Friday, December 16, 2016

Hey 2016! You Seriously Sucked!! But ... (You did give us James Corden.) So I Guess We're Cool...

Vanity Fair Reports:

"What did we do to deserve James Corden? It’s been quite a year, but at last it’s time to start wrapping it up—and the Late Late Show host has apparently been working for all of 2016 to make sure his viewers do so in the best way possible.

How? By quietly enlisting a sampling of his “Carpool Karaoke” guests to belt out their best rendition of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas.” And like every good present, this one comes with a nice bow on top: Carey herself, who took a quick spin with Corden to do some last-minute shopping.

This one kicks off in style: Corden’s in a festive sweater, and the Elusive Chanteuse is in what appears to be a red leather blazer. Because ’tis the season. Before long, though, the video cuts to various guests of “Carpool Karaoke” past: Adele, Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas, Elton John, Selena Gomez, Lady Gaga, Chris Martin, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Gwen Stefani."


Hat tip to Joemygod

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

My 2016 Election Concession...

Dear Trump Voter,  You won.  I Lost.

It is a beautiful  early Winter day here in London. The weather has been unseasonably mild for mid December. (It is in the upper 50’s Fahrenheit this week). But the Christmas decorations are up in Central London and the city sparkles and shines, even without snow. So I was feeling pretty good, even somewhat smug as I saw the predicted high temperature for Madison, WI today. (12 Degrees F.) That feeling quickly dissipated however, upon seeing the news report about the final result of the election recount in Wisconsin.

After all was said and done, it was Donald Trump who actually increased his margin of victory in the Badger State, by 131 votes. (Hillary Clinton added 713 votes to her total, and Trump gained 844 new votes.) The recount resulted in a total net increase of 837 ballots.

A number of old friends in WI have sparred with me on Facebook over the recount, Russian intervention in the US Election, and what the Trump victory might mean. On more than one occasion over the past few weeks, I have been told that I need to “get over it, cuz Trump won.” A fact that the WI recount result has clearly underscored with added emphasis. So there…. Nyygha!

You know what? They’re right. So to all the Trump voters back in my Childhood home of Wisconsin, I concede. Donald J. Trump won the election by  winning 74 more electoral votes than Hillary Clinton. The fact Hillary Clinton beat Trump by nearly 3 million more total votes, while frustrating, isn’t how our system works. Donald Trump won the election. He is the President-Elect and come January 20th will be the 45th President of the United States.

Granted, there are a few things you voted for in your support for Trump that you clearly are not going to get. Hilary Clinton isn’t going to be charged with any of the imaginary high crimes and nefarious deeds Trump cited to milk applause at his rallies. Sorry, but nobody is going to “Lock her up”. Also, lets be real, you are not getting a wall with Mexico. Not because of political or social opposition, it’s just not physically possible.

 Which brings me to what you actually ARE going to get for you vote.

Congratulations, you are getting a fact-free federal government. The one hallmark of Donald Trump’s historic victory, ( and yes, we all can be honest here and admit it truly was historic), was the total lack of any need for facts. Or rather,  just making up your own facts when reality disagreed with you.

When the unemployment rate was really less than 5%, you just said; No it isn’t… it’s over 40%! When over 90% of the global scientific community agrees on the fact that man-made carbon emissions are a leading factor in changes to our climate, you just said; No it isn’t! The whole thing is a Chinese hoax!

 When you lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes you just said; No we didn’t! Everyone who didn’t vote for us, voted illegally, so we really won!   You voted for , and will now get a Federal Government that will simply make stuff up, when reality doesn’t support the talking points.

Speaking of the climate. You voted for coal, and for oil.. Bigly, as the President-Elect likes to say. You voted for a foreign policy that will put the profits of Exxon-Mobile as the foremost interest of the United States around the world. 

 You voted to reward the dictator of Chad for waging war on his own people. You voted reward Russia for waging war on its neighbor by allowing them to revive a half a TRILLION dollar oil deal between their state owned oil company and Exxon.

Let’s not forget Coal, because you voted to reopen coal mines in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Not only that, but you voted to eliminate air quality standards, clean water regulations and gut the federal agency responsible for overseeing it all.    So this is what you are getting for at least the next four years. An executive branch that is composed  almost entirely, of  exactly the sort of  people you believed you were voting against. 

But you won!  So you get to eliminate health insurance for over 20 million people. With no alternative to fill the gap.  You voted for "repeal" without any sort of replace.   There is no Trump or GOP health care plan beyond going back to the lack of a system the US had before the Affordable Care Act Many aspects of the GOP “proposal” are clear: It would permit health insurers to cover far fewer services than they have to cover under Obamacare, and it would reduce federal subsidies for buying insurance, pare protections for people with pre-existing conditions, roll back funding for Medicaid, and convert Medicare to a voucher-type program.

Trump hasn’t said what this would cost, or how many people would end up with insurance – what we do know is that number will be far smaller than it is under Obamacare. So when all those newly re-employed coal miners get Black Lung, better hope their voucher is enough to cover it.

But you won. So by all means tear up all the trade deals and go try to renegotiate them. Then try not to wonder what happened when the good faith and credit of the United States collapses. But you won, so you get to spend millions of dollars in tax payer money to pay companies to not move jobs overseas And to then call it a victory when those same companies only move most of the jobs overseas.

But you won, so you get to turn Social Security over to the same system and players who completely crashed the economy in 2007, People who actively sought to make money on people losing their homes. So sure, why wouldn’t you want them to be able to make money on people losing their retirement. What could possibly go wrong?

But hey, you won! You get a President who will use social media to attack anyone who criticises him. You also voted to get a Vice President who has promised to make  it legal to treat anyone who is   Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual or Transgendered as not just less than equal in the eyes of the law, but less than human in the eyes of the law. You voted to make the government the entity that decides what is best for a Woman’s health. You voted to make sure Corporations have greater civil protections than you do .

But, as you keep reminding me, you won. So you get a new domestic police force with the sole mission of rounding up people. You get internment camps for undocumented immigrants. The irony here is that for years the fever-swamp on the American Right Wing was convinced Obama was building secret concentration camps for Gun Owners, Christians, and anyone who reads Breitbart news.( Funny how that never happened?) Yet you clearly had no qualms voting for the same idea for anyone who in your view “might not belong here”

For the past few weeks I was pretty upset about all this, But you wake up, the sun is shining, the weather is mild. I still have both private health insurance AND universal health care. I still live in a country where the Conservative government pushed for Marriage Equality. I still live in a country that is actively developing alternative energy and doesn’t care if Trump throws tantrums about Wind farms near his golf course. 

