Archives for category: Politics

ImmigrationAbout 15 thousand migrant children spent Christmas yesterday locked up in tight spaces at the border, with no contact allowed with family or reporters. Two young Guatemalans died in custody in the last month.

One of the few things that I agree with this President on is that we need a more responsible immigration policy. However, the simplistic bombastic way he has handled it has wreaked havoc on people’s lives.

I suspect that politicians like George Bush the younger and Rand Paul have turned a blind eye to our porous Southern border because their rancher and farmer friends and constituents relied on cheap illegal labor.

My first documentary, made in 1971, was entitled The Illegal and my crew and I filmed Mexican farmworkers as they easily waded across the Rio Grande River into Texas. We interviewed many Mexican-American members of the farmworkers union who were passionately asking our State and National governments to stop the flow.

That never happened. It just got worse and worse. And it was exacerbated by new groups of migrants trying to escape poverty and unstable governments in Central America.

So if we agree that we need to control our border and we have to be selective about whom we let in, what is the best solution to the problem?

For one, there is a diplomatic approach. I have never heard one TV report that explained how all of these asylum seekers get into Mexico. Instead of the absurdity of expecting Mexico to pay for the wall, why aren’t we challenging Mexico to control it’s own southern borders.

How did that enormous Caravan that got so much attention get into Mexico from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador to begin with?

And when you elevate the conversation above a solid wall, the most intelligent analysts say that there are so many modern technological devices that would allow 24-7 surveillance of wide stretches of the border, whereas you could never hire enough people to make sure nobody climbs over or digs under such a huge expanse.

As the son of immigrants, I am very proud of the message on the Statue of Liberty. Yes, give us not just your Einsteins, but also your tired and poor if they are fleeing persecution and they are willing to work hard in an ever-expanding economy.

Hitler deprived my parents of a high school education but they were able to jump through many hoops and finally get passage across the Atlantic and a welcome at Ellis Island. My mother’s brother, Harry Rosenfeld, was still young enough to get a high school and college education and became the editor in charge of the Watergate investigation for the Washington Post. Their four children were able to attend wonderful public schools and end up with college degrees. My older brother served the US military and then went to law school and became a prosecutor. That is immigration at its best.

It wasn’t easy. The State Department and President Franklin Roosevelt claimed that Jewish immigrants could threaten national security. In 1939, the ocean liner St. Louis and it’s 937 passengers, mostly Jewish, were turned away in Miami, forcing the ship to return to Europe and more than a quarter of those people died in the Holocaust.

It’s time to stop making desperate people pawns in a very cynical political chess game and find a responsible passage to a country that hopefully will indeed behave like a great nation should.

 

American-Empire

The fall of the Great American Empire is upon us and frankly I don’t give a damn.

The Chinese have developed missiles capable of reaching North America and they are starting to catch up with us militarily as they steam ahead economically. A perfect example is the way they keep scooping up islands in the Pacific Ocean and planting their flags with nothing more than a peep from the USA and its allies.

This was inevitable. No dynasties last forever. The Greeks, the Romans, the Egyptians, the British—they all had their moment of dominance. I’m pretty sure nobody is sitting in a cafe in Athens, Rome, Cairo or London bemoaning the good old days gone by.

And there is a very good reason for that. There is a huge price to pay for dominance and I for one do not want to see the USA continue to pay that price.

It’s very expensive to maintain the most powerful military in the world. Let’s defer to the Chinese and focus on the real direct threats to our country. As far as policing the rest of the planet, let’s do it as just another United Nations and NATO member.

That will save the lives of lots of American members of the military and cut way back on the number of veterans suffering from PTSD for fighting a war that nobody at home seems to understand or really care about.

I am extremely supportive of our soldiers but I don’t want them dying in vain. If you look at the death toll in Afghanistan and measure it against our accomplishments there, it is very difficult to justify. This was also true in Vietnam, where I lost both high school and college friends for a war that all of my military friends now say was useless.

Financially, we are spending way too much of our budget on maintaining the largest force on the planet and that is money that is sorely needed for education and health care. Compare that to the ratios of all of our allies and you will see that there are huge discrepancies.

If we all take a breath and leave our collective testosterone at the door, this makes a lot of sense. For the first time in years, the US Military has fallen way short of its recruiting goals and that will mean lowering our standards to try to pump up the numbers.

