A note to the fine folks of Brevard and Transylvania County, NC

My wife and I love the city of Brevard and Transylvania County, NC. We typically spend every other weekend up there hiking in the Pisgah National Forest, riding our bikes on your wonderful trails, and having a beer or breaking bread with the friendly people we meet. We love Brevard so much that we will probably move there in the coming years.

But here is what I know about the differences between the urban Brevard and the rural parts of Transylvania County because those differences are replicated across our nation including in my own hometown, urban areas are more inclusive, progressive, or as my Senator Lindsey Graham and MAGA call us, more liberal. Up in the hills and hollows of Transylvania County, on gravel roads throughout the county you find Frump and Confederate Flags flying in the dirt yards of trailers filled with abandoned trucks, refrigerators, and packs of pit bulls.

Now I don’t want to infer that everyone that doesn’t live in town is an illiterate, racist, crazy piece of white trash but electing Madison Cawthorn as your congressman doesn’t help your case.

Look, I have Lindsey Graham representing my sorry ass state, but Cawthorn is tied tight to other GOP whack-a-doodles like Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert, Paul Gosar, and Marjorie Taylor Greene. This unhinged bunch of kooks have no agenda other than attempting to stay in the good graces of Daddy whack-a-doodle himself, Ronald J. Frump.

In his very short tenure as a congressman, Cawthorn has spun all sorts of wild tales, but his latest has finally gotten the attention of the GOP leadership, maybe you have heard it, that prominent congress people like to do a “a key bump of cocaine” and have orgies. Now I don’t know what “a key bump of cocaine” is but I do know what an orgy is and no I have never participated, nor have I ever been invited to participate in one (not from lack of trying).

Apparently, the cocaine and orgy comment was the straw that broke the camel’s back for the spineless, and gutless GOP Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. I guess it either hit to close to home for McCarthy or he was pissed that he wasn’t invited, either way Kev supposedly gave Cawthorn a tongue lashing and told him to name, names or shut the fuck-up.

But here is the thing, none of these GOP ass wipes can shut up. Look at who they take their cues from, the orange king ass wipe himself who says crazy shit just so he can deny it the following week.

Back to the fine folks in Brevard, they are working on a marvelous project called the Ecusta Trail, an abandoned rail line that stretches from Transylvania County to Henderson County. If and when this project is completed walkers, runners and cyclists will have the opportunity to travel safely from Brevard, NC all the way to Hendersonville, NC and possibly beyond. It will be a 20-mile, multi-use greenway and will be a major jewel for the area. This is a big deal. My community has a multi-use greenway. It has changed the dynamics of who we are and created an abundance of opportunities for other parts of our county. My wife and I were on it last night walking our new pup. There were people everywhere, walking, running, riding, getting healthy while enjoying a beautiful evening.

The Ecusta Trail is one of those once in a lifetime projects for Transylvania and Henderson County. The economic, and health benefits it will provide are proven in countless other communities. My hometown, an hour away, is proof. It’s the kind of project that someone like Madison Cawthorn, the duly elected official in Washington should not only champion but ought to be doing everything he can to find funding for. Instead, this is what he called it, “a communist activity”.  

Now I am sure the context for his remark is because about 100 landowners are suing the federal government for what they perceive or contend is an illegal taking of their land. Let me give you a little insight into the vast majority of those 100 landowners, I have seen where and how they live, in run down trailers, and shacks. Remember, once upon a time they lived on an active railroad line some just twenty feet away. These are Ronald J. Frump’s people. The people that buy his hats, t-shirts, flags and send him their last $25.00 so he can maintain the lifestyle he is used to and the Dishonorable Madison Cawthron is going to ride his coattails as long as he can. Brevard, I hope you will get together and end his ride at the voting booth, soon.

The GOP is in a freefall, morally, ethically, and patriotically. They have no idea what America stands for. They have forgotten 200+ years of history. They have no clue who we are, or what we are. Most of them claim to be followers of Christ, they aren’t, not even close. They claim to be patriots, maybe, but only for the people that look like them, act like them, and believe in what they believe. And look at their messiah, the orange wonder that they have chosen to lead them to the promised land, a creature filled with hate, spite, pride, and ego. At this point, there is no path forward for the GOP. America is changing and all the voter suppression laws, and redistricting won’t change the complexion, or sexuality of where we are headed.                           

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Putin’s Bitch

“No two countries that both had McDonald’s had fought a war against each other since each got its McDonald’s” – Thomas Friedman

Imagine waking up this morning to the sound of artillery shelling. Seeing tanks, military jets, foot soldiers, invade your neighborhood, your street. Every other morning you would wake-up, fix breakfast, get your kids ready for school, and then get yourself and them out the door. That would be a normal day. That would be a normal day for millions of Americans. But in Kyiv, Ukraine today is not a normal day. Today, a mad man, a bloodthirsty killer, invaded your home and there is the real possibility that you and your children will be killed.  

