GUN VIOLENCE IN AMERICA

Trump’s Unsolvable Katrina

We have all heard the banal “thoughts and prayers” utterance so often that what was once a caring response now sounds limp and lifeless.

In an op-ed article called: “We have studied every mass shooting since 1966. Here’s what we’ve learned about the shooters” the writers spell out our challenge. If you didn’t read it, here is a link. If you want to know something about the people who wrote the piece, Jillian Peterson and James Denlsey, check here. I will now cover the major points with comments.

People who have committed mass shootings (using gunfire to wound or kill more than four people in a public place) have common points that we must examine. Many of the perps of these heinous crimes have suffered from trauma or exposure to violence at a young age. They may have experienced parental suicide, physical or sexual abuse, neglect, domestic violence or severe bullying. Each had significant breaking points in the months or weeks leading up to their act and all suffered a perceived grievance either in the workplace or in their personal life. They often study others who have committed these crimes in the past and use the internet seeking comfort and motivation from other like-minded troubled souls. The computers of offenders typically reveal they studied their targets and locations before taking the step. Peterson and Densley point out that 80% of these shooters got their weapons from family members, while the others purchased their guns legally.

The researchers offer solutions. One is making the soft targets less accessible, which to my way of thinking means more security people, more cameras and more invasion of our privacy. But just like we lowered the number of airplane hijackings by well-designed airport security, we are moving toward these kinds of pat downs in our society. We already security check at concerts and sporting events and this seems to keep us safer. Could malls be the next place we must clear a metal detector just to shop?

The writers of the study also say we must better control our weapons. Ahh, doesn’t that mean better and more gun control? Yes it does, and that means a bigger more interactive background check system with a constantly updated database detailing every purchase, even sales at gun shows. You know, like the databases used for drug purchases. I cannot fill the same prescription at two different pharmacies.

Another of their suggestions was making it harder for the damaged to acquire validation for their planned actions. This directly slams into the First Amendment protections of the Constitution. Are we really going to babysit the internet and engage in moderation or censorship, attempting to protect the frail minds of malcontents wanting to commit mass murder? On the surface it sounds like a good idea, but when our superficial president blames the internet, violent videogames and movies for the violence in our society, shouldn’t we censor him from promoting violence and hate at his rallies? Why does he get to censor when no one analyzes or edits him?

Remember, Donald Trump has said that he would like someone to punch a protester at his rally and even volunteered that he would pay the legal bills. What is the difference between Donald Trump and some asshole using the internet to put down immigrants and retweet Trump’s “invasion” theories about those seeking asylum? You see, Trump is the source of the echo chamber of hate. He retweets conspiracy theories that could promote violent actions against certain people. In fact, the Hillary Clinton pizza shop sex trafficking conspiracy lead to an armed assault to liberate the Washington, DC pizza joint. The Trump campaign promoted these hoaxes to get elected. Isn’t it ironic that a friend of Donald Trump, Jeffrey Epstein, was allegedly involved in sex trafficking?

Now, the same propaganda machine is promoting a theory that Bill Clinton killed Jeffrey Epstein AND TRUMP RETWEETED the message, aiding and abetting the volatile firebombing radical right winged messengers. Trump constantly sides with those who promote harm. When someone violates Tweeter policies and is taken down, Trump attacks Twitter… ON TWITTER! This is crazy. Now Trump is ordering the Federal Communication Commission to police public media, which puts us in dangerous waters. No matter which party is in power, censorship is UNAMERICAN.

If we need more control over sick minds, who will determine which of us are sick and who will treat the mentally troubled? If mental illness is the real “demon” here, then why did the government cut the CDC’s funding of gun violence research? And why do we spend most of our annual budget on military might and ammunitions? We spend more than $700 billion on tanks, guns and weapons of mass destruction, yet we are totally blind when it comes to healthcare, mental health and real threats within our borders?

Thousands of journalists, pundits and writers are publicly analyzing Donald Trump’s mental well-being and capacities. Some believe he has several serious impairments. This is no longer a joke. This President seems to side with Kim Jong-Un about whether he can violate UN policies of missile testing. Why?

Trump usually does the opposite of what he preaches. After meeting with the Governor of Alaska, Trump ordered the EPA to take away a law that protected the salmon runs from mining pollution. Trump didn’t drain the swamp; he is the swamp. I guess I won’t be eating Alaskan salmon.

