Sitting Ducks

I feel like a sitting duck lost at sea. Adrift. Bobbing along the water. Frantically paddling towards an endless horizon of gentle waves. Hopeful to find a safety net on which to regroup. A beacon of hope and freedom to escape the schools of predators lurking just below the surface. Targeting my every move. Plotting my demise. Awaiting the apex predator’s order to strike.

Perhaps it’s the circle of life. In the words of Lin Manuel “Empires fall. Oceans rise!” Perhaps it’s just our time. Yet it all feels so avoidable. Like the experiment in individual freedom and self-governance is being cut short prematurely. For the evidence suggests it wasn’t the system itself that was flawed or failed. It was the people who ran it. The political scientists themselves that betrayed the experiment’s controls. That engaged in sabotage and deceit to pollute the fair result.

History will cast the final verdict. Assign blame and cause as they rewind America’s entire 250 year history. How our nation achieved such unprecedented aspirational highs, international influence, steady social progress and advancement of democratic values in such short order. And conversely how we just as quickly rolled them back. Reverted to base human tribal instinct. Diluted the experiment with elements of God Over Politics dogma, Guns Over People faux patriotism and Greed Or Power influencers. Strange coincidence how all may be best summarized as “the GOP.”

It’s time to acknowledge what we have become. We are a nation long past constitutional crisis. An empire well beyond “national emergency.” We are a country adrift at sea without a lifeboat. Our enemies have us surrounded. Biding their time. Waiting to strike. And with no sign of a last minute rescue mission at hand, it appears as if the dream is coming to an end. The audacity of hope replaced with our children’s worst nightmare. The words of our founding fathers distorted by the echoes of rapid fire semiautomatic blasts. The experiment in individual freedom and self-governance snuffed out by a cabal of tribal interests and corporate lobbyists #ProtestTheGOP

Dirty Rotten Scoundrel

“Those who willingly accept being conned are as corrupt as those who con them.” – Tom Robbins, Villa Incognito

Friends, deplorables, countrymen, lend me your ears;

Listen, I get it. It sucks to be duped. To get your hopes up believing that someone is the real deal. That they are going to fight the rigged system they got rich off of to level the playing field for the common man.

It’s easy to believe in hope when it’s packaged correctly. Don’t feel bad. Young and old, rich and poor, black or white all of us are susceptible to a good con. It’s truly one of life’s great equalizers that knows no prejudice.

As for Trump, well he is the ultimate con man. He identified a weakness and took advantage of it. Spun a yarn and sold America a big heaping turd of a promise to make us great again.

Now is the time to face reality though. To open your eyes and judge a person on the truth of their action. To tune out the sound bites and instead trust in the leaked recordings. It may sting a bit, but suck it up buttercup.

We’re at that point of the show where the buffoonish villain has overstayed his welcome. Pull on your big boy pants and get out of the grift now. Before we lose everything.

Understand Donald Trump is not on your side. He’s never been on your side. He’s not even a real Republican. Without regards to morality or values he simply follows whatever path he believes leads to the most power and money. #LockHimUpNow

Tales of a Boiling Frog

There’s a story about boiling frogs. According to lore if you place a frog into a pot of boiling water it will jump right out, but if the frog is put in 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 it’s life. It’s that the frog never thought to escape as the water approached its boiling point. Freedom was a simple hop away but the frog chose to remain passive because it couldn’t even perceive of the danger that lay ahead. Welcome to America’s democracy.

The warning signs are all there. The erosion of checks and balances between legislative and executive branch. The partisan judiciary that serves God or dollar before constitution. The integration and influence of church upon state. The war on the free press and mainstreaming of Tucker Carlson and the Fox News Ministry of Propaganda. The reckless wag the dog foreign policy.

The takeover of state legislatures and passage of laws that restrict voting rights. The gerrrymandering of constituents to predetermined results. The enactment of artificial barriers to entry that exclude and limit full representation. Safeguards of the status quo that will enable enable sycophants to overturn the will of the people, even election results in the absence of evidence of fraud or malfeasance.

These, and other successful efforts already erode the power of the individual. When you further implement legislation that grants and bestows individual rights upon amorphous corporate conglomerates. Then you truly tip the scales of influence so that the barons of Wall Street and the lobbyists who enable them enjoy far greater political representation than the individual store clerk, call agent or working class Main Street laborer.

