D-Day 75th Anniversary: June 6th, 1944

On this day, I would like to take a moment to remember the men who fought and died storming the beaches of Normandy.

Their selfless sacrifice, and devotion to duty, serves as a shining example of courage, honor and duty.

May we, as a Nation, never forget them and all they did to preserve freedom.

“On June 6, 1944, more than 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline, to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation a crusade in which, “we will accept nothing less than full victory.” More than 5,000 Ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion, and by day’s end, the Allies gained a foot-hold in Continental Europe. The cost in lives on D-Day was high. More than 9,000 Allied Soldiers were killed or wounded, but their sacrifice allowed more than 100,000 Soldiers to begin the slow, hard slog across Europe, to defeat Adolf Hitler’s crack troops.” [https://www.army.mil/d-day/ ]

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April 19th, 2019

As I sit here writing this, I cannot help but reflect on the significance of this day.

In Christianity, today marks Good Friday, the day that Jesus Christ went to the cross to pay for our collective sins. In doing the research for my book, Where Was God?, I delved deeper into this horrific event. It is truly a very humbling experience when you realize just how much pain and suffering was endured for us. As much as I thought I knew the story, I came away with not only a deeper appreciation of what Christ did for us, but also a deeper understanding of the history behind it.  I think this is something that most people do not truly understand. Sometimes I feel that we treat Him as a mystical figure, instead of a historical one.

Sadly, most do not understand that there is history to the story of Christ. Among New Testament scholars, there is little doubt that Jesus Christ lived. While the most detailed story of Jesus’ life is contained in the four Gospels, they are not our only source. First-century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus referenced Jesus twice in his twenty volume history of the Jewish people. Additionally, Tacitus, the first-century Roman senator and historian, referred to Him in his history of Rome.  There are other anecdotal references to Jesus from a wide variety of non-biased sources. Even beyond Christianity, members of the Jewish and Muslim faiths also acknowledge the existence of Jesus.

If you are interested in learning more, I would highly recommend taking a look at, Where Was God?

Today also marks two very significant events in American History.

On April 19th, 1775, British troops, who had been sent to seize colonial weapons, fired the first shots of the American Revolutionary War, when they confronted about eighty militia members at Lexington, Massachusetts.  Eight militiamen were killed in the initial confrontation at Lexington, but upon arriving in Concord the English were met with a much larger force of around four hundred. These two battles would set the stage for the war that would ultimately secure American independence.

On April 19th, 1995, America was shaken to its core by the terror attack at the Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. This attack left nearly seven hundred injured and one hundred and sixty-eight dead, including four members of the United States Secret Service. At the time I was a member of the NYPD’s Intelligence Division and was sitting inside a USSS Suburban, on a protection detail, when the call came over the radio about the attack. There are no words to describe the feelings you get, as you are processing the fact that your country is under attack, and wondering if you are next. It was an unfortunate experience I would face again on September 11th.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." – George Santayana (Vol. I, Reason in Common Sense)

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The Derailment of the Trump Train?!?!

The immediate aftermath of President Donald Trump signing the now infamous Omnibus Spending Bill seemed to be a visceral one. In fact, there were widespread reports of weeping and gnashing of teeth among some of the more hardcore followers.  To be fair, at face value, the bill does seem to be a direct affront to many of the things that the President campaigned on, but does it herald the coming of Armageddon?  The answer is a resounding: No.

I’m really not sure why people seem to be losing their minds over this, but they need to pause and take a deep breath. The reality is that you’d have to have just awoken from a coma to be shocked by any of this. Perhaps it has been the continuous chanting of drain the swamp, which led many folks to view things with rose-colored glasses, but the reality is draining a swamp as big as Washington D.C. is not going to happen for a LONG time.

To put it in terms everyone can understand, it is like adding 30lbs over the winter and then thinking you can lose it all in a few days before the start of the Memorial Day weekend. It just ain’t happening, sport.

It’s also not Trump’s job to drain it, but we the voters. We elected them, now we have to eject them!

Actually, if you take a moment to really read and digest the bill, something which 99% of lawmakers didn’t do before they voted on it, you’d get an interesting look into how your representatives view you.

The Omnibus Bill isn’t a budget, but a well contrived spending spree that was most likely drafted and voted on quickly to prove a point. Call it: The Swamp Strikes Back. Folks seem to forget that Congress was around long before Trump and will be there long after he is gone. The swamp didn’t form overnight and if you think they are just going to just roll onto their backs, and be submissive, you’re insane. Trump has been hammering them at every turn and they just did a push-back, showing him they aren’t quite as dysfunctional as many believe them to be.

The reality is that they KNOW what they are doing. The T.V. theatrics are just that, well-rehearsed theatrics. It is a spectacle, played by political parties, to appeal to their individual bases.  Republicans blame democrats, who in turn blame republicans, nothing gets done and they all get rich without having to actually accomplish anything.  Trump threatens that status quo and they are doing their best to push back.

Two years ago this month I wrote a post called The Curious Case of Donald Trump that questioned whether he was what we needed. Two years later I can say that I believe he is.

Congress, as a whole, believes they just played him, but I believe they actually played right into his hand. It would have been political suicide for a republican to come out and say that they were against funding the military. Likewise, democrats needed a win and they got it with Planned Parenthood. Most question why they didn’t address DACA, but to be completely honest that is an emotional issue and isn’t really a make-or-break issue for them. In fact, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer actually commented that:

At the end of the day, as the minority party, we feel good about being able to succeed in so many ways. We don’t have the House, we don’t have the Senate, we don’t have the presidency, but we produced a darn good bill for the priorities we have believed in.” 

Think about it for a moment: “…..the priorities we have believed in.”

Translation: DACA folks, you’re not our priority right now.

Remember, if you actually solve a problem then you are no longer able to campaign on it.

I believe majority leader’s Ryan and McConnell overplayed their hand and will come out of this much weaker. Trump campaigned on rebuilding the military, and he got the money for that. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see him pull a rabbit out of the hat, in terms of funding other projects, because the devil is always in the details. Republicans on the other hand excoriated the left for reckless spending, but did just that in this bill and they even managed to get democrats to praise it.

Personally, I think we need to hold a Roll Call of our elected reps and ask three fundamental questions:

1.       Did you draft any of the provisions in the bill and if you did which ones?

2.       Did you read the 2,232 page bill?

3.       If you didn’t, why did you vote the way you did?

In the end, I think many will look back at this bill as potentially a new Ides of March moment leading to the downfall of some in Congress.