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Finally Revealed – The Reasons for the Riots

Here’s a confession from the person responsible for all the violence and all the division in our once great nation.

Another man was shot last night. He probably deserved to die, at least in the minds of many “patriots”. Black Lives Matter is a Marxist organization; I know that because I heard it on Fox News. We’ve got to get this scourge of violence under control before America is totally destroyed, starting with the suburbs. Countless Americans are fed up with the division and the uprisings of those who want free everything.

Well, that’s one view of the picture. It’s carried on the banner of the comfortable. In violation of the unspoken rules of those with privilege, I’ve tried to research the matter so I can truly understand the sources of what seems to be tearing us apart. No, it wasn’t Miss Scarlet in the conservatory with the wrench. You can rule out Colonel Mustard and the rope. No, after reviewing all the clues, I have come to the unavoidable conclusion …

It was Jerry, in the grill, with his “Malicious Disengagement”. And frankly, I was his accomplice. I’m betting you too aided and abetted.

Let me tell you about Jerry. Great guy! Friendly, outgoing, happy and cordial. At least, that’s how he’s viewed by his friends and acquaintances. I know Jerry. He’s a member of my country club. We golf thrice weekly. After every golf match, a couple dozen of us congregate in the member’s lounge at the club to review the game’s results, pay out the prize money, and discuss the world’s problems. Some enjoy a twenty-dollar glass of wine as they lean back with their five-hundred-dollar golf shoes and hold their thousand-dollar custom made driver or putter.

The discussions invariably wander from golf and drift into the realm of the world’s great problems. For example, John worried about whether or not his pool crew would show up on time this week. The cleaning people haven’t been doing as good of a job as they used to do. The Mercedes dealer won’t stand behind the tires they put on his $155,000 car after they began to wear out after only 20,000 miles had been driven on them.

One by one, the golfers slowly lift their key-fobs above their heads and click the buttons. Seventy-yards distant, the engine of a driverless Bentley comes to life and the air-conditioner begins to roar. It’s a warm day and these men have suffered enough on the golf course; heaven forbid they have to suffer getting into a car that hasn’t been brought to a pleasant temperature.

These are men who through a combination of good luck, hard work, and “privilege” have made it to Easy Street. Those who work are only pretending. After all, it’s not that easy managing a 30-million-dollar portfolio. These guys don’t know where their next meal is coming from; it could be any high-end steak house with a deep wine cellar. Or, if worse comes to worst, they could have their personal chefs prepare sushi and oysters on the half shell at home this evening.

I make it sound as if their post-golf discussions are vacuous ramblings about the challenges of having everything; that’s not true. There are times talk gets precariously close to the real world challenges of social discord, lopsided income and wealth distributions, global climate change, and other extant threats to the world. The last time such unpleasantries were broached at the club, I made mental notes of some of the statements of “resolution”.

With regard to climate change… Sure, the climate has always changed, but this isn’t man-made. Solution.. buy a fourth home in a cooler climate zone.

Racial unrest… It’s all because people like that diabolical Colin Kaepernick took a knee to show disrespect to our flag and our nation and we the people.

Black Lives Matter… Who are you kidding? All lives matter, especially blue lives.

Structural Racism… “Are you joking? There’s no such thing!” (actual quote). Everyone has equal opportunity. In fact, with affirmative action, blacks have more opportunities.

Poverty… Trump has made this the greatest economy ever. Look at the stock market.

Pandemic… It’s all fabricated. Fake news! People die from the flu every year.

I’m not making this up. These men are intelligent, mostly educated men. Yet their views of the world’s most pressing problems are so incredibly shallow as to defy explanation.

The stock market is the measure of our financial health? I don’t think so. It may be a measure of prosperity for those who are already prospering, but I can assure you the two women that have cleaned our house for the past twenty years really don’t understand the connection. The DOW Jones industrial average is something they don’t monitor closely in the neighborhoods where minimum wage workers with two jobs barely have time to manage their portfolios.

