No Nazis

There is no equivalency between the neo-nazis/white supremacists/white nationalists and the people that are against them. One side is a bunch of nazis and the other side is against bigotry and hate. No matter what you think you know about the Black Lives Matter movement and the Resist Trump movement, they are not the moral equivalent of nazis. Quit comparing the sides because you are wrong on so many levels.

In Charlottesville on Friday, August 11, 2017, nazis and their sympathizers marched through the streets of Charlottesville chanting antisemitic, anti-black, anti-gay bile. We are in America and we have a right to answer back. The next day that same group, permit or not, was back at it chanting, throwing slurs, and things erupted. A woman and two policemen died that day because the nazis (I’m going to call all of them nazis because they were all in one group- birds of a feather) brought staffs, baseball bats, shields, helmets, guns, etc. to what they claimed was supposed to be a peaceful protest with the absolute intent on harming people.

They had already greased the wheels of hatred, and what happened was exactly what they wanted, no matter who threw the first punch. Donald Trump was dead wrong when he blamed “both sides.” It was through nazi provocation that this chaos erupted. It was their plan all along.

Americans should not stand by and allow Donald Trump and the nazis off the hook. Trump didn’t condemn them by name for two days and then walked it back the very next day. He was in fact defending nazis. NAZIS. No one can believe he did it not even his so-called conservative pals, first of all, but I can tell you the results- he made the nazis ecstatic. He legitimized their agenda. They tripped all over themselves online heaping praise onto him. This isn’t a “free speech” issue. It’s about nazis who want to decimate our way of life, kill anyone not white or straight or Christian, and take it all for themselves. Donald Trump was all sorts of wrong to do what he did, and his presidency in effect ended the moment he made that third statement.

We do not need a nazi-sympathizer (yeah I know he gave lip service to saying nazis were bad but then he fucked it up the very next day) in the White House. We do not need someone so abrasive that he could not unite velcro. We do not need someone who is beloved by nazis and conservative apologists who want to make a moral equivalency between the alt-Right and the umbrella of moderate conservatives, progressives, and leftist leaning people. The alt-Right are the ones who hounded Barack Obama, lied about his birth situation, called him an Islamist, called him a communist, and made themselves shameful in the eyes of all good men by their vitriol. And they claimed to be the Republican base so they would condemn him too. Pure evil is what they are.

I am calling my representatives in Washington and telling them that Trump does not need to be censured over this- he needs to be impeached and removed for being the traitorous threat to America that he is. I hope you do the same. Google is a wonderful thing. You can find the info on how to contact your congressperson and senator there.

The Plat Eye- Free Novel!!

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The Plat Eye is up on inkitt.com! Inkitt is a platform where the readers are empowered. I have entered my first novel in the Gullah trilogy into a contest to get a publishing deal! Read the book on the website below or download it and take the adventure on your mobile device. And remember to review it!!

I do want people to read my books no matter what. You the reader is of the utmost importance to me. It’s why I write, and why I am excited to bring this free opportunity to you! Read it or download it today!

Link to free novel:

