A Season of Hope. Cherish our Differences 

Tony Retrosi

Our strength is in out differences.

Have you ever heard the story behind this highest selling Christmas carol? Robert May was an advertising executive that first wrote the poem “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” in 1939 as an ad gimmick for a local department store. 10 years later, May’s brother wrote the music. The song was turned down by Bing Crosby and Dinah Shore, but Gene Autry recorded it. Today “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” is the highest-selling Christmas carol, at more than 25 million units.

Do you know why the carol is so loved? You might say that it’s the courage and fortitude of Rudolph, the apparent hero of the story. But the real charm of the carol is found at the heart of what the carol is really about—grace! Despite that Rudolph was clearly an outsider and an apparent reject due to the glowing flaw of his shiny red…

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A Season of Hope. Chaos Theory

A season of hope. As the days get shorter and we are facing  long dark and cold nights. The solstice is just weeks away and the days will become longer. This time of year even the smallest gesture …

Source: A Season of Hope. Chaos Theory

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Today Would Have Been My Brother’s Birthday

Dear Jeff,

Not a day goes by that I don’t think about you. As we get closer to Thanksgiving and Christmas I remember the excitement you had as a youth. An excitement that you carried into adulthood.

Today is your birthday. In the past I would have spent a great deal of time trying to find the corniest birthday card. Something you would have groaned at. Now I think about you every time I buy a card for anyone.

I just saw something Bridget posted on Facebook about when you knocked O. into the lake at our parents house when he was 1. I laughed because I remember when you hit O. in the face with a soccer ball once when he was maybe 2. Dude- who let you ever have kids?

Speaking of the kids, they are doing great. We will all be getting together soon. They both have so many of your traits. It breaks my heart when O. looks at me sometimes. He has the same look in his eye I remember you having. F. shares your lust for life. You would be proud of them.

Bridget is an amazing mom. I am always impressed by her. I am so glad you guys moved closer. She is coming to Steph’s birthday party. God, I wish you were there. (I’m crying again. damn’t jeff…)

 

My kids are doing great. You would love to talk to them. They are both politically engaged. Both doing well in school. Chase is doing great with his music. You would appreciate his taste and style. Maddie is looking at heading out to Montana after graduation before grad school.

I probably never told you but I was always proud of you. Since your death I’ve still kept learning from you.

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Pain can make you a better person.

I am not the same person I was 3 ago, and that statement is both terrifying and cathartic. I needed a very long time — and many sleepless nights — to process and accept that I had changed.

Through the passage of time, your death has enabled me to look at my life in a way that has given me a deeper perspective. To focus on what really matters. I now find beauty in the most innocuous things and am grateful for so many things I previously took for granted.

The Three R’s

I always wondered what life lessons I would teach my kids. I wanted them to learn HOW TO RESPECT some one and to BE RESPECTED. I also wanted them to learn RESPONSIBILITY. When we lost you I just wanted to crawl in a hole and not come up. I had to learn to be RESILIENT and that is the 3rd lesson I needed to teach the kids.

Tonight I plan on sitting down and having a nice Beer. Something I know you would appreciate. I need to remind myself to call Mike, Chris’ son. Its his birthday too.

If there is one thing the WORLD could learn from you, it’s resilience. You always found a way to laugh and when you laughed, it made everyone feel better.

We could all use a laugh once and a while.

Love and Miss you

Tony

PS- If you run into Steph’s mom, let her know things are going OK.

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Miss you every day Jeff

 

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Why Hasn’t Trump Denounced the Spike in Hate Crimes Since His Election?

Over the past 48 hours, women have been assaulted for wearing the hijab, property has been defaced with swastikas, LGBT Americans have been threatened, and African Americans have experienced election result-specific harassment by fellow Americans touting the election of Donald Trump as the dawn of a new America, apparently one where they consider that the ugliest of racial and social animus to have the seal of presidential approval. Huffington Post

Even if the hate crimes had NOTHING to do with the presidential election, wouldn’t you think that a leader should come out and say something?

This kind of violence, taunting and discrimination is not acceptable.

When the ANTI TRUMP protests turned violent and destructive, I felt the same way. This is not who we are.

We are a nation of immigrants. What we all have in common is our differences.

So disappointed.

 

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Our TO DO List Now That We Have Elected Trump

Unlike the GOP 8 years ago, I do NOT want to see the president elect fail. His failure would not be good for my businesses, my family or the country. 

Prior to the election I joked about moving out of the USA if Trump were elected. Thank you to all my friends and colleagues in Iceland, Canada, Italy and Ireland who have offered me Jobs and places to stay in the last 24 hours. 

I plan on staying here and I will FIGHT and push back by ALL MEANS at my disposal against the policies I do not agree with. 

I do NOT think he has the disposition to be President. Hell, I do not think he has the disposition to be Dog Catcher and a MAJORITY of the people in the USA agree with me. I also plan on reminding every Trump supporter that Trump did NOT win a Majority of the votes. He LOST the popular vote. 

