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political system, the one derived by our founding fathers and considered a beacon of freedom throughout the world, is outdated.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.”

What If….

Two simple words that comprise one of the most powerful phrases in the English language. Once the psyche enters a “what if” wormhole it may be lost for hours, occupied in an endless maze of regrets and gratitudes. What if I had been there…What if i hadn’t quit…What if those chads didn’t hang…What if she had said yes…What if I spoke up…

The one thing I learned in Hebrew School was “never forget,” and I haven’t. We know what happens when a citizenry turns a blind eye to the everyday horrors unfolding around them. When a deluge of carefully orchestrated propaganda, false equivalents, sound bites and alternative facts enable a fearful and threatened demographic to perform acrobatic feats of cognitive dissonance to normalize, what in other times would be considered irrational actions. I will not suffer that fate. There is too much to lose. The only way to preserve the dreams of the future is to heed the lessons of the past.

Donald Trump is far from an original. The recent past alone provides a litany of would be authoritarians who proved capable of hijacking democratic institutions to slowly consolidate power. That Trump is the first to so blatantly do so from the Oval Office hardly makes him unique in his technique.

He seeks to divide the citizens of this country along racial, socioeconomic and political lines in order to deflect from his own scandals and advance the agenda and interests of a select few. He uses his bully pulpit to marginalize, belittle, conflate, delegitimize and, if necessary, squash dissent and opposition. Doing so allows him to continue presenting alternative facts, only now without the alternatives. Lies then become truth, and perception reality.

Though his tactics are tried and true the danger posed is no less real. Donald Trump and his merry bannon of deplorables pose a clear and present danger to the experiment in individual freedoms our founding fathers set in motion generations ago. He makes no secret of his intent; his desire to deconstruct and eliminate outdated democratic institutions. He seeks to rip the very fabric of America’s soul from its identity, to dim the light that serves as a beacon of hope and freedom to the poor, disenfranchised and oppressed who suffer across the globe.

The right to a free and independent press, the right of assembly, the right to be free from religious persecution, the necessity of checks and balances with three equal, though often inept, branches of government. These essential ideals are all under attack. The yuge majority of Americans realize that we are the great melting pot. That diversity IS the American identity and what has always made us great. 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. Yet that is what appears to be at stake.

To those who continue to support our so called President, understand this. All you are doing is identifying yourself as a dinosaur. Painting a scarlet letter on your sleeve that your way of thinking and very belief system will soon be relegated to the history books. Think carefully about your next move.

The pathway to perdition is paved in ignorance. Do not suffer that fate. Do not remain passive. Future generations need not wonder where you stood when our leaders decided to play Russian roulette with our democracy. Do not be left to wonder what if…

People Over Party

Resist the urge to take the bait. This isn’t a story about Trump or Clinton. It’s a story about pedophilia and sex trafficking. It’s about the private lifestyle of the rich and powerful and their privileged status that sits above the laws of accountability.

Regardless of last name, regardless of party allegiance, whoever took part in the illicit behavior, helped to cover it up, obstruct the investigation of, or failed to protect key witnesses or preserve evidence in should be held to account.

We are all on the same side here. Let’s demand a full and transparent investigation. In fact, let’s reserve a special place in Guantanamo for the guilty. The national emergency exists within our borders and “we, the people”need to coalesce and unify around our common interests and shared values.

Drown out the divisive voices and cast them back to the corners. If the preponderance of evidence shows that Trump and Clinton are two sides of the same coin, so be it. This isn’t a political fight, it’s a moral one.

We Reap What We Sow

It’s easy to toss labels and dismiss our so called President as a hate filled racist. To blame him for the obvious divide that exists in our country. To point to the recent spate of mass murders as evidence of Trump’s poisonous effect on our society. The truth isn’t that simple though. To truly heal as a nation America is going to have to realize that Trump isn’t the cause of America’s ills, he’s the result.

‪The embodiment of the 21st century American dream. A child of the 1% with no discernible talents, skills or virtues beyond that of self promotion. A self aggrandizing narcissist with an unhealthy obsession for celebrity and fame‬.

More than the violence portrayed in video games and entertainment over the past generation what America has truly placed value on is fame and celebrity, at any cost. Time and again greed and avarice has been rewarded with magazine covers and reality tv shows.

Talentless hacks have launched fashion, music, reality tv, and pop culture empires with no qualifications beyond a well timed sex tape, teen pregnancy, failed audition, sound bite or in some cases drunken debauchery. Amoral executives celebrated for the ungodly sums of money they have amassed as their workers struggle pay check to check anxious in the knowledge they are one unforeseen expense away from ruin.

Billionaires who boast about paying a lower tax rate than the chauffeurs who drive them around town. Who unironically cite their ability to artificially manipulate the free market as proof of their economic genius and capitalist ability. Corrupt politicians who lack all empathy and who care more for the unborn than the living. Who sell their influence to the highest lobbyist and unabashedly serves the party over we, the people.