 I still live in country that despite it’s own internal struggles with xenophobia, understands you cannot wall yourself off from the rest of the world.    So congratulations on your great win Trump voters! The rest of the World may, for a little while, lament your choice. But soon, will move on, quite content without you.

China, Russia, (definitely Russia), India, and many others will smile and applaud, as a Trump Presidency completely destroys what is left of the American Manufacturing sector. Mexico, Japan and South Korea will quietly cheer when the talking heads on FOX News gleefully announce the idea of a living wage in the United States is dead and gone.

While at the same time, taking heads over on the FOX Business Channel will be insisting that bank executives who, when they crash the economy again, and need to be bailed out by taxpayers, must still receive multi-million dollar bonuses, as those are necessary to "keep America moving forward".

You won. So please do shout hallelujah as Mike Pence leads the charge to legalize discrimination against anyone who isn't a white, (supposedly ) heterosexual, evangelical Christian. Chant “drill baby drill!” as the National Parks are handed over to Oil Companies, Timber Companies and Mining Corporations. You won’t need to worry about helping your kids with their homework as the GOP finally will finally be able to eliminate science from public schools.

You won. So you get to go ahead and teach American kids, that the Earth is only 6,000 years old, and the human race began with two fully formed people, who rode around a garden on dinosaurs, chatting it up with talking snakes. All those students in India, Japan, South Korea and China thank you for freeing up all that space at Universities. As American students won’t be able to fill out the applications let alone get in. But hey, all that “book-learnin’ “ is just a liberal plot right?

You Won,  so you get to try to remake  the United States of America in Donald Trump's image. So please go ahead,  beat your chest proudly and talk of "American Exceptional-ism'. But when you start to wonder why all that American Greatness hasn't  trickled down to you, and get upset about it,  please remember;  You won.  This is what  you voted for.  

There is no point beating around the bush anymore so I wont.   I conceede.  You won, I lost. So I say to my Republican and Libertarian friends, good luck. The rest of the world thanks you, for all you have done ... to eliminate the United States as their competition.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Republicans Blocked Release of Report on Russian Cyber Attacks

The Washington Post's Ellen Nakashima talks to Rachel Maddow about her bombshell reporting on a secret CIA assessment that says Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win.

Like anyone is even remotely surprised by this stuff anymore.  Mitch McConnell is a traitorous partisan hack who  has, will continue to gleefully  endanger U.S. National Security for his own personal gain.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Meanwhile in Donald Trump's America

If you Voted for Donald Trump you are Standing with THESE people. You say you are not a Racist, but YOU Trump Voter, voted to make racism, bigotry and hatred acceptable in the American Mainstream.

You cannot hide your culpability in allowing ... THIS to claim a legitimate place in our American civic discourse... You say you never would approve of mobs giving the Nazi salute, but YOU Trump Voter, have made it OK for others to do so, YOU Trump Voter, did this.. YOU Trump voter, OWN this...

Spare me any pathetic attempts at self justification for your role in leaving this .... rancid Shit stain on American Democracy. Don't bother posting it here.

There is NO excusing this.. or excusing ANY actions that have enabled it.

Friday, November 18, 2016

When you don't know whether to laugh or cry...

The amazing, and gifted writer/satirist R. McDougal shared this with me today...  It isn't often you find a perfect blend of  brilliant satire and all too cogent political commentary.

"Look, just because we disagree politically, it's unfair to call me racist, xenophobic, homophobic, misogynistic and all that. Yes, I know what has been said, but you shouldn't assume that I agree with EVERYTHING that's said. I don't have anything against those groups, but you know, this isn't about individuals and their special interests, it's about a revolution against big, global government that is overstepping it's bounds. It's just time for a major change...

I mean, the last eight years have been devastating to my home economically - well, we're not starving, but we could be doing SO much better, and I'm tired of watching the poor get handouts from Obama and the United Nations. For me this is mostly about our economy, but I also agree that what we need is a strong military force, to get rid of these people who aren't even citizens, and a government that will get back to our nation's true religious morals and values.

So don't overreact and assume I'm a bad person just because I'm a White person who supports Trump.

I just personally see Him as the lesser of two evils."

"Look, just because we disagree politically, it's unfair to call me racist, xenophobic, homophobic, misogynistic and all that. Yes, I know what has been said, but you shouldn't assume that I agree with EVERYTHING that's said. I don't have anything against those groups, but you know, this isn't about individuals and their special interests, it's about a revolution against big, global government that is overstepping it's bounds. It's just time for a major change...

I mean, the last eight years have been devastating to my home economically - well, we're not starving, but we could be doing SO much better, and I'm tired of watching the poor get handouts from Obama and the United Nations. For me this is mostly about our economy, but I also agree that what we need is a strong military force, to get rid of these people who aren't even citizens, and a government that will get back to our nation's true religious morals and values.

So don't overreact and assume I'm a bad person just because I'm an Iraqi that supports ISIS .

I just personally see it as the lesser of two evils.“

Monday, November 14, 2016

To My friends, who voted for Donald Trump....

Over the past few days. I have gotten a number of comments on Facebook claiming I am being unfair to Trump Voters by saying they voted for things like Racism, Sexism, Xenophobia, Homophobia and White Nationalism.

 Some folks have even expressed downright anger at being "accused" of being  all those terrible things.    Sigh,...   Lets be clear,  In no way am I accusing you of being racists etc.etc..  Yet the fact remains you voted FOR those things. 

A few of you have come back with very thoughtful responses,  detailing your outrage at Secretary Clinton's lack of trustworthiness, and her litany of "scandals" , as justifcation for your vote for Donald Trump;  Who you say you dont actually like, but you just coudn't support "Crooked Hillary".  
Ok then, ... lets examine some painful facts...

