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political system, the one derived by our founding fathers and considered a beacon of freedom throughout the world, is outdated.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

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Many of us are familiar with the story of Pompeii. The Italian city built in the shadow of and ultimately buried in the destruction of Mt. Vesuvius. Prior to the volcanic eruption Pompeii was a bustling resort town and home to many of Rome’s most enlightened citizens. Though residents of Pompeii were long aware of their volcanic neighbor and the volatile threat it posed they took for granted that they would survive any eruption.

The city flourished and grew even as the risk of explosion grew. More than 15 years prior to its fateful eruption Vesuvius rumbled triggering a powerful earthquake in the nearby town. Yet through acrobatic displays of cognitive dissonance and incredible displays of hubris the residents remained steadfast in their belief that they were safe from the dangers bubbling beneath the surface and the city continued to grow.

Even in the midst of the powerful eruption that took place in 79AD residents of Pompeii had time to flee yet faced with an unconventional threat they failed to understand the immediate dangers that lay ahead. The folly of their ignorance cost them their lives. Within days of its eruption, the city buried in ash and molten lava.

Centuries later the city was remarkably excavated. It’s people preserved in ash for history to note the expression of surprise on the faces of the deceased as they were suddenly faced with the reality of their situation.

Americans take note of this cautionary tale. Like Pompeii our traditional checks and balances are no match for the unconventional threat we face. Though the risk in front of us may be made of flesh and blood the risk is no less real. The destruction left behind will be no less predictable or deadly.

The caravan of corruption and criminal enablers now in control of America have no care for tradition, precedent or the rule of law. As a nation we need to accept a basic premise. The fight to save our Republic must not wait until November 2020. The constitutional crisis is here. The battle begins now.

Donald Trump finds safety and job security in the chaos he stokes. The damage being done to this country cannot be overstated. It’s more than the blood of the oppressed and protestors that will spill. More than the bodies consumed by a preventable pandemic that will our morgues. The carnage levied against our citizenry will leave gaping scars on America’s soul that will not be erased with a mere change of administration. That will be visible for generations to come.

It is time to call all hands to deck and seize back control of America’s future. To preserve the American dream requires we, the people return to our patriotic roots. Take to the harbors and throw the tea overboard. Throw on your life vests and refuse to take a backseat in our political future. Prepare not just to march on Washington, but to sit and sleep there too.

Our Republic’s survival requires proactive action and sacrifice. Those brave enough to do so must continue to take to the streets in peaceful protest. For those worried about the pandemic or in a vulnerable demographic take to social media and broadcast your very own virtual protest.

The important thing is we begin to act as a coordinated majority! To stem this toxic sludge our efforts must transcend race or class. To move forward the dreams of our ancestors we must end this nightmare of an administration before its poison consumes us all. We must recapture 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. We must be proactive in our response. Emboldened by our founder’s vision and the lessons of history.

A Confederacy of Hate

A confederacy of hate and white supremacy exists in America and occupies our most sacred institutions. It hides behind the cloak of religion, justice or patriotism to prey on minorities, the underprivileged and those who dare challenge their superiority. It kneels at the altar of misplaced relics of hate and ignorance that run counter to the American dream. It relies on conspiracy theory, fear and alternative facts to connect with constituents who previously sat on the fringe of society and lacked a mainstream voice.

This caravan of deplorables use tried and true methods of organized dogma, scape goating, propaganda and slogan to radicalize new members. They encourage recruits to arm themselves with military grade arsenals and practically dare them to try out their new toys on the deep state, disenfranchised minorities and radical liberals who seek to prevent their ascension.

The time has come for all Americans to protect their standing in the world. To make clear that this group of radical domestic terrorists do not define this great nation or her people. We are the land of the free and home of the brave. Let’s act it.

We cannot wait for a far off Election Day. The constitutional cris is here. The time has come to reconcile America’s identity crisis. To call out and differentiate the majority of us from those who now seek to define our values. Who wish to hit a pause on the progress button and redefine a once great nation’s dreams and ideals.

The Divider in Chief

Trump made his fortune as a CEO and reality show producer. Messaging and storytelling are two areas he knows well.To his credit, Trump has been scripting this shit show since 2009. When coming off his 6th bankruptcy he found himself a cash strapped real estate tycoon trying to rebuild an empire at the height of the Great Recession. As fortune would have it our first Black President had just been elected and the entire #GOP was on the cusp of self destruction. Enter the one time Democrat from NY ready to strike a “deal.” The fiscal conservative with no convictions or beliefs beyond money and power. Let the dog whistles begin. Cue the birther movement.

This attempt to divide America is no accident. Trump knows an indictment awaits his return to civilian life and his best hope is to hide behind the shield of executive immunity. To use the resources of the 1% and the insecurity driven hate filled strength of the deplorables to silence public dissent and suppress any efforts to otherwise remove him from office. After all what’s a few conspiracy theory shout outs, and race baiting tweets in exchange for a loyalty oath from the majority of this nation’s gun owners and private militias.

