Mark Cuban, REALLY?

The Clinton campaign seems over the moon, sending out a press release; “great to have Mr. Cuban’s endorsement.” This kind of shit, to my mind at least, is exactly the sort of retrograde celebrity bullshit that turns off undecided voters. His endorsement is critical and worth advertising why? Because he’s rich, so he must be some sort of populist oracle who knows best? Here’s a little advice for the Democrats, -or “Democrat Party,” as the GOP refers to it [them] with deliberate precision- Why not try: Sister of Afghanistan War Vet endorses Hillary, or, Father of New Hampshire Teacher of the Year endorses Clinton? Instead, the Saturday night political news cycle consists of 3 fresh Trump “this will do him in for sure” stories and, “immature Texas billionaire -who 98 out of a 100 people couldn’t say exactly how he made all that money- proves his billion-brain true by endorsing the generic candidate over the madman.”

Even though I have access to current news only once a week, maybe twice, I believe even less saturation might be necessary to ease my already fucked up mind? I almost never bring up my service in the Army beyond the confines of this blog and my sporadic work towards completing a book on the subject. Contact with men I served with over 10 years ago has also become rare for reasons I understand but cannot seem to explain. For some reason this election cycle tends to expose that pain I work so hard to suppress, prodding me to hate the political process and those reporting on it. It feels like in my mind, 15 years of continual war should be reflected more seriously in the coverage and by the candidates. Why does the country seem to dis the topic altogether, from Congressional irresponsibility, failed tactics, Veteran’s issues, extrajudicial use of the Predator Drone -U AV-, Presidential executive power, the ongoing travesty at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and other ancillary issues?

The two subjects most often breached, from my perspective at least, are bureaucratic red tape within the VA, and should we send more troops to the Middle East… or just ramp up the bombing and UAV campaigns? Most disturbingly, Obama seems to have codified many of these practices in the minds of most liberals. It is easy to predict their reaction once -if- Donald Trump continues to employ the exact same practices: outrage! Too bad, just think of the ways The Donald could punish Muslims for crimes, guilty or not, in even more of the poorest countries throughout the Muslim world? Or what are we going to say once countries the likes of China, Russia and Iran deploy these RC weapons against their stated enemies beyond their borders? This is not an if, but a when? Instead the modern machine twists and turns, fact checking a serial liar, analyzing polls upon polls, pitting one side against the other and arguing about bathroom etiquette or “how the VP pick helps” with some other wing of the party. 

The absurdity that is the dissemination of the candidates stated positions on issues like the TPP, tax rates or reproductive rights is a joke. Since when has virtually any national level politician actually held true to their word on the stump? Beyond the fact that most voters couldn’t even describe the TPP and its possible ramifications, Trump and Clinton’s stated positions opposing the trade deal is laughable. A policy decision like this, which directly affects the only constituency that REALLY matters,-the rich and powerful multinational’s and financial institutions-, to believe any mainstream candidate will oppose it once in office is a real hoot. If there’s one policy above all others, deregulation and trade deals maximizing corporate profits, the TPP is it. It’s going to happen. Period.

I learned by way of a very liberal news program that only 18 of the GOP delegates were African-American. Turns out it’s true. Shouldn’t that be mentioned by the mainstream news? Yet like much of the coverage I went back and watched, most of the media went along with the loonytoon Kabuki theater as if things were heavy, but not completely insane, as it appeared to me. The black speakers there, quite a few considering the demographic, were especially difficult to endure. The Milwaukee police chief actually said, “it’s about time someone with a good tan said, ‘all lives matter!” Wow, “a good tan?” CNN had the recently fired campaign manager for Trump working as color commentary! It is so pernicious, this lack of journalistic integrity. It wouldn’t surprise me if this ex-Trump staffer was sent out as a mole to actually work towards their advantage? Either way, what kind of reporter is limited of speech by a nondisclosure clause of the very subject of discussion? It all combines and mixes to become a national disgrace. A full on shit show on the global stage.