More than the problem Donald Trump is a symptom of what plagues America. Our so called President stands for nothing and cares only for power, fame and money. He is driven by ratings and vengeance, and looks only for the next score to settle, a deal to win. All he knows is how to marginalize, belittle, conflate, de-legitimize and, when necessary, squash dissent and opposition. Doing so allows him to continue presenting alternative facts, only now without the alternatives. Lies then become truth, and perception reality

It’s a Matter of Trust

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

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

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

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

One question…ninety days.

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

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

I honestly believe Obama considered it. It was his constitutional duty to protect our security interests until his very last day in office. McConnell and the GOP efforts to strip him of that power a year early notwithstanding. The fact is Obama allowed a known and imminent threat to slither into the most powerful office in the world.

Perhaps it was our fault, the majority of like minded Americans who hold the ideals of this nation so sacred. Perhaps it was our responsibility to push this great experiment in individual freedoms forward. Perhaps Obama would have fought harder had it not all been so difficult for him. From his first day on the job McConnell made clear that his number one priority was to obstruct the agenda of the most progressive candidate in our nation’s history. Think about the insanity of that!

Worse “we, the people” stood by in near silence as the GOP did just that. In February 2016 McConnell took it one step further and unilaterally declared a “3/4 Compromise” whereby duly elected African American Presidents will only get to fulfill the constitutionally enumerated duties of the Executive office for 3/4 of the term to which they were freely elected!

For some reason, still unexplained to me so I’ll just assume cowardice and corruption, this sounded like a good idea to the other Democrats in the Senate. No mass protests followed when the Senate announced they refused to even consider Garland’s nomination to the Court. What little outrage there was was quickly muffled by the outrageous headlines, tweets and sound bites being generated by the emerging candidacy of Mr. Birther himself. Impeccable timing maestro.

Who could blame Obama really if he grew disheartened, if he had enough. His loyal constituents and party backers abandoned him to stare at a clown show at the time he needed them most. So he chose to go high, as everyone else around him looked low, distracted by the shiny object, the hairy arm. Perhaps that explains why rather than put his trust in his constituents and political allies, the most respected man in the world put his faith in hope.

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

It’s not the institutions that will save us though. As nice as it is to see the lowest branch of Congress flex it’s oversight muscle the truth is they hold absolutely no ability to hold this caravan of the corrupt to account. Try as they may I’ve seen this story enough times to realize that the legislative branch is no longer a separate and equal branch.

The same is now true of what once was our independent judiciary. As of today, our Senate has confirmed 146 Article III judges nominated by a man who remains an active target of a counterintelligence investigation, this includes 44 judges to the US Court of Appeals, 99 judges to the District Courts, and 2 Associate Justices to the Supreme Court. Nearly a quarter of the jurors who will ultimately determine the limits of Executive Privilege were hand selected by the Defendant himself. It still boggles my mind that our defenders of the constitution allowed such a blatant coup to take place.

Our system of checks and balances has failed. The constitutional crisis is here.

We all know of the historic turnover and corruption that has taken place at the highest levels of this administration. We know of at least 30 examples of high level advisors receiving security clearances despite the recommendations of our intelligence agencies. We know of the advisory ethic opinions that have been ignored and disregarded. Forget extreme vetting, there isn’t even routine vetting of these protectors of our freedom.

Our Comrade in Chief finds safety and job security in the chaos he stokes. He uses it to his advantage to distract from the caste system being legislated in the wake of his tweetstorm. Security will not be found in a far off election. We must act now and stop turning a blind eye to the damage being done today. Take to the streets in a sustained peaceful protest and make clear that we are the majority.

To move forward the dreams of our ancestors we must demand answers. Take comfort in the audacity of hope and hold those who wish to trample on our ideals to account. The spirit of the American people has been a beacon of hope and freedom throughout the world for over two centuries. Our diversity our greatest strength, the backbone of our success.

Remember, it’s as Billy Joel sings “The good old days weren’t always good. Tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems.” Resist the urge to look back, trust in progress, for it is never ending and infinite #HistoryHasItsEyesOnYou #RiseUp #Resist #NeverForget

Where were they radicalized?

America has a domestic terrorism problem. We must confront that fact with the same urgency we rightfully demand of Muslim leaders. Whether we like it or not, the threat is similar. We need to take a hard look at what drives each new perpetrator to commit such heinous acts. What motivates these overwhelming number of young, white, males to have such blatant disregard for human life. We need to ask ourselves, “where were they radicalized?”

Behavior matter. This has nothing to do with politics. Look at Donald 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 let alone leader of the free world.

When you dehumanize people, treat them as less than human and threaten to “send them back” as if they are defective merchandise. When you use your platform to characterize people who live within our shores as “animals,” as unworthy of the basic inalienable rights bestowed upon all men, you create a culture of indifference. You birth a generation that is losing the ability to empathize. That sees targets and avatars in their crosshairs rather than sons and daughters. You create an expectation of violence and bloodshed. You spit on the vision of our founding fathers and blasphemy the words of our Declaration of Independence. The essential truths set forth therein.

