Iran and U.S. Beating Drums of War

The staff at www.calamitypolitics.com love The Week magazine. They send us some of the best cartoons ever. If you don’t get their magazine, you might think about ordering it; for the cartoons if nothing else. So, today when I opened their e-mail there were at least half a dozen worth sharing. Considering the timing we decided that this cartoon was the funniest and certainly the most appropriate. Thank you Matson, love your great cartoon. Terrific insight. Thank you, The Week, for reminding us that laughter is the best medicine. Enjoy!-D.S. Mitchell

A Different Shade Of Paranoid

       

COMMENT & OPINION:

A DIFFERENT SHADE OF PARANOID

by T.K. McNeil

Definition: “Xenophobia means having a PHOBIC ATTITUDE towards strangers or the unknown. It comes from the  Greek words (xenos), meaning foreigner/stranger, and (phobos), meaning fear. This term is widely used to describe the fear of others, or dislike of foreigners, or people who are different to oneself.”

Fear –A Renewable Resource

It used to be the "others" were anyone outside the cave

It used to be the “others” were anyone outside the cave.

Fear of the other is a primal reflex. From the early days of the species, mistrust of “outsiders” has been with us. Except at that time, ‘outside’ referred to the darkness outside the cave. Experts have indicated that the human species have since “evolved” from this early state of fear. But, like the tailbone, remnants of these origins remain to the modern-day.

Fear of the Bomb

It wasn't long before the Soviets had the bomb

It wasn’t long before the Soviets had the bomb

In the 1940’s the fear of others was mobilized to fight Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. In terms of WWII and the Cold War that followed, that innate distrust of outsiders got kicked up a couple notches. . The American propaganda machine ginned up anti-communist rhetoric and kept hatred and fear of others morbidly alive. We of course were being prepped for the expected war against communism. But, OMG, this still hale and hearty Soviet Union showed very quickly that they too could build “the bomb.” And topping that, they could also fire a ballistic missile that would level Washington, D.C. along with Chicago, Seattle, and Denver as starters.

Before the Bomb

Lenin was the leader of the Russian Revolution

Lenin was the leader of the Russian Revolution

While the specter of mutually assured destruction certainly made things worse, fear of a Communist take-over goes back to the Russian Revolution. In fact, much of the anti-communist sentiment had its roots in the anti-union movement of the 1920’s. When teamsters and autoworkers fought to unionize, the Bolshevik’s were blamed. Typical manipulating of fear of others. Fear-mongers spinning increased union activity into an insidious Communist plot. Tapping into fear of others, as well as fear of new ideas has been a tool of politicians right or left since time immemorial. Intensifying hatred, so easy, so convenient, so useful. The drum beat of fear of others, is likely to go unchanged because it seems to work so well.

Cold Shoulder

1960 Khrushchev at the height of the cold war was banging his shoe on the table at the UN

1960 Khrushchev at the height of the cold war was banging his shoe on table at the UN

After the United States and the Soviets started their arms race, the threats were kicked up.  At least in the United States. It is actually difficult to know what the Soviets were saying about America, there being few reliable sources of Russian translation from the time. Though we can assume it was likely not complimentary. We do have film of Russian Premier Nikita Khrushchev, at the UN, threatening the destruction of the United States. He slammed his shoe on the table and proclaimed he would bury America. So, it sounds like there were lots of theatrics for the Russian television audience as well as the American.

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Murder And Intrigue: The Life of Kim Jong-Un

 

** North Korea is the most isolated, secretive and repressive regime in the world. There is no reliable biography on Kim Jong-un.  Dr. Van Jackson, a professor at Asia-Pacific Center said, “It is hard to verify most information coming out of North Korea. In the absence of a reliable official biography, the information publicly available about Kim Jong-un reflects a ‘broad consensus understanding from experts keeping a close eye on the regime.” Calamity Politics has depended on the accuracy of many articles printed in the United States and the UK to compile this article.-Darlene

The women of North Korea love the Supreme Commander

The women of North Korea love the Supreme Commander. The Supreme Leader is famous for his womanizing ways.

Murder and Intrigue: The Life of Kim Jong Un

By D. S. Mitchell

Childhood picture of Kim Jong-il with his son, Kim Jong-un wearing Mickey Mouse ears.