Kyiv, Ukraine is not some back woods, rural town, populated with more goats, or camels than people. It is an old, elegant, and modern European city filled with art, culture, education, history, and industry. It is a democracy that exists in the shadow of a ruthless dictator much admired by Ronald J. Frump and too many in the Republican party. And today this young country that gained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1990’s will more than likely fall back into the oppressive and deadly governance of one Vladimir Putin.

I have never been to Kyiv, but I watched a news segment about the country and the city back when Ronald J. Frump was attempting to blackmail them withholding aid and weapons for dirt on the Biden’s. What I saw was a classic European city, a city of old and new. Think Warsaw, Berlin, and Paris.

This news segment interviewed a retired American, from Detroit I think, who had lived in Kyiv for ten years with his wife. When asked why he chose to retire in Kyiv he responded, “look around” and the camera panned a street filled with people, café’s, fountains, and an old-world charm, with modern skyscrapers in the background. It looked beautiful.

Ukraine isn’t some desert country where people herd goats and live in huts made of camel dung. It is a country populated with people, 44 million, just like you and me. They have families, jobs, plans, and dreams, and Putin, with the love and support of Ronald J. Frump and others in GOP, including Tucker Carlson intends to crush them, even kill them, for whatever demented reasons he has conjured up in his sick, irrational mind.  

Frump says this invasion would have never happened if he were still President. We all know that is bullshit because Frump was willing to give Putin everything he wanted or asked for. Within the first few months of taking office, he tried to remove, not reduce, remove the sanctions placed on Russia by Obama. He was very clear from the beginning that he was okay with Russia keeping Crimea and taking Ukraine. He gave Russia classified intelligence, on Russian television no less, because he wouldn’t let the American press in for the meeting. He attempted to get the US out of NATO and Russia back in the G7 all while heaping praise on a man he aspired to be, a cold-blooded killer.

So why did Putin decide to invade Ukraine now? One, Rump softened the GOP and Ukraine up for Putin by withholding aid and support to a young democracy in need of help and praising Putin’s “genius”. The big bad wolf has always been at the door of Ukraine. Rump cracked the door and looked the other way while Russian supported extremists infiltrated the country while he was in office. Two, this gives Rump and the GOP something to crow about, projecting Biden as a weak leader and the United States as a floor mat for Putin to wipe his feet on. Believe me, Putin would love nothing more than to have his “bitch” back in the White House, and a GOP majority in Congress. They are not afraid of Putin, they love and adore him. Hell, they want to have his baby.   

My prayer is that these sociopathic “leaders” will leave this planet soon. Sadly, the GOP is already grooming its next crop of Ronald J. Frump want to be’s as we speak. Idiots that hide behind the cross, the flag and their AR-15’s. People that want to make you afraid of something. People that point out the problems but offer no solutions other than themselves. That is the America Donald J. Frump and MAGA are selling. I am smart enough not to buy it. Are you?

“If properly handled, there was absolutely no reason that the situation currently happening in Ukraine should have happened at all. I know Vladimir Putin very well, and he would have never done during the Trump Administration what he is doing now, no way! Russia has become very very rich during the Biden Administration, with oil prices doubling and soon to be tripling and quadrupling. The weak sanctions are insignificant relative to taking over a country and a massive piece of strategically located land. Now it has begun, oil prices are going higher and higher, and Putin is not only getting what he always wanted, but getting, because of the oil and gas surge, richer and richer. The U.S. was energy independent under the Trump Administration, an independence that we had never obtained before, and oil prices would have remained low. Now, what a mess our Country is in!” – Ronald J. Frump 

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Puppy Love

My wife and I have been married for 37 years. In those 37 years of marriage, we have raised 2 daughters, 5 dogs and 1 cat. Our last child headed to college 11 years ago and we have been empty nesters ever since.

It has taken a few years, but I am now used to a childless, quiet house. Honestly, I kind of like it. We lost one of our two dogs and the cat two years ago, so we are down to just one massive, 13-year-old hound dog who eats, sleeps and poops and that’s about it.

We have a routine which honestly started to feel like a rut to me last summer. Though we are both active, she is more so than me, riding our bicycles and hiking, at home it is the same old, same old, dinner in front of the television, then more television, then bed. Yes, not very exciting. We take a few trips but we both still work so there is that obligation.

In 37 years of marriage, we have never not had a dog except for the first year and at 13, my old pup, a Rhodesian Ridgeback mix, has already outperformed his life expectancy by a year. With his advancing age I started thinking about getting a dog, maybe a two- or three-year-old shelter pup to avoid all the drama a puppy brings. But then I decided our boring lives could use a little comedy, a little excitement, so three weeks ago we got a puppy, and she has turned our lives upside down.

I was 49 years old the last time I had to deal with a puppy. We still had a kid at home and one in college 45 minutes away, so I had help raising what has turned out to be the dumbest but sweetest dog I have ever owned, all five feet tall and 100 pounds of him. But this new little girl, well she is a terror.

