Tuesday, December 12, 2017

No Moore

So this is how Donald Trump, with a lot of help from Roy Moore, can impact our land. How a state which has forever been the deepest shade of red is, at least in this moment, the color of the most radiant cloudless sky. And so the Alabama crimson tide has turned, while we wonder aloud if this is mere aberration or the birth of a new nation.

We should not be misled, for even with the worst of candidates supported by the worst of presidents, even with many in his own party calling him unfit to be elected, even in this moment of national awakening on the issue of sexual assault, Roy Moore quite nearly became the choice of a majority of those who cast their ballot.

But there is no mistaking that this win by Doug Jones had meaning. The malignancy that is Mr. Trump has spread disease throughout his party, and his fingerprints are all over this loss. As much as Roy Moore suffered defeat tonight so did Donald Trump.

This is the first night in over a year, since that terrible Tuesday last November, where there is a glimmer of hope that the hell we have all endured, the hatred, the bigotry, the small minds and empty hearts may finally have their day of reckoning.

Our thanks to those voters in Alabama who have cast off the allegiances so deeply ingrained in them and announced to all of us that enough is enough. 

Tonight was a victory for the soul of America.

Monday, December 11, 2017

And the Award Goes To

Nominees for worst actor/actress in a supporting role:

10.  Sarah Huckabee Sanders - she gives new meaning to chutzpah.

9.  Betsy DeVos - everyday is another lesson in why a mind is a terrible thing to waste.

8.  Rick Perry - he should have never remembered that third department he wanted to decimate.

7. Ben Carson - he was right that this was a job he was not qualified to perform.

6. Anthony Scaramucci - it does take a certain unique talent to get fired from a position even before you officially begin.

5. Kellyanne Conway - she may be the odds on favorite for her contribution of alternative facts to the lexicon

4. Steve Bannon- he molded Mr. Trump from a mere harmless lump of clay into a weapon of mass destruction

3. Jared Kushner - how can one man with so little training have a voice on so many subjects (this appears to be a family trait).

2.  Ivanka Trump - repeat number 3, except insert woman for man.

1. Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, Rick Gates and George Papadopoulos - maybe this group will soon be receiving the highest award possible - the One No Trump for bringing a presidency to its knees.

There are so many more who are eminently qualified for this award. I apologize if you have been slighted. I know my personal favorite did not even make the list, Sean Spicer, an idiot's delight. 

To all nominated : keep up the the bad work, you richly deserve this recognition

Friday, December 8, 2017


("Franken Offers Resignation, and a Parting Shot at Trump")

It is not "ironic", as Mr. Franken suggests, that he has now been compelled to vacate his post while Mr. Trump, who has without question committed a lifetime of far greater sins, remains firmly entrenched. It is moronic.

Mr. Trump is the embodiment of depravity, willing to do or say whatever suits his fancy, seemingly freed from ethical and moral constraints. His boorish behavior, his outlandish statements, his indifference to truth, are not aberrations but his soul and heartbeat.

He has methodically and consistently treated women with contempt and leveled abuse, both verbal and physical, upon them without care or reprisal. But his capacity to inflict pain extends far beyond this arena, swallowing up the poor, the disabled, the immigrant,  virtually anyone and everyone who is not rich, white and kneeling at his throne. 

He is the living antithesis of the statue that sits upon the Hudson. His is an existence spent without compassion, without understanding, without giving, without any of the qualities that make one good, that make one great. 

And so Mr. Franken departs even as Mr. Trump looks for his next victim and Roy Moore awaits his impending election to the same body that, in virtual unison, has demanded the junior Senator from Minnesota stand down.

This is not intended as full throated defense of Mr. Franken, but rather as indictment of those who remain unscathed by their breaches.

"Ironic"? No, it is beyond sickening. 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Let Them Eat Cake (Part Two)

("A Baker's First Amendment Rights")

Pure nonsense.

We should be concerned with protecting the rights not of the white cake baker who is offended by the notion of same sex marriage, but rather with those who are members of a suspect class of persons who have been the historical target of unremitting hatred and prejudice.

This country was founded on the principle that all people, women as well as men, gays as well as straights, black as well as white, were created equal. And if we allow our rulings to advocate against that precept then we are indeed failing in our essential purpose.

This is not the story of an aggrieved baker, but of two men hungry not for food but mere acceptance as equal members of our society.

Let them eat cake.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Let Them Eat Cake

("Even the Bernini of Buttercream Has to Serve Gay Couples")

If he were not a builder of cakes but of homes could he refuse to sell his "creation" to a gay couple, or a black couple, or an interracial one? 

Are we back on the bus, or at the restaurant counter in 2017? Is there a separate water fountain or bathroom for those who do not fit neatly into one's concept of who belongs as equal members of and participant's in our society?

This couple was seeking a cake, not the blessing, of the proprietor. And for the money exchanged, they were not receiving a morsel of love, or even respect. Just the right to be considered as unimportant as anyone else.

To be or not to be, that is the question.

Saturday, December 2, 2017


Cut to the quick.
Cut to the bone.
Cuts on the sick.
Cuts on their homes.

