Root Cause Analysis

Imagine if America’s response to 9/11 didn’t include an examination of airline safety regulations. How do you expect to solve a problem if you won’t even acknowledge a root cause?

If placed in the wrong hands guns kill people. The same way cars, airplanes, bombs, poisons and narcotics do. The goal is to enact common sense rules and regulations that mitigate the chance these potential instruments of terror will wind up in the wrong hands.

This isn’t rocket science. If you can require psychological examination before a person may proceed with their constitutionally protected right to an abortion surely we can do the same before they purchase an assault rifle. Enough is enough #NeverAgain #GunReformNow

A Peaceful Resistance Requires Sacrifice

We are a nation of informed consent. We must not be driven by our insecurities. Fear is a powerful motivator but we were founded on the belief that all people, regardless of race, religion, gender or creed are born with certain inalienable rights.

An organization takes on the personality of its leader. For better or worse the office of the President of the United States represents our values. We cannot continue to ignore the damage this caravan of corrupt enablers and criminals is doing to our reputation and pretend it does not define us as a nation. We, the people, are responsible for those actions and behaviors we observe each day and fail to condone.

The Women’s March, March For Our Lives, the Blue Wave, Congressional hearings and Mueller indictments are nice but ineffective in the larger constitutional battle ahead. They fail to reign in the worst impulses of our Comrade in Chief. While they may be effective mechanisms of protests that raise issue awareness or promote systemic change, they also do nothing to impact he status quo.

A snake slithers through the halls of our White House. Each day he remains in office affords him the opportunity to stack the deck and produce a manufactured counternarrative. To use his past television experience to craft a set of alternative facts that will marginalize, belittle, conflate, de-legitimize and, if necessary, squash any dissent and opposition.

Americans must learn from history and even the ongoing French protests. Understand that to force change you must commit to it. If we believe our will is not being followed and the government is no longer acting for the people then we must drive that narrative in ways that are impossible to ignore. We must take to the streets daily. Refuse to accept “many sides,” “who knows,” or “anyone could have done it” as an answer.

If America is a nation in which all people, regardless of race, gender, religion or national origin are free and equal than we must demand it be led as such. If the Bill of Rights that put the great American experiment in motion and guaranteed certain inalienable rights on all mankind are our guiding principle then we must demand it be respected. Must act to defend it when we see it being trampled upon.

Is it Soon Enough?

Virginia Tech University, Virgina: April 16, 2007 — 32 dead, 17 wounded – #GunReformNow we cried; Too soon they replied

Fort Hood, Texas: November 5, 2009 — 13 dead, 30 wounded – #GunReformNow we cried; Too soon they replied

Sandy Hook Elementary School, Connecticut: December 14, 2012 — 26 dead, 2 wounded – #GunReformNow we cried; Too soon they replied

San Bernardino, California: December 2, 2015 — 14 dead, 22 wounded – #GunReformNow we cried; Too soon they replied

Pulse Night Club, Orlando: June 12, 2016 — 49 dead, 58 wounded – #GunReformNow we cried; Too soon they replied

Las Vegas, Nevada: October 1, 2017 — 59 dead, 527 wounded – #GunReformNow we cried; Too soon they replied

Sutherland Springs, Texas: Nov. 5, 2017 – 26 dead, 20 wounded – #GunReformNow we cried; Too soon they replied

Parkland, Florida: February 14, 2018 — 17 dead, 19 injured – #GunReformNow we cried; Too soon they replied

Santa Fe High School, Texas: May 18, 2018 – 10 dead, 10 injured – #GunReformNow we cried; Too soon they replied

Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue, Pennsylvania: October 11, 2018 11 dead, 6 injured – #GunReformNow we cried; Too soon they replied

Thousand Oaks, California: November 8, 2018: 13 dead, several injured – #GunReformNow we cried; Too soon they replied

Sebring Sun Trust Bank, Florida: January 23, 2019: 5 dead, several injured – #GunReformNow we cried; Too soon they replied

Too soon? Too soon for whom exactly? The tens of thousands of victims of gun violence who died waiting for the opportune time to speak? Cognitive dissonance aside, more like “too late.”

