The Ineptitude of No Deal

Donald Trump does not deserve any praise from walking away from a bad deal and leaving Hanoi. He deserves scorn and ridicule for showing up to Hanoi in the first place.

Let’s be clear: Donald Trump has achieved nothing of importance with Kim Un. In fact North Korea’s nuclear activities have only been allowed to further advance and grow without objection by the US for the past two years.

There was no indication North Korea was ever serious about denuclearization. Had The Dotard considered the consensus assessment of our intelligence agencies he would have known this to be the case long before his arrival at the summit. At a minimum he would have had American diplomats learn of North Korea’s position prior to boarding Air Force One. Seems like a basic due diligence would at least require the parties to at least agree to a definition of what “denuclearization” means, prior to putting on an international spectacle.

Instead much like he did with birthers and white nationalists, all Trump has done is legitimize another member who sits on the fringe of civilized society. In this case Kim Un, an unapologetic autocrat who starves his own people, orders the murder of his own family members and opposition members and who routinely threatens America and her Pacific allies.

In actions and words the leader of the free world has condoned all of this. Made clear that the freedom and inalienable rights of all humanity takes a back seat to the potential personal economic and political gains Trump may reap in a deal with “his friend” Kim. Once again we learn that there are good people on both sides.

More so in absolving Kim of any responsibility in the death of Otto Warmbier, an American citizen killed in North Korea custody, our so called President made clear where his loyalties lay. Putin, Crown Prince MBS, Erdogan, and now Kim Un; it seems our Dear Leader has more confidence in the words of notorious dictators and liars, known adversaries of America, than he does over America’s own leaders and intelligence officials.

This is a man who refused to believe the words of President Obama in regards to his own birthplace, but somehow believes we should now trust the word of Kim Un. Keep in mind the former Rocket Man once publicly referred to Trump himself as “mentally deranged” and a man “unfit to hold the prerogative of supreme command of a country, and he is surely a rogue and a gangster fond of playing with fire, rather than a politician.”

On second thought, maybe Kim is trustworthy. Those words seems eerily prescient and a credible way to describe our current American President

Who is Keyser Soze

Ironically it was Kevin Spacey in a career making role who once uttered the words “The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”

The following statements about a sitting President of the United States are not in dispute;

1) He is the subject of an ongoing counter intelligence investigation and has acted in ways previously unimaginable of the world’s most powerful man,

2) The majority of our citizenry strongly disapprove of the man himself, his agenda and his job performance,

3) There is credible evidence that he may not have been legitimately elected by and may not in fact be working for the American electorate,

4) Vladimir Putin, a former KGB agent who has never once prior acted to advance America’s best interest, invested numerous Russian resources to help Trump secure the Republican nomination and win the ensuing presidential election,

5) Trump has passed along classified information and otherwise  placed our nation’s security at grave risk due to his wanton disregard for classified information, intelligence assessments and diplomacy,

6) He has politicized the Department of Justice, attacked private citizens and threatened political opponents and regularly denigrates our free press and intelligence agencies,

7) Openly uses presidential platform and powers to commit obstruction of justice and to profit off the office.

Each of these statements in an of itself present an unprecedented risk to our Republic. They demand a proactive and unconventional response. 

Yet, as I scan the headlines from the past week: the alternative state of the union, the testimony of Acting AG Whitaker, the budget compromise passed by Congress, the Democratic race for 2020, the confirmation of AG Barr, the impending “national emergency;” it’s as if Donald Trump is just another unpopular President with the best of misguided intention. 

Perhaps it is I who live in a twilight zone but why legitimize the message and provide the theater that comes along with a traditional state of the union. How do we allow an unvetted sycophant to appear before Congress and make an open mockery of our Justice Department? 

How do we continue to confirm the nominees of a man who is unqualified to nominate them? This shouldn’t be political. It defies logic. It’s understandable that Democrats do not want to be perceived as bad guys or unwilling to compromise but there are times when good leadership requires just that. The willingness to do something bold and unpopular. 

