Sunday, September 29, 2019

Mr. Trump's Most Dangerous Enemy

We always wondered if he would shoot off his mouth and the bullet would pierce his presidency. Donald Trump may, in historical perspective, have had little to fear but to fear himself.

He had dodged the fusillade of Robert Mueller, the slings and arrows of Michael Cohen. But he could not forever outrun his own hubris, possibly suffering a mortal wound from his belief that his status as Mafia Don made him stronger than the Constitution, more powerful than democracy itself. He thought that kissing his ring was a given.

I believe he does not see the wrong in his "asking" for a favor. When the Don has done so much for you, you owe him and he can call on you at any moment to reciprocate. No matter the specifics.

This was not a request, notwithstanding the words chosen. And for Mafia Don, who has spent a lifetime reading the script of the Godfather as though it was the Holy Bible, and acting out its rituals, where was the harm in his latest salvo aimed at the President of Ukraine?

Donald Trump did not recalibrate his actions to fit his station. Instead he has attempted to reshape a 250 year old experiment in his image. The Boss of bosses.

But now, thanks to yet one more extraordinary moment of self destructive behavior, he may have finally shot himself in the foot, no the heart, in an act of presidential suicide.

Instead of finding enemies all around, Mr. Trump would have been better served looking in the mirror to locate his most dangerous foe.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019


It has been our form of water torture, the drip, drip, drip of a President with no morality and even less idea how to govern making a mockery of his oath of office, shredding the Constitution and leaving our democracy in tatters.

From his first day in office he has proven his unfitness with his lack of preparation, his boorishness, his commitment to self preservation over fealty to country, his pulling this nation ever closer to autocracy as he maligned and minimized all those who would question or challenge his actions.

And yet, like a cat with nine lives, for every grotesque misdeed, for every revelation of abuse of his station, for every determination that he had seemingly gone a step too far, he remained defiant and unscathed. Mueller could not bring him down. And all the slings and arrows of the "fake news" cabal only proved he was stronger than any attack.

Now, with yet another head shaking, stomach churning, poke in the eye challenge to the basic precepts of the restraints placed upon a President, in his effort to blackmail Ukraine into acting as his hit man on Mr. Biden's candidacy, he has made even the most reticent of Democrats call for the head of Donald Trump.

And thus the battle begins, turning this sideshow barker turned leader of the free world into a defendant in what he will undoubtedly bill as the greatest charade on earth. 

Like a common criminal, Mr. Trump has stolen the gold of the office of President of the United States and turned it into something almost wholly unrecognizable and without value. The question is if he will now pay the price for his thievery.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

How Dare You

(" How Dare You": 16 Year Old Chides World Leaders on Lack of Action on Climate Change")

Could there be a more powerful speaker on this earth than Greta Thunberg? 

Her comments to the United Nations were an assault upon a generation that has failed in its duty to preserve and protect the planet for those who succeed them. A stinging rebuke for those who ignore science at the peril of their children. A warning that half measures may save face but they will not save the future.

Her anger almost bursts through her tiny frame. Her disappointment morphing into unbridled disgust. Her contempt for leaders who lead us nowhere but into certain disaster palpable in words that come forth like sharp knives.

In a country where we have been witness to the darkest of days from the highest office, the dedication to just cause by Ms. Thunberg was a startling beautiful beacon of light.

Her "how dare you" speech should be watched in our homes, our schools and in the halls of Congress. It should seep into our collective conscience, elevate our discourse and act as catalyst for our treating our world and our tomorrow's with requisite urgency and passionate commitment.

She will not forgive our continued failures. And, be warned, she is watching. 

Monday, September 23, 2019

He Has

He has assaulted our senses, our values and undoubtedly more than a few women.

He has countenanced, no he has encouraged wrongdoing by his underlings and our enemies in his name's sake.

He has made a mockery of study and science.

He has broken our promises and shattered our standing. 

He has treated the Constitution as a suggestion, and the other branches of government as subservient.

He has made crude and rude into templates for presidential behavior.

He has turned truth into lies and lies into his own virtual reality.

He has acted with contempt towards our allies.

He has encouraged bigotry and hatred.

