Mildred and the Muslim Ban

I have to share with you all a really touching interaction that I had with a sincerely concerned mother/grandmother, I’ll call her Mildred, who was telling me that we should do our best to support Donald Trump in his efforts to make us safe. The Facebook conversation pertained to the recent ban of immigrants by Executive Order – an action that I, as many an American, was vocally opposed to this week. After a little back and forth, I had asked her what the ban was going to do to make her safe, and she did the noble thing (Hoorah!!) – she took some time to think it over and looked up the terrorist attacks on US soil in recent memory – and said that Trump’s actions would help to ensure that her and her family (including a son who is a 20 plus year veteran in the armed forces) would be more safe.

I will say seeing all of the terrorist attacks on US soil listed in one place (see list below) really made my heart sink. Quite sobering.

So now I’d like to think about these events with my policy analytic hat for a moment. Breaking it down a bit, I see some real problems with the ban – some that had not entirely occurred to me before. I’ll do my regular disclaimers: I’m not a national security expert. This is me writing on the weekend using the best information I can get my hands on quickly, so if there are experts out there that want to challenge these rough thoughts and estimations please fact-check and debunk me to the high heavens.

Continue reading “Mildred and the Muslim Ban”

White Tigers (and moonwalking bears) in a Snowstorm

‪Ok chalk up another provable falsehood (DT claim that illegal immigrants cost him the popular vote).

So, at this rate of 1.5 lies per day, by the end of 2017 our President will have told us over 500 lies. Mostly little ones about crowd size or who he slandered publicly but now claims he didn’t. But as we know that fun little game can be a slippery slope. ‬

‪Remember when we got really upset about about Tonkin or WMD or Watergate or about the Intern? Granted those were big things – really huge hairy deals, right? (Oh that just didn’t come out right)

Well, remember that animal survival depends on detecting the predator that wants to eat you. Not to give away the punchline but see if you can count how many passes the team in white makes in this video:

Put in human survivalist terms, its hard to see the hungry white tiger in a snowstorm. ‬and now knowing this I ask you, no I implore you – PLEASE, America, tell me your senses will not be dulled by the daily administered dose of misinformation from the White House. As with any regularly consumed dosage, tolerance can build up quickly – soon medium sized lies don’t seem like that big a deal. ‬
‪You say you’re different? OK then say it with me “my senses will not be dulled by daily misinformation from the White House”. Good. Then you’re not going to just wave off your sense of truth and reality and drift off into some carbo loaded coma, right. You promised. ‬

‪Because if they dumb you into submission you will NOT notice when the really big stuff happens. And you need to be paying attention because many of the consumer, environmental, health, and financial protections you and your family value now are being overseen by a cabinet heavily peppered with arsonists who have spent the last decades suing and figuratively firebombing the regulatory agencies they will now be overseeing. It might very well be be a pathetic mustache twirling “yessssSmithers”-a-palooza. Am I being an unhinged apocalyptic Chicken Little right now? Maybe. A little. ‬

‪But really though – after this cast of corprateer characters gets approved by the Senate, and they will get approved (thank you for your leadership Mitch – sorry you got steamrolled Chuck), I ask you to be vigilant, and alert, relatively sober, and when someone tells you that you’re better off without meaningful healthcare coverage (Harvard study estimates 43,000 additional deaths per year from repeal of ACA) or that Wall Street and banks can’t thrive unless they are unregulated (deregulation created the global collapse of 2007) or that global climate change is a hoax made up by the Chinese and our economy will stagnate if we don’t get behind “clean” coal (debunk not warranted for that one), or that Americas very independence is contingent on placing a thousand oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico – then please set down your cheeseburger, slap yourself in the face, get conscious, look in the mirror and say “Whazzuh did that (insert: Exxon executive or press secretary or whoever the mouthpiece of the day is) just say?!” And immediately alert your buddies “#POTUSnCompany just Tweeted some more smack – that ain’t right”. And then pick up your phone and call your congressman… again (Yep 4th time this week Mr Intern)… and tell them that you don’t teach your kids to lie and you’d appreciate it if the President didn’t either. ‬

‪Just don’t don’t don’t doze off again. You might not like what you see when you wake up. ‬‬

Make America GOOD Again

Hello America! – I am writing to you on this special day to ask you to put down your pens and your swords for a moment and to reflect upon the country and world you want to live in. I am not writing you today as a liberal or a conservative, rich or poor, strong or weak… just American. Perhaps a little vulnerable, but just American. And right now, pardon my discretion, I am not liking the country I live in. I love this country, deeply, but at this very moment I don’t like it. We have become mean and thoughtless on a scale never before seen, we are talking past each other, on social media, trying to score points by backhanding others we don’t agree with, and have lost our ability to listen – to truly listen to each other. All at a time when there has never been more at stake, and never a time where our unity would serve us more.
So much of what I see and hear on social media postings, and in the news, and in living rooms and coffee shops is based in fear. Fear that the government is going to take away my health care, my guns, my social security, my rights to marriage equality, my clean drinking water, or my child’s education or future away.
Yes, all of this is on the table, and we need to talk about it, but fueling those genuine fears beyond a reasonable threshold of reality is not only inhumane but profoundly destructive. Using our fellow American’s fear as a tool to wield over them to push for compliance with our objectives is short sighted, erodes our legitimacy, and I think may destroy a unique opportunity we have to band together for the good of our country. It is not just the politicians and those who campaign for them that are guilty of this. Our day-to-day interpersonal interactions have become untethered, and disconnected like there are no actual human beings across from us, or on the other end of the line, or reading your words on their social media account. Continue reading “Make America GOOD Again”