Childhood picture of Kim Jong-il with his son, Kim Jong-un wearing Mickey Mouse ears.

Who is Kim Jong-Un?

Recent meetings between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un have fueled questions about the most isolated and secretive country in the world. People in the west are curious about the “Hermit Kingdom” of North Korea and its brutal leader, Kim Jong-un. We do know he was the third, and youngest son of Kim Jong-il and Ko Yong-hui. Kim Jong-il was the absolute ruler of North Korea from 1994 until his death in 2011. His grandfather, Kim Il-Sung became the first leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in 1948 and ruled the country with an iron hand until his death in 1994. “Kim Jong-un is the third head of state from his family’s dictatorial dynasty, one of the last absolute inherited monarchies on earth (KSRO).”

Early Life

Kim Jong-un in early picture

Kim Jong-un in early picture

Kim Jong Un (also spelled Kim Jong-Eun) is believed to have been born January 8, 1983 (or possibly 1984). Much of his early life is shrouded in mystery, or downright confusion. Several conflicting and contradictory stories about him while he lived in Switzerland have emerged. Many experts believe Jong-un was confused with his older brother Jong-chul on several occasions. Jong-chul also lived in Switzerland at the  same time, but attended a different school.

School Years

Kim Jong-un attended the Liebefeld Steinholzli state school in Koniz, near Bern. Kim Jong-un’s identity has been proven by anthropological forensic studies of images from official school photos of the boy.  The  Liebefeld archives study was done by the University of Lyon, France using facial recognition . Kim Jong-un used the alias “Pak-un” or “Un-pak” and posed as the son of a North Korean embassy official. His mother Ko Yong-hui is known to have been at least a part-time Swiss resident during the years between 1991 and 2000, living in Geneva.

Does Kim Jong-un Speak English?

Dennis Rodman former NBA basketball star meets with Kim Jong-un

Dennis Rodman former NBA basketball star has met with Kim Jong-un at least twice.

“Pak-un” (Jong-un) is remembered as shy and quiet. He studied French, English and German. He loved American basketball, Michael Jordan and computer games. He was reportedly a mediocre student. It is believed he speaks decent French and German.  It is not clear whether he actually has a command of the English language. Dennis Rodman after a visit to North Korea said that they used an interpreter, but he also indicated that Kim made several remarks to him in English. After many years isolated from English, French or German it is unlikely he has a true command of any of the languages.

Kim Jong-nam

In 2001 Kim Jong-nam the half-brother of Kim Jong-un was arrested trying to visit Tokyo Disneyland on a false passport

In 2001 Kim Jong-nam the half brother of Kim Jong-un was arrested trying to visit Tokyo Disneyland on a false passport

Kim Jong-nam was Jong-un’s elder half-brother. His mother was a Kim Jong-il’s consort, the beautiful North Korean actress, Song Hye-rim. Kim Jong-nam was born in May 1971. He was for many years the favorite to succeed his father. In 2001 Jong-nam embarrassed North Korea by being caught trying to enter Japan illegally on a fake passport allegedly to visit the Tokyo Disneyland. The incident caused a great deal of publicity and his father was enraged over the international embarrassment that the incident caused. At the time Kim Jong-nam was the closest thing North Korea had to an international playboy.

More Than Mouse Ears

Kim Jong-nam was North Korea's international playboy

Kim Jong-nam was North Korea’s international playboy. He had been targeted for death multiple times because of his reform politics.

Out of favor Kim Jong-nam was exiled from North Korea. Until that time Jong-nam had appeared to be the chosen successor to Kim Jong-il. His hereditary position was now in jeopardy. In the first interview ever given by a member of the Kim family to media outside of North Korea he denied the disastrous Disneyland trip was the issue dividing him and his father. Kim Jong-nam told a Japanese journalist from the Tokyo Shimbun newspaper that his alienation from his father was related to his western ideas.  Kim said his education in Switzerland had changed his views and that he had become an advocate for government reform. He said he was deeply concerned for the average North Korean citizen.

