s when someone decides to undermine and belittle a person. I guess to them, the head witch hunter is Donald Trump. The same site does a good job with racism, “It’s Stupid, we are all amazing so chill.”

Human beings are amazing. The war cry of “Black Lives Matter” mostly bothers people who just might have a little sense of embedded white privilege in them. That slogan has never bothered me, and it’s not because I dismiss the importance of all lives. It’s because I get the deeper meaning of the statement.

When the Selma and Birmingham, Alabama sanitation workers went on strike for better wages in 1968, they held up signs that read, “I AM A MAN.” White people in the south never really understood what they were saying, but it was a brilliant slogan.

In 1787, the US government wanted to determine the percentage of tax each state would pay, a major argument broke out. The 100% WHITE founding fathers argued whether a state’s slave population be considered in the calculation. What they came up with was called the “Three-Fifths Compromise.” It codified into law that a black man was only worth three-fifths of a white man of America. When the African American workers in Alabama marched holding signs that declared, “I AM A MAN” they were not only reacting to the “original sin” of slavery, but also the dehumanizing Three-Fifths Compromise found in Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3 of the United States Constitution. They weren’t just on strike; they were protesting racism.

I feel sorry for Donald Trump. Here’s a man who was born in 1946 but holds the same bigoted attitudes and beliefs of someone from the antebellum south. Trump might see himself as a character in the movie Gone With The Wind, but he fails to see what actually happened then and what is happening now.

In that classic movie, Scarlett O’Hara, played by Vivian Leigh, asks her leading man, Rhett Butler, played by Clark Cable, “Where shall I go?” and Rhett says dramatically, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!” That is why I feel sad and disappointed, because the answer to systemic racism is not to call it a hoax, or witch hunt, but understand how dangerously harmful it is. Part of the First Amendment is my right to call things out. Trump is a bigot and racist. It’s not my fault he doesn’t know it. And would someone in the White House tell him that all those Confederate leaders riding horses on those statues, LOST THE WAR! They are losers, I thought Trump only like winners.

If you read this book, you can see why all this happened to us.

The book that tells it like it is…

Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs If you only read one chapter of this book, it’s called, Take a Knee for America and thought about this never-ending conflict between minorities and the police. It’s not really taking a stand I’m asking you to do, but having a real frank conversation about why some people think they way they do would be productive right now. It’s a book for the moment and starts the conservation of peace. And if you are worried about social media, check out the chapter called Social Media Menace.

Get the Kindle Version HERE. Or order your paperback edition HERE.

RESPECTING THE FLAG

Trump’s Failure to Recognize Human Pain

I love America. Even with all our flaws and family fights, we are united under not so much colors and cloth, but an attitude and culture. Our assertiveness does turn off people from other countries, but when that happens, I just laugh and shake my head at someone who believes speaking loudly to a non-English speaker will make them understand.

I grew up in the sixties and there were some rather radical hippies who decided to burn the American flag in protest of the Vietnam War. I never felt comfortable with that move, but I understood the symbolism.

According to BusinessInsider.com, there’s someone else who thought it was legal to burn the stars and stripes. “The late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia stressed that flag burning is protected by the Constitution — even if he doesn’t think it should be.

In 1989, the Supreme Court handed down a decision in Texas v. Johnson, which found a man named Gregory Lee Johnson had a Constitutional right to burn the American flag during the Republican National Convention.” And I’m sure he could have done it at a Democratic National Convention, by the way.

The confusing message from Donald Trump is that the US flag is so sacred, that anyone who disrespects it, in his mind, is a turncoat. WOW! If the red, white and blue is so important to America, why is Trump protecting Confederate monuments and thus, the “stars and bars” of the flag of the Confederate States of America? That wasn’t AMERICA! Those who decided to leave the Union were “legally” traitors. Monuments, by their very nature, celebrate heroes and great leaders.