1) Your moral outrage at Hillary Clinton's emails would reek less of partisan hypocrisy if you had been equally outraged at Condi Rice and Colin Powell who did the same thing,

2) Your indignation at 15,000 (supposedly) missing emails from Hillary Clinton's private server would reek less of partisan hypocrisy if you were equally concerned over 33,000,000 emails deliberately deleted by the GW Bush Administration. Emails that deal ...directly with decisions that took America into two wars.

3) .Your moral outrage at completely debunked claims about the Clinton Foundation would reek less of partisan hypocrisy if you were as concerned about actual violations of the laws governing 501c3 charities committed by the utterly bogus Trump Foundation.

4) Your outrage at the tragic loss of four American diplomats in Benghazi would reek less of partisan hypocrisy if you had demanded the Republican Congress that cut funding for consular security had been equally concerned about the 60 American deaths in the 13 different attacks on embassies and consulates that happened from 2000-2009.

No my friends (and yes, I DO mean friends) you are NOT racists, or sexists or white nationalists.. But you for voted FOR all those things.

I speak as someone who hoped in my heart of hearts that the Republican Party (a party, that I can confidently say, my credentials of past support for are equal to, and even far out weigh any of yours..) would turn aside from this madness and step forward to credibly seek to lead our nation. Instead it has embraced the darkest demons of our nature.  

30 years ago I stood in a crowd in Berlin and heard the American President, MY President, demand that walls be torn down. Now we have a reality tv personality with a world view predicated on the lie,  that building walls is somehow an answer to America's problems.

I love you all, but the idea that a vote for Donald Trump was anything but a vote FOR racism , sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, islamophobia and rank hypocrisy on an epic scale is to be simultaneously engaged in self delusion and self justification,  on a level as to boggle the mind.

Friday, November 11, 2016

It's the End of the World!!.... Or is it?

Ok… deep breath.

I have been struggling for the past couple of days since the election, to process what just happened. Donald Trump is President Elect of the United States. I am sure some you have had Trump supporting friends/acquaintances gleefully telling you how we all have to come together and support the new President.

When I point out to these people how when in 2008, we asked the same of them, what we got was an eight year long torrent of racism , obstructionism, blatant disrespect and outright hate;  When presented with that little historical fact, some of these people have actually replied; “So what? You always said you were better than us, here is your chance to prove it!”

Seriously? Shut the hell up. You own this. The next four years are all yours.

You got your wish. It looks as if You elected the least intelligent, least self aware, most emotionally unstable person in the country as our next President. Oh… and all you disgruntled Bernie Sanders voters who flocked to Jill Stein in a fit of pique, thus handing Florida to Donald Trump, You are just as much a part of this as anyone whooping in joy, wearing a (made in china) “Make America Great Again” cap.

It has created fear and, here in London as well as around the world  there is mass uncertainty  as to whether or not America can be trusted as rational sane and dependable  international partner.

Or....  Just like with the  all the election polls,  are we all making another totally wrong prediction?

Now this is going to sound really weird…. But hear me out. There is another possibility here. Remote, but interestingly enough, one that hard core Trumpers are not going be happy with. It is entirely possible that Donald Trump, the great con man, just played us all.

There is a school of thought that says , the President Elect honestly never thought he would win. Now faced with the mind numbing responsibility of being the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump may well be having a serious “Oh Shit!! What do I do now??” moment.

His meeting yesterday with President Obama was originally scheduled to last less than half an hour, and ended up running more than an hour and a half. Afterwards the President Elect even said he would be calling upon President Obama for advice and counsel, even after he assumes the Presidency. Gone is all talk of the infamous “Muslim Ban” (as of this posting all reference to it had been scrubbed from the Trump Campaign website). Gone also is any mention of “locking up” Hillary Clinton.

Which creates an interesting fork the road we as a nation have just started down. If there is one thing you can say about Donald Trump it is, he is always thinking about his “Brand”. It is foremost in his mind. How he can expand it, how he can protect it. Never before have we had a President who is so motivated by not just public opinion about him, but public perception of him. 

During the campaign, Trump would drop everything to respond to even the smallest perceived slight or criticism of him on Social Media. On January 20th he is assuming dead center of the biggest target for public criticism there is, the American Presidency.

The voters who made Donald Trump the Republican Nominee are not the voters who won him the Presidency. The GOP base expects Trump to deliver on all the nutty stuff he promised during the Primaries and tried (unsuccessfully for the most part) to pivot away from during the General Election. The Voters who have put Trump in the White House, were not voting for Trump, they were voting against pretty much… well, everything.

The overwhelming majority of Americans support a women’s right to make her own reproductive choices, they support marriage equality and they want some form of Universal Health Care , and comprehensive immigration reform. If President Trump takes the path of trying to turn back rights for women, LGBT Americans and people of color, it is safe to say he will be most disliked, and openly and publicly criticized President in American history. Something which (to put it mildly) he would have a very, very VERY hard time dealing with.

So it’s not crazy to think President Trump could just… pivot again. Acting as if all that crazy stuff he promised the right wing nuttosphere never actually happened. During the campaign he did it all the time, with problematic things he said, or positions he held in the past.

It could well be, that Donald Trump knows that right now, Democrats would love nothing more than for him to give them reasons to treat him, the same way his Party treated President Obama for the last eight years. Progressive activist groups like the ACLU have already said they are geared up to file endless lawsuits against the new administration should Trump try to follow through on precisely the far right proposals that the GOP base who made him the nominee, are counting on him to deliver for them.

All those gleeful facebook posters saying “all those liberals are going to get it now, just you wait and see!”; May soon find themselves even more angry with Donald Trump, if it turns out the he isn’t willing to write his own political and cultural obituary by delivering on their thirst for insanity, and instead quickly “pivots away” from all those things the majority of Americans want nothing to do with.

A famous saying goes; “We campaign in poetry, but govern in prose”. It will be interesting to see if Donald Trump governs answering first and foremost to the constituency he has represented his whole life; Himself.   Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and their assorted interests and backers may find that President Trump isn’t willing to go along with them , if it means his “ratings” (i.e. approval numbers) would take a hit.

An optimistic scenario I know. Highly improbable, but hardly impossible. Barack Obama aptly said that the Presidency doesn’t change who you are, it magnifies who you are. Donald Trump’s life has always been about what is best for Donald Trump.   Oddly enough that character flaw, may well turn out be America’s best hope for surviving the next four years.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Post Election Thoughts...

So last night, this happened...