Cut to the chase.
Cut to the core.
Cuts on their face.
Blood on the floor.

Give me my cut
Give me my due
Give me enough but
Nothing for you

Cut out the nonsense
Cut out the lies
Cut off the weak
Cut off their cries

Give me my cut
Give to us few
Give all I want 
For them not a sou

Cut to the shot
Cut on my cue
Cut out the rot
To whom nothing is due

Give me my cut
Give me what's right
Give me a beacon
I'll cut off their light

Cut off the many
Just make them pay
Don't give them any
It's mine anyway

Cut off their hope
Cut out their heart
Just give me my cut
I need a fresh start

Cut them all down
Like so many trees
They make no sound
When they cease to be

Cut them a break
No that's not the way
Give them no voice
They've nothing to say

Cut to the quick.
Cut to the bone.
It makes me sick.
To call this my home.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Numbers on a Page

How does one measure incalculable loss?

1.5 trillion, 13 million, as though disembodied from their own reality.

There is an obscenity hidden as figures dance across our screens, enter our minds but then disappear in an avalanche of distractions and distortions.

It seems but an abstraction, no matter the doom and disaster prophesied for the many who will certainly feel the wrath of this abomination. 

24,000 is today's calculus on the dizzying ascent of the stock market. Meanwhile, the human cost of legislation wrapped in cruelty, moving inexorably forward, does not fit neatly into the equation.

A loss of morality as acceptable collateral damage. All really nothing more than numbers on a page.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

A Letter on a Letter

From time to time I receive a letter from someone complimenting me on a piece of mine that has been published either in the New York Times or the Record, a Bergen County newspaper. Each catches me by surprise, that someone I do not know would take the time and effort to locate me and thank me for my words (fortunately, I have not had a note from someone voicing their displeasure with me),

But today, something came in the mail which was different. Instead of my indicating why this is so, I will let the author speak for himself:

"RE: January 30, 2017 New York Times Letter To The Editor

Mr. Nussbaum:

I hope this letter finds its way to you as I have been meaning to write it since I read your letter almost a year ago. It is simply masterful.

Like you, I do not recognize the America my father went to war for, the America that people from different countries came to and shared their laughter, recipes, trade skills, language, work ethic, and personal pride, nor the country that - in your words - displays such a "depraved indifference to others' welfare",

Mr. Nussbaum, thank you for your letter and my apologies for the delay in writing to you. You inspire me in many ways.

Best personal regards"


Here is the piece to which the writer referred:

I am an immigrant.

I may have been born in the United States but this country is foreign to me. 

This land is not my land.

I do not share it's beliefs, I do not countenance it's actions,  I do not even recognize it's methods.

I am not an American, not this America..

The country I lived in did not treat human beings with such utter contempt, did not 
display a depraved indifference to other's welfare, did not inflict such needless pain and suffering.

There are no words that can fully describe my alienation from the unconscionable mandate that now brands millions of people as unworthy of entry upon our shores. The very heart of this nation is being torn out. 

This is not who I am. This is not who we are. I am a stranger in a foreign land .

I am an immigrant.

Taking a Shot at Gun Violence

("Oh Lord, Now the Gun Thing's Back")

We are all complicit in murder. We have accepted the notion that guns are a rational part of our everyday universe. A nation under attack.

Armed and dangerous.

Instead of arguing for nuance and tweaks, let us call for a new dialogue, one in which guns have no part in our society. Do we seriously want protection for all? Get the guns out of everyone's hands. Let us not bargain on semi-automatics, on concealed carry, on background checks or domestic abuse. Let us instead have a conversation about our disease, our obsession, our insanity.

We don't want to hear that countries that have disarmed are immeasurably safer than we are? Are we made of different material? Our are brains incapable of adapting to a new paradigm?

We can stop the killing if we have courage, if we do not accept what we suggest we cannot change, but rather fight for that change to become reality. Ask a generation ago if same sex marriage would ever be the law of the land.

This the not the 1800's, and this is not the Wild West. We don't need a gun to our head, or a holster on our side anymore.

A Failed Nuclear Test

("Is North Korea's Nuclear Test a Sign of Hope?")

Threaten? Always. Negotiate? Never.

Such is the proven history of this bombastic leader. No, not that one. The other one. Trump.

The seven nation treaty with Iran. Our commitment to NATO, to NAFTA. The world wide agreement to environmental clean up. Going, going and gone.

Mr. Trump builds not trust but enmity, walls (imagined) not bridges. He does not create bonds but breaks them.

China, Russia. His rhetoric has gained us nothing. North Korea, Iran. What benefits, what progress has been made during Mr.Trump's tenure in office?

The art of the deal? Like everything else in Mr. Trump's universe, this is but a fiction. There has not been one moment of political triumph, merely a staggering amount of spoken or tweeted nonsense. The smell of success. Not even a whiff.

There is little reason to believe this administration capable of serious protracted discussion, leading to significant resolution with any foreign power. And on a matter as fragile and fraught with pitfalls as this?

The little Rocket Man and Big Bird k-i-s-s-i-n-g? Just a failed nuclear test for Mr. Trump, an explosion waiting to occur.