The Story of Me: Ed Krassenstein

My name is Ed Krassenstein, and my story isn’t all that different from a typical 30-something, born and bred in America.  I grew up watching Mr. Rogers, Sesame Street, and MacGyver.  As a child, I indulged myself in action figures, video games, and any sport you could imagine.  As an adult, I have seen my views of the world change as I have gained more knowledge of people, fatherhood, and politics.

You could say that my life has had its ups and downs, but every downturn has been reciprocated by an even greater rise.  I say this, not as a businessman or an entrepreneur, but simply as a human being.

Many of you reading this probably have come across me on Twitter, where I have been very outspoken against our current President Donald Trump.  To understand my opposition to this man, you must know where I have come from, how I got here, and who I am.

I’ve never been a political person.  In fact, I didn’t vote in any U.S. or state election until I cast a ballot in November of 2016.  In the past, I have blindly supported a various cast of political figures, both Republican and Democrat.  I was raised in a family that was half Republican and half Democrat, as well as half Christian and half Jewish, so you could say I was not indoctrinated into any specific religion or political affiliation. I have also witnessed how the political landscape of the 80s and 90s has changed tremendously, especially over the past 5-10 years.

COLLEGE AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP

I graduated from Rutgers University in 2004 with a major in Economics.  My goal throughout college was to graduate and then get a job for a financial institution of some kind.  Economics were always of interest to me, and it fascinated me how our economic systems functioned.  Throughout college, my twin brother Brian Krassenstein and I started up an internet business together.  This was before social media existed, and our business model was simple: Start up discussion forums on various topics, build up the communities so that they become self-sufficient, and then sell advertising space on these websites or sell the websites themselves.  To our surprise this business model was very profitable. Even though it took a lot of time and energy, we were able to build up several profitable discussion forums without spending more than what our part-time jobs at a local liquor provided us with. When graduation rolled around, neither Brian nor I wanted to get a full-time job, as we hated the idea of working for someone else.  What we decided to do, was go full steam ahead and continue establishing and building up various discussion forums and other websites on the up-and-coming internet.

This idea paid off, and before long we were running dozens of websites covering topics ranging from video games to automobiles, investing, and more.

FATHERHOOD AND THE BUSINESS DECISIONS WHICH COME ALONG

Fact is, I never really cared about politics until two big life-changing events occurred; I became a father, and I became a subject of a federal investigation. In October of 2013, my beautiful wife Whitney Krassenstein gave birth to our first son, and since then we have been fortunate enough to have another little boy in February of 2017.  Between the birth of both of my boys, is when I apparently popped up on the radar of The U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Fatherhood is the most amazing thing that any man could ever experience. Not only do your responsibilities change, but so too does your outlook on life.  A little after my first son was born, Brian and I decided to sell one of our most valuable websites, 3DPrint.com.  This website was focused on reporting and breaking news related to the Additive Manufacturing / 3D Printing industry. In the 2 years that we had run this site, we were lucky enough to secure some tremendous journalists and editors who had helped it become the #1 ranked website in its niche.  The workload was crazy for me. I was literally spending 13 hours a day writing articles, editing, and promoting the site via social media.  This was on top of the trade shows, interviews, and advertising sales which Brian and I had taken on.  Keep in mind, we were running this website all the while we also owned dozens of other online discussion forums, which were being moderated by volunteers from around the world.  Brian and I decided to sell, in order for me to free up more time to spend with my growing family.

HOMELAND SECURITY RAID

Just as we were finishing the sale of 3DPrint.com, Homeland Security was investigating two of our online discussion forums (Talkgold.com & MoneyMakerGroup.com) which we had hardly touched over the previous several years.  The great thing about running discussion forums is that your community maintains the site for the most part.  For those unaware, a discussion forum is a website where people can visit, create new discussion topics, reply to others, and read information about the topics of their choosing.  Discussion forums were our preferred business model because the community builds the content for you, rather than having to hire journalists, editors and reporters. They work in a similar fashion to how Facebook Groups function.

These two discussion forums, which were just two of the literally dozens of forums we owned, focused on allowing others to discuss how to make money via the internet.  There were topics ranging from stocks, foreign exchange trading, search engine optimization, real estate, entrepreneurship, bitcoin, cryptocurrency, multi-level marketing, high yield investing, and more.

