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

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Why?

More than the obvious personal enrichment, conflicts of interests, or obstruction there’s one unanswered question that keeps me up at night. That hints at something more than mere Russian influence or collusion to help elect Trump. That if taken to its darkest logical conclusion suggests actual Russian control. It’s a simple question that Annie Lennox asked best, “Why?”

It is an established fact that Vladimir Putin actively worked to influence the US election in Trump’s favor and that he continues to do so. That millions in Russian resources have been devoted specifically to maximize the probability of a Trump victory. That these efforts began not just against Hillary, but against the entire GOP field. There was only one candidate the Vlad endorsed. That’s important. It’s one thing for Russia to be anti-Hillary. That makes all the sense in the world.
It’s a whole other can of worms that Putin and his henchman were actually pro-Trump.

So the only question that remains unanswered is why? Why did Vladimir Putin, a former KGB agent, a dangerous mind with a ruthless reputation, why would he care who defeated his Democratic foe? Why was this man of high intelligence who has never before acted with America’s best interests in mind be suddenly motivated to make America great again? Why would a man who hijacked Russia’s emerging democracy to orchestrate his own rise to absolute power in ways that would make Frank Underwood blush care what happened here on our shores? Why the sudden change of heart towards our collective well being?

The answer appears to be obvious. Donald Trump is best case working in cahoots with and worst case compromised and controlled by Putin and Russia. The implications of either choice is so terrifying it’s almost beyond comprehension.

If true it suggests that Trump knows and will continue to act with the knowledge that he has the might of the world behind him. That he may willingly use whatever means necessary and proactively use all the powers of his office, regardless of optics, to squash any attempts to legally remove him from office. That so long as he formally remains Commander in Chief of the most powerful military in the world, he will be the one to resist any effort to bring him down regardless of tradition or precedent; just as Puppetmaster Putin did in his ascension.

When you continue to play the scenarios out they only get more and more horrifying. It’s not hard to see how a new world order emerges. A global oligarchy controlled by a fascist few. An international caste system of haves and have nots in which the world’s most valuable natural resources are controlled by the world’s most powerful nations. The many working for the few. A permanent military state in which any remaining illusion of individual freedoms would be just that.

When viewed through this prism almost all of Trump’s forreign policy decisions suddenly make sense. The wag the dog drama, escalated rhetoric, and ensuing peace agreements with traditional hostile nations a fait accompli. Russia (Iran) and China (N Korea) in control of their rogue pawns as they formalize their growing international influence through negotiations. Traditional allies pushed aside to make room at the table.

Like the skilled reality show stars they are, our Comrade in Chief and this caravan of criminals and corrupt enablers seem to create new storylines weekly; generate so many sensational new questions each day that it is impossible to focus on story continuity or consistency. So in the words of Julie Andrews, “let’s start at the very beginning. It’s a very good place to be.”

It is undisputed that Vladimir Putin sought to aid in the election of Donald Trump. We can no longer afford to be distracted from seeking the answer to the only question that truly matters,

“Why?”

Cognitive Dissonance

The pathway to perdition is caked in the blood of those who thought it could never happen to them, never on their native soil. Those who refused to believe their eyes and ears as the boundaries of civility slowly erode. Those who willfully chose to accept alternative facts and alternative charts rather than deal with the hard realities of life and be forced to confront some unpleasant truths.

Ignore the blatant patterns and lessons of the past at your own risk. History rewards early adaptors. Movies are made about those who risk everything to flee over mountains rather than join up with the rising authoritarian. Statues erected of those who resist in plain sight. Those who smuggle refugees across borders, hide entire families in their crawl spaces. They are the heroes of yore and exemplars of man’s perpetual progress.

The same cannot be said for those who bury their head in the sand. No honors will be awarded to those who appease the madmen in his quest for absolute power and silently benefit from the new power structure being erected to serve the ruling elite. Those everyday citizens who temporarily fall victim to the allure of the golden calf; who normalize the inane, illogical, and inhumane policies of the rising authoritarian, until one day the spell is broken. They wake up to find lifelong friends or coworkers have been rounded up or deported simply because their name showed up in an immigrant database, designated a clear and present danger. By that point it’s too late to resist, too late to play the hero. By then they are relegated to the shadows, to play the roles of the nameless extras that looks glance sympathetically, biding their own time as the horrors around them unfold.

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.

The story progresses as 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 his 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 in motive. The desire for ultimate power drives increasingly brutal and more brazen tactics of suppression;

“Dissent must be suppressed!”, “Fake news media!”, “Foreign enemies abound!”, “Send them back!”, “A caravan of rapists and criminals approach unchecked!”, “The opposition is filled of unhinged radical, socialist, communist, elitist obstructionists!” screams the propaganda machine.

Midway through the story a cataclysmic event occurs. The stuff of nightmares. A society’s worst fears realized. A genuine an indisputable 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

Restore Our Democracy

The loyalty to the nation to which they serve should not be an open question of a sitting President. This is not a political issue. This is a matter of national security. The constitutional crisis is here.