America’s democratic institutions, her standing as the beacon of hope and freedom to the world’s oppressed and underprivileged, is dimming. The vision of our founding fathers compromised by the rise of a global oligarchy. The interests of the few prioritized over the dreams of the many. The majority of us understand this and are able to see through the false equivalents and whataboutism. We recognize that today’s GOP is nothing more than the Guardians Of Putin. A party of extremists who seek only the consolidation of power, wealth, and religious virtuosity within their own privileged tribe. No longer advocates of a representative democracy their entire agenda is to secure the status quo. To do whatever necessary, trade whatever freedom, and betray whatever alliance necessary to secure their privileged place in society long past the point demographics of a representative democracy will otherwise allow.

It’s time for the majority to wake up. We must not allow past experience to lull us into a false sense of security. Trump may be out of office but the same cabal of corruption that lit the stove are still in positions of power and influence. Are continuing to raise the heat on the proverbial pot in anticipation of their next course. Prepping the next January 6th in the hopes of a more satisfactory conclusion. 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.

If the majority of Americans wish to preserve the American political system, we cannot afford to sit back passively and wait for future Election Days to voice the will of the people. The stakes are too high and the future too nebulous. We need to engage in bold and direct action. National strikes, sit-ins, daily demonstrations and other disruptive but non-violent methods. We need to leave our comfort zones and make proactive sacrifice.

We must not wait to remove from positions of influence those who knowingly do not serve America’s interests before all others. The demands for swift accountability to eliminate the threat that corrupt elected officials pose to the very safeguards meant to protect our political system must be heeded. Those dregs of our society who conspired in the orchestration of the January 6th insurrection, or otherwise participated in, aided in, or served as an accessory after the fact to those who sought to interfere with the peaceful transition of Executive power, must be pushed to the shadows and extremes of political debate.

We must insist our leaders collaborate across party lines to restore American democracy. Reestablish accountability and the equal application of the rule of law. Lean into our democratic values, the individual freedoms we often take for granted, and act with the urgency the situation demands. Before the water boils and it becomes too late to otherwise react.

Transactional Democracy

Featured

This is not about political ideology. This caravan of corruption does not represent a political methodology or follow a philosophical party platform. They do not stand for principled values or practice fiscal restraint. Today’s GOP is a cult. They advocate for nothing more than the Rapture, guns, and personal enrichment. Everything else, whether individual rights, racial or gender equality, or systems of government is negotiable, viewed as a commodity in the “art of the deal”.

That’s what is truly scary. They view their success in strictly transactional terms. They function in an us verse them paradigm where their side only wins when the other loses. The more “they” have, the greater America is #MAGA.

Consider the implications! Those who adhere to Trumpism, the modern day GOP, is openly rooting against more than half of our citizenry. They believe they are only doing their job effectively when the majority of their constituents are upset. To say this is an unsustainable form of representative democracy is an understatement. Let’s hope that justice (or karma) intervenes before the whole system collapses.

Trumpian Chutzpah

Trump’s latest attempt to gaslight a nation and stoke racial tensions, as my grandpa would say, takes real chutzpah.

Three years ago, soon after Trump assumed the office of the Presidency, his Chief Strategist and Senior Advisor Steve Bannon delivered a keynote address at the Cons, Pricks and Christians show, (at least I assume that’s what CPAC stands for). At the time Bannon detailed the administration’s plan for the systemic “deconstruction of the administrative state.”

Far more specific than the figurative words of the NY BLM “leader,” Bannon specifically outlined how the Trump administration was engaged in an effort to irreparably change the relationship between government and its citizens. The first step of which was to select incompetents and purposefully place them in charge of various federal agencies with the goal of running them into extinction. This all supported his central theme; that the modern American political system, the one derived by our founding fathers and considered a beacon of freedom throughout the world, is outdated. That it requires replacement.

Black Lives Matter is correct. We need to be proactive in defense of this country we love; the values that have defined us for generations. We cannot afford to take “no” for an answer from those whose sole desire is to maintain the status quo. Those relics of the past who fear change and fight the inevitable. America is an ideal, a dream. A continual quest for the more perfect union. We are not a country that moves backwards. That clings to a past of ignorance and artificial divisions.

Our founders understood people were fallible and ignorant. Took for granted that all men, themselves included, were capable of horrible things. They also understood that we as a nation would be stronger when we overcame ignorance and joined together. They imagined a time where race, religion and creed would not inhibit opportunity. A day when all Americans would be free to enjoy their inalienable rights; the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They challenged future generations to work towards the fulfillment of that dream.