https://www.inkitt.com/stories/adventure/119359

A Short Letter to Caitlyn Jenner

Hey Caitlyn Jenner,
I see that you want to “help” the GOP understand LGBTQ issues. Good on you.
But here’s the deal- The GOP has been on Planet Earth for the duration of the LGBTQ struggle in modern times. They have had access to the same information as the rest of us, And they have at nearly every turn ignored that information. Ronald Regan saw the AIDS crisis in the 1980s but decided not to mention it. Conversion therapy has been completely disproven again and again yet Mike Pence, a heartbeat away from the presidency, ignores that fact and clings to it. The GOP was decidedly against marriage equality even though it’s a civil partnership, a civil matter, and even though it has nothing to do with religion, they held it up as a firebrand to ignite their base using biblical references hoping for political victories. Congress is preparing a “defense of the First Amendment Act” which givies people a pass if people want to discriminate against anyone including the LGBTQ community and claim “deeply held religous beliefs.” Nothing could go wrong with that, right? Come on. They already know how that plays out. Government-sanctioned discrimination based on religion- unconstitutional at best and purposely politically divisive is wrong and yet they will use it. They know what they are doing. It helps their party.
You said you supported Trump in the election. Trump. You knew who his backers were and what they should for. This rollback of transgender rights should not come as a surprise to you. Trump is always going to do what his background voices say. For profit prisons even though they are disastrous? Check. Get rid of regualtions and safety guards in order to bump up profits? Check. Take away healthcare for the masses instead of trying to fix what we have for the sake of money? Check. Appeal to the basest instinctincts of humanity by pleasing people they have misinformed? Check.
The GOP is never going to try to understand LGBTQ issues because they already do. They use us as a political, football live on hate, diviseness, and revenge. They are greedy, misogynistic and don’t want a better world because they want the world to fit their visions of cruelty and retribution. Their ideas are based in a puritanical ideology, one that punishes people for skewing from the norm. So when you try to convince them of their mistakes, just understand that they already know, and they do not care. And putting civil rights into the hands of the states does not work. Jim Crow laws, for instance, diminished our country. Since the Southern Strategy of Nixon in the 1960s switch the philosophies of both parties and the voting base also changed, it is no longer accurate to claim that Democrats are the prejudiced ones. The GOP has earned that title through and through.
Just thought you’d like to know since you professed support for Trump in the election and see this evil turn the “conservative” movement has taken.
Good luck,
Someone who has lived through the fear and hatred and refuses to sit down, shut up, and take it. Again.

Trump and the Downfall of the American Way

If you think that businesses will police themselves and don’t need regulations, Google Love Canal, the Cuyahoga River fire, the Woburn, Massachusetts groundwater contamination, the Gowanus Canal in NYC- these things aren’t just stories of the past. They represent a warning to us now that big business is really only interested in the bottom line. They have statistics about how much damage and loss they can weather without affecting profits. There has been an element in the GOP that either doesn’t remember that, understand it, or (worse yet) don’t care about it. It’s always about the money and not the people with them. Some argue that they are more likely to do the right thing because if they kill people, their businesses will fail. That’s almost laughable if it wasn’t so sad.
Have you ever seen a commercial about mesothilioma? The disease you get from asbestos exposure? When do you think businesses knew that asbestos was a carcinogen? Go ahead. Guess. If I told you that when I was working at a major law firm in the southeast we had a “war room” (a room dedicated to files and evidence about cases) entirely consisting of asbestos cases and that it was during the 1980s, you might think, “well, they got to it as soon as they could.” But you would be wrong. Industry and doctors knew the correlation between asbestos and lung damage goes back to 1899. The US Department of Labor saiid in 1918 that the danger asbestos posed needed urgent study. Businesses lobbied against these studies. But people kept dying and it wasn’t until the 1930 in Britain that studies were done and some safety measures were enacted. Through the 1960s while big business opposed studies and refused to enact safety measures on their own, doctors debated on the “safe” levels of asbestos exposure. And businesses tried to control the dust. People kept dying, all for the sake of money. As the years passed people began bringing lawsuits against railroads and shipyards, mining operations and mills. It was insidious, and industry wanted to hide it, settle out of court, deny facts that had been around for almost a century. That’s how business works when unregulated. They pollute and hope that their profits make up for the loss of life, disease, and human misery they cause.
Trump and his cronies are not concerned about clean water, safe food, an educated population. What they care about is money plain and simple. Not good health or smart children. They care about the bottom line and enriching themselves beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. So if you vote GOP and you don’t care about the environment, I weep for your children. They will have to live with the misery greed and power will most certainly foist on us all. I read about Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va) said quite flippantly that the riches liked clean water and air. He said the solution to the problem was to get rich. Well, folks, there is a finite amount of wealth to go around. The rich keep getting richer thanks to the GOP and Wall Street, but the middle class has stagnated and fallen into lower incomes. It’s because the wealthy hold the money so there is not enough to cover the rest of us. It’s not as simple as the rich “trickling down” their wealth on the poorer population. They are working on a stacked deck with the money concentrated at the top. How do you think people like Trump got so filthy rich? Hint: They didn’t get that way by sharing. They will never let their money go, and neither will big business or Wall Street.
Is it a bad thing to be rich? Maybe. Jesus sure didn’t have nice things to say about them despite Joel “Prosperity Gospel” Osteen’s proclamations otherwise. But I’m not debating that personal wealth does bring a certain amount of comfort. But with CEO salaries skyrocketing, and lower wages stagnating, who do you think is getting more money because they have literally bought legislation that is friendly to lining their own pockets? And if you are waiting for industry and business to regulate itself for the common good, you will be waiting a long time. The people that voted for Trump learned absolutely nothing from history, and what they have learned has been altered by conservatives to mean something that it is not. There is a reason why they want your kids stupid and uninformed. There’s a reason why they plant the seeds of doubt in their followers about “intellectual elitists” and how foreigners are to blame for their lack of jobs, or, shockingly enough, terrorism attacking the American way of life. They encourage discord because it is in discord that they can get richer and richer until we are no more than serfs. They have invaded the evangelical Christian community with their “us and them” philosophy, and it is all to enrich themselves, hide the truth, and rend power from the people.
God help us all.

