This is us

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Stop your crying. Hold your faux thoughts and prayers. Raise those flags back to full mast.

This is us.

So long as we continue to dehumanize minorities, outsiders and those who look different. So long as we characterize them as “rapists,” “animals,” “enemies,” “thugs,” and worse,

This is us.

So long as we allow those in power to divide our nation into two camps. Secure a status quo long past the point demographics would allow. Erect a permanent caste system. So long as we are “haves and have nots” and are labeled an “us”or “them,”

This is us.

So long as the leaders of our nation think it acceptable to bully, threaten, tweet racist dog whistles, and challenge one another to school yard brawls. So long as we elect those who deride a Civil Rights icon on social media but silently accepts the endorsement of hatemongers, white supremacists and nationalists,

This is us.

So long as you falsely equate the child in the hoodie, hijab, yarmulke or Che tee with the ones wearing the white hood, cloaked in the sweater vest, draped in the Confederate flag, or adorned with the swastika tattoo,

This is us.

So long as we build walls instead of bridges. Invest in war instead of education and research grants. So long as we celebrate “American exceptionalism” but oppose student loan reform,

This is us.

So long as “we, the people” includes Goldman Sachs, Halliburton, Bain, Monsanto and Bayer and not Trayvon, Fatima, Colin, Mary and Tom,

This is us.

So long as we listen to the sources that broke the Bowling Green Massacre, but dub the one that broke Watergate as “fake news,”

This is us.

So long as we value profits over people, peddle snake oil over science and bail out Wall Street instead of Main Street,

This is us.

So long as we are persuaded by “alternative facts,” slogans, and double speak but tune out science, photographic evidence, and statistics,

This is us.

So long as we buy the empty promises about the wonders of trickle down economics and reject efforts to raise the minimum wage,

This is us.

So long as we profess that Earth and all its things were created by God but deny global warming, pollute our rivers and drill baby drill,

This is us.

So long as we debate whether gun lockers have a greater right to privacy than our daughter’s privates. We lobby that the 2nd Amendment is absolute and unequivocable, but tweet against and act to curtail the 1st and 4th,

This is us.

So long as we offer thoughts and prayers for all of God’s children, but sit nearly silent as antisemitism, Islamaphobia, and hate crimes are committed in her name,

This is us.

So long as we declare “Mission Accomplished” all while knowing it has hardly begun,

This is us.

So long as we ridicule and deride the opposition, chill the whistleblower and eliminate independent watchdogs; so long as we reject diversity of thought and opinion.

This is us.

So long as we value haircuts, manicures and beers over the health and safety of our grandparents, the immunocompromised and the must vulnerable members of our society,

This is us.

So long as we’re more offended by the black athlete who uses his celebrity to kneel in silent protest for equality than we are the white Christian billionaire who use his bully pulpit to disparage an immigrant nation,

This is us.

The Summer of Discontent

The summer of our discontent is upon us and Deplorable Donald is leading the charge. Our country is being ripped apart at the seams. Torn asunder by a so called President who finds security in the chaos and division he stokes.

To Trump’s credit he’s been quite transparent all along. Review his twitter feed from a different perspective and it almost reads as if it is both a self confession to treason and a whistleblower report (the good kind). In many conversations from “Russia, if you’re listening” right up to his present day cries of “Obamagate!” Trump openly flaunts his treasonous behavior for all to see. It’s what makes his threats to shoot unarmed protestors, shut down social media and cries of a coup, and accusations of deep state treason so dangerous.

When you see the completed puzzle you realize that these are not random pieces, projections or the rants and raves of a lunatic. Trump’s words are more than empty threats, but part of a greater design. They are the culmination of the best laid plans. Years of careful planning and coordinated efforts by those who do not hold America’s best interests at heart.

Enemies both foreign and domestic whose agendas and values do not thrive in a representative republic such as that envisioned by our founding fathers. The consolidation of God before country Raptureheads, Russia enabled military hawks and the racist status quo dependent deplorables all under the GOP big tent. Donald Trump nothing more than a golden calf to shepherd the message; a Trojan horse in which to deliver the troops and a Midas god to deliver the gold to his puppeteers.

Trump made his fortune as a CEO and reality show producer. Effective messaging and storytelling are two areas he actually does well. This attempt to divide America is no accident. Trump knows an indictment awaits his return to civilian life. His best hope to avoid prosecution is to hide behind the shield of executive immunity. To use the resources of the 1%, the blind faith of the Raptureheads and the insecurity driven hate filled strength of the deplorables to silence public dissent and suppress any efforts to otherwise remove him from office.

He seeks their approval and blindly advances their agenda with no questions asked. After all what’s a few dog whistles, conspiracy theory shout outs, executive orders and race baiting tweets in exchange for a loyalty oath from the majority of this nation’s gun owners, billionaires and private militias.