Now, I know all the rebels out there will say it’s “part of our history and heritage” and while that contains some inverted logic, you should ask yourself this question, “Would you build a monument with a slave owner standing over a black man whipping him into submission?” Of course not, but if you were wondering what the result looks like, click here. Sorry, but I wanted you to see it. That is true human pain. Remember, what happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis was worse, he died.

When President Donald Trump brags and boasts he will stand against taking down status of Confederate Generals and famous slave owners, he’s on the wrong side of history. This lack of awareness of the African American experience is shameful. His antithetical response is diabolical coming from the leader of the free world. Honestly, I don’t think he will ever understand what black people have endured and continue to experience. Perhaps we should take a vote of confidence, NOW!

It’s disingenuous for people like Attorney General William Barr to state that bias and prejudice exists in society, then declare with certainty that law enforcement is NOT systemically racist. It’s like what happened in baseball until 1947. African Americans were not allowed to play the national pastime, period. But even when Jackie Robinson took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers, racism didn’t just go away. The man received death threats every year of his career.

Police Departments hire black men and women every day in America, but that doesn’t change the way many go after citizens of color. The one bad apple theory has denial at its core. The best question asked by one of the pundits on TV, why are we using violence against people who the police are accusing of violence? That’s like the father who says, “Stop slapping your sister!” as he is slapping the kid. Hopefully when those kids grow up, they won’t do the same.

When I wrote my book, Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs, we weren’t facing a global pandemic or a racial relations awakening, but there are some essays in the collection that examine areas and policies of American we can improve.

In the chapter titled, American Symbolic Graffiti I wrote, “We have turned our American highway system into a maniacal wall of symbolic graffiti. As you drive from Florida to New York, you will see some people displaying giant Confederate flags. Those jerks are in some confederate mental retardation phase and I wish they would save us all from their racist-driven need to celebrate that dark part of our history. If you want to be clear and honest, why not wave a large flag that says, “BRING BACK SLAVERY!” Sorry, is it too soon?

The “Star and Bars” those folks want to wave is anti-American. They may argue it’s their right, and I can’t make them take it down, but I would like to challenge their little pea brains. Don’t you realize that symbol makes 7,144,530 people or, 12.1%, or more of the US population, feel very uncomfortable? Why would you spend that much money to make people feel awful in their own country? What if someone put up a flag saying, ALL WHITE PEOPLE GO BACK TO EUROPE! How would you feel?”

Brandon, Florida

This matter will not be solved by one blog from one American. I do understand what “white privilege” means and over my 71 years on the planet, I’ve seen some bad moments and heard some terrible words spoken. I was born in the north, but I’ve spent almost half my life in the south — Virginia, Georgia and Florida. When I moved to Florida three years ago and drove down US I75 through a town called Brandon, I saw a giant Confederate flag on the side of the highway. I am sure it’s on someone’s private property, but it’s a disgrace to the town of Brandon and our country.

Here is my message to the citizens of this great country, RESPECT THE FLAG! And the first thing you can do to respect the stars and stripes of the United States of America is to take down all the graven and craven images of the past. It’s not your “heritage and history” as much as disrespect for all those who died protecting this country. Yes, you are showing contempt for the 360,222 men and one brave REPUBLICAN President who lost their lives keeping America, well, American!

I’ve never really understood NASCAR as a sport, but I am extremely proud of the organization and especially driver Bubba Wallace. He stood up and was counted with the millions of Americans who believe we should stop celebrating hate, racism and division. NASCAR banned the display of the Confederate flag, WOW! That is change!

The strange thing about Bubba, my new favorite driver, is that I never knew he was African American. I guess I just assumed that a man wearing a NASCAR uniform would not be black. My bad. I guess we all have a lot to learn. God bless America.

If you read this book, you can see why all this happened to us.

The book that tells it like it is…

Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs If you only read one chapter of this book, it’s called, Take a Knee for America and thought about this never-ending conflict between minorities and the police. It’s not really taking a stand I’m asking you to do, but having a real frank conversation about why some people think they way they do would be productive right now. It’s a book for the moment and starts the conservation of peace. And if you are worried about social media, check out the chapter called Social Media Menace.

