The Long Con

Another day, another bat shit crazy tweet storm. Like all bullies this administration’s plan is to marginalize, belittle, conflate, delegitimize and, when necessary, squash dissent and opposition.

Doing so allows this caravan of corrupt criminals and enablers to continue presenting alternative facts, only now without the alternatives. Lies then become truth, and perception reality.

All Americans need to carefully consider their next move. Reflect on your history. Get informed. Ask yourself; when has the leader who ruled through fear, intimidation, propaganda and slogan been on the right side of history?

I’ll spare you the research. The answer is never.

Love and inclusion has and will always trump hate in the end. Compassion and empathy win the day over oppression and ethnocentric behavior. Do not be blinded by the short term.

History is unkind to those who resist change. You can engage and choose to help make AMERICANS great again! Or you can hold on to a past that will never return and choose appeasement.

Progress only knows one direction, and it doesn’t look back. Barack Obama has over 100 million twitter followers. Hillary Clinton received 65,844,610 votes in the presidential election. Despite what Melania may say, sometimes size does matter.

Choosing to believe perception, fake emergencies and alternative facts, doesn’t change the reality. The Electoral College does not change popular opinion. We are the majority. We will not be silenced. We will not be intimidated.

It’s either appeasement or resistance.

Choose wisely. History has its eyes on you

A Call To Action

“Danger, Will Robinson,” “Beware the Ides of March,” “Perhaps extinct animals should be left extinct,” “The British are Coming,” “Beware Greeks bearing gifts,” “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US,” “Winter is Coming!”

So many famous stories, whether rooted in science fiction or history, past or present, are built on the premise of future danger. Stress a need for the protagonist to act proactively to avoid an impending catastrophe. To anticipate what the enemy will do next and take actions to prepare for, mitigate or prevent the intended outcome.

Sometimes those in power heed the warning; rally the troops, fortify supplies, prepare countermeasures. Other times they fall on deaf ears; tragedy ensues, civilizations fall, buildings crumble.

The situation America faces today is no less dire than those above. Donald Trump poses a clear and present danger to the American dream and democracy as we know it.

Unfortunately instead of memorable rallying cries, for the most part our leaders offer deafening silence. An occasional stern warning about lines Deranged Donald dare not cross. A nice sound bite or tweet from an individual representative, but as a whole, crickets.

My fellow Americans, “winter is coming!” We are rapidly accelerating towards the point of no return. We cannot afford to sit back passively and wait for something as obvious as a Reichstag Fire to recognize a real national emergency exists.

We cannot be so naive as to place all our trust in 2020, that free and fair national elections will solve this crisis. The stakes are too high and the future too nebulous. We believed the polls in 2016 too. Only Donald Trump, a man obsessed with polls, believed his election was guaranteed despite most indicators. Only he knew his election to be a fait accompli. One so inevitable that he promised to protest the election results only in the event he lost. It makes one wonder what he knew that nobody else did.

The point is we can’t put all of our eggs in one basket. We need to be more aggressive. The best way to defeat a bully is to bring the fight to him. We need our citizens to engage in bold and direct action. National strikes, sit-ins, DAILY demonstrations and other disruptive but non-violent methods are required.

We need our leaders to take to the steps of the Capital EVERY DAY. Bullhorns in hand they should be leading the crowd. Listing all of the misdeeds being committed by this den of corruption. Publicly read pages from “The List” by Amy Siskind that painstakingly details the weekly actions taken by this caravan of corrupt criminals that pose a threat to our democratic norms.

Now that the government shutdown is averted Nancy Pelosi should be entirely focused on ensuring a Presidential shutdown. If necessary the Democratic majority should refuse to advance the people’s business until legislation is brought to the House and Senate floor protecting Mueller and his investigation.

“A storms a-coming!” “Stop playing Russian roulette with our democracy!” “BASTA!” None may have the ring of “the British are coming,” but the stakes are no less important. The resistance needs a rallying cry, a call to action. Something that will stir people to leave our comfort zones and make proactive sacrifice. To understand that the time to act is now

The 3-D Painting

When I was a kid 3-D computer generated pictures were quite the fad. The ones you would stare cross eyed at for hours on end. Bits and pieces of the big picture coming in and out of focus. Your frustration builds with the knowledge that something epic awaits if you could only get your eyes to focus the right away. Then when you’re about to give up and your eyes start tearing up from exhaustion; voila! It all comes into focus.

