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

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.

Banana Republic

I had a boss who was fond of the phrase “perception is reality.” He used it as an excuse to justify his inaction for almost any employee related conflict. No point in meeting to explain whatever employee issue was being raised that day “perception is reality” he’d say. It drove me crazy each and every time.

While true perception is an individual’s sense of reality. Let’s also be clear, reality is reality. I may perceive the Earth to be flat, but science tells us otherwise.

That’s the thing. Facts exist. There is such a thing as truth. A good leader understands this and knows that one of their most important jobs is to shape perception to match reality.

They rely on facts, science, logic and reason to persuade the majority to get in the boat and row towards a common goal. When JFK announced America would put a man on the moon within years hardly anyone perceived it possible. Good leadership not only got the majority to believe it but made it a reality. Pushed the naysayers to the margins.

Then there’s another kind of leader. Still skilled communicators but the arrogant narcissistic types. The ones who don’t take “no” for an answer. Who degrade, demean and harass their “subordinates.” Who talk a lot without saying anything of substance. Who take credit for the good work of others and shift blame when something goes wrong. Who surround themselves with ass kissers and “yes” men.

These type shape perception not to match reality, but to match what they wish their followers to perceive as reality. They use slogans, rumors, propaganda and lies to do so. Repeat them until they rise to the level of alternative fact. Feed on the discontent of the margins to spread their falsehoods. Power to the people. To those who could’ve been a contender, if only…

There are no two ways about this Russia business. Donald Trump, the so called President of the United States, and his corrupt caravan of criminals and enablers were working in cahoots with and for the benefit of Puppetmaster Putin and his henchmen of oligarchs.

Donald Trump is the subject of an active counterintelligence investigation and an unindicted coconspirator in a current criminal case. He’s about to deliver a “state of the union” that will ignore the consensus conclusions of our intelligence community and reject the proven findings of science and industry experts.

The entire production dependent on phony statistics, false equivalents and personal anecdotes unsupported by evidence. Absolutely none of it will be based on reality. Instead what we will hear is a mosaic of lies, propaganda and alternative facts all designed to craft the perception that America faces a national emergency that only our Dear Leader, Donald Trump is able to solve.

Welcome to the banana republic that is Trump’s America. Where reality no longer matters. When all the evidence points one way Donald Trump and his merry bannon of deplorables will insist you ignore your eyes and ears and believe otherwise.

This country was founded on the principle of informed consent. Informed meaning look it up yourself. Do some independent research. Trust but verify through multiple sources and corroboration. Tune out opinion. Focus on the facts. I double dog dare anyone to offer a plausible innocent explanation for all of the Russian ties;

The meetings, the selective memory, the soft talk, the financial ties, the server communication, the false equivalents, the sympathetic appointees, the obstruction, the lies, everything being done by the agency formerly known as State Dept., the intelligence gaffes, the lack of sanctions, the removal of sanctions, the ill advised withdrawal from Syria and Afghanistan, the revival of the nuclear race, the secret meetings, the refusal to criticize, the insults and slights of our traditional allies, the childlike denials and ensuing bouts of panic, the obstruction again, the dismantling of our democratic institutions…on and on it goes

The Boiling Frog

According to lore if you place a frog into a pot of boiling water it will jump right out and escape its impending doom. If, however, the frog is put into a pot of warm water and then brought to a slow boil it will not perceive of the danger until it’s too late. The poor frog is cooked to death.

The lesson of the story isn’t found in the frog’s death, but in its life. It’s that the frog never thought to escape. It was always just a hop away from freedom but chose to remain passive. Why? Because it couldn’t even perceive of the danger that lay ahead. Welcome to America’s democracy.

The warning signs are all there. From the inept Cabinet picks and partisan judicial nominations. To the war on the free press and creation of Sean Hannity’s Ministry of Propaganda. To the reckless wag the dog foreign policy. To the manufactured inquiry into Obama’s deep state. Deranged Donald has done more to destroy our democratic institutions, strip away individual freedoms and erode our standing as the beacon of hope and freedom to the world’s oppressed and underprivileged than any modern American leader.

