In case you missed it, I was on the Choir Chat Podcast! John C. Hughes graciously let me ramble on and on about anything but music. We cover politics, healthcare, coastal “elitism”, fraud syndrome, and I probably mentioned that I like singing in choirs in passing, as we quickly move on to the state of the arts in America and lack of government funding, or something like that. I think I even started interviewing him at one point, and as far as I know, he didn’t turn off the mics, or anything. It’s all here. Just me. Me, me, me.
I have great friends. I think, or hope, you do too. There’s something about the closeness of being with my own gender that is comforting- the ability to speak frankly and in short-hand. I suppose that’s why we have, “guys night out” and, “girls night out”, right? Do we tell secrets? Or maybe we have a built-in understanding of each other- I really don’t know. Is it sexist to think this way? Lots of questions.
My favorite stories, for instance, almost always involve the love between men (and animals, too). Old Yeller, A Separate Peace, Stand by Me, Shawshank Redemption, almost all of Wes Anderson’s films and Jack London’s novels. Why does our culture shy away from masculine emotion so much- I even have trouble writing about it- seems embarrassing.
Anyway, I’m not too sure what this post is about except to say, tell your friends how you feel. Show them appreciation, give them a call and say, “Hey man, you’re pretty cool- I’m glad you’re my friend.” These are important things.
Happy Valentine’s Day, folks.
Trump and his supporters call it, “shaking it up”, and “draining the swamp” and a dozen other idiotic catchphrases they’ve come up with. But make no mistake: This is a coup d’état. This is happening right now, in the United States of America, to all of us. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Green, or whatever. Trump and Bannon are going to burn it down, right to the ground, and not in a cool, crazy, interesting, hipster way, either.
Those of you who know me know that I am absolutely not a conspiracy nut- I have always prided myself on being a level-headed pragmatist. I’m not prone to fanciful thinking, and I consider myself to be as open-minded as the next guy.
Trump is holding all Americans and Congress, in particular, hostage by conveying prospective cabinet appointees who are not only grossly unqualified but who are the very nemeses of their intended departments. This accomplishes a few things. First, it puts Congress in a catch 22- They in no way can justify voting to accept Trump’s inept nominees, and the alternative leaves us without functioning legislative or judicial branches of government. Trump and Bannon will most likely maintain absolute control through seemingly justifiable executive power, and the blame will fall on anyone who opposes it.
We are right now, literally, one disaster away from Trump and Bannon taking complete control of all three branches of government.
But without intervention of some kind, his entire cabinet will most likely be filled with utter nitwits, sycophants, ideologues and the alt-right, and in the natural course of their work they’ll create enough chaos for Trump to maintain an imbalance in the system and in the streets, while allowing him to dismantle all forms of government regulations with the sole aim of creating profits for himself and his partners abroad. He will do this at the expense of national security, the environment, health care, employment- anything and everything.
But here’s the scary part.
I believe Steve Bannon is actually steering the ship, and Trump’s crushing insecurities, paper-thin ego and blind, monarchical ambitions are supplying Bannon with gale-force winds.
Steve Bannon is now the Chief Strategist to the White House and counselor to the President of the United States. There are less than a handful of people on the planet with more power and influence.
Steve Bannon sits on the council that oversees the targeting of Americans, and no law establishes the panel’s existence or governs its decisions. There is no due process and no public record of its operations or decisions. To this end, Bannon has also enforced a paper-trail blackout within the National Security Council itself.
Let that sink in.
Bannon is a former Goldman Sachs investment banker who was appointed executive chairman of Breitbart News Network after the passing of its owner, Andrew Breitbart, in 2012. According to former Breitbart editor-at-large, conservative talk show host Ben Shapiro, Bannon is a sinister character. “He is a vindictive, nasty figure, infamous for verbally abusing supposed friends and threatening enemies,” Shapiro wrote. “He will attempt to ruin anyone who impedes his unending ambition, and he will use anyone bigger than he is – for example, Donald Trump – to get where he wants to go.”
Here are some quotes from one of the most powerful and dangerous people on earth:
- “Are there racist people involved in the alt-right? Absolutely,” he told Mother Jones at this year’s Republican National Convention. “Look, are there some people that are white nationalists that are attracted to some of the philosophies of the alt-right? Maybe. Are there some people that are anti-Semitic that are attracted? Maybe. Right? Maybe some people are attracted to the alt-right that are homophobes, right? But that’s just like, there are certain elements of the progressive left and the hard left that attract certain elements.”
