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

The State of the Union

Spoiler alert: the state of our union is in disarray. The majority of her citizens shell shocked and befuddled. Our democracy is under seige while politicians across both sides of the aisle engage in a dangerous game of Russian roulette from which democracy will be the unwitting victim.

The state of our union is obscured in the daily fog of lies, disinformation and alternative facts. A coordinated campaign generated by our Comrade in Chief and his caravan of coconspirators and enablers to prevent informed consent and discredit a free and independent press; both necessities of a properly functioning democratic republic.

The state of our union is that we are a country whose values and progressive have been hijacked by a corrupt cabal of thugs, career opportunists and morally reprehensible conmen. It is time all Americans wake up and face the music. America does not have an identity crisis. We are not a nation divided. We are the shell shocked survivors of a near bloodless coup that has set fire to our democratic norms and extinguished the flames of liberty and hope that once lit our majestic shores to serve as a beacon to the world’s oppressed and disenfranchised.

The state of our union is that America’s ills will not be solved through political compromise or ballot box. Here is the reality of the situation. Our administrative state has already been slain. 800,000 federal employees, plus scores of federal contractors who support them, used as pawns. The core missions of agencies like Justice, State, Energy, and Education no longer recognizable and already politicized in unimagined ways. Our intelligence agencies discredited and paralyzed to the point of inefficacy by the very Executive who employs them.

Beyond that traditional checks and balances like an equal legislative branch and independent apolitical judicial branch can no longer be trusted to function as intended. The legislative branch coopted by self interested enablers who fear their position of privilege will vanquish as a functioning democracy creates a new governing majority representative of a shifting democracy. The judicial branch stacked with religious zealots and corrupt sycophants foaming at the mouth to enforce a self serving fundamentalist belief system upon the permanently established caste system their economic policy has created.

That we’ve reached this state is no accident. Rather it results from the coordinated efforts of a merry band of deplorables whose very goal was the “deconstruction of our administrative office.” A minority bloc of faux reality show producers who do not recognize or abide by archaic procedural rules and traditional political courtesies. Self described political disrupters who flaunt their outsider status, unconventional methods and unorthodox language as proof of their populist legitimacy.

The state of our union is the American people are in need of an opposition leader, not a political one; for the union itself teeters on the brink of extension. A clear and present danger to the American dream lurks the halls of the White House. A man who employed an active foreign agent to head our National Security Agency and left him in the role with unfettered access to our nation’s most sensitive secrets for an additional 19 day’s after learning from our own intelligence agency that he may be compromised by Russia, a hostile foreign enemy.

The state of the union is beyond comprehension, yet it must not be ignored. The truth is a sitting President is under active investigation for conspiring with a foreign enemy. Credible allegations exist that he may in fact be compromised and susceptible to Russian interests. Every action he has taken since assuming office only adding further support to the worst case scenario.

If such is the case it suggests a forthcoming conflict the likes of which neither Democrat nor Republican can win alone. Instead it will require the cooperation of all defenders of democracy and American patriots. There is not a single piece of empirical data that exists to support Donald Trump enjoys the support of a majority of this nation’s populance. Election results accepted as is he still lost the popular vote by millions and got trounced in mid terms. Conservatively an average of polls suggest 60% of this country’s population outright oppose of Donald Trump and his hate filled MAGA agenda. Do not be fooled. That is an overwhelming majority.

The state of the union is that the President has intentionally disabled the state of the union. It is fitting that he does not get to speak on it. Rather, it must be up to the majority of the people of this nation to deliver this year’s State of the Union. To deliver a message so loud and clear that it can no longer be ignored or delayed for a distant day. It’s no longer enough to simply voice your displeasure. We must insist on results.

To preserve this union we must make clear that those who continue to appease this snake will be considered complicit in his crimes. We need to limit further damage and potential infiltration of those who don’t have Americans best interest in mind. Insist that the Senate refuse to consider any future nominations, until we receive confirmation that this President was truly hired by and is working for the American people.

Whatever your political affiliations, whatever color your district, if you oppose what this administration represents, know that you are in the majority. Read up on the words of our founders. They foresaw such a threat to the state of our union. We, the people, were envisioned as the final frontier. The ultimate check to prevent the rise of the despot. Take solace in their words and foresight. We’ve been here before #HistoryHasItsEyesOnYou

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 story they seek 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 uses fear and oppression as his primary tools. His speech comprised of thinly veiled dog whistles that call upon the deplorables of society to rise up. 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. Over time they too will join the cause or face excommunication from the party. Those branded race or party traitors to be forever blacklisted and cast out.

