Millennial. Lawyer. Curious about everything.

Can America “deprogram” the increasingly mainstream presence of far right extremists?

Image for post
Image for post

Over 70 million people voted for Donald J. Trump in the 2020 election. Yet not all Trump and far right voters are the same. Some think he’s saving America from a cabal of liberal satanists and pedophiles, while others simply like lower taxes and are willing to sacrifice any semblance of morality and dignity to realize them. It is unfair to characterize all Trump voters as the same. They vary in degree, as they do in cultish fervor. The question remains — can America deprogram the far right extremist fringe of Trump supporters?

While I may question those willing to trade morality for a friendly business climate and tax breaks for the wealthy, I understand the rationality of their actions. People often vote their bottom line. Most of those voters do not view Trump as a threat to democracy, but as a colorful buffoon who would happily do their bidding. He proved it too. Trump nominated conservative justices at all levels of the federal bench, from the district courts to the Supreme Court; cut taxes for the wealthy; rolled back environmental regulations so more businesses could freely operate; and cracked down on China and allies that arguably expect too much of America. Had his ineptitude to lead not fully revealed itself during the Coronavirus pandemic, America may very well have sworn in this aspiring despot instead of Joe Biden on January 20th. …


Because what didn’t happen in 2020?

Image for post
Image for post

It was a year we all want to forget, but one we will always remember. The year 2020 was challenging to say the least. For some more than others. The loss of life, employment, and livelihood exacerbated an already explosive political environment from the lead up to the U.S. elections to Brexit. You might ask why anyone would want to reflect and relive some of those difficult moments and events, but I think it’s important to remember what we endured and the silver linings that make us better for it.

It All Started With Kobe.

The news of his passing rocked the world. It hit me harder than expected. I had never met this person, yet in a way it had felt like I had grown up with him, having lived through my childhood and formative years watching him mature and evolve in the NBA. At the time of his death, I wrote the…


In the age of Trump, is a person mutually exclusive from their politics?

Image for post
Image for post

I have made it known since 2016 how much I detest Donald Trump — even denouncing my former allegiance to the Republican Party — but this article is not about Trump or modern day Republicanism. It is more personal. Some of the people I admire and respect most in this world — my father, grandfather, in-laws — support a man and political party with effectively blind allegiance. The difference in opinion has far surpassed the realm of dismissing the matter as “let’s agree to disagree” or “reasonable minds can differ.” To me, the racist dog whistling (often via a foghorn), xenophobia, misogyny, disdain for science, overt authoritarianism, and overall immorality is unconscionable. Forget politics. …


Whether he pays up is a separate question.

Image for post
Image for post

What did an ordinary German lender have to do to realize its American investment banking dreams? Monetize the scraps. In order to compete with the biggest and most profitable firms on Wall Street starting in the 1980s, Deutsche Bank had to excel in the business that established firms didn’t want. One of those scraps was to be the future President of the United States of America, Donald J. Trump. After Trump burned most of the big banks following his wave of loan defaults from his Atlantic City casinos, nobody on Wall Street would touch him. Except Deutsche.

Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction tells the story of this tenuous financial marriage. The author David Enrich narrates the tale through some of the key characters who were instrumental in the process. While he paints Deutsche as a dysfunctional criminal enterprise (which it is), he neglects to assess the industry holistically. There are a number of problem childs, as illustrated in another book I recently reviewed, Billion Dollar Whale (which describes Goldman Sachs’ disastrous dealings with 1MDB, the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund). Deutsche may be the leader of the pack, but the point is — there is a pack. …


Positive thinking is not the solution.

Image for post
Image for post

When people speak about neutrality today, it often relates to carbon emissions, the internet, or foreign relations. Being “neutral”, however, is also a mindset. Most people know that a negative mindset can have consequences, but few leaders and entrepreneurs appreciate the detrimental effects a positive mentality can similarly have on performance. In the midst of chaos or high-pressured situations, acting overly positive appears fake. Not only will you likely fail to convince yourself in the heat of a tense moment, you will probably appear as a fraud to those around you.