- “…there are some unintended consequences of the women’s liberation movement. That, in fact, the women that would lead this country would be pro-family, they would have husbands, they would love their children. They wouldn’t be a bunch of dykes that came from the Seven Sisters schools up in New England.” — 2011 radio interview with Political Vindication Radio
- He “didn’t want the girls going to school with Jews … He said he doesn’t like Jews and that he doesn’t like the way they raise their kids to be ‘whiney brats.'” — The Guardian, from his wife in court documents filed in 2007.
- “Leadership are all c*nts” and “We should just go buck wild.” — The Daily Beast, from an email exchange.
But here is most shocking and dangerous quote of the bunch:
“I’m a Leninist … Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.” — The Daily Beast
If you are a half-decent person who cares at all about the United States, the Constitution, security, peace, equality or, at the very least, democracy in general, Bannon is a clear and present danger to you and your loved ones. Period.
Lastly, Trump is illegitimate and his actions are Illegal. He is in direct violation of the First andTwenty-fifth amendments, and Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution. These are not opinions, these are facts, and unless Congress acts quickly to impeach him, there will be, at the very least, civil unrest and/or violent protest across our country. I can’t think of a scenario that would consolidate Trump and Bannon’s power faster, because the law will finally be on their side. Game over.
Remember, democracy is only alive when we all agree to the basic, fundamental principles laid out very specifically by our founding fathers. Without our implicit agreement, the Constitution, along with the Bill of Rights is nothing but an old piece of paper, and unless we do something, and fast, we’re going to lose it all to a madman and his cronies.
Now is the time for all Americans to come to the aid of their country- You can make a difference:
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Well, Donald Trump is our new president-elect. A phrase I never expected to write, until Bernie Sanders was defeated by Wasserman Schultz and our Democratic party, that is. How did Hillary and all of her ivy-league helpers not see, AT ALL, what was happening in this country? Change AT ANY COST came like a tsunami for the Washington establishment and nobody saw it coming? REALLY? Occupy Wall Street, Bernie Sanders, DONALD FUCKING TRUMP?? I’m so disappointed in Hillary, I could just spit- but there’s plenty of blame to go around, so I’ll try not to dwell.
Firstly, the GOP’s methodical raping of our educational systems and the rest of our social services for the last three decades helped to grow a vast population primed to vote for ANYBODY who promised to change their decades-long suffering. No country can be strong whose people are uneducated, sick or poor. Period. The GOP paved this road years ago, and yesterday was proof of that.
Secondly, “Don’t Vote For Him, Or Else” will never sound better than, “Make America Great Again.” Ever. Never ever. If you didn’t know any better, why would you NOT vote for him? “He wants to make America Great Again! Why is Hillary telling me NOT to vote for a Great America?” I’m no political scientist or analyst, I don’t run a polling firm and I don’t have an economics degree from Harvard or Penn, but with a cursory knowledge of the American people and a modicum of common sense, it seems pretty obvious. Why in the holy hell did that not register with the hundreds of people working for Hillary? $500,000,000 didn’t make her relatable to the average Joe, and nobody- I mean NOBODY, should be surprised. Donald Trump needed to win, and Hillary needed to be right- But ‘Murica loves winners more than anything, and ‘Murica should most definitely be great “again.”
The only conciliatory booby-prize I can conjure up is the fantastical idea that this has been an elaborate con-job by the most savvy political animal of all time. That he will go back to his Democratic roots and upend a system that continuously fails its constituents. Maybe he’ll use his demagoguery to forcefully convince us that we need a single-payer healthcare system and universal free education. Maybe a minimum income for everyone will be made sexy with enough bluster, bloviation and fist-pounding. Maybe he’ll do a 360 on climate change, immigration, trade and all the rest. Maybe he’ll overturn Citizens United and The Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Maybe he’ll get all the hard, cold facts that only the President of the United States is privy to, and make decisions with the care and prudence that befits the office of the President. Maybe he’ll be a better president than we all think. Maybe. But probably not.
Whatever you think, come January, The Donald will be the most powerful man on the face of the earth. We’ve lost all executive branches of the government to the GOP, and the supreme court will quite possibly be tipped to the far Right for decades. It’s not Bernie’s fault. Don’t blame Stein or Johnson, either. Blame the GOP for growing the monster, Donald Trump for shamelessly embodying it and the whole of our Democracy for not doing enough to stop it.
“We get the president we deserve” has never felt more sickeningly true. Shame on us.