Get the Kindle Version HERE. Or order your paperback edition HERE.

DEFUNDING DEMANDS

Turning a Trumpian Weapon on America

No matter what political party people are in, they don’t get it. They are befuddled by the protester’s sign that reads: DEFUND THE POLICE. The unvarnished truth is that people don’t understand words. The first step in true communication is knowing the difference between a verbal trick and nuance. That word started out in Latin word for “cloud” and then moves into French as “to shade” and the English derivative as “a subtle difference in or shade of meaning.” Let me light the way.

About two years ago, I attended a fund raiser for a local botanical garden. I sat next to a genuinely nice and intelligent lady who was a guest of a local lawyer. As the conversation turned to politics, my single malt scotch whiskey started talking and I forcefully answered her question about what I thought of Donald Trump. I clearly barked, “He’s an idiot.” She looked incredibly surprised and said, “No he’s not. He’s a successful businessperson and doing great things for America.” Yes, you guessed it, the rest of the night I avoided talking politics or religion.

The irony of the 42-year-old botanical garden is that recently, the local wealthy Republican controlled government attempted to strip the landmark of its non-profit status. The local council has also blocked a new parking garage from being built, which may force the garden to leave the city limits. Why? Because local governments are not always long-term thinkers. The garden is a civic asset.

Think about it! They fund local schools, police, fire departments, libraries and parks. But while they are mandated to do good things with your tax dollars, they don’t always see the forest from the trees. They will constantly increase the amount of money for police, police stations, military-style equipment, but will cut funding for things like gardens, parks, libraries, homeless shelters, food banks, animal welfare centers and additional mental health personnel in our schools. They have the power to defund any project or organization they see as unnecessary or frivolous.

Oh, there will be hearings, when the citizen taxpayers are given a few minutes to express themselves. But it’s inevitable that only a few people decide how they spend your money. If they are blatantly wrong, you must wait for an election to change them out. What if something is systemically wrong? What if one of the departments was not only wasting money, but was gaming the system so that oversight, review and reform was not possible? My old line, “Too busy to get the job done” applies to this ailment.

Trump has been “very effective” in changing government and one of the arrows in his demented quiver is DEFUNDING. He just goes into the budget of America and says, we don’t need inspectors “for this or that.” He just defunds a department and renders it unworkable. Trump got rid of the team in the White House that was supposed to look out for a global pandemic. He’s been cannibalizing Obamacare from the day he took office. He’s an unworthy caretaker of the Earth who took away all the environmental rules and staff to patrol polluters. He buffoons at the microphone about how we have the cleanest air and purest water. That sounds like an “idiot” to me.

Trump is a tough guy wannabe who thinks the police will defend him if things go horribly wrong. He used to think that about the military, as well, but lately he’s not so sure they are on his side. What I am feeling right now is the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) are merging into an evil cloud over America. Please allow me to expand.

Trump continually brands himself as the “law and order” president. That rhetoric has been used by many local mayors and governors to send a message that they are not going to take any shit from anyone. Okay, but who is the real enemy in this equation? In Trump’s viewpoint, anyone who disagrees with him is the adversary.

With all this crazy stuff with COVID and then the George Floyd disaster, the Donald is staring right into a double-barreled challenge. Unrest is not good. Recent polls show that 80% of the people surveyed think the nation is out of control.

A President is supposed to fix things and bring the country together, not make things worse. The President believes if he just tweets “everything is under control,” everyone will follow him. They won’t. Trump will galvanize the left with this tough talk, while alienating the moderates with his inability to see anything beyond money and his own need for admiration. If I were to march in the street tomorrow, I would he holding a sign DEFUND THE WHITE HOUSE. I don’t want those assholes he’s assembled there deciding what to do with my money.