We know the history. There’s been good times and bad but there’s no doubting we’ve continually progressed. We’re still living the dream. Reflecting on our past there is also no doubt that when we put aside those differences, focus on our similarities and work towards a common goal, there is nothing we can’t accomplish. No evil too great; tragedy too heavy we can’t overcome. Heck American ingenuity has been able to move mountains, free the enslaved, save an entire continent from a fascist madman, land on the mother effin moon and beyond.

There’s a reason people want to come live within our shores. That Trump and his caravan of criminal enablers wish to change that. That they seek to upend the melting pot and deconstruct us and divide us back into our separate parts. Many would say such behavior is “Treason, Sedition, Insurrection!”

The Paper Tiger King

The dog whistles turn into bugle calls as the beat towards Civil War goes on. Trump’s Tulsa MAGA rally and defense of Confederate statues but the latest attempt. All Americans must understand who Trump is and what we as a nation and the vast majority of our citizenry are up against. We must come to grips that Trump has never been more than the paper tiger king in this battle. The Joe Exotic of American politics propped up by a supporting cast of deplorable characters.

Trump of course is the perfect rube. A literal caricature of every villain of every film ever made. A billionaire product of affluent affirmative action who sells himself as a man of the people. A self proclaimed tycoon who was placed directly at the top of the business pyramid. Never understanding what it means to actually lead. To advance on merit, not name. Able to skip the lessons of middle management, the art of empathy, humility, accountability and communication. A genius only in his own mind who was so poor at business he literally bankrupted both casinos and real estate conglomerates at the height of the economy. In every way the opposite of a man who embodies the original American dream.

As if it wasn’t obvious before, Trump’s lack of response to the global pandemic that is the Coronavirus has stripped the emperor of all remaining undergarments to expose that Donald Trump is a man of flawed character. The embodiment of the 21st century American dream. A child of the 1% with no discernible talent, skills or virtue beyond that of self promotion. A self aggrandizing narcissistic sycophant with an unhealthy obsession for celebrity and fame. A self hating man child who overcompensates for his shortcomings by bullying, intimidating and surrounding himself with “yes men.”

A man in constant need of validation because deep down he fears he will never live up to daddy’s expectations, never be truly loved. A man with an ego so fragile he can’t deal with dissent or opposition. Who spent a lifetime avoiding accountability and consequences by silencing critics with bribes, quid pro quos and empty promises. Who justifies his deplorable behavior through incredible displays of cognitive dissonance; scapegoating, and otherwise shifting blame to the underprivileged, the disenfranchised, and those less able to defend themselves.

Like most bullies our so called President stands for nothing. He is driven by vengeance, looking only for the next score to settle, fight to win. All he knows is how to marginalize, belittle, conflate, de-legitimize and, when necessary, squash dissent and opposition. Each evening press conference allows him to continue to present alternative facts, only now without the alternatives. Lies then become truth, and perception reality.

Donald Trump is not the cause of America’s ails. He is simply its most recognizable symptom. A permanent oligarchy hides behind this act and is being erected under our noses. Each day we report on his words we help spread the poison and not only does the body count rise but we choke what little life remains of our system of checks and balances.

Cult of Facism

A cult of fascism now controls our Executive. One that takes no chances and scoffs at traditions and checks and balances. A President’s role is to represent all Americans, his constituency comprised of all citizens. To do otherwise is an abdication of his constitutional responsibilities.

When Trump boasts of record approval ratings within the Republican party people must peel back the curtain to dissect what that means. Charles Manson, Jim Jones, David Koresh and many others enjoyed near universal approval among their followers too. Such does not make them mainstream leaders or representative of a majority. In fact it’s easy to have a high approval rating when your denominator keeps shrinking. When only likeminded members are permitted membership.

Today’s Republican Party no longer consists of patriotic or principled Americans. They abandoned that sinking ship along with the dismissals of Boehner, Kelly, Tillerson, Mattis and Will. Those that remain have no central ideology such as fiscal conservatism. No foreign policy doctrine exists that guides their acts abroad.

On the other hand we have Democratic leaders that continue to point to traditional means as the path to victory. They refuse to act with the proactive urgency necessary to afford transparency but instead point is to the ballot box. They stare blindly ahead and refuse to sacrifice or “go low” even as their opposition chops off their legs.

Tradition and precedent have no place in our current environment. A bloodless coup has occurred in which the enemy has taken control of our most sacred institutions. This is not about political ideology or race. This caravan of corruption does not represent a political methodology or follow a philosophical party platform. They are a cult who advocate for nothing more than God, guns, and money. Anything that stands in the way of those goals is fair game in the “art of the deal.”