Instead, let’s create a smaller, more elite force of fighters and defenders who can serve out their terms and eventually come home feeling very good about their service to their country.

We will focus on securing our borders and spend money and manpower proportionately. The Trump administration is absolutely correct in calling our fellow NATO members out on the carpet for sitting back and letting the big badass Americans lead the charge without paying their fair share.

Of course, it will help if we tamp down the volume and cool it on the braggadocio and no longer feel we have to be first up San Juan Hill. Let’s do it right. Let’s do it together with our allies and become one of many great countries in the world standing up for peace and prosperity and social justice for all.

wethepeopleThe preamble to the United States Constitution starts with the words We The People, not We The Party.

Therefore John McCain is truly a hero to me. Soon after having a malignant brain tumor removed, the 80-year-old Senator from Arizona put the final kibosh on a cynical Republican plan to take healthcare away from 20-plus million Americans while giving tax breaks to the already quite wealthy.

Just so you know where I stand on healthcare, I’m not crazy about the Affordable Care Act because it didn’t go far enough. It should have been a single payer system, like Medicare, and it tried to have it both ways, still allowing the greedy drug companies to prioritize profits over providing quality care for patients.

Quite simply, healthcare should be not for profit, and the fact that the CEO’s of the major healthcare companies make salaries between $15 and $20 million tells you everything you need to know about how insane this approach is.

Look at how the other major industrialized nations approach healthcare and you’ll get some perspective about what outliers we are.

John McCain was already a hero to me for serving his country in so many ways, and I can’t imagine how nice it must feel for him to have given Donald Trump the shaft after draft dodger Trump disrespected a true soldier because he was captured while serving his country.

And I confess to loving the expression on Mitch McConnell’s face when he saw McCain’s thumb point to the ground to indicate a “no” vote. McConnell is the man who pronounced that his goal was to make sure then newly elected President Obama failed to pass any legislation. Basically, McConnell was admitting that for him, this is all about politics and not about policy and he contributed mightily to a cynically cancerous contentiousness that would shock Ronald Reagan and JFK.

Now we are engaged in a great uncivil war, testing whether this nation can endure by finding a consensus between these warring parties. The Affordable Care Act definitely needs a major tune up and it’s time for these idiots to stop treating government like it’s an athletic contest where you either play for the Red or the Blue team.

The good news is that the parties have a common enemy in a clownish President who has proven that nobody on either side of the aisle is immune from his wrath. If there is anyone left in the President’s posse who has any common sense whatsoever, the President should be convinced to focus on a unifying issue like infrastructure. Then the Senate can prove that it’s not all about party politics and move on to hammer out a new bill that actually improves the Affordable Care Act.

I’m envisioning a scene in which two brave Senators, one from each side of the aisle, join hands and declare that they are going to start working together to find a consensus and challenge their fellow representatives to jump on board to find a way to unify a very fractured nation.

We The People are going to be much better off it that happens. Maybe then we can start to look at each other as “fellow Americans” with unalienable rights such as a belief in Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

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Okay, fasten your seat belts, because the gloves are coming off.

I don’t intentionally mix metaphors very often but here goes something:

I’ve delayed writing a column about the new President because I know that anything I write will scare off at least one-third of my readers.

And I was thinking that possibly Donald Trump cleverly created a character who would appeal to a large segment of Americans who were understandably sick and tired of the log jam in Washington and the Party Over Country mentality that has taken over the halls of Congress.

Also, I surmised that Trump, the former New York Democrat, Pro-Choice Clinton supporter would show his true colors after taking office.

WRONG!!!  This man is simply a clown and a bozo who will say anything he thinks his supporters want to hear.  He’s a salesman and he’ll look you in the eye and tell you how wonderful you are.  Behind your back, he will reveal his true feelings.

I held back even when he nominated an Education Secretary who doesn’t believe in public education, a Health Secretary who doesn’t believe in public health, and an Environmental Protection Agency Secretary who wants to dismantle the EPA.

But last week he did something that cannot be forgiven or even understood by anyone with a brain.  He claimed that President Obama ordered the Trump Tower to be wiretapped, which would have been a felony akin to Nixon bugging Democratic Headquarters.

He tweeted it early one morning, and would not reveal his sources.  He wouldn’t walk it back, even when nobody else in his own Administration would support his allegations.