Morning After To-Do List:
1. Take over the Democratic Party and return it to the people. They have failed us miserably.
2. Fire all pundits, predictors, pollsters and anyone else in the media who had a narrative they wouldn’t let go of and refused to listen to or acknowledge what was really going on. Those same bloviators will now tell us we must “heal the divide” and “come together.” They will pull more hooey like that out of their ass in the days to come. Turn them off.
3. Any Democratic member of Congress who didn’t wake up this morning ready to fight, resist and obstruct in the way Republicans did against President Obama every day for eight full years must step out of the way and let those of us who know the score lead the way in stopping the meanness and the madness that’s about to begin. 
4. Everyone must stop saying they are “stunned” and “shocked.” What you mean to say is that you were in a bubble and weren’t paying attention to your fellow Americans and their despair. YEARS of being neglected by both parties, the anger and the need for revenge against the system only grew. Along came a TV star they liked whose plan was to destroy both parties and tell them all “You’re fired!” Trump’s victory is no surprise. He was never a joke. Treating him as one only strengthened him. He is both a creature and a creation of the media and the media will never own that. 
5. You must say this sentence to everyone you meet today: “HILLARY CLINTON WON THE POPULAR VOTE!” The MAJORITY of our fellow Americans preferred Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. Period. Fact. If you woke up this morning thinking you live in an effed-up country, you don’t. The majority of your fellow Americans wanted Hillary, not Trump. The only reason he’s president is because of an arcane, insane 18th-century idea called the Electoral College. Until we change that, we’ll continue to have presidents we didn’t elect and didn’t want. You live in a country where a majority of its citizens have said they believe there’s climate change, they believe women should be paid the same as men, they want a debt-free college education, they don’t want us invading countries, they want a raise in the minimum wage and they want a single-payer true universal health care system. None of that has changed. We live in a country where the majority agree with the “liberal” position. We just lack the liberal leadership to make that happen (see: #1 above).

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Election Day 2016

Every 4 years our country has a bloodless change of government.

This year was crazy with both sides trying to frighten you into voting for them.

What happened to being honorable? What happened to respect and the ability to agree to disagree?

(Sigh…) Maybe it was never that way?

ELECTION DAY, NOVEMBER, 1884. Walt Whitman contents

If I should need to name, O Western World, your powerfulest

scene and show,

‘Twould not be you, Niagara—nor you, ye limitless prairies—nor

your huge rifts of canyons, Colorado,

Nor you, Yosemite—nor Yellowstone, with all its spasmic geyser-

loops ascending to the skies, appearing and disappearing,

Nor Oregon’s white cones—nor Huron’s belt of mighty lakes—

nor Mississippi’s stream:

—This seething hemisphere’s humanity, as now, I’d name—the

still small voice vibrating—America’s choosing day,

(The heart of it not in the chosen—the act itself the main, the

quadriennial choosing,)

The stretch of North and South arous’d—sea-board and inland

—Texas to Maine—the Prairie States—Vermont, Virginia,

California,

The final ballot-shower from East to West—the paradox and con-

flict,

The countless snow-flakes falling—(a swordless conflict,

Yet more than all Rome’s wars of old, or modern Napoleon’s:)

the peaceful choice of all,

Or good or ill humanity—welcoming the darker odds, the dross:

—Foams and ferments the wine? it serves to purify—while the

heart pants, life glows:

These stormy gusts and winds waft precious ships,

Swell’d Washington’s, Jefferson’s, Lincoln’s sails.

 

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Are we about to get conned? 

I am sitting in an airport flying from one swing state to home (another swing state). Looking up sat the news it is ALL politics ALL the time. All political commercials with no substance, just fear. I can’t wait for this to be over. 

I am a democrat who voted for Bernie in the primaries and I plan on voting for Hillary in the general. A couple decades ago I would probably be a republican. I am fiscally conservative and belive in an indivuals liberty. I also think that our entire government has to get it’s shit together. The fact that we have gone months with an open seat on the suprium court is embarrassing. (And NOW there are republicans who say they will block any attempt to fill that spot. Isn’t that by definition a lack of responsibility and doing their job?)  

My over all question is, Are we about to elect a con man? 

Mitt Romney called Donald Trump a “con man,” and so did Marco Rubio and Michael Bloomberg.

For the news media, the fact that Trump is widely seen as a con man, even by many in his own party, has created thorny problems regarding how to cover him. The mainstream news media (aside from Fox News) generally endeavors to be fair and balanced in covering elections – but what does “fair and balanced” mean when covering a con man?

In aspiring for balance, does that mean news organizations should do as many pieces criticizing a con man candidate as criticizing his or her opponent? But wouldn’t the news media then be delinquent ― and unfair to the non-con candidate ― if they do just as many negative articles about a con man candidate like Trump as negative articles about a more conventional candidate, like Hillary Clinton, who also has problems with the truth.

Many news organizations have concluded that the fair and balanced way to cover Trump and Clinton is to be equally aggressive toward them when that is warranted. In other words, be critical and aggressive toward Trump or Clinton whenever they are found to tell falsehoods, cheat, cut corners or otherwise do wrong.

