The Birth of the Birther

Donald Trump has had a noose around his neck from the moment he rode down that escalator. The problem is there’s never been a hangman strong enough to pull the rope.

Trump knows what is at stake in the days ahead. Is well aware that if his finances are fully investigated he’s cooked. His family name, his fortune, his legacy, his freedom, perhaps even the same fate met by Jeffrey Epstein. The very things he promised his daddy he’d never let be taken away. That he’d do anything to protect.

You need look no further than his past to understand the depths Deranged Donald would sink to remain relevant. You know the stories of the flamboyant alter egos who served as his own PR men. The nonstop Page 6 antics and over the top personality. The willingness to pay millions to accountants simply to avoid paying even one penny more in taxes than legally required. The lack of philanthropy. The refusal to pay contractors. The slum lording. That was Donald Trump in the good times. Even then he refused to go away or act in the public’s interest.

Consider what he’d do when he actually feared he may lose everything. When after filing a 6th bankruptcy the self proclaimed tycoon found himself broke, over leveraged and with nowhere to turn. A hard luck loser who learned the hard way that the house doesn’t always win. At least not the one’s with the word “Trump” in their title.

To make matters worse Barack Obama had recently been elected and in one of his first acts delivered what must of seemed like a groin kick to any dreams Dear Donald had of making a comeback. You see the passage of Dodd Frank and other regulations made it impossible for Donald to take a loan from any domestic financial institutions. The over leveraged real estate speculator directly in the crosshairs of the legislation.

So with nowhere else to turn what was Donald to do? We know the rest. Enter Deutsche Bank. The direct link to the Russian oligarchs who would go on to direct the ascendancy of Trump’s political career. The art of the deal; the hangman’s rope for the marionette strings. Who cares who controls the strings. You live to see another day. The birth of the Birther complete.

The fight ahead isn’t political, it’s moral.

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Cognitive Dissonance

The pathway to perdition is caked in the blood of those who thought it could never happen to them, never on their native soil. Those who refused to believe their eyes and ears as the boundaries of civility slowly erode. Those who willfully chose to accept alternative facts and alternative charts rather than deal with the hard realities of life and be forced to confront some unpleasant truths.

Ignore the blatant patterns and lessons of the past at your own risk. History rewards early adaptors. Movies are made about those who risk everything to flee over mountains rather than join up with the rising authoritarian. Statues erected of those who resist in plain sight. Those who smuggle refugees across borders, hide entire families in their crawl spaces. They are the heroes of yore and exemplars of man’s perpetual progress.

The same cannot be said for those who bury their head in the sand. No honors will be awarded to those who appease the madmen in his quest for absolute power and silently benefit from the new power structure being erected to serve the ruling elite. Those everyday citizens who temporarily fall victim to the allure of the golden calf; who normalize the inane, illogical, and inhumane policies of the rising authoritarian, until one day the spell is broken. They wake up to find lifelong friends or coworkers have been rounded up or deported simply because their name showed up in an immigrant database, designated a clear and present danger. By that point it’s too late to resist, too late to play the hero. By then they are relegated to the shadows, to play the roles of the nameless extras that looks glance sympathetically, biding their own time as the horrors around them unfold.

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.

The story progresses as 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 his 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 in motive. The desire for ultimate power drives increasingly brutal and more brazen tactics of suppression;

“Dissent must be suppressed!”, “Fake news media!”, “Foreign enemies abound!”, “Send them back!”, “A caravan of rapists and criminals approach unchecked!”, “The opposition is filled of unhinged radical, socialist, communist, elitist obstructionists!” screams the propaganda machine.

Midway through the story a cataclysmic event occurs. The stuff of nightmares. A society’s worst fears realized. A genuine an indisputable 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

Category 5 Inferno

You can sense the impending explosion. Hear the kindling crackle and feel the intensity of the heat as the embers glow ever brighter. You know this is no ordinary fire. Cognizant that the smart thing to do is take cover. Yet past experience anchors you in place. “You’ve never been burned before so why panic now,” you think to yourself. Besides, you are prepared for an emergency. The fire extinguisher is nearby and other traditional safeguards are in place to prevent catastrophe.

So you ignore your spidey senses and do nothing. You shelter in place and wait, prepared to react to whatever may come next. Oblivious to the fact you may never get that chance.

We’ve had 44 other presidents in this country. Some of whom were not good men. Many were corrupt and power hungry, driven more by greed and blind ambition than a public service ethos. Others had authoritarian tendencies and used the bully pulpit to foster divisions amongst the American citizenry. A few could probably be best described as immoral or maybe even criminal in behavior.

