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 He makes no secret of his intent; his desire to deconstruct and eliminate outdated democratic institutions.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…

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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

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

Goodnight Saigon

I am shocked Jerry, SHOCKED! Donald Trump never deserved any praise for walking away from a bad deal when he left Hanoi. He deserves scorn and ridicule for showing up to Vietnam 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 now trusts 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

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/05/world/asia/north-korea-rebuild-missile-tests.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur

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