Hazel’s mom is a Blue Heeler, a thick, compact, herding dog. Her dad is supposed to be a poodle, but I have my doubts. We got her from a co-worker of my wife’s. She claims she saw their Blue Heeler hook-up with their poodle which would make Hazel a Blue Cadoodle. Now, let me back-up here. I am not a fan of all these designer doodle breeds. I didn’t go out searching for a doodle. This one just dropped into our laps so to speak.

My understanding of the Doodle craze has something to do with the animal being hypoallergenic. I know it sounds cool but honestly, I think it is a bunch of bullshit. There’s no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog. Allergens are carried in dander (dead skin cells), saliva and urine, so they’re impossible to escape. You might be less allergic to a Doodle but at the end of the day they are still a dog.

So back to Hazel, when I look at her, I see a German Shepherd. Her coloring, her ears, her nose, and thick legs all scream German Shepherd. But the owner said Blue Heeler and poodle so that’s what I went with, and I was okay with it. She is a gorgeous little girl full of personality and herself.   

But when we picked her up three weeks ago at the family’s farm a German Shepherd came walking down the gravel road. “Who is that?” I asked. “That’s my mom’s dog Zeus” was the response. I looked at Hazel and I looked at old Zeus and decided that Hazel’s mom might have hooked up with a poodle, but she also had a little afternoon delight with Zeus. Bottom line, I think Hazel’s mom is a hussy.

This little girl has certainly changed the dynamics of our house. She has also changed our sleep patterns. I take her out at 1 am to pee. My wife gets up with her at 5 am and lets me sleep until six. She runs hard for about two hours, naps for two and then gets back at it. She adores my old hound dog, who I think secretly loves the attention although he gets a little grumpy with her from time to time. She is all puppy, full of spit and vinegar when she is awake, and sweet and snuggly when she is napping. Yea, I am in love.

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The wannabe Mob Boss revisited

I wrote this back in November, 2019 and thought, given recent event’s, it was worth reposting.

For years I have been interested in the Mafia. It’s why the Godfather (one and two, not three) and Goodfellas are three of my favorite movies. I think my real fascination with the Mafia and why I watch those movies and read books about the La Cosa Nostra has less to do with the violence and more to do with the historical and political context of the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’. I am a history buff and the twists and turns that play out in these stories are always set against a backdrop of what was happening in America at that particular time.

But this fascination or interest has also provided me with a little knowledge about the Mafia. It might come in handy during a trivia board game or for an episode of Jeopardy but otherwise it is pretty useless information. Until Trump was elected president.

Mafia families are structured organizations that follow a strict hierarchical structure.

1. The Boss is the head of the family, usually reigning as a dictator.
2. The Underboss, usually appointed by the boss, is the second in command of the family.
3. The Consigliere is an advisor to the family and sometimes seen as the boss’s “right-hand man”.
4. A Caporegime (also captain or skipper) is in charge of a crew, a group of soldiers who report directly to him.
5. A Soldier is a member of the family.
6. An Associate is not a member of the Mafia, but works for a crime family nonetheless.

All of these layers are in place for one reason and one reason only, to protect the Boss. The Boss never gets his hands dirty. Nothing can ever get pinned on him. He directs all of the family’s activities and business through the Underboss or the Consigliere who make all of the “necessary” arrangements. The Boss might talk to two or maybe three people about the plan which naturally creates a layer of protection around him. No phone calls, no emails, nothing in writing. The only way for the Boss to be implicated is if someone talks or “rats him out”.

“Remember, Michael Cohen only became a “Rat” after the FBI did something which was absolutely unthinkable & unheard of until the Witch Hunt was illegally started. They BROKE INTO AN ATTORNEY’S OFFICE! Why didn’t they break into the DNC to get the Server, or Crooked’s office?” – Trump tweet 12-16-18

As you can imagine the most expendable individual in this structure is an Associate, typically someone attempting to prove their worth as a prospective member of the family and the pecking order of importance moves-up from there. But always, the last man standing, the man everyone protects is the Boss. Why? An oath of loyalty.

Former FBI Director James Comey recounts in his books during a private White House dinner with Trump, just a week after the president was inaugurated, that Trump told him: “I need loyalty. I expect loyalty.” Comey told him he would “always get honesty from me” but Trump wanted more, “That’s what I want, honest loyalty”.

Omertà is the Southern Italian term for silence. A word, to the Mafia, that places a code of honor on silence in the face of questioning by authorities or outsiders. What we have learned during these impeachment hearings is that Trump’s Underboss (Mike Pence), Consigliere (Bill Barr), Caporegimes (Mick Mulvaney, Rick Perry, and Mike Pompeo) and Soldier (Rudy Giuliani) are willing to honor this code of silence at all cost, not only to themselves but also to the democracy of this country to protect their Boss.