These are the very people who now answer Trump’s dog whistles and overt calls for Civil War. Evangelical con men and opportunists dressed as patriots while dripping in snake oil. Conspiracy theorists and racists who under past administrations were typically ignored by mainstream media. You know the type; KKK members, absusers, people who proudly fly the Confederate flag and hang rubber testicles off their tow hitch. Victims of society looking for someone to blame. Some reason other their own inadequacy to explain their sorry lot in life.

These are the deplorables now emboldened to action by both the words and silence of our Divider in Chief. They draw the swastikas, burn the mosques, drive their vehicles into the protestors, patrol our borders and cheer as migrant children are locked in cages and martial law is enacted to keep the peace. They are the ones who silence opposition through force and chill the fight of moderates with fear tactics, threats and intimidation.

Trump and his caravan of criminal enablers know exactly what they are doing. They know their audience and are playing to their base. For Trump it is all about power and money; a means to ensure his freedom and demand the adoration he desperately craves. For the Raptureheads, Russia enabled military hawks and other domestic terrorists the prize is something far greater and scarier.

This isn’t a political fight, it’s a moral one. Brace yourself for the storms to come

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.

Antifa and Proud

As protests over systemic racial injustice erupt throughout the nation our so called President tweeted that “The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization.”

So in the midst of an ongoing pandemic in which the majority of participants are masked it seems to warrant asking who Deranged Donald seeks to identify as a terrorist? Whose free speech and constitutional rights does he wish to suppress by executive order? Who exactly is “Antifa?”

A quick scan of his Twitter timeline and it’s clear Trump believes socialists, radical democrats, chuck and Nancy, Mitt Romney, Hispanics, blacks, immigrants, LBGTQ+, people from California, Mexicans, Never Trumpers, reporters from CNN, MSNBC, and certain members of FoxNews, members of the intelligence community, members of the deep state, Kaepernick, Bezos, Soros, journalists from the New York Times and the Washington Post, Mueller, Comey, people from Puerto Rico, women, Romney, Obama, Hillary, and Joe Biden are all “enemies of the people” and anti-Trump.

More than that, almost everyone within those groups believes Trump a fascist, or at least that he possesses fascist tendencies which they oppose. Is it crazy to think Trump believes them all to be Antifa? Do you see the slippery slope here?

It’s one thing for a talented manipulator to get into power. It’s a whole other thing to stay there. The tighter the noose around Trump’s neck the more desperate he grows and dangerous he becomes. Trump’s broad effort to designate an amorphous antifa a terrorist organization poses a clear and present danger to the foundation of our democracy.

Without a credible counter narrative to contend with this caravan of corrupt criminals will be free to project their own shortcomings onto the most vulnerable members of our society. They will use sound bites, click bait and propaganda to deflect from whatever scandal plagues them and otherwise fear monger, scapegoat and blame shift at whatever the cost. They will continue to present alternative facts, only now without the alternatives. Lies then become truth, and perception reality.

The “Yes We Can” Mutiny

Can’t stop a Nazi with a law book” – Herman Wouk, The Caine Mutiny

Traditional checks and balances do not work when up against unprecedented threats. History and science teach this lesson repeatedly. Denial and time is no way to cure a cancer. To sit and wait on the outcome of an impeachment inquiry or a national election to remove this caravan of criminals and corrupt enablers as foolish a plan. 

It’s not America’s immigrations laws that place our nation at risk. It’s this administrations callous and wanton ignorance of history that poses a clear and present danger to our national security. It’s the lack of empathy in our foreign policy the open betrayal of a loyal ally that breeds hostility, births sleeper cells and lone wolf fanatics desperate for revenge. It’s the fickleness and swiftness in which we ripped up the Iran deal, pull out of trade deals and abandon the military fields that erodes trust in our America exceptionalism and extinguishes Lady Liberty’s torch.

The damage this administration is doing to this country cannot be overstated. It’s more than Kurdish blood that will spill as the result of Demonic Donald’s latest betrayal. More than the reconstitution of ISIS that threatens national security. If American loyalties can be swayed so easily and years of diplomacy be overturned with each change of administration then why would any nation dare align with us in the future? Why would any tribe or ethnic group make a strategic partnership in our fight against the next terror group. Combine this with our eagerness to pull out of other hard negotiated treaties and truces and it will take decades for America to regain the trust of the international community.

There are 40,000 Kurds who live in America, 15,000 in Nashville alone. Many of whom were refugees of prior battles. Immigrants to our nation under kinder, wiser administrations who sought to flee the ravages of war and poverty for a better life. Imagine as they now stare at their screens and scroll their social media timelines in search of relatives and survivors. The anger they too must feel. The thirst for vengeance that leads to irrational behavior.