The boys at the club, more often than not, have shallow, poorly researched, self-serving views of the world around them. They’re unable and unwilling to have empathy for those that don’t share their routine levels of luxury. To a greater or lesser extent… no, I take that back. In the case of the boys at the club, to a greater extent, they CHOOSE to adopt a position of MALICIOUS DISENGAGEMENT. They don’t research issues beyond the erroneous stories they hear from the talking heads on Fox News. They make no effort to empathize or see the world through the eyes of others less privileged than themselves. They are truly disengaged – maliciously.

Why? Why don’t they seem to care? Why are they routinely maliciously disengaged?

Because they can be. It’s that simple. They don’t need to care. Their Bentleys still run. The servants still take care of their 12,000 square foot homes. Their yachts are still afloat. If their yard-workers don’t do a good job, they can always hire other ones. If police kill a man in Kenosha, it has no bearing on whether or not they miss or make that five-iron shot on the seventh hole. They simply don’t have a need to care.

Or so they believe.

At some point, what ails the world will ultimately catch up to them and they will begin to care. When it hits their lifestyle, their bank account, their level of luxury, then and only then, will they begin to care.

Perhaps those struggling on the fringes of society, those who have no choice but to care, have figured it out. Maybe they understand their lives will be devoid of hope until Jerry cares. It could be their actions in the streets are nothing but a plea, sometimes ineloquent, begging society to look, listen, and care. “Please”, they’re saying, “Just try to look at life through our eyes.”

It shouldn’t be a revelation to understand that if they don’t do something, nothing happens. So Kaepernick takes a knee – “Please notice”, he says. They march in Ferguson, Missouri. “Please look at what is happening”, they plead. They march in Portland saying, “Can’t you see? Won’t you see?” They battle in Kenosha, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Chicago, Atlanta, and cities around the nation, begging for empathy.

“How did that ball not go into the hole. It was the perfect putt,” Jerry pleads to the heavens. He feigns indignance about how unfair life can be when a putt doesn’t fall, but he doesn’t know that George Floyd wasn’t a professional golfer. It’s called “malignant disengagement”.

So, who’s guilty? Who’s behind all this unrest? It’s Jerry. And it’s me. And it’s you. We could care more, but we don’t… because we don’t have to care. At least, not yet.

It should frighten us all, that an increasing number of Jerrys are buying into the populist “law and order” line now and believing we just need to get a bigger club and beat back the radical left, Marxists, ANTIFA members that aren’t comfortable with the injustice – not the missed putts, rather the dead people. At some point, the club needed to beat back the malcontents will be so big, we won’t be able to carry it. The nation dies.

Before meeting Jerry, I had a perception that Trump’s “base” consisted largely of uneducated, white guys driving around in big, manly pick-up trucks with gun-racks and the Stars-and-Bars trailing from the bed. I couldn’t understand how educated, upper and upper-middle class white men were on-board. Now I know Jerry. I understand. If I think about it too much, I get scared. So, I don’t think about it very much.

I don’t care. I don’t have to.

Burn Baby, Burn

I remember it as if it was yesterday. The acrid smell of smoke wafted through air. The hot and humid night made sleep all but unreachable. The skyline glowed with the orange light of burning buildings. Yet, I laid there with eyes closed hoping to slip through the gates of the dream state. But it was difficult with the distant sound of machine gun fire, the rumble of tanks and armored vehicles less than a quarter mile distant. The 82nd and 101st Airborne Division’s troops had arrived, but the violence was irrepressible. The official death toll was rising, but from a reliable insider, I learned it was much higher than the public was led to believe. I was living in a war zone and frankly, it wasn’t a lot of fun.