When exactly is the right time to have that conversation anyway? We’ve been waiting more than 10 years. Turns out there’s been a victim of gun violence each and every one of those days so apparently the time is never right. It’ll always be the opportunist liberals politicizing a situation.

Well let’s make this clear. This isn’t about politics. There are fanatics on all sides. No political party, religion, race or creed has a monopoly on crazy. What we must do is come together and devise common sense ways to keep instruments of terror out of the evil hands of domestic terrorists.

This is about common sense, free will, rationality, and basic human decency. There is never a need for a civilian to own an “assault” rifle. Never a point in legalizing the means to create fully automatic weapons of mass destruction. No justification for one individual to own dozens of firearms. Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. We owe it to each other to act #ParklandStrong #NeverAgain

The Strength of Adversity

My grandpa used to say you only appreciate what you have once it’s gone. As I observe the policies being pushed by our so called President and this merry bannon of deplorables I realize how true that is. My generation grew complacent. We took our freedom for granted, grew cocky. Unlike prior generations ours was never forced to sacrifice for this nation. We sat on the sidelines as others less fortunate served on our behalf, committed to public service. Our best and brightest eschewed politics for the private sector. Unwilling to fight the special interests and ingrained bureaucracy. We neglected our constitutional responsibility. Our roles as citizens of a Democratic Republic. The need to stay engaged. The necessity of informed consent.

As it turns out freedom is hard to sustain if you’ve never known its opposite. This wasn’t always the case. As recently as the 1960s our youth understood how fragile freedom was. The baby boomers and flower children of the counter revolution. The hippies and beatniks who protested American intervention in Vietnam, marched for equal rights and demanded transparency of a corrupt government. They fought, sacrificed and died defending America’s soul. In the end history smiled on them and recognized them as heroes of progress. The students of Kent State, the marchers in Salem, Muhammad Ali being stripped of his championship, MLK, Woodward and Bernstein, Rosa Parks….

These were the patriots who moved our nation forward and progressed us to the point where a Barack Obama could be elected President, see a Hillary Clinton win the popular vote. It was they who allowed the Gen Xers and Millenials of today to fall into the trap of overconfidence. They shielded my generation in the audacity of hope. Insulated us in a bubble filled with dreams of a brighter future for all. A belief and awareness that though far from perfect, we were a free people. Unaware of what its like to live through and with real adversity.

In reality, they turned us soft and cynical. Who can fault them? America was a dream founded on hope and optimism. A continuing quest to form a more perfect union centered on the concept of individual liberty. A land of exceptionalism to serve as a beacon of hope and freedom to the world’s oppressed. Heck “Operation Enduring Freedom” was the landmark conflict of our generation. No surprise we were nose blind to the stench of the emerging kakistocracy.

A new normal is starting to emerge. An unknown adversity beginning to seep over our old routines like an infestation. The daily attacks on a free and independent press. The restrictions on the right of assembly. The merging of church and state and suddenly slippery slope placed on the right to be free from religious persecution. The dismantling of checks and balance. The refusal to perform even routine vetting of the sycophants and “yes (mostly) men” being placed in control of our collective national security. The wag the dog foreign policy, trade wars, and alienation of our traditional allies and refusal to condemn Russia and other hostile actors. The tweetstorms, bullying, false equivalents and continued normalization of hate. The willful blindness and acrobatic feats in cognitive dissonance as our leaders attempt to normalize the inexplicable.

The good news is Americans are waking! Our youth are waking to the dangers this regime poses on the very freedoms they once took for granted. They feel the adversity in their life. The impacts of growing up in constant fear that each day may be your last. That a terrorist attack, a nuclear bomb, a random gunman or maybe even a police officer is always just around the corner.

That fear is driving them to discover what America is truly about. As their friends and loved ones face deportation and harassment they are forced to confront the truth. To understand that we are the great melting pot. That we have a responsibility to take care of one another. To stay informed and engaged. That diversity IS the American identity. We can’t change that anymore than a tiger can change its stripes. A list of all the great contributions immigrants and refugees have made to this country would dwarf a list of their misdeeds a million times over.