Please don't tell me to take a deep breath, or recommit to working for progressive causes. Maybe in a couple weeks, but for today. Just zip it. I accept the outcome of the election as any decent American would. But don't tell me not to be angry.

If you voted for Donald Trump for President, you voted to attack me and my family directly. You made as clear a statement as possible that you feel I am less of an American, and less of a human being than you are, and the power of Government should be brought to bear to treat me as such.

Here is why: Last night America didn't elect Donald Trump President. They elected him American Reality show host. What really happened is they elected Mike Pence President of The United States . Donald Trump has already indicated he cant be bothered with the day to day aspects of being President. All that stuff he plans to farm out to the Vice President, while he is busy “Making American Great Again”

From the New York Times:
One day this past May, Donald Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., reached out to a senior adviser to Gov. John Kasich of Ohio… according to the Kasich adviser (who spoke only under the condition that he not be named), Donald Jr. wanted to make him an offer: Did he have any interest in being the most powerful vice president in history?
When Kasich’s adviser asked how this would be the case, Donald Jr. explained that his father’s vice president would be in charge of domestic and foreign policy.
Then what, the adviser asked, would Trump be in charge of?
“Making America great again” was the casual reply.

You thought Cheney was scary... you haven't seen anything yet.

It will be Vice President, Mike Pence who will picking who fills any vacancies on not just the Nation’s highest court, but up down the federal judiciary. Where you may like to think Trump doesn’t really believe the nutty right wing stuff in the GOP Platform , you can be sure Pence is a true believer, and he will want the populate the federal bench with like-minded gargoyles.

Pence believes that His God, wants him to use the power of Government to attack Women's right to control their own bodies, to attack the basic civil rights of LGBT Americans, and to make our nation a less diverse, and more fearful place.

Oh, and to any Democrat who voted for Jill Stein.... well done. You did nothing to advance third party viability in the US, and did everything to enable at least two years, if not four, of relentless damage to all the causes you claim to hold dear.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Dear Wisconsin- It's time to take Our Grand Old Party Back.

Many of my friends are shocked  when they learn that I,  used to be a Republican.  How could I,  a good progressive Gay man ever have been a member of the GOP?    The answer is found in a conversation I had  one afternoon when I was thirteen years old.

 I was attending an event hosted at Vilas Hall, on the University of Wisconsin Madison Campus.    The event was to promote a media literacy and education  organization I was heavily involved with at the time    Like many such events I attended, I spoke fairly early in the program and was the youngest speaker. I would then have to sit there while speaker after speaker began to blur together and my 13 year old mind began to wander. Realizing. I was in danger of nodding off, I quietly excused myself, and  ducked out into the adjacent "green room" to get a drink of water.

As I walked into the lounge area I heard the sound of a Television, and saw someone sitting on the couch watching the University of Wisconsin Football game. With his curly white hair and trademark red vest, I instantly recognized former Wisconsin Governor Lee Sherman Dreyfus. I had met Governor Dreyfus a few times previously and was friends with his daughter Susan. With whom I worked  with on media literacy and education projects.

 He saw me, motioned me over (remembered my name), and cheerfully announced that the Badgers were up by 7. I sat down next to him, and we watched the game for a few minutes in companionable silence. He then turned to me and asked me how I was doing. I. talked briefly about the Media education project I was there to help promote.

Then I got up my courage and asked if I could ask him a personal question. Governor Dreyfus smiled and said; "So is this an interview Dave?"  I assured him we were off the record, he laughed and gestured for me continue.   "Why did you want to be Governor?", I asked. Dreyfus had recently finished a very successful term, then not run for re-election. A move that had surprised most, and frustrated many inside the Wisconsin Republican Party, as the conventional wisdom was, had he run again, he would have won re-election. Quite easily.

Looking back at the television to check the score, he reached over and turned the sound down  and then asked me if I had ever noticed  the murals in the rotunda of the. State Capitol building, just a few a blocks away.      I proudly replied that I had,  and eager to demonstrate my knowledge, rattled off the names of the four murals that form the base of the rotunda.   Government,  Justice, Legislation, and Liberty. 

The former Governor of my home state then went on to give me the best civics lesson I have ever had. He explained that he had benefited from the education system and professional and economic opportunities that living in Wisconsin had provided.  Consequently he felt an obligation to "do his part" to ensure that those opportunities and advantages he had enjoyed,  were protected and expanded.

He went on to say that our system  was set up to make that possible.   The executive branch (Government)  worked with the Legislature and the State Senate  to craft and pass the laws (Legislation) that were then interpreted by the courts (Justice).  Combined, this system of checks, balances and cooperation between all three entities,  ensured freedom and opportunity for everyone (Liberty).

It was at this point his daughter poked her head into the room and chided us both for. "hiding out" and said we should re-join the event next door.   I shook Governor Dreyfus' hand and thanked him for taking the time to talk with  me.   "My pleasure Dave", he said, and we went back into the next room.

With WI Governor Tommy Thompson
It would be a conversation that would stay with me for years, and it was that day that at the ripe old age of 13,  I. decided that I , like  Lee Dreyfus,  was a Republican.   I would join the Young  Republicans campaigning for Ronald Reagan in 1984,  and two years later,  I would cast my first vote.  While  studying in West Germany in 1986, I proudly walked into the. American Consulate in Munich,  filled out my absentee ballot and cast my first ever vote,  for Republican Tommy Thompson for Wisconsin Governor.

I would go in to become an active member and officer of the College Republicans,  even chairing the CR election efforts on campus for  Bush-Quayle '88 and '92.  My reasons were clear.   It was a Republican who had showed me the power of our system of government to make the lives of Americans better,  and by extension,  the world a better and safer place. In June of the following year,  I stood at the Berlin Wall in the crowd as President Ronald Reagan challenged Mikhail Gorbachev  to "tear down this wall!"  Feeling proud to be both an American AND a Republican.

So what happened?   Why did I leave the GOP?    The most concise way to answer that question to simply say the GOP left me.   Or more accurately the GOP left me, Lee Dreyfus, Tommy Thompson, George HW Bush, Bob Dole and yes,  even left Ronald Reagan.

