Sticks and Stones

The faux outrage. The false equivalents. I can barely take it. Samantha Bee called Ivanka a feckless cunt. Kathy Griffin held Trump’s severed head in a photo. Bill Maher compared the entire bannon of deplorables with the Nazis. Frankly my darling, I don’t give a damn.

Putting the obvious hypocrisy and locker room talk aside let’s be clear. This really isn’t complicated. There is no double standard at play here. There is a big and obvious difference between criticism, even the tasteless kind, aimed at a sitting President and his surrogates compared with an admittedly abhorrent and ignorant tweet that offends an entire race of people (and their surrogates)

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A Call To Action

“Danger, Will Robinson,” “Beware the Ides of March,” “Beware Greeks Bearing Gifts” “The British Are Coming,” “Bin Ladin 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 they listen; 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. Many continue to bury their heads to the obvious truth. They give “deference” to his nominees and confirm each willing sycophant and “yes man.” They rely on decorum and outdated and obviously ineffective means of checks and balances. Rather than anticipate what may come next and act to prevent it, they issue stern rebukes after the fact. Refuse to take an unprecedented leading role in the face of an unconventional risk.

The resistance itself mostly built on a single strategy, the Blue Wave is coming they warn those in power. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a wonderful thing and I wish it to be true. The engagement of the American people is remarkable. The grassroots energy being generated through protests, campaigns, town halls and meet ups a welcomed development. The diversity of the candidates, coupled with their qualifications makes them among some of most qualified we’ve seen in generations. They deserve to be rewarded. To be given a chance to hold our so called President to account.

The thing is the election is 5 months away. In Trump time that is 3.5 years worth of news and events, roughly 1,500 new lies and 150 new scandals.

Meanwhile no countermeasures are being enacted to mitigate the growing risks. Mueller and his team remain unprotected. Unqualified fundamentalist judges hell bent on preserving the status quo long past the time demographics would ordinarily allow are now fill our Circuit Courts, with more vacancies filled each month. Permanent tax cuts and other legislation are passed under the dark of night ensuring a legal caste system for generations of Americans to come. The ranks of the American Taliban continue to swell to the point they now brazenly take to our streets draped in their confederate flags and armed with their assault rifles and bibles, ready to take on any situation. Our former allies grow more nervous as they are already beginning to wonder aloud just who the threat to world stability really is. Mother Earth continues her slow burn, choking on the smog of rolled back regulations and oozing through the fissures caused by expanded drilling, fracking and military explosions. Attacks on the free and independent press continue unabated. The so-called “enemy of the people,” a necessity for informed consent, usurped as a vehicle for propaganda and alternative facts.

Meanwhile Russia looms. Suddenly visible not just from the windows of Wasilla, but from the hallowed halls of the White House itself. The smoke and EVIDENCE of knowing collusion seen everywhere from Trump’s repeated refusal to implement sanctions, to his hiring of Flynn and Manafort, to his flagrant obstruction, to his shady real estate dealings, to his passing along of classified information, to the countless secret meetings and trips, to the tipping them off of impending military operations in Syria whose success to destroy chemical weapons was dependent on the element of surprise, to the Michael Cohen slush fund, all the way to the outright refusal to directly say anything negative about Puppetmaster Putin.

Meanwhile the signs of compromise grow more evident. Why wait 19 days to fire the Head of NSA and allow him unfettered access to our most sensitive secrets after learning he had lied about being an ACTIVE foreign agent? How do you explain the payments from Russian oligarchs? Why fire AG Yates and blame the leakers rather than the actual known liar and security risk? Why lie about whether you stayed in Russia the night the infamous pee tape was filmed? Why fire Comey and slander an honorable man in Bob Mueller with charges of bias and “witch hunt” when you know his investigation is predicated on probable cause. The indictments, raids, and warrants all supported by mountains of evidence. Why the lies, omissions and selective memory? Why the false equivalents and misdirections? Why refuse to offer transparency and meet with Mueller? Most of all why would Vladimir Putin, a former KGB agent who has never before acted with America’s best interest in mind, go to such great lengths and invested precious Russian resources specifically to elect the man who promised to “make America great again!” What was in it for him?

Meanwhile a propaganda campaign rages. Peace through strength scream our headlines as the Korean summit nears and Iran regroups in the face of US backed Israeli muscle. Our intelligence agency are discredited at every turn. Sworn enemies of our leader are suddenly being exposed for their own closeted sins. The economy booms as money flows like candy into the arms of defense contractors and Wall Street. Terrorists are on the run. Illegal immigrants being pushed further into the shadows.

Meanwhile our most precious democratic institutions are being attacked and dismantled. Scott Pruitt, Rick Perry, Ben Carson, Betsy DeVos, Ryan Zinke, appointed by sworn democratic arsonists to burn down the very system they got rich off of. Our standing as the beacon of hope and freedom extinguished. Lady Liberty weeps as children are separated from their families at our borders. Dreamers wake in horror as their parents are rounded up in hospitals, schools and their places of employment and the fear of being returned to foreign lands they have never known grows real.

Meanwhile, we have confirmation that Russia continues to actively promote our Comrade in Chief’s agenda through misinformation campaigns on social media. That they actively seek to interfere in our midterm elections. That American intelligence is aware of this activity. That in the past they have accessed voter rolls and our most state databases. That our so called President has done absolutely nothing about it! Instead our Justice Department steps up investigation of the deep state conspiracy. Seeks to expose the Democrats as frauds. Nothing more than a bunch of whiners and haters. Obama and Hillary at the center of it all! Instead they form commissions of voter fraud and question the past results in traditional blue states. They reinstate draconian drug laws that they then use to justify the arrest and disqualification of a disproportionate number of liberal and progressive voters. Remove them from voter rolls.