That brings us to these young kids with their posters saying DEFUND THE POLICE. Most people don’t get it. It’s brilliant. The only thing that gets a politician’s attention is when you threaten to defund one of their pet projects. And the only way to really reform the police departments is to take away the funds, and then, ask the city mothers and fathers to sit down and talk about how to make law enforcement work better. First, get rid of all that military stuff. You don’t need a tank or a rocket launcher in domestic law enforcement unless you are planning to kill us all. And next, why are you killing people who are not involved in violent crime?

There are 17,985 U.S. police agencies in the United States which include City Police Departments, County Sheriff’s offices, State Police/Highway Patrol and Federal Law Enforcement agencies and all those agencies employ about 800,000 policemen and women; 15.5% are African American. We have the most people per capita imprisoned than any country in the world with almost 2.3 million people in 1,719 state prisons, 109 federal prisons, 1,772 juvenile facilities, 3,163 local jails, and 80 Indian Country jails.

It’s a little bit like when they say, “The more testing for COVID-19, the more cases you’ll get.” I say, “The more police you have, the more people you’ll arrest,” and the more people will end up in jail. Don’t get me wrong, we need police, but we need a better system. This is systemic stupidity and failure.

So, first, take the money that’s currently invested into the military-industrial police state and use it to build and run better schools. And let’s teach people to not call 9-11 to report things that are NOT crimes. What a waste of time and money when cops come to help get a cat out of the tree in the front yard. We need more service-oriented people and specific phone numbers for auxiliary services. Let the police do police work. That must be defined during defunding.

Next, stop the iron fisted control of law enforcement by the FOP and bring in total transparency. There should be a national database for all 17,985 police agencies and their personnel so we know who those fucking bad apples are. Stop saying it’s only a few bad apples. Bad apples next to other apples, makes the whole barrel rot. Not only is it a bad metaphor, we saw the other three “good apples” in Minneapolis keep the unarmed black man down until he was dead.

And after defunding your police department, why don’t you re-interview all the officers who want to come back to work. Get to know them and find out what their personnel files really hold. You might be surprised that some of the people on the thin blue line don’t deserve to get their jobs back. And the good apples, bring them back, give them a raise, and count on them to do a good job keeping you safe.

We need to stop listening to the idiot in the White House, who wants to pick fights with professional athletes, movie stars and even NASCAR drivers who will take a knee this time. Trump is on the wrong side of this issue because he cannot read America properly and because he just can’t read. IF THE GOAL OF THOSE PROTESTING THE POLICE WAS TO GET YOUR ATTENTION, THEY GOT YOUR ATTENTION! NOW WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?

If you read this book, you can see why all this happened to us.

The book that tells it like it is…

Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs If you only read one chapter of this book, it’s called, Take a Knee for America and thought about this never-ending conflict between minorities and the police. It’s not really taking a stand I’m asking you to do, but having a real frank conversation about why some people think they way they do would be productive right now. It’s a book for the moment and starts the conservation of peace. And if you are worried about social media, check out the chapter called Social Media Menace.

Get the Kindle Version HERE. Or order your paperback edition HERE.

SICK OF THE LIARS & LUNATICS

The Dream of Life After Donald Trump

For a country that once revolted against a tyrannical King, we certainly seem to be overly obsessed with Donald Trump. Some presidents are boring, I get it, but most of them spent more time working and solving problems than tweeting. For example, a great president like Lincoln never tweeted. But seriously, why all this silliness, diversionary tactics, political hogwash and thousands of blatant lies that hurt people? Our current president embarrasses me.

Trump, being a neophyte to politics and uncaring of federal structure, has no knowledge of simple procedures, policies and people resources of the government. For example, I doubt that the Donald knows there are 9,500 attorneys who work in the Department of Justice. Here is man who can ask for and get any document in the national domain to learn what really happened in any circumstance but would rather ad lib a conspiracy theory that has no merit or truth. He’s too lazy to find the truth. Trump is just some tyro toddler with horrible time-management skills.

