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Castro Is Dead

Reading Time: 1 minutes

We can close the books on the 20th century. 

Castro was greeted in hell by his peers Josef Stalin, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, Mussolini, and Hitler. 

Castro was last seen paddling away from the Caribbean hellhole on a raft bound for hell. 

Castro leaves behind a nation trapped in the 1950s.

Repeating our top story tonight: Cuban dictator Fidel Castro is still valiantly holding on in his fight to remain dead. 

Civil War: Chapters Six and Seven

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Chapter Six

“Evan, this is Roger.”

“How’s it going? Where are you?”

“I’m at home. Listen, I’m going to have to use a sick day today.”

“Everything okay?”

“Not really. It’s a long story. David got beat up pretty bad yesterday at school. In school,” Roger said.

“Well, hell. Sorry to hear that. Don’t worry about anything. I’ve got you covered.”

“Thanks, Evan. Sorry about this.”

“No worries. It’s the slow season anyway. You take care of your family. Take time next week if you need to. It’s a short week, anyway, with Thanksgiving.” For a second-generation business owner, Evan was liberal with time off.

“Thanks. I might have to. There’ll probably be lawyers involved.”

“Oh, that sucks. What happened?” asked Evan.

“Like I said, it’s a long story. Apparently, some political class got out of hand. A bunch of kids jumped David, and the principal stood by and let them beat on him. Put him in the hospital with a concussion and a bunch of cuts and bruises.”

“That’s crazy. Wow. Yeah, get lawyered up. What did the police say?”

“That’s strange, too. I have to call the sergeant in a minute. They seem to be afraid to cross the teachers’ union,” Roger said.

“God almighty. Those unions stick together, don’t they? We need a union for businesses,” Evan said. Roger thought Isn’t the chamber of commerce your union? but he didn’t say it. Instead, he said, “Yeah. The whole day was weird. I’m sorry I didn’t call you yesterday. By the time they discharged David, it was late.”

“Hey, don’t mention it. You did the right thing,” said Evan. “Tell Natalie I’m sorry. David, too. You take care of that family, Roger. Work will be here when you get back.”

“Thanks, Evan. I’ll let you go now.”

“Yep. Take care, buddy.”

“Bye bye.”

Roger looked at his phone. Nine-thirty. He looked at the list he’d scribbled down last night:

  • [x] Call Evan
  • [ ] Call Sgt. Franklin
  • [ ] Call Jack Murphy
  • [ ] Call school?

Natalie was taking care of calls to the doctors. She also called the school to tell them David would not be in. Roger was afraid he’d lose it if he heard “that bitch’s” voice. He couldn’t remember Nancy Flanders’ name, only “that bitch.”

Something was bothering Roger, but he couldn’t exactly describe the irritation. Something gnawing at his mind just out of consciousness. He figured it was the incomplete checklist, so I dialed Franklin’s number.

“Sergeant Mike Franklin.”

“Sergeant, Roger Thompson.”

“Good morning, Mr. Thompson. How can I help you?”

“I’m wondering if you’ve filed charges against any of the kids or the principal.”

Franklin paused. “The case is still under investigation, Mr. Thompson. I have no further updates. I expect it will be turned over to a detective today.”

“Really? It seems pretty obvious to me. A principal stood by while seven or eight kids beat up my son. And my son says a teacher triggered the whole incident by calling him a racist in class. She accused him of hate crimes.”

Franklin paused again. Six months, he thought to himself. “Listen, Mr. Thompson, you should probably get a lawyer.”

“I did,” Roger interrupted. “He should be calling you today.”

“I’ll wait for the call,” said Franklin.

Chapter Seven

“Sergeant Franklin.”

“Sergeant, this is Jack Murphy. I’m an attorney representing the Thompson family regarding an incident that took place at Briarhaven Elementary School yesterday. Mr. Roger Thompson gave me your card.”

“Yes. How can I help you?”

“I’d like to see the police reports from the incident.

“There’s juveniles involved. A judge will have to grant you permission to see the records.”

“Okay. So maybe I can get your take. You don’t have to mention any names. Just the facts as you know them.”

Franklin looked around. Everyone in the room was busy with something else. “What did Mr. Thompson tell you?”

“He said a group of boys beat up his son, David, at school. The principal witnessed the beating and did nothing to intervene.”

Sergeant Franklin considered his response. “Can I get your number? I’ll call you if I have any information I can disclose.”

“Sure,” said Jack. He gave the sergeant his number.

“Thank you, sir. I’ll be in touch.”

“Thanks. Bye.”

Mike Franklin sat back in his chair and looked out the window. “Six months to retirement,” he said under his breath. “Six fucking months.”