The liberal press had field day after field day about this story, ad nauseam, as if there was nothing else happening in the World of any importance, such as events in the Middle East where Isis is on the run.  Trump stood by his story but would not give details.

Finally, confronted by German reporters after meeting with German Chancellor Merkel, he confessed that his source was a “very very smart lawyer” who presented the allegations early in the morning on Fox News Channel.

Turns out that very very smart lawyer is a crack-pot 9/11 Conspiracy nut, Judge Andrew Napolitano, who just happens to live at Trump Tower.  When asked to substantiate the allegations, Fox News wisely disavowed the story.

But Sir Donald still would not back down.  And to make matters much worse, Trump’s embattled Press Secretary erroneously implicated Great Britain as well, infuriating one of our oldest and greatest allies.

Now I am truly scared.   At the end of the day, what is the most important characteristic you want in the so-called Leader of the Free World?

Judgement!  You want the person who has the nuclear codes at his/her fingertips to have very good judgement.

What you absolutely do not want is a person who hears something from a questionable source and tweets a response that will alienate our enemies and even our friends. You don’t want someone who will over-react to unsubstantiated claims and, worse case scenario, send a nuclear bomb towards North Korea.

If Trump really had reason to believe that the Obama Administration illegally bugged the Trump Tower, all he had to do was reach out to the FBI or NSA or many other agencies that were a phone call away to find out if there was even a glimmer of truth to these charges.

But the President just could not control his impulse to Tweet and Tweet he did.  And now, when everyone in the World has said he was wrong, he will not cop to it and he will not apologize to the former President or the American public.

Why?  Because not only does he suffer from very poor judgement, but he also is the Poster Boy for Narcissism and Hubris.  He simply cannot admit a mistake.

I realize that none of this will bother his hard core supporters, the ones who are drawn to him because they are Steve Bannonites: racists nationalists,  anti-Semites,  and White Supremacists, or malcontents who blame the government for their own failures.  (And by the way, the only people on this continent who have a claim to truly belonging are Native Americans but I don’t see any Native brothers and sisters rallying around David Duke and his chums.)

I am optimistic by nature—recent trends to the contrary—and I’m hoping that those thoughtful independents who voted for him because they felt there had to be a change in the culture in Washington will now admit that this man is very very DANGEROUS and not just laughing stock.

I doubt he’ll be impeached, although there is a remote possibility that the Russian Connection or business conflicts of interest will give the Republican representatives who care about country more than party a reason to throw the bum out.

There’s even a chance he’ll get sick of all of this and step down.  He’s famous for delegating and I’m guessing he still loves the spotlight, but not all of the hard work and incredible responsibility that goes with the job.

More likely, he will stay in office, the midterm election in 2018 will further gridlock Congress, and the thoughtful Independents will have to figure out another way to change this incredibly destructive course we are headed down.

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A modern day diaspora is the American family, scattered to the winds.

The extended family has become so much more extended.

This becomes particularly clear at Thanksgiving and Christmas, when families try to reunite, against all odds.

Just doing an anecdotal survey of my own friends and acquaintances, I found a friend from La Conner whose daughter is in New Zealand, another friend originally from New Zealand  who now lives in California and has relatives everywhere from Auckland to Austin, Texas, many of my childhood friends from New York now living in Florida.

What happened to that It’s A Wonderful Life world I grew up in?  I grew up in Long Island, my parents had a jewelry store in walking distance from my high school, my grandparents lived in New York city, 20 miles away, my Uncle moved to New Jersey for a little breathing room but still was driving distance away from all family events.

Every Sunday my father’s parents from Manhattan picked up my mother’s parents in the Bronx and drove out to our house in the suburbs.  From Brooklyn came Uncle Izzy and Aunt Freida, from lower Manhattan came Aunt Fanny and Uncle Moishe.  The men played pinochle in the living room while the women crowded into the small kitchen preparing a brunch that would feed an Army.

Attendance was not required for my brothers and I, who were allowed to go out to play ball, as long as we hugged everyone coming and going.  My sister was drafted to be the hausfrau and dutifully served and helped to clean up.

This was a consequence of the great Jewish diaspora, and each one of those family members came from a different part of Europe and only us kids were American born.

But this was happening all over the United States, from the Manhattan to Mudville, where families lived in walking distance from each other and often passed family businesses down from one generation to the next.