Trump has gone through more than 100 people in the administration that he hired, fired and then replaced. It’s all on the record. He got rid of some decent and competent people and replaced them with lousy loyal amateurs. His relentless castration of Attorney General Jeff Sessions for almost two years was a humiliation no American should’ve had to endure. I might not like or agree with Sessions on policies, but rescuing himself was the right, legal and honorable thing to do. After Trump dumped Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, he went on a quest to get a hyper obedient servant for his next power grab.

Who walked in but a guy who knows how Washington works. William Pelham Barr served as the Deputy Attorney General under President George H.W. Bush and wrote the 75 pardons and 3 commutations of Reagan’s men who were convicted in the Iran-Contra Affair. His more recent claim to fame was an opinion paper written and distributed, for a reason that is unclear, which basically laid out the belief the whole Russian investigation was an improper probe and not a legitimate activity of oversight. This is what got Barr the job as the 85th Attorney General of the United States.

After being confirmed, Barr put his mask on. He whitewashed the Mueller Report before it came out and has done everything he can to go after Trump’s “enemies” and political foes. After the slam job he and Rod Rosenstein performed for Trump on the Report, even Robert Mueller was not impressed and wrote him a questioning letter.

William Barr grew up in New York City and attended the same Catholic grade school as George Carlin on the upper westside. I assume he was taught morals at the Corpus Christi School and knows the difference between right and wrong. I assume as a lawyer, he knows not to lie under oath, but he seems to be cleverly deceitful in the way he constructs a half truth. He’s more of an educated liar, where Trump is just a pathological liar.

What I mean by this, if you listen to his words, or better yet, have an exact transcript of his words, you can see how he slightly shifts meanings or places words into the sentence to either give him explanation room later or to cover a big lie on the fly. When asked about systemic racism in the police departments of America, he said, “I think there’s racism in the United States still, but I don’t think that the law enforcement system is systemically racist.See what he did there? He fails to connect the dots that racism is created by people and there could be systemic racism in police departments whether the letter of the law is honest and clear. Most bad officer records of misconduct, because of a demand of the police union are destroyed after resolved. Barr talks more like his opinion is law. It’s not. He is not a judge. He knows he has many law enforcement problems across the nation; that’s why he travels all over country and the world to “straighten things out.”

On CBS TV’s FACE THE NATION, Barr was interviewed by Margaret Brennan and was asked if the president demanded 10,000 active duty troops be ordered into American streets. Barr says, “No, that’s completely false. That’s completely false.” Brennan then repeats, “The president did not demand that?” And then, Barr returns, “No, he did not demand that.” The real question should have been, “Did the President ever suggest he wanted 10,000 troops in every city where there was unrest?” Barr was only confessing that the President never DEMANDED. We have seen this script before, it’s where Trump suggests an idea, and everyone is supposed to just do it. Remember, Trump never said to drink Clorox, he only suggested someone “look into it.” Some stupid people took his word and just drank it.

When Barr was asked by Brennan whether he had given the order to clear the park of peaceful protesters, he kept claiming they were NOT peaceful and kept pointing at what happened days before in the same area. He was judging whether the protesters were peaceful, by his memory of what occurred earlier rather than determining the status of the crowd on Monday. In a court of law, a real judge would laugh at him. On top of it, Barr lied about projectiles being thrown last Monday around dinner time and there’s video to prove it. You know, evidence.

And then, in the most outrageous denial of the interview, after being asked if tear gas was used on the peaceful protesters, he said, “No, there were no chemical irritants. Pepper spray is not a chemical irritant.” He then said, “Pepper balls. Pepper balls.” As the Attorney General of the United States, Mr. Barr should know a bit more about weapons, what they do and whether they are legal to use.

I hate to split hairs here, but I am sure if you were to take hair samples from those who were peacefully protesting in Layette Park on Bible “photo-op” day, you would discover who was telling the truth. Barr admitted that pepper sprays or what some call “pepper balls” were used last Monday. He’s playing a word game and the result is a big freaking lie.