Ed Krassenstein and his family in Florence, Italy (C) 2018

Homeland Security discovered that their target, a large Russian money laundering operation, was using both of these websites to help promote their criminal enterprise.  Basically these companies were buying ads from us, as well as Facebook, Google, Yahoo and dozens of other websites. They were also using our discussion forums to promote themselves as being legitimate businesses, unbeknownst to us.

Brian and I were tipped off that our websites were under investigation, so we hired an attorney to look into it. When our attorneys called the federal prosecutors who were working on our case, this set off a chain of events that turned into the worst nightmares that both of our families have ever had to endure.

Because Homeland Security was still in the early stages of their investigation when we found out that they were looking into our websites, this, according to our attorneys, likely forced them to obtain a search warrant to search our homes, using an email I had sent to a fraudster years ago, as probable cause.  In this email, which I believe was written by me sometime in 2009, I had written the administrator of an investment program which had scammed members of our forum.  In that email, I posed as the administrator of another investment program, trying to trick this individual into giving up his/her real identity.   In hindsight, this was a huge mistake, as the individual who I pretended to be was actually one of the individuals whom Homeland Security was targeting.  To them, it appeared as though I may had been this very fraudster whom they were trying to capture.

Brian and I covered the topic of the raid and it’s aftermath in great detail previously, but to sum things up, no charges were ever filed against us.  We were never arrested nor detained.  In fact, the investigators allowed us to leave our homes while they searched them.  After we had a chance to meet with federal authorities, they realized that we weren’t conspiring with Russian criminals after all, although the government still wanted to make claim to some of our profits based on the idea that part of our revenues had been derived from the sale of ads to criminal enterprises.  After a lot of back and forth between federal prosecutors and our own attorneys, we reached a settlement in which we would pay back some of the revenue we had earned from these Russian entities, and that money would then go to repay some of the individuals who had been defrauded by these criminals. In the end, we weren’t happy about the huge invasion of privacy, or about having to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on legal fees, in addition to the settlement which we reached, but the fact that this money was being returned to some individuals who had been defrauded, at least helped us justify our loss.

HOW FATHERHOOD CHANGED ME

Ed Krassenstein and his family in Positano, Italy (C) 2018

Before meeting my wife and having kids, I never really gave politics much thought.  I was always pretty moderate when it came to economics, as I had been exposed to various economic theories throughout college.  When it came to social issues, I was pretty moderate as well.  Abortion was never on my mind, and I didn’t really care much about thrusting myself into a debate concerning gay rights. I didn’t have any first-hand experience or know of anyone who had, when it came to discrimination based on sexual preference.

Meeting my wife and having children, changed my political perspective in many ways.  While I still consider myself an Independent, my views have shifted to the left over the past couple of years. When it comes to economics, I’m still pretty moderate, although I feel as though the Republican party has moved further to the right, while the Democrats have moved further to the left. I believe that technology will ultimately force our economy to gradually become more liberal-thinking over the next 10-25 years.  As computers and robotics take over many of the jobs which drive the economy, steps will need to be taken in order to help disperse wealth in a fair way.  Like many Democrats do, I do not support inflated minimum wages. I believe in keeping the minimum wage consistent with where it has been in real dollars, over the past several decades.  Otherwise you risk harming the very businesses that pay these wages. However, I do believe that a small living wage will eventually need to be implemented so that those whose jobs are replaced by technology will still have enough money to survive off of.  A living wage is not needed now, but it will need to be given some thought over the next decade. I don’t pretend to know the answers to everything, but I do know that if we continue running our economy the way we have been for the past 100 years, we will eventually be surpassed by nations which embrace technology and the idea that technology can be used to earn a living for the humans which it replaces.  I don’t want to see my children grow up in a country where only computer engineers, robotic engineers, and top executives are able to support their families.

Before having kids, I didn’t give much thought to the never-ending debate concerning abortion.  Since having kids, my view has changed slightly. I do not like abortion, and I would never encourage anyone to abort their child, but at the same time I am 100% for women’s rights.  It’s not up to me or anyone else to tell a woman that she is not entitled to making a decision in regards to having an early abortion.  I don’t believe that late term abortions should be permitted, but to see laws go into effect in some states which outlaw abortions after 6 weeks, in my mind, is ridiculous.

Just as I believe that every woman should have the right to decide what they do with their own bodies, I also believe that every individual should have the right to be themselves, get married, and have children of their own — regardless of sex, sexual identity or sexual orientation. I couldn’t imagine if one of my sons were to grow up, and not be permitted to be happy because someone else, unrelated to them, says that they can’t get married to the one they love.  To me, that’s despicable, inhumane and completely un-American.