Franklin pulled out a notepad and his personal cell phone. He tapped out a text message, sent it, and put the phone and notepad back in his pockets. Next, he stood up and walked to a table containing stacks of manila folders. He pulled the top folder off one of the stacks and opened it. He removed a few sheets of paper, walked to a copier, and set the pages in the feeder. He pressed a button and the copier sprang to life.

to be continued

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Civil War: Chapters Four and Five

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Chapter Four

“Elizabeth, tell Amanda I need to see her on her planning hour.”

Nancy Flanders’ assistant, Elizabeth Schneider, nodded her head, scribbled a note, and continued eating her bagel dripping with pineapple cream cheese and strawberry jam.

Flanders returned to her office and closed the door. She sat and snatched the receiver from he desk phone, pressed two numbers, then hung up. She glanced out the window toward the school’s playground then reached for the cell phone on her desk. She dialed a number.

“Hi, Max,” she says. “I need to talk to you . . . I won’t.”

Chapter Five

Amanda Mateo rolled her eyes at the note taped to her first-hour classroom door.

Ms. Flanders will see you at your 2nd hour planning period.

Amanda thought, Great. That’s why they give us planning hours, so we can listen to Flanders’ lectures.

First hour was a confused blur. Events from the day before played over and over her in mind like a video on a loop. Last night’s bottle of wine and shots of Fireball did were haunting her, too. And now she’d lost her planning hour. She’d hoped to grade her fourth hour’s worksheets. At least, they’ll be happy, she thought.

When the bell rang to end first hour, she barely noticed the kids as they wished her a good weekend. She barely noticed the soft vibration of her cell phone as a text message arrived. She gathered up her purse, locked her door, and walked toward the office complex.

On her walk, she imagined what that little boy was thinking when she sent him on his journey the day before. I was just doing what I was told, she whispered to herself. Just following orders.

Amanda Mateo was as far from a political activist as you can get. She didn’t vote, not out of some form of protest, but because she didn’t think her opinion was informed. She paid little attention to political news because it mostly made her sad. She never wanted to teach social studies. She liked English and math and science. But mostly she liked kids. And her only political thought, if it was political at all, was that we don’t let kids be kids anymore. She became a teacher so kids could be kids.

“You can go on in. Ms. Flanders is waiting for you,” said Elizabeth between bites of an old fashioned donut.

Amanda stepped through the open door into Nancy Flanders’ office.

“Close the door, please.”

Amanda closed the door and looked back at her boss who sat upright like a soldier, hands folded on an empty desk–empty except for a single sheet of paper with words on it.

“You did the right thing yesterday, Amanda. I want you to know that you did the right thing and nothing bad will happen to you.”

Amanda looked down at her hands and realized they were fidgeting with her shirt tail. She stopped that. She felt her throat grow tight. “I’m not so sure,” she said.

Nancy blinked at her but said nothing.

“I don’t agree with the policy,” Amanda said. Once the words were out, they didn’t feel as terrifying.

Nancy stood and walked around her desk to hover over Amanda who sat in the small guest chair.

“It’s not your job to agree with policies, Ms. Mateo. It’s your job to follow them. You did. What happened to that boy was his fault. And his miscreant parents. Deplorable people. They should be arrested for child abuse for tolerating that white supremacist. You did the right thing.”

Amanda felt cold and weak. She had sent a boy off to a beating. She’d followed the standards and mandatory lesson plan sent out by the Santo Domingo School District in the wake of the election. She’d thought the whole mock election was stupid to begin with, but especially a week after the election itself. She’d tried to keep politics out of her fifth-grade classroom because politics and sex are for grown-ups, not for her ‘babies.’ And, to Amanda Mateo, fifth graders were still babies.

Amanda realized Flanders was right about one thing: she’d followed the policy to a T. Whoever wrote the policy perfectly predicted that at least one student in every class would say something favorable about the President-elect. When David Thompson said, “Trump’s not so bad,” Amanda simply read, verbatim, from the policy handbook, appendix four, “What to say when students defend Trump:”

Instructors faced with a student who defends Trump should read the grade-appropriate response verbatim . . . Fourth and Fifth Grades: ‘[Student’s Name], it is inappropriate, aggressive behavior to attack your fellow students by supporting racist views and racist politicians. The punishment for verbal assault of a fellow student is suspension. The punishment for hate-crimes against fellow students is expulsion.’ Instruct the student to leave the classroom and follow the building’s protocol for removal from the classroom.

That’s exactly what Amanda did. Thinking back to the incident, Amanda felt queasy and deeply sad.

