The Paper Tiger King

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.

The plate tossing, steering wheel grabbing, secret service choking character we witness today is the embodiment of a leader who was able to skip the lessons of middle management, the art of empathy, humility, accountability and communication. A “stable 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, the January 6th Commission and the courageous testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson and other witnesses has stripped the emperor of all remaining undergarments. Exposed Donald Trump as 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 Trump Rally and “truth” 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. It’s time we vaccinate the public from the poison they spread before it chokes what little life remains of our system of checks and balances #LockHimUpNow

Cycle of Cynicism

There is no quick and easy fix here. This is why effective leaders do not allow catastrophic risk to ever materialize. They don’t wait to expand the court, or remove procedural obstacles. They have a bias for action and an unwavering zeal to defend their core objectives and values.

It pains me to be a cynic. To wonder aloud if Democrats are not complicit in the degradation of our values. Accomplices to the turning back of progress. It is undeniable that the party’s failure to stand in unison in defense of Obama’s nomination of Garland to the Court has a direct correlation to current events. It was obvious then that Democrats chose the path of least resistance. That rather than force a constitutional showdown they gambled on an 2016 election victory. A path they continue to follow time and time again despite the fact it is now overgrown with thorns and poison ivy, and infested with ticks and venomous snakes.

Perhaps that was the plan all along. The objective to allow the red path to grow so thick and hazardous as to leave sensible travelers with one remaining choice. Force future hikers to “Choose blue no matter who!” Is it possible our representatives would so callously play Russian roulette with our democratic values?

I’d hate to think that the case but we all know what happens next. This doesn’t end with the reversal of Roe and removal of abortion rights. This is about the establishment of an American theocracy. If Biden and the Democrats are serious about leading America in a “battle for the soul of our nation,” well, as the wise Rafiki says “It is time.” For I have seen thine enemy and its name is the GOP.

That’s right. Trump isn’t the sole enemy in the battle for the soul of this nation, the entire GOP is. To continually capitulate and surrender ones value to the enemy is nauseating. “We, the people” need proactive leadership. This isn’t a battle. It’s a war. Tim’s to take advantage of our majority while we still can.

Meep, Meep

America is on the “verge of a constitutional crisis.” Let me tell you what that looks like. You recall the old road runner cartoon? Remember when Wile E Coyote would race over a cliff and pause suspended in mid air for a minute? The camera pans in on him as he looks around and slowly becomes aware of where he is.

Well that moment between wide screen and close up as Wile E sits suspended in a jogger or thinker’s pose. That split second before we see him grow despondent in the realization that gravity is about to catch up with him to send him plunging in freefall to the ground. That moment of clarity is what’s known as the verge of going over a cliff.

That’s the problem with being on the verge of something. Often by the time you realize you’re on the verge, it’s too late to change course. The same way Wile E Coyote didn’t grasp his fate until gravity took hold, we as a nation seem to misunderstand our circumstance. We’ve already gone over that cliff. We are in the midst of a constitutional crisis. Still suspended in space, but well past the verge. The conditions for our fall are set. The only thing missing is an opposing force to ushers in that moment of clarity. The gravity that awakens our senses. The “resistance” that forces the fall.

Try as we may to deny it, it’s time that “we, the people” brace for the plunge and spark the resistance. Force the issue and go on the offensive while we still have the majority and freedoms to do so. Start by demanding DOJ arrest the Chief Insurrectionist and charge him with crimes against this nation. We cannot continue to play Russian roulette with our nation’s national security. Permit a clear and present danger unfettered access to the outside world. Allow a man who knowingly attempted to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power and incited an insurrection intended to do just that. A man who built his reputation on the art of the deal and who happens to possesses access to our nation’s most sensitive secrets, a pretty valuable asset on the black market.

Each day Trump remains free serves as an affront to the majority of Americans who believe in the rule of law. Each #TrumpRally or issues “truth” feeds the cynicism that fertilizes the majority’s apathy. So long as there is even a possibility that Trump may again seek the presidential office this country will be unable to unite.

To win a “battle for the soul of our nation” will require bold actions that evade current controls. Democrats must take inspiration from the GOP playbook. It’s no longer prudent to go high each time the opposition goes low. So long as we control the House and Executive the GOP is powerless to hold Biden to account. Even if the House flips the worst that could happen is Biden gets impeached for overstepping his authority, but they still fail to remove him from office. We’ve seen that dance before.