He has been cruel without care.

He has allowed ego to dictate action.

He has demonstrated no intellectual curiosity, no interest in history.

He has brought this country and his office to the lowest common denominator.

He has spent his time as President as he has his entire life, in search of self gratification and enhancement.

He is, without question, the absolute worst possible choice to be this nation's representative and the leader of the free world. He is a clear and present danger to our environment, our economy, our health and well being, our very way of life, our democracy itself.

And yet, there is a significant likelihood he will be leading us for five more years.

So the question is not what we think about him but what this says about us.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Turning Up the Heat

From the mouth of babes.

 The global warming issue got very hot yesterday. From every corner of the planet came a synchronized warning, "we're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore." But was this White House, which is revoking a waiver permitting California to enact auto emission standards higher than the federal, listening?

 We have seen the youth of this country mobilize in protest against an administration that continues to treat diminishing the power of the Second Amendment as the third rail no matter the blood that spills and the terror that reigns in our classrooms.

We, young and old, have tried to recover from the devastation of a Trump presidency by taking to the streets to demand that our government give women's rights true meaning. Instead, we have been repudiated in a continuing relentless attack as Planned Parenthood facilities have withered on the vine and millions of women now face terrible, unnecessary health risks.

So, what hope do we have that, while this planet burns, our Nero will do anything but continue to fiddle, the passionate cries of the young from one end of the earth to the other falling on deaf ears at 1600? 

In truth, we can only hope that the "we vote next" message finds its way into the hearts and minds of the parents and grandparents of these children. And that those who vote not tomorrow but today, turn the chants of the young into resounding defeat at the ballot box for politicians who would treat global warming as a matter of opinion, not urgency.

The heat got turned up on this planet yesterday. 

Thank goodness.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Put Down Your Pencils. And Come Out Swinging

("Let's Debate: Are Democrats Doomed?")

"Now you will be given 60 seconds to tweet your most insulting, fact free response to each question, followed by a 20 second sigh from your opponent."

Does anyone doubt that Donald Trump could decide to take the low road and declare presidential debates an unnecessary expenditure of human energy, as he already knows how the media will twist his lies and fabrications into, well, lies and fabrications?

As we ponder the Democratic candidates trying to fit sound bite responses into sometimes very cramped quarters, we all have an eye (ok, maybe even both eyes) and an ear on 1600, waiting for the tweeter in charge to translate what we have seen and heard into a series of one line disses.

This, we know, is what our collective future holds for us. Forget the campaign trail, don't fill your brain with information you can regurgitate on a stage in a one on one with the mouth that spewed. Instead, be prepared to deal with slings and arrows coming from the fingers of a brain that has a "do not disturb" sign hung on its front door.

How many times will AOC and her posse be referenced no matter who is the chosen challenger to the king? How many immigrants will be standing at the border waiting to pour into your living room en masse the moment Mr. Trump's wall is torn down? How many guns will be pried from your cold dead hands the instant the Second Amendment is shot down in cold blood on Fifth Avenue in broad daylight? How many degrees of separation from environmental reality can fit into a lightbulb? 

The rules of the game have been changed. Before, "no kicking, no biting, no pulling of the hair" was the warning given to each of the participants in the fray. And as we watch the Democrats tussle with one another, we sense that they (at least most of them, most of the time) have that statement tattooed on their foreheads. But once Mr.Trump enters the arena, Wrestlemania will commence. Chairs will be broken over heads and a 2020 version of a Two Stooges marathon will become the main event.

" When I say put down your pencils, stop writing. And come out swinging."

Friday, September 13, 2019

What Debate?


Raise your hand if you watched the Democratic debate from stem to stern last night. OK, the three of you can put your hands down now.

I did, maybe because the Yankee doubleheader was finished by the start of the evening, or maybe because I felt I owed it to the people on stage to make certain their effort was rewarded with something more than the sound of one hand clapping.

But honestly, the answer to the question is ANY of the above. Sure, Bernie was hoarse from always yelling and Castro's attack on old Joe made me squirm, but this was a group of intelligent people with passion and compassion, seeking to show us there is light at the end of this very dark tunnel.