My views are constantly changing, and I believe that until you actually befriend members of particular social, religious, or socioeconomic backgrounds, you don’t have the right to judge, stereotype or hold a grudge against that group.   This includes difference races, nationalities, sexual preferences, or virtually any group of people who you don’t self-identify with.

The future belongs, not to us, but to our children. We must keep that in mind as parents and politicians.

MY OPPOSITION TO PRESIDENT TRUMP

I don’t oppose President Trump because he is a Republican.  I oppose him because he is a bigot, narcissist, and in my opinion he only cares about what’s good for himself, rather than what’s good for our country.  If he was a Democrat, I’d oppose him.  If he was an Independent, I’d oppose him.

I never opposed John McCain, George W. Bush, his father, or Ronald Reagan.  I respected these men, and I respected the office that they held.  I disagreed on some of their politics, just as I disagreed with some of Obama and Clinton’s politics. With Donald Trump though, I simply do not respect him or what he stands for.

I believe that history will not remember Trump fondly, in any sense of the word.  He will represent a step backward in America, and those who blindly supported him based on the mere fact that he claims to be a Republican, will also be tarnished by history.

OUR FUTURE

America has a future because Americans are generally good, smart, caring people.  We are a country made up of patriotic heroes, great communities, and a system of government that is built to last. We have two political parties, which act as checks and balances on each other, ensuring that neither one pulls the country too far in one direction.  We must keep many American traditions alive, but also progress in such a fashion that we don’t fall behind the rest of the world.  If we were to stick to American traditions 100% of the time, we would still have slavery and segregation.  If we simply progressed without respecting our conservative traditions, America would lose its identity. It’s the combination of political balance as well as balancing American traditions with American progression that will enable us to both remain who we are as a country but also change in a positive way.

33 thoughts on “The Story of Me: Ed Krassenstein

  • May 10, 2018 at 4:21 pm
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    Thank you Ed for the truth of your family and your beliefs. I also didn’t vote but respected each President even if I didn’t believe in everything they did but I did vote for the first time in 2016 but trump got voted in and that set off nights and days with never ending dread and lots of crying and rage for his politics. I know we will survive but the damage he has done and the damage he will keep doing on his own will be around for a long time after he is gone. ..and hope he is in prison!

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  • May 10, 2018 at 10:47 pm
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    Thanks for sharing and clearing up an earlier tweet.

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  • May 10, 2018 at 10:50 pm
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    Thanks for sharing your life with us. Like you I’ve made mistakes in my life, I think everyone has. But I believe our past is what makes us who we are today, good or bad. The mistakes I’ve made hopefully have made me a better person than I was before.

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  • May 10, 2018 at 10:52 pm
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    I couldn’t agree with you more! So true…every bit of it.

    You have a beautiful family. I am hoping for a brighter future for our children, with a President worthy of respect.

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  • May 10, 2018 at 10:54 pm
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    Wonderfully written bio Ed!

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  • May 10, 2018 at 10:58 pm
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    I truly appreciate you taking the time to do this. Very inspirational and heart-warming. I am glad you and your brother speak your minds daily. I have felt the same in the past about Presidents, but this one is different and I could tell before he was nominated.

    I moved myself to a blue state after living in a red state for my entire life. I was fearful that I would not be safe in that state because I knew about the Trumpsters years before they were called such. I made sure it was a sanctuary city, too. After coming here and having my second brain surgery, expressing my opinions and watching a variety of information regarding politics and other topics, keep me focused on the fact that this is not normal.

    Having this type of Administration, makes me fear to even ask for help when I need to. I delight in reading your comments because they make me believe that perhaps one day, I will not still be in debilitating poverty a year and a half after brain surgery and other disabilities because the government choses to think that even though I worked since I was 14, I am not disabled enough to be approved for diability. Then the days that I just simply fear going outside just to hang out for fun. It has to change, and “White Priviledge” will help us. So…

    Please keep inspiring me and all people like us me!!
    Razorim3k (Dara)

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    • May 12, 2018 at 12:17 pm
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      Stay strong. Somehow, we will make it through these dark days.

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  • May 10, 2018 at 11:02 pm
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    Brilliant!..Profoundly honest

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  • May 10, 2018 at 11:04 pm
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    Thank you for sharing You have a beautiful family.

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  • May 10, 2018 at 11:07 pm
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    Have read both accounts from each of you. Tramatic for you both for sure and your families. Our political sympathies appear to be congruent.