“We, the people” need to demand transparency. We need to look at our brethren in Hong Kong, London, Puerto Rico and across the globe who courageously rise up against the greedy oligarchs, religious fundamentalists and deplorable dinosaurs who seek to interrupt the progress of civilization. We need to take to the streets and rally behind an opposition leader who will unite the majority and restore our democracy

Category 5 Inferno

You can sense the impending explosion. Hear the kindling crackle and feel the intensity of the heat as the embers glow ever brighter. You know this is no ordinary fire. Cognizant that the smart thing to do is take cover. Yet past experience anchors you in place. “You’ve never been burned before so why panic now,” you think to yourself. Besides, you are prepared for an emergency. The fire extinguisher is nearby and other traditional safeguards are in place to prevent catastrophe.

So you ignore your spidey senses and do nothing. You shelter in place and wait, prepared to react to whatever may come next. Oblivious to the fact you may never get that chance.

We’ve had 44 other presidents in this country. Some of whom were not good men. Many were corrupt and power hungry, driven more by greed and blind ambition than a public service ethos. Others had authoritarian tendencies and used the bully pulpit to foster divisions amongst the American citizenry. A few could probably be best described as immoral or maybe even criminal in behavior.

No matter who served in office, however, Americans were able to take comfort in the design of our system of governance. A belief that regardless of character of the man in office the checks and balances were architected to prevent catastrophe. The majority of Americans took for granted our democratic institutions and individual freedoms. Acted immune to permanent harm, like teenagers in our aloofness to known danger. Societal norms may get temporarily burned, but surely the house and those residing inside it will remain unscathed. Of course, we will live to see another day; cast another vote.

Unfortunately past experience does not apply to Donald Trump. The safeguards designed by our founders are ill equipped to protect against such an unconventional threat. Our founders were wise but the American Dream was founded on certain assumptions. Chief among them was that facts exist and “we, the people” would no longer live in a world where equal time had to be given to authoritarians who espouse “alternative facts” that serve their own agenda.

Moreover that delicate system of checks and balances was built on the premise of trust and the belief that collectively those in office will serve the interests of their constituents or be held to account. Anchored on the premise that our government will consist of three separate, but EQUAL, branches of government to mitigate corruption in the other. Dependent upon a free press and an informed electorate that will insist leaders act logically and represent the majority interests.

Those assumptions no longer hold true. The constitutional safeguards no longer exist. It turns out our system of checks were not meant to be passive tools. Like a fire extinguisher there success is dependent on somebody being there to operate them.

We know Donald Trump is petrified of his finances being examined. We know he bankrupted casinos and real estate conglomerates at the height of the economy yet somehow struck gold once the economy tanked. Guilty people who launder billions in Russian money generally know what they’ve done before being charged.

We know Vladimir Putin, a former KGB agent who has never before acted with America’s best interest in mind, went to great lengths and invested precious Russian resources specifically to elect the man who promised to “make America great again!” We know of the public refusal to denounce Putin by name or hold Russia to account for its attempts at interference in our election.

We know the man who mocked his predecessor for doing so, telegraphed forthcoming military operations to our enemy in Syria apparently with ample time for them to prepare! Tweeted out classified surveillance photos and leaked other intelligence to traditional foes. That he is engaged in an unwinnable trade war with China, that he has legitimized the brutal North Korea regime on the world stage and done nothing to stem their nuclear program. That he has alienated and insulted traditional allies at every turn.

Yet, despite all evidence that an unprecedented threat looms, the vast majority of our elected officials continue to play traditional politics. Act content to rely on reactionary safeguards.

This is not about party politics. This has never been about red verse blue. This is about patriotism. This is about the evolution of the American dream. We can no longer stand by passively. Our representatives need to get off their asses and do their intended job. Grab the extinguisher before the flames erupt uncontrollably and the conflagration consumes us all.

Perception and Reality

One may perceive the world differently ut facts, logic, science and statistics do exists. Good leaders understand this. They work to shape public perception to match and align with actual reality. Donald Trump on the other hand is not a good leader. He has made a career shaping perception to match a false reality. First as a talentless self-proclaimed tycoon who bankrupted both real estate conglomerates and casinos at the height of the economy, yet played a master negotiator on “reality” television. Then as a crusading populist whose greatest adversity faced in life was being born with a silver spoon in his mouth to a conspiracy obsessed bigot father who made millions as a slumlord.

Each day the primary focus of this caravan of criminal deplorables and corrupt enablers is to undermine transparency and prevent informed consent. Every tweetstorm, each prevarication, each appearance by Propaganda Hannity, Rudy Giuliani or Kelly Conway meant to further distract from truth of situation. The only way to mask the incompetence, to hide the ill intent, is to conceal it from the masses. To use misdirection, doublespeak, sleight of hand, technology and sound bites to distract and manipulate the way the brain processes information. Their very hold on power dependent on the public’s perception of their power.

Informed consent is the constitutional responsibility of the American citizenry. To push past the sound bites, propaganda and words of those entrusted to represent our interests and find out the truth of the situation. To expose the illusionist and ruin the trick.

Though he didn’t really make the Statue of Liberty disappear David Copperfield once captured the country’s attention when he made the world perceive that he had. Millions clambered for answers and tuned into his special to discover the truth of her whereabouts. Unlike a magician Deranged Donald does not deal in illusion. He has in reality erased Lady Liberty from our nation’s shores and designated her a meaningless relic. Extinguished her torch and muted her words of hope and opportunity. Yet rather than clamor for answers the country continues to chase squirrels.

To quote our Comrade in Chief, “Sad.”