Take my family now.  Please!  (Bad joke—couldn’t resist).

My brother lives and teaches in Savannah, Georgia, my sister is a realtor in Palm Springs, my nephews are in Florida and New Jersey and San Francisco and Palm Desert and Los Angeles.

My uncle and aunt live in Albany, New York, and their daughters, my cousins, live in Boston, Chicago and New York City.

My wife’s Grandfather was a lawyer in her home town of Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.  His two sons went into the family law firm and married a pair of sisters, whose parents owned the local hotel.

Their granddaughter still runs the law firm, but much of the family is scattered.  Atlanta, Santa Fe, Milwaukee, Baltimore, Los Angeles.

So what caused this great disbursement of the American Family?  Was it the availability of a college education that would not only lure kids away from where they grew up, but also present a world of opportunities that would make the family business less appealing???

Was it cheaper air travel?  I didn’t fly in a plane until I was 17 years old but my kids flew from Southern California to Martha’s Vineyard before they could walk.  My youngest son fell in love with New York City as a 10 year old and only applied to New York University when it came time to think about college.  His brother was nearby at Art School in Brooklyn.

Is it the American Dream, amplified as television and the internet came into our lives, letting us know that there is a world out there and we are welcome to it.  Seeing that my Uncle Harry barely escaped Nazi Germany and became the editor in charge of the Watergate investigation for the Washington Post must have helped encourage the crazy notion that a young reporter in New York could head out West to become a Hollywood director.

For all of these factors, people grew up with different expectations, Great Expectations.  The world was round and the old home town just didn’t have the same magnetic pull anymore.

So the Day Before Thanksgiving becomes the biggest travel day of the year and the Christmas break gets longer and longer as people have farther and farther to go to be with their loved ones.

Most of us would say it’s worth it, but just having spent two challenging visits to Los Angeles International Airport, I’m so happy to report that this year most of the Damski family will be spending Hanukah and Christmas in the Great Northwest!

For the rest of you, if you still live within driving distance of grandma and grandpa, or your kids and grand kids, enjoy your holiday and count your blessings.

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mels

Maybe The Donald isn’t as crazy as some of us think he is.

In fact, maybe he’s crazy like a fox.

At this point he knows he’s going to lose and I’m guessing he’s totally fine with that.

He’s loved his time in the spotlight.  He loves knowing his name is being bandied about throughout the Wired World, even if much of the conversation is less than flattering.

Narcissus move over: Donald Trump is the new poster boy for attention seeking.

But it’s one thing to crave the spotlight, and a very different matter to actually serve in one of the most difficult and demanding jobs in the modern world:  waking up everyday to the responsibilities and constraints of being the President of the United States.

My guess is that it occurred to Trump that as the leader of the Free World, he would probably have to exercise a little more tact, if not outright diplomacy.   You might THINK it would be a good idea to limit the influx of Muslims and Mexicans, but you probably shouldn’t alienate millions of people around the world with such rash, xenophobic public statements.

I’ve been toying with a fun conspiracy theory that Trump all along wanted Hillary to win the election.  He’s supported her in the past, they haven’t been historically that far apart on policy, and maybe he thought Hillary would be a much better choice for America and for Big Business than Ted Cruz.

The Donald was quoted as saying in the 90’s that if he ever ran for office, it would be as a Republican because Republicans were so stupid.  Look it up!

He loves the spotlight and he saw an opportunity when about 20 other Republicans threw their hats into the ring, and he probably thought it’s a long shot, but what the hell!  It will make great television.

When the two most qualified candidates, Jeb Bush and John Kasich, didn’t POP on television, the race was blown wide open and Trump started to get the sense that he could actually win this thing.

He wasn’t wrong.  Early in the race, he actually had a fighting chance because he had a solid base of support and all he had to do was tone it down a bit knowing that his passionate supporters wouldn’t blame him for reaching out to more voters.

Instead, he went off the rails, acted like the class clown, constantly said things that were guaranteed to turn off women and minorities, and despite Hillary’s own weaknesses as a candidate, the Trump Express never left the station.

Then the evidence of his blatant misogyny started to leak out and I believe Trump made a decision: I’m not going to kowtow to the voters, I’m not going to listen to my handlers who want me to act more presidential, I’m going to be myself.