Moreover, the majority of us understand that there is more to this Russia story. That Deranged Donald craves nothing more than power, adoration and fortune and will go to any lengths to protect his legacy, his bank account and family name. That he acts as if compromised by Putin in everything from his repeated refusal to implement sanctions, to his hiring of Flynn and Manafort, to his flagrant obstruction, to his shady real estate dealings, to his passing along of classified information, to the secret meetings, to the tipping them off of impending military operations, all the way to the outright refusal to directly say anything negative about his Puppetmaster Putin.

Put aside that alone may mean he has de facto command of the two most powerful military forces the world has ever known. That he will never permit the liberal witch hunt to end in his removal from office. Consider only what we know instead. That Russia continues to actively promote his agenda through misinformation campaigns on social media and by actively seeking to interfere in our midterm elections. That American intelligence is aware of this activity. That our so called President has done absolutely nothing about it! Why may that be? Might it be that a free and fair election may not be in his best interest. That the thought of a Democrat controlled House alone keeps him up at night with worry that the naked Emperor will be exposed. It’s the one contingency he must not allow.

It’s time for the majority to wake up. Do not allow past experiences to lull you into a false  of security. The water is getting mighty warm. It’s time to jump out. Recognize what is at stake. Traditional checks and balances do not apply to unconventional threats.

We cannot afford to sit back passively and wait for a long off Election Day to voice our displeasure. The We need our citizens to engage in bold and direct action. National strikes, sit-ins, daily ooemonstrations and other disruptive but non-violent methods are required. We need to leave our comfort zones and make proactive sacrifice. The freedoms we take for granted can literally be wiped away with a stroke of a pen; an impulsive tweet, or the push of a button.

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

Donald Trump And The Hairy Arm Theory

Don’t get lost in the tweetstorms. Donald Trump is nothing more than a hairy arm.

There’s a theory that goes something as follows. Everyone loves to be a critic. It’s a human instinct to want to offer feedback, feel a part of the process, have your voice heard. It theorizes that humans are social creatures that need something to talk about. So, in the words of Bonnie Raitt, “let’s give them to something to talk about.” Place a hairy arm in the middle of a picture in an effort to divert attention away from the underlying body of work. Offer a mistake so obvious, so glaring that the masses will say “I love that photo but you need to crop that hairy arm out of it,” all without paying attention to the fact that the focal point of the picture is a giant middle finger.

Donald Trump, our curmudgeonly Comrade in Chief is that hairy arm. Nothing more than a big heaping turd placed into the picture by forces more nefarious than he. Forces that control, manipulate, and parade the hairy arm as they see fit. Who use it to their advantage to mask what is really going on. Who rely on it to distract focus away from the big picture; the new world order being ushered in right under our noses. The steps being taken to ensure preservation of the status quo beyond the point demographics should allow. The giant middle finger Ryan, Pence, Putin, McConnell, the Koch Brothers, Bannon and others are holding out to America.

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.

Trump instead embodies 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 over compensates 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, those less able to defend themselves.

Yes our so called President is so obviously flawed and psychologically damaged that he is the perfect hairy arm. A lightning rod bound by no sense of social norms and so devoid of self awareness that, so long as you feed his ego and advance his own agenda of increased power and adoration, can be manipulated to adopt any position. A distraction so glaring that entire news cycles are devoted strictly to him. What he said, what he tweeted, who he insulted. His latest break with protocol and tradition. A man of such notorious poor character that he makes an easy mark for men of ill repute. To collect a dossier and use it as blackmail if he dared to disobey. A man who when faced with a sixth bankruptcy, and with nowhere to turn after newly enacted financial regulations prevented an over leveraged real estate tycoon from obtaining a loan through traditional channels, did what any powerful man desperate to live up to his daddy’s name would do. Reach out to his Russian counterparts for a little quid pro quo. You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.

It’s easy to doubt the above. To ignore the obvious and turn a blind eye to what it may all mean. The repercussions in store for the future of this country. The time for cognitive dissonance, however, is over. Get out of your bubble. The evidence is overwhelming. The lies, cover-ups, secret channels and admissions of obstruction all point to the same conclusion. Watch as all of Trump’s earliest segregates get exposed for hiding their Russian connections. Follow the money. This is not fantasy or conspiracy. The connections are real. The timing of the one time NY social liberal turned Tea Party Christian crusader is not coincidence. We no longer have the luxury to deny the undeniable.

