The Long Con

Another day, another bat shit crazy tweet storm. Like all bullies this administration’s plan is to marginalize, belittle, conflate, delegitimize and, when necessary, squash dissent and opposition.

Doing so allows this caravan of corrupt criminals and enablers 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.

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 over 100 million twitter followers. Hillary Clinton received 65,844,610 votes in the presidential election. Despite what Melania may say, sometimes size does matter.

Choosing to believe perception, fake emergencies 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

A Call To Action

“Danger, Will Robinson,” “Beware the Ides of March,” “Perhaps extinct animals should be left extinct,” “The British are Coming,” “Beware Greeks bearing gifts,” “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US,” “Winter is Coming!”

So many famous stories, whether rooted in science fiction or history, past or present, are built on the premise of future danger. Stress a need for the protagonist to act proactively to avoid an impending catastrophe. To anticipate what the enemy will do next and take actions to prepare for, mitigate or prevent the intended outcome.

Sometimes those in power heed the warning; rally the troops, fortify supplies, prepare countermeasures. Other times they fall on deaf ears; tragedy ensues, civilizations fall, buildings crumble.

The situation America faces today is no less dire than those above. Donald Trump poses a clear and present danger to the American dream and democracy as we know it.

Unfortunately instead of memorable rallying cries, for the most part our leaders offer deafening silence. An occasional stern warning about lines Deranged Donald dare not cross. A nice sound bite or tweet from an individual representative, but as a whole, crickets.

My fellow Americans, “winter is coming!” We are rapidly accelerating towards the point of no return. We cannot afford to sit back passively and wait for something as obvious as a Reichstag Fire to recognize a real national emergency exists.

We cannot be so naive as to place all our trust in 2020, that free and fair national elections will solve this crisis. The stakes are too high and the future too nebulous. We believed the polls in 2016 too. Only Donald Trump, a man obsessed with polls, believed his election was guaranteed despite most indicators. Only he knew his election to be a fait accompli. One so inevitable that he promised to protest the election results only in the event he lost. It makes one wonder what he knew that nobody else did.

The point is we can’t put all of our eggs in one basket. We need to be more aggressive. The best way to defeat a bully is to bring the fight to him. We need our citizens to engage in bold and direct action. National strikes, sit-ins, DAILY demonstrations and other disruptive but non-violent methods are required.

We need our leaders to take to the steps of the Capital EVERY DAY. Bullhorns in hand they should be leading the crowd. Listing all of the misdeeds being committed by this den of corruption. Publicly read pages from “The List” by Amy Siskind that painstakingly details the weekly actions taken by this caravan of corrupt criminals that pose a threat to our democratic norms.

Now that the government shutdown is averted Nancy Pelosi should be entirely focused on ensuring a Presidential shutdown. If necessary the Democratic majority should refuse to advance the people’s business until legislation is brought to the House and Senate floor protecting Mueller and his investigation.

“A storms a-coming!” “Stop playing Russian roulette with our democracy!” “BASTA!” None may have the ring of “the British are coming,” but the stakes are no less important. The resistance needs a rallying cry, a call to action. Something that will stir people to leave our comfort zones and make proactive sacrifice. To understand that the time to act is now

The 3-D Painting

When I was a kid 3-D computer generated pictures were quite the fad. The ones you would stare cross eyed at for hours on end. Bits and pieces of the big picture coming in and out of focus. Your frustration builds with the knowledge that something epic awaits if you could only get your eyes to focus the right away. Then when you’re about to give up and your eyes start tearing up from exhaustion; voila! It all comes into focus.

It was almost always some type of exhilarating scene. A dinosaur chase that featured a T-Rex reaching out to grab you in the foreground. A school of dolphins seemingly leaping out of the pixelated water and into your living room. The payoff always worth the effort.

As I try process the actions of Donald Trump and this den of corruption I feel like I’m back in high school staring at one of those pictures. I concentrate on all that’s been done these past few years and bits of the real picture, the hidden agenda, slowly comes into focus.

Look to the right. A bunch of middle aged smirking white men seem to be looking away from the rest of the picture. They shake hands and pat each other’s backs in a sense of accomplishment. A few appear to have their heads buried in the sand and others have their arms raised upright in a rapturous pose.

Behind them you can make out the dreams of the GOP establishment. Billboards line a pot holed highway. One advertises the end of entitlements and social welfare programs. “Say goodbye to your healthcare, food stamps, social security, and public benefits but hello to your temporary $200 tax cut,” it reads. Through a thick smog you make out the words of the next sign, “Regulations! We don’t need no stinkin regulations!” it says. “Koch Brother’s Toll booth ahead – $40” reads the last.”

