Democracy Dies In The Darkness

By SJWNY, a Trail Mix Contributor

One of my favorite scenes in All The President’s Men (1976) is when Robert Redford (as Bob Woodward) & Dustin Hoffman (as Carl Bernstein) sit in the Library of Congress, laboriously pouring over notes while researching a lead. Stories just don’t fall from the sky: much hard work is involved.

This Post is in tribute to the Reporters, Journalists, Commentators who do not cave under pressure; who did not make a pilgrimage to Trump Tower to ensure access; who do not wait for #45 to pivot. These individuals face daily tweets/onslaughts questioning their work from a regime full of bullies & over inflated incompetents. These members of the media provide an invaluable service to our country, our freedom, the world. Democracy dies in the darkness; here’s a Thank You to the people who daily shine a light for the good.

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I set the Twitter birdy free. And told him to crap on Facebook.

By SJWNY, a Trail Mix Contributor

The NPR show On Point featured an interesting interview Tuesday with guest Erick Erickson. He talked about how we can have hundreds of followers on Twitter or friends on Facebook but not know the name of our next door neighbor.


As a society we’ve lost the human part of humanity. This isn’t some evil plan by outside forces, this is by our own doing. Technology is grand but at what price?

I tweet very little nowadays, only when the spirit moves me, which isn’t often. Last year’s political hoodoo & ensuing ugliness soured me right quick on social media.

Facebook has no appeal to me. I dabbled just long enough to realize it equaled the worst aspects of the world’s biggest high school. Also the knowledge that many people I know are addicted to this stuff scares me  …. I got out before I really got in.

Do you know your neighbor? Take a walk & see the trees, hear the birds, notice the sunset? Is it too late as a society to realize what really matters: the people around us? The wall we have to worry about isn’t the one built on the border; it is the wall we build around ourselves.

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Living Outside The Gated Communities of Thought

By SJWNY, a Trail Mix Contributor

Let me be upfront: I have voted since I was eligible & take my vote seriously. I thought carefully about what Party designation would be on my Registration Card & every thought always came back to one. I am a Non-Affiliated Voter who has never regretted my decision.

Valid arguments can be made about Primaries (though some states have opened up on such matters.) I understand this. It’s part of the deal.

Being Non-Affiliated gives me a unique perspective. I vote the Candidate, not the Party & can have a clearer vision on who these Candidates are. I have voted for the Democrat, I have voted for the Republican.

I vote for the best person to represent me & my beliefs. I like both Parties’ good points equally; I despise both Parties’ bad points equally. Having one Party dominant over another is anathema. We have to learn to work together because this is life, folks, & these are family members, neighbors. No one Party has all the answers.

One thing that amazes me is how the members of either Party can actively campaign for/defend their Parties and yet be insulting, condescending or dismissive towards potential voters (& their valuable votes.) Isn’t the whole point to win?

Since I’ll never be a Party Leader or Candidate this fact eludes me, yet I see it daily in many forums & circumstances. Ahhh …. why would I want to vote for Candidate X if her/his supporters are arrogant a-holes who know oh-so-much-better than me & revel in telling me this? Last I knew A + B = See, if you want my Vote, Respect Me. We don’t have to be buddies, just allies in the fight.

2018 is almost here. A bigly important election. The Republicans are cannibalizing themselves & the Democratic Leadership is stuck in the ’90s.

One thing to remember is that low voter turnouts favor incumbents. Which makes me & my fellow Non-Affiliateds really important. Treat us nice. Treat us with respect. Our numbers are growing. Dear Democrats & Republicans … you need us to win.

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Neighbor. Hood.

By SJWNY, a Trail Mix Contributor

I’ve thought about writing a Post on this topic for a while but have hesitated. Discussing the people who make up a neighborhood & how their actions influence it can be divisive. Black & White with no Gray seems to be the outcome. My side, Your side. We are both rubber, We are both glue.

This year marks 25 years I have lived in my neighborhood. The houses here were inexpensive & highly available in 1992. White Flight had taken hold & a good deal of this area was minority, African American & Puerto Rican. Crime was rampant: drugs, prostitution, gangs. HIV, AIDS. Why did we buy a house in this scenario? Because we got a big house with a big yard & a real honest to goodness driveway, which is a plus during the winter. Also the location is within easy walking distance of downtown & about a mile from the Canadian border. It was a chance taken not for the present but for the future.