Trump’s ties to the Mafia are well known. Certainly his affinity for authoritarian, strong-men is well documented as well. And in Vladimir Putin, Trump has the best of both worlds, a ruthless, murderous, dictatorial strong-men with significant and notable links to the Russian Mob, links that we learn probably sooner than later ensnare Trump, his business and other members of his family.

I sense the frustration people have with Trump despite the mountains of evidence against him. We wonder what it will take to convict him for all the crimes we know he has committed from assaulting, at last count, 30 women, paying off other women with campaign money, colluding with Russia, and the current crime of withholding aid to Ukraine. Trust me, all of this shit will catch-up to Trump, it finally caught-up with John Gotti, “The Teflon Don” who, after many years of literally getting away with murder rotted away and died in a prison cell.

Over the next few years we will learn much more about Trump’s short time in office and the crimes he and his corrupt crime family have committed. The stories will fill book after book and though Trump may never rot in prison I suspect his punishment will be much worse, he will live the rest of his hopefully broke life as the most hated and despised man to ever occupy the office of President of the United States.

 “It’s important to remember that Trump learned his ABCs for success from Roy Cohn, who was mixed up in the Mafia, defended them, and mentored Trump exactly how to succeed in life. “Always be aggressive, take no prisoners …”

Trump resembles John Gotti. Most mob bosses were quiet, stayed in the shadows, didn’t want any kind of publicity or exposure. All Gotti wanted was the spotlight, all the time. That bolstered his ego, made him feel important.

There’s another example of their similar personalities. Gotti, at the slightest slight, if anybody had offended him or spoken one bad word, they were finished, terminated. No prisoners …Trump doesn’t kill anybody! But what he does is he casts you out of his environment.” – Selwyn Raab, a former investigative reporter for the New York Times who covered organized crime

The Trump crime syndicate survived for decades because his organizational circle was very small and though every decision made required his prior approval you would be hard pressed to find his signature on any documents. Trump doesn’t text or use email, he famously uses Post-It notes to communicate with others. So like Don Vito Corleone, it is difficult to create a paper trail that leads to him. And we all know Trump will happily sacrifice a minion, like Michael Cohen, in order to save his own sorry ass and he is still willing to do that today.

But all that change when he entered the White House which has hundreds of individuals, maybe thousands whose only job is to save every document, scrap of paper, sticky note, generated during his failed regime. The other thing that changed is his organizational circle which expanded from about 22 people at Trump Org. to several hundred which he increased daily by firing and replacing on a regular basis over four years. These people, unlike his children and long time employees, don’t view Trump as their “meal ticket” so loyalty to The Donald over everything else including country isn’t a factor or option for them.

We continue to see the exception in that last statement in people like Lindsey Graham, Jim Jordan, Ted Cruz, and Mark Meadows who, for whatever reason, are willing to sell their souls to the devil. But there are reports that the January 6th Select Committee has interviewed upwards of 400 to 500 people many with first hand knowledge of the planning, financing, and execution of the insurrection. Trump may not know their names but they were there in the thick of it. 

And here is the fun part, despite Don Corleone Frump’s efforts to insulate himself from the events of January 6th and his attempt to overturn the election people are talking, documents are being shared and it is just a matter of time before folks like Mark Meadows and Rudy Giuliani can’t afford, literally, to stay silent any longer. 

I know many of us are disappointed that Ronald J. Frump isn’t broke or in prison yet. But I firmly believe that history will repeat itself. Crime family bosses never spend their golden years living a life of luxury at the beach.

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Among the many stickers I have on my car I have two that aren’t very popular in my neck of the woods, the red state of South Carolina. One reads, “HE LOST IN A FAIR ELECTION” and the second one, “YOU’RE IN A CULT”.

I get all kinds of reactions to these very “official” looking stickers printed in MAGA colors and style. I have had people ask if they could take a picture of them and even thank me for risking damage to my new car. I have also had people tell me that I am “number one” (that’s what the middle finger means, right?), tried to run me off the road, and even threatened to kick my “liberal ass” in the Burger King parking lot. I told that fat fuck to go eat a cheeseburger first. He would need the energy to pick his fat ass up off the ground.

My favorite interaction happened at the Home Depot. I had parked my car and across from me was a piece of shit pick-up truck with the back glass covered in Frump and Let’s Go Brandon stickers. An old, bent over man using a cane and wearing the red mark of the beast cap got out of the truck and hobbled up the parking lot flipping me the bird. This guy looked like he was one breath away from death and all I could do was laugh at him. I walked behind him, very, very slowly and laughed all the way to the entrance.

I thought about that old fart later. He was easily pushing 90 years old. I thought about all the stuff he had lived through in those 90 years; the Great Depression, the rise and fall Adolf Hitler, World War II, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the atomic bomb, the Korean War, the Civil Rights movement, Fidel Castro and the Cuban Missile Crisis, the assassination of JFK, the Vietnam War, the assassination of MLK, and putting a man on Moon. All of that happened from 1932 to 1970 before he was even 40 years old.