Donald Trump doesn’t play by the rules. He is willing to make up a phony national emergency, endanger our troops, go to who knows what length really if it means he gets to claim victory. You can’t give him the opportunity. 

Here’s the truth. Trump took 800,000 federal employees hostage. Democrats negotiated with a terrorist. As a result they now have a crappy deal. Sure it keeps the government open but it fails to solve any immigration issues, gives credence to the concept of a wall and Trump further strengthens his Executive power by declaring a national emergency. 

Oh yeah, spoiler alert: it’s never been about the god damn wall. It’s all about the emergency powers he’s about to exert on California and other border states. The consolidation of power that by taking the high road Democrats just handed the rising authoritarian. 

The constitutional crisis is here! We can’t afford to wait for the coffee cup to shatter to realize Keyser Soze sat before us this whole time. We must take bold action. Consolidate and form a real opposition. Lead the people in daily protest from the steps of the capital. Shut down all government business until such time it is independently confirmed that Donald Trump was hired by and is working for the American people

The Ability To Lead

No question men are presumed to be qualified leaders. When they interview for a position of power rarely does one question their “ability” to lead. Of course nothing is further from the truth. Some people are not to fit lead, period. Even some who excel in other areas of a team or lower levels of leadership.

In both business and politics unqualified men are thrusted into leadership positions on the basis of their subject matter experience or connections alone.

More often than not the reverse is true for women. Before being afforded a position of authority a female must prove worthy. She must tangibly demonstrate and defend that she has both the personality, commitment and acumen to succeed as a leader. This is evidenced in everything from the questions asked in interviews to the coverage of the candidate.

Although the status quo is unquestionably biased against women the solution is not to start treating the female candidates like their male counterparts. It’s to start treating the male candidates, to start reporting on their attributes as if they were a female.

Don’t get me wrong. On their own the stories of Klobuchar’s treatment of her staff do not disqualify her from a position of power. In fact good leaders are demanding. They expect to be surrounded by competence. They expect their peers to act rationally and in accordance with the facts, science and logic presented of them. They make decisions that advance the collective mission, not individual self interests or monopolistic blocs.

The truth is for years we demanded too little of our leaders. The dangerous game of Russian roulette our democracy now plays is the end result of what plagues our Republic. A profound failure of leadership. A country run aground by leaders who continually put party over people. Elected officials who fail to grasp the most fundamental principle of representative leadership. That first and foremost you serve the interests of the majority of your constituency, regardless of self or party interest.

Klobuchar has a strong and accomplished record that suggests the ability to compromise and stand on principle when necessary. There is no doubt she is fearless and can get things done. The job of President, however, is more than that.

To recover our values and the loss of worldwide credibility caused by this caravan of the corrupt will require the cooperation of a diverse set of true leaders. It will demand true diversity of thought and compromise across political, gender, race and religious spectrums.

As the Mooch says, “the fish rots from the head.” We need a leader who is relentlessly positive and unnervingly empathetic. Now more than ever we need to examine each and every candidate to ensure such is the case

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/02/13/amy-klobuchar-sexism-jennifer-palmieri-225026

The Terrible Twos

The great dynasties age in centuries not years. They span thousands of years and define an era of human history. If America is truly destined to lead the next great era in mankind’s evolution then history will view today’s struggles appropriately. We were founded but 250 years ago. Our actions today are indicative of the immature growing pains all toddlers experience, symptoms of the terrible twos. A collective temper tantrum driven by White Christian males who fear change.

On most days I remain hopeful that when our descendants recount the stories of the birth of the nation the days of Trump’s America will be easy to explain away. Preschoolers experience a seismic shift in their relationship to the world. It’s an age where ones abilities to take in information outpaces one’s ability to properly process it. Rather than logic, behavior is driven by pure id and a need to prove one’s independence and self worth. Learning lessons the hard way is a part of daily life.