I doubt the needle will move much after last evening. People have debate ennui already and we are only in about the second inning. This is a process that lingers far, far too long and our brains are perpetually on overload just trying to endure another day with you know who doing his worst impression of a crazed dictator.

And for those Democratic candidates who didn't make the cut of the top 10 don't worry. I won't tell anyone you weren't there last night.

On to the next auditorium, town hall meeting, or the other dozens of places each one of you is headed. "If this is Tuesday, it must be Belgium." And there are miles to go before any of you sleep.

Is it still 14 months to the election? Wake me in about a year. 

Hey, how about those Yankees!

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

My Heart Is Yours To Keep

I stare at you
And watch you breathe
So still and peaceful like a river calm
Your eyes wide open captured all the light
That filled your day from early morn
And my heart is yours to keep
As you wander off to sleep
No troubles can reach you
I'll keep you safe from harm

I stare at you
And watch you dream
Of the wonders that will come your way
Your eyes wide open to the promises
Tomorrow beckoning within your reach
And my heart is yours to keep
As you wander off to sleep
No troubles can reach you
I'll give you shelter from the storm

I stare at you
And you are all the world
There is no other place upon this earth
My eyes can see no other face but yours
And all I know is here within my gaze
And my heart is yours to keep
As you wander off to sleep
No troubles can reach you 
I'll keep you close and warm

My heart is yours to keep

So wander off to sleep

No troubles will reach you 
Forever in my arms

Monday, September 9, 2019

A Starring Role

("The Real Donald Trump Is a Character on TV")

He is obsessed with his ratings: the biggest crowds his non-stop mantra literally from his first day in office. Playing to a full house while others struggle for crumbs the red meat he requires for his very survival.

This has all been about attention. His candidacy clearly intended not as reality but as a means to keeping his name, his face in the public eye. And if being a category five hurricane gave him the 24 hour coverage he needed, he had that part down pat.

Remember, this is a man who in earlier times reportedly acted as his own PR agent under the pseudonyms John Barron and John Miller to tell tales of himself to the press. Anything and everything was fair game to feed an insatiable ego.

Donald Trump became President by mistake. Not because he wanted the office, but because he needed it. Not because he intended to improve the world but because he hoped he could stay relevant. He HAD to stay relevant.

And so the buffoonish character he plays, the loud mouthed braggadocio, the foul mouthed puerile, the Archie Bunker on steroids, was the one born of testing at rallies, the one he learned from the villains at Wrestlemania, the one he honed and crafted on The Apprentice.

 If, on that first day he descended the escalator, the Mexicans as rapists line had fallen flat then who knows how different the world would look today. But it caught fire and there is nothing Donald Trump craves more than being the heat of a fire. The higher the flames, the more it demands our attention.

So this presidency is all about Donald Trump being a five alarmer. Huge and out of control. Playing the role of a lifetime.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

My Birthday Wish

My granddaughter is rushing up to her first birthday. She appears on the cusp of so many breakthroughs, walking only a step away, talking in Shakespearean verse surely the next sounds to emanate.

Graduating from baby to child as I stare in unadulterated awe. As if she is the only being on the planet. A smile permanently etched on my heart. Her grandfather wrapped around every finger of her tiny hands.

A year ago I wrote to a child yet to be born, welcoming her and telling her of my hopes and dreams for her future. But that was mere abstraction. This is as real as it gets.

I look out on a world of young grandchildren, with grandparents embracing the same feelings as I, aching for the same joys for the most precious being in their lives that I wish for my granddaughter. We are all but variations on a theme, none of us more worthy, none of us more entitled.

And I ask why do some get treated so poorly, with a cruelty that none among us deserve. I see a nation that destroys lives for no reason other than that it can. Who declares happiness and possibility the province of some but not others. Who treats with disdain and contempt the lives of people whose sin is not who they are, but where they were born.

And I know my granddaughter is no better or worse than them. That it is serendipity that she is not among those whose lives are damaged by a darkness superimposed on their being. And I can but imagine the ache that would rip my soul if I were one of those grandparents.