We as a nation may no longer afford to be passive. We cannot continue to ignore the damage being done to our reputation and pretend it does not define us all. We, the people, are responsible for the actions and behaviors we observe each day and fail to condone.

The impeachment inquiry and prospective 2020 Blue Wave are nice but ineffective in the larger constitutional battle upon us. They fail to neutralize the immediate damage and risk of catastrophe that awaits our republic. They may be palliative measures to soothe the masses, but they also bide time for the ruling Executive. Affords the opportunity to spread disease and harden defense. To produce a manufactured counter narrative and use his past television experience to craft a set of alternative facts that will marginalize, belittle, conflate, de-legitimize and, if necessary, squash any threat. 

America must learn from the ongoing Hong Kong and Indonesia protests and the recent successes in South Korea, Ecuador and Puerto Rico. Understand that to force change you must commit to it. One off protests and elections are not enough. 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.

If we are to insist that we are a nation in which all men, regardless of race, gender, religion or national origin are free and equal. If we believe in the Bill of Rights that put the great American experiment in motion, that guaranteed certain freedoms for all Americans and bestowed inalienable rights on all mankind. Then we must act to defend it when we see it being trampled upon by a despot. 

We must take to the harbor and throw the tea overboard. Refuse to take a backseat in our politics. Not just march on Washington, but sit and sleep there too.

Fish Filet

As the “Mooch” says, “the fish stinks from the head.” So let’s wrap this impeachment inquiry up and start there. The time for impeachment is long past.

Donald Trump is inherently unfit to lead a democratic republic. This isn’t a hot take. It’s no secret he serves only himself and the almighty dollar. That his morality bends to justify whatever decision, in that moment, will advance his own self interest. Yet those are just symptoms of what makes him uniquely unfit to hold public office.

The fact is Donald Trump has never worked for anyone other than himself. He has no concept of what it means to work for the common good. His whole life spent negotiating solely for himself. Motivated only by unbridled greed and the need to appease a small group of loyal investors with a healthy return on investments.

The very office of the Presidency. That it serves, “we, the people.” That its closest advisors, the Cabinet, swear an oath to the Constitution, not a person. These are foreign concepts to our Comrade in Chief. He is hardwired to think of his role as a leader in binary terms. His whole worldview rooted In a transactional us verse them paradigm. Every deal unique but each having a winner and loser.

The concept of transparency is anathema to the art of the deal where information is power. Intimidation and braggadocio assets. Lies, deceit and misrepresentation the keys to victory; transparency a weakness. Truth has no business in real estate or casinos, only the appearance of truth matters.

This is the ethos our dear leader lives by. There is no such thing as public service in his world. Rules, traditions, and precedent matters not as the man himself cannot be changed. It’s time to drain this cesspool of criminals and corrupt enablers and filet the entirety of the Raptureheads, Russia enabled military hawks and racist status dependent deplorables that comprise the entirety of today’s GOP.

“We, the people” know Trump plays Russian roulette with our republic and poses a clear and present danger to the American dream. Let’s once and for all decapitate this piranha and remove him from office so we can once and for all make America great again. Sanitize this country of the stench that emanates from this golden calf and all he touches. Render his legacy “moot” and reclaim the words of Lady Liberty

The Case of the Ukrainian Whistleblowers

There’s no real mystery to this Ukraine story. It has all the nuance of a classic Scooby Doo episode. Right down to the unmasked bumbling villain.

Donald Trump is a transactional leader. He has no real agenda beyond his own self interests and approaches each situation as if there is a winner and loser. He cares not for the collective well being or long term impacts on our country or citizenry. For him it is all about being on the winning side and immediate gratification. Past alliances, traditions, procedures, laws, or precedent be damned! Whatever chips necessary to close the transaction and come out on top is what the art of the deal demands he include.

Trump does not think or act like a public servant. Traditional checks and balances are ineffective against an unconventional threat such as he. The only way to hold him to account is to starve him of the attention he seeks and take him out of the game. To change the rules of the game and draw a playing field that effectively neuters him.

To defeat Trump you must place him in a defensive position and cut off his access to the two things that sustain him and keeps him afloat, unlimited resources and a devoted audience. The necessity of an impeachment inquiry is to do just this. Regardless of what the Senate may do, House Democrats must seize the daily narrative away from this merry bannon of criminals and corrupt enablers and force them to spend all resources and efforts in defense of their freedom.

Make no mistake, it’s not impeachment that scares the bejeezus out of Deranged Donald. It’s the loss of his freedom and the knowledge that the Trump family brand will be permanently and irreparably destroyed that makes him so desperate to stay in power. He’ll do anything to ensure that remains the case. Cling to the shield of the presidency like a an orange moth to a cocoon.

If not for that meddling whistleblower, he may have gotten away with it too

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…