Trump has a gun and arsenal and shows evidence that he is a danger to the entire world. If the “red flag” law passes on the federal level, a crafty legal scholar could use the same law to take away the Donald’s guns. And the FCC could ban him from the internet. The very legal bodies Trump uses to do his bidding and censoring could turn on him and spay this mentally ill dictator. Wouldn’t that be an interesting turn of events?

Here’s a simple formula. If you want to get rid of gun violence, get rid of the guns. If you want to get rid of stupid people saying stupid things on social media, get rid of social media. And if you want to get rid of hate, send Trump back to New York. But consider this, dear reader. When Trump is gone from Washington, hate, violence and white supremacy will not end. It’s all much bigger than Trump. Once Trump returns to the comfort of his black, evil tower of steel in New York City, we will still have to deal with the social contagions and desperate people doing heinous things. Trump and many of his appointees are the germinators of hate. They should be punished and removed ASAP!

Read About The Country We Love

The book that tells it like it is…

Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs shows how we’ve wasted our GOLD on bad wars and corruption. While GOD is there for many people as a spiritual enrichment and the provider of glowing feelings, the truth is just praying and believing will not change our major arc. We don’t determine who gets a GUN. We aren’t sure if we have paramilitary groups ready to storm the White House or a White Castle. There is no control of weapons. The GOOFBALLS with the power constantly try to manipulate us into spending more money on bombs and tanks and wars. When all of our institutions are infected with neglect and fall in disrepair, we will only have ourselves to blame. This book is not an antidote for the left or right, it’s an accelerant to move the middle off their collective asses to go do something positive for America.

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


FAILED VETTING PROCESS

Congressional Confirmation Process Broken

We should be able to trust that our congressional representatives will keep bad people from becoming decision makers in our government. Donald Trump’s actions and appointees have exposed the weakness in the system. It’s time to take a hard look at how people are nominated and how the confirmation process works.

Trump bombastically promised that he would hire only the best people. He said that he would employ extreme vetting in not only those he wanted in his cabinet, but those who would be allowed to participate in the governing of our great nation. In the less than three years President Trump has been in office, more than one hundred people have left his administration. Most embarrassingly, there is a Wikipedia page dedicated to those who have left Trump behind.

On the morning news, we learned the fate of the UK Ambassador to the US, Sir Nigel Kim Darroch. He has resigned in light of leaked classified documents in which he called the Trump administration “inept,” and described Donald Trump as “insecure” and “incompetent.” Obviously, Trump had to “punch back,” as he calls it. But his rambling rants on Twitter were not only less than diplomatic, they proved Darroch’s point. In his resignation, Sir Kim said, “The professionalism and integrity of the British civil service is the envy of the world. I will leave it full of confidence that its values remain in safe hands.”

Donald J. Trump has no integrity. The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles is not part of Trump’s fiber. Being pals with Putin, Xi and Kim Jong-Un degrades the office of President. Letting Saudi Arabia murder a journalist with no consequences clearly shows how Trump is a compromised, corrupt politician. Keeping a sleezy Secretary of Labor on his team after learning about his conduct in Jeffrey Epstein’s case of sex trafficking in Florida and New York is just another brick in Trump’s wall of insecurity, amoral behavior and lack of patriotic grounding in law.

We don’t get to vet the President of the United States. People vote and sometimes the system gives us a turd. Richard Nixon was fecal matter of the highest order. Trump is just today’s version of the kind of tragic mistakes possible in our imperfect experiment of Democracy. But unlike happenings in the lands of kings, tyrants and dictators, we can fix this blunder.

The misery and distress arising from the lack of teeth in Congress becomes more insidious every week. Maybe the people in our two houses of government are too old and afraid to use their political power to bite down hard on those the President sends for confirmation? Maybe it’s time for more young, aggressive representatives to push candidates for important roles hard up against the wall of scrutiny?

The lack of incisive questioning on Alexander Acosta’s involvement in the Jeffrey Epstein plea deal is proof that this system is broken. Acosta should have never been approved. We saw a similar lack of proper process in the Bret Kavanaugh hearings.

Listen up congressional people! I get the idea that when “your” president sends someone up to the hill for confirmation, you are to do your “duty” to protect the person from real scrutiny and vetting; but it’s wrong and must stop. When the votes are counted, your decision to confirm a person can become a giant stain on your reputation. Many of the more than one hundred people who have left the White House were never examined as part of Congressional oversight. Some were just hired hands who couldn’t pass FBI security checks, yet they landed in positions with major responsibilities. Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump have no business occupying their positions in this administration, but no one is holding Trump’s little hands to the fire.