Trump’s most dangerous con of all: he is undermining our precious democracy by asserting that the election is rigged, and that he might not accept the election results.
Trump is in a league of his own in terms of telling falsehoods and lies, and that’s one reason the news media have often been tougher on him. Fact checkers have found Trump to be the most dishonest major party candidate they’ve ever encountered. The Washington Post’s Fact Checker has given a Four Pinocchio rating to an astonishing 63 percent of the 91 Trump statements it has examined – a Four Pinocchio rating means a statements was totally false. In contrast, 14 percent of Clinton’s statements received Four Pinocchios – a typical candidate gets Four Pinocchios 10 to 20 percent of the time. (I have no patience for Rush Limbaugh and others who repeatedly attack fact checkers as biased and not to be trusted. Limbaugh and his ilk attack fair-minded fact-checking referees for a simple, strategic reason: to delegitimize them in order to make it easier for the candidates they support to continue spewing their falsehoods.)

Mitt Romney and many others agree that Trump is the greatest con man ever nominated by a major party. Indeed, Trump has been compared to some of the great demagogues of history, like Senator Joseph McCarthy, who spectacularly and falsely stated that a horde of Communists worked in the federal government, and Governor Huey Long, who charmed voters with pie-in-the-sky, share-the-wealth promises that he’d deliver impossible-to-deliver levels of prosperity.

So why do Romney and others call Trump a con man? Trump has boasted that he knows more about ISIS than the generals. He promised that he’d release his tax returns if he ran for president, but he still hasn’t released them. He has repeatedly insisted he can’t release his returns because they’re under audit, but audits in no way preclude him or anyone else from releasing their returns. Trump demonizes trade with China and Mexico, but, whoops, his Trump-brand suits, shirts and ties are made overseas. Trump openly mocked a New York Times reporter with a disability, then denied ever doing so. He asserted that thousands of Muslims celebrated the 9/11 attacks on rooftops in New Jersey, but he has failed to provide a scintilla of evidence to buttress that false claim.

Trump has repeatedly said that America’s murder rate is the highest ever and that America’s taxes are the highest in the world, even though fact-checkers have repeatedly debunked those claims. Trump says that no one respects women more than he does, even though he has savagely mocked women for their looks, has acknowledged barging into the dressing rooms of teenage beauty contestants and has boasted of grabbing women by the pussy. Trump denounces illegal immigrants, yet he hired undocumented workers to do demolition work for Trump Tower. Trump initially proposed nearly $10 trillion in tax cuts over a decade along as well as a vast increase in military spending – all while absurdly promising he would balance the federal budget.

Long after Barack Obama produced his birth certificate, Trump continued to maintain that Obama was an alien born overseas. Trump asserts that Mexico will pay for his “beautiful wall” between the two countries—something that proud, Yanqui-resenting Mexico wouldn’t agree to in a million years. This past Friday Trump said the economy is “an absolute disaster” even though the jobless rate has dropped to 4.9 percent, the nation has added 15 million jobs since 2010 and the 5.2 percent jump in median household income last year was the highest on record. And then there’s Trump’s most dangerous con of all—he is undermining our precious democracy by asserting that the election is rigged, and that he might not accept the election results.

The list of Trump’s falsehoods and cons goes on and on – there was that snake-oil operation known as Trump University or Trump, by one count, has flip-flopped 138 times on the issues. We journalists pay a lot of attention to whether a candidate lies a little or a lot because that says something fundamental about a candidate’s character. Journalists, like other Americans, much prefer when candidates tell the truth – it shows whether a candidate is leveling with, or seeking to fool, the American people.

You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

Abraham Lincoln

To be sure, Clinton, like most other politicians, has made mistakes and lied. It was politically unwise and all too cozy for her to speak to Goldman Sachs for $225,000 a speech. She originally hailed the Trans-Pacific Partnership as “the gold standard,” before flip-flopping and opposing it in the face of a tough challenge from Bernie Sanders. And it was very wrong of her to use a private server for her emails, but let’s not forget that many other officials have used private email addresses for government business, including many governors, senators and representatives as well as Colin Powell and Karl Rove and many other officials in the Bush/Cheney White House, even on some military matters. (So, why the many calls to jail Clinton over this, but not the many other officials who have done the same thing?)

To me, the biggest mystery in this election is why are millions of normally tough-minded working-class voters rallying behind Trump, even though he is so widely seen as a con man. To be sure, many people are tired of the Clintons and are angry with the status quo. Wages have, until recently, stagnated for years, Corporate America has moved millions of jobs overseas, and the cost of college has skyrocketed. People want these problems fixed, and now comes Mr. Trump, a brash, charismatic, tough-talking showman and change agent who promises to make yu-u-ge changes. He often even pledges to do the impossible: to wipe out ISIS in a jiffy and to bring back jobs from overseas, from China, Mexico and elsewhere, that are never coming back. Millions of Americans have been charmed by the tune of this pied piper ― even though Romney and other Republicans have warned voters about him.

The greatest Republican of them all, Abraham Lincoln, cautioned us about con men, saying, “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” Whether Trump wins or loses on Tuesday, I am sure that for years to come, political scientists are going to study and debate how did it come to pass that in the year 2016, tens of millions of Americans voted for someone who Mitt Romney, Michael Bloomberg and so many others warned is an obvious con man.

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