Recall this Reckless Provocateur Now

Recall this Reckless Provocateur Now 08.09.16. Trump now provokes “Second Amendment people” to act against Ms. Clinton. Trump, focusing on gun issues and the Supreme Court during a speech today, issued what appears to be a threat against Mrs. Clinton. This is consistent with earlier provocations of violence against his opponents. Is this latest provocation not enough for the Republican leadership to remove him as their candidate? Is it necessary to wait for one of Trump’s violent provocations to strike a chord with someone angry or unbalanced enough to act on it? Republican leadership, is it not clear that Trump’s intent is to intimidate and bully to win AND to provoke violent pushback against a “fixed election” to avoid humiliation if he loses?

Posted in Bullying, Fear, Leadership, Provocation, Recklessness, Rhetoric, Trump, Violence | Leave a comment

Self Defense & Moral Blindness

Self Defense & Moral Blindness 8-2-16. Trump justified his attacks on Gold Star Muslim parents Khizr and Ghazala Khan as self-defense against Khizr’s “vicious attack” on Trump during the Democratic Convention. In reality, it is quite the opposite. Trump built his campaign platform of fear and intolerance by promising to bar all Muslims from admission as immigrants and tracking those already here. He has denigrated all Muslims by effectively labeling them as terrorist co-conspirators who must know who and where the actual perpetrators are and what they are planning yet refuse to come forward and report them. He has not been following in the footsteps of Joseph McCarthy. He is treading the path of Adolf Hitler, whose fanatical anti-semitism led to the Holocaust. Trump is to Muslims what Hitler was to Jews. Trump has carved himself a campaign cornerstone of fear and racism by attacking the Khans and all Muslims. Khizr Khan’s address was self-defense against Trump’s assault and the existential threat that Trump presents. Trump’s subsequent attacks on the Khans show Trump’s moral blindness to his demonization of all Muslims and his belief that the rest of us are blind as well. The Khans, like their son, are heroes — with voices that need to be heard and heeded. By standing up they put targets on their backs for Trump. Thank god that the Khans have the courage to speak. We need to have the courage to listen.

Posted in Anti-Semitism, Assault, Blindness, Bullying, Courage, Democracy, Fear, Hitler, Holocaust, Jews, Khan, Listening, Manipulation, McCarthy, Morality, Muslims, Self Defense, Trump | Leave a comment

Abandonment and the Moral Imperative

Abandonment and the Moral Imperative: Decency over Darkness 7.31.16. Republican leaders refuse to tell you what you already know. The kindness of others has often been a shelter from the storm of uncertainties and losses that life brings. Look at the trajectory of your own lives and feel again the blessings you have received to help you along the way. If you have ever had a child, loved, been loved or received compassion or support following a loss — you still know what compassion and decency are. When we help someone else we are playing forward the gifts we ourselves have already received. See how far you have come — with the help of others — and you will see how far Trump is leading you from decency and into darkness.

Posted in Abandonment, Empathy, Fear, Kindness, Manipulation, Support, Trump | Leave a comment

Trump and the Art of the Bully

Trump and the Art of the Bully 7.31.16. A bully separates one person from the rest through fear and ridicule. The rest remain silent or encourage the bully in the hope that he will not turn on any of them next. This is what Trump does. He did it to each of his adversaries in order to peel each of them off. He did it to minimize a lawsuit charging him with fraud. He did it to intimidate journalists from asking the right questions. He minimized a female journalist’s serious questions by perpetuating the myth that all women become angry and unreasonable each month, he minimized a male journalist by mocking his disability, he minimized a judge by ethnicity, immigrants by calling them all rapists, a candidates wife’s physical appearance, a candidate’s father as involved in the assassination of a President — and never apologized. In the same way, he wants to separate each of us from each other, through fear and hate, so that he can get what he wants with no effective challenge. And, he wants to make sure no one will call him out by getting us to agree, through fear and our incremental assent by silence, as he declares he is the only one who can save us.

Posted in Bullying, Democracy, Listening, Patterns, Silence, Trump | Leave a comment

Abdication into Abandonment

Abdication into Abandonment 7-31-16. Trump’s response to Khizr and Ghazala Khan’s convention appearance again demonstrates a lack of empathy for anyone other than himself. Yet, the Republican leadership fails to warn even its own followers that Trump is unequipped to recognize, have compassion for and advocate for their needs.