Wind

The wind has always inspired me.

A gust can bring the spirits of the dead whispering into my ear.

A breeze reminds me of the past or a sort of mental nirvana where I have no care in the world.

A gale can generate fear in my heart and noise in my soul.

The windy day I stepped into the park wasn’t sunny. I hate sunny days. The light burns my eyes and stings my skin. I feel like the sun is trying to burn me out faster, igniting me, firing me up until I am nothing but ash and bone. Cloudy days cushion me like a dimmed light, cradle me in grayness where the sun doesn’t exist, but the lighting is better, softer, diffused.

The air was swirling through the trees on the bluff leading down to the Hudson River. Leaves followed its path, snaking in and out making the invisible visible. The October atmosphere carried the promise of a coming winter, and the mystery of the approaching Halloween.

I sat on a bench near the entrance, too tired to go down the slope to sit near the mall. The smell of leaves decaying perfumed the air with a loam where when I closed my eyes I saw fat pink earthworms wiggling through the soil creating a fertile base for next year’s seeds. Like the wind they circled in and out of the dirt, taking little bits of rotted trees in their wake.

“Mister? Are you okay?” A teenage girl was standing in front of me about five feet away.

I stretched my neck before answering her. “I’m okay, I guess.”

“You were moaning. I thought for a second that you were singing, but it sounded like you were in pain.”

I patted my leg. “Maybe I was a little. My hips really hurt sometimes.”

“You should tell me about it.” Her long, reddish brown hair had a glint to it as she swung it back over her shoulders.

That’s odd. It’s not sunny at all.

“Why should I tell you about my pains?”

“I’m a very good listener.” She sat on the next bench and turned towards me.

So I told her. I spoke about how I had arthritis and had just gone through a severe depression where I didn’t go outside of my apartment at all. The doctors at NYU said that I’m de-conditioned and it made rehabilitation much harder, even if I did get a hip replacement. I confessed that to her too.

She seems genuinely interested in my story. She asked about my depression, and I told her how alone I felt after the death of my partner. Leaning towards me, she beckoned with her hand. “Come one and sit next to me so I can hear you better.”

It was a struggle to stand up and limp with my cane over to the bench where she sat. I didn’t know why I was doing what she was asking me to do, but I did it anyway. Talking to anyone was hard, but a teenaged girl?  It was remarkably easy, quite unlike me. I felt like I was somehow changing. As I spoke I felt lighter and lighter.