Research shows that these are the formative years that will dictate one’s moral fiber. ThIs is not meant to be hyperbolic. We are at a crossroad. We are a nation of informed consent. The constitutional crisis is not coming. It is here. Our nation’s moral fiber is at stakes. We, the people, have a choice to make.

We are the guardian who gets to imprint a moral code during the formative years. Do we choose to be the parent who allows their child to get away with anything? Who withholds accountability and rewards tantrums with excess love, adoration, or rewards? Or do we instill the lessons of accountability and impose limits, reward the virtues of empathy and community?

The path we choose may very well determine the survival of our species. There are those among us who don’t want to change. Who don’t want to grow up or evolve. They fear strangers, throw tantrums, protest and resist change at all cost. They enjoy their lot in life, their standing in the caste. They bask in the shadow of white male privilege, take comfort in their status quo.

Others simply fear getting older or reject evolution. They recognize their outdated beliefs are being trampled. Their traditional values and understanding of one’s place under attack. They see the world around them and at heart must know they are the dinosaurs of the 21st century. Yet, it is with that knowledge they fight hardest against the inevitability of change. As if doing so will somehow prevent their extinction.

The majority of us, however, reject the impulses to fear the unknown. We recognize that change is a sign of progress. We strive to go #forward and dream of a brighter tomorrow. We pray for a world of greater tolerance, and pitch in to fight poverty and conserve our environment. With a yes we can spirit we set off to build bridges and seek to tear down walls.

The majority also take honor in the fact that diversity is a central part of the American identity. We recognize the dreams of our ancestors came at great cost and sacrifice. We acknowledge that our privilege was born from the sins of the modern era. The exploitation of cultures, land and people that came along with empire building, manifest destiny, tribalism, and colonialism.

For us to properly mature as a nation we must get over our separation anxiety and insecurities. The survival of our species will require unprecedented global interdependence and cooperation. The impacts of climate change, nuclear proliferation, antibiotic resistant pandemic and eventual planetary extinction will require it. To meet these challenges we need to toss aside our old grudges and ignorant stereotypes. We need to move to a figurative world without borders. This does not mean we abandon all common sense, but we flip our expectations. We expect a positive outcome and promote the benefits of cooperation. We teach our kids to trust but verify.

It’s time we as a nation moved beyond the comforts of our founding fathers. Time for us to begin the big kid years and write our own legacy. Learn to socialize beyond our immediate family circle and expand our bubble. Promote the commonalities that exist between us instead. Welcome strangers into the kindergarten classroom and nurture the concepts of trust, inclusion and collaboration. Discipline and reject those that promote ignorance, name calling or disrespectful behavior.

Early intervention is the key to success. Let’s stop humoring the whines and screams of how much better it could be. Let’s instead pay attention to the desperate cries for structure and accountability. It’s not always easy but the time has come to yank the binky away from our Dear Leader and bring some adult supervision back. This tantrum has gone on long enough.

The Boiling Frog

According to lore if you place a frog into a pot of boiling water it will jump right out and escape its impending doom. If, however, the frog is put into a pot of warm water and then brought to a slow boil it will not perceive of the danger until it’s too late. The poor frog is cooked to death.

The lesson of the story isn’t found in the frog’s death, but in its life. It’s that the frog never thought to escape. It was always just a hop away from freedom but chose to remain passive. Why? Because it couldn’t even perceive of the danger that lay ahead. Welcome to America’s democracy.

The warning signs are all there. From the inept Cabinet picks and partisan judicial nominations. To the war on the free press and creation of Sean Hannity’s Ministry of Propaganda. To the reckless wag the dog foreign policy. To the manufactured inquiry into Obama’s deep state. Deranged Donald has done more to destroy our democratic institutions, strip away individual freedoms and erode our standing as the beacon of hope and freedom to the world’s oppressed and underprivileged than any modern American leader.