Ripon, Wisconsin was the birthplace of the Republican Party.   I used live there,  and would regularly go past the landmark where the GOP had its creation.  The Republican Party on the ballot next Tuesday in Wisconsin and every other state, bears no resemblance to the that party.  Let alone party of Lee Dreyfus.

The Party of Donald Trump  sees our great system of cooperative branches of government, with its checks and balance, as an obstacle not an asset.  Donald Trump is an emotionally and mentally unstable narcissistic sociopath who Russia considers to be a " useful fool".  He is  a con man and grifter.  He couldn't care less about the people of the great state of Wisconsin,  to him you are at best a nuisance to be tolerated,  and after the election quickly forgotten.

The Republican Party is addicted crazy.  It has embraced the darker politics of division and fear in place of  faith in our system and public service to our citizens.    Like many addicts the GOP doesn't want to get better.  The only way for the GOP to stop digging the deep  dank dark hole  it as been wallowing in since 1992,  is to finally hit rock bottom.   To lose, and lose completely.

This isn't just an election.  It's an intervention.    For  the GOP,  it's time for tough love.  A vote for Donald Trump  and the GOP is a vote  to return to the days of 50 million Americans with out access to health insurance.  It is a vote  to turn the stunning natural beauty of the state of  Wisconsin into a strip mined, fracked up toxic wasteland,  where water catches fire when it comes out of the Tap.

A vote for Donald Trump  and the GOP is to hand the public purse over to people who game the system, make millions and even billions of  dollars,   on which they then  pay NO taxes.  All the while demanding  public services be gutted to  pay  their for their excesses.  It is to sacrifice Wisconsin's place as American's Dairy Land in favor of becoming the Mississippi of the North.  An under-educated, under-employed, over polluted gilded swamp of the very very rich,  the very very poor and nothing in between.

Trump Supporters like to scream about how they "want their country back", which is nothing more than code for not wanting to to admit they never were able to accept that a Black man sat in the Oval Office.   Well I want  my Party back.  I want  a Republican Party that  believes in the synergy of Government, Justice , Legislation  and Liberty.

I am not a big fan of  Aaron Sorkin's "The Newsroom".  His preachy follow up to his brilliant "The West Wing", but in this scene, he perfectly explains everything that as gone wrong with the Republican Party.

It;s time  to give the GOP a time out.   It's for the people of Wisconsin to step up and save the Republican Party.   How?  By voting  for Hillary Clinton, Russ Feingold   and voting for the Democratic Party.  

Monday, October 17, 2016

Remembering a different life...

The following is a updated repost of  one of the first blog entries I ever wrote, back in  October, 2006.   

I was bouncing around the web a couple of weeks back and stumbled on It is a site than helps you locate addresses of people. So out of curiosity I typed in the name of my best friend from High School. Sure enough a result for his name came up. Not sure if it was the right person rather than call, I sent a note with my business card attached saying, if this was who I thought it was, to please write back.

A couple of weeks went by... and I forgot about it. I honestly didn't expect to hear anything back. Then the other day I got an email and it was indeed from him. It is an interesting experience in a way. I really have not heard from him since I attended his wedding. At the time I really envied him. He was marrying a wonderful gal and starting to build a life. They now have a five year old son with a daughter on the way due in December. He said it was amazing to hear from me couldn't wait to hear all about what I have been doing over the past few years.

I will confess, I have mixed feelings about that.

For the most part, I have not kept in touch with anyone from my High School days. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed High School, had great friends and good memories. Yet it really was a whole different life. Like many LGBT kids in the mid to late 80's I was closeted and terrified of coming out. On some level every day had some undercurrent of fear of my "secret" being discovered. The ultimate put-down was to say something was "gay" or to be called a "fag". You saw the kids who were even slightly effeminate or "different" getting tormented on a daily basis.

So you kept your mouth shut and your eyes closed. When you watched those 80's brat-pack movies, while your friends oggled Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy, you didnt admit to anyone, not even to yourself that you thought Rob Lowe and Emilo Estavez were really hot.

Add to that, the media was full of stories of this new "gay disease" called AIDS, and the Reagan and first Bush Administrations were not interested in getting any information about it out to the public. So like a lot of gay kids I didn't know what to think. Could I get AIDS by coming out? By even holding hands or kissing a guy? Was it really God's way of getting rid of homosexuals? The fear you felt was this huge cloud that hung over you every day. You really did wonder if you were destined to be miserable and alone for your entire life.

And of course at time I thought I was the ONLY gay kid on earth. Now I know that there were in fact more than a few. Even at my own school. But at the time, the sense of isolation was overwhelming. But then, time moved on. I left and in many ways never looked back.

I moved to Europe, studied there, came back to WI and went to college, after graduation worked, traveled back to Europe, then even moved to Asia. Eventually, I came back to the US and settled in Chicago, and then I came out.

Like many people, for me coming out was a frightening and painful process of self-discovery and acceptance. I think back on the fear I felt in those days and it seems like I am watching a movie of someone else's life. A life that I would not ever want to revisit. Yet in truth it was MY issue, not my friends. They had no way of knowing what I felt. The whole traditional High School experience of the first date, first dance , first kiss, first umm... "whatever", while a given for everyone else, was just not possible for a lesbian or Gay kid in South Central Wisconsin in the 1980's. Or at least not for me.

Many Gays and Lesbians who should be my age never lived to see today. The statistics on suicide for LGBT youth in the 1980's and 90's will give you nightmares. I am so amazingly fortunate to have the family that I do. My parents are the two most incredible, supportive and amazing people in the whole world. Coming out to them while scary as hell, was truly the end of an old life and the beginning of a new much brighter and happier one.

( Just in case I haven't told you - Thanks Mom & Dad.)

I marvel at many of today's LGBT kids with "Gay Straight Alliances" and alternative proms. When I read about kids taking their same sex partner to a high school dance, I can only smile and be amazed at how, at least in some places how far we have come. Though certainly for thousands of LGBT youth in America the reality has not changed from the one I knew .

Over the years I didn't stay in touch with people back from "back home". One wedding, an occasional Christmas Card was pretty much the limit of my contact , and even that soon stopped. Someone recently asked me why I didn't keep in touch with people from those days, and honestly I didn't really have a good answer. Hence my card to my friend.

I know what you are wondering. Will I tell my old friend (s) that I am gay? Will I open up my life now to those people from my life "then"? Does it even matter?