The breeze picked up and chased brown and yellow leaves down the paved mall. The girl spoke and it sounded like the wind sprinkling itself through a wind chime. The gray day darkened, and she kept talking, lighter until it was just a whisper. Then it was dark, and the girl was gone.

I got up to walk back home. My back and hips weren’t tight and aching. I left my cane behind. Every step I took was easier and easier until I was floating up above the trees, above the clouds, and into the starry night. I reached out and the air felt like silky water running through my fingers. I looked far below and saw a little old man, sitting slumped on a park bench, blue lights flashing around him.

 

 

She’s There

Last night, after the 10,000 Maniacs concert (thank you, Beth), I waited about 20 minutes on the bus at Sixth Avenue. After it pulled up and I boarded and sat in the last single seat on the side. A man wearing a black leather jacket and a black watch cap got on after me. He was grizzled, wearing sunglasses, and using a walker.
 
“Hey man.” His voice was loud and deep, his tongue twisting in and out between prominent, large teeth. Although he seemed a bit impaired, he was not incoherent.
 
“Hi.” I replied.
 
“I been lost all day down here. Glad to be on the bus home.”
 
“Lost? Are you sure you’re on the right bus?”
 
“Yeah. The five take me up to my apartment.”
 
“Well, as long as you’re sure. It’s no fun being lost.” Yeah. I know. I’m effing Pollyanna sometimes, but someone has to do it.
 
“I couldn’t find that employment place and I went from Battery Park all the way up to Canal.”
 
“The unemployment place? It was on Vandam, but I think part of that program was discontinued or shut down.”
 
“Vandam! That was it! I never even went past there!”
 
“Well, it wouldn’t have done you much good now anyway. It’s 11 at night. Good thing you’re going home.”
 
He held out his hand for me to shake. It was so dark, almost the darkest hand I had ever seen. His palm was warm, dry, and calloused. After we shook hands he launched into a very long story. He talked and talked. He told me about his family when he was a teenager. They seemed to be a physically violent family, but as he told his tale, it didn’t seem to be something that bothered him so much as he expected it.
 
He started working at the Beacon Theater many years ago preparing seat backs. He had been a security guard at the Naval Yard, and had ended up back at the Beacon where he ended his career. He launched into visceral detail about a terrible infection he had that had put him into intensive care, then a long hospital stay, then a rehab stint to help him become mobile again. His mother passed away (at 99, it seems, after climbing six flights of stairs) while he was out. Then he got even stranger.
 
To my surprise he told a ghost story. He heard his mother calling him while he was in his bed in rehab. By the time he got home, she had passed away, and though she was gone, she still slapped the back of his head as she liked to do in life.
 
“It’s nice to know my mama’s there.” His voice had gotten thick and soft.
 
“I’m so sorry for your loss. And I’m glad to know you’ve got some comfort. Hey, this is my stop.” The bus had traveled from Soho all the way up to the Upper West Side.
 
The man took off his sunglasses. He was crying. “Thank you for listening to me. I don’t know why I told you all of that, but I feel better.”
 
“Any time. Happy to lend an ear.” I smiled and waved at him. As the bus pulled away, I looked back at him through the window. A small woman who was not on the bus when I got off was slapping him on the back of the head.

Presidents and Chumps

When you go through a bankruptcy,personal or corporate, someone is going to get screwed. Corporate bankruptcies are not just “debt restructuring.” Someone is not going to get paid.
 
Now if things have become so bad you have to go through a bankruptcy, there’s no shame in that. And sometimes a company has to go through bankruptcy. Things happen. But serial bankruptcies speak to something different, someone who is playing the rules.
 
Let’s say you had a “restructuring” and that negotiations and results took five to seven years. Let’s say five and low-ball it. You did it four times. That takes up twenty years of your working career. That’s twenty years of bad decisions, twenty years of other people having to make up for your mistakes.
 
Now let’s say you’re trying to “make” your money back after these business events. You decide that you’re going to build things. You work with local, state, and federal governments to obtain land so you can build golf courses, casinos, apartment buildings. You work through laws of eminent domain so you can get what you want. You work hard, taking advantage of every loop hole that you can.
 