FACTS: Tear gas works by irritating mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, mouth and lungs. With pepper spray (balls, pellets, etc) or oleoresin capsicum, capsaicinoid or OC gas, the onset of symptoms, including loss of motor control, is almost immediate. For those keeping track here, pepper spray can temporarily paralyze the victim. The people in the park were victims and causalities of war.  It’s good that several lawsuits have been filed on this matter. Maybe Barr was just going on TV to get his story straight and everyone else knows what to back up.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE? According to the 1925 Geneva Protocol, the use in war of asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, or bacteriological methods of warfare are prohibited. To be clear, what the police and armed US soldiers did that day is against the law. The question that remains unanswered, WHO GAVE THE ORDER? It’s time for Congress to call those involved, including Barr, to testify under oath as to what really happened. Of course, the Attorney General wouldn’t lie under oath.

Trump said the red line in Syria was chemical weapons, so, why would the President use these chemicals on his own people? He’s not Bashar al-Assad, or is he? The dark hallmark of the Trump White House is when something goes wrong, or appears to be illegal, no one seems to know what happened. I am sick of all the liars and lunatics and cannot wait for normal to come back. I will not back down when the people we pay to serve the nation are not truthful and honest. Barr is just a political operative. I wonder when he became such a big fat liar, or was he always that way?

If you read this book, you can see why all this happened to us.

The book that tells it like it is…

Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs If you only read one chapter of this book, it’s called, Take a Knee for America and thought about this never-ending conflict between minorities and the police. It’s not really taking a stand I’m asking you to do, but having a real frank conversation about why some people think they way they do would be productive right now. It’s a book for the moment and starts the conservation of peace. And if you are worried about social media, check out the chapter called Social Media Menace.

Get the Kindle Version HERE. Or order your paperback edition HERE.

 

 

WHERE DID ALL THE GENERALS GO?

Extracting Self-Esteem from Another’s Valor

My father was a military man. He was a Master Sergeant in the United States Army and served his country during World War II in France and Germany. He didn’t get any medals, but his team rebuilt French and German telephone systems to restore communication.

Valor is a sacred thing. In the USA, we even have a Medal of Valor given by the President to a fighting man or woman who performed “Actions above and beyond the call of duty; and exhibited exceptional courage, extraordinary decisiveness and presence of mind; or an unusual swiftness of action, regardless of his or her personal safety, in an attempt to save or protect human life.” Many of these awards are given to the family of fallen heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice on the battlefield.

I personally appreciate the fact that my father made it home from war. If he would have died in combat, I would not be alive today. I don’t like war. I saw what it did to my father’s nerves. What he saw over there was so heinous, he always kept the pain inside. I am sure he didn’t want me to go to Vietnam and die, but he also was angry with my anti-war stance and political leanings back then. My father died young (65) because of medical problems and there are many conversations I wish would’ve had before he left this world. I also feel sad that none of my kids ever met him.

There is something about rank in the military that means something. Yes, not all great men were elevated to General, but they are the men who make the decisions. And it’s good to mention, that not all Generals are men. There are many female Generals and Admirals in our armed forces, take a look. And now we must turn to Donald Trump.

The current President of the United States attended a military school when he was young, and some say, he was sent there by his father to make him a “man.” Not sure what he was before that, but those school records, like Trump’s tax returns have never been seen. There is no transparency when it comes to how Trump got out of the draft and didn’t serve in Vietnam. Apparently, a doctor, who is no longer with us, wrote a letter describing severe bone spurs in Mr. Trump’s feet. No one has ever seen an x-ray of that deformity, but it certainly saved the Donald from any combat.

During campaigning in 2016, Trump talked a lot about “his Generals” as if he owned them like racehorses. He claims he gave them clever nicknames and talked about how insolvent the pentagon was by perpetrating the lie, “When I took over our military, we did not have ammunition. I was told by a top general, maybe the top of them all, ‘Sir, I’m sorry sir, we don’t have ammunition.’ and I said, I will never let that happen to another president.” There are many levels to that lie, and it might be good to put some facts out here, but it’s clear that many high-ranking members of the military think Trump is unfit for command.