Which brings us to today, 2022. This old guy is at the end of his days, hell I wouldn’t be surprised if he was dead already. So, what I can’t wrap my head around, given what this guy has seen, what he has lived through, the changes in the world that have happened all around him that he would choose Ronald J. Frump as his lord and savior. That he truly believes that Ronald J. Frump can and will Make America Great Again. That he believes that Ronald J. Frump will deliver us back to the days of Patriotism, Mom, Apple Pie and waving the flag (not the confederate flag, Frump has delivered on that). That he believes with all his being, and the back windshield of his pick-up truck, that Ronald J. Frump gives one shit about him or this country.

I wrote and posted the following back in February 2020: So why are they so drawn to Trump? What do they see in him? What does he offer them? Does Trump have something they want out of life? How can they accept a man who obviously has severe mental health concerns, certainly ego and vanity issues, and apparently a serious amphetamine addiction (have you seen the man’s dilated pupils under the bright lights) as their lord and savior? A man who abuses women (20 that we know of), cheats on his wives, cheats on his taxes, cheats on anything, everything and everyone. So, what is the appeal?  What is the cult of his personality that draws so many to him? Why would people like Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott stake their political life on him? Honestly, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that there is an avalanche of documents, books, emails, and sealed indictments waiting to see the light of day that are going to expose Trump for what he is, an immoral, corrupt, piece of shit. I simply don’t understand the cult of his personality.

Two years later, I still don’t understand.

I have searched the internet for the defining characteristics of a Frump supporter and sadly the only common denominator I could find is this, they are white. MAGA comes in all shapes and sizes, rich, poor, educated, dumb as a bag of rocks, southern, northern, mid-western, east coast, and west coast. And yes it is true a few Blacks, Asians, Latinos, and those that identify as “other” (your guess is as good as mine) voted for him, but 90% of those that cast their ballot for Frump were white (60% of Biden’s voters were white). Simply stated, being white is the defining feature of a Frump supporter. I know a big surprise.

I mentioned in my February 2020 post about the “avalanche of documents, books, emails, and sealed indictments waiting to see the light of day”. Well, that day is here. And for the sane, the rational, and the logical, this avalanche of information is pretty damning. It confirms what so many of us already knew on day one of his presidency, that Frump is an “immoral, corrupt, piece of shit”. But for whatever reason the cult of Ronald J. Frump continues even inside the GOP. Why? Who the hell knows? I honestly cannot come up with a reasonable answer.

Research has shown that cult leaders, from Charles Manson to Ronald J Frump, have four common personality traits.

1.       They are narcissistic. (Check)

2.       They are charismatic. (He is not my type, but check)

3.       They are unpredictable. (The man loves chaos)

4.       They have a “turn-on”.

What is Frump’s “turn-on”. Power, absolute, unflinching power. The road is littered with thousands of mean tweets directed at those that crossed his power path, questioned his authority, those that he perceived as being disloyal. Yes MAGA, “YOU’RE IN A CULT”. Adolph Hitler would be envious. Now do us all a favor, drink some Jim Jones jungle juice.   

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I went back and read what I posted on December 29, 2020, about the up-coming year, 2021. The only positive I noted for the coming year is the election of a grown-up, Joe Biden, as President of the United States. I can confidently say that Joe has met all of my expectations. Has it all been rainbows and gumdrops, no. But I trust him. I trust his leadership. I trust that he will tell us the truth. I trust that he accepts responsibility. And most of all, I trust that he is not batshit crazy.    

2021 has been a blur for me, seemingly the fastest year of my life. I turned sixty which I thought was a big deal, it wasn’t. My responsibilities at work, a non-profit that builds and owns affordable housing, increased which has put more stress on me at a time that I hoped I would be slowing down but somebody needed to step-up so tag I’m it. My kids are doing great, growing, changing, trying to find their way in the world. Obviously COVID still directs and affects our lives both socially and sadly politically. We have gone from 336,000 COVID deaths at the end of 2020 to 821,000 at the end of 2021, an increase of almost 500,000 with most of those deaths attributed to unvaccinated individuals. As I heard one Doctor say on the news, begging for a vaccine when a tube going down your throat is too late. COVID doesn’t care who you voted for.  

A positive change for me in 2021 is that I don’t watch Rachel Maddow every night like I did the previous four years. Honestly, I can’t think of the last time I watched her show. I don’t have the same political anxiety now that I had before. Some political pundits believe that I should have more now than ever before, but I continue to believe that the GOP extremist and the MAGA white nationals make-up a small, dying, but loud segment of our total population. I truly believe most Americans are good and decent people and that the Loser got elected because Hillary Clinton was the other option, so people simply didn’t vote.  

I ended last year’s post with the following quote from the Loser when asked about his lack of accountability to the COVID response: “I don’t take responsibility at all.” – March 13, 2020. That really sums up his four years in office.