Is that Jesus moving into the forefront? A tear falling from his eye as he poses triumphantly on his Jerusalem throne. His foot resting on the throats of Muslims, Hindus, and a host of other non-believers as he takes in his heavenly kingdom.

Now close your right eye. Off to the left! Is that a shirtless Russian man riding on a horse? Standing in his shadow a seemingly endless line of workers doing hard labor. Rolling oil barrels directly into the Kremlin. Working with heavy machinery a pile of weapons of mass destruction amassed in the forefront. Ordinary looking people laying steel pipeline and rail. A massive red army on the march westward.

Open both eyes again and all you see is buckets of money falling from the sky like rain. Gold, silver and jewels piling up on the ground. International currencies from around the globe floating into focus. Shekls, rubles, dollars, euros, pounds, yens, even whatever they use in China all accounted for.

The middle part of the picture is the hardest to make out. Your eyes consistently distracted by the cheetoh orange swirls at the center of it all. The details that do emerge so horrible one must look away in horror from time to time. Military choppers fly through the sky. Major US cities lined with national guard as skyscrapers burn. Armed sentries sit in surveillance towers standing watch over the whole of America. Our borders encased in a wall of barb wire and chain linked fence give off the appearance of a giant prison yard.

Other random visions appear so quickly you are barely able to make sense of them. Is that a throng of young protestors with their hands cuffed behind their backs? Many appear bloodied, their placards and signs of dissent scattered and trampled in the streets. Others look defeated. A single marijuana joint hangs from their lips as they are loaded into a paddy wagon. A line of police cars queues up outside the overflowing prison.

Large ships packed stern to stern with disheveled and scared looking minorities and immigrants. Men in hoodies. Women in hijabs. The Statue of Liberty a small dot in the distant horizon as the boats move further away from America’s shores. A real national emergency unfolding

You look away blinking back tears. Your concentration broken. What the hell does it mean? These disjointed images that flood your brain. You realize you have a choice. Start anew and try to make sense of it all. Recross those eyes and keep staring until the entirety of the big picture reveals itself, or walk away. Grow apathetic with the hope that someone else comes along who is able to see it for themselves. An independent arbiter so to speak who may or may not tell you what it is that’s really there.

For me the choice is clear. There is no option but to refocus and keep looking until it all makes sense. The entire picture emerges. I’ve invested too much to choose otherwise and walk away now. No, much like I did in high school I’ll keep searching for that final payoff.

There’s another funny thing about those pictures that motivates me to keep me looking. Sure you initially spend hours staring and talking about them, but once you figure them out and you “see it,” you quickly lose interest in them. Pretty soon after that they get taken off the walls. Relegated to the far reaches of the garage or attic, frame cracked, forgotten.

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

Who is Keyser Soze

Ironically it was Kevin Spacey in a career making role who once uttered the words “The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”

The following statements about a sitting President of the United States are not in dispute;

1) He is the subject of an ongoing counter intelligence investigation and has acted in ways previously unimaginable of the world’s most powerful man,

2) The majority of our citizenry strongly disapprove of the man himself, his agenda and his job performance,

3) There is credible evidence that he may not have been legitimately elected by and may not in fact be working for the American electorate,

4) Vladimir Putin, a former KGB agent who has never once prior acted to advance America’s best interest, invested numerous Russian resources to help Trump secure the Republican nomination and win the ensuing presidential election,

5) Trump has passed along classified information and otherwise  placed our nation’s security at grave risk due to his wanton disregard for classified information, intelligence assessments and diplomacy,

6) He has politicized the Department of Justice, attacked private citizens and threatened political opponents and regularly denigrates our free press and intelligence agencies,

7) Openly uses presidential platform and powers to commit obstruction of justice and to profit off the office.

Each of these statements in an of itself present an unprecedented risk to our Republic. They demand a proactive and unconventional response. 

Yet, as I scan the headlines from the past week: the alternative state of the union, the testimony of Acting AG Whitaker, the budget compromise passed by Congress, the Democratic race for 2020, the confirmation of AG Barr, the impending “national emergency;” it’s as if Donald Trump is just another unpopular President with the best of misguided intention. 

Perhaps it is I who live in a twilight zone but why legitimize the message and provide the theater that comes along with a traditional state of the union. How do we allow an unvetted sycophant to appear before Congress and make an open mockery of our Justice Department? 