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 a long off Election Day to voice our displeasure. The stakes are too high and the future too nebulous. It is naive to put all of our belief in free and fair elections. We believed the polls in 2016 too. Only Donald Trump, a man obsessed with polls, believed his election was guaranteed. A fair accompli 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. What if Democrats don’t win a majority? 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 captures Trump’s first year in office and the actions taken by the regime that pose a threat to our democratic norms. 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 have the ring of “the British are coming,” but 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.

What If….

Two simple words that comprise one of the most powerful phrases in the English language. Once the  enters a “what if” wormhole it may be lost for hours. Occupied in an endless maze of regrets and gratitudes. What if I had been there…What if i hadn’t quit…What if those chads didn’t hang…What if she had said yes…What if I spoke up…

The one thing I learned in Hebrew School was “never forget,” and I haven’t. We know what happens when a citizenry turns a blind eye to the everyday horrors unfolding around them. When a deluge of carefully orchestrated propaganda, false equivalents, sound bites and alternative facts enable a fearful and threatened demographic to perform acrobatic feats of cognitive dissonance to normalize, what in other times would be considered irrational actions. I will not suffer that fate. There is too much to lose. The only way to preserve the dreams of the future is to heed the lessons of the past.

Donald Trump is far from an original. The recent past alone provides a litany of would be authoritarians who proved capable of hijacking democratic institutions to slowly consolidate power. That Trump is the first to so blatantly do so from the Oval Office hardly makes him unique in his technique.

He seeks to divide the citizens of this country along racial, socioeconomic and political lines in order to deflect from his own scandals and advance the agenda and interests of a select few. He uses his bully pulpit to marginalize, belittle, conflate, delegitimize and, if necessary, squash dissent and opposition. Doing so allows him to continue presenting alternative facts, only now without the alternatives. Lies then become truth, and perception reality.

Though his tactics are tried and true the danger posed is no less real. Donald Trump and his merry bannon of deplorables pose a clear and present danger to the experiment in individual freedoms our founding fathers set in motion generations ago. He makes no secret of his intent; his desire to deconstruct and eliminate outdated democratic institutions. To rip the very fabric of America’s soul from its identity. To dim the light that serves as a beacon of hope and freedom to the poor, disenfranchised and oppressed who suffer across the globe.

The right to a free and independent press. The right of assembly. The right to be free from religious persecution. The necessity of checks and balances with three equal, though often inept, branches of government. These essential ideals are all under attack. The realization that we are the great melting pot. That diversity IS the American identity. We can’t change that anymore than a tiger can change its stripes. A list of all the great contributions immigrants and refugees have made to this country would dwarf a list of their misdeeds a million times over. Yet that is what appears to be at stake.

To those who continue to support our so called President, understand this. All you are doing is identifying yourself as a dinosaur. Painting a scarlet letter on your sleeve that your way of thinking and very belief system will soon be relegated to the history books. Think carefully about your next move.

The pathway to perdition is paved in ignorance. Do not suffer that fate. Do not remain passive. Future generations need not wonder where you stood when our leaders decided to play Russian roulette with our democracy. Do not be left to wonder what if…

Confessions of a Disappointed Vagenius

I have a confession to make. Roseanne once referred to me as a “vagenius.” It’s true; back in the early lead up to the 2012 Presidential election Roseanne used to frequently retweet my @theseconddarrin account and at one point dubbed me with the oddly endearing title.

Unfortunately she’s since erased much of her online persona from back then so I can’t locate the exact tweet, but here’s a look at a few of the tweets she did pass along,

Don’t shoot at our hoodies, hijabs or yarmulkes and we won’t shoot at your hoods, confederate flags, or tow hitch nut sacks

Do not covet thy neighbor’s ox. Poison the environment so it can no longer survive #GOPCommandments

Thou shalt not steal unless thy designed a system to do it legally #GOPCommandments

As you can see far from the deplorable racist she now portrays, back then she endorsed the views of a social progressive environmentalist. A proud vagenius.

Still, make no mistake at some point after the 2012 election Roseanne began peddling racist conspiracy theory on social media. She proudly ranted and raved against the deep state and built a following among society’s fringes. Another celebrity willing to push her own agenda and dreams of a comeback by exploiting the fears and ignorance of a deplorable base.

Prior to the rumors of her primetime return nobody in the mainstream was paying Roseanne any mind. She maintained a modest online following but failed in her own disrupter presidential bid and efforts at a big comeback. Bitter and perhaps sensing opportunity to rebrand herself once again at this point she began to peddle deep state George Soros conspiracy theory and cater her message to the racist, homophobic, FoxNews fringe audience. Of course, nobody really listened to her until ABC legitimized her hate by providing it with a mass platform.

Let’s be clear. While welcomed news, nobody should cheer ABC’s decision to cancel “Roseanne.” Instead, we should ridicule the decision to bring it back in the first place. Demand our media conglomerates heed the lessons of this fiasco. That they stop giving voice to the fringes and legitimizing their fanatical and dishonest agendas. Notice I say fringes, plural. Those who seek to divide and promote discord amongst our citizenry have no place on our major networks.

By all means keep tweeting and speaking your hate filled ignorance, but do so where you belong. In the shadows, on the fringe, speaking in an empty forest.

Good riddance Roseanne,

From a disappointed vagenius #Karma