Even a domesticated dog’s behavior grows unpredictable when they sense the end is near. This isn’t a political fight, it’s a moral one. Brace yourself for the storms to come

Competent Incompetence

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Trump’s response to the corona pandemic is not incompetent. Incompetence implies failed effort. It suggests an attempt by this administration to fulfill its constitutional responsibility to faithfully defend and protect the health and security of all our citizens against threats both foreign and domestic. The word does not apply to our current situation.

Trump and his caravan of corrupt criminal enablers made no effort, incompetent or otherwise, to faithfully protect all American people from this pandemic. Rather they quite competently treat the threat as an opportunity to tighten their grip on power and further their own agendas. Whether furtherance of the permanent oligarchy being erected under our noses, the elimination of voices of dissent or the assurance of the paper tiger king’s reelection all their efforts and sound bites speak to these goals.

Trump’s actions are premeditated. They are meant to suppress voter turnout through fear, disease or otherwise. Far from incompetent what you see is designed to eradicate political enemies and voter turnout through suppression and fear. Make no mistake. These acts may be described as unpresidential or as a dereliction of constitutional responsibility but they are not the result of inability.

To dismiss poor behavior or sloppy work product as mere incompetence is the easy way out. It prevents a deeper analysis of motive and ill intent and suggests that by simply replacing the person we will improve the result. No larger lessons learned or systemic change need result when the cause of failure is mere incompetence. The quicker we as a nation realize what ails our nation goes beyond mere incompetence the sooner we may be able to heal from this cancerous mass.

The Soul of our Nation

It’s time to take the gloves off. This is not a political fight, it’s a moral one. Traditional political messaging has no place in the fight ahead. Biden and his surrogates must present a clear and aggressive message. They must weaponize fear and no longer worry about who they alienate in doing so. If ever there was a you’re either with us, or you’re against us moment it’s now.

Let’s start by calling a spade a spade. Those who serve and support this administration are a vast minority of our citizenry. They are not members of a traditional political party, but more akin to a cult. The entirety of their agenda boils down to God, guns and a consolidation of money and power; a preservation of the status quo long past demographics will otherwise allow. The latest tantrum by their golden calf in which he threatens to implement regulations that would shutdown social media just the latest abandonment of traditional GOP values.

If this is truly a “fight for the soul of our nation” as Biden claims fight it as such. Do not be afraid to ostracize those who disagree. Donald Trump has betrayed his oath of office. He has failed in his responsibility to protect and defend the health and safety of all people within our majestic shores. He is most likely a traitor to this nation and those who support him are not patriots but accomplices in his mission to end the hopes and dreams of our founding fathers.

There is all sorts of evidence to support this view that Democrats should take to the airwaves daily to present. From his first days in offfice when he allowed Flynn, a known national security threat, to remain as the head of the NSA for 19 days without restriction, to his attacks on a free press and free speech, to his failure to prepare for a predictable pandemic, to his focus on Wall Street this administration has proven time and again that they serve the interests of the few. Every debate should be filled with incendiary language that supports these claims. Transpose these events with the values America was founded upon.

Profits Over People

It’s funny that the same individuals who defend capitalism as the end all be all don’t seem to understand a basic principle of it. The entire model is premised on supply and DEMAND. States may allow all the bowling alleys, massage parlors and hair and nail salons they have to open up but who do you think is going to show up?

Polls show that up to 70% of people favor continued stay at home orders. Sure these businesses may see an initial surge from the other 30% but then what? Each of these consumer driven commodities depend on sustained DEMAND to meet operational costs.

This is all a scam. Without normal demand these businesses will fail in the not to distant future. Employees of these businesses afraid to return to work will now be laid off for cause and removed from unemployment ranks. Those who do report put themselves at heightened risk of contracting Covid and are removed from the current unemployment numbers. Others who currently receive unemployment will be kicked off for failing to seek new opportunity. Small businesses will soon find themselves bankrupt. Forced to permanently shutter their doors with no hope of a Covid related bailout.

There is no logical reason to open up non-essential recreational business at this time. The sustained demand is not yet there. The short terms benefits only serve to advance the agendas of the haves and this administration and their GOP allies. It’s a transparent choice of profits over people and a dereliction of leadership. A clear illustration of how greed, not socialism, is the true enemy of capitalism and will prove its ultimate downfall. This isn’t a political issue, it’s common sense.

The “Yes We Caine” Mutiny

The GOP no longer functions as a political party. Weak on national security, big deficit spenders, they stand for nothing but guns, God and money. The consolidation of racist status quo dependent deplorables and self avowed “God before country” Raptureheads hellbent on a new world order under a single tent. The entire Republican Party little more than a caravan of criminals and corrupt enablers. The American Taliban rises.

Our traditional checks and balances are no match for the unconventional threat we face. Our Democratic leadership ill prepared to hold to an account an Executive that has no care for tradition, precedent or the rule of law. As a nation we need to accept a basic premise. The fight to save our Republic must not wait until November 2020. The constitutional crisis is here. The battle begins now.

