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

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.

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. He grows suspicious of their 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. The desire for ultimate power drives increasingly brutal and more brazen tactics of suppression. 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. A 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

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.

Banana Republic

I had a boss who was fond of the phrase “perception is reality.” He 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 true 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.

That’s the thing. Facts exist. There is such a thing as truth. A good leader understands this and knows that one of their most important jobs is to shape perception to match reality.

They rely on facts, science, logic and reason to persuade the majority to get in the boat and row towards a common goal. When JFK announced America would put a man on the moon within years hardly anyone perceived it possible. Good leadership not only got the majority to believe it but made it a reality. Pushed the naysayers to the margins.

Then there’s another kind of leader. Still skilled communicators but the arrogant narcissistic types. The ones who don’t take “no” for an answer. Who degrade, demean and harass their “subordinates.” Who talk a lot without saying anything of substance. Who take credit for the good work of others and shift blame when something goes wrong. Who surround themselves with ass kissers and “yes” men.

These type shape perception not to match reality, but to match what they wish their followers to perceive as reality. They use slogans, rumors, propaganda and lies to do so. Repeat them until they rise to the level of alternative fact. Feed on the discontent of the margins to spread their falsehoods. Power to the people. To those who could’ve been a contender, if only…

There are no two ways about this Russia business. Donald Trump, the so called President of the United States, and his corrupt caravan of criminals and enablers were working in cahoots with and for the benefit of Puppetmaster Putin and his henchmen of oligarchs.

Donald Trump is the subject of an active counterintelligence investigation and an unindicted coconspirator in a current criminal case. He’s about to deliver a “state of the union” that will ignore the consensus conclusions of our intelligence community and reject the proven findings of science and industry experts.

The entire production dependent on phony statistics, false equivalents and personal anecdotes unsupported by evidence. Absolutely none of it will be based on reality. Instead what we will hear is a mosaic of lies, propaganda and alternative facts all designed to craft the perception that America faces a national emergency that only our Dear Leader, Donald Trump is able to solve.

Welcome to the banana republic that is Trump’s America. Where reality no longer matters. When all the evidence points one way Donald Trump and his merry bannon of deplorables will insist you ignore your eyes and ears and believe otherwise.

This country was founded on the principle of informed consent. Informed meaning look it up yourself. Do some independent research. Trust but verify through multiple sources and corroboration. Tune out opinion. Focus on the facts. I double dog dare anyone to offer a plausible innocent explanation for all of the Russian ties;

The meetings, the selective memory, the soft talk, the financial ties, the server communication, the false equivalents, the sympathetic appointees, the obstruction, the lies, everything being done by the agency formerly known as State Dept., the intelligence gaffes, the lack of sanctions, the removal of sanctions, the ill advised withdrawal from Syria and Afghanistan, the revival of the nuclear race, the secret meetings, the refusal to criticize, the insults and slights of our traditional allies, the childlike denials and ensuing bouts of panic, the obstruction again, the dismantling of our democratic institutions…on and on it goes

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