Honestly? I don't know. I'll keep you posted...
FLASH FORWARD  Ten years...  October 11, 2016

It is worth noting,  the friend I wrote about  in  2006 , like so many other  amazing friends from my life  have shown me  in words and deeds  what I have always suspected,  my friends are in general, a lot wiser than I am.   As  I mark today's  National Coming Out Day there are straight allies in my life who  I still cannot thank enough,  

From the friend who answered that  letter in 2006,  and reminded me  why were friends in the first place, and  still today  reminds me to laugh at life  more than  30 years on.  Then there is  the Lawyer in Dallas who challenged my own  stereotypes of how I thought friends  would react to my coming out,  and instead ended up teaching me invaluable lessons about  acceptance and true friendship, traveling half way around the world to surprise me at my wedding.

There is the couple in Georgia whose friendship has literally spanned two oceans and three decades, who always knew, didn't care, and have always loved me for who I am.  The Career Air Force officer and his wife in Germany, who I had the honour of being a Groomsmen at their wedding, and years later are still sharing their adventures with me. To the School Teacher from Boston, who lived a remarkable  life of  always seeking the best in people, taught me to do the same  and  whose passing has left me  missing him every day.   All these amazing people, along with so many others I am blessed to call my friends.

And as always, my incredible family who just by being themselves  encouraged me,  and gave me strength  to just .... be myself.

And yes,  to those who,  for reasons political,  social,  and religious  felt they could not  continue our friendship,  I thank you as well.  Not because  I don't miss you,  for believe, me,  I  do miss you , every day. Yet  I owe you my thanks for  showing me that the choice to live authentically does not come without cost, and therefore must not, ever be taken for granted.  

Lastly,  to my amazing husband  Eric.   Who without even trying,  provides me with  living proof every day  that taking those steps to come out of the closet were by far, the best ones I have ever made.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

We just saw the Launch of Pence 2020

Last night Indiana Governor Mike Pence did exactly what he needed to do   He showed conservative Republicans that not only was he one them,  but moreover,  he showed them that he was not, Donald Trump.

You see, even before Donald Trump came along, many conservatives inside and outside the Republican Party loved Mike Pence, and they really wanted him to run for President. They saw him as one of the few GOP  Governors who hasn't completely destroyed his own state. A clear social conservative, a strong opponent of women's rights , and   against "the gays",

Not only that, he has a college degree and great Presidential candidate hair!

The far right swooned over Mike Pence  back in 2015 when he,  and his fellow Republicans thought they had found a way to strike back at the advance of LGBT rights, under the banner of "Religious Liberty." It is the claim that If you don't let people discriminate against certain groups  (Gays)  in public accommodation, it is a violation of freedom of religion. Because their religion says those certain groups (Gays),  are icky, and going to hell.

Despite bad press, the move rallied  social conservatives who, were feeling  rather bruised and battered in the wake of recent advances in LGBT rights.  It  made Mike Pence an even bigger  hero in many of their minds and hearts.    Rumblings of a "Draft Mike Pence" movement for  2016 started to be heard in places far outside of Indiana.  

Yet when  the resulting backlash and business boycotts  cost Indiana hundreds of  millions of dollars in lost tourist, convention and business investment revenue,  Pence's  Presidential aspirations fell faster than hotel bookings in Indianapolis.  Many pundits at the time said that Pence's  moment had clearly come and gone.

Then Donald Trump picked him as his running mate.  Which for the past few months seemed to make Pence's  chances even worse,  As  the Trump campaign seemed  to be running some sort of bizarre experiment to see  if they could make each week in the campaign a bigger disaster than the previous one. So heading into Last night's Vice Presidential candidate debate,  Pence, had an impossible task. Defending his running mate, and the unhinged, reality free, racist, sexist, borderline fascist episodes of political Turrets Syndrome,  that have defined his candidacy.

Pence knew that Donald Trump was indefensible, so he did the only thing he could.   He didn't even try.

Faced with facts,  Pence didn't even attempt to spin them, instead he went to the "Conservative Happy Place". That magical land that exists only  in the right wing mind, where negative polling numbers are "rigged", outrageous statements, even when caught on video, simply didn't happen, and "far right" is always right. So any inconvenient facts, no matter how easily proven,  can be denied.

Mike Pence's  debate performance was the political equivalent of  the Shaggy song "It Wasn't Me." Only in this case it was  "It Wasn't Him" (Trump)

Last night's debate was a textbook study of the American political dialogue for the last 8 plus years.   Democrats point out the reality of what is said, proposed and believed by Republicans.  Then in response, Republicans  flat out deny  everything they have said, proposed and done. What is left, is two people having two completely separate conversations, where one side is obsessed with detailing the facts, and the other is equally obsessed with pretending they don't exist. So any chance of finding solutions or common ground becomes pretty much impossible.

It is worth noting that prior to Pence's election as Governor of Indiana he was a conservative talk radio host. Coming from the world of the Rush Limbaughs, Glenn Becks and Sean Hanitys, blissfully bulldozing past facts is pretty much their bread and butter. Any information that doesn't support the established talking points is quickly brushed aside as "liberal bias".

The result? Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate, Governor Tim Kaine looked like a man trying to herd cats. It simply didn't matter what the truth was, Pence was't going to budge an inch. His personal reality was going to remain intact no matter what,    It may not have helped pull Trump out of the electoral hole he is currently in,  but  Pence also didn't  do any damage to his Party or  their ticket.

As a result, Conservatives watching totally ate it up. Mike Pence has once again become their smooth silver haired telegenic champion against all those liberally biased "Facts".   Pence even went out of his way to channel the spirit of the great Conservative patron saint,  Ronald Reagan.

“There they go again,” Pence replied  at one point, in response to Tim Kaine's barrage of facts.  A clear  reference to conservative hero Ronald Reagan’s famous line — “There you go again” — during the 1980 presidential debate against Jimmy Carter. He later went on to quote  Reagan on the subject of  nuclear war.

The Washington Post summed Pence's performance pretty well....

"If Tuesday night’s vice-presidential debate was about Mike Pence helping Donald Trump right the ship in the 2016 presidential race, it was an abject failure. But if it was about making Mike Pence look good — possibly for a future presidential run? — it was a success. By largely parrying Tim Kaine’s many attacks on Trump and avoiding direct, in-depth defenses of Trump’s most controversial policies and provocative statements, Pence did plenty of good for himself, if not his running mate."