Near my home (AFP/Getty Images)

This wasn’t Vietnam. It wasn’t the Middle East. The year was 1967. The city was Detroit. Riots engulfed the city. A police raid on a speak-easy sparked one of the deadliest and destructive riots in the history of the United States. I was a young, married man with an expectant wife. We were afraid that if “the time” came, we’d be unable to get to the hospital. It was an exciting time.

It was a time of turmoil and tumult as our nation was being transformed and awakened. Vietnam, civil rights, a music revolution, the space age, and people were turning on, tuning in, and dropping out. I was already pretty open-minded, even for a twenty year old. But it was hard to understand what’s happening on the inside when you’re looking in from the outside. I had friends in the inner-city. I spent time in the inner-city. But the fact is … I was a young white boy of some privilege cast into a bizarre reality and the best I could do was guess about what I was seeing and hearing.

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Trump’s Trolley Kills Five

trumpyWell, America … you have murdered the trolley workers. Their blood is now on your hands. Let me be clear; a minority of Americans can rest peacefully, albeit, fearfully. They at least tried to pull the lever. They just couldn’t get enough help from their fellow Americans who “voted their consciences” or didn’t vote at all.

Ok, I get the feeling your face is dressed in confusion. “What the hell trolley is he talking about? Who died?” Let me back up and explain.

The “trolley problem” is a well-known thought experiment in the field of ethics. You remember ethics? They used to be common in the halls of government in this country.  In the trolley problem, you are confronted with a serious dilemma.

A trolley car is out of control and careening down the tracks where five workers don’t see or hear it coming. If nothing is done, the five workers will assuredly die. You see this and happen to be standing by a large lever. If you quickly pull the lever, the trolley will be directed onto another track where you see one worker who will unquestionably be killed. Do you pull the lever to save five lives at the expense of one life?

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On the Failure (Success) of Cuban Communism

The first time I visited Cuba, I was just three years old. A young man named Fidel Castro had just graduated from college with a degree in law. Carlos Prío was president of a corrupt Cuban government. Bautista had not yet taken power. Even though I was a small child at the time, I still have some vivid memories of the Cuba of 1950, the narrow streets, the open stores and markets with meat hanging overhead, the sandy beach and a friendly police officer who carried me on his shoulders. This early experience in Cuba undoubtedly had a great impact on my lifelong love and intrigue with this beautiful Caribbean island.

Less than twenty years later, I had embarked on a career as a news reporter, writer and broadcaster. Thanks to the acrimonious relations between the United States and Fidel’s communist Cuba, I could no longer visit the island. Propagandists on both sides of the fence painted lurid pictures of their evil neighbors ninety miles away. As a reporter, I learned pure, unbiased, objective reporting was sometimes a noble goal, but was impossible to obtain. As often as not, it wasn’t even the goal. The news was and continues to be distorted with intent by the government, corporate sponsors and biased news reporters. I can guarantee you that our views of Cuba, the embargo and the people of Cuba are colored by the lenses we’re forced to look through as we try to interpret the island that has been taboo to Americans for more than fifty years.

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The Tea Party’s Assault on the 1st Amendment

You really have to love these guys. Well, maybe that’s pushing it a bit. But you have to admit, if they weren’t so inept and dangerous to our nation’s wellbeing, members of the Tea Party would be fun to watch – sort of like a kid with a feather and honey. They’re drawing a lot of attention to themselves with some pretty nonsensical and destructive behavior. The problem is they’re dragging more rational, clear thinking people into the maelstrom they’re creating. Blinded by their anger and deafened by their din, they rail against one cause after another.

The latest bit of pure insanity involves the issue of “net neutrality”. Unfortunately, most Americans don’t fully comprehend the significance of the issue and many don’t care because they believe the issue doesn’t impact them directly. Believe me, it does. It is one of the biggest issues facing our nation today. It threatens to undermine our entire concept of freedom.

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Who Shot Gabrielle Giffords?