Cult of Facism

A cult of fascism now controls our Executive. One that takes no chances and scoffs at traditions and checks and balances. A President’s role is to represent all Americans, his constituency comprised of all citizens. To do otherwise is an abdication of his constitutional responsibilities.

When Trump boasts of record approval ratings within the Republican party people must peel back the curtain to dissect what that means. Charles Manson, Jim Jones, David Koresh and many others enjoyed near universal approval among their followers too. Such does not make them mainstream leaders or representative of a majority. In fact it’s easy to have a high approval rating when your denominator keeps shrinking. When only likeminded members are permitted membership.

Today’s Republican Party no longer consists of patriotic or principled Americans. They abandoned that sinking ship along with the dismissals of Boehner, Kelly, Tillerson, Mattis and Will. Those that remain have no central ideology such as fiscal conservatism. No foreign policy doctrine exists that guides their acts abroad.

On the other hand we have Democratic leaders that continue to point to traditional means as the path to victory. They refuse to act with the proactive urgency necessary to afford transparency but instead point is to the ballot box. They stare blindly ahead and refuse to sacrifice or “go low” even as their opposition chops off their legs.

Tradition and precedent have no place in our current environment. A bloodless coup has occurred in which the enemy has taken control of our most sacred institutions. This is not about political ideology or race. This caravan of corruption does not represent a political methodology or follow a philosophical party platform. They are a cult who advocate for nothing more than God, guns, and money. Anything that stands in the way of those goals is fair game in the “art of the deal.”

Perception and Reality

I once had a boss who was very fond of the phrase “perception is reality.” Used it as an excuse to justify his inaction for almost any employee related conflict. No point in meeting to explain whatever employee issue was being raised that day “perception is reality” he’d say. It drove me crazy each and every time. While it’s true that perception is an individual’s sense of reality. Let’s also be clear, reality is reality. I may perceive the Earth to be flat, but science tells us otherwise.

A transcendent leader, one interested in building consensus and committed to the common good, understands the dangers of false perception. They work tirelessly, oftentimes over communicating with their “constituents” to shape perception to match reality.

Unfortunately, perception is no less important to a leader of ill intent. One who seeks to act only in his own self interest but is nonetheless dependent on the support of the masses to advance his/her agenda. They too work tirelessly to shape perception, only in their case success depends on perception matching a false reality. One that will justify their action and prevent ultimate accountability. One that manipulates others to act against their own self interests.

Our Comrade in Chief and his merry bannon of deplorables have made a career shaping perception to match a false reality. Led by the talentless tycoon turned “reality” show President who bankrupted both real estate conglomerates and casinos at the height of the economy and whose greatest accomplishment is being born into privilege this White House continuously tries to undermine transparency and prevent informed consent. They know the only way to mask incompetence and to hide ill intent, is to mask it. 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 this perception.

Informed consent is the constitutional responsibility of the American citizenry. Whether dealing with issues of sensible gun control, impacts of climate change, or treason it is our job 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 Statute of Liberty disappear David Copperfield once captured the country’s attention when he made the world perceive that he had. Millions clambered for answers wanting to know the truth. Donald Trump on the other hand has in reality rendered Lady Liberty’s words “moot” yet the country continues to chase kneeling squirrels. To quote Twitler, “Sad.”

Violence Is Not The Answer

Featured

“Violence is not the answer.” The safe and typical common ground that both supporters of the protests and supporters of the status quo spout off in their media interviews.

They’re right off course, violence does beget violence.

When our uniformed officers use excessive force and act with apparent disregard for black lives, it begets violence.

When racist vigilantes shoot first and ask questions later, it begets violence.

When laws are enacted that excuse those who “stand their ground” for reasons borne of ignorance and hate, it begets violence.

When unarmed children are systematically caged and forcibly removed from their guardians, it begets violence.

When minority fathers are disproportionately cuffed and sentenced to multiple years in prison for victimless crimes, it begets violence.

The problem with the statement “violence is not the answer” is not that it’s incorrect, but that it is only used reactively to condemn the victims of violence instead of the perpetrators. It’s utterance the very essence of systemic racism. We need every police academy, every uniformed officer, every teacher, judge and elected official to be trained in this simple concept from the day they enter their desired vocation.

The fires in our streets today are not being fueled by protestors but by systemic ignorance and lack of training. The vast majority of European officers do not carry lethal force weapons on them for a reason. They are trained in non-violent deescalation and apprehension techniques first.

Violence is not the answer but save those empty words and condemnations for the perpetrators of that violence. Until then this country can expect to continue to see nights of violent unrest.