Shift into neutral instead. As quarterback Russell Wilson and mental coach Trevor Moawad describe, a neutral mindset is both about owning any mistakes that have been made and not letting them become more powerful than necessary. It is about focusing on the next objective. The shift to neutral transforms someone into an assassin of the moment, regardless of pressure or expectations. This balanced mindset prevents someone from getting too high or too low, and instead forces them to target the next goal like a sniper peering through a scope. …


8 lessons learned from America’s age of authoritarianism.

Image for post
Image for post

Thanks to President Donald J. Trump, one truth of American democracy is more apparent than ever: presidential power has run amok. Even apart from Trump’s baseless rants and coup d’etat flirtations, he has posed an unprecedented threat to democracy over the past four years. His dreams of dictatorship morphed into reality in many ways, whether by turning the Department of Justice into his own law firm, profiting from private businesses at the taxpayer’s expense, not disclosing his tax returns, and extorting foreign leaders to attack his political opponents. The list goes on.

Nobody had the authority or balls to check Trump’s power. Democrats won the House majority back in 2018, but without control of the Senate, it was of little utility. Republicans had control of the Senate throughout Trump’s presidency, but their fear of his wrath led them to cower like scared puppies or stand by idly while he ransacked the institutions of democracy. …


At least there was some laughter amidst the chaos and lies.

Image for post
Image for post

On election night, it appeared Donald Trump was destined for four more years. Those numbers, however, were a mirage. As the absentee and provisional ballots poured in, they overwhelmingly favored Joe Biden in states like Pennsylvania and Georgia as the Philadelphia and Atlanta metro areas chipped away at Trump’s lead. This dynamic led to a dramatic finish for Biden, one replete with events America will never forget.

Trump set a record for the number of votes received by a sitting President in a general election. His only problem was that his challenger set the record for any Presidential candidate. Like an experienced thoroughbred waiting to make its move until the final turn, Biden set a calming pace, encouraging Americans to be patient and wait until every vote was counted. Trump meanwhile grew increasingly unhinged, even after claiming victory on election night, despite the fact all votes had yet to be counted. He claimed Democrats were trying to “STEAL” the election, made cries of fraud and unfairness, and then started self-proclaiming states as Trump electoral votes. …


Assuming he leaves office of course.

Image for post
Image for post

We used to joke about whether President Donald J. Trump would actually leave office should he lose the 2020 election. Now that the moment of truth is merely days away, the reality of Trump not leaving grows more troubling by the moment. He has refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses. Would the military storm the White House and forcibly remove him if called upon? Could American democracy survive a constitutional crisis of this magnitude?

If there is a protracted vote count and/or recount, with both sides disputing the results, what will happen on January 20, 2021 when the terms of both the President and Vice President end under the 20th Amendment? In that scenario, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi might actually be in line to assume the Presidency under the Presidential Succession Act. But would order reign supreme, allowing that to happen? …


Working from home amidst deteriorating conditions can only last so long.

Image for post
Image for post

I hate to admit it. I am part of the exodus from New York City amidst the Coronavirus pandemic. My wife and I stuck it out for a while, working from home since early March, but as the walls closed in around our 700 square feet of living and now co-working space, we had enough. There were only so many places to escape when joining confidential meetings or calls (we are both lawyers). I had to wall myself off in our one bedroom, perched on an ottoman my wife previously used for handbag storage. …


Inspired by 50 Cent.

Image for post
Image for post

I am really trying to write more. I have been saying this for the past five to six years, really ever since graduating from law school and realizing my “adult life” was reality. Perhaps a recent Hip-Hop Evolution episode was the spark I needed. Although I truly believe great writers don’t need a spark or other form of external push. Great writers have discipline.

From Roald Dahl to Ernest Hemingway, the best writers typically close themselves off from the world and hone their craft. Any disruption to the routine is kind of like trying to run or jog after not having done so in a while. It feels awful at first. It feels like you might die. My insides in particular always threaten to explode when I start running all over again. This horrid sensation often occurs when trying to run immediately after waking up. …

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store