My guess is that when he really thought things through, moving into the White House really was incredibly prestigious but not really a job he was suited for.

The new theory going around is that Trump knows he’s going to lose and he is going to create his own Trump News Network which will be a great place for his disappointed followers to continue to vent their frustration that the American Dream just hasn’t worked in their favor.

I understand why there are so many disaffected Americans and I’m not surprised that Bernie Saunders garnered the support he got from those feeling that something radical had to be done to keep the already enormous income gap from getting even wider.

But I always thought it was ironic that blue collar Americans chose for their Washington Outsider a man who was born with many millions, doesn’t pay taxes, hires illegal aliens, outsourced many jobs, and has acted like an entitled spoiled rich kid his whole life.

All I can do is hope that four years from now, we will all have learned from this ludicrous spectacle that is damaging American’s reputation abroad.  Maybe this will be a wake-up call that we need to stop treating the political process as a sporting event and we need to elect moderate, sensible people who put Country over Party, so that we can actually have a Congress that is effectively looking after All Americans.

world_problems

Something has gone awry with the American Dream.

The signs are all around us. Drug addiction, alcoholism, disenfranchisement, disgruntlement, high anxiety and low self-esteem.

Being the news junky that I am, I think I have a pretty good perspective on what is happening around the world.  Barrel bombings and beheadings in the Middle East, religious and political intolerance in so many places, subjugation of women, exploitation of children, hunger and disease commonplace in so many parts of the globe.

Yet instead of expressing gratitude for the incredible good fortune we have to live in a free society with lots of toys, we are seeing many signs of disenchantment. We are in the midst of an election cycle in which traditional supporters of both major parties are begging for change.

Both the Trump phenomenon and the Sanders phenomenon are signals that many people are opting out of politics and policies that they can’t identify with.

But there are other signs as well. Addiction to heroin and prescription drugs is now epidemic and the demographics of drug abuse are becoming much more democratic: they are touching all of our communities, rich and poor, black and brown and white.

Let’s not forget another great societal ill, one that doesn’t get much publicity any more but is still extremely prevalent: alcoholism. I have met so many people in my little corner of the Northwest whose lives have been touched by a family member or members whose lives were destroyed by alcohol.

It may not be as sexy as talking about opiate addiction and even marijuana use, but alcohol is the granddaddy of home wreckers. Lately I have heard story after story about drunken parents, siblings, spouses and, needless to say, ex-spouses and the resulting child abuse, violence and depression that follow.

The fact that as a society we have stopped talking about alcoholism is great hypocrisy. Any one who says they are against legalizing marijuana better also be in favor of restoring prohibition, otherwise that person is a total hypocrite. I’m no more excited about the idea of smoking too much marijuana than I am about getting shit-faced all day and night, but so far I haven’t heard one story about someone smoking too much weed and then abusing a child or smacking around a spouse.

Personal health is another bellwether of the social storms we are facing. A recent study reported that the life expectancy for white women DECREASED in the last year. That is a shocking trend that has caused social scientists to scratch their collective heads to come up with an explanation for that anomaly.

Theories abound, starting with a general perception that many older women are finding that their lives haven’t panned out the way they expected. Divorce, financial challenges of living longer on a fixed income, the stresses of having to balance housekeeping, parenting and career challenges.

Again, alcoholism, prescription drug abuse, and even obesity are contributing factors both as causes and effects. Next time you are in a major airport, do an anecdotal study and I’m sure you’ll notice how many people are anywhere from ten pounds to many pounds overweight and that exacerbates diabetes and heart disease and those are major killers.

All of those dangerous trends are being driven by frustration and disappointment. The widening gap between rich and poor is no longer a dirty little secret. Wealth is now flaunted and greed goes unchallenged and the modern ethos is to accumulate as many toys as you can.

The problem with this is a monetary construct that requires a very expensive buy-in. We have a financial system that takes money to make money and in many cases produces nothing but more wealth.

It’s got to be a tough pill to swallow if you’re sitting on the sidelines while Wall Street and the Auto Industry get bailed out and then you and your kids can’t afford to buy a house in your neighborhood anymore because the one-percenters are driving up prices.

Talk about hypocrisy. It’s illegal to bet on a football game but the Wall Street casino keeps rolling along, able to use its great wealth to buy a seat at the head of the table at the White House.

