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

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.

PsychoAnalysis

They say to know thy enemy is to love him. Well, not so in the case of Donald Trump.

Our Comrade in Chief 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. 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.

All Americans need to carefully consider their next move. Reflect on your history. Get informed. Ask yourself; when has the leader who ruled through fear, intimidation, propaganda and slogan been on the right side of history?

I’ll spare you the research.

The answer is never.

Love and inclusion has and will always trump hate in the end. Compassion and empathy win the day over oppression and ethnocentric behavior. Do not be blinded by the short term narratives.

History is unkind to those who resist change. You can engage and choose to help make AMERICANS great again! Or you can hold on to a past that will never return and choose appeasement.

Progress only knows one direction, and it doesn’t look back. Barack Obama has 103 million twitter followers. Hillary Clinton received 65,844,610 votes in the presidential election. Sometimes size does matter.

Choosing to believe perception and alternative facts, doesn’t change the reality. The Electoral College does not change popular opinion. We are the majority. We will not be silenced. We will not be intimidated.

It’s either appeasement or resistance.

Choose wisely. History has its eyes on you.

The Terrible Twos

The great dynasties age in centuries not years. They span thousands of years and define an era of human history. If America is truly destined to lead the next great era in mankind’s evolution then history will view today’s struggles appropriately. We were founded but 250 years ago. Our actions today are indicative of the immature growing pains all toddlers experience, symptoms of the terrible twos. A collective temper tantrum driven by White Christian males who fear change.

On most days I remain hopeful that when our descendants recount the stories of the birth of the nation the days of Trump’s America will be easy to explain away. Preschoolers experience a seismic shift in their relationship to the world. It’s an age where ones abilities to take in information outpaces one’s ability to properly process it. Rather than logic, behavior is driven by pure id and a need to prove one’s independence and self worth. Learning lessons the hard way is a part of daily life.

Research shows that these are the formative years that will dictate one’s moral fiber. ThIs is not meant to be hyperbolic. We are at a crossroad. We are a nation of informed consent. The constitutional crisis is not coming. It is here. Our nation’s moral fiber is at stakes. We, the people, have a choice to make.

We are the guardian who gets to imprint a moral code during the formative years. Do we choose to be the parent who allows their child to get away with anything? Who withholds accountability and rewards tantrums with excess love, adoration, or rewards? Or do we instill the lessons of accountability and impose limits, reward the virtues of empathy and community?

The path we choose may very well determine the survival of our species. There are those among us who don’t want to change. Who don’t want to grow up or evolve. They fear strangers, throw tantrums, protest and resist change at all cost. They enjoy their lot in life, their standing in the caste. They bask in the shadow of white male privilege, take comfort in their status quo.

Others simply fear getting older or reject evolution. They recognize their outdated beliefs are being trampled. Their traditional values and understanding of one’s place under attack. They see the world around them and at heart must know they are the dinosaurs of the 21st century. Yet, it is with that knowledge they fight hardest against the inevitability of change. As if doing so will somehow prevent their extinction.

The majority of us, however, reject the impulses to fear the unknown. We recognize that change is a sign of progress. We strive to go #forward and dream of a brighter tomorrow. We pray for a world of greater tolerance, and pitch in to fight poverty and conserve our environment. With a yes we can spirit we set off to build bridges and seek to tear down walls.

The majority also take honor in the fact that diversity is a central part of the American identity. We recognize the dreams of our ancestors came at great cost and sacrifice. We acknowledge that our privilege was born from the sins of the modern era. The exploitation of cultures, land and people that came along with empire building, manifest destiny, tribalism, and colonialism.

For us to properly mature as a nation we must get over our separation anxiety and insecurities. The survival of our species will require unprecedented global interdependence and cooperation. The impacts of climate change, nuclear proliferation, antibiotic resistant pandemic and eventual planetary extinction will require it. To meet these challenges we need to toss aside our old grudges and ignorant stereotypes. We need to move to a figurative world without borders. This does not mean we abandon all common sense, but we flip our expectations. We expect a positive outcome and promote the benefits of cooperation. We teach our kids to trust but verify.

It’s time we as a nation moved beyond the comforts of our founding fathers. Time for us to begin the big kid years and write our own legacy. Learn to socialize beyond our immediate family circle and expand our bubble. Promote the commonalities that exist between us instead. Welcome strangers into the kindergarten classroom and nurture the concepts of trust, inclusion and collaboration. Discipline and reject those that promote ignorance, name calling or disrespectful behavior.

Early intervention is the key to success. Let’s stop humoring the whines and screams of how much better it could be. Let’s instead pay attention to the desperate cries for structure and accountability. It’s not always easy but the time has come to yank the binky away from our Dear Leader and bring some adult supervision back. This tantrum has gone on long enough.

Routine Vetting

The Attorney General serves as the “people’s lawyer.” Charged with enforcing and prosecuting federal law they advise on the constitutionality of proposed legislation and interpret the bounds of our drug enforcement policy, immigration policy, and criminal justice guidelines.

They AG oversees and heads our Department of Justice. They decide how to color in the grey areas that determine the limits of our 1st, 2nd and 4th amendments; decree just how absolute our individual rights to freedom and privacy are.

It is undoubtedly a role that is critical to the national security of the United States. Afforded access to our nations’s secrets and charged with enforcement of law and order. There is no question that if an unqualified or otherwise incompetent individual was placed into that role it may cause grave harm to our nation.

Our founding father’s certainly thought so. That’s why under the Appointments Clause of the United States Constitution, the Attorney General is nominated by the President of the United States and appointed with the advice and consent of the United States Senate.

In other words before ever assuming office the Attorney General gets a contingent job offer. Candidates interview, and are presumably vetted by the President. A background check of sorts is then conducted to confirm the candidate is who he represented himself to be throughout the interview process. An extreme vetting of sorts, appropriate for a soon to be national security risk.

This is not open for interpretation. Advice and consent of the Senate is a prerequisite for the job. Routine vetting of the candidate a necessary precaution before they are entrusted with our most sensitive secrets.

It’s true the President is free to fire the AG at his will. It does not mean he can handpick his successor. There is a Deputy AG, Associate AGs and plenty of other already Senate confirmed replacement candidates qualified to serve as the Acting AG. It’s why Pompeo was so easily able to replace Tillerson.

Surely the person who calls for the extreme vetting of already vetted refugees. The man who deploys 15,000 troops to our borders to protect us from the soon-to-be-but-not-yet-impending arrival of a caravan of unarmed terrorist immigrants. Surely the law and order president whose number one priority is our national security understands what is at risk and wouldn’t play loose with our Constitution.

So how is Matthew Whitaker now serving as AG? He is not Senate confirmed. In fact our so called President claims to barely know him. He refuses to turn over his financial disclosure forms. His only qualification seems to be his vocal opposition to the Mueller investigation, which he not so coincidentally now leads. Even worse he was placed in the role unchecked by the presumed target of said investigation.

Am I really the only one who has a problem with this arrangement? Has the blue wave left us dazed and confused?

We are in the midst of a constitutional crisis. The deconstruction of the administrative state is taking place before our very eyes. The system of checks and balances we’ve relied on is under attack. The Executive Branch slowly consuming all around it, with little resistance.

It is time we force the issue and meet the beast head on. We must proactively protect the Mueller investigation. Must insist any Acting Attorney General have already been vetted and confirmed by the Senate in some prior capacity. Raise a direct challenge to Whitaker’s unilateral appointment.

Americans of all stripes must coalesce around a single message. Must insist on the routine vetting of all Cabinet members. Pressure your representatives to take a stand. We cannot afford to play Russian roulette with our national security any longer.

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