As he consolidates power the narcissist grows. He begins to divide traditional alliances through rumor, false promises and chaos. He discredits opponents with lies, misinformation and alternative facts.

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.

As the opposition grows and coalesces, the motive of the dictatorial villain grows more transparent. The desire for ultimate power drive increasingly brutal and more brazen tactics. 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. Freedoms must be restrained as a new threat rises. 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 appointment of Whitaker. The war on the press and needless taunts of our closest allies. It’s clear that we’re already very close to that midway point.

There’s another version of this story though. The one written 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.

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

Either way; the good news is the story always ends the same way. Love, empathy, sacrifice and acceptance win the day. A new hope emerges in the blooms of renewed unity and tolerance. The villain is 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 #Forward

Past the Point of No Return

Our leaders should be taking to the streets reminding Americans of what is at stake. Leading the people in protests and painting a clear picture to all Americans of who we are up against. That Vladimir Putin, a former Soviet era KGB agent is a man of great intelligence who has never once prior acted with America’s best interest in mind. That he is a man who always thinks two steps ahead. For some reason that very man is known to have used the resources of the Russian government and power of Russian intelligence to help elect our so called President into office. And to be clear Putin endorsed Trump to defeat not just Hillary, but to defeat all challengers regardless of party.

The leader of the free world is under active investigation for colluding with Russia and rather than cooperate to prove his innocence he has obstructed every attempt at an independent investigation. Let that sink in. His loyalties are in serious question and hear we stand cheering him on as he embarks in historic negotiations with a depraved dictator. Heretofore known as a ruthless international pariah who seemingly overnight has been legitimized by the so called leader of the free world. And for what? In exchange for a nuclear free peninsula!!

Have you all gone mad? There is no way these two are agreeing on anything that will advance the world’s collective interests. This summit has nothing to with a nuclear free peninsula or the advancement of world peace. This is all about the establishment of a new world order. The merging of the five families so to speak. A coalition of nuclear powered strongmen (Putin, Kim, Trump, Netanyahu, Xi…) coming together to oppose traditional Western values and create an international caste system.

Consider this. Prior to Trump taking office North Korea was known to be nuclear free, and as recently as 2016 was still believed to be several years away from developing an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking the mainland United States with a nuclear payload, and nowhere near capable of acquiring a destructive hydrogen warhead, capable of leveling cities. They were also still considered the most imminent threat to world stability due to their Deranged leader and the stockpile of chemical weapons and highly advanced ballistic missile program he had at his control. A stockpile that still exists today but for whatever reason, along with the gross human right abuses, no longer seem to be a concern to US interests.

It’s hard to explain why that may be since 1) In 2017 the UN Human Rights Council found the Kim regime to be the most repressive authoritarian states in the world, and 2) according to a June 2018 report from the NTI, Pyongyang has concentrated on acquiring mustard, sarin and V-type chemical agents. The North Korea may have tested chemical weapons on prisoners and the disabled in February 2014, and in February 2017, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Kim Jong-nam, was assassinated in the Kuala Lumpur international airport by suspected North Korean agents wielding the nerve agent VX.

The final snooze alarm is blaring. The time has come for all sane minded Americans regardless of party, to engage and demand transparency and accountability. Let’s agree to let bygones be bygones. Our fates are tied together. It’s either appeasement or resistance. Choose wisely #HistoryHasItsEyesOnYou #Resist

http://www.nti.org/learn/countries/north-korea/

Is That A Singaporean Squirrel?

It seems such a simple concept. To defeat the narcissist you must starve it of the attention it so desperately seeks. To render it powerless you must seize the narrative; dictate the storyline du jour and control the water cooler talk. You must deprive its id of the glory that powers it, dictate the headlines, tweets and news scrolls so that the storylines no longer focus on the individual but on the crime itself. In other words to slay the cult of personality you must render the personality irrelevant, a mute.

Since the birth of the Birther, for the most part, our media has taken the opposite approach. They have breathed life into Donald Trump’s narrative and given even the most far fetched of his conspiracy theories credibility. Regardless of network, publication or political bias, our mainstream media has allowed the former reality show producer, the man and his minions who made a fortune scripting a fake reality and selling it to the masses as a “reality show,” to dictate the narrative. They have ceded their independence for ratings. Rather than focus on the big story they chase, dissect and report on the squirrels, red herrings and obvious decoys in nauseating detail; always ready to openly debate the legitimacy of each as if there is no obvious line between reality and perception.