It was almost always some type of exhilarating scene. A dinosaur chase that featured a T-Rex reaching out to grab you in the foreground. A school of dolphins seemingly leaping out of the pixelated water and into your living room. The payoff always worth the effort.

As I try process the actions of Donald Trump and this den of corruption I feel like I’m back in high school staring at one of those pictures. I concentrate on all that’s been done these past few years and bits of the real picture, the hidden agenda, slowly comes into focus.

Look to the right. A bunch of middle aged smirking white men seem to be looking away from the rest of the picture. They shake hands and pat each other’s backs in a sense of accomplishment. A few appear to have their heads buried in the sand and others have their arms raised upright in a rapturous pose.

Behind them you can make out the dreams of the GOP establishment. Billboards line a pot holed highway. One advertises the end of entitlements and social welfare programs. “Say goodbye to your healthcare, food stamps, social security, and public benefits but hello to your temporary $200 tax cut,” it reads. Through a thick smog you make out the words of the next sign, “Regulations! We don’t need no stinkin regulations!” it says. “Koch Brother’s Toll booth ahead – $40” reads the last.”

Is that Jesus moving into the forefront? A tear falling from his eye as he poses triumphantly on his Jerusalem throne. His foot resting on the throats of Muslims, Hindus, and a host of other non-believers as he takes in his heavenly kingdom.

Now close your right eye. Off to the left! Is that a shirtless Russian man riding on a horse? Standing in his shadow a seemingly endless line of workers doing hard labor. Rolling oil barrels directly into the Kremlin. Working with heavy machinery a pile of weapons of mass destruction amassed in the forefront. Ordinary looking people laying steel pipeline and rail. A massive red army on the march westward.

Open both eyes again and all you see is buckets of money falling from the sky like rain. Gold, silver and jewels piling up on the ground. International currencies from around the globe floating into focus. Shekls, rubles, dollars, euros, pounds, yens, even whatever they use in China all accounted for.

The middle part of the picture is the hardest to make out. Your eyes consistently distracted by the cheetoh orange swirls at the center of it all. The details that do emerge so horrible one must look away in horror from time to time. Military choppers fly through the sky. Major US cities lined with national guard as skyscrapers burn. Armed sentries sit in surveillance towers standing watch over the whole of America. Our borders encased in a wall of barb wire and chain linked fence give off the appearance of a giant prison yard.

Other random visions appear so quickly you are barely able to make sense of them. Is that a throng of young protestors with their hands cuffed behind their backs? Many appear bloodied, their placards and signs of dissent scattered and trampled in the streets. Others look defeated. A single marijuana joint hangs from their lips as they are loaded into a paddy wagon. A line of police cars queues up outside the overflowing prison.

Large ships packed stern to stern with disheveled and scared looking minorities and immigrants. Men in hoodies. Women in hijabs. The Statue of Liberty a small dot in the distant horizon as the boats move further away from America’s shores. A real national emergency unfolding

You look away blinking back tears. Your concentration broken. What the hell does it mean? These disjointed images that flood your brain. You realize you have a choice. Start anew and try to make sense of it all. Recross those eyes and keep staring until the entirety of the big picture reveals itself, or walk away. Grow apathetic with the hope that someone else comes along who is able to see it for themselves. An independent arbiter so to speak who may or may not tell you what it is that’s really there.

For me the choice is clear. There is no option but to refocus and keep looking until it all makes sense. The entire picture emerges. I’ve invested too much to choose otherwise and walk away now. No, much like I did in high school I’ll keep searching for that final payoff.

There’s another funny thing about those pictures that motivates me to keep me looking. Sure you initially spend hours staring and talking about them, but once you figure them out and you “see it,” you quickly lose interest in them. Pretty soon after that they get taken off the walls. Relegated to the far reaches of the garage or attic, frame cracked, forgotten.