I’m guessing Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders won’t win the battle of outsiders in this election cycle, but I’m hoping that Washington insiders are paying attention and realizing the the Times They Are A Changing and they better start paying a lot more attention to the everyday challenges and disappointments of their electorate.

3d render of various arrows with red unique arrow turning upward with text ready for change.

gong-show

You can say what you want about Donald Trump, and nobody seems to be an agnostic when it comes to The Donald, but can you imagine how boring this Presidential campaign would be without him.

The Usual Suspects just aren’t that compelling and don’t make for great television.  Neither Hillary Nor Bernie are particularly telegenic and the GOP team is made up of a lot of Ho Hummers.  There’s not a Ronald Reagan or JFK in the bunch that really Pops, as we say in television.

Trump Pops.  CNN is getting its highest ratings ever and should now be rebranded TNN, Trump News Network.  I would love to hear an accounting of how many times the word Trump appears on the 24-7 news cycle, compared to, let’s say, the word Obama, or even ISIS.  I’m guessing it would be a landslide.

The problem with all of this is that it’s one thing to be a candidate that can command a lot of attention, it’s another entirely to become Commander in Chief of the most powerful nation in the world.

Imagine, if you will, Trump vs. Putin.  Both men have expressed respect for each other and it’s not surprising.  They are both pugilistic and have tremendous appeal to a certain nationalistic segment of the their respective countries.

Despite the fact that Russian economy is in shambles because of low oil prices and US sanctions, Putin’s popularity is at an all time high because he has played the Nationalism card very effectively, demonizing the USA and the European Union.

Trump appeals to the blue collar white men MANY OF WHOM didn’t get to go to college.  They have a shared machismo which very much wants America to be the Greatest Nation On Earth.  And waving the American flag is a great distraction from the economic and social ills that have left this segment of the population feeling that they are stuck on the sidelines of the Great American Recovery.

The GAR has been great for the banks that caused the 2008 meltdown, and the Wall Street pranksters who exacerbated this whole debacle.  But it hasn’t done that much for Main Street and it fact, new regulations make it much harder to get a bank loan so it really favors the wealthy who can throw down a lot more cash in any transaction.

I used to watch some guys painting my house listening to Rush Limbaugh all day long and I was struck by the irony that somehow these guys identified with the Republican Party, whose policies greatly favored the Already Rich and did little to level the playing field.

Much of it had to do with social issues which united both groups and I’m also thinking that some of these disenfranchised workers would rather identify UP, with the ruling class, then identify DOWN, with the blacks and Hispanics who were overwhelmingly Democrats.

And of course, RACE is always the elephant in the room.  Like many, I thought America had turned a corner when Obama was elected President but actually I now believe it has inflamed racial tensions in this country and HAVING AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN PRESIDENT HAS FURTHER POLARIZED THE TWO RULING PARTIES.

Right now, Trump is tending downwards but there is still a chance that he will be the Republican candidate and that means there is still a slim chance he will be President.

Now imagine this:  President Trump squaring off against President Putin.  Two  schoolyard bullies who value BLUSTER over mediation.   The last thing the world needs is these two short-tempered men getting into a battle over who has the biggest hands.

So I think it’s time to say to candidate Trump, thanks for the A MUCH MORE ENTERTAINING PRIMARY RACE, THANKS FOR A boost in ratings and thanks for giving a voice to many disenfranchised Americans, but, wait for it……

GONG!

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has decided that the way to combat a lack of diversity is to disenfranchise older members so they can’t vote on the Oscars.

Their thinking is that these people have strong biases in favor of old-fashioned movies like Spotlight and won’t be as open to movies like Straight Outta Compton.

The result is that if you haven’t worked on a movie for the last ten years and you’ve never been nominated for an Oscar, you can still be a member but you can’t vote.

Brilliant. So brilliant that I think we should use the same strategy to reform the United States electorate.

Just like the Academy members, older Americans tend to be largely white, while future generations are going to be much more multi-ethnic. These older white people will tend to impose their more narrow, less diverse tastes on the younger, hipper generations by voting in old-fashioned politicians like Diane Feinstein, Jeb Bush and John Kasich.

If we take away voting rights at 65, us old folks can move over and turn over the future of America to future Americans. Makes sense.

Come to think of it, why don’t we take it a step further and impose term limits, so politicians have to call it a day at age 65. That will definitely guarantee new blood in the halls of congress and all of our statehouses.