So what you may ask is our Comrade in Chief distracting us from. Look around, look around. Remove the hairy arm from the picture and the answers are right in front of you. See the new world order of Bannon and Putin’s dreams take shape. The collapse of old alliances and treaties. The rise of new partnerships and priorities. Listen to the dog whistles and historical rallying cries ring out and watch as the deplorables rise up. A once powerful nation being divided by committed Democratic Arsonists eager to burn down the very system that made us exceptional.

Watch the smiles spread across the pursed lips of Ryan and Pence as they watch the status quo be secured. The spread of so-called Christian values reinforced by statutes. The preconditions for the Rapture set in motion. Observe as the ranks of disenfranchised and “imprisoned for being poor and/or black” swell. As those doors of equality that recently opened to women, minorities and other underrepresented classes of our society get callously slammed shut just as they reach the precipice of entry. Witness the reinforcement of institutionalized racism and the literal erection of artificial barriers to entry and opportunity that disproportionately impact certain ethnic or racial populations. Marvel as profits take priority over people. Short term corporate interests given favor over long term global concerns. The populist who gives not two shits for people overseeing a proactive approach to a permanent oligarchy. An all out assault on or freedoms masked through conditioned subservience.

The man himself is doing very little except dominating the headlines. His words often at odds with the very laws being enacted under his watch. That of course is no coincidence. Donald Trump is a nothing more than a hairy arm. We all know our founders guaranteed us a right to “bare” arms. It is our patriotic duty to #resist

Sadness or Euphoria

Donald Trump makes no secret of his intent to oversee the “deconstruction of the administrative state.” He operates and functions in full visibility for the world to see. He flaunts his belief that he is above the law and beyond accountability. That he alone is judge, jury and executioner. He boasts of his efforts to run various federal agencies into extinction. Appoints unqualified sycophants to lead them and boasts of the economic gains that trickle down from the removal of necessary corporate oversight and safety regulations. He takes glee in offending traditional allies who have done us no wrong or grievance. He warmly embraces and honors those leaders who have never once acted in the interests of freedom. Lifts sanctions and prepares to enter new agreements with men of ill intent who rule with iron fists and stifle individual choice.

All of this is done in furtherance of his central agenda to destroy and redefine our Democratic Republic. His insistence that the very Constitution he is sworn to uphold and defend no longer applies to the modern American political system or experience. Each Executive Order and the few pieces of legislation signed into law by Deranged Donald is meant to undermine the very values espoused by our founding fathers. To declare the land of hopes and dreams and liberty for all, the beacon of freedom throughout the world, a failed experiment that requires replacement.

We as a nation need to wake up. This cannot be a left verse right narrative. This involves us all. Every American needs to make a choice. Billy Joel once wrote, “For we are are always what our situations hand us. It’s either sadness or euphoria.” Well we know the situation life has handed us. We’ve seen all we need to see from this oligarchy. Heard all we need to hear. I’d like to think the choice today is as equally obvious as the one Billy Joel offers. This time, it’s either appeasement or resistance.

We must cast aside politics and unite to protest an administration that openly brags about being unconventional. That flaunts how they don’t abide by tradition and protocol. We need to stop relying on conventional means and rubber stamped checks and balances to hold them to account. We need to be proactive in defense of this country we love; the values that have defined us for generations. We must join together as the majority and insist on extreme vetting for those who pose the most immediate threat to our freedoms this nation has ever seen. We cannot afford to take “no” for an answer from those whose sole desire is to maintain the status quo. Who 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. We have never been naive enough to think divisions among us do not exist and probably always will. 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. Heck we’ve 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 here.

Think about this. People considered Bernie unelectable because he was a Democratic Socialist. We elected a team that openly advocates and acts to burn the whole system down. Committed “Democratic Arsonists.”

So, riddle me this. Do you really want to give that up? Set it on fire? Wouldn’t you prefer to remain the country that foreigners dare venture into then the one they risