My Open Letter to @SenToomey: Trump On The First

Trumping The First
Trump on the First Amendment

Senator Toomey:

As one of my duly-elected representatives, you have sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States. Donald Trump did too, but his contempt for the First Amendment is made clear every day. I want to know that you will oppose his dangerous, anti-democratic views on core values so important that the framers placed them first in The Bill of Rights:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Donald Trump wants to eliminate a constitutionally-mandated check on his power by branding the press “enemies of the people”. Your colleague John McCain has called this out for the dictatorial rhetoric that it is. I urge you to add your voice in condemning this affront to our rights.

Remember that I am exercising these very rights guaranteed by the First Amendment when I protest and reach out to you. I am a concerned citizen of Pennsylvania and these United States, and I am your constituent. Don’t disrespect me by calling me a paid protestor, and don’t expect me to stop speaking out and reaching out if you won’t listen to me and speak to me.

I look forward to an email or written response at your earliest convenience.

A Concerned Constituent

My Open Letter to @SenToomey: There Is No Religious Right To Discriminate.

Senator Toomey:

I am a life-long Pennsylvanian, I am gay, and I worry more every day that my hard-won rights will be taken away. Nominating Judge Gorsuch to our highest court is particularly troubling given his role in the Hobby Lobby case. I oppose his nomination and urge you to do the same.

Gorsuch’s corporatist view that businesses can have strongly-held religious convictions is a further eroding of my rights as an individual. This kind of thinking has turned campaign finance into the national disgrace of Citizens United: Money is NOT speech. Corporations are NOT people. Gorsuch will continue to steal rights from citizens and give them to corporations.

Show me that you understand that there is no religious right to discriminate. The First Amendment guarantees me freedom from other people’s religions, and Title II of the Civil Rights Act guarantees businesses that reap the benefits of government cannot discriminate. Now that most Americans support equal rights for LGBTQ citizens, these “religious freedom” laws are thinly-veiled attacks that try to justify homophobia as religious victimization.

Gorsuch does not understand this, and he does not understand how over-broad attempts to enshrine discrimination into law backfire. A baker can just as easily refuse to serve an interracial couple as a gay couple. So could a doctor or a pharmacy–with much more dire consequences.

Please schedule a town hall in Philadelphia as soon as possible so we can begin a direct dialog. Philadelphians make up 12% of Pennsylvania’s population. Prove that you represent all Pennsylvanians by coming here and talking to us. I look forward to an email, a written response, or your first Philadelphia town hall at your earliest convenience.

A Concerned Constituent


J.J. Abrams is a talentless, derivative hack.

Movies are getting worse, and nothing typifies that more than anything J.J. Abrams touches. Unlike M. Night Shyamalan who had his one-and-only well-executed idea back in 1999 with The Sixth Sense, Abrams has released one turdfest after another, each one turdier than that last. And yes, that includes The Force Awakens.

D.A. posted an angry rant from Cracked on Facebook that enumerates five reasons why most movies today, but particularly Abrams movies, are getting worse. The only thing Cracked Guy forgot is terrible gimmicks like the Star Trek reboot’s lens flares.

Funny story about that. So I wrote a scathing review of Cloverfield, an early Abrams turdfest. Abrams murdered what could have been a tolerable American Kaiju knock-off with the overused gimmick of the shaky cam. That was 2008. I wondered then if Abrams would saddle the following year’s Star Trek reboot with a similar gimmick. Say it with me boys and girls: Lens Flares. Thank you, Mr. Talentless Derivative Hack.

And now, The Angry Cracked Guy and 5 Reasons Movies Keep Getting Worse:

My Open Letter to @SenToomey: Oppose Puzder even having a hearing.


Senator Toomey:

I oppose Andrew Puzder for Secretary of Labor, and I strongly urge you to oppose Puzder even having a Senate hearing. He is a scandal-laden candidate who opposes the core mission of the agency he would lead, and he should never even appear before the Senate.

It is clear that the Trump administration did not vet this nominee, and scandals about employing an illegal immigrant have immediately ended consideration of more qualified candidates in the past.

To give this person a hearing, let alone confirming him, will confirm the public’s opinion that Republicans apply a different set of rules to themselves by hiring illegals personally while bashing them publicly. You must oppose this blatant display of such hypocrisy if you and your party want to maintain a shred of credibility.

Puzder is also uniquely unqualified to run an agency whose primary duty is to protect the rights and safety of workers. It’s another fox being set to guard the chicken coop. I support raising the minimum wage and paid sick leave, neither of which benefit me and he opposes, because it’s the right thing to do. Puzder’s business record, particularly of cheating workers out of their wages, should be an immediate disqualification for this post.

Again, I strongly urge you to oppose even given this unqualified and unvetted nominee a hearing. Urge the Trump administration to find a vetted, moderate nominee that both you and I can support.

I look forward to an email or letter explaining your position at your earliest convenience.

A Concerned Constituent

Release The Kraken! Of Advertisements!

I’m usually pretty quick to click YouTube’s “Skip Ad after 5 seconds”, but every now and then I’m intrigued enough to pause before dismissing the thing between me and the content I want. Today this three-and-a-half minute ad was spared the get-thee-gone click, and it was better than the content it mercifully delayed. Why?

It’s an ad for a spray to make your poop not stink. Novel premise: Check.

It has unicorns farting rainbows into suction cups and being more than a little aroused by the process. Good and twisted twists: Check.

It slogs through a series of euphemisms for defecating. Potty humor: Check.

And. At about the two minute mark, somebody says, “Release the Kraken!” Check, check, and check.

I’m probably not going to buy the product, but their ad is too good not to share. Without further ado, please enjoy “Slay Your Poo-Stink with the Golden Fart of a Mystic Unicorn”.

My Open Letter to @SenToomey on Preserving the ACA

Here is the letter I am going to hand-deliver to Pat Toomey’s Philadelphia office as a part of today’s TuesdaysWithToomey protestAgree? Feel free to write or call Senator Toomey if you live in PA or your senators and representatives if you live elsewhere.

Senator Toomey:

I strongly urge you to preserve the ACA, in body or in spirit.  Above all, you must reject any replacement or modification that does not include protection for people with pre-existing conditions or that substitutes affordable, comprehensive health insurance with catastrophic junk policies and health savings accounts. And you absolutely cannot leave millions of Americans including me uninsured in the gap between the ends of the “Repeal and Replace” slogan.

I am a freelance software engineer and have purchased my own health insurance directly since 1999. It hasn’t been easy, and it hasn’t been cheap. Now I have a policy through the ACA marketplace that I pay for without subsidies. My health is OK for an early 50s man, and I rarely use my insurance. I’ve paid into the system (and been profitable) for many years. But this is the age where that starts to change, and the notion of Repeal and Replace now has me worried.

If the ACA marketplace goes away, I fear that the one remaining insurer here will stop issuing individual policies. This year I called my previous insurer, Aetna, directly since I didn’t see them on the exchange. Not only did they pull out of the exchange, they will no longer write policies in Philadelphia for individuals at all! I face the possibility of not being able to have comprehensive health insurance even though I can pay for it. You cannot let that happen to me or to any of your constituents.

Prove that you value the lives and well-being of your constituents above party politics or loyalty to Donald Trump. Make sure people like me have comprehensive health insurance at an affordable cost with protections like the ACA’s pre-existing condition rule, and we’ll remember that in six years.

A Concerned Constituent,
John Kominetz


Going Off The Map


In a less than an hour, these United States of America will sail off the map into completely unknown territory. Maybe it will just be a slightly different “more of the same” given how paralyzing out political process has become, or maybe…

We can guess about our course by looking at our captain, Trump, the #minorityPresident.

Trump is unfit.

Being elected did not magically imbue Trump with the judgement, knowledge, and temperament to be POTUS. He is still the same vain, greedy, thin-skinned man he’s always been. He is still the “great businessman” that declared bankruptcy a half dozen times and who got his start–and several bailouts–from his rich father. And he’s still the thermonuclear pyromanic who’s obsessed with and ignorant of the most destructive weapons known to man.

“A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.” —Hillary

Trump is unprepared.

Apologists said he’d be surrounded by the best people to make up for his deficiencies. Most of the seats below the cabinet are empty, and in a panic Trumpworld has been asking many of Obama’s people to stay the day before his inauguration. It’s not uncommon for some people to stay on, but it’s completely unprecedented to have so many vacancies and beg for help after screwing the pooch. Maybe it was firing Christie as head of the transition that derailed the selection and vetting process, or maybe they just never did any work at all.

The Obama people should all say no. They are just going to legitimize Trump and give him a bunch of scapegoats for the first dozen or so catastrophes he brings down upon us all.

Trump is corrupt.

Trump just paid $25 million dollars to settle lawsuits from defrauded students of “Trump University”. Instead of draining the swamp, he has surrounded himself with contributors and billionaires as unfit for their offices as he is. He railed against Clinton’s ties to Goldman Sachs and then picked an even half dozen for major posts. He sees being president as a money-making opportunity for him and for his cronies.

Instant Conflict of Interest: Just add Bible. It’s an immediate constitutional crisis when he takes the oath of office.

Trump is compromised.

There’s no other way to explain the Trump-Putin bromance. Either Putin has compromising materials on him or has become the master to Trump’s apprenticeship of being an authoritarian kleptocrat dictator. The big surprise is how many Republicans have abandoned patriotism in the name of Trump. The sign early on was Trump disparaging John McCain’s war record. Now, Putin’s favorability rating among Trump voters are not insignificant. In fact, they may be better than Trump’s given his nose-dive on the way to inauguration–a net -10%.

Trump is a pathological liar.

It’s hard to distinguish lies he tells with intent from lies he tells out of ignorance and hyperbole, but no politician to date has ever lied as publicly, consistently, and obviously as Trump. This country, founded on Age of Enlightenment principles, has wallowed in the much of a post-truth world for years now. The anti-Obama Republicans started it to rationalize their naked obstructionism, but Trump perfected it along with delivering it via Twitter. Now we’re leaving the post-truth period for the Golden Age of Lying.

Trump doesn’t care about you.

He only cares about himself, his family, and his cronies. Trump managed to dupe millions of people because elections are about emotions, not reason. He got people mad and kept them mad by playing on their real-world problems and their unconscious bigotries–except for the outright bigots who flocked to Trump as a beacon of White Power. Frankly, a large part of those people don’t really believe or like Trump; it just feels good to be part of a movement, a part of the winning team. They don’t care if he burns it all down.

Doing Something About It

I don’t list these points to convince former Trump voters of their mistakes. There are no links to back up these assertions. Polls show Trump voters don’t know or “agree with” basic facts like unemployment is lower and the stock market higher after Obama’s eight years. Those arguments are lost before they begin, so don’t bother. You cannot reason with the irrational.

Use this list to get mad and to stay mad. Go over your list of grievances every day, because we need to fight back. It’s time to throw away notions that worked in a country with competent presidents and some agreement on common good. It’s time to use whatever leverage we have, to use whatever strategies work.


The only political power left for Democrats is the filibuster. Our senators must vow to obstruct everything Trump does, even if it appears good on the surface. McConnell proved that obstructionism works as long as it’s total and absolute. Let your senators know that you’re watching. If they won’t take a page from the Republican playbook, then Democrats must. Let them know that we will primary them and, if they still win, not vote in their elections. We can’t apply pressure to Trump and the Republicans, but we can to the remaining Democrats. If they won’t use the one power left to them, they are no better than Trump-supporting Republicans anyway.  Read the Indivisible Guide; it’s basically the Elected Official Owner’s Manual.


Democrats need to study the Tea Party Movement, replicate it, and select leaders who are going to use those strategies. Bernie Sanders gets this, and Hillary Clinton did not. Forget about ineffective feel-good tactics like online petitions and peaceful protests; disrupt people’s lives and get in their faces–especially people you elected. I don’t see any signs that the Tea Party strategy is dated, so let’s use what works.

Win back the states.

25 states have Republicans in control of the executive and legislative bodies (compared to 6 true blue states) . Redistricting after the 2010 census assured many House Republicans couldn’t lose in general elections which further reinforces the value of primaries as a noun and primarying as a verb. The last six years have demonstrated the marginal use of winning the presidency but losing the Union. Democrats need to play the long game, and it needs to be a 50-state strategy.