Moreover, the majority of us understand that there is more to this Russia story. That Deranged Donald craves nothing more than power, adoration and fortune and will go to any lengths to protect his legacy, his bank account and family name. That he acts as if compromised by Putin in everything from his repeated refusal to implement sanctions, to his hiring of Flynn and Manafort, to his flagrant obstruction, to his shady real estate dealings, to his passing along of classified information, to the secret meetings, to the tipping them off of impending military operations, all the way to the outright refusal to directly say anything negative about his Puppetmaster Putin.

Put aside that alone may mean he has de facto command of the two most powerful military forces the world has ever known. That he will never permit the liberal witch hunt to end in his removal from office. Consider only what we know instead. That Russia continues to actively promote his agenda through misinformation campaigns on social media and by actively seeking to interfere in our midterm elections. That American intelligence is aware of this activity. That our so called President has done absolutely nothing about it! Why may that be? Might it be that a free and fair election may not be in his best interest. That the thought of a Democrat controlled House alone keeps him up at night with worry that the naked Emperor will be exposed. It’s the one contingency he must not allow.

It’s time for the majority to wake up. Do not allow past experiences to lull you into a false  of security. The water is getting mighty warm. It’s time to jump out. Recognize what is at stake. Traditional checks and balances do not apply to unconventional threats.

We cannot afford to sit back passively and wait for a long off Election Day to voice our displeasure. The We need our citizens to engage in bold and direct action. National strikes, sit-ins, daily ooemonstrations and other disruptive but non-violent methods are required. We need to leave our comfort zones and make proactive sacrifice. The freedoms we take for granted can literally be wiped away with a stroke of a pen; an impulsive tweet, or the push of a button.

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

Yes we can

The oncoming conflict was so obvious. Heck the most notorious American conman alive was the opposition. Did anyone with even half a brain really believe he was there to save American.

It’s truly laughable! We knew he was a pawn…the overwhelming majority of us. A man so repugnant that his own reflection screams back “ImPeach.” Some of us chose to turn a blind eyes for selfish reasons, others out of fear they’d be labeled an alarmist, but we knew he had the stench of caviar and old fashioned American whiskey all over him…a pawn for the rich and putinful.

Even Obama…chose to put his faith in our institutions…The dreams of his ancestors and the audacity of hope…til the end. We would have listened to him. The majority, the military, all of us had he taken a stand. Had he taken that microphone on January 20th and said what the FBI had told him…how the Russians had interfered in our elections…attacked our most fundamental institution…an act of war.

We would have listened had he appointed an independent commission. Had he given them 90 days to confirm one question and one question only…had he conditioned the peaceful turnover of power on that one condition and that one condition only…

One question…ninety days.

Was Donald Trump fairly elected by and if he were to assume office would he be working for the American people?

In the interest of national security we would have listened. Ignored the rantings and protestations that would have followed. It wouldn’t have been easy but we would have listened.

I honestly believe Obama considered it. It was his duty to protect our security interests until his very last day in office. McConnell and the GOP efforts to strip him of his power a year early notwithstanding. A known and imminent threat slithered into the most powerful office in the world, it was not off caravaning many thousand miles away.

Perhaps it was our fault, the majority of like minded Americans who hold the ideals of this nation so sacred. Perhaps it was our responsibility to push this great experiment in individual freedoms forward. Perhaps Obama would have fought harder had it not all been so difficult. Had we fought more for Garland he may have believed he had a play. Instead he put his faith in hope.

There’s still a chance he is right. That we avoid the worst of this.

It’s not the institutions that will save us though. We are past that point where we can rely on the vote as a legitimate check and balance. Go vote Tuesday but more importantly we must act.

Time is not on our side. The caravan is still a month out but the constitutional crisis is here today. I fear that by the time the next Congress is sworn in it will be too late. Our Comrade in Chief has already ordered our military to shoot at the unarmed civilians who may reach our borders. He finds safety and job security in the chaos he stokes.

It’s time we stop turning a blind eye. Take to the streets in peaceful protest and make clear who we are. We are the majority. We can still stop this thing, make our will heard and bring the fight to them.

To move forward the dreams of our ancestors we must demand answers. Take comfort in 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.

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

Yes we can, yes we can, #YESWECAN