Time After Time

Kim Jong-nam claimed he lost favor with his father over reform issues

Kim Jong-nam claimed he lost favor with his father over reform issues and his wish to improve the lives of ordinary North Koreans

When discussing these issues with his father, Kim Jong-nam said his father accused him of being a “capitalist”.  The void between the two grew with the passage of time. Reports show that Kim Jong-nam escaped multiple assassination attempts, in 2006, 2007, 2010, 2012. A desperate Jong-nam is known to have written to Kim Jong-un pleading for his life. However, after that appeal, Jong-nam agreed to an interview with Yogi Gomi a Japanese journalist in which he said, he “expected Kim Jong-un would fail, citing that “he was too inexperienced and young. Without reform North Korea will collapse and when such changes take place the regime will collapse.”  Drum roll….

Murder Played and Replayed

Jong-nam, Kim Jong-il’s capitalist son was murdered 2/13/2017 in a bizarre on-camera attack at the Kuala Lumpur, airport by two women. The moment of the attack was replayed on western television for over a week. Jong-nam was 45 years old. One woman splashed liquid in his face and the second woman used a rag to smear the liquid around his face.  He was dead from VX nerve gas poisoning within 10 minutes of the attack. A Vietnamese woman, Doan Thi Huong, and an Indonesian woman, Siti Aisyah, were arrested after the attack. Both women confessed to the attack but testified they believed they were playing a prank for a TV reality show.  Siti Aisyah was released in March 2019 after charges were dropped. Doan Thi Huong pleaded guilty on a reduced charge and is scheduled for release in April 2019 for time served. Most intelligence services believe Kim Jong-un ordered his half brothers killing.

Another Brother

Kim Jong-chul. Jong-chul is Kim Jong-uns older brother and was considered effeminate by his father.

Kim Jong-chul. Jong-chul is Kim Jong-un’s older brother and was considered effeminate by his father and was passed over to lead country.

Kim Jong-un has another older brother, Kim Jong-chul. Kim Jong-chul was born in 1981. He was not favored by his father. Jong-chul was considered to be “effeminate”.  Kim Jong-chul has no interest in politics it is said. Thae Yong-ho a former deputy ambassador who defected to South Korea has said, “Kim Jong-chul leads a quiet life in Pyongyang where he plays guitar in a band.” I close my eyes and try to imagine this son of the dead “Supreme Leader” playing in a head-banging band hammering out tunes in a smoke-filled North Korean bar.

The Chef Tells His Story

On the other hand, Kim Jong-un was very much favored by his father. “He is a big drinker and never admits defeat” said Kenji Fujimoto Kim Jong-il’s personal chef.  Fujimoto continued describing Kim Jong-un saying, “He smokes Yves Saint Laurent cigarettes, loves Johnnie Walker whiskey. He is a chip off the old block, a spitting image of his father in terms of face, body shape and personality.” By 2009 it was confirmed that Jong-un was being groomed to succeed his father. It is agreed by most experts that Kim Jong-un attended and graduated from Kim Il-sung University. His attendance was from 2002-2007. The University is a leading officer-training school in Pyongyang. In 2010 Jong-un was given the rank of a four star general. This despite Jong-un never having had any military experience.

Succession

King Jong-un showed great emotion at his father's funeral

Kim Jong-un showed great emotion at his father’s funeral, crying openly.

In December 2011 Kim Jong-Un was placed at the head of the party, the state and the army within weeks of his father’s death. During the same time Kim Jong-un was declared the country’s “Supreme Leader”. Since that time he has been honored with many other official titles: First Secretary of the ruling Korean Worker’s Party, Chairman of the Central Military Commission, and National Defense Commission. A man of  limitless strength and abilities. In fact, the United States also has such a man. A man known as Jared Kushner. A man who is able to carry out nothing. But, who keeps getting more and more responsibility.

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Fallen Soldier By Nathan Fair

We at www.calamitypolitics.com love picking out songs for the site. Generally speaking, there is a thread that ties the songs we pick to something we have been writing and screaming about recently. We chose “Fallen Soldier” by singer guitarist, Nathan Fair as today’s #1 selection. We thought it fitting to remember “Bibi” Netanyahu’s brother, Yonatan with this very special song–Darlene

OPINION: Fear To Criticize Israel

Separating the country of Israel from Judaism must be done

Separating the country of Israel from Judaism is important if we expect meaningful conversations

OPINION: Fear To Criticize Israel

By David Shadrick and D.S. Mitchell

Lawrence Tribe said in a 3/10/19 tweet: “I’m Jewish. So were my parents. My cousins were born and live in Israel. But every fiber of my being rejects Netanyahu’s ugly embrace of second-class status for non-Jewish citizens, including Palestinians. MY people do not believe in oppressing or dispossessing others. Period.”