Well, here I am again, plugging away at this blog thing. The initial idea was to write something every week, but it looks like I may be settling for every season, at this point. It’s raining, which is like armageddon, here in Los Angeles. I think I’ll stay in- people loose their goddamned minds at the first sign of drizzle, even though we need it more than universal health care. Well, maybe that’s a bit much- we REALLY need universal health care. Yes- this election cycle has created some depression for me, too. I just can’t believe how many people are still supporting this dip-shit, Donald Trump. I could list in bullet points, the detritus this sociopath is serving up to the American people, but I don’t really want to get into it- actually; here:
- Mocked a man with disabilities.
- Attacked the parents of a fallen American hero.
- Belittled POWs and the war record of Sen. John McCain.
- Lied about how much money he raised for veterans.
- Called a former Miss Universe “disgusting” and fat, telling his Twitter followers to find her non-existent sex tape.
- Accused an American-born federal judge of being unfit to do his job because of his Mexican heritage.
- Likely avoided paying taxes for nearly two decades.
- Called most Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals, even though that’s not remotely factual.
- Lied about seeing “thousands and thousands” of Muslims celebrating in New Jersey on 9/11.
- Lied about getting a letter from the NFL complaining about the debate schedule.
- Tried to exploit the death of an African American woman in Chicago to say that’s why black voters will support him.
- Found the “bright side” to tragedies because his poll numbers tend to go up.
- Settled with the Department of Justice after his company was found guilty of racially discriminating against minorities.
- Has cheated on at least one wife.
- Was just discovered on video admitting that he not only tried to cheat on his current wife, but he attempted to do so with another married woman.
- Had his first wife publicly say that he did nothing when it came to raising their children until they were old enough to talk business.
- Tweeted that women should have expected to be sexually assaulted when they mixed males and females together in the military.
- Said he wants to target the families of terrorists.
- Stated that he wants to ban an entire religion.
- Praised a Russian president who obviously hates the U.S. and Americans.
- Encouraged the Russian government to commit espionage against Americans.
- Insinuated that another Republican’s wife was ugly.
- Tried to implicate another Republican’s father in JFK’s assassination.
- Sought out the help of former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes after he was fired following multiple allegations that he had sexually harassed women for years.
- Made Breitbart’s Steve Bannon one of his top campaign people.
- Had a former campaign manager abruptly resign after a report came out linking him to pro-Russian groups that were directly trying to undermine U.S. policy in eastern Europe.
- Called Carly Fiornia ugly.
- Has said climate change was a hoax created by the Chinese — then denied saying it.
- Was a leading conspiracy theorist when it came to the racist-driven birther conspiracies against President Obama.
- Dismissed nearly eight years of accusing the president of not being an American with a less than 30 second statement where he didn’t apologize for any of it.
- Tried to blame Hillary Clinton for his racism. Re-tweeted anti-African American propaganda created by a white supremacy group.
- Played dumb about knowing who former Grand Wizard of the KKK David Duke was.
- Skipped a presidential debate because he was scared of a moderator.
- Has, on several occasions, suggested he finds his daughter attractive.
- Called a husband doing things like changing diapers and helping with the children, a man “trying to be the wife.”
- Has said he wants more countries to have nuclear weapons. Said he can’t release his tax returns because they’re currently being audited — even though the IRS said that’s a lie.
- Feels he has the right to sexually assault women.
Dear GOP: how proud you must be.
Until next time-
Welp, I just noticed that I’ve fallen behind on my blog posts. It’s all about content, right. Gotta put up that content. Content, content, content. And social media. But the problem is, is that summers are slow for me, and I’m almost always underemployed. When I’m underemployed, I get depressed and a little stir-crazy. It’s a bad combination. I also start to withdraw from the world a little bit- without the social aspect of my job (which accounts for a lot of my social interaction, outside of my family) I can’t help but become more insular than normal.
So, what to do? I took a hike yesterday, which was nice (more of a walk on dirt, I guess), I’ve set up another podcast for tomorrow (with film/tv contractor, Edie Lehmann Boddicker, who I’m really excited to interview) and I try and meet up with friends, when I can. That last one is tough, though, when all of your friends have kids of their own and/or are out of town for the summer. I also have to balance the work that does come over the summer with getting away, myself. For instance, I just had to turn down a gig at the Hollywood Bowl because I’m going to be on vacation with my family- a two edged sword, to be sure.
So what’s the point of this post, or this blog, in general? Not sure really…producing content? A diary of my personal life? An advertisement for my podcast? Probably that last one, but I find that to be so phony, for some reason. I do use it as my own personal platform for my political and social beliefs in a way that is more comfortable than open discourse on Facebook, and I like that.