By this time, people have lost money being in business with you. People have lost land and homes they owned because you wanted these things to benefit you, not them. You take the money you make and live loudly. You have a lot of money now. You can afford to be louder than most people. People “respect” your money because, in spite of some charity work, you use your wealth like a club. Growing wealth beings power and a louder voice. You get extremely loud. “Yay freedom of speech,” you think. “I can say anything I want!” People forget about
 
So you proceed to speak your mind. Good for you! Really! Truth is usually appreciated, and there is so little of it in today’s world. Now you’re on a role. You’ve not only been in the media, you’ve become a master of it. You’ve successfully “branded” yourself. You’ve even built a fan base, You want more.
 
The one problem you have is your past. You’re a serial cheater, multiple divorces. Okay. You handle that by marrying a smoking’ hot babe. Everyone likes a pretty girl. The American public will give an older guy a wink and a nod if they’ve got a pretty girl on their arm. Public displays of wealth help too. Giant towers with your name in glittering letters, television programs, you have it all. Throw enough glitter on a pig, and the first thing you’ll see from then on is the glitter.
 
Most people don’t go beyond the glitter to find the pig. You begin to ride a wave with social media. You equate having millions of followers with having some special influence. Then one day you’re golfing in Arizona and one of your toadies is listening to one of your tirades, which are legendary by now. He pokes his buddy on the arm and mouths, “watch this.”
 
“Hey.” he says.
 
“Shut up. I’m trying to concentrate.” You try to line up an easy putt.
 
“Okay.”
 
The putt completes in 5 strokes. “What do you want?”
 
“You should run for president!”
 
The other toady croaks in. “Yeah! You’d make a great president.”
 
You think for a minute and put your face towards the sun. “Yeah. I would, wouldn’t I?”
 
Your toadies snicker and turn their faces from you. “You said it first! Run for president!”
 
This is how you get the idea that you’re going to run for president. It gnaws at you. You’ve become very powerful in the real estate world, and you like it. You’ve done all the rich things from private yachts to private jets to great cars. You can buy buildings, build buildings, tear down buildings. You won’t start with just running for mayor of New York City. You’re going to skip all the preliminary preparation. You jump into the fray. It’s a race!
 
Your numbers go up every time you open your mouth. You say outrageous things to appeal to a populist viewpoint that increases in its xenophobia and nationalism every day. It stops making sense, but you keep saying things like you can build a wall and get someone else to pay for it without hurting US/Mexican relations for decades to come. But even though you can make shrewd moves and say that if you’re president that you will hire the best, you can’t seem to hire a team that grasps local and state politics.  You engage in speculations about dick size and the sex lives of family members. You stumble and blame that stumble on “the system” rather than on your own team that really made a lot of mistakes. You may want to change the system, but if you can’t hire a team that understands it, how are you going to figure out the root of problems, other than speculation? People see these bumps in the road as your numbers keep rising. You get even more outrageous.

 

You’ve set up a scenario that where, if you don’t get your way, you are perfectly fine with violent results. You’ve encouraged violence by the crowds, seemingly not understanding that your tone, your word choice, no matter how “politically incorrect” you are aiming to be, should never incite or “approve” of violent acts. But hey, you’re gaining in polls, and getting loads of coverage. Any publicity is good publicity, and you understand THAT, at least.

So how would you be as a president?  You’re being infuriated by regulations and old set ups in a private political party. What’s going to happen if you run across several different problems across several states where as the federal government it would be proper for you to step in? If you can’t put together a team that understands the system, how are you going to fix it? Knowing what’s wrong and knowing what works to fix things are two different skill sets. And as yet in your life you are unproven as a political leader where you must compromise, watch what and how you say things, understand that the buck stops at the White House, and that when you get in too far, you can’t declare bankruptcy for the entire country, but you can bankrupt us morally as well as monetarily.