The Furor

Ilhan Omar has become a lightening rod for political debate

Ilhan Omar has become a lightening rod for political debate

I’m writing this post in response to the current furor around recent remarks made by Representative Ilhan Omar.  I read her remarks.  Omar’s remarks were clearly directed at U. S. Congresspersons who rubber stamp votes in favor of Israel.  All the power of the right-wing political machine are labeling Omar’s comments as  anti-semitic. In addition to her recent tweets, the moral righteousness of the Republican party is attacking previous videos where she pointedly asked similar questions.

Two Sides Of Their Mouths

I am amazed that Republican has the gall to call out anyone as racist or bigotted.

I am still amazed that Republican alt-right has the gall to call out anyone for racist comments.

With all the anti-Muslim, anti-Latino, anti-LGBTQ, anti-immigrant, and anti-POC rhetoric coming from the right, I was amazed to see the uproar from the Republicans.  Seriously, I mean seriously. I wonder how anyone from that side dares even open their mouths? Who are these hypocrites that now raise up on their hind legs and call for a fellow congressperson’s head and her ouster from the House?  Trump is already peppering his speech and tweets with attacks against Omar and the Democrats as “Jew haters.” Remember, this is the same guy who identified the Charlottesville Jew haters who rallied with torches “really fine people.”

Don’t Like To Hear It 

Israeli PM Netanyahu has perpetrated human rights violations

Israeli PM Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu

Israel under “Bibi” Netanyahu is no place for the non-Jew. So, upfront the United States is in support of an oppressive regime dehumanizing and disenfranchising the Palestinians on the West Bank and participating in an illegal land grab. The United States does a great deal of business with Israel and have been the spine of Israel for decades. It is the unwavering support of the United States, that allows Israel to wear big-boy pants and swagger around the Middle East.

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Afghanistan, Now And Forever?

President Trump has just embraced 16 years of war in Afghanistan and promised the American people more of the same: with a new troop build up, diplomatic pressure on Pakistan and outreach to the Taliban to entice them to the negotiating table.  These are all old familiar strategies used by his two predecessors with no success.

Donald Trump, several years ago advised then President Obama, to get the hell out of Afghanistan and spend time and resources rebuilding America. After months of deliberations with his generals Trump has been persuaded to stick with a conflict that he has vocally opposed in the past. In fact, during the campaign Trump claimed he would wind down America’s foreign wars.

Trump and his military team believe that with the Afghanistan government losing large sections of the country that the U.S. has no choice, but to dig in.  Trump reiterated that there would be no publicized withdrawal time table, as there had been with President Obama. An issue that Obama has been criticized for.

Trump’s announcement came Monday night in a 26 minute televised  address to the nation from Fort Meyers, VA.   There was a sense of bravado to his comments, one of those, “I got this” as he proclaimed “In the end, we will win.”

Trump is the third president to struggle with the Afghanistan problem. In 2001 George Bush sent special forces into Afghanistan to rout the Taliban government and track down al-Quida terrorists. Since that first commitment, actions in Afghanistan by the U.S. has cost the American people $715,ooo,000,000, 2,400 lives and another 20,000 wounded in a 16 year adventure in foreign occupation. A very heavy price for such humble results.

Afghanistan is a country besieged by ethnic, religious, cultural and tribal factions that have blocked foreign armies for millennia. Trump indicated in his address to the nation that the mission was not to re-take territory, but rather the focus would be on training Afghan Special Forces and the Afghan regular army.

In my opinion, the announcement of the troop build up was a lame effort to redirect the conversation from Charlottesville, VA.  and his own schizophrenic behaviors of the last week, to  a topic that has in the past earned him a bump in the polls, bomb strikes.

Trump has surrounded himself with generals.  He appears to defer, in some instances, to their ability.  The warning in this case would be, the military will always offer military solutions and promise victory, that’s what they are trained to do. The basic truth is that there will be no victory for the United States in Afghanistan because there is no sustainable government in place that can administer the country, and be an ally to the U.S.