How do we continue to confirm the nominees of a man who is unqualified to nominate them? This shouldn’t be political. It defies logic. It’s understandable that Democrats do not want to be perceived as bad guys or unwilling to compromise but there are times when good leadership requires just that. The willingness to do something bold and unpopular. 

Donald Trump doesn’t play by the rules. He is willing to make up a phony national emergency, endanger our troops, go to who knows what length really if it means he gets to claim victory. You can’t give him the opportunity. 

Here’s the truth. Trump took 800,000 federal employees hostage. Democrats negotiated with a terrorist. As a result they now have a crappy deal. Sure it keeps the government open but it fails to solve any immigration issues, gives credence to the concept of a wall and Trump further strengthens his Executive power by declaring a national emergency. 

Oh yeah, spoiler alert: it’s never been about the god damn wall. It’s all about the emergency powers he’s about to exert on California and other border states. The consolidation of power that by taking the high road Democrats just handed the rising authoritarian. 

The constitutional crisis is here! We can’t afford to wait for the coffee cup to shatter to realize Keyser Soze sat before us this whole time. We must take bold action. Consolidate and form a real opposition. Lead the people in daily protest from the steps of the capital. Shut down all government business until such time it is independently confirmed that Donald Trump was hired by and is working for the American people

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.

The Mockingjay Calls

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 said 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 wouldn’t have been easy but we would have listened.

I honestly believe Obama considered it. It was his duty to protect our security interests until his very last day in office. McConnell and the GOP efforts to strip him of his power a year early notwithstanding. A known and imminent threat slithered into the most powerful office in the world, it was not off caravaning many thousand miles away.

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. Had we fought more for Garland he may have believed he had a play. Instead he 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. Two Supreme Court Justices hoisted into lifetime seats by a perhaps illegitimate leader. 25% of the jurors who will ultimately determine the limits of Executive Privilege hand selected by the Defendant. It still boggles my mind that our defenders of the constitution allowed such a blatant coup to take place.

That’s not all. The rot even more prevalent at our lower levels of justice. As of February 6, 2019, our Senate has confirmed 85 Article III judges nominated by a man who is an active target of a counterintelligence investigation, this includes 30 judges for the US Court of Appeals and 53 judges for the District Courts.

Yet here we stand debating about the need for the extreme vetting of already extremely vetted refugees of war. We restlessly await the unilateral declaration of a “national emergency” to contend with the unprecedented threat these war ravaged women and children pose to our national security.

Meanwhile the very men hired to defend our national security, the ones we actually rely on to keep us safe day in and day out remain largely unvetted. Rather than worry about a future theoretical threat or systematically failure perhaps Americans need to turn their attention to the present day actual threat.

Our system of checks and balances has failed. The constitutional crisis is here. The head of our National Security Agency was an ACTIVE agent of a foreign adversary when given the position. He remained in that role with unabated access to our nation’s most sensitive secrets for 19 additional days after the President learned that this was the case and that Flynn had lied about it.

For more than three months the man who has led our Department of Justice, charged with enforcing and overseeing our nation’s laws in accordance with the Constitution, has gone unvetted. When he finally appeared in front of Congress it was clear that he was an unqualified buffoon and clear benefactor of some type of presidential quid pro quo.

These examples aren’t outliers. 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.

We are past that point where we can rely on the vote as a legitimate check and balance. Yes, the Blue Wave was real but take note of the corruption and controversies that took place at the State levels. Pay attention to the widespread and overall successful suppression efforts that took place in Florida, Georgia, Texas and Carolina, key battlegrounds.

Our Comrade in Chief finds safety and job security in the chaos he stokes. He uses it to his advantage. Time is not on our side. We must continue to rally the vote and identify strong candidates for 2020 but more importantly we must act Stop turning a blind eye. Take to the streets in peaceful protest and make clear who we are. 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.

There are days the optimism swells and it feels like we’re getting closer. Days when the news of the Mueller investigation inspire or public rallies prove effective. When Michelle Obama made her unexpected appearance on the Grammy’s stage it was one of those moments. When she walked out between Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett Smith and JLo, in that moment it was as if they held a giant Mockingjay pin up to this administration. A symbol of hope, defiance and resistance.

And over the swell of the applause which reached all the way to my Virginia living room carried the voice of the Mockingjay with a welcomed and unmistakeable reminder…

Yes we can, yes we can, #YESWECAN