This is not to say we will come to appreciate Donald Trump, but when all is said and done we will be stronger because of him. As a nation. As a people. Adversity does that. It builds character and empathy. It challenges preconceived notions and erases ignorance born by privilege and circumstance. It forces you to grow resilient, battle tested, and breathes self-confidence into your bones with the knowledge that you can defeat it. That you will persevere past it. Live beyond it. Reclaim your freedom. Outgrow it.

By definition progress knows but one direction. It’s only a matter of time #Forward

The Emperor Has No Clothes

My voice feels trapped in a time loop. It’s the same old storylines. Each day a callback to a prior episode with nothing original. A shoutout to the die hard fans who have been following along since day one. A carefully baited Easter egg of sorts for the MSM to grab ahold of and to remind the loyalists that despite what else they may hear, he’s with them. Each piece of “breaking news” scripted to serve up the propaganda driven counter narrative. To cue up a personal wink and nod to those wannabe believers and fuel the cognitive dissonance that allows one to follow a golden calf;

Did you hear the latest dog whistle and overt racist and/or misogynistic policy adopted by this administration? Proof he understands the white man can no longer get a fair shake in this country. It’s not racism, it’s reality. Affirmative action and political correctness have no place in democracy and is a tool of facists. That’s why the deep state is trying to bring him down. It’s just like MLK and Gandhi!?! We mustn’t believe the left’s conspiracy theories and or the witchhunt led by 13 angry Democrats. He’s one of us and will never let us down!

Look at his courage as he speaks truth to power and pulls us out of horrible deals and treaties that Obama the Muslim negotiated. Ignore the hippie’s tears that needlessly mourn the demise of regulations meant to end capitalism. Who cares if he alienates essential allies and disrupts the world order in the process. America first you socialist bastards!

Marvel at his strength and resolve to defend America against foreign enemies even in the face of domestic pressure. We are either a nation of law and order or a nation of anarchy. There is no in-between or alternatives. What must be done must be done; empathy has no place in survival. Throw the alien children down a well! Secure our borders! Build the wall!

His methods may be unsettling at times but you have to admit he is dogged in his defense of traditional values and the Christian agenda. The Lord works in mysterious ways but it is now clear our Dear President is his vessel. Next year in Jerusalem! Look what he’s done for our courts already. Stacked them with religious zealots who will restore biblical order. He may be a Russian agent but I can’t wait to see who he selects for the next Supreme Court Justice. One thing for sure is he will overturn generations of judicial activism and restore our nation’s Christian values. Peace on earth for all the white Christian Anglo-Saxons, just the way God intended!

Fake news has you believe that Trump is unprepared or lacks tact but look how magnanimous he truly is. What can be more diplomatic than the trust and handshake he exchanged with Rocketman? The media may try to distract you with details but how can any objective individual deny that he achieved what his predecessors could not. What most elites thought unachievable; peace with North Korea. An opportunity for peace with Russsia. Award the man the Noble Prize now, scream the masses!

Meanwhile the behind the scenes drama, the outtakes, candids, and ad libs conclusively prove the messenger is a fraud. Leaves any sane minded individual no doubt that without a script, a fixer and skilled producer the deal maker is nothing more than an empty suit with a spray tan. A puppet to the corporate suits and foreign investors who prop him up. It explains why so much of the unaired footage that unmasks the villains true remains on the cutting room floor, unreported.

It’s a tried and true reality show formula. Chaos drives ratings; the fog of war exists. Storylines dependent on manufactured drama and carefully selected narrative keeps the audience talking and tuning in while simultaneously distracting them from the producer’s ulterior motives. Prevents the audience from focusing on the otherwise obvious results that lay ahead as the “season” reaches a dramatic conclusion complete with a shocking reveal.

Spoiler alert: Emerging tyrants are not defeated in the ballot boxes or cause du jour movements.

