Two Americas

The time for cognitive dissonance, for denial, is past. It turns out that Barack Obama was wrong. We are two Americas. It is true we are not separated by red and blue states. The contrast is far greater than that; more divisive and permanent. We are two hands. Two ambidextrous fists that keep slamming into each other. Unable to recognize that we are attached to the same body. One hand tattooed with the word “hate” across its knuckles. The other “love.”

We have denied the obvious for far too long. Handicapped our nation by alternately tying one hand or the other behind our back. Hiding it from view for long stretches of our history. it is time to make a choice. To amputate an appendage and choose our country’s identity once and for all. To advance the dreams of our fathers requires we now pick a dominant side.

This is not a choice that can be prayed away. There are no alternative facts. One hand reflects the audacity of hope and dreams of our ancestors. It appends to those outraged by the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Trayvon Martin, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner and the countless other lives lost. Clenches in silent protest with those who kneel in defiance of the institutionalized racism that caused their senseless deaths. Points in condemnation of the prejudice rendered by Lady Justice that renders their deaths hollow.

It is the fist we used to smash through the bonds of slavery and defeat the grasp of Nazi facism. The hand extended by Franklin, Susan, Martin, Margaret, John, Ruth Bader and Barack as they took on world leaders and espoused the virtues of American exceptionalism. The fist we raise in pride for our immigrant heritage and in our standing as the beacon for hope and liberty to the world’s oppressed.

The other hand is no less powerful or prevalent in our nation’s history. It is the hand that draws false equivalents between those who protest for equality and freedom, and those who espouse hatred, ignorance and exclusion. The one we use to point at, slap and dehumanize people. The hand extended by those who kneel at the heels of Confederate statues and on the necks of our most vulnerable minorities. That hand that guides the whip and rips the refugee children from the arms of their exhausted mother. As if they are “animals,” unworthy of the basic inalienable rights bestowed upon all men.

It is the fist that holds the tiki torches, burns the crosses, and straps the nooses and assault rifles to their bodies to intimidate. The one that targets our sons and daughters in their crosshairs and acts as if they are of no more value than an avatar. The hand extended by Andrew, Robert E, Cheney, Anton and Trump as they alienated world leaders and preached the virtues of “America first.” The fist we raise in acknowledgement of white power and to loot the halls of our nation’s Capital.

These two fists can no longer coexist. Our identity crisis must end. Love or hate? Empathy or apathy? Progress or status quo? What’s it going to be America? It is time to choose a dominant side and embrace it. The future demands it.

The Paper Tiger King

The dog whistles turn into bugle calls as the noose tightens around Deranged Donald’s neck. All Americans must understand who Trump is and what we as a nation and the vast majority of our citizenry are up against. We must come to grips that Trump has never been more than the paper tiger king in this battle. The Joe Exotic of American politics propped up by a supporting cast of deplorable characters.

Trump of course is the perfect rube. A literal caricature of every villain of every film ever made. A billionaire product of affluent affirmative action who sells himself as a man of the people. A self proclaimed tycoon who was placed directly at the top of the business pyramid. Never understanding what it means to actually lead. To advance on merit, not name. Able to skip the lessons of middle management, the art of empathy, humility, accountability and communication. A genius only in his own mind who was so poor at business he literally bankrupted both casinos and real estate conglomerates at the height of the economy. In every way the opposite of a man who embodies the original American dream.

As if it wasn’t obvious before, Trump’s lack of response to the global pandemic that is the Coronavirus has stripped the emperor of all remaining undergarments to expose that Donald Trump is a man of flawed character. The embodiment of the 21st century American dream. A child of the 1% with no discernible talent, skills or virtue beyond that of self promotion. A self aggrandizing narcissistic sycophant with an unhealthy obsession for celebrity and fame. A self hating man child who overcompensates for his shortcomings by bullying, intimidating and surrounding himself with “yes men.”

A man in constant need of validation because deep down he fears he will never live up to daddy’s expectations, never be truly loved. A man with an ego so fragile he can’t deal with dissent or opposition. Who spent a lifetime avoiding accountability and consequences by silencing critics with bribes, quid pro quos and empty promises. Who justifies his deplorable behavior through incredible displays of cognitive dissonance; scapegoating, and otherwise shifting blame to the underprivileged, the disenfranchised, and those less able to defend themselves.

Like most bullies our so called President stands for nothing. He is driven by vengeance, looking only for the next score to settle, fight to win. All he knows is how to marginalize, belittle, conflate, de-legitimize and, when necessary, squash dissent and opposition. Each evening press conference allows him to continue to present alternative facts, only now without the alternatives. Lies then become truth, and perception reality.

Donald Trump is not the cause of America’s ails. He is simply its most recognizable symptom. The dry cough of the national pandemic that is the Republican Party. Each day they spread their poison and choke what little life remains of our system of checks and balances until all that remains is the virus itself

Transactional Democracy

This is not about political ideology. This caravan of corruption does not represent a political methodology or follow a philosophical party platform. They do not stand for principled values or practice fiscal restraint. Today’s GOP is a cult. They advocate for nothing more than the Rapture, guns, and personal enrichment. Everything else, whether individual rights, racial or gender equality, or systems of government is negotiable, viewed as a commodity in the “art of the deal”.