There were many years the house was broken in to. Replacing doors, even metal doors with metal frames was a habit. Looking out the window at 3am to a view of hookers servicing clients in the front yard. Syringes littering the yards, stuck in the poor old maple tree. Used condoms dumped on the lawn. Coming home to find graffiti written across the front door in black magic marker. (Handy hint: Simple Green, straight out of the bottle, is a life saver in removing ink.) I will not let these bastards get me down was my mantra. This is my home.

Then about 10 years ago young professionals discovered what a bargain this area was. Beautiful homes waiting to be loved & restored. Great location to the downtown. And yes, they were/are for the most part Caucasian. The LGBTQ community is a strong presence; the next street over from me, which was a notorious drug & gang street, is now lined with restored homes & gardens. It is thriving. It is reborn. People want to move here, invest here. As a consequence, the value of my property has quadrupled.

There is a new wave of immigrants from Yemen. An abandoned theatre a couple blocks away is now a Mosque. These are quiet, law abiding people who keep their homes neat & make sure their children go to school. They are what we wish for in a neighbor.

Not long ago I drove through an area of the city that just a couple years ago was a dump. Homes that had garbage literally covering the yard, weeds up to my waist. Then a major hospital decided to build a medical campus nearby. Thousands of educated professionals would be employed there. Many looked at the cheap fixer-uppers (more like miracles needed) & bought these homes to live in near by. And guess what …. the local population is upset that they are being priced out. Priced out of an area that many could not find the gumption to bend over to pick up the trash or burn a calorie to pull a weed or scrub the graffiti off the buildings. I feel no pity.

Is this wrong? Or is it the fact that in getting older the realization of being responsible & taking responsibility for ones’ actions becomes ingrained, at least in those willing to listen?

How many of you have gone through the resurrection of your neighborhood? I like this area, I like the neighbors.

Is this bad?

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Heed The Prophets

By SJWNY, a Trail Mix Contributor

Lately events have me thinking about a Special Comment Keith Olbermann gave in late October, 2010, just before the midterm elections. Remember then? The Tea Party had arisen & was fielding candidates.

Going back over Mr Olbermann’s (incredibly) prophetic words I couldn’t help but think how they apply today. The following is taken from “If the Tea Party Wins, America Loses” & appeared on Countdown. Read, heed, remember.

It is as if a group of moderately talented performers has walked on stage at a comedy club on Improv night. Each hears a shout from the audience, consisting of a bizarre but just barely plausible fear or hatred or neurosis or prejudice …

And the instructions are not to improvise a comedy sketch, but to elect a group of unqualified, unstable individuals who will do what they are told, in exchange for money and power, and march this nation as far backward as they can get, backward to Jim Crow, or backward to the breadlines of the ’30s, or backward to hanging union organizers, or backward to the Trusts and the Robber Barons …

You are willing to let these people run this country? This is the America you want? This is the America you are willing to permit? These are the kind of cranks, menaces, mercenaries and authoritarians you will turn this country over to?

If you sit there next Tuesday and let this happen, whose fault will that be? Not really theirs. They are taught that freedom is to be seized and rationed. They can sleep at night having advanced themselves and their puppeteers and to hell with everybody else.

They see the greatness of America not in its people but in its corporations. They see the success of America not in hard work but in business swindles. They see the worthiness of America not in its quality of life but in its quality of investing. They see the future of America not in progress, but in revolution to establish a theocracy for white males, with dissent caged and individuality suppressed.

They see America not for what it is, nor what it can be. They see delusions, specters, fantasies; they see communists under every bed and a gun in every hand. They see tax breaks for the rich and delayed retirement for everyone else. They fight the redistribution of wealth not because they oppose redistribution, but because their sole purpose is to protect wealth and keep it where they think it belongs – in the bank accounts of the wealthy.

They want to make the world safe for Bernie Madoff. But you know better. If you sit there next Tuesday – if you sit there tomorrow, and the rest of this week – and you let this cataclysm unfold, you have enabled this.

It is one thing to be attacked by those who would destroy America from without. It is a worse thing to be attacked by those who would destroy America from within.

But it is the worst thing to sit back and let it happen, to not find the time and the means to convince just one other sane voter to put aside the disappointment of the last two years and look to the future and vote …

This is the week in which the Three Card Monte dealers hope to take over the government – the candidates who want their own way, who will say anything to make palatable their real identities as agents of regression, repression and corporate sovereignty. They are here, they have energized the self-serving and the greedy and the proudly ill-informed.


Those words were written almost seven years ago.