First, a president doesn’t “take over” an army, they are elected to be the Commander in Chief and take an oath to protect and uphold the Constitution. The army isn’t some company that you bought shares in and then “took over.”

Next, for someone who decries the use of unnamed sources in the media, how does he get off quoting an unnamed source when he is the President? Why not name and give your statements and claims more credence? Maybe the sources are not real.

And finally, when was the military of the United States ever OUT OF AMMUNITION? If Trump, with his stale and stupid routine of blaming Obama for everything, ever took the time to research anything, he would see how foolish he appears to those who actually manage the military. We have 6,185 nuclear warheads, some are being taken out of service, a normal procedure, but of the stockpiled warheads, the Pentagon declared in March 2019 that 1,365 are deployed on 656 ICBMs, SLBMs, and strategic bombers. We were never out of ammunition,  but our stockpile of medical equipment was not as well monitored as we learned during this pandemic.

This little white ammunition lie seems to be credited to General James Mattis. This is what Trump said, “You know, when I came here three years ago almost, General Mattis told me, ‘Sir, we’re very low on ammunition.’ I said, ‘That’s a horrible thing to say.’ We were in a position where with a certain country — I won’t say which one — we may have had conflict. And he said to me, ‘Sir, if you could, delay it, because we’re very low on ammunition.’ And I said, ‘I never want to hear that again from another general.’” I might point out, that we spent $611 billion on our military during the Obama administration. The proposed budget for 2020 totals $718 billion, the largest annual amount requested for our military. We were NEVER out of ammo and there is the possibility that “his Generals” were telling him that lie to slow his urge to wage war.

Shortly after being sworn in, Trump boasted that “his generals” were going to keep us so safe, but were they safe in their jobs? A lot of people have left Trump-world, there is even a damn website listing them all. And the big four Generals that the President touted, are gone, including, James Mattis, H.H. McMaster, Michael Flynn and John Kelly. It’s not a big surprise they have turned on him, please, gentlemen, WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG?

Last week James Mattis published an Op-Ed in The Atlantic magazine and wrote he was not pleased with the Trump administration. This confession of sorts came one week after protests were held around the country following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. John Kelly, another of Trump’s Generals, who also served as Chief of Staff said he agreed with Mattis. Quickly the Trump muckrakers and miscreants, led by the head liar, started to discredit, defame and dishonor these men of valor. Trump’s main enabler, Fox News is a disgrace to America.

The Generals in this country may have faced danger in their military careers and they certainly have displayed exceptional courage, extraordinary decisiveness and presence of mind in their duties, but they never wanted to hurt Americans. Trump’s example of courage is not wearing a mask around other people. Even the current Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, declared that it’s not time to use the Insurrection Act of 1897, a legal way to use troops to solve civil unrest.

Military men have two focuses, to protect the Constitution (and the democracy) and American citizens from attacks from foreign enemies. An insurrection is a violent uprising against an authority or government, not people exercising their First Amendment right to protest. We are never going to fix Donald Trump, but we can fix the country. Like being married to an abusive spouse, the first thing is to eliminate the abuser. We know who is abusing his power, and so do all the Generals. They have turned on the man. We all should, too.

If you read this book, you can see why all this happened to us.

The book that tells it like it is…

Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs If you only read one chapter of this book, it’s called, Take a Knee for America and thought about this never-ending conflict between minorities and the police. It’s not really taking a stand I’m asking you to do, but having a real frank conversation about why some people think they way they do would be productive right now. It’s a book for the moment and starts the conservation of peace. And if you are worried about social media, check out the chapter called Social Media Menace.

Get the Kindle Version HERE. Or order your paperback edition HERE.

