Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Donald Trump in the Role of God

("When Politics Becomes Your Idol")

 "Trump Is Our Savior" reads the sign accompanying this op-ed online. And in these words lies an unshakable truth.

Donald Trump is a religion. Attachment to him is based on a blind faith that this man can deliver those who believe from evil. Question not his speech, wonder not his methods, worry not his often bizarre behavior. 

Make America Great Again relies not on destruction of Obamacare, not on environmental deregulation, not on a revised tax code, not on defeat of ISIS, not on the neutering of North Korea, not the deterioration of Iran, not the distance from Putin, not from rising of wages or stock prices, not even on building the Wall. It can not be defeated or deterred by logic, by reason, by loss on the floor of Congress or  battle on the fields, not by investigations or indictments.

For those of us who watch and wonder how, after all the insults, all the tweets, all the wrong twists and turns this man has taken from the moment he descended from above to announce he alone could save us, after so many reasons to abandon him so many still cling to him so fiercely, the answer is as plain as the words on that sign.

Donald Trump is not President. He is God.

Saturday, October 28, 2017


("How Twitter Killed the First Amendment")

We now reside in a time of a war of words, attacked internally and incessantly by Mr. Trump and his minions and externally by those who would misdirect and misinform. Speech used as a weapon to exploit rather than a tool to educate. 

And in these moments it is hard to discern wheat from chaff and harder still to draw the line between what is permitted and what is punishable. This is no longer yelling fire in a theatre. 

The danger lies in the level of restraint we impose in keeping foreign players and our own President from exercising untrammeled reign to manipulate and maneuver with distortions and distractions. Our democracy depends on protecting our rights as zealously as we protect our children. And if, in the process, we allow ourselves to place undue constraints on our press, on our dissent, on the very freedom that makes us the nation we are, then we have indeed incurred defeat at the hands of our oppressors.

So yes, we cannot be blind to attack and must be vigilant in our defense. But we must remain equally vigilant to guard against chipping away at the most fundamental of our freedoms. No, strike that. More vigilant. 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Me First, Last and Always

President Trump is not an advocate for "America First" but "Me First." For those who challenge his capacity to lead, his ability to comprehend, his very manhood, there is but castigation and contempt.

Among the ones most brutally treated are the Senators and Congressmen within the ranks of his own party who have not sworn an undying oath of fealty. And maybe none more so than the triumvirate who have engaged in a lengthy war of words with Mr. Trump.

It is not that Mr. Flake, Mr. Corker or Mr.McCain earned the enmity of the President for breaking with the Republican rank, continually and consistently voting against the stream. Their battles (apart from the critical votes by Mr. McCain on the issue of the demise of Obamacare) have been almost entirely of person, not party.

These have been "dead men walking" for some time as the President has taken direct aim at their continued careers. For Mr. McCain, it has been both the cancer within and the disease of the President he has been forced to endure. For Mr. Flake and Mr. Corker, thoughts of reelection in Arizona and Tennessee have grown as dim as the light in Mr. Trump's brain. And their recent most impassioned words have been in many ways but concession speeches.

Do I applaud Mr. Flake for his memorable plea this week? Of course.But it was ultimately nothing much greater than a death bed confession. Not sounds of revolution, but an announcement  that he could no longer stand the heat and was exiting the kitchen. That the Me First king had claimed another victim.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017


 Although I like to consider myself an athlete, my incompetency line draws ever closer to obliterating anything and everything in it's path.

 On a few occasions in recent years, my wife has had the opportunity to be on a stand up paddle board. It seemed an undertaking no more complex than buttering toast. Or so one would believe.

Recently it was my turn. The board sat on the water's edge, gentle waves  caressing my toes as I  pushed forward. My wife's instructions were to begin in a kneeling position and then elevate myself. I didn't comprehend that this involved paddling out to calmer waters before moving from step one to step two.

Within but a second or two of rising,  I was in a major disagreement and had ended my very short lived relationship with my erstwhile companion underfoot. The resulting thud, in but a foot or so of water, my left shoulder making a direct line for danger, was exclamation point on my shortcomings.

 In the immediate moments after something untoward like this occurs, there is a flood of uncertainty and a rush of questions. 

Am I truly injured or merely stunned? Am I  unlucky or just an idiot for allowing myself to be the central character in the never ending saga of "don't trust this man with a sharp instrument?" Where will this rank in the lore of things I do badly? Why is this stranger asking me so many questions when I can't even catch my breath?

I happened to be traveling with a host of friends who were well equipped to determine if my fall from grace was catastrophe or comedy. And so they posed a series of can you do this and does it hurt when you do that inquiries and when I could do this and wasn't crying when asked to do that, they announced that the worst damage sustained was to my ego.

