America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, August 13, 2017

One of the worst moments in one of the most poorly executed presidential campaigns in recent memory was Hillary’s ill-advised characterization of Donald Trump’s supporters as a Basket of Deplorables. Of course, she didn’t mean that to be taken literally to apply to everyone who supported him. Nonetheless, the offended outcry from Trump and his people reverberated for months.

In a campaign in which Trump constantly lied, contradicted himself, insulted various ethnic groups and threw around wild accusations, he was adored by his supporters for plainly speaking his mind. The talking heads on his payroll said we shouldn’t take everything he said seriously. He was a man of big ideas, not a detail person, as if respect for facts was too vulgar or arcane for someone of his stature.

Yesterday, in Charlottesville, we got a look at what Hillary was referring to, though I call…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, August 12, 2017

As the 2016 election campaign began to illuminate the deep divisions in our country, many of us were shocked and horrified. No one was naïve enough to think that racism and bigotry had gone the way of scourges like polio and smallpox, but the fact that it continued to exist in such numbers and with a hate index not seen in decades was a wake-up call.

Trump’s attacks on Muslim and Hispanic immigrants was designed to ignite fear, anger, and xenophobia, and it worked. Whatever Trump’s intentions were, it worked over a much broader spectrum than anyone anticipated. Like electricity arcing over a space between two exposed wires, it was an easy leap from hating Muslims and all those alleged Mexican rapists, murderers, and drug dealers to unearthing the hate groups that make up the Alt-Right White Supremacist Movement.

Most observers don’t think Trump is…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, August 11, 2017

If you’re like me, you’re sick of pundits interpreting events or pushing their own agendas on television. It’s useful to keep in mind that they’re all being handsomely paid to argue with each other and that regardless of their credentials, none of them have anything at stake except lining up their next gig.

During the current confrontation with North Korea we’ve been repeatedly told that Kim Jong Un is a madman who rules with an iron hand who thinks he’s still fighting the Korean War. When we see tens of thousands of people cheering Kim in lock step in the central square of Pyongyang, it’s tempting to succumb to the idea that the people of North Korea are helpless innocents caught in some pied-piper-like trance.  It looks more like a horrific sci-fi movie than reality, unless…

What if they’re not merely drugged, brainwashed drones being…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, August 4, 2017

I learned a lot about conservative values this week. It was enlightening. It was uplifting enough to restore my confidence in the future.

Why? I read Senator Jeff Flake’s book, which he named after Barry Goldwater’s Conscience of a Conservative. What I learned was that there is a sharp dividing line between the principles of conservatism and what has been masquerading as conservatism for the past two years. And to my surprise, I found myself in agreement with most of them.

Flake writes about three things in his book: his devotion to his Mormon values and beliefs, the conservative ideology he subscribes to, and the basic philosophy that governs his life. About the first, I’m ambivalent – I respect his beliefs, though they’re surely not mine, but like him, I respect and am willing to defend his right to follow them.

About the second, I…

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America the Beautiful

A. L. Kaplan, August 1, 2017

A. L. Kaplan’s love of books started as a child and sparked a creative imagination. Born on a cold winter morning in scenic northern New Jersey, her stories and poems have been included in several anthologies and magazines. Her first novel, Star-touched, is due out October 1, 2017. She has served on the Maryland Writers’ Association’s Howard County Chapter board for several years and holds an MFA in sculpture from the Maryland Institute College of Art. When not writing or indulging in her fascination with wolves, A. L. is the props manager for a local theater. This proud mother of two lives in Maryland with her husband and dog.

Army   Marines   AirForceMarines   CoastGuard

On June 14, 2016 candidate Trump tweeted a message to the LGBT community: “I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your…

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America the Beautiful

Susan Collins was first elected to the Senate in 1996. She’s halfway through her fourth term, and if she chooses to run for a fifth, it will be during the 2020 presidential campaign, so she’s relatively immune to pressure from the White House and blackmail from groups like the Koch brothers. But in her case, I don’t think that matters. She would continue to be true to what she believes no matter who threatened her. She would place the interests and needs of her constituents above the needs of the far right. She will, as she always has done, defend poorer Americans who would have no health care if not for Medicaid and women who depend on organizations like Planned Parenthood.

It’s clear that she is appalled by our president, his behavior, his character, his unprincipled and unscrupulous way of dealing with people he disagrees with. But listen to her…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, July 28, 2017

“He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” That was Donald Trump the candidate talking about John McCain in June of 2015.

McCain must have taken that to heart. While other Republican Senators were caving in to Trump’s bullying, McCain made it clear that he wouldn’t be taken prisoner this time. He said from the beginning of the health care debate that he disagreed with the way his party’s leadership was handling it. He believed that an issue as vital and far-reaching as health care should be a bi-partisan effort from the beginning, and last night, true to his word, he cast the deciding vote that sent the final Republican attempt to force their will on the nation down to defeat.

I’ve always believed John McCain was a principled man with deep convictions…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, July 19, 2017

Americans often have conveniently short memories. We have to be reminded of things that should be part of our DNA by now. If honest journalists like Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite hadn’t had the courage and integrity to speak out against the Joseph McCarthy witch hunts of the 1950s and the duplicity of the Pentagon in the early years of Vietnam, imagine where we’d be today.

If annoying and persistent reporters like Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein hadn’t hounded the Nixon White House over Watergate, we’d never have learned the truth that there was a concerted effort by Nixon’s people to compromise the 1972 presidential election. And while it was mostly politically motivated, only the consistent media barrage of Bill Clinton ultimately revealed a serious weakness in the president’s character.

We’ve seen this act before. As the smoke thickens and the denials become nastier…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, July 19, 2017

This morning, Mitch McConnell said he imagined Democrats were celebrating today, but they ought to be clear why. That statement is another lesson in learning to translate political gibberish into English.

First, it’s not just Democrats who are celebrating. It’s every American who worries about the cost of health care, and recent polls suggest four out of five of us fall into that category. More significantly, what Americans are celebrating is the failure of an attempt to pass bad legislation crafted in secret while excluding everyone but the fifty-two members of the Senate Republican caucus. And in the twisted logic of political rhetoric, McConnell blames that failure on the refusal of the Democrats he excluded from the process to cooperate.

The truth that no Republican senator will speak publicly is that the entire conservative agenda is aimed at reducing the cost of what they refer…

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alkaplan

Great news: STAR TOUCHED will be released October 1, 2017 and is now available for pre-order through several book sellers.Startouched front cover2Eighteen year old Tatiana is running from her past and her Star-touched powers eight years after a meteor devastates earth’s population.

Her power to heal is sometimes overshadowed by the ability to create ravaging fires. Fleeing the fear induced persecution of those like her, Tatiana seeks refuge in a small town she once visited. This civil haven, in a world where society has broken down, is beginning to crumble. Tatiana is once again left with the choice to flee or to stay and fight for the new life she has built. Only by harnessing the very forces that haunt her can Tatiana save her friends… and herself.

“A unique and finely crafted debut novel, the characters touched my heart as I was drawn into their plight and compelled to finish!”

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