I have been lucky enough to travel the world, much of which was prior to military service, so I am aware to the degree foreigners keep abreast of American news and culture. The United States is involved by way of military forces garrisoned there, corporate interests, common currency and markets, as well as pop culture throughout much of the world. So many people watch us with a wariness, a skepticism, with some respect, depending on their particular affinity. Just the fact Donald Trump is 1 of 2 likely to become the next POTUS has possible ramifications impossible to quantify. By proxy, the world realizes now, that many American’s share many of his views; bigotry, hostility, masochism, misogyny, these are more than fringe beliefs and the man may soon wield immense military, clandestine, and economic powers that could -will- affect them in disastrous ways? Quite literally, just the possibility of his election puts American citizens and military in undo, unpredictable danger. If I were an Iranian, or an Qatari Muslim, or Syrian refugee, the man would exacerbate any fears I might already endure. This is Ronald Reagan on steroids. 

Could it all be one massive PR stunt that was never intended to accomplish more than Trump publicity? It’s possible. Maybe Trump, a dog with no more tricks, says to himself “I’ll be President Trump for the year. Think about the attention I’ll mainline into the jugular? Then, when I eventually lose, I can invent more conspiracies, even more attention? Win win!” Two things stand out in this scenario: 1) The joke is on us. The country is truly a decaying celebrity worshiping ignorance as cool superpower. 2) We end up with only one choice; the true Republican: Hillary Clinton!

The rational election should have been Bernie Sander’s (D) the liberal vs Hillary Clinton (R) the progressive conservative in the tradition of Theodore Roosevelt or Dwight Eisenhower. -No, I am not saying Clinton is of that level of politician- The problem with this binary choice is that the underbelly of white America stays largely hidden. If Trump has done any good, it’s this exposure of the irritated white Christians who actually believe we are the ones being discriminated against today?! That pain is real, it’s just that the perpetrator is misidentified. The true villain of the middle class is the ever greedy wealthy who promote ever lower taxes, less government service -for the poor and needy, not the banks and business class who’ve, you know, earned that shit!- and fewer regulations. They cleverly packaged these principals within organizations like the Tea Party and ALEC. The most genius move was to get the middle and lower class to vote against their own interest in order to punish the “takers” and “criminals.” Maybe this is coming undone for the elite? Or maybe they’ve fooled everyone once again by switching to the Democrats, Hillary Clinton their new vessel of confusion.  

Just some thoughts.





























The 2016 Presidential Election could end up being a seminal moment in United States history, political or otherwise? The combination of a celebrity culture, minute by minute media coverage, underlying societal fears -LGBT rights, terrorism, immigration, gun violence- a political dynasty, -i.e. the Clinton’s- outrageous economic inequality, and a polarized Congress could very well push the nation beyond it’s fragile insecurity, and blowing a proverbial gasket? I could be incorrect? I might just be caught up in the hyperbole of the moment, stuck at the crossroads intersecting the rational and irrational? Thing is, as terrible as things could get, there’s a piece of me that hopes I am right. From my low perch, a shake-up, rather than a shake-down, could be good, if not necessary, for the long term health of our country? Then again, we could unravel to the point of no return? Every Empire in world history has eventually come undone, some gently, others quite traumatically, effectively erasing it from that present.

People are wound up out there in Starbucks land. More so than I can recall in 40+ years. Friendly discussions with strangers easily swerve headlong into traffic, voices talking over one another, no intention of budging from their “common sense” opinions. There was a time following 9/11 where folks were actually reporting to the FBI people who spoke out at the gym or supermarket. That was a time of paralytic fear. Anger though, a secondary emotion born of fear, processes through a society much differently. Folks wont go the FBI in a climate like this. For many, the FBI, the government in general, is perceived to be the enemy, not to be trusted. “They’re all liars and crooks,” is the predominant feeling.

In their own ways, both Clinton and Trump embody one side each of that coin. Sanders offers something different, a truth, authenticated by decades of solid positions. Bernie is not relevant to this essay. -Not today at least with HRC the probable nominee. Did anyone actually believe anyone BUT HRC would be allowed to proceed?- Trump presents a simple message. He has buried the ‘dog whistle’ altogether, and just comes right out with the language of much of the right, especially the ‘Tea Party’ crowd. Which is ironic because that movement was launched with Koch Brother money, vocal #AnyoneButTrump political operatives. With Clinton the divisiveness is more difficult to pick up on and understand. In fact, I am unsure of my own analysis at this time. Her lies are heavily scripted and designed more for damage control than votes, platitudes rather than abrasion.