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  • May 10, 2018 at 11:21 pm
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    I appreciated that, Ed, that you told your story. Appreciate, too, your reasonableness and decency.

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  • May 10, 2018 at 11:52 pm
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    Nice to get to know you..

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  • May 11, 2018 at 12:07 am
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    Wow…You are quite a real man.. Don’t meet a lot of those anymore. Very impressive story. Your beliefs and values are the same as mine.. l have the utmost respect for you as a Father and husband also.. As l said in a tweet earlier….I truly believe good will conquer the evil that is running rampant in our Capital. Many Blessings to you and your beautiful family. And also thanks for keeping many of us informed on twitter everyday. 😊

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  • May 11, 2018 at 12:51 am
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    Thank you for providing this insight into the man behind the work – & for allowing all of us to see the real deal about the legal trouble to which you & your brother were subjected. I read your tweets often, & have found it offensive & disconcerting when MAGAts start in about this – so now you’ve provided me w/solid info to refute their idiotic ranting, when they attempt to hamstring your arguments. Nicely done – & I’m sharing, of course.

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  • May 11, 2018 at 1:20 am
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    That was really great thank you

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  • May 11, 2018 at 2:08 am
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    Now my respect is deeper. Thank you for this. You’re a pretty well-rounded man. I’m 62 y.o. and have learned alot from you. 😊

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  • May 11, 2018 at 6:03 am
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    Wow! What an inspiring read. I felt like you were writing about me as I hold very similar views. Trump is dispicable and selfish and is pushing us backward but we can stop him by voting. The lesson America is learning the hard way is… vote no matter if you think your candidate will win by a landslide, doesn’t have a chance in hell, or it seems too hard to maneuver a trip to the voting booth. Go! VOTE, VOTE, VOTE

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  • May 11, 2018 at 9:33 am
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    Reading your comments give me hope every single day. I do not pretend to know how or why Trump, one man, has had the ability to stomp on our Constitution and profit from such, all the while being cheered on by some Americans. Your comments on Twitter give me strength when I’m frustrated and feeling that America is losing its grip on the values that made us great. The land of the free. The land of opportunity. I feel both are under attack and we have to fight for it for our kids. The environment is also under attack for profit. This is not being addressed, IMO, enough. Our kids, our wildlife, the Earth….need to be defended against those who put their wealth first. I live in the Midwest. I voted for Hillary. In 2016, that made me a minority. From what I know from many people I’ve spoke to here, it was mostly about jobs. Another big one, but only whispered, was racism. I’ve seen something I never saw before…Confederate flags. I have anger, then tears with these visuals. Now, in 2018, the “jobs” voters are jumping ship from Trump. The racists, not budging. The midwest will suffer greatly from Trump. The midwest is mostly responsible for putting him over the top. No one in my family, our friends, or our neighbors have seen more jobs. My husband was laid off a month ago. Pres. Obama saved the auto industry. My family and many others prospered. We are now struggling under Trump. I told Trump supporters before the election Trump was dangerous. I was ignored. We now speak freely, in agreement, that he is the worst Pres. in our memory. The reason they are jumping ship is not the jobs issue,amazingly it’s values. True Americans are coming around. We need and respect your voice. I frequently use your words to pass on what’s going on to those who don’t have the same amount of free time as myself. I’m a retired gov’t worker. Raised my kids. Now devoted to the Resistance! Thank you, Ed. Thank you to your beautiful family for supporting the fight for America. You are making a difference.

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  • May 12, 2018 at 10:38 am
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    Thank you for sharing your story. I have followed you on Twitter since trump was installed. (notice I don’t say elected). I also come from a Jewish dad and a Catholic mom, but they were always quite liberal . I have never missed an election in my 62 yrs of life, and my goal is to make everyone understand the power of their vote. This administration certainly underscores the importance of resistance. Btw you have a lovely family. Keep resisting !

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  • May 12, 2018 at 12:34 pm
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    You are a very nice young man, God bless you and your family!

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  • May 12, 2018 at 12:38 pm
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    Ed, thank you for sharing your life and experiences with us. I, too, am an Independent voter.
    I do not dislike Trump because he is a Republican. In fact, I generally vote a split ticket. I live in South Carolina, the “reddest of the red States,” which limits my voting options. Trump is the antithesis of what our President should be in that he only cares about what’s good for him and his partners in crime, rather than what’s good for We the People. On a lighter side, I am thrilled to know that you and your brother are not bots😁 Thank you both for what you do. See you on Twitter.