Such is the case once again with the upcoming summit with North Korea. Rather than sound the alarm and inform the public of the iceberg that sits directly in front of our current course, our captains shift gears and speed towards the Nobel Peace Prize that floats like a buoy in the distant waters.

Rather than question and debate the wisdom of allowing a man whose very loyalty to this nation is under active FBI investigation to represent us in sensitive international negotiations, we focus on whether the summit is on or off, the drama of will he or won’t he give Kim Un the final rose. Spoiler Alert, he always was going to. The finale was written months in advance. The drama created only to keep you tuned in and talking.

Rather than ask “What is he hiding?” and investigate why the leader of the free world promotes baseless conspiracy theory meant to discredit and delay the independent investigation of his campaign, we focus on the theory themselves. Give credence to the bogus claims with endless reports on the allegations and near silence on the only question that matters “why?” Why would the leader of the free world purposefully fight independent efforts at transparency?

Rather than wonder and begin each scroll with “Whose side is he on?” our editors take it as a foregone conclusion that Trump has America’s best interests in mind. As we enter sudden and unprecedented negotiations with a ruthless dictator who to date has never acted with the free world’s best interest in mind we ignore that this very question is the subject of an open FBI investigation. We ignore the possibility that our primary diplomat may be compromised by a foreign hostile. Treat it as coincidence that Trump continually ignores decades of precedence to routinely humiliate and alienate our allies often to the benefit of former hostiles.

Rather than the big picture we blur efforts at informed consent by taking each new story as an independent development. Fail to tie together threads that would note a pattern of behavior to suggest that the man who’s primary responsibility is to uphold the laws of the constitution and protect the safety and national security of a nation does anything but. That from his first days in office he allowed a foreign agent to lead the National Security Agency and left him there unencumbered an additional 19 days after learning he had lied about his connections to Russia and may in fact be compromised. That throughout his term he has obstructed every effort to investigate Putin’s efforts to influence our election, resisted bipartisan efforts to place sanctions on Russia and embraced foreign policy that have direct economic benefits on the very oligarchs who were so interested in seeing Trump elected. That he hints at pardons for those whose very actions suggest treason, while baselessly vilifying those who ably and faithfully protected our nation for 17 years from enemy attack.

Rather than question what it is we seek we blindly accept that a peace deal with North Korea is good for the world. Fail to note the lessons of history; anything is negotiable, the question is at what price. Is the goal truly a denuclearized peninsula? In return for such a promise we will legitimize Kim Un’s standing on the world stage. The so called beacon of hope and freedom prepared to condone the actions of a man who purposefully starves his people, executes political rivals, and oversees a strict caste system where only the few will reap the benefits of the economic boon promised to flow in from the relaxing of our crippling sanctions.

It makes me wonder if we as a nation have suffered collective amnesia? Do we really not recall that North Korea was denuclearized prior to Trump’s election? That the consensus among the world’s intelligence community was that they were still years away from development of nuclear capabilities. That pressure was needed to get them to halt their nuclear program AND cease proliferation of ballistic missiles that pose a clear and direct threat to our allies in the region; to force him to cease his brutal human rights violations. Suddenly one of the founding residents of the “axis of evil” is okay by us so long as they give up their nukes?

Call me a contrarian but until we stop allowing Trump to dictate the narrative and framework we should not celebrate or applaud Trump’s sudden decision to meet with him. We should not wonder whether it will be a success. We should question why it wouldn’t be. What are we demanding that would advance our interests and not those of nations who heretofore never had our best interests in mind? Why shouldn’t we fear the new world order it portends. One where the actions and values of Putin, Kim Un, and Duerte are celebrated while those of Macron, Trudeau and Merkel mocked.

Nostradamus I’m not but this summit should scare the bejeesus out of us all precisely because its outcome has never been in doubt. Rather than question just how nuclear capable they even are given the prior intelligence reports and more recent acknowledgement that their test site collapsed and is unusable Trump will be celebrated as a man of peace. A master negotiator whose bold attitude hastened some sort of historic deal that will remain undefined and nameless. The results of the art of the deal where nobody even bothers to ask if the artist even knows how to draw

Iceberg Ahead!