The Pathway to Perdition

The pathway to perdition is paved in ignorance. They say there are only seven original stories in the world. If you read enough, and pay attention to life, you can actually begin to see them unfold in realtime. You grow able to predict what the author of that real life story is going to do next. Which adventure they choose to recreate in their own life.

Donald Trump is far from an original. In fact we’re all familiar with this story he’s writing. For many of us it’s our favorite movie, book or television show. We’ve seen it unfold countless times, albeit in differing variations.

The agents of fear and oppression rise up, usually in the form of a privileged older male pseudo populist whose good fortune depends on preserving the status quo. He relies on tired stereotypes and strong arm tactics to intimidate and garner support.

His speech comprised of thinly veiled dog whistles that call upon the deplorables of society to rise up in support of a new order. A return to glory days!

His policies implicitly condone the dirty work and agenda of those who once sat on the fringe of society. His nationalistic rhetoric encourages them to sow discord; to intimidate others to get on board. to bully, peer pressure, threaten and blackmail similar patriots and relatives who may agree with the message but be resistant to the harsh methods now employed.

Over time the party faithful and religious flocks will join the cause or face excommunication from the party or congregation. The daily propaganda and bombardment of alternative facts creates the cognitive dissonance necessary for most to ignore the obvious and complicitily obey. The few who continue to resist will be branded race or party traitors to be forever blacklisted and cast out.

As the nationalist movement grows the narcissist’s need for control swells, and he consolidates power. He begins to divide traditional alliances through rumor, false promises and chaos. He discredits opponents with lies, misinformation and alternative facts. He discredits intelligence assessments and attacks traditionally impartial institutions as partisan and biased.

As the story progresses the emerging authoritarian begins to act more erratic. The threat of a “deep state,”and traditional checks and balances begin to weigh heavy on he who chases the crown. He grows suspicious of their inner circle. Palace intrigue abounds. Et tu Bruté?

As the opposition party grows more nervous and coalesces the motive of the dictatorial villain grows more transparent. The desire for ultimate power drives increasingly brutal and more brazen tactics of suppression. Dissent must be suppressed! Foreign enemies abound! A caravan of rapists and criminals approach unchecked! Now is not the time for #resistance!

Midway through the story a cataclysmic event occurs. The stuff of nightmares. A society’s worst fears realized. A national emergency. Freedoms must be restrained as a new threat rises. Martial law, emergency powers, troop deployment. At this point resistance is futile. The takeover complete.

That’s the story Trump and his caravan of the corrupt are trying to write. The #FakeNationalEmergency the latest chapter. Surprisingly unlike the traditional midway point this national emergency and subsequent expansion of Executive power was not precipitated by “wag the dog” foreign bloodshed or an act of horrific domestic violence. Putin himself used the 2004 Beslan school siege in which over 1,100 people were held as hostages, and 334 killed to hijack a burgeoning Russian democracy and grow his grip on power. Regardless of means or methods, using the phony crisis at our Southetn border as pretext, Trump seems well on his way to achieving the same result.

There’s another version of this story though. The one written by and about the protagonist. A story of hope, freedom and perseverance: how love saves the day, a last minute miracle, a heroic act that thwarts catastrophy and exposes the naked emperor, unmasks the fraud. A previous unknown who at the most critical of moment reveals herself to be schooled in the ways of the force, a secret slayer, an Amazonian Princess.

In that story truth, justice and the “American” way win out. “We, the people,” can still write that story. Look around, look around; the resistance is real. We are the majority. We simply need that hero to step forward to lead us. To coalesce and legitimize the movement. Make the masses feel safe to take to the streets and disrupt the status quo. Demand to be heard!

Either way; the good news is the story always ends the same way. Love, empathy, sacrifice and acceptance win the day. A new hope blooms in the wake of the fall of the dictator. A renewed unity and tolerance take hold of a once fractured people. The villain is unilaterally denounced and rejected; grows to be nothing more than a cautionary tale in history’s annals.

I’ve read this book a thousand times. Societies advance, grow more civil and tolerant. The question is not if freedom wins. It’s how long and at what cost it will take for her to do so?

Progress knows but one direction. It’s only a matter of time #Forward

Fake National Emergency

It’s never been about the god damn wall or our national security. It’s about power and the consolidation of it.