Amanda remembered being a fifth grader. Eleven years old. The oldest kids in school. Ready to move onto middle school. It was 1999 and Amanda was pretty sure she didn’t even know who the president was at the time. She knew her Dad, a Los Angeles native, was excited about the St. Louis Rams. And she knew her friends were excited about a new cartoon about a sponge. She didn’t know about blue dresses and impeachments. And she wanted her students to be as happy as she’d been with her books and her friends and her bike. She wanted to spare them the moments she remembered of fear, awkwardness, and loneliness.

“One of my babies was beaten and put in the hospital, and no one did anything to stop it,” she said. “I was horrified.”

“Well, you stopped it,” Flanders said.

Amanda looked up at her principal. “What were you doing?”

Ms. Flanders’ lips curled into a smile like she was reliving a fond memory. “I’m going to take care of you now,” she said, returning to her chair on the opposite of the desk. “This is your statement. I need you to sign it, and everything will be fine.”

Flanders handed the single, typewritten sheet to Amanda.

Statement of Amanda Michelle Mateo, Teacher, Santo Domingo School District
On Thursday, November 17, 2016, David Thompson, a student in my first hour social studies class, stated ‘Donald Trump will send all you Spics back to Mexico where you belong.’ I told him his words were inappropriate, and he became violent. He left his chair and ran around the room punching Hispanic and African-American students. When I attempted to restrain him, he ran out of the room. He continued to strike students of color as he walked toward the office complex. He attempted to enter the principal’s office. He was yelling racial epithets and banging on the door. A group of students attempted to restrain him, but the boy continued to fight and kick. When I reached the office, I was able to apply an approved restraint technique. I held him until the police arrived.

Amanda looked up. Her mouth hung open. The paper shook in her hands.

“What is this?” she asked.

“It’s your statement, dear.”

“This is a lie. It’s a complete lie. None of this happened.”

“You know, dear, that your statement reflects what that boy really wants to do, don’t you? You know that without the district’s policy, the white privilege boys would do that to your people every day. They’d do worse. They’d grab you by the . . . you know what, and there’s nothing you could do because you’re a Latina. If we don’t stop these people, that’s what life will be like. So sign your statement, Amanda. Fight back.”

Amanda felt her body shaking in the small chair as if the temperature in the room had plunged ninety degrees. She folded her arms across her chest and tried to come to grips with what was happening.

“I have another statement,” Flanders said. “My statement. It says . . . well, it doesn’t matter what it says. You don’t want me to submit that statement, trust me. You want to be a team player, don’t you, Amanda?”

Amanda thought about David Thompson again. She had tried to call his parents last night, but there was no answer. She didn’t know if the boy was still in the hospital. She wanted to find out how David was doing. That seemed the most important thing all of a sudden.

“I have to go,” she told Flanders.

“Of course. As soon as you sign your statement.”

“I’ll take it with me,” Amanda said.

“I think it would be better if you signed it here. I need to get this to the central office today.”

Amanda rocked back and forth in her chair. It’s tiny size now seemed appropriate. She felt like a little girl again. Alone. Scared. Angry. Confused.


to be continued

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

hillary-cry

Glad to See Trump Focusing on Working People Instead of Worrying About Hillary Clinton

Reading Time: 2 minutes

You might have heard that President-elect Trump has said he doesn’t want to waste time and attention on Hillary’s email server. You also might have heard that some people are upset about that. I’m not one of them.

Months ago I was telling people Trump should announce that, if elected, he will pardon Hillary Clinton for all crimes related to her email scandal. I had two reasons for promoting this strategy.

First, by announcing your intention to pardon her, you make her look guilty. Like when Ford pardoned Nixon. Even Clinton’s supporters would have to argue with themselves whether she deserved to be pardoned or whether Trump was overstepping his authority as President. Plus, a pre-emptive pardon would have made people think past the sale. To have the self-debate, people would first have to see Trump as President.

Second, like Ford’s pardon of Nixon, it would signal a focus on fixing real problems for the future instead of settling scores from the past. In 1974, inflation was going crazy. Gerald Ford needed to put Watergate behind him so he could order a couple million Whip Inflation Now buttons to pass out to people in lieu of actual solutions. President Trump will take office with a stagnant economy and a big debt to members of the former middle class in America–the blue-collar workers who put incredible faith in a bombastic billionaire from Queens. The last thing Trump needs is the distraction of the Clintons’ various scandals. If the next four years are all about Hillary’s crimes and cover-ups, she might as well have won.