I was in the middle of writing a column on the Republican grandstanding surrounding the idea of repealing the healthcare bill or as they call it, ObamaCare. That’s when the news flash arrived saying Arizona Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords had been shot. My heart dropped much like it did on that fateful day in 1963. I was saddened, disgusted and shamed to be a member of a society that breeds the kind people that can perform such heinous acts.

Giffords was a supporter of universal healthcare. She cared for her constituents, rich and poor. She answered to her conscience and used her strong intellect to make the decisions she felt were best for America. As I write this, the identity of the killer hasn’t been released. His motives remain a mystery.

As I do my best to resist anger and frustration, I ask “Who shot Gabrielle Giffords?”

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Book’s Progress

I’m please to report that book sales for “The Man on the Bench” are brisk and exceeding expectations. In part, I thank some great publicity from media like The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Pennisula Beacon, NPR and KPBS, and Channel Six in San Diego. Thanks to all. Keep spreading the word.

View the most recent TV show by clicking here.

The Man on the Bench

Feel free to view this as a self serving missive about my new book. The reason being – this is a self serving missive about my new book. The Man on the Bench is available from Barnes and Noble and Amazon. It’s already getting good reviews so why not sing about it?

Nearly a year ago, I wrote a piece about the death of a homeless, mentally ill man that became a good friend. When I wrote it, I knew my friend’s first name, but not his last. I decided to try and find his family and learn more about his past. The book chronicles the amazing story of Jeffrey Pastorino, the man we called the Mayor of Point Loma.

He sat on a bench for nearly twenty years. People thought he was crazy and by many standards, he was. But after discovering his past and the events that brought him to that bench, I began to wonder who was truly crazy. The path of that discovery turned out to be the basis for this amazing story. The life of this unlikely man serves as a beacon for all of mankind when it comes to dealing with our insecurities and shortcomings. For in the final analysis, we all spend at least a little time sitting on the bench. Learn more at www.54Candles.org.

Obama and the Great British Petroleum Scandal

Damn Harry Truman! Harry was President when I was born. And here I am a mere 5’8” in height. Truman could have done something, maybe sent in the government to insist the hospital staff do something to accelerate bone growth. My basketball career was done before it ever got started thanks to Harry T. What is government for if not to help citizens like me? Hey, Harry – I thought you said the buck stops with you.

By the mid-fifties, I was playing hockey on the frozen ponds of Michigan. Hockey sticks weren’t cheap and I ended up breaking my share. Where the hell was Ike when this was going on? Those diabolical Canadians were obviously selling cheap “Northland” hockey sticks to the kids in the U.S. to keep them from becoming a hockey power. The proof can be seen in the results of the recent Winter Olympics where Canada beat the Americans by a goal. The whole time this was going on Ike was visibly absent. He could have stepped in, but he didn’t. And there you have it – we lost the gold.

In the sixties, I was at the lake when a freak storm blew over a tree which knocked over a power pole which sent a big electric transformer crashing through the roof of our neighbor’s house. There was only one way off the island with its five houses and the fire that burned in one of them blocked access to the bridge. We were trapped. No one came to the rescue for over three hours. Where was Lyndon Johnson as this was going on? Why didn’t he have an emergency backup plan ready to go? Wasn’t his job to anticipate such problems and deal with them when and if necessary? He fell down on the job. That’s probably why he didn’t run for another term. The incompetent bastard!

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The Arizona Republic Takes a Stand!

I came to Arizona this week to participate in the big May Day celebration at the State Capitol. I wanted to show my vehement opposition to the short sighted, self defeating and yes, racist legislation recently signed by Arizona’s bimbo-in-chief, governor Jan Brewer. I wanted to be present for the demonstration both personally and financially. You can interpret my opposition to the bill not as much as support for the Hispanic community, but a defense of something I hold dear, the U.S. Constitution. For those of you that have read it, you may remember references to lofty concepts such as a guarantee to “equal protection under the law” and the prohibition against “unreasonable search and seizure.” You might even remember them as the 14th and the 4th Amendments to the Constitution.

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