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  • May 12, 2018 at 12:42 pm
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    Thank you and your brother for all your efforts to try to help save us from ourselves.
    It is so hard to believe that Trump and his ilk have been able to get so much mileage out
    their divisive and hateful approach to so many.
    You two have been an inspiring voice of reason for me. At my age, I was ready to just put my head in the sand and let it go, but thanks to you I am back in the resistance effort.
    For all our sakes the future of this country I hope we persevere and Trump gets everything his behavior deserves. The swamp has never been deeper or smellier in history.

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  • May 12, 2018 at 1:20 pm
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    You’re fortunate to have such supportive family and friends so I consider yourself as what makes America great. Ed, run for President. Quality Americans will gather around and support the American common sense once shown a true democracy and consistency in ethics and moral decency. Trump attracted greedy demonic gremlin- Russian arrogance and manipulation beyond reason. It is time for the pendulum to swing in a newly guided way toward updating and perfecting laws and regulations with our government sincerely by the people, for the people and ALL THE PEOPLE.
    What better time/ opportunity our country has to review and revise laws not in the original intent of benefits of all Americans who have been overlooked by the twistedly bizarre reality of Trump’s gremlin adventures in our elections and the hacking away at our liberties, with desire to become the Putin of the West.

    I’d vote for you in a flash. The decency of helping everyone is the common bond of our Yankee nation. Becoming a Yankee is natural to decent immigrants and the benefits are known worldwide. Thank you for sharing your story. My story is awaiting an unknown path while suffering greed in business betrayal, difficult to endure. You could make a huge difference if you’d consider running.

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  • May 12, 2018 at 1:34 pm
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    Thanks Ed !
    Extremely enlightening and KUDOS to all that you’ve accomplished.
    Started following you and visa versa for quite awhile.now and always believe in what you post and look forward to knowing what is really going on.
    And BTW …I am Canadian 😉

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  • May 12, 2018 at 2:23 pm
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    Thank you for unzipping your inner core and sharing with so many. You give this 82 yo widow hope. Am not sure how much longer I will be around, but I do want you to know that I admire and support all your efforts to keep your followers (me, for one) aware of the political atmosphere. I am an Independent and as a Vermonter will remain so. Someone mentioned that a strong 3rd party may be the answer – not sure – but I have, in the past, voted Dem/Rep. Please, please continue to keep me and your followers informed. Bless you !!

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  • May 12, 2018 at 6:50 pm
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    I enjoyed your bio and I have watched you and Brian live a couple of times. For the most part I completely agree with both of you on most subjects. If I didn’t, I would share my point of view politely. Here is my one gripe. The two of you have a lot of insight. What angers me is that neither of you direct your comments to where they need to go to do some good. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve done that for you. IMO it makes me feel like your intentions are just to stir people up. This is a cowards way out. If I’m going to make a comment about someone,I copy them in, regardless of the fallout.

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  • May 13, 2018 at 3:20 am
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    I am a 60 something and my views of the world change continually. I watch, process, learn, and grow. One never gets too old for that. Evolving continuously. Life changes and we as humans must process these changes and make choices on what we can accept and what we can’t on a personal level. That being said we must always agree to disagree and remain in good stead. I remain positive about the future. I ride this wave of “trumpism” though he disturbs me. I have voted since I was eligible to vote and will continue to do so. It is my voice. You appear to have fair mind about you, keep up your work, cherish your family, and may you have a happy journey!

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  • May 13, 2018 at 7:42 am
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    Congratulations and well done you and your brother are very good at tweeting and I have followed you since November and enjoyed very much your knowledge that you put into the tweets thank you Ed and Brian it was good reading your story and I wish you continued success Thank you Maggie Allardyce Scotland

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  • May 13, 2018 at 5:42 pm
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    Thank you very much for your candor and apparent sincerity. I follow you on Twitter and often retweet your comments. My concern is that we can survive and reconstruct our democracy after the person who occupies the White House is gone. It amazes me that he still has the amount of support he does, indicating the power and influence that one person can have over many. The best thing for us is to continue our outraged protests until our voices are heard. Once again, thank you for speaking out. PS. It’s vital that all go to vote in November. Only the Democrats with the just, fair, and sensible views can save us. They must reconstruct what trump, driven by hate and jealousy of President Obama, has destroyed. They must rebuild the democracy we cherish.

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