There’s another reason I like Trump’s decision to let others in the his administration worry about the Clintons. I want to forget about the Clintons. They’re old, they’re sickly, and they won’t be around very long. I want to focus, instead, on making America great again, getting middle-class wages growing again, and reducing the amount of war and terrorism in the world.

That said, I have no problem with the FBI and DOJ continuing their investigations of Hillary and the Clinton Foundation. If either investigation uncovers crimes, I’d like to see an independent prosecutor decide what to do. Same goes for the people who broke immunity deals during the server investigation. And if the DOJ determines Hillary broke the law, a special prosecutor should look into that, too.

In short, I want to see justice done, but I want Trump left free to do what he does best: working 19 hours a day and making huge decisions quickly to make America great again. Embroiling himself in the Clintons’ sordid affairs can’t help his agenda.

With all the troubles in the world, the crimes of two small people from Arkansas don’t amount to a hill of beans. Trump and the American people already served the Clintons with the most painful punishment they could receive. Hillary will never be the first female President, and Bill will have to pay his “interns” out of his own pocket.

That’s enough justice for me. Plus, donations to the Clinton Foundation are down 37 percent since the election. So Chelsea’s hurting, too.

Let’s keep our eyes on the prize. Make America great again. We can do that without settling old scores. And magnanimity is a fine quality in a leader.


In case you’re wondering how to think about Trump, I wrote a book about it.

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Predicting the Climax

Reading Time: 2 minutes

We are watching The Fourth Turning unfold before our eyes.

While you should read all of The Fourth Turning by generational historians William Strauss and Neil Howe, here’s one of their predictions for this point in time. The prediction was published in 1997:

The economy will in time recover from its early and vertiginous reversals. Late in the Crisis, with trust and hope and urgency growing fast, it may even achieve unprecedented levels of efficiency and production. But, by then, the economy will have changed fundamentally. Compared to today, it will be less globally dependent, with smaller cross-border trade and capital flows. Its businesses will be more cartelized and its workers more unionized, perhaps under the shadow of overt government direction. And it will devote a much larger share of its income to saving and investing. Fourth Turning America will begin to lay out the next saeculum’s infrastructure grid—some higher-tech facsimile of turnpikes, railroads, or highways. The economic role of government will shift toward far more spending on survival and future promises (defense, public works) and far less on amenities and past promises (elder care, debt service).

Howe, Neil; Strauss, William (2009-01-16). The Fourth Turning (Kindle Locations 5729-5735). Random House, Inc. Kindle Edition.

I have no idea whether Donald Trump ever read The Fourth Turning. But it doesn’t matter. Strauss and Howe never intended their books to be prescriptions for governance. Instead, The Fourth Turning was meant as a prophecy. It was a scenario of what was to come, not what the authors wished to come. They didn’t advocate for a less globally-dependent economy; they foresaw it.

Disturbingly, few business leaders see this coming. Executives continue these globalization investments despite mounting evidence that Strauss and Howe were mostly right. From the UK to the USA, from France to Italy and Greece, people are fed up with globalization and demanding their governments fix problems at home. Only those out-of-touch, self-absorbed globalist elites fail to see that times have changed.

As the USA approaches the climax of the Crisis, smart executives will focus on making America great again and worry less about creating markets in tiny, failed economies overseas. Smart executives will think about making America great, not just their stockholders.

Apple and Ford have already indicated they get it. Or, at least, they’re pretending to get it. Apple is exploring ways to build iPhones in the USA. Ford has decided to keep some car lines in the USA. Expect other companies to follow suit. Pretty soon, “made in America” will make companies rich.

Meanwhile, American consumers, especially those who voted for Trump, should seek out and demand American-made products. I realize you can’t do this for everything. And I realize you’ll have to pay a little more. But, wouldn’t it say a lot if Trump voters consumed fewer things so they could buy mostly American things? I’ll bet that you could find ten things in the room your in that you really didn’t need. If you’d skipped those unnecessary, wasteful purchases, you might have been able to afford the American-made versions of the stuff you really needed. It’s easy to make the switch once you get started. You might even find yourself looking at the country of manufacture the next time you’re in a store.

America gave itself a new lease on life this year. Let’s spend it well. If we do, in just four years we’ll be able to say “America is back.”

The Left’s Newfound Love of States’ Rights

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Every Constitutional conservative knows there’s no such thing as “states’ rights.”  Only people have rights. Governments have powers. People have the right to grant government powers. Governments have no power to assume powers not granted by the people. Anyone who says “states’ rights” needs a basic course in political philosophy.