So weeks still to go before the 2016 votes are cast, let alone counted, let the posturing for 2020 begin....

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Hey Trump Supporters, If this is really what you want... Go for it.

Ok... When I sat down to write this blog post, I was all set to give example after example of how the modern day GOP/Trumpian/Nativist/Fill-in-the blank/ Pseudo-conservative moment, has completely lost its mind and gone totally insane.

What prompted that original intention? Well earlier today, I tuned in to the local talk radio station here in London and the topic was … The Donald, and his chances of actually winning the Presidency. Citing the Brexit referendum result as a potential harbinger of things to come in the US. The show was being broadcast from New York City.

There was a whole line of callers who praised Trump’s “Plain spoken manner” while completely excusing his racism, sexism, negativism, vast catalog of lies,insults, bankruptcies, welched business deals, massive scams like his fake Trump University and his overall emotional and mental instability, and unsuitability for the Presidency. 

So I called in, got on the air, and calmly explained how the electoral college works, and that comparing the US Presidential election to the UK EU Referendum was a wildly inaccurate analogy. After a very rational conversation with LBC’s excellent host, Maajid Nawaz, the next caller was a total bucket of right wing nut-job talking points of how evil, dishonest, and crazy Hillary Clinton is.

So I was all set to log on here and cite example upon example of how Trump is the greatest scam ever perpetrated on the Republican Party. I had scores of sound bytes, video clips, and quote after quote showing as clear as clear can be, just how hateful, stupid, anti family, anti American and just plain mentally deranged, Trump and his supporters really are.

But.. you know what? I don't care.
For over a decade now I have blogged about the lies, the hypocrisy the bigotry and greed on the American Right. Frankly, I'm tired. I'm tired of the same people who are on their third and fourth marriages, serial adulterers who while cheating on their spouses, boast of how they pray the loudest on Sundays,   but then get caught hiring sex workers on Saturday night, who sexually harass their subordinates, and feel they have the right to use the power of their elected, or corporate executive offices to hide all of it; Telling me that I'm the sinner, and therefore discrimination against me must be allowed as a protected religious freedom,

I am tired of being told by draft dodgers, that war profiteers are somehow more patriotic and "support the troops" more than people who actually served our nation in war. I'm tired of being told that Ronald Reagan, the American President who tripled our national debt, more than doubled the size of the Government and had a family life so dysfunctional, you could have roped them off, and charged admission to view them ; somehow is the model for fiscal conservatism, smaller government and "family values".

So this is what America has come to; Republicans who only serve the wealthiest of the wealthy, Trumpian TeaBaggers who wave the Constitution like a banner, but understand none of it.  American Talibangelicals, who scream hysterically about the threat of "Sharia Law", but want to impose their own fundamentalist extremist beliefs on the rest of us.    
All while a Cartoonish Reality TV nutjob leads them all ranting about birth certificates, walling off the US Southern border  and some undefinable mysterious yet DEFINITEY coming Muslim /Mexican /Fill-in-the Minority  invasion of the United States..
Add to this sad cast of misfit toys, Mike Pence,  a running mate  who, upon finding himself  un-re-electable  as a Governor, thanks to the damage his policies inflicted on his state's economy;  Promptly abandoned all his personal integrity to hitch his fortunes to the Trump sewage plume. All part of a campaign managed by  one of the leading gargoyles of  America’s  white supremacist movement.  The editor and chief of the  “Alt-Right”     

So I say go ahead America, vote them in. Destroy the U.S. Government. Refuse to raise the debt ceiling. Let the good faith and credit of the United States collapse. Destroy what is left of the middle class. To hell with the long-term unemployed. Eliminate Social Security and Medicare. Repeal the Affordable Care Act and bring back a health care system of economic Darwinism. (Survival of the Richest).

Drag the United States of America into a new gilded age of the super rich, and the super poor and nothing else. Make us into a country doesn't build, doesn't invent, doesn't achieve. Turn the United States into a country that says sacrifice is for suckers, and greed is God. 

The rest of the World may, for a little while, lament our demise. But soon, they will move on, quite content without us. 

China, Russia, (definitely Russia), India, and many others will smile and applaud, as a Trump Presidency completely destroys what is left of the American Manufacturing sector.   Mexico, Japan and South Korea will quietly cheer when the talking heads on FOX News gleefully announce the idea of a living wage in the United States is dead and gone.   

While at the same time, taking heads over on the FOX Business Channel will be insisting that bank executives who, when they crash the economy again, and need to be bailed out by taxpayers, must still receive multi-million dollar bonuses, as those are necessary to "keep America moving forward".

In November go ahead and elect Donald Trump and Mike Pence. Shout hallelujah as Pence  leads the charge to legalize discrimination against anyone who isn't a white, (supposedly ) heterosexual, evangelical Christian.   Chant “drill baby drill!” as the National Parks are handed over to Oil Companies, Timber Companies and Mining Corporations. You won’t need to worry about helping your kids with their homework as the GOP finally will finally be able to eliminate science from public schools. 
Go ahead, teach American kids, that the Earth is only 6,000 years old, and the human race began with two fully formed people, who rode around a garden on dinosaurs, chatting it up with talking snakes. All those students in India, Japan, South Korea and China  thank you in advance for freeing up all that space at Universities. As American students won’t be able to fill out the applications let alone get in. But hey, all that “book-learnin’ “ is just a liberal plot right?
In short, go for it. Turn the United States of America into DonaldTrumpistan. Then when Mexico and Canada put troops on their borders to stop the influx of illegal immigrants from the U.S., you can beat your chest proudly and talk of "American Exceptional-ism'. All while waiting in the breadline at your local soup kitchen, trying not to wonder out loud why all that promised wealth hasn’t trickled down to you. Or why the rapture hasn't beamed you up yet.

There is no point in trying to reason with Donald Trump’s supporters. Reason involves facts and reality. Two things they have learned to be quite comfortable living without. So I say to my Republican and Libertarian friends, good luck. The rest of the world thanks you, for all you are doing ... to eliminate their competition.