I know businesses that do more vetting and review of potential employees than this administration does. And it’s not just Congress’ fault. The free press must do its job and dig into these lies and lives and reveal the truth about them. Had the Julie K. Brown article about Epstein in the Miami Herald appeared a day before his confirmation hearing, Acosta would have never been confirmed. After all, the damn Department of Labor oversees investigations into human trafficking, the very charge Acosta let Epstein worm his way out of, producing one big fat sloppy happy ending for the billionaire.

Is Congress brain dead or do they not have the intellect or courage to investigate what is right before their very eyes? I was impressed by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ questioning of Michael Cohen during a recent hearing. She asked him if Trump was inflating the value of his properties to garner large loans and deflating the value of his enterprises to the IRS for a better tax deal. Good question? Yes! Republicans on the same panel were fixated on reminding us that Cohen is a known liar rather than calling on the IRS to investigate Trump and his companies about tax and loan fraud. This may end up being litigated after Trump leaves office, but it shows exactly where the two-party system disrupts the important work of oversight. It’s why we must wait so long for bad apples to be plucked from a government we should be able to trust.

This system has been weakened by time and partisan politics. It’s time we elect some straight shooters to upend the apple cart so we can see all the rotting fruit. Trump’s message to drain the swamp was successful because most people believe it’s a needed effort. Sadly, Trump didn’t help the situation. His appointments and hires have been and will continue to be purely political. He even placed people into departments or administrative bodies after they claimed they thought those roles should be eliminated. The ignorance of one man has weakened this nation.

If the result of disruption, is the rebuilding and restocking of a government with better people, then one can justify stirring the pot. But what Trump has rendered is nothing short of letting the fox run the hen house. After all the hens have been eaten, and all the foxes leave for the greener pastures of private practice, what will we have left in our government? It’s become a place where talented and gifted people no longer want to belong. Trump has fucked up the law, the environment, diplomatic relations with allies and, tragically, has made America a meaner, more divided populace. Congress needs to get its act together and throw the bums out, especially the douchebags in their own chamber.

BRAND NEW BOOK ON AMERICA

Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs shows how we’ve wasted our GOLD on bad wars and corruption. While GOD is there for many people as a spiritual enrichment and the provider of glowing feelings, the truth is just praying and believing will not change our major arc. We don’t determine who gets a GUN. We aren’t sure if we have paramilitary groups ready to storm the White House or a White Castle. There is no control of weapons. The GOOFBALLS with the power constantly try to manipulate us into spending more money on bombs and tanks and wars. When all of our institutions are infected with neglect and fall in disrepair, we will only have ourselves to blame. This book is not an antidote for the left or right, it’s an accelerant to move the middle off their collective asses to go do something positive for America.

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


EPSTEIN, ACOSTA & TRUMP

The Corruptibility of the Rich & Famous

The Southern District of New York is always front and center on the stage of justice and investigations of corruption. Because of the magnet of power and money, many happenings in the United States have tentacles that reach into the Empire State.

Let’s look at the case of Jeffrey Epstein, an American financier and philanthropist. In 2008, Epstein was convicted of soliciting an underage girl for prostitution and served 13 months in “custody with work release,” which meant he could spend more than half each day outside of prison. Some said the billionaire bought his way out of an appropriate jail sentence, and there’s convincing evidence that Epstein’s illicit activities involved far more than one teenage girl.

Even though Epstein pleaded guilty to a single state charge of soliciting prostitution from girls as young as 14, he was sentenced to only 18 months in prison. Instead of being sent to state prison like most sex offenders convicted in Florida, Epstein was housed in a private wing of the Palm Beach County stockade. He served 13 months before being released for a year of probation. While on probation, he was allowed numerous trips on his corporate jet to his homes in Manhattan and the U.S. Virgin Islands. At release, he was registered in New York State as a level three sex offender, a lifelong classification for an individual having a high risk of re-offense.

Now here’s where it gets political and suspicious. Epstein, allegedly a good friend of Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, was a big contributor to political campaigns, and some see a pattern of judicial abuse in this matter. A California woman filed a federal lawsuit against Epstein and Trump in April 2016, alleging the men sexually assaulted her at a series of parties at Epstein’s Manhattan home in 1994 when she was 13 years of age. The suit was dismissed by a federal judge in May 2016 because it didn’t raise valid claims under federal law.