As a nation we stand on the decks of the Titanic. Aware the ship has hit a giant iceberg. That it is taking in water at a pace that will lead to inevitable disaster. That time is not on our side and survival will require immediate action. Yet as I scan the throngs of people who share in my circumstance, in search of direction, a voice of hope, a leader. To my surprise I find none.

Instead our so called leaders, the very crew who steered us into this mess, reassure the masses that this is all a part of the normal growing pains you may expect with any maiden voyage. That the Titanic is not your typical ship so the lessons of the past do not apply to the present. It was designed by the brightest minds to be indestructible. There is nothing to see here. Look at the economy! It’s a standing room only crowd and the decor is to die for. Drown out the doomsayers and enjoy the band they instruct unironically. The cognitive dissonance is strong.

Our leaders need to learn from the lessons of America’s past. Need to understand the importance of taking proactive action. That this nation was founded and preserved due to the proactive nature of the American spirit. So many of our heroes, Washington, Hamilton, Lincoln, Wilson, Roosevelt, and Truman all grew to be revered for their foresight and courage. Heck even our Comrade in Chief’s hero, Andrew Jackson, understood how essential it is to take steps to mitigate an impending catastrophe, rather than wait to respond until it came to you.

Whether paralyzed by fear or blissfully ignorant of the danger I know not. What I know is that it’s not enough to sit silently as the smoke thickens and billows overhead. To keep dancing obliviously as new flames seemingly erupt in every direction. To simply stare in disbelief as the deck chairs begin to sway, confident that help will arrive shortly.

Until we confirm that the so called President of the United States and leader of the free world, was hired by and is working for the American people we cannot continue to advance his agenda. We cannot give deference to his nominees or judicial appointees. We cannot allow every Executive Order and unilateral decision to withdraw from international treaties to go unchallenged. Each baiting tweet to be left uncensured and as if official position of the United States citizenry.

“We, the people,” cannot sit back and watch as the 1% are ushered into the life boats right under our noses. We must demand action. To put our faith in the belief that the crew in charge won’t really allow the ship to sink ignores recent history. We must insist they act today to protect us all. Regardless of party, race, class or creed we are all passengers on this ship. At this point to do nothing is beyond appeasement; it’s assisted suicide. #Resist

The Good Leader

I’m as excited as anyone at the prospect of a Blue Wave this Fall. Hope with all my being that the American people are given a free and fair chance to hold Deranged Donald and this cesspool of corruption to account. Yet if there is one thing you should have learned in the past 17 months it’s that character matters. It is not, and should not be strictly about party. The substance of the candidate matters as well.

If our Republic was functioning as intended it would be more than a wave of Democrats our citizens would vote into office this election year. It would be our best leaders from across the spectrum. True representatives that would not divide this nation into false “us” verse “them” narratives. Leaders who regardless of party will share certain attributes that the great leaders in history possess;

They emphasize collaboration and inclusiveness. They do not fear diversity. They embrace it.

They welcome opposition. They do not suppress feedback or dissenting opinions. They listen and learn from them.

They build a shared vision of the future. They do not think perception is reality. They rely on facts, science and logic to shape perception to match reality.

They own their actions. They do not finger point, blame predecessors or deny accountability for their decisions. They understand that once empowered the buck stops with them. Period.

They problem solve. They do not act a prisoner of circumstance or play the victim. They innovate and experiment with new paradigms to limit or remove obstacles.

They prioritize knowing their people. They do not view empathy as a weakness. They know it to be a virtue.

They extend kindness. They do not bully. They nurture.

They encourage teamwork. They do not ostracize, belittle, or build walls. They promote commonalities, break barriers and build bridges.

They lead with hope. They do not rule by negativity and fear. They grow consensus through transparency and communication.

They create opportunity for all. They do not close doors or instill artificial barriers to entry. They rely on objective measures to reward and promote all those who merit consideration.

They walk the walk. They don’t take positions for convenience or to pander to their base. They are passionate about their beliefs, research the issues and practice what they preach.

They safeguard open communications. They do not silence and threaten whistle blowers and leakers. They protect anonymity by offering hotlines and access to independent arbiters.

In the course of history there have been countless examples of leaders who chose to rule otherwise. Who ruled through fear mongering, authoritarian accountability and slogans. Who preyed on the weakness of the disenfranchised to promote their own agenda. Who gave voice to the extremes.

But riddle me this? Has such a leader ever been on the right side of history? Have they ever progressed our collective interests? Brought us closer to that more perfect union our founders dreamed of?

The answers, I hope, are obvious. This doesn’t end well. Ever