Donald Trump was so afraid of financial ruin, so worried that his family name would become a laughingstock that he conspired with a foreign enemy against the interests of America.

He will go to whatever lengths necessary to preserve his legacy, fortune and freedom. He makes Trump will use these powers to further divide a once proud immigrant nation. He will intimidate and mobilize troops into California and other border states or sanctuary cities to enforce his will. He will declare martial law, suspend due process and otherwise act the strong man.

He will erect his barbed wire along our border and build not a wall to keep Mexicans out, but a prison yard to keep Americans in. He will openly play Russian roulette and won’t stop until the final bullet pierces the very heart of our democracy’s soul #NationalEmergency #Resist

Root Cause Analysis

Imagine if America’s response to 9/11 didn’t include an examination of airline safety regulations. How do you expect to solve a problem if you won’t even acknowledge a root cause?

If placed in the wrong hands guns kill people. The same way cars, airplanes, bombs, poisons and narcotics do. The goal is to enact common sense rules and regulations that mitigate the chance these potential instruments of terror will wind up in the wrong hands.

This isn’t rocket science. If you can require psychological examination before a person may proceed with their constitutionally protected right to an abortion surely we can do the same before they purchase an assault rifle. Enough is enough #NeverAgain #GunReformNow

Who is Keyser Soze

Ironically it was Kevin Spacey in a career making role who once uttered the words “The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”

The following statements about a sitting President of the United States are not in dispute;

1) He is the subject of an ongoing counter intelligence investigation and has acted in ways previously unimaginable of the world’s most powerful man,

2) The majority of our citizenry strongly disapprove of the man himself, his agenda and his job performance,

3) There is credible evidence that he may not have been legitimately elected by and may not in fact be working for the American electorate,

4) Vladimir Putin, a former KGB agent who has never once prior acted to advance America’s best interest, invested numerous Russian resources to help Trump secure the Republican nomination and win the ensuing presidential election,

5) Trump has passed along classified information and otherwise  placed our nation’s security at grave risk due to his wanton disregard for classified information, intelligence assessments and diplomacy,

6) He has politicized the Department of Justice, attacked private citizens and threatened political opponents and regularly denigrates our free press and intelligence agencies,

7) Openly uses presidential platform and powers to commit obstruction of justice and to profit off the office.

Each of these statements in an of itself present an unprecedented risk to our Republic. They demand a proactive and unconventional response. 

Yet, as I scan the headlines from the past week: the alternative state of the union, the testimony of Acting AG Whitaker, the budget compromise passed by Congress, the Democratic race for 2020, the confirmation of AG Barr, the impending “national emergency;” it’s as if Donald Trump is just another unpopular President with the best of misguided intention. 

Perhaps it is I who live in a twilight zone but why legitimize the message and provide the theater that comes along with a traditional state of the union. How do we allow an unvetted sycophant to appear before Congress and make an open mockery of our Justice Department? 

How do we continue to confirm the nominees of a man who is unqualified to nominate them? This shouldn’t be political. It defies logic. It’s understandable that Democrats do not want to be perceived as bad guys or unwilling to compromise but there are times when good leadership requires just that. The willingness to do something bold and unpopular. 

Donald Trump doesn’t play by the rules. He is willing to make up a phony national emergency, endanger our troops, go to who knows what length really if it means he gets to claim victory. You can’t give him the opportunity. 

Here’s the truth. Trump took 800,000 federal employees hostage. Democrats negotiated with a terrorist. As a result they now have a crappy deal. Sure it keeps the government open but it fails to solve any immigration issues, gives credence to the concept of a wall and Trump further strengthens his Executive power by declaring a national emergency. 

Oh yeah, spoiler alert: it’s never been about the god damn wall. It’s all about the emergency powers he’s about to exert on California and other border states. The consolidation of power that by taking the high road Democrats just handed the rising authoritarian. 

The constitutional crisis is here! We can’t afford to wait for the coffee cup to shatter to realize Keyser Soze sat before us this whole time. We must take bold action. Consolidate and form a real opposition. Lead the people in daily protest from the steps of the capital. Shut down all government business until such time it is independently confirmed that Donald Trump was hired by and is working for the American people