No matter who served in office, however, Americans were able to take comfort in the design of our system of governance. A belief that regardless of character of the man in office the checks and balances were architected to prevent catastrophe. The majority of Americans took for granted our democratic institutions and individual freedoms. Acted immune to permanent harm, like teenagers in our aloofness to known danger. Societal norms may get temporarily burned, but surely the house and those residing inside it will remain unscathed. Of course, we will live to see another day; cast another vote.

Unfortunately past experience does not apply to Donald Trump. The safeguards designed by our founders are ill equipped to protect against such an unconventional threat. Our founders were wise but the American Dream was founded on certain assumptions. Chief among them was that facts exist and “we, the people” would no longer live in a world where equal time had to be given to authoritarians who espouse “alternative facts” that serve their own agenda.

Moreover that delicate system of checks and balances was built on the premise of trust and the belief that collectively those in office will serve the interests of their constituents or be held to account. Anchored on the premise that our government will consist of three separate, but EQUAL, branches of government to mitigate corruption in the other. Dependent upon a free press and an informed electorate that will insist leaders act logically and represent the majority interests.

Those assumptions no longer hold true. The constitutional safeguards no longer exist. It turns out our system of checks were not meant to be passive tools. Like a fire extinguisher there success is dependent on somebody being there to operate them.

We know Donald Trump is petrified of his finances being examined. We know he bankrupted casinos and real estate conglomerates at the height of the economy yet somehow struck gold once the economy tanked. Guilty people who launder billions in Russian money generally know what they’ve done before being charged.

We know Vladimir Putin, a former KGB agent who has never before acted with America’s best interest in mind, went to great lengths and invested precious Russian resources specifically to elect the man who promised to “make America great again!” We know of the public refusal to denounce Putin by name or hold Russia to account for its attempts at interference in our election.

We know the man who mocked his predecessor for doing so, telegraphed forthcoming military operations to our enemy in Syria apparently with ample time for them to prepare! Tweeted out classified surveillance photos and leaked other intelligence to traditional foes. That he is engaged in an unwinnable trade war with China, that he has legitimized the brutal North Korea regime on the world stage and done nothing to stem their nuclear program. That he has alienated and insulted traditional allies at every turn.

Yet, despite all evidence that an unprecedented threat looms, the vast majority of our elected officials continue to play traditional politics. Act content to rely on reactionary safeguards.

This is not about party politics. This has never been about red verse blue. This is about patriotism. This is about the evolution of the American dream. We can no longer stand by passively. Our representatives need to get off their asses and do their intended job. Grab the extinguisher before the flames erupt uncontrollably and the conflagration consumes us all.

Perception and Reality

One may perceive the world differently ut facts, logic, science and statistics do exists. Good leaders understand this. They work to shape public perception to match and align with actual reality. Donald Trump on the other hand is not a good leader. He has made a career shaping perception to match a false reality. First as a talentless self-proclaimed tycoon who bankrupted both real estate conglomerates and casinos at the height of the economy, yet played a master negotiator on “reality” television. Then as a crusading populist whose greatest adversity faced in life was being born with a silver spoon in his mouth to a conspiracy obsessed bigot father who made millions as a slumlord.

Each day the primary focus of this caravan of criminal deplorables and corrupt enablers is to undermine transparency and prevent informed consent. Every tweetstorm, each prevarication, each appearance by Propaganda Hannity, Rudy Giuliani or Kelly Conway meant to further distract from truth of situation. The only way to mask the incompetence, to hide the ill intent, is to conceal it from the masses. To use misdirection, doublespeak, sleight of hand, technology and sound bites to distract and manipulate the way the brain processes information. Their very hold on power dependent on the public’s perception of their power.

Informed consent is the constitutional responsibility of the American citizenry. To push past the sound bites, propaganda and words of those entrusted to represent our interests and find out the truth of the situation. To expose the illusionist and ruin the trick.

Though he didn’t really make the Statue of Liberty disappear David Copperfield once captured the country’s attention when he made the world perceive that he had. Millions clambered for answers and tuned into his special to discover the truth of her whereabouts. Unlike a magician Deranged Donald does not deal in illusion. He has in reality erased Lady Liberty from our nation’s shores and designated her a meaningless relic. Extinguished her torch and muted her words of hope and opportunity. Yet rather than clamor for answers the country continues to chase squirrels.

To quote our Comrade in Chief, “Sad.”

The Gaslighting of America

Peer past the latest tweetstorms and staged drama orchestrated to distract you from reality. At heart Donald Trump is a reality show star. It’s the only thing he’s ever been good at. The ability to script fake storylines and pass it off as reality.

To manufacture drama and faux conflict through the introduction of alternative facts and other stressors designed to produce outlandish sound bites and bombastic over exaggerated reactions to everyday situations. To carefully edit select moments of a person’s most vulnerable moments to create archetypical characters. To cavalierly misrepresent a person’s character and intent in order to make a show entertaining to the masses; keep them coming back for more. There’s no denying he knows how to spin a good yarn, keep people talking.