MANDY’S PRAYER

Daddy’s Mask Request

I want to love my neighbors. I need to believe that we are indeed all in this together, but I am losing faith. The headline today: Dr. Anthony Fauci says Americans who don’t wear masks may propagate the further spread of infection. That is true. When the federal COVID Task Force predicted more than 100,000 deaths, we did get serious for a spell. But now that we are above that number, why relax?

Experts should just say, by not wearing a mask you could kill someone! The numbers are going up in many states. Do we really understand the density of this virus? Sure, leaders don’t want us to panic, but if wearing a mask can help defeat this pandemic sooner, why did we stop?

Trump Refuses Mask

The statement most governors use, “More testing, more cases” should add the warning, “… means more potential spread and fatalities.” All the people who work at our grocery stores are wearing masks, why aren’t all the customers? We don’t need a law or executive order to be good citizens. The fact the top guy doesn’t want to mess up his orange makeup with a mask is ridiculous. Equally absurd was the fact that after the President toured a mask making factory, because he didn’t wear a mask, the masks he came in contact with, had to be thrown away. Wear a mask for America and stay safe.

I have always taught my kids what I thought was right and wrong. I preached that the most dangerous place to walk was a parking lot. They know I have always disliked lying and my lack of tolerance for mean behavior was obvious.

That brings us to a post my daughter Mandy put on her Facebook page. It’s not a prayer, but in a way, it’s a thoughtful message to someone on high and it feels like a prayer. I offer it here:

“Over the course of the last few days, I have thought long and hard about what I wanted to write. I am not political or a deeply religious person, nor am I a judgmental person, but the world is in turmoil right now. People are hurt. People are angry. Everyone has strong opinions one way or the other and we are all looking for some type of answer.

It’s a scary and unpredictable world. One event can change the course of the whole world. We saw it first with the Coronavirus and now with the protests and riots. It’s hard to remember what’s right and what’s wrong because everything has become a little crazy. But I wanted to remind you about the little people in this world.

A child isn’t born to hate or discriminate, they are taught to hate and discriminate. A child isn’t born to love, they are taught to love. A child isn’t born to fear, they are taught to fear. So, please take the time and remember, little eyes see more than you think. Little ears hear everything. Little souls don’t see race or religion. Their developing minds can’t completely comprehend what is going on, but their little hearts can break a thousand times more, if don’t love them right now.

You are being watched and actions will always speak louder than words. In this world, we all want to be heard, to be respected, to be accepted and most importantly to be loved. To achieve these aspects of life, we must be taught. Let us be a good role model for the little ones who don’t understand the confusion, right now.”

Amen, Mandy.

I’m immensely proud of her words. This is a woman who has been working with kids her whole life. She was babysitting children when she was still a child. Think about it, here the kids were, traveling through their lives following a consistent schedule and doing their best to learn and live. Then one day, their whole path was disrupted. What do we say to the children? How many facts do we give them? We don’t want to panic them.

And we don’t need to panic older Americans right now either. Why can’t everyone protect the health of our elders, while protecting the minds of our babies?

We have a lot of work to do in America. We must protect our seniors and most vulnerable. We must take time to smile at our children and give them the attention and love they need. We don’t need politicians to tell us what to believe, we are smarter than that, but we look silly risking people’s lives based on the vanity of one man. Let’s move forward and replace the uncaring with the compassionate. We need to vote out the leaders who don’t listen to science and knowledge. A little common sense right now will heal many our ills. We really do need BEST PEOPLE right now!

If you read this book, you can see why all this happened to us.

The book that tells it like it is…

Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs If you only read one chapter of this book, it’s called, Take a Knee for America and thought about this never-ending conflict between minorities and the police. It’s not really taking a stand I’m asking you to do, but having a real frank conversation about why some people think they way they do would be productive right now. It’s a book for the moment and starts the conservation of peace. And if you are worried about social media, check out the chapter called Social Media Menace.

Get the Kindle Version HERE. Or order your paperback edition HERE.