So for my granddaughter's first birthday I wish for her all that my words to her a year ago envisioned. That as she grows, she grows into the best person she can be. That her life continues to bring me an almost indescribable happiness.

And that for all the grandparents around this nation who have suffered the most, that in the tomorrows to come their pain subsides and one day soon they are able to dream the same dreams as I. That their grandchild's first step is unfettered, their first words filled with poetry.

That is my birthday wish for my granddaughter. And their's.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Our Little Secret

There it was, on the side of the road. A cutout big enough to house maybe two cars at most. A small opening in the trees, no markings to announce its intention. Here our hike began.

My son located this trail by a combination of sleuthing and serendipity. A brief mention in two discussions on line. A route of a mile or less to a waterfall. No description of the journey to the destination. No hint of what lay between here and there. No clue of what waited to greet us.

Only a small way up the road we had passed a well known trailhead. There, at least twenty five cars had gathered, shepherding a relative mass of humanity. Here it was us and nature. The road less traveled. As in extremely less.

We had no expectations as we walked the relatively flat path. In short order we came across the beginning of the stream bed. It was dry as the desert floor. The rocks protruded from the earth and we could have moved forward in their midst without fear of a drop of moisture dampening our feet or our spirit. And so it continued for a good while, no sign that we would encounter any hint of water along the way. An easy hike with a disappointing payoff. This was why it was unmarked and unattended. It was, I was certain, wholly unremarkable.

And then it began. The trail we had been following suddenly became more suggestion than statement. No definition marked the path ahead. Did it turn left? Maybe. And now the hill ascended, not in slow orderly fashion, but all at once, as it burst upward to the sky. And the first tricklings of water covered the stones that were, in a blink of an eye, situated far below.

In skiing, the most difficult terrain is the double fall line, signaling you should be moving in two directions at once. And now, as we strained to move upward, we were also invited sideways, to our right to the ravine that waited to capture our attention and any errant step.

We had definitely not been warned, or prepared for this. Looking for the foothold, or the finger pull as we thrust ourselves up the gnarly path, or maybe it wasn't the path, it was hard to distinguish friend from foe. 

At certain moments we thought of retreating, no one would know the better. We had given it valiant effort and there was no shame in saying enough. But then we caught a glimpse of a waterfall through the trees, barely a few hundred yards above. We heard it calling us and we did not want to be rude to our host. And so, on we trekked seeking answers to the questions of where and how we were possibly to continue our steep ascent.

It took less than an hour to complete this most treacherous portion of our task. From the point where the one and only marking on this trail, stating "US Boundary" notified us we were entering what exactly? to where this trek would conclude. And then we came upon it.

My son said we could have been anywhere in the world as we stared out on this site. The sheer sides of rock, chiseled from millions of years of contact with the falling water, creating a carving on both sides worthy of the finest sculptor the world has known. The trees hovering, staring down at the majesty day after day for eternity. The greens that blended seamlessly into this landscape, a perfect painting come to life.

And at the fall's bottom a pool of water, as clear as the sky on a cloudless day. How deep its reservoir unknown. Six feet, maybe much more. Every pebble on its bottom as visible to our eyes as those that sat on the dry bed that had greeted us far below at the inception of this adventure.

We looked at each other in utter disbelief, as if we were the first humans to gaze upon this sight. As surprised at this find as if we had discovered that pot of gold at rainbow's end.

And so my son took to chronicling our treasure, photographing it from all angles we could get to, even taking video to try to capture its essence. But we both knew nothing he would show others would do justice to what we were so privileged to witness. It was the sheer unexpectedness of the strain of reaching this point and the surreal beauty that we now soaked in with every pore of our being that made this such a unique and unforgettable moment. What we viewed, what we felt, could not be expressed from within the confines of a camera.

And then we descended, giddy from what had just occurred and certainly a bit saddened that we were leaving this smallest reminder of something far, far greater than us.

We will breathe word of this locale to no one, first because we don't want to send anyone on a path unintended for their level of capacity. And also because I think whatever God there may be wanted to keep this quiet, not marked for the hordes but maintained as the private reserve for a select few who stumbled unknowingly into its magnificence. 

Just our little secret.