I don’t know what 2022 has in-store. My crystal ball is all fogged up, but my Magic 8 Ball just told me “Outlook Not So Good”. I’ll try it again later. What I do see on the horizon is my wife and I are getting a new puppy next week. Our old hound dog is 13 years old so a new puppy will shake things up at the house. My youngest will hopefully attain her PhD mid-year 2022 and find a job teaching what she has spent so many years studying. My oldest and her husband will still be out west. I am not sure they will ever come east of Mississippi again. My parents and in-laws are doing well but when you are in your early and mid-eighties you know you are living on borrowed time.

As for me, I need to take better care of myself. More walking, hiking, and riding my bicycle and less beer and french-fries. I have a couple of big building projects on the horizon. Both should start by the 2nd quarter of 2022. Both will be stressful but once completed rewarding, providing housing for 36 humans currently living on the street plus housing for two families. But here is the thing I know, here is the thing I always try and remember, I am not guaranteed a 2022 or even a tomorrow, none of us are. My kids feel this is a morbid way to think but for me it is simply facing a reality. I am going to die. I hope later rather than sooner but all we can do is hope.

One of my favorite Bible verses is James 4:14: Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. What this verse means to me is make the most of the short time we have on this planet and if we can, leave it better than we found it for the next inhabitants. I am trying to do that.

I hope each of you have a happy and healthy 2022. Happy New Year! 

“I am not afraid of death, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” – Woody Allen             

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Kyle Rittenhouse-one life for two

I have been thinking a lot lately about Kyle Rittenhouse. He is the seventeen-year-old kid (at the time) who, with an AR-15 semi-automatic style rifle, decided to play pretend police officer during the civil unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin in 2020. Rittenhouse killed two individuals and was charged with two counts of homicide, one count of attempted homicide, two counts of reckless endangerment, one count of unlawful possession of a firearm, and one count of curfew violation. He was found not guilty of all charges.

Never one to miss an opportunity to get some press, the Loser released the following statement after the verdict: “Congratulations to Kyle Rittenhouse for being found INNOCENT of all charges. It’s called being found NOT GUILTY—And by the way, if that’s not self defense, nothing is!”

And once the Loser gave his ringing endorsement, we knew what was to follow, all the GOP orange ass kissers followed suit. Lauren Boebert, Matt Gaetz, Madison Cawthorn, Marjorie Taylor Green, and Paul Gosar all weighed-in crowning Rittenhouse the new prince of 2nd Amendment Rights and “conservative values”.

Since the verdict, Rittenhouse has been on the GOP clown circuit tour, visiting the Loser at his palace in Mar-a-Lago and he was even spotted eating BBQ with South Carolina’s xenophobic Attorney General at Maurice’s BBQ Piggie Park in Columbia, once owned by the ultra-racist Maurice Bessinger. All the MAGA politicians need and want a piece of him right now to keep their name, and bank accounts in front of the Deplorables.

But here is the thing, this kid is now just 18 years old, but he looks like a chubby-cheeked 14-year-old. I am not sure he even shaves, and I doubt he has ever kissed a girl. He is not old enough to drink and could vote for the first time this past November while he was on trial for murder. He was raised by a single mother who referred to him as a momma’s boy, and he was in the public safety cadet program which means he got to wear a full replica police uniform complete with tie, troopers’ hat, and badge.

So why did this puggy 17-year-old armed with an AR-15 feel the need to head to Kenosha to assist the police in dealing with rioters? Why did he think that was a good idea? My guess is he saw a call to arms on Facebook and thought this was his chance to put his fantasy of being a policeman in action. Instead, he spent most of the night running for his life until he got cornered and killed two people in “self-defense”.

Here is the problem, this 17-year-old kid with an assault rifle he wasn’t legally allowed to carry should never have been in Kenosha in the first place but that is logical and the Loser and MAGA don’t give a shit about logic. In their feeble, bent minds he is a hero exercising his patriotic duties to protect us from Antifa, BLM and all the other imaginary boogeymen they need us to fear.

As a father I hope Kyle Rittenhouse gets some help, some counseling, some advice from someone other than the Loser, Sean Hannity and Steve Bannon. MAGA will get every ounce of publicity and fundraising they can squeeze out of him and then scrap him off the bottom of their shoes like dog shit when they are done.

Sadly, based on his current trajectory and the “friends” he has surrounded himself with, I don’t suspect Rittenhouse’s life will have a fairytale ending. I hope I am wrong but his success in working through and past this moment of “fame” will depend on him. He will only get so much mileage out of his newfound celebrity until he is replaced by the next 15 minutes of shame award winner which today is Mr. Let’s Go Brandon, Jared Schmuck.   