This isn’t some reality show we’re living. History tells us what comes next, what future episodes may hold in store. We understand the relationship between cause and effect. What happens when leaders say certain things to erode traditional norms. What ensues when they openly attack and celebrate the defeat of political enemies and question the independence of the judiciary. We’ve seen what happens when you deputize a civilian force to maintain the peace and enforce the borders, encourage them to shoot first and beg forgiveness later.

There are no surprises here. No logical reason why the majority of the media, the public and opposition party reacts to each new storyline like a stand alone episode. There is an obvious and consistent thread that runs through every act Donald Trump has taken since the pilot episode that began with his trip down that escalator arrival. An obvious framework and narrative that explains the inaction of the party loyalists and traditionalists who would otherwise gag on the idea they would find themselves aligned with the likes of an irascible immoral scoundrel like Donald Trump.

The only way to expose the naked emperor is public transparency. The masses must seize control of the narrative. Ignore the noise around them; the slogans, rumors and innuendos generated by the powers that be. The ones that tell you to ignore your eyes and experience and focus instead on the latest controversy served up for your viewing pleasure.

It is time we all insist that everyone acknowledge the basic truth before the next episode may be aired or script approved. The leader of the free world is under an active and credible investigation as to whether he was elected by and/or is working for the American people.

Let that sink in. How dare we be so reckless with our essential freedoms and democratic institutions. The public, the media and our leaders must analyze every tweet, press conference, Executive Order, proposed legislation, judicial nominee, Cabinet appointee and public appearance through that context before they allow his complicit enablers to frame the narrative and advance his agenda.

Donald Trump And The Hairy Arm Theory

Don’t get lost in the tweetstorms. Donald Trump is nothing more than a hairy arm.

There’s a theory that goes something as follows. Everyone loves to be a critic. It’s a human instinct to want to offer feedback, feel a part of the process, have your voice heard. It theorizes that humans are social creatures that need something to talk about. So, in the words of Bonnie Raitt, “let’s give them to something to talk about.” Place a hairy arm in the middle of a picture in an effort to divert attention away from the underlying body of work. Offer a mistake so obvious, so glaring that the masses will say “I love that photo but you need to crop that hairy arm out of it,” all without paying attention to the fact that the focal point of the picture is a giant middle finger.

Donald Trump, our curmudgeonly Comrade in Chief is that hairy arm. Nothing more than a big heaping turd placed into the picture by forces more nefarious than he. Forces that control, manipulate, and parade the hairy arm as they see fit. Who use it to their advantage to mask what is really going on. Who rely on it to distract focus away from the big picture; the new world order being ushered in right under our noses. The steps being taken to ensure preservation of the status quo beyond the point demographics should allow. The giant middle finger Ryan, Pence, Putin, McConnell, the Koch Brothers, Bannon and others are holding out to America.

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.

Trump instead embodies 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 over compensates 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, those less able to defend themselves.

Yes our so called President is so obviously flawed and psychologically damaged that he is the perfect hairy arm. A lightning rod bound by no sense of social norms and so devoid of self awareness that, so long as you feed his ego and advance his own agenda of increased power and adoration, can be manipulated to adopt any position. A distraction so glaring that entire news cycles are devoted strictly to him. What he said, what he tweeted, who he insulted. His latest break with protocol and tradition. A man of such notorious poor character that he makes an easy mark for men of ill repute. To collect a dossier and use it as blackmail if he dared to disobey. A man who when faced with a sixth bankruptcy, and with nowhere to turn after newly enacted financial regulations prevented an over leveraged real estate tycoon from obtaining a loan through traditional channels, did what any powerful man desperate to live up to his daddy’s name would do. Reach out to his Russian counterparts for a little quid pro quo. You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.

It’s easy to doubt the above. To ignore the obvious and turn a blind eye to what it may all mean. The repercussions in store for the future of this country. The time for cognitive dissonance, however, is over. Get out of your bubble. The evidence is overwhelming. The lies, cover-ups, secret channels and admissions of obstruction all point to the same conclusion. Watch as all of Trump’s earliest segregates get exposed for hiding their Russian connections. Follow the money. This is not fantasy or conspiracy. The connections are real. The timing of the one time NY social liberal turned Tea Party Christian crusader is not coincidence. We no longer have the luxury to deny the undeniable.