It is a dangerous occupation being me. Never more than a moment away from an unintended consequence. Never truly certain of my current state and following a path that is forever teetering on the edge of a precipice. For now it was the surf that took me down. Tomorrow it could be almost anything.

For those who may be wondering about the initials at the top of this piece, they are but shorthand for what my wife, and her fellow ski patrolers deal with every day on the slopes. "Fall down go boom." 

I think it would be an appropriate title for my autobiography.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Harvey Weinstein

("Harvey Weinstein, Hollywood's Oldest Horror Story")

We wring our hands and shake our heads at Mr. Weinstein, sickened by his repulsive behavior, his abuse of the power his station in life afforded him, his mistreatment of those who sought his favor but not at the price demanded.

Today it is the plight of Hollywood actresses but tomorrow this will surely land somewhere else in some other form, just as virulent and just as omnipresent as Mr. Weinstein's casting couch.

Whether it be entertainment mogul, sports hero, boardroom chair or political leader, there are those whose appetites are unbounded, their behavior unregulated, their norms dictated not by society but merely by their own primal instincts.

Mr. Weinstein has now ended up on the cutting room floor, evicted from his own company and from the community that now seeks absolution from its own sin of turning a blind eye to his excesses. But this is more than just an ironic twist to a bad movie of heinous villain and myriad victims. 

The story of Mr. Weinstein is ultimately one of the corruption of the soul, of the great and terrible damage that can be inflicted by those who have both the capacity and the desire to do so.

Take one on the life and times of Harvey Weinstein. Camera, action. And for Mr. Weinstein, fade to black.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

The Art of the Undeal

("Donald Trump Takes a Hostage")

Do we really think there is method to his madness? That there is something behind the truculence except more truculence?

The art of the deal for Mr. Trump is merely breaking them. That mutual promises are one sided. That pacts are for the other guy. That the United States does not have to honor their commitments because, well we're the United States.

For those who felt this country had grown old and fat and needed a good shaking to wake from its stupor, welcome to what you have birthed. An unstable neurotic, with skin as thin as a roll of  see through toilet paper, a temper as deep as an ocean swelled by melting icebergs and a belief that no pledge of this country can't be undone with a swipe of a pen (if he doesn't forget to sign) or a tweet from the little birdie fluttering in his vacant and vacuous head.

Today it is our long fought seven nation understanding to slow the prospect of a nuclear Iran that is teetering on a precipice. Tomorrow it is whatever else he can blow up because he wants to.

Broken promises: Mr. Trump's life long calling card. Now it has become ours. 

The art of the undeal.

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Undoing of America

He should be known as the great "undoer". Not what have you done for me lately, but what have you undone.

Today it is his intention to decimate several central protections in Obamacare and his refusal to certify Iran's compliance with the nuclear accord.  

In the months of his presidency he has backed away from numerous international trade deals, frayed alliances with many nations which have been intact since before Mr.Trump's birth and generally attempted to diminish or destroy relationships worldwide.

He has neutered our economic regulations, taken an axe to constraints on financial markets. He has treated the Constitution as a chew toy and has loosened the tongue of those whose  purpose is to denigrate and divide.

He has made us less healthy, less safe, less influential, less compassionate, less powerful. He has done nothing to elevate this nation or the office he holds.

He has done more damage and less good than thought possible. His is the undoing of America.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Key

It was the day before closing on the sale of my mom's apartment. She had lived there the last 37 years of her life. It was here she resided that final decade when the dementia overtook her mind and body. Here where my sister and I had spent so many afternoons and early evenings. Here where she took her last breath. 
And it was here that my sister came to say one last goodbye. She spoke to me that evening about that moment, how hard it was. 
I attended the closing the next day. It was uneventful and quick. The buyers were in the room when I arrived. We were introduced, exchanged greetings and got down to business. Documents were soon signed, checks provided and congratulations given. 
But before it was time to leave, the buyers said they had something to give me. I have been an attorney for 40 years and appeared at thousands of closing tables. Yet I cannot recall one time when a gift passed from buyer to  seller. 
Two small Tiffany boxes were handed to me, along with a note. One box was intended for my sister, the other, mine. Inside each were identical presents. 
I sat slightly stunned. I did not know these people, had never met them and most likely never would again after leaving this room. Neither my sister nor I had done anything extraordinary to warrant their generosity. If the roles had been reversed, it would never have  dawned on me to give more than a smile and a handshake to the one across the table. 
I opened the box. It contained a small key ring in the shape of a heart. It was simple, beautiful. I then read the note, tucked neatly in a tiny Tiffany blue bag: 
"We will honor your mother for all our days. (You'll always have a key)." 
What were these people made of that they would spend their time, effort and money to consider us and our difficulty in this moment? 
If I have a regret it is that I did not properly show my appreciation as we left that room. I gave a perfunctory thanks and hurried off to the next issue that was waiting for me back at my office. I was polite when the circumstance cried out for much more. 
The door to my mom's apartment, the place where we spent so much hard time together, did not fully shut when the keys were handed over to the buyer.  
And my sister and I received far more than money as fair exchange.