Take the shooting of Alton Sterling, for instance- when are we, as a nation, going to realize that the conservative ideologues who constantly attack affordable education and healthcare, social welfare programs, and sensible gun regulation and reform are complicit in each and every one of these killings? Why is it hard to understand that the very monster that right-wingers are now panicked about is a direct product of the uneducated masses who the Republican party has, in itself, created by these policies? VOTE. THEM. OUT. And lets eliminate PACS, Super PACS and Citizens United, while we’re at it. Oh, and let’s rewrite the second amendment and enact severe campaign reform, too. And what, exactly, does, “Let’s Make America Great Again” even mean? When was it greater than it is today? When blacks couldn’t vote and had to take their dinner to go? Or when women couldn’t divorce an abusive spouse? Or maybe we could go back to Polio (don’t get me started)? How about the Vietnam war or The Great Depression- those were fun times. What Trump is actually saying, and the sentiment that it creates is, “Make America White Again”. He legitimizes hatred, bigotry, xenophobia and all of the things that are in no way what being an American should be. Read, “The New Colossus”. It’s not hard to find. We are a nation of immigrants. You are an immigrant. Get over it. And most of these people call themselves Christians- Really? If you don’t see this, or you are one of these people, it’s time to re-evaluate your priorities.
So, I think I’ll go down that path every once in a while- but until then, please listen to my podcast- and share it liberally on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and by Carrier Pigeon, if you should happen to have any. And thank you.
The older I get, the more I see the difference between “friends” and “friendly”. I’m having a harder and harder time maintaining friendships with folks who don’t understand why a fractured EU is bad for Democracy, who maintain the illusion that gun ownership is good for society, no matter the type of gun, that Muslims are threatening our “freedoms”- and on and on. I can be friendly and professional, but I simply can’t get on board with the willful anti-intellectualism, xenophobia and bigotry that is running rampant in this country and abroad, and I’m having trouble keeping quiet about it.
It seems most people don’t realize that the “hordes of Muslims” are a diaspora being created by the Islamic State and al Qaeda. It is sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shiites, dummies. This should not be lost on my “Christian” friends, although discussion of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation never seems to come up. But I digress.
Please take ten minutes and read up on Wahhabi Sunnis, Islam in general and our own history. Please take five minutes to google the rise of fascism in the twentieth century. Please stop forcing me to defend decency, compassion and American democratic ideals, and please realize that denigrating 1.25 billion Muslims because of what you see in the news reveals to all of us that you are a frightened, provincial, moronic bigot. Good day.
Wowza- Summer’s here, and man, is it hot. I can’t even think about anything but running through the sprinklers, which I just did, with my boy. I guess there’s a silver lining to just about any situation. This leads me to my next tangent- I have trouble feeling grateful. There, I said it.
Being a dad is hard. Being a husband is hard, too. Why can’t I see all the magic, and embrace more fully, the joy of playing with my kids, or spending time with my lovely wife? Why do I so often think, is this it? Is this what life is?
So, I’m on a quest to explore these things. I made a resolution to meditate every day, so I’m going to start that again. I also need to loose weight- I resolved to lose 20 pounds by the end of the year, and I only have 25 to go, so there’s that, too.
A couple of weeks ago, I was hanging with Hila, and I was in a real mood- Will was being a brat, Amy and I were tense… I asked her, “Remind me why we do this, again?” Her response: “Because life is so much less interesting without it.”
I need to remember this more.
Well, I’ve been at this for 21 episodes now, and I’m still figuring out how to be natural on the mic. I find it hard to listen actively sometimes, and I’m really surprised by this! I’ve always been really good with people, but sometimes, especially when I get nervous, I find my mind wandering. I also realized that I need to be under prepared versus over, which is totally contrary to being a classical musician. I’m finding that hard to deal with, too.
Take the Blair Tindall chat, for instance. I read her book, did online research, had questions prepared, and it was my toughest interview, by far. I really clammed up and I wasn’t listening to conversation, which is a lot easier to do than you think, trust me. I learned something about myself there- I have a really hard time asking questions I already know the answers to, which is contrary to the idea of conducting and interview in the first place. I don’t know- it feels really phony and unnatural to me. It turns out that I’m most comfortable getting to know someone on the air, rather than interviewing them. It is, however, a fine line between being over prepared and insulting the guest with a blatant lack of knowledge. Although, maybe it’s not my problem if the guest is offended by my simply wanting to get to know them- about their life and career. I don’t know. Like I said, I’m still figuring it out.
I endeavor to get better at this, so thanks for sticking it out with me, and luckily, I don’t have a lack of interesting guests.