So what you may ask is our Comrade in Chief distracting us from. Look around, look around. Remove the hairy arm from the picture and the answers are right in front of you. See the new world order of Bannon and Putin’s dreams take shape. The collapse of old alliances and treaties. The rise of new partnerships and priorities. Listen to the dog whistles and historical rallying cries ring out and watch as the deplorables rise up. A once powerful nation being divided by committed Democratic Arsonists eager to burn down the very system that made us exceptional.

Watch the smiles spread across the pursed lips of Ryan and Pence as they watch the status quo be secured. The spread of so-called Christian values reinforced by statutes. The preconditions for the Rapture set in motion. Observe as the ranks of disenfranchised and “imprisoned for being poor and/or black” swell. As those doors of equality that recently opened to women, minorities and other underrepresented classes of our society get callously slammed shut just as they reach the precipice of entry. Witness the reinforcement of institutionalized racism and the literal erection of artificial barriers to entry and opportunity that disproportionately impact certain ethnic or racial populations. Marvel as profits take priority over people. Short term corporate interests given favor over long term global concerns. The populist who gives not two shits for people overseeing a proactive approach to a permanent oligarchy. An all out assault on or freedoms masked through conditioned subservience.

The man himself is doing very little except dominating the headlines. His words often at odds with the very laws being enacted under his watch. That of course is no coincidence. Donald Trump is a nothing more than a hairy arm. We all know our founders guaranteed us a right to “bare” arms. It is our patriotic duty to #resist

Sadness or Euphoria

Donald Trump makes no secret of his intent to oversee the “deconstruction of the administrative state.” He operates and functions in full visibility for the world to see. He flaunts his belief that he is above the law and beyond accountability. That he alone is judge, jury and executioner. He boasts of his efforts to run various federal agencies into extinction. Appoints unqualified sycophants to lead them and boasts of the economic gains that trickle down from the removal of necessary corporate oversight and safety regulations. He takes glee in offending traditional allies who have done us no wrong or grievance. He warmly embraces and honors those leaders who have never once acted in the interests of freedom. Lifts sanctions and prepares to enter new agreements with men of ill intent who rule with iron fists and stifle individual choice.

All of this is done in furtherance of his central agenda to destroy and redefine our Democratic Republic. His insistence that the very Constitution he is sworn to uphold and defend no longer applies to the modern American political system or experience. Each Executive Order and the few pieces of legislation signed into law by Deranged Donald is meant to undermine the very values espoused by our founding fathers. To declare the land of hopes and dreams and liberty for all, the beacon of freedom throughout the world, a failed experiment that requires replacement.

We as a nation need to wake up. This cannot be a left verse right narrative. This involves us all. Every American needs to make a choice. Billy Joel once wrote, “For we are are always what our situations hand us. It’s either sadness or euphoria.” Well we know the situation life has handed us. We’ve seen all we need to see from this oligarchy. Heard all we need to hear. I’d like to think the choice today is as equally obvious as the one Billy Joel offers. This time, it’s either appeasement or resistance.

We must cast aside politics and unite to protest an administration that openly brags about being unconventional. That flaunts how they don’t abide by tradition and protocol. We need to stop relying on conventional means and rubber stamped checks and balances to hold them to account. We need to be proactive in defense of this country we love; the values that have defined us for generations. We must join together as the majority and insist on extreme vetting for those who pose the most immediate threat to our freedoms this nation has ever seen. We cannot afford to take “no” for an answer from those whose sole desire is to maintain the status quo. Who 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. We have never been naive enough to think divisions among us do not exist and probably always will. 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. Heck we’ve 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 here.

Think about this. People considered Bernie unelectable because he was a Democratic Socialist. We elected a team that openly advocates and acts to burn the whole system down. Committed “Democratic Arsonists.”

So, riddle me this. Do you really want to give that up? Set it on fire? Wouldn’t you prefer to remain the country that foreigners dare venture into then the one they risk everything to leave? I know I would.