Not only that but Trump has the perfect temperament for it. He holds no real convictions or loyalties and is convincingly able to take any position necessary to advance a storyline. Cross whatever line so long as it furthers his own agenda. 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 man has never learned the virtues of empathy, humility, accountability and communication.

My fellow Americans, we need to wake up and stop reacting to the newest scandal being scripted by this White House. Tune out the latest episode and ignore the narratives being pushed by this merry bannon of deplorables. Change the channel and end this shit show.

Tune back into the American story instead. The one piloted by our founding fathers nearly 250 years ago. Pitched on hope, equality, opportunity, freedom and in building a better tomorrow. Rooted in resistance to intolerance and hate. Understand that story is now in danger of cancellation. Only a coordinated campaign by “we, the people” will guarantee its renewal #Resist #TheResistance

Les Poisson

It doesn’t taken long for incompetence to expose itself in a workplace; particularly when the incompetent one sits at the very top of the organization. The inability to manage a budget, think strategically, effectively communicate a shared vision, establish clear roles and responsibility with aligned standards of accountability, and engage your workforce is typically readily apparent within a few months of transition.

The first test for any new leader is team building. The need to recruit a team to implement a sustainable and cohesive organizational structure that will support the Executive’s central mission. This requires extreme vetting of a pool of qualified candidates; extensive interviewing until you are confident in your selection. A poor choice at the senior levels may cripple a project and place it in a permanent state of reactiveness, and at heightened risk for catastrophe.

One would assume that those who elected our CEO President did so thinking he’d excel in this area. Trump even told would be supporters not to worry about his lack of experience because he was going to surround himself with great minds. Experienced leaders he would rely on to guide him in international affairs, and matters of economic and domestic politics.

We all know how this has turned out but who are we to judge? Forget the fact that the man elected to protect our shores from enemies abroad and domestic chose to hire a Ukrainian lobbyist and international money launderer to run his election campaign and a bumbling two-bit crook to serve as his Personal Fixer. Let’s instead review Twitler’s own timeline to get a true sense of how spectacularly awful Trump is at team building and routine vetting. Let’s for a change assume Trump is being truthful in the way he describes the character of those HE placed in control of the national security of this country and trusted with our most sensitive secrets.

There’s “the 33 year war hero who…served with distinction” he hired to head the country’s National Security Agency. That Michael Flynn was also a registered foreign agent and the subject of an FBI counter intelligence investigation at the time of his hire was an unfortunate oversight. That the outgoing President warned him of the risk an obvious ploy in the deep state conspiracy to undermine the public’s confidence in the newly elected President.

So apparently there’s one hire Trump still defends as a quality choice and character guy. The same isn’t so true of some of his other selections and his descriptions of their performance.

Remember Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Trump now describes him as a man who is “dumb as a rock and totally ill prepared and ill equipped to be Secretary of State.” Even worse he lacked “the mental capacity needed” for the job and was “lazy as hell.” Makes you wonder what type of interview process took place.

“We are substantially subsidizing the Militaries of many VERY rich countries all over the world, while at the same time these countries take total advantage of the U.S., and our TAXPAYERS, on Trade,” Trump wrote in a series of tweets. General Mattis did not see this as a problem. I DO…” It’s true you and your leadership team won’t see eye to eye on every vision, but a shared sense of vision is one of those things that should be confirmed with your incoming Secretary of Defense.

The man he selected to defend and enforce our nation’s laws as Attorney General is “mentally retarded. He’s this dumb Southerner…(who) couldn’t even be a one-person country lawyer down in Alabama.” Turns out Sessions had a nasty way about him and lacked transparent communications as evidence by his subsequent refusal “to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else,” Trump said. You’d have thought he’d have learned the art of the interview in business school but alas.

Then there’s The Mooch and “Wacky Omarosa,” also known as the “highly unstable nut job” he hired as his Communications Director and the “not smart, lowlife” who served as Advisor.

Which is better than the man he nominated to serve as Chair of the Federal Reserve, Jay Powell who as recently as today Trump questioned by tweet, “who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powell or Chairman Xi?” Yikes, talk about a bad hire.

The list goes on and on. By his own admissions it is clear that Donald Trump is incapable of performing the most basic job requirements of a Chief Executive. That our country is now headed down a path of insolvency and low morale is the inevitable result of what happens when you leave an ineffective or immoral leader in place.

This isn’t going to get better with time. Incompetency breeds incompetence. In fact the Mooch himself said it best in describing another former Chief of Staff Reince Preibus, “the fish stinks from the head!”

Indeed it does! Now comes the hard part. For the quicker you lop it off the faster you can spray some Lysol, begin the clean up and bring the grown ups back into the room