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January 6th

On January 6, 2022, the loser is threatening to hold a press conference on the anniversary of his failed overthrow of the government of the United States of America. If you are curious, which you probably aren’t, what the loser is going to whine about, once again, here is his “statement” from 12-21-21:

“Why isn’t the Unselect Committee of highly partisan political hacks investigating the CAUSE of the January 6th protest, which was the rigged Presidential Election of 2020? Does anybody notice that they want to stay as far away from that topic as possible, the numbers don’t work for them, or even come close. The only thing they can do is not talk about it. Look at what is going on now in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin, and, to a lesser extent, Michigan where the numbers are horrendously corrupt in Detroit, but the weak Republican RINOs in the Michigan House and Senate don’t want to touch the subject. In many ways a RINO is worse than a Radical Left Democrat, because you don’t know where they are coming from and you have no idea how bad they really are for our Country. The good news is there are fewer and fewer RINOs left as we elect strong Patriots who love America. I will be having a news conference on January 6th at Mar-a-Lago to discuss all of these points, and more. Until then, remember, the insurrection took place on November 3rd, it was the completely unarmed protest of the rigged election that took place on January 6th.”

A year later the loser describes January 6th as the “unarmed protest of the rigged election”. This won’t come as a big surprise to anyone, but the loser is lying. We now know that plenty of the Nazis that stormed the Capital were armed. Weapons confiscated included assault rifles, shotguns, handguns, stun guns, bear repellant, mason jars filled with flammable liquid, machetes, clubs and even a crossbow.

Honestly, I don’t need a January 6th Select Committee to tell me this was an organized, a term I use loosely, and highly financed insurrection. I knew that day one. What I want to know is who the players were, what their role was, where the money came from, and fry their ass including the losers fat orange heinie. This country can’t afford to wait for COVID to kill all the rednecks willing to do the bidding of the loser. These hillbillies are already planning their next war against our country with the encouragement and support of the loser, seemingly every politician in the GOP and in the name of some demented, manifestation of a God.

“I am a Christian man. For me, it’s God first and foremost. I don’t follow any one man blindly. Some of the media’s run with that and said I don’t support “The Loser”. That’s absolutely false, “The Loser” is my president and he should still be the president right now. The election was 100 percent stolen.” – Jared Schmeck

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Another useless letter to my Senators

“In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The Government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the Government, while I shall have the most solemn one to ‘preserve, protect, and defend it’.” – Abraham Lincoln 3/4/1861

On January 6, 2021, Trump and his co-conspirators attempted to overthrow the government of the United States of America, a coup d’é·tat. Their “reasoning”, their “rational” was because in their “mind” the election was “stolen” from Trump. No one, NO ONE has ever provided one shred of evidence that Trump was robbed. Not Mike Flynn. Not Rudy Giuliani. Not Mike Lindell. Not Steve Bannon, Lin Wood, Sidney Powell, Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, not you. All we have, all we have ever had are the irrational, deranged lies of one man, the person you have designated as the supreme leader of the GOP. The man you allow to speak on behalf of your party.

“Mark, president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home. This is hurting all of us. He is destroying his legacy.” – Laura Ingraham text to Mark Meadows during the coup on January 6th

Senator, your party is out of control. What I see, what I hear is a group of men and women, Republican Senators and Congress members terrified to speak the truth and call the “Big Lie” what it is, a fabrication created by a madman interested in burning this country down to the ground to satisfy his own ego and fill his pockets.

“It’s absolutely disgusting that @SenateGOP allows this to happen. Republicans in the Senate could stop decades of Marxist judicial tyranny but instead either don’t bother to show up and vote or actually vote to confirm Biden’s noms. R Senators are clueless about the R base!!!” – Marjorie Taylor Greene tweet December 18, 2021

The evidence was clear on January 6th that this was an orchestrated, planned coup attempt as MAGA stormed the castle in the name of their King. Lives were endangered. I bet you thought your life was in danger. As I watched this unfold on television I prayed for you, and the people around you. I prayed for my country. I prayed that this would finally put an end to what was a sad, and ugly four years in our history. I had hoped that people, you included, would finally see what I have seen since Trump took office, that this was never about his service to America, this was always about him. But I was wrong. The madness continues and you continue to pay homage to this man.

“He’s got to condemn this sh*t ASAP. We need an Oval Office address. He has to lead now. It has gone too far and gotten out of hand.” – Trump, Jr. text to Mark Meadows during the coup on January 6th

Over the last 11 months the GOP has whitewashed the events of January 6th. You might have “condemned” the actions of Trump’s thugs back then when the fear was still fresh in your mind, but you have never acknowledged, or blamed the root cause of their activities, the root cause of the evil. One man caused this. One man takes full reasonability for the division this country is experiencing. And you Senator are guilty not just by your association with his continued efforts to destroy our country but by your silence of his instances of propagating the lie.