An example of this was Clinton’s speech following the abominable massacre in that Orlando dance club. From the beginning it was complete bullshit. “As American’s we come together…” all that crap that’s simply untrue. If it were true, we would collectively demand policies to better protect us from these daily occurrences. There was much more to dissect but really, no thanks? Then we have the private server and email she used while serving in one of the most important US Government positions: Secretary of State. Now, deep down, we all know why this was done; she wanted control over her correspondence, thereby having the tools necessary to provide information to her liking. Control, possibly a little paranoia, period. After this was exposed however, instead of simply telling the truth up front, washing her hands of it more than a year ago, she decided to roll from one lie to another, perpetuating the Clinton dishonesty. Why Democrats have continually papered over the issue, brushing it off as insignificant, belies a greater truth in the DNC apparatus. Tunnel vision. A coronation. All the talking points on the right substantiated, sadly.

I have been staying in a rural area without phone or internet, so my observations could be quite different from the person who is updated daily, or even hourly. I go 3-4 days without new information making for quite a slog once plugged into the machine. It is addictive, I admit, thinking about moments ahead, not knowing immediately, then returning to news such as the mass slaughter in Orlando. If anyone reading this can, I fully endorse unplugging as best as you can for several days at a time. An entirely fresh narrative comes into focus, realizing so much of the 24 hour cycle is quickly forgotten, vanished before we plug back in. So was any of it important? The tragic irony of Muhammad Ali’s funeral followed by the largest mass shooting in US History will never be lost on me, but I wonder if it crossed many folks minds, already drowning in the cyclone of our mass media modern machine? Ali, a Muslim man of peace gone. Trump, calling for more violence and a religious test to live in that same country.

All for today…. to be continued










On a snowy Christmas morning, in what feels like a lifetime ago, Santa had left my present leaning up against our families fake, tinsel and star crowned tree: my first rifle; I was 10 years old. I consider myself an open minded, liberal leaning American. In today’s political climate however, my belief that allows me to accept this gift as rational, within the context of our lives in the early 1980’s, paints me a cultural lunatic. I can understand the concern of parents who’ve lived outside of our then rural life, nevertheless, black and white idealism, in my opinion, precludes one being an authentic idealist.

I am not one of these 2nd Amendment absolutists. In fact, I am opposed to the sale of weapons of war throughout society. The only practical use for a assault weapon combined with armor piercing ammunition and high volume magazines is that of warfare between similarly armed men on the battlefield. I even seriously question the use of these weapons by most law enforcement agencies in but the most serious of conditions.

That photo captured in Ferguson Missouri, showing an unarmed protester directly down the barrel of a turret mounted machine gun left a powerful impression on me as a combat veteran. It was symbolic and profound. The destruction of our 1st Amendment through an overly broad interpretation of our 2nd. Those who are unwilling or ignorant of the irony should take stock in the lessons of history where free speech and the right to protest the government have been squelched.

My first gun was a Ruger model 77, .22 long rifle. My family owned several guns, from shotguns to pistols. However, we did not own any assault weapons. We lived the majority of our life in an extremely remote region of Alaska where hunting and fishing were beyond sport and closer to subsistence. At the age of 8 I was wearing a .44 magnum while out of the home, in the woods, hiking, fishing or camping, as protection from aggressive bears. I was responsible and well schooled in firearm safety. I still vividly recall my grandfather shooting an apple with my little .22 perched upon a signpost. The apple basically exploded, followed by his words, “that could be someones head. Even this little .22 needs to be always respected.” Not every 10 year old will absorb such wisdom, I know. I suspect the same amount of adults suffer from this same flaw? If my parents suspected or had reason to believe this of me, I would have never been allowed the responsibility.

I said all that to say this: the more ubiquitous these weapons become, the more paranoid our society seems to become? That America will be invaded by some ragtag army of terrorists, or that our government will swing tyrannical, both grow from that same seed of paranoia. We have a government to protect us from that so-called army. And if the government goes all martial law, assault weapons owners will find themselves in one of two unfortunate camps: 1. a part of that twisted tyrannical government without realizing it, or 2. so fucking scared and impotent up against a machine so much heavily armed and sophisticated, they’ll be unable to fight back, let alone defend themselves.

Machine guns can be quite fun to shoot, as long as the target cannot return fire. So my compromise is this: armories and target ranges could provide security and safety over these weapons when not in use. Americans could still go hog wild at the range, -fuck, let ’em have some RP-G’s, Mortars and LAW’s to fire off at these facilities even- but that’s where these arms will stay, locked up until our military is being overrun at the Mexican border, or President Bush IV declares martial law. You want a few 12 gauges, a 30.06, some handguns, no problem. You want a weapon of war? Sign up and head downrange.