For years, a few conservatives mistakenly defended “states’ rights” when they meant to say “federalism.” When conservatives made this error, the left jumped all over them. But the left denounced federalism, too. The left traditionally wanted all power centralized in Washington or in the United Nations. Conservatives, on the other hand, traditionally wanted to cede only the minimum power necessary for the government to fulfill its limited duties of protecting our freedom, enforcing contracts, and delivering the mail.

So I was shocked to hear leftist Democrat Bill Richardson cite states rights as the moral and legal justification for sanctuary cities. Here’s the clip from Fox News. It’s about 3:30 mark:

Watch the latest video at <a href=”http://video.foxnews.com”>video.foxnews.com</a>

Sanctuary cities are cities that openly violate federal immigration laws, protecting even illegal alien rapists and murders from deportation and prosecution. These cities get billions of tax dollars in grants every year, and they use some of this money to break the law. Mayors and boards of aldermen in these cities are criminals who should be prosecuted as accessories to rape and murder. And, yes, I would happily deal with the social consequences of throwing Rahm Emanuel or Bill DeBlasio in a federal penitentiary.  It’s where they belong.

But how does one wrap his mind around the idea of leftists embracing “states rights?” And, by implication, federalism? The left hates federalism. Until it doesn’t.

The good news is that Bill Richardson and his friends have proven that we were right all along. America works best when the states and the people wield more power than the federal government. Without regard for immigration law, I ask my leftist readers to admit that distributed power is the best defense against federal overreach. But we only recognize the benefits of federalism when Washington’s in the hands of people we don’t like.

What makes Bill Richardson and his open-borders warriors wrong is this: the same Constitution that creates federalism grants immigration powers to the federal government alone. We ceded that power to Washington in 1790 when Rhode Island finally ratified the Constitution.

Let’s accept, once and for all, that federalism rocks. And let’s stop saying “states’ rights.”

Civil War: Chapter Three

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Roger, David, and Natalie, drove home from the hospital in relative silence. It was already dark at six-thirty. Traffic was still snarled as drivers got used to the end of daylight savings.

When they arrived home, David went to his bedroom and Natalie followed. The post-concussion protocol called for lots of rest, no electronics, and soft lighting. David went straight to bed.

Roger walked into his home office with a glass of whiskey. He sat in his desk chair, leaned back, and took a sip of the booze. After a minute, he slid his phone from his pocket and dialed Jack Murphy.

“Hey, man, what’s up?” Jack said.

“Serious shit,” said Roger.

“What?”

“David got beat up at school for saying Trump isn’t such a bad guy. The principal let the other boys beat him. He has a concussion.”

“Holy shit! God almighty, Rog. What the fuck?”

“What can I do?” Roger asked.

“Sue! Sue their asses,” yelled Jack.

“Not sure the police reports are accurate. A police sergeant told me the cops who responded wrote one thing in their reports and told him something else.”

“Are you serious? How can that be?”

Roger shook his head. Jack’s the lawyer. Why wasn’t he telling Roger how that can be?

“Look, I need your help. Start the clock. I want that bitch fired and charged.”

“You got it. But if the cops won’t cooperate, it’ll be pretty tough. Teachers have a high level of credibility.”

“I know. Cops do, too.”

“Yeah,” Jack said. “Roger.”

“Yeah?”

“Don’t do anything stupid.”

“What do you mean?”

“You know what I mean. Let me handle this. I know you want to do something, but schools and cops need to be dealt with in court.”

Roger knew what Jack was talking about. The idea of vengeance crossed his mind a hundred times since he took that call at work. He’d imagined himself visiting those punks who beat his son, one by one. He saw himself ringing their doorbells. He saw their doors swing open. The culprit opens the door.

“Yeah,” the kid says.

“You want to step outside?” The kid steps outside closing the door behind him.

Roger looks at the kid. The kid seems half Roger’s size, but the kid sees himself as Roger’s equal. Maybe Roger’s superior.“You m with David. I’m fucking with you.”

“You messed with David. I’m messing with you.”

The kid’s eyes grow wide.

Roger imagines himself driving his open palm into the kid’s cheek in a violent, sideways swoop the brat never sees coming. He feels the kid’s weight accelerate to his left. He imagines the kid crumpling down, folding up like a cheap suit. Roger, in his fantasy, turns and walks away.

That’s his fantasy. One by one they all go down. They all crumple under Roger’s mighty right hand.

Jack’s right, he thought. They’re little kids. Get a hold of yourself, Thompson!

“Send me the cop’s info,” said Jack. “I’ll call him and see what kind of case we’ve got.”

“Okay. I’ll take a picture of his card and send it to you.”

“Perfect,” Jack said. “Roger, this will work out. Be patient.”

“I trust you, Jack. Thanks.”


to be continued

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.