That’s what is truly scary. They view their success in strictly transactional terms. They function in an us verse them paradigm where their side only wins when the other loses. The more “they” have, the greater America is #MAGA.

Consider the implications! Those who adhere to Trumpism, the modern day GOP, is openly rooting against more than half of our citizenry. They believe they are only doing their job effectively when the majority of their constituents are upset. To say this is an unsustainable form of representative democracy is an understatement. Let’s hope that justice (or karma) intervenes before the whole system collapses.

Transactional Democracy

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This is not about political ideology. This caravan of corruption does not represent a political methodology or follow a philosophical party platform. They do not stand for principled values or practice fiscal restraint. Today’s GOP is a cult. They advocate for nothing more than the Rapture, guns, and personal enrichment. Everything else, whether individual rights, racial or gender equality, or systems of government is negotiable, viewed as a commodity in the “art of the deal”.

That’s what is truly scary. They view their success in strictly transactional terms. They function in an us verse them paradigm where their side only wins when the other loses. The more “they” have, the greater America is #MAGA.

Consider the implications! Those who adhere to Trumpism, the modern day GOP, is openly rooting against more than half of our citizenry. They believe they are only doing their job effectively when the majority of their constituents are upset. To say this is an unsustainable form of representative democracy is an understatement. Let’s hope that justice (or karma) intervenes before the whole system collapses.

Lifetime Recusal

The constitutional crisis is here. Calls for Justice Thomas to recuse himself from any case involving the January 6th Commission are not sufficient. Democratic leadership must demand that Justice Thomas resign or be removed from the Supreme Court.

This is not some mere pretext of impropriety or potential conflict of interest. Ginni Thomas, his wife, took part in a COUP. A brazen attempt to overturn the results of what was known to be a legitimate election, with no evidence of widespread fraud. The very separation of powers her husband is charged with defending she sought to destroy. The checks and balances upon which our republic depends, she sought to neuter.

It is not as if Ginni was a periodic advisor or passive participant in these efforts. She was a central figure. She coordinated legal strategy with the Executive Branch and members of Thomas Clerk World, a private listserv that is *exclusively* used by former Thomas judicial clerks, in furtherance of the plot to keep Trump in power* (see Seth Abramson Twitter for more details).

In a text exchange with Mark Meadows, Ginni thanks him for his support in the “fight of good versus evil!” I’m paraphrasing now but she goes on to note that between his pledge of support and the recent news she got from her “best friend” she’s feeling like her efforts to preserve the status quo may just pan out.

The idea that a Supreme Court Justice may view a political divide as a fight between “good and evil!” That to remain a nation of “good” will require half of our citizens be eradicated and removed from positions of power. That perception of Democrats vs Republicans is exactly how one comes to believe that the “ends justify the means.” It’s the kind of belief that allows a judge to rationalize setting aside Constitutional safeguards for the “greater good.” This possibility alone is enough to justify a lifetime recusal for Thomas.

To turn a blind eye to the obvious. To proceed as if our Constitition is not on fire is a dereliction of duty by the very elected officials who swore an oath to defend it. To restore our credibility. To once again be a nation of law and order there can be no doubt of the independence of our Judicial Branch. Conservative or liberal each justice is beholden to the Constitution and how the facts of each case before it relate.

Lock Him Up!

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Donald Trump finds safety and opportunity in the chaos he stokes. The divisions he sews. He is a clear and present danger to our very way of life. A direct threat on the very freedoms and ideals that define the American experience.

The damage being done to this country cannot be overstated. Each day he remains free serves as an affront to the majority of Americans who believe in the rule of law. Each #TrumpRally feeds the cynicism that fertilizes our apathy. So long as there is even a possibility that Trump may again seek the presidential office this country will be unable to unite.

Traditional checks and balances are not effective against unprecedented risks. The reality is that the Republican Party conspired across the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary branches to overturn the results of what was known to be a lawful election. In a desperate attempt to preserve the status quo and their privileged place within it long past the point demographics would otherwise allow, GOP representatives (and their spouses – looking at you Ginni T). sworn to protect the laws of our Constitution engaged in a coup attempt.

Problems do not get better over time. We cannot continue to pretend that all is well. That our political system has not been infiltrated by a party of extremists. The longer we play this dangerous game of Russian roulette. Ignore the obvious. The more likely a fatal bullet will fire at the very heart of our Democratic Republic.

It is time #LockHimUp

The Big Lie

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That the Guardians of Putin (GOP) still exist as a major national party is an indictment of Democratic leadership. Their failure to understand branding and fear at offending any potential constituent, even ones with loaded guns pointed back in their face.

The “big lie” is an example of this. Why not call it what it was intended to be? It was not a “big lie.” It was a failed coup. Had Trump succeeded in overturning the legitimate election results it would have redefined our entire political system. America would no longer function as a Democratic Republic. The constitution rendered as worthless as a degree from Trump U.