Trump is vowing to “win” what seems to be an unwinnable war.  I don’t want us there, just to “win” with no specification of troop numbers, strategy, or time commitment.  Trump pointedly declined to show how many more troops will be dispatched to extend the longest war in U.S. history.  Trump indicated it would no longer be a “time based” war, but rather a “result based” conflict.

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Heated Words Intensify North Korea Situation

Trump Arrives At Bedminster, NJ Golf Club For 17 Day “Working Vacation”.

At his Bedminster N.J. golf club, on a scheduled “working vacation” Trump was questioned by reporters. Trump seemed willing to talk and answered questions freely in an unscheduled “press conference.”  Trump’s first and last solo press conference was on February 16, 2017.

Facing growing nuclear threat from North Korea the president was quick to warn the Kim Jong-Un regime against any further provocations, “North Korea best not make any more threats to the U.S.  They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen before.”

His inflammatory words rattled the international community.   Trump’s words came after the Washington Post released a story detailing the assertion of at least one U.S. intelligence agency that North Korea has successfully miniaturized a nuclear warhead that can be attached to missiles, expanding the range and power of the North Korean military.

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My Twitter Adversary Weighs In On NoKo

I love Twitter and I can understand why the President seems to be addicted to the platform.  Whenever I leave a tweet I get both “likes” and “incoming missiles” but I love the conversation, as long as it is real, authentic, and honest. I hate hearing the same words from 10 different people.  Think for yourself, I say, at least change the words. LOL.

Twitter gives us an opportunity to open up our hearts and minds to different people and different ideas.  An opportunity to join hands with millions of people around the world some thinking similar thoughts while others from polar opposite philosophical spheres.

I know that sometimes I am guilty of throwing red meat into the arena, just to get things stirred up, but for the most part I try to present rational thought with a tinge of humor. Because in the end we all need to be able to laugh at ourselves AND our beliefs.

Sometimes the 140 character format is too limiting. What is happening in North Korea as an example. So I use my blog to vent and fume, stomp my feet and throw hand grenades at the Trump administration.

One of my “Twitter adversaries” is Melanie Gambill @magambill,  Sometimes she hits me and my left-wing philosophy pretty hard.  But, I can take it and she takes the punches I throw at her, because we know we are both just too super great people with some differing opinions. I love her spirit, if not always her adjectives.

Yesterday morning as the North Korea sword rattling was reaching new heights I asked my twitter friend, in a “back channel” message, for her as a Trump supporter to share her off the cuff thoughts on the escalating situation in NoKo. Her response was honest and forthright and I believe in her sincerity and so I am posting it for folks to read, and think about.

I am taking advantage of her a bit by this post. She didn’t know she was writing for publication. I made no changes to her message. Love U Melanie. So follow us both on Twitter and chirp in anytime.

From Melanie: Noko!! We have a huge problem!! It does not serve us to blame !! We are here now what do we do? My thoughts!! This guy is a wacko!! China should be doing what trump is!! But that is not happening!! Talks !! we are trying real hard.. sanctions ok takes time for that to kick in. And that is going to piss the little ass off. Ppl will suffer more, not him!! If he was not shooting the rockets off in everyone’s face it w/ not be so bad.. he warned us he was going to hit us.. so I think if he wanted to , as crazy as the little BOY is he w/ have just done it! Problem is soko Japan china.. he know he has everyone by the balls!! Many many ppl will die!! Humanity!! But he could just do it anyway.. he is a child with no restrictions and a lot of boom 💥!! If he shoot rockets at Guam!! Even if it is national waters. That is an act of war.. anything to come at our country.. Close or not.. the beast will be unleashed!! Trump is not playing., but this is the very last thing he wants to do. Or he w/ have done it too!! But he is ready and in place!! He has to do this.. Kennedy did, but he did not have to deal with a child!! That is the problem!!

melanie gambill

How do i get to your blog. I do not know much about this internet stuff.. I am interested in the conversation!! I don’t curse too much, w/ not do that!! If i get puff!! I w/ leave!! Let me know!! Busy dog day! I have pick ups , new dogs coming in. Grand child to watch. Whew. And possible war!! The 15th is when he will let us know his plan!! I think!! Right? Noko?