Well done indeed... I'm sure the mythical Ronald Reagan you worship were he ever to have actually existed, would be very proud.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Donald Trump is the Champion of White Supremacists

Donald Trump  the KKKandidate of choice of  racist sociopaths...

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

He's Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaccckk!

One of  the great silver linings  in the dark cloud of absurdity, bigotry and outright stupidity  that is the Republican Party of 2016, is  what  has, as a result of those clouds  made a glorious comeback...

The first of course is Berkley Breathed beloved , iconic  and legendary comic strip Bloom County.


Donald Trump's inflammatory rhetoric might have awakened satirical comic strip Bloom County, its characters and creator up from a 25-year-nap.

Now Opus the Penguin, Milo and other wacky denizens of Berkeley Breathed's Pulitzer Prize-winning strip are headed for a comeback, more than a quarter-century after the strip went dark.

According to the new strip Breathed posted on Facebook on Monday, Opus awakens after what he discovers from Milo is a 25-year nap.

But that apparently was just the tip of the Trump inspired Iceberg. That's right... Keith is back!

Former MSNBC and ESPN host Keith Olbermann is getting another show, but this one isn't on TV.  Olbermann will host a bi-weekly series for GQ magazine called "The Closer with Keith Olbermann." The news was first reported in POLITICO's Morning Media newsletter.

Keith Olbermann will "be providing commentary on the election, with the flexibility to delve into other timely issues when relevant,” a GQ spokesperson told POLITICO's Joe Pompeo. Olbermann will also be joining GQ as a "special correspondent."

The move to GQ not only brings Olbermann in front of the camera for the first time in more than a year, it also marks a return to politics for the veteran host, whose commentary on MSNBC made him a household name. Olbermann left MSNBC for Current TV, and subsequently re-joined his original TV home ESPN, which he left last summer.

Welcome back Keith,  we have sorely missed you .   Your return comes at the time we need it most.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Remembering a September Morning

(The following is an updated repost  of an entry from Sept. 11th, 2011)

Today the media, and the blogposphere will undoubtedly be full of all sorts of remembrances and commentary around what is the 15th  anniversary of the terrorist attack on the United States on September 11, 2001.

To be honest I really don't like to dwell on the topic. Not out of any sense of personal pain, but more out of respect, for those people I know who were far closer to the events of that day than I was. My experience that day was a somewhat surreal one.

I had gotten up very early and caught a flight from Chicago Midway to Houston. I was heading there for work. It was about 20 minutes into the flight, the seat belt sign had just turned off, and people where shifting about, getting comfortable. I had just pulled out my laptop to work on the presentation I was going to be giving later that day. Suddenly the seat belt sign came back on, and the crew announced that everyone was to return to their seats and prepare for landing, the flight would be returning to Chicago.

The Pilot then came on the speaker system to say that there was nothing wrong with the plane, and we were returning to Chicago because the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) had ordered the flight to return to "clear air traffic". He said that was all the information they had, and he apologized for the inconvenience.

Everyone on the plane thought the same thing. (Not terrorism.) Chicago Midway had upgraded to a new Air Traffic Control System earlier in the Summer and a few weeks prior, there had been a series of glitches that had delayed several flights.  Everyone groaned, made comments about "Government Efficiency" assuming it was yet another problem with Midway's system that was going to mess up  our day.

This  assumption that was bolstered when the captain came back on the loudspeaker  and announced  that we were not returning to Midway but rather we were diverted to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

The woman sitting next to me was happy about this thinking at least it might be easier to get on the next flight out to Houston. I nodded, and said "I hope so", thinking of how I might salvage the rest of my schedule that day and make my afternoon meetings on time.

It took us about 30 minutes of circling over O'Hare before we could land. Sitting in a window seat I watched as the line of planes waiting to land stretched to the far horizon and oddly enough, no planes were taking off. I commented on this to the woman next to me, and she said "wow Midway's systems must be really screwed up!" I laughed and said that what we get for Ronald Reagan having fired all the good Air Traffic Controllers. She laughed and said she had forgotten about that.

We landed and had to wait an additional 20 minutes to get a gate. but finally pulled up to a jetway , and we all lumbered off the plane into the gate area I was getting annoyed because people were not clearing the area in front of the door but were all standing around the televisions that were tuned to the CNN Airport Network. I was about to say a loud "excuse me!" when I happened to look up at the TV and saw CNN  replay footage from ABC of the second plane hitting the World Trade Center.

CNN then cut to live shot of a column of smoke and ash where the World Trade Center Towers were supposed to be, but weren't. I called my office and my boss told me not to come in, The area in downtown Chicago around the Sears Tower was being evacuated. I called my parents and let them know I was not in Houston, got on the CTA Blue Line and went home.   The rest of that day I did what most Americans did, watched the news, and when the images became overwhelming, I put on my roller blades and went blading along the Lake Michigan shoreline.

It was brilliant sunny day. One of those late Summer, early Fall days that you get in Chicago that make you appreciate what a beautiful city it is. As I stopped at Oak Street Beach and admired the downtown Chicago skyline, I didn't think that somehow the "world had changed". But rather I found myself thinking how the United States had  sadly, finally  joined the rest of the world.

Before that that morning, Terrorism was something that happened in other places, Israel, Lebanon London, Belfast , places far away. Even the first World Trade Center bombing for many people, didn't seem like international terrorism. After all, the people responsible were caught when they tried to get the deposit back on the rental van they had used. (How sinister could people that dumb be?)    That is what changed I think, it was the moment America lost the illusion that somehow our two oceans would keep us safe from global terrorism.

For friends of mine who lived in New York on that day,  I understand  that  today  is a much different  experience for them.   A good friend of mine is  a New York City Police Officer  who  lost an arm in the attack that day.   Another friend of mine worked  for an investment bank housed in the  North Tower,  she had a doctors appointment so she didn't go into work  that morning.   For her, today  is a reminder of  the  friends and co-workers  she lost  that day.

For the numerous friends of mine who have served, and currently serve in both Afghanistan and Iraq with the American and British Armed Forces, they deal with the effects September 11, 2001 on a far different level than most people ever will.

So this evening, as many Londoners and ex-pats attend the 9-11 memorial service at Westminster Abbey , people all over the world will remember the events of that day, pray for those who were lost, and show solidarity and support for friends and family for whom this anniversary is far more personal than political.

God Bless America, God bless us all.