It is time to call all hands to deck and seize back control of America’s future. To preserve the American dream requires we, the people return to our patriotic roots. Take to the harbors and throw the tea overboard. Throw on your life vests and refuse to take a backseat in our political future. Prepare not just to march on Washington, but to sit and sleep there too. Take matters into our hands and start a “Yes We Caine” mutiny to rid our Republic of an unhinged captain.

A peaceful resistance requires sacrifice. To move forward the dreams of our ancestors we must demand answers. We must recapture the audacity of hope and hold those who wish to trample on our ideals to account. The spirit of the American people has been a beacon of hope and freedom throughout the world for over two centuries. Our diversity our greatest strength, the backbone of our success. Take comfort in our history, trust in the experiment in individual freedoms.

Progress knows but one direction and never includes a return to the past. It’s time we move forward.

Never Forget

Prior to the ascension of Donald Trump I had never used Social media as a platform, but consider me an alarmist. The only thing I ever learned in Hebrew school was “never forget,” and I haven’t. We all have a responsibility to speak out.

All of America is faced with a simple choice, #Resistance or #Appeasement.

America has a long history of standing up to bullies and Nazis. The vast majority of us teach our children that name calling and excluding other kids on basis of race, gender or religion is not okay. We take pride in the melting pot that is America. Recognize that diversity IS the American identity. We can’t change that anymore than a tiger its stripes. A list of all the great contributions immigrants, minorities and refugees have made to this country would dwarf a list of their misdeeds a million times over. Americans are waking. We know who we are. And we like it that way.

This is not about politics. Look at Trump’s words. Log into twitter and review his timeline of tweets. It is repulsive. You’d be ashamed of your child if that was the method they used to become class president. He is a man of flawed character. He does not share OUR values and we must stand up together and punch him in the nose.

All in #GOP, including the so called “moderates” who serve this administration, need to declare yourself an independent, a freedom fighter or whatever heroic name you wish to give yourselves. Find the courage within you. Make clear to the Divider in Chief that you stand for the people and the constitution and he will have trouble if he continues to mess with either.

This shitshow has gone on long enough. It’s time to cut commercial and bring the adults back into the room.We can no longer afford to play Russian roulette with our values, our democracy or the lives of our future generations

The Enemy of My Enemy

Our so called President tweeted that the New York Times is the true “ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”

So it begs the question. Who exactly are “the people” Trump refers to. A quick scan of his timeline and it’s clear his people does not include socialists, radical democrats, chuck and Nancy, independent minded republicans, Hispanics, blacks, immigrants, LBGTQ+, people from California, Jeff Flake, members of the intelligence community, people from Puerto Rico, women…

In fact, Donald Trump does not represent or speak for the overwhelming majority of this nation’s citizens. The truth is most patriotic Americans find Donald Trump, not a free press, to be the “enemy of WE, the people.”

Safe to say the enemy of my enemy is my friend. In fact a look at a few of the current stories trending in the Times and you’ll see several involve “the people” who stand with Trump and support him in both words and actions.

My personal favorite is the one about the Coast Guard lieutenant and self-described white nationalist who was arrested in Maryland last week. He was plotting to kill a long list of liberal journalists and political leaders on a scale “rarely see in this country.”

Oddly enough these are “the people” Trump refers to. The ones who often speak in his defense yet never appear on his Twitter timeline. No insinuations or childish nicknames for the racists, bigots and trolls who act in his name.

That’s no accident. It’s one thing for a talented manipulator to get into power. It’s a whole other thing to stay there. Trump knows the only way for that to happen is to reach back to his core base. To empower the fringe 20% of the far 20%. Turns out “the people” are who Hillary defined as the true “deplorables” of society.

You know “the people” who respond to Trump’s call of a national emergency and react to his dog whistles. KKK members, drunks, abusers, people who proudly fly the Confederate flag and hang rubber testicles off their tow hitch. Victims of society looking for someone to blame for whatever insecurities they harbor within.

Trump appeals to and speaks for those made in his image. Those in search of some reason, other their own inadequacy, to explain their sorry lot in life. The New York Times and a free press threaten the cognitive dissonance necessary to exert control of “the people.” It prevents the authoritarian from declaring the loudest voice in the room, is the only voice in the room.

Trump’s efforts to silence and discredit the press pose a clear and present danger to the foundation of our democracy. Without a credible counter narrative to contend with this caravan of corrupt criminals will be free to project their own shortcomings onto the most vulnerable members of our society. They will use sound bites, click bait propaganda and alternative facts to deflect from whatever scandal plagues them and otherwise fear monger, scapegoat and blame shift at whatever the cost.

The truth is Trump seeks to control the people. The tighter the noose around his neck the more desperate he grows to scream out to them. To embolden them to act; draw the swastikas, burn the mosques, shoot the churches and claim our federal lands and parks as their own. To terrorize and deride the press and the Radical Democrats. To silence the opposition through force and accept the narrative offered.

These are the proud boys who the real national emergency, Donald Trump, grows ever more dependent on. To chill the fight of moderates with fear tactics, threats and intimidation. Without them the whole ship sinks, the stool gets kicked out from under him

The 3-D Painting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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