“This is what happens in communist countries and dictatorships, and they don’t think they’ll be held accountable for rigging the 2020 Presidential Election. The Jan. 6 Unselect Committee is a coverup for what took place on November 3rd, and the people of our Country won’t stand for it.” – Trump “statement” December 18, 2021

For generations, Americans have fought, shed blood, against authoritarian regimes. We have preached about Democracy, free elections, and doing the will of the people. Trump lost in a free and fair election. It hasn’t been proven otherwise, and honestly it wasn’t a big surprise that he lost. The majority of Americans were tired of the daily hate that he spewed. Tired of the fear that he inspired to use against us and each other. Tired of the wedges he drove between us and other countries that have been our allies for decades while he sucked-up to strong men like Vladimir Putin, Mohammed bin Salman and Kim Jong Un.

“Can he make a statement? Ask people to leave the Capitol.” – Sean Hannity text to Mark Meadows during the coup on January 6th

I have no doubt there is another Trump like want to be dictator waiting in the wings. One that is smarter, more organized, more brutal, and potentially more deadly beyond having a mob of rednecks willing to storm the castle. The Senate and Congress are supposed to be the guardrails that protect us from the actions of a President, a would be king, that decides to take matters, like ignoring the will of the people, into their own hands. You Senator are one of those guardrails and you have failed us. You failed us because you are more concerned about appeasing Trump and his MAGA base than upholding the Constitution.

“These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love & peace. Remember this day forever!” – Trump tweet during the coup on January 6th

 “In this great struggle, this form of Government and every form of human right is endangered if our enemies succeed. There is more involved in this contest than is realized by everyone. There is involved in this struggle the question whether your children and my children shall enjoy the privileges we have enjoyed.” – Abraham Lincoln 8/18/1864

“So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.” – Romans 14:12

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Stop pretending your racism is patriotism.

“Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.” – Henri Frederic Amiel

Next week is Thanksgiving, truly my favorite holiday of all the celebrations. My reason why is purely selfish, and self-serving, food, specifically my mom’s food. My mom cooks things for Thanksgiving that my wife won’t cook, things she won’t even eat. And my mother’s dressing can’t be replicated, believe I know for 36 years my wife has tried. She has gotten close but never perfected it.

My wife has watched my mother make her dressing for years and she always says the same thing, “I do everything she does. It must be that magical casserole dish she uses.” Maybe it is, I don’t know. I do know that you cut her dressing like butter which is perfect for a toasted turkey and dressing sandwich with Duke’s Mayo for lunch on Friday.

Thanksgiving is supposed to be a day that we celebrate the harvest and all our other blessings over the past year. Obviously, most of us don’t reside in an agrarian culture. If you are like me, you might harvest some lettuce, cucumbers, and a few tomatoes each year. A pious Christian might count the number of souls they have turned to Jesus as their harvest, though I would rather have just one red, ripe, juicy tomato sliced thin on two pieces of white bread, and Duke Mayo, as my bounty for the year.

Since I can’t focus on the harvest aspect of Thanksgiving, I have yet to prevent the squirrels from eating all my tomatoes, I focus on the blessings of which I have many.

To recognize your blessings, you must have the ability to generate empathy and perspective. Fortunately for me, the work that I do puts me in front of people every day that remind me of how privileged I am. For instance, I was fortunate to have been born white in a country that is ruled by whites. If my parents had been black, I know without a shadow of doubt, that I would not have had the opportunities that I have today. My Dad, a man without a college degree, who grew-up dirt poor would have been looked at differently as a black man in the 1950’s and 1960’s. That is a simple fact. A truthful fact.

My father achieved great things from very humble beginnings for one reason only, he was white. A black man in the 1960’s from the same poor background, showing the same initiative would not have been given the opportunities my father was given. He knows it and whether you are willing to admit it or not, you know it is true as well. Sadly, we have not gained much ground in 70 or 60 years. There is still an inherent bias against black Americans and other ethnic groups in this country. I would go so far as to say that whatever ground we made-up in the last 20 or 30 years we have lost in the last 10.

Yesterday, Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy “cross examining” Saule Omarova, Biden’s pick to be comptroller of currency who happened to have been born in the old communist Soviet Union stated that he didn’t know whether to call her “professor or comrade”. I am sure Kennedy’s Klu Klux Klan voters in Louisiana thought that was funny as shit. But think about it, this xenophobic statement was made by a United States Senator, in 2021 at a formal hearing for the whole world to see and hear. This guy, this racist piece of shit is supposed to be a leader, an example for our country, and our children. Instead, he tries to be cute, tries to be funny, tries to let MAGA know that he is still a bigot worthy of their support and campaign dollars.   

This is America today, full of people just like Sen. John Kennedy pretending that their racism is patriotism.

I am going to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family Thursday. It will be a large gathering to make-up for the one we missed last year. There will be too much food, plenty of laughter, and lots of love. I also know that there will be millions of Americans alone, with little or nothing to eat. In my community hundreds will be under a tarp trying to stay warm in the woods, hundreds more will be living in their cars, with their children wondering what the future holds. This is the America Sen. John Kennedy and so many others in the GOP and MAGA camp ignore.  

Try to show your thankfulness and your gratitude with actions this holiday season. The smallest act of kindness can and will make the largest difference in somebody’s life. Happy Thanksgiving.

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