When you draw false equivalents between those who protest for equality and freedom with those who represent hatred and ignorance. Who use tiki torches and strap assault rifles to their bodies to intimidate and snuff out those who seek progress. When you see the good in klansmen, neo-Nazis and white supremacists you give voice to the fringe of society. You enable their message of hate and violence. Allow those who hate for other reasons, who feel excluded, isolated and left out to rationalize their desires.

When you bow to the statues of confederate soldiers, display the hate filled flag on your pick up truck, and conflate the history of the Confederacy with that of the United States you deny the American dream. When you name call, cyberbully, race bait and shame people based on their looks you encourage our kids to do the same. To separate themselves from those they don’t like and humiliate them for it. When a pro- life agenda only includes the unborn, the living become expendable.

We reap what we sow. This is not a problem that can be prayed away. There are no alternative facts. The time for cognitive dissonance, for denial, is past. Save us the hypocrisy of lowering your flags to half mast. In fact, raise them Stars and Stripes high and proud instead. This is America! This is what we’ve come to accept as normal.

This is what we will remain until we elect leaders who understand, who as a nation we were founded to be. Who lead with the knowledge that the American identity exists. That the vast majority of us want the same things. That we share so many more values in common than we do ideas that tear us apart. That there is no “us” or”them”, “red” or “blue.”

From shore to shore America is comprised of Republicans, Democrats and Independents, young and old, Muslim, Christian, Jews, atheists and other, Irish, Italian, Asian, African, European and Native, scientists and clergy, gun enthusiasts and gun control advocates, men and women. We are the great melting pot. 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.

To solve school violence, immigration, terrorism, or even the opioid epidemic requires we all respect multiple views and ideas. It requires a change in Washington, DC. An understanding that we are a nation built on compromise, trust and acceptance.

Sending Out An S.O.S.

I’m not sure if it’s willful blindness, cowardice or complicitness but Americans, and more importantly our Democratic and opposition leaders need to wake up to a simple fact.

The American system of checks and balances is dead. The constitutional crisis is here.

Newsflash The GOP control the White House, the Senate and the Supreme Court!

You have zero chance of getting answers from the caravan of corrupt criminals and enablers who are already in control and occupy the three most powerful arms of the US government. Perhaps we’ve been too busy paying attention to the distractor in Chief to realize that an entire caste system has been legislated into existence.

More troubling is the entire judiciary has been transformed to enforce the values of white Christian America long past the point demographics would have otherwise allowed. To interpret “we, the people” to include JP Morgan, Halliburton, Monsanto, Bain, Amway and the Koch Brothers; but not JP Hernandez, Halil el Burtun, Juan Santos, LeBain Johnson, Anyone Gay, or the Koch Sisters.

All this time we spend focused on Donald Trump. Countless hours spent reporting on his every outrageous move, sound bite, and tweet. Wake up and smell the coffee! The man himself is not the story. He’s a means to an end, a pawn, a hairy arm to distract you fools. To give you something to talk about. Why on earth do you think nobody in the GOP will hold him to account?!?!.

To date, the McConnell led Senate has confirmed 146 Article III judges nominated by a man who REMAINS an active target of a counterintelligence investigation. This includes 44 judges to the US Court of Appeals and 99 judges to the District Courts, and 2 to Associate Justices to the US Supreme Court.

The majority of these mostly white men will be the ones to determine the limits of Executive Privilege and the House Democrat investigative reach. Do you trust them to stop this bloodless coup?

Rather than face this truth Democrat leaders march on and inspire us to vote Blue in 2020. They choose to take us down the path of traditional checks and balances, blind to the fact an unconventional threat looms. They bellow that our participation in the political process is the last great hope to restore our democracy! To remove the openly corrupt leader from our nation’s highest office and restore common decency!

Meanwhile, Rome burns. This isn’t a political fight. There is no political opposition only a consolidated faction of self interested criminals who seek to control the future of the greatest nation on Earth. To think our participation in the suspect and possibly rigged electoral system which placed the inept and unpopular buffoon into office in the first place is the key to his removal, ridiculous.

Does anyone think the way to remove a corrupt authoritarian from office is to vote him out in a free and fair election that he controls? In the history of the world has a single free and fair election been lost by an incumbent authoritarian in control of that country’s executive branch, and with absolute and penultimate legislative and judicial support behind them as well?

Seeing that Deranged Donald also knows a criminal indictment awaits him upon his return to civilian life and me thinks the Democrats have a better chance of surviving a round of Russian roulette than they do of taking back the White House.

It’s time to get our heads out of our asses and steer this ship away from the iceberg. If our current captains can’t do it than perhaps we need to look beyond the control tower for some help