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Barn Door

("Corker Told the Truth About Trump. Now He Should Act on It")

They have been trying to neuter him since he announced his candidacy for Emperor.

16 other Republican candidates railed against him, his petulance, his crudeness, his total and complete lack of understanding or interest in policy. And when he was nominated, the never Trump voice in his own party cried out.  

But no one and nothing was able to stop the most boorish, unprepared, unqualified lunatic from taking the keys to the kingdom. And nothing will stop him now.

We can try to placate him, warn him, ignore him but he is a pox on all our houses that will not disappear.

And the reality is the horse has left the barn, the genie is out of the bottle, the fat man has sung. 

Donald Trump and all the misery that attaches to him, is an unalterable fact of our lives now. And if we think we can remove his finger from that nuclear button we have just not been paying attention. Republican or Democrat, we are all consigned to the hell of holding our collective breath. 

We have unleashed the furies upon ourselves. What is done cannot be undone.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Of Dreams and Nightmares

("White House to Tie Hard-Line Conditions to 'Dreamers' Deal")

Reaching across the aisle with a dagger is not a sign of friendship.

This is, without pretense or subterfuge, trading the perpetuation of the Dream Act for a nightmare of policy prescriptions, a pharmaceutical of the best of the worst of an administration overflowing with horrid ideas on immigration.

Start with the go to favorite, the Wall, mix in a pinch of sanctuary city bashing, add a dash of separating families just to make life a little more painful and stir with the understanding that you will multiply the desperation for those whose only hope for escaping the danger and suffering has been eradicated.

Now that seems like fair exchange for allowing some 800,000 young men and women, whose mortal sin was not being born in this country, to remain here under the watchful eye of a government just itching for an excuse to send them back to a home they have little known and many don't even remember.

With friends like Mr. Trump, who needs enemies.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Killing as Sport

("Confessions of a Sensible Gun Owner")

Why do we hunt? 

We are not living in caves, we do not need to undertake this endeavor for our survival. Our food comes to us neatly packaged and ready for consumption. 

Is it because in the 21st century we are merely cave dwellers living under a different roof?

We speak as if teaching our children to kill an animal is a romantic undertaking, a noble exercise that can educate us to enjoy and appreciate nature, mold and shape character, a "firsthand way to learn about the ecosystem... and to sometimes bring home tasty, healthy food." I would suggest this is pure fallacy, but ready excuse for some darker reality.

Let us no longer elevate holding a gun in one's hands and shooting for the pleasure of the kill as a worthy endeavor, a sport of kings and commoners alike.

There are as many guns as people in this country. It is far beyond time we faced the truth that the Second Amendment is not there to insure a well regulated militia, but to indulge us. Don't romanticize our brutal instincts.

We no longer need to kill to live. Now we live to kill. It is time we begin to evolve.

Thursday, October 5, 2017


We lay waste when we consider health care a privilege, when we treat the environment with such disdain,when we close our borders to those who suffer,when we close our eyes to the devastation of  guns.

There is hate in our blood. There is blood in the streets. There is blood on our hands.

Monday, October 2, 2017

The Las Vegas Massacre

Dear Mr. Trump:

I beseech you, as a man of wisdom and reason, do NOT take the party line in this most tragic moment. You do a grave disservice to the dead if you assert that now is an inappropriate time to discuss the gun control policy of this nation (or more accurately, the lack of one).

You have said your heart aches for those who are slain, for their families and for a country that grieves. How better to honor the memory of the fallen then to demonstrate your true leadership  by calling for immediate passage of legislation that will address the omnipresent plague that eats at our very being. 

Ours is a land in which a weapon of mass destruction takes almost 100 lives each and every day of the year. It is not the leader of North Korea, not Iran, not ISIS,not Muslims, or Mexicans, who bring death in such grotesque and staggering numbers to our doorstep and into our homes. It is we who do it to ourselves.

The tragedy in Las Vegas was not the act of a terrorist, at least not as you would define it. This was rather an act of terror which we have the power, you have the power, to control.

Show the courage and the wisdom to break with the Republican party. Separate yourself from the NRA. Demonstrate that you are a strong and brave ruler of the people, of all of the people.

End the scourge, eradicate the smell of death that permeates this land and bring all the force of your office to bear so sanity can, at long last, enter the halls of Congress. Death by closing your eyes to what stands in BOLD LETTERS  before you is not an excuse.