When one’s intent is the overthrow of a democratically elected leader it cannot be called a “big lie.” It is a failed coup by an enemy of the state. Whether an individual truly believes voters got it wrong or will suffer with a change in command is irrelevant to the analysis. As Barr himself now attests, all evidence shows that Trump and his merry bannon of criminal accomplices knew there was no legitimate claim of fraud. That information in and of itself should be enough to charge and arrest him pending trial.

So long as there is even a possibility that Trump may again seek the presidential office this country will be unable to unite. Problems do not get better over time. The threat to our democracy still exists and must be removed. So long as the face of the coup is free he remains an enemy of the state and a danger to our Republic #LockHimUp

Pawn of the Rich and Putinful

Another day, another conspiracy laden, hate peddling Trump rally. As the de facto lead of the Guardians Of Putin (GOP), it is no surprise that Deranged Donald is is a man of flawed character and limited intelligence. Far from a stable genius the man is nothing more than the embodiment of the 21st century American dream. A child of the 1% with no discernible talent, skill or virtue beyond that of self promotion. A self aggrandizing narcissistic sycophant with an unhealthy obsession for celebrity and fame.

A self hating man child who overcompensates for his shortcomings by bullying, intimidating and surrounding himself with “yes men.” A man in constant need of validation because deep down he fears he will never live up to daddy’s expectations, never be truly loved.

A man with an ego so fragile he can’t deal with dissent or opposition. Who spent a lifetime avoiding accountability and consequences by silencing critics with bribes, quid pro quos and empty promises. Who justifies his deplorable behavior through incredible displays of cognitive dissonance; scapegoating, and otherwise shifting blame to the underprivileged, the disenfranchised, and those less able to defend themselves.

Like most bullies our so called President stands for nothing. He is driven by vengeance, always looking for the next score to settle. All he knows is how 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.

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.

We should talk about Zelenskyy

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Every epic tale of good’s triumph over evil involves the unexpected rise of the underdog protagonist forced to stare down evil. A hero who, when all hope seems lost, stands unwavering in defense of freedom and morality. A legend who uses truth and justice to thwart catastrophe.expose the naked emperor and unmask the conspiracy.

Might Zelenskyy be that protagonist? The hero democracy didn’t know it needed? The one destined to thwart the dawning of the New World Order? The underdog outsider who risks it all for the greater good. Who refuses to bend to the bully’s demand. His response to the threats lobbed at him from two nuclear powers and authoritarian leaders suggest a rare moral leadership.

Where others would have prioritized personal gain and taken part in the art of the deal, he refused the quid pro quo. Rejected Trump’s demand he manufacture evidence on Biden. Instead, as a result of a leaked recording of the incident, he witnessed the impeachment of an American President.

Where other leaders would appease to the madman’s quest for power and yield to his demands, Zelenskyy stood firm. Instead he rallied his country and has become the international face of the Ukrainian resistance and embodiment of democratic values. In the process he has exposed the atrocities of war and garnered the world’s sympathy. In revealing the lies and greed that motivate this evil conspiracy of the rich and putinful, he has succeeded in making Russia an international piranha.

Zelenskyy’s ability to offer a clear message rooted in facts, science and logic builds trust and confidence in the listener. Even in midst of unimaginable crisis. It let’s them know that the sacrifice they feel today is temporary; that there is hope for a better tomorrow. A clear plan in which good trumps evil and emerges from the chaos.

In the course of history there have been countless examples of leaders who chose to rule otherwise. Those Putin and Trump like archetypes who ruled through fear mongering, authoritarian accountability and slogans. Who preyed on the weakness of the disenfranchised to promote their own agenda. Who sent out thinly veiled code and dog whistles to call upon the deplorables of society to do their dirty work.

But riddle me this? Has such a leader ever been on the right side of history? Have they ever progressed our collective interests?

The answer, I hope is obvious.

#WeShouldTalkAboutZelenskyy

Guardians Of Putin

Today’s GOP has no political ideology. They do not represent the interests of their constituents and openly oppose all attempts to alter the status quo, to dilute their privileged status. What they seek is a the permanent establishment of a caste system that delivers their tribe boundless riches and eternal salvation. One that will guarantee no one else will dare question their wealth, racial superiority or virtue again.

The fight to “save the soul of our nation” will not be won if we limit the battlefield to the shores of America. It is a war between democracy and autocracy. To succeed in the broader war ahead we, as a nation, must confront that the GOP’s objectives are identical to those of Putin. They are both enemies of democracy. Ukraine is currently ground zero in that fight, but their battle is all part of the same war that rages here within our shores. That’s the moral of this story, oligarchs be oligarchs, racists be racists, religious zealots, well, they be the root of all evil.

The very word “GOP” need be associated with betrayal, with anti-Americanism. Americans need make clear we recognize GOP for who they really are, the Guardians Of Putin. Pawns of the rich and putinful and traitors to democracy. The whole lot of them