Darlene

Israelis and Palestinians Clash

Calamity Politics is a progressive blog which is most obviously a reflection of my own personal life view.  That vision is a forward looking view for the United States. A country where equality is the norm, not the oddity.  A place where religious freedom is never questioned.  A place where merit, not money is the basis of power.  A country fully open and fully inclusive.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Many would call it another Snowflake dream, however you don’t get to the moon if you are convinced no one will ever fly.  The election of Donald Trump to the presidency is like electing that guy who doesn’t believe anyone will ever  fly.  I think you need to think ‘a thing’ is possible before it will ever become possible.  I am convinced of that observation.

So, please join me as I do post-mortem examination of the political news of the day.

The bubble of American politics broke open for just a minute or two and more unrest in Israel between the Netanyahu government and Palestinian representatives and Palestinian protesters came into focus.

In the 1967 War, Israel captured East Jerusalem along with all its holy sites from Jordan.  Furthermore, Israel then annexed the area in a move that was condemned by most world leaders.  In fact, to this day the world community has declined to recognize the legality of the annexation, and that action has led to years of unresolved conflict between Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory.

Years Of Conflict Continue To Tear At The Fiber Of The Middle East

Israel had allowed the Jordanians to maintain a special role in administering certain religions sites including the Aqsa Mosque.  The Aqsa Mosque is believed by Israeli’s to be the site of the destroyed Temple of the Mount, one of the most holy sites of ancient Israel.

Six people died Friday in a new outbreak of violence. At the entrance to the Aqsa Mosque, a sacred site to both Jews and Muslims.  Israeli authorities installed metal detectors and instituted a restriction on who could enter the Mosque and its grounds after the brutal killing of two Israeli guards by two Arabs who had been attending a service at the mosque.

The three Palestinian protesters were killed in separate events.  All three were fatally shot by Israeli police around the city of Jerusalem and the surrounding territory.  Israeli spokesman claimed the actions were necessary for police safety when rock throwing and firebombing became a serious endangerment.

Three Israeli’s were brutally stabbed and killed in their home, by a Muslim man in an apparent response to the previous killings of the three Palestinian protesters in clashes with Israeli security forces.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas cut a trip to China short to address the spiraling crisis over the installation of the metal detectors.  Mahmoud announced he was, “freezing contacts with Israel at all levels until it cancels the new measures” around the holy site.

Clashes came as thousands of Palestinian Muslims prayed in front of police barricades in the streets around the “Old City” of Jerusalem as Israeli authorities clamped tougher restrictions on Palestinians. The metal detectors at Aqsa have increased friction between the parties and have emerged as a symbol for the protesters.

An Arab member of the Israeli Parliament argued that “the metal detectors are a political issue.  They have them all over the world, in supermarkets, shopping malls, everywhere.  But, they are there by consensus, not imposed by someone else.”

Netanyahu government “believes the decision to leave the metal detectors at the entrance of the Temple Mount is the right decision–in the national interest.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Defends Government Position On Occupied Territory and New Restrictions On Palestinian Protesters

Israeli police issued a statement, “according to the decision of the highest political echelon,  police “will decide how strict the security checks would be, based on assessments of the situation.”

The situation for many of the Middle Eastern countries is perilous. Whether it is Syria, Iraq, Yemen or Israel the centuries of fighting and distrust have torn the region apart.  I have no answers.  I do not have the education or diplomatic experience to do much more than observe and comment.  I freely admit those shortcomings.  that is why I am going to take a moment to slap Donald Trump around the ears.

It was just a month or two ago when the American people were advised that Jared Kushner could and would, solve the Middle East crisis.

I am waiting, but I think like nearly everything else Trump, he does not know what the hell he is talking about; and neither does that spoiled son in law of his, and I guarantee that Jared Kushner will not solve the Middle East problem, this year or ever.

Join the Resistance.  Don’t forget to call the Senators and demand they halt their attack on ACA and encourage them to do some quick fixes. Organize your neighbors.  Register to vote. Run for office. Donate your time. Donate your money. Vote Democratic.  Twitter your reaction to political events.

Let’s not let Trump stop our forward motion.  Hopefully Trump will be nothing more than an ugly blot on our country’s history.

Darlene