Posted in Abandonment, Democracy, Empathy, Leadership, Trump | Leave a comment


Abdication 7.23.16. The Republican Party has fallen in line behind an ignorant compulsively lying bigoted fascist misogynist selfish self-absorbed bully. You have failed to protect those whom you would govern and instead presented us with an existential threat to democracy. At best you are mindless and at worst you are complicit. Your reckless abandonment of your primary duty — to preserve and protect and defend our democracy and its citizens — will live forever in infamy. You have abdicated and abandoned not only your nation but your children as well.

Posted in Abandonment, Democracy, Recklessness, Trump | Leave a comment

The Art of the Journey

A writer in Towson recently asked the following question on Avvo:

“Is there any way to get probation reduced after period of time? I have been on probation for 6 months out of 2 years for a fake id charge. I have not failed a drug test and have completed all necessary classes and requirements. Is there anything I can do to get out of the remaining probation or am I stuck with it for a full 2 years. Thanks.”

Probation is a time out without the detention. It is a gift. An opportunity to make changes so that the bad choices of the past do not get replayed and recycled endlessly into the future. A Judge gives a man the chance to avoid jail by taking rehabilitative actions under the watchful eye of a probation officer. Probation is a long breath that is deliberately out of sync with the dance of life around you. Given life’s many opportunities to act selfishly, probation asks you to slow thoughtless behavior down to a crawl and think about the consequences of your actions. The writer of this question had been impatient. He did not want to wait to become eligible for an identification card that accurately showed his age. Now he is impatient again and wants to cut 18 months off the Judge’s order to serve 24 months probation.

Here is the full text of my answer to him on Avvo:
Judges have reasons for the terms they impose as conditions for probation. The judge in your case wanted to have you accountable for two years in exchange for releasing you into the community and not locking you up. He believed that two years of accountability were necessary to assure that you would continue to make better choices after the two years were up.

To persuade a judge to change those terms, you will need to present compelling reasons. An attorney can help you determine whether you have compelling reasons, or with some effort, whether you can develop compelling reasons. Mere inconvenience is not a compelling reason. Disliking your accountability to a probation officer is not a reason. Completing the actions on the judge’s to do list is not, in itself, a reason. Simply going to court and telling the Judge that he was wrong by eighteen months, or three quarters, of the time that he believed you needed probation, risks presenting yourself as immature, self absorbed, arrogant or all three.

Judges see probation as a privilege and not an entitlement. The way you pose your question, the words you have used, suggest that you are not yet ready to stand in front of a judge and, by answering his questions in court, persuade him that you are ready to put the rights of others at least on the same footing as the things you believe you are entitled to. You don’t talk about how the last six months have made you less of a risk to other people. Instead you direct attention merely to what you want: “to get out of” probation, not to be “stuck with” the full period imposed.

Your words don’t even show you take full responsibility for the behavior that put you before the court. You are not on probation for a false Identification “charge.” You are on probation because you were convicted for using an identification that had been altered so that you could obtain privileges that were not yours.

Judge’s listen carefully to the words people choose. An attorney can help you to develop more persuasive reasons to grant your request and help you articulate the progress you’ve made so that you can express yourself to the judge persuasively. For example, your attorney might suggest that you perform a period of voluntary community service and that you consider how giving back something to the community made you reconsider your accountability to others when making choices for yourself.

Talk to your attorney, ask him whether he believes you have a compelling case and what you can do make a compelling case. Then, if and when you request a modification, you will have the best opportunity to demonstrate that, by your added efforts, you have achieved the maturity the judge was looking for — ahead of schedule. I wish you well.

Life, and every project we embark on, is a journey. We often begin with expectations. We want to do certain things. We want to see certain places. These are our destinations. If we forget that we are on a journey, we will miss much of what lies between the place we start and the destination we seek.

Here, the writer of the question fixed his eye on the destination — something he could get with an ID card that misrepresented his age, possibly alcohol. He did not see that the journey to the ID card would take him through arrest, conviction and probation. Now, he was ready to jump to the end of probation because he could not see the journey the judge wanted him to take. Do you remember what it was like to take a small child on a trip that took more than five minutes? Can you hear the voice of the child in the back of the car? “Are we there yet?”

I wish you well.

Posted in Journey, Listening, Probation, Road | 2 Comments