The same woman filed a federal suit in New York in June 2016, but it was withdrawn three months later, apparently without being served on the defendants. A third federal suit was filed in New York in September 2016 and the plaintiff, who filed anonymously as Jane Doe, was scheduled to appear in a Los Angeles press conference six days before the 2016 election. That event was abruptly canceled with Doe’s lawyer, Lisa Bloom, asserting the woman had received threats and the suit was dropped on November 4, 2016. Trump attorney, Alan Garten, flatly denied the allegations while Epstein declined to comment. What exactly was Donald Trump’s role in this mess? Could this be the case that Michael Cohen alluded to when he warned that the Southern District will be a major risk for Trump?

Epstein was physically arrested again Saturday night (July 6, 2019) as he disembarked his private jet after flying back into the US from Europe. The charge he faces is sex trafficking of minors in Florida and New York. This has serious implications for the President of the United States, since the case involves a Federal crime and Trump would have to testify in person. Should it be found that Donald Trump knew about the crimes leading to these charges and did nothing, he would, in sense, be an accomplice. Trump could be listed as an unindicted co-conspirator.

Also, of note here, according to the Miami Herald, “Miami’s top federal prosecutor, Alexander Acosta, had a breakfast appointment with a former colleague, Washington, D.C., attorney Jay Lefkowitz. It was an unusual meeting for the then-38-year-old prosecutor, a rising Republican star who had served in several White House posts before being named U.S. attorney in Miami by President George W. Bush. Instead of meeting at the prosecutor’s Miami headquarters, the two men — both with professional roots in the prestigious Washington law firm of Kirkland & Ellis — convened at the Marriott in West Palm Beach, about 70 miles away. For Lefkowitz, 44, a U.S. special envoy to North Korea and corporate lawyer, the meeting was critical.” Most experts believe this was the meeting where Lefkowitz and Acosta “colluded” to give Epstein what could only be called a pass on his criminal atrocities.

Then there’s this. Alexander Acosta was appointed by President Trump as the United States Secretary of Labor. Could this be a case of Trump buying Acosta’s silence and loyalty by giving him such an important political appointment? In February 2019, the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility notified Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse that it had opened an investigation into Epstein’s prosecution. Congress may have confirmed Acosta, but they are now having buyers’ remorse. Even Republicans.

The speculation today is that prosecutors of the Southern District of New York may have new evidence of conspiracy of sex trafficking and Mann Act malfeasance. This is the federal law that makes it a felony to engage in interstate or foreign commerce transport of “any woman or girl for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose. If underage girls were transported over state lines, Mr. Epstein could get ten years for each count. If the prosecutors pile on kidnapping charges, he will sit in jail for the rest of his life.

If the case moves forward, it could pull in other high-profile people. During the divorce of the UK’s Prince Andrew from Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, Epstein paid off some of the Duchess’ debts. There is speculation that there may be considerably more to the prince’s involvement with Epstein. Another Epstein friend, former President Bill Clinton, who lied about his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinski and has a reputation of sexual indiscretions, might know something more about Epstein’s girls and the activities of his buddy.

This brings us to Trump. According to USA Today, the President and Epstein socialized before the 2016 election at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. In a New York Magazine profile, Tim O’Brien quoted the Donald, “I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.” Now Trump uses the word “terrific” a lot, even referencing people like Putin and Kim Jong-Un, so you must take that with a grain of salt. Regardless, it sure sounds creepy knowing what we know now.

The Jeffrey Epstein case may disclose a colossal coverup by the Justice Department, which could prove to be a giant test for the current AG, William Barr, to stay out of the way of the SDNY. It’s also likely this case will have a major effect on Alexander Acosta’s life in the administration.

But what it might expose on the national stage, is the lack of moral fiber in Donald Trump’s body. If the evangelicals don’t see the real Trump after this case is laid out, then they will never be able to see the difference between God and the Devil. The Devil seems to be winning, and he just might be a player in the Trump Administration.

BRAND NEW BOOK ON AMERICA

Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs shows how we’ve wasted our GOLD on bad wars and corruption. While GOD is there for many people as a spiritual enrichment and the provider of glowing feelings, the truth is just praying and believing will not change our major arc. We don’t determine who gets a GUN. We aren’t sure if we have paramilitary groups ready to storm the White House or a White Castle. There is no control of weapons. The GOOFBALLS with the power constantly try to manipulate us into spending more money on bombs and tanks and wars. When all of our institutions are infected with neglect and fall in disrepair, we will only have ourselves to blame. This book is not an antidote for the left or right, it’s an accelerant to move the middle off their collective asses to go do something positive for America.

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