By taking away the voting rights of the Social Security bunch, this will ensure much greater open-mindedness and a younger, more diverse perspective, so that someone very popular with younger, more diverse voters will elect someone they prefer, like Bernie Sanders.

Come to think of it, this makes no sense because Bernie Sanders is an even older 74-year-old white man. And Barack Obama, a black man, was voted into the presidency for two four-year terms.’

On second thought, maybe it’s not a good idea to insult our senior citizens without thinking this through. Let me give this new policy a little more thought and I’ll get back to you soon.

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Boy was I wrong!

You might remember a column I wrote suggesting that the South should rise again and secede from the Union after all. And this time we won’t put up a fight.

My thinking was based on the perception that American was a Purple, not Red, country and those people in the Deep South would be happier living in a place that reflected their values, a one-man-one-gun, anti-abortion, country where gay marriage and legal pot would be forever banned.

Last Tuesday was a wake-up call for me and a lot of others. America is trending red, partly because left-leaning voters are too damn busy blogging and face booking and texting and smoking weed to vote in a measly mid-tern election.

Turns out I had it backwards. We are the outliers here on the Left Coast and we are the ones who need to secede and form our own country.

It’s going to include Washington and Oregon and California, Hawaii and Alaska and it’s going to be called Pacifica.   The Alaskans might resist joining but they will benefit by having wealthy neighbors who could definitely use their oil and natural resources.

Not that we will need much oil. We’re going to be a solar-powered nation with lots of electric cars and charging stations everywhere.

Marriage equality and freedom to smoke weed will be constitutionally protected rights. Gun ownership with be sensibly regulated.

We will be bi-lingual with Spanish as a second language, but we will also have a sensible immigration policy. Our border with Mexico will be much shorter and much easier to patrol and will put the Coyotes and drug smugglers out of business. There will no longer be a flood of illegal immigrants but there will be adequate opportunities for those who qualify.

We won’t proclaim ourselves the greatest country in the world—we’ll just settle for being a wonderful country. We’ll start with 48 million people and the seventh biggest economy in the world.

We’ll be superstars in the tech world, including Silicon Valley and Microsoft. We’ll boast Hollywood and Boeing, world class ski areas and amazing surfing beaches.

And we won’t be slouches when it comes to professional sports, including the last Super Bowl and World Series champions.

Our universities will be nothing to sneeze at either, and Harvard will become known as the Stanford of the East.

You might be asking yourselves why the United States would just sit back and let us go but I’m hoping the Bush Doctrine is still in place. If we believe in bringing democracy to the Middle East, we certainly have to support it in the Far West.

Each state will retain its own capital and the national capital will be Melvindam. You read about that Utopic place right here in an earlier column. It will sprout on the California Coast between Santa Barbara and Buellton and will house one million residents, all of whom get an ocean view from their subsidized housing. We will be creating a national capital just as Brazil created Brasilia.

I’m expecting very cordial relations with our neighbors in Canada, the United States and Mexico, so we will have a very small military budget. Not to get too far ahead of ourselves, but I’m assuming we will eventually join NATO and we will likely send troops to support NATO missions but we won’t be arrogant and lead the charge.

I’ve left a message for President Obama because I know he religiously reads this column and I would rather tell this to him personally, man to man. He grew up in Hawaii so I realize that Donald Trump is going to say “I told you so—Obama wasn’t born in America after all”. Hopefully I’ll hear from the President before you are reading this on Wednesday.

Basically, I’m going to say it’s nothing personal, he’s got a great country there, and we are going to live as neighbors in perfect harmony.

In fact, we will offer him dual citizenship because he now owns a home in Palm Desert, California.

In case you are wondering what my role will be in this new country, I would be proud to be considered a Founding Father and I certainly expect to be one of the signers of our new constitution, but I’m categorically saying I will not run for Premier or Prime Minister or whatever we’re going to call that person.

I’ll be too busy between getting Melvindam up and running and making the occasional golf outing to Palm Desert with other world leaders.

If you are planning to stay in the original 46—yes, you’ll have to redo your flags—we want you to know that we would love you to visit our Purple Mountain Majesties and our beautiful white sandy beaches and the aqua waters of Pacifica.

This will be an extremely colorful yet color-blind nation.

Bienvenitos.

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