This battle is but a part of bigger war of which the winner will determine whether our nation remains a representative democracy or transforms into an autocratic theocracy. It’s time we recognize our circumstance. Accept our reality. Let gravity take effect, drop us down to the opposition’s level, and bring the fight to them #ProtestTheGOP

The Verge of Collapse

America is on the “verge of a constitutional crisis.” Let me tell you what that looks like. You recall the old road runner cartoon? Remember when Wile E Coyote would race over a cliff and pause suspended in mid air for a minute? The camera pans in on him as he looks around and slowly becomes aware of where he is.

Well that moment between wide screen and close up as Wile E sits suspended in a jogger or thinker’s pose. That split second before we see him grow despondent in the realization that gravity is about to catch up with him to send him plunging in freefall to the ground. That moment of clarity is what’s known as the verge of going over a cliff.

That’s the problem with being on the verge of something. Often by the time you realize you’re on the verge, it’s too late to change course. The same way Wile E Coyote didn’t grasp his fate until gravity took hold, we as a nation seem to misunderstand our circumstance.

We’ve already gone over that cliff. We are in the midst of a constitutional crisis. Still suspended in space, but well past the verge. The conditions for our fall are set. The only thing missing is an opposing force to ushers in that moment of clarity. The gravity that awakens our senses. The “resistance” that forces the fall.

Try as we may to deny it, it’s time that “we, the people” brace for the plunge and spark the resistance. Force the issue and go on the offensive while we still have the majority and freedoms to do so. Start by demanding President Biden sign an Executive Order establishing a federal right to choice and accessible safe abortions. Make clear that any state official or law enforcement officer who attempts to interfere with that right will be arrested by Federal Marshalls.

To win a “battle for the soul of our nation” will require bold actions that evade current controls. Democrats must take inspiration from the GOP playbook. It’s no longer prudent to go high each time the opposition goes low. So long as we control the House and Executive the GOP is powerless to hold Biden to account. Even if the House flips the worst that could happen is Biden gets impeached for overstepping his authority, but they still fail to remove him from office. We’ve seen that dance before.

This battle is but a part of bigger war of which the winner will determine whether our nation remains a representative democracy or transforms into an autocratic theocracy. It’s time we recognize our circumstance. Accept our reality. Let gravity take effect, drop us down to the opposition’s level, and bring the fight to them #ProtestTheGOP

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 we 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.

Plan B

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We need a Plan B. It’s time to get our heads out of our asses to realize this isn’t a traditional political fight. What Americans want, what we need is a bonafide opposition. One whose success is not predicated on the results of elections, but in the restoration of our individual freedoms. One who fights not because of what may be won, but because of what will be lost; our values, our soul, our democracy.

The sane and rational people of this country must unite in protest not just in solidarity for women’s rights, or black lives, or LBGTQ+ equality, or in response to the next school shooting. “We, the people,” the majority of us, have evolved beyond the prejudices of our ancestors. Believe in the vision of America espoused in our Declaration. One which requires the equal application of the rights and laws of this country regardless of race, religion, gender, or national origin. One rooted in the principle of separation of church and state and a representative government formed of the people. A common enemy exerts disproportionate control to attack these very principles.Isn’t it time Americans unite not in defense of a cause, but in defense of our democratic values and in opposition to the authoritarian rule that Republicans seek?

It’s time to be proactive in this fight. To use the tools and weapons we have at our disposable right now. To sit back and wait for a far off election places thousands of lives at a risk. It is an abdication of present day Democratic leadership and duty. To continue to play the music and ignore the problem as the deck chairs sway will not get us out of this predicament. It will only exacerbate it.

Every single elected Democrat and Independent representative needs to lead this country in mass protest. Organize a week of coordinated national protests and demonstrations against the assault on the rule of law and individual liberties orchestrated by the GOP. To create a safety net for ordinary citizens to call out sick and engage in sustained civic activism will require a top down effort by Democratic leadership. The majority can no longer afford to remain silent and sit back. The “good people” of this country must make our numbers known and to do so will require bold action by those leaders who profess to love the ideals upon which this nation was founded.

Let Biden empty his re-election coffers and have his PACs buy screen time to simulcast targeted messaging to encourage participation. Use the most incendiary language possible to make the stakes plain to all. Paint, not just Trump, but the entire Republican Party as traitors and unAmerican. Weaponize fear and use the prospect of a GOP mid-term takeover as akin to the end of the American dream. Paint a picture of what life for young children will look like in a country without hope or opportunity. Pull no punches. Be specific and make clear that GOP surrogates serve God before country. That they seek to erect a caste system within our shores. Repeat, rinse and do it over and over again. Talk of nothing else but the abdication of the GOP’s constitutional oath to protect the health and safety of all constituents.

Biden himself must also engage in more direct communication with the American people. Our country is in crisis. What better time to bring back a Friday night fireside chat. Take over networks and streaming services to appeal direct to the American people. Use the time not only to present his own agenda, but to make clear that all Americans are encouraged to take part in efforts to stand up to the authoritarian threat. Make no attempt to court the Trump wing of the GOP. Instead place the protests into appropriate context. Make clear that it is an opportunity for all, regardless of traditional political label, to distance themselves from the modern day Republican brand, the GOP of Trump, the Guardians Of Putin.

Let Nancy use the power of the purse to withhold critical funds precious to GOP causes. In the same way McConnell led GOP regularly held government hostage and treated people as pawns, so too must the Democrats. Cut off those programs and causes that most benefit and are important to red states. Strip the funding, grab the nearest microphone and make clear that without concessions we all suffer. Put pressure on this caravan of criminal enablers to compromise with the majority for a change.

Time is running out on the American dream. To prevent a minority takeover of our Representative Republic requires bold and immediate action. We must demonstrate our collective numbers and strength. We must identify the GOP for the threat to our collective freedom they truly are. Set aside tribal causes and unify in protest against the common enemy.

Risky Business

An effective leader mitigates risk before it occurs. Puts controls and monitors in place to ensure the worst case scenario never occurs. Unforeseen risk is always a possibility but that which can be foreseen must always be prevented. The faulty O-rings which led to the Challenger space shuttle explosion. The Chernobyl nuclear meltdown. The Pan Am Lockerbie flight. The downing of the Twin Towers. These are the exceptions. Preventable catastrophes that nonetheless occurred. In each, however, lessons were learned. Elements of failure dissected; people, process, technology. New controls standardized as a result of prior failure that markedly reduce the potential of a repeat failure.

The failure to protect our children. The absence of common sense reforms intended not to eliminate gun violence, that is an impossibility. The objective of sensible gun control is to reduce mass killings. To regulate access and keep weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of those most likely to abuse them. To preserve and balance the guarantees of individual freedoms with those inalienable rights of life and liberty bestowed upon the collective citizenry. That no such measures have yet to be implemented is not a mere dereliction of leadership, it is a crime against our children.

It’s been nearly 10 years since Newtown. That the AR-15, very instruments of terror used then remains available and accessible to those who pose an obvious risk to the health and safety of our children, it is beyond comprehension. Where is the justice in this country? The means by which “we, the people” get to hold politicians to account for the blood of the innocents that stains their money lined silk pockets. What must be done to charge those NRA controlled representatives who refuse their civic duty as accessories to murder? How do we demand that those who intentionally obstruct efforts to protect the future of this nation are charged for their negligent indifference?

Trump sensationalized a “national emergency” to redirect military funds to build an ineffective border wall. Surely there is an EO Biden can sign to force the issue. A prosecutorial interpretation that AG Garland may utilize to preserve the rule of law. Democratic leadership must do more than simply react to senseless massacre after massacre. To protect our children. To preserve the dream will demand they lead with both a proactive intent and an uncompromising position

Senseless Sensibilities

There is so much to be angry about. So many daily injustices that assault our senses.

Our eyes bear witness to the daily horrors broadcast on an endless 24 hour loop. The images of pain and sorrow seared into our brains. The embrace of the survivors, the anguish of the mothers. The blood of the victims reflects a translucent red off the tears that well in the pockets of our lids.

Our ears deafened by the incessant dog whistles and barrage of divisive propaganda, sound bites and alternative facts that fill our sound waves. The hate filled rhetoric of those meant to serve and inform the general masses. Leaders who choose to use their bully pulpit to promote tribal divisions. Who orchestrate their words to effectuate their own agenda’s of self interest, and to manipulate the ears of the ill informed listener.

Our nose raw from the acrid smells of scorched earth that burn your lungs with each inhale. Respiratory diseases and sinusitis at record highs as allergens, pollutants, and air borne irritants invade our protective cilia. Wears it down to create an unobstructed tunnel through our nasal passageways in which the stench of greed, corruption, caviar and old-fashioned American whiskey flows through.

Our tastebuds dulled by the chemicals, sweetners, artificial flavors and countless other toxins ingested through our food supply. Numbed by the poisons of insecticides, hormones and infected cattle and poultry fed with the cannibalistic remains of their ancestors. Our tongues forever weakened. Left to savor only the most bitter and sour of spices and flavors.

Our sense of touch forever altered by past experience. The aftermath of a pandemic necessitating an infant’s need to relearn hot from cold. Each handshake, hug, or sensual encounter triggering moments of sudden awkwardness. The unwanted grab, hug, pinch or assault that for far too long not only went ignored, but we’re encouraged and worn as a badge of honor at the 19th hole and gym locker rooms. The generational trauma of past institutionalized race based, gender based or religious based attacks forever ingrained on our present and future begins our. A need for skin to skin contact replaced by the distance of text messages, emojis, snaps and TikTok dances.

While the battle for our worldly senses may be lost there is one sense that remains uncorrupted. Hidden, but accessible to us all. A collective humanity and flow of consciousness free for all to tap into. A shared lifeforce that contains the knowledge and wisdom of history’s trials and tribulations.

The majority of us share a collective thirst to sip from that reservoir. To bathe in its energy and lap up its infinite knowledge and power. We just need a guide to show the way through the shield. A hero among us able to read the signs, interpret the prophecy and answer the call of history. For ultimately progress, by definition, knows but one direction and though often unseen the evolution of that more perfect union will ultimately continue its advance #Forward #ProtestTheGOP

The Incalculable Cost of Gaslighting

The gaslighting of America continues. Peer past the latest sound bites, dog whistles and drama orchestrated to distract your attention. At heart Donald Trump is a reality show star. It’s the only thing he’s ever been really good at. Scripting fake storylines and passing it off as reality.

Manufacturing drama and faux conflict by introducing alternative facts and other stressors designed to produce outlandish sound bites and bombastic over exaggerated reactions to everyday situations.

Carefully editing select moments of a person’s most vulnerable moments to create archetypical characters. Misrepresenting them in order to make a show entertaining to the masses. Keep them coming back for more. There’s no denying he knows how to spin a good yarn, keep people talking.

Not only that he has the perfect temperament for it. He holds no real convictions or loyalties and is convincingly able to take any position necessary to advance a storyline. Cross whatever line so long as it furthers his own agenda.

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. Unable to grasp what it takes to advance on merit, not name. Able to skip the lessons of middle management the man has no appreciation for the virtues of empathy, humility, accountability and communication.

Americans need to wake up. Stop reacting to each new scandal scripted by this cabal of corruption. Harden your emotions against the emotional tactics being used to manipulate your senses. Choose to trust in your eyes and ears instead. Tune out the latest episode and ignore the narratives being pushed by this caravan of criminal and enablers, coconspirators and accessories after the fact. Agents of the rich and putinful.

Change the channel and end this shit show. Tune back into the American story instead. The one piloted by our founding fathers nearly 250 years ago. Pitched on hope, equality, opportunity, freedom and in building a better tomorrow. Directed by those who resist intolerance and hate. Streamed and consumed by Republican and Democrat alike. Understand that story is now in danger of cancellation. Only a coordinated campaign by “we, the people” will guarantee its renewal #ProtestTheGOP

The Age of Oligarchs

The enduring lesson of the 21st century; oligarchs be oligarchs. Regardless of race, religion, nationality or geography there exists a small subset of human beings that value power, wealth and adoration above all else. That will ignore tradition, precedent or moral boundaries to advance their own self-serving agenda. Superegos that will go to any and all lengths to amass, consolidate, grow and preserve their privilege.

Beyond their core materialistic values these amorphous chameleons share other key traits. To maintain their disproportionate share of power and wealth requires a willingness to negotiate, to change positions and engage in the art of the deal, at whatever cost. An egocentric transactional view of the world in which there is always a winner or loser. Moral, collaborative, value driven servant leaders need not apply. The objective of an oligarch is never the “collective good.” A win/win solution is a loss in the eyes of the one that needs to be the recognized winner.

A meritocracy a similar flawed result. Equal opportunity for all only invites competition and levels the future playing field. Power is to be maintained, not shared. Love of country, party, or people be damned. Flags, beliefs and alliances are transferable. Pawns to be traded in pursuit of the player’s true objective. Commodities that gain and lose value in accordance with current market conditions.

The one true threat this cabal of corruption faces is that posed by the “power of the people.” For if ever there was a coordinated collaboration of the masses designed to upend the rigged game and remove the systemic rot within it then the status quo would collapse. The world turned upside down. The separation of dollar and state. A government by and for the people. Aligned in our shared priorities and bonded around our core democratic values as institutions. Unity, an end to tribal divisions, what the autocracy fears most and seeks to prevent.

The greatest weapon these obstacles to progress possess is the power of information. Once you control the dissemination of information, you alone possess the power of the Gods. The ability to create new worlds and rules of the universe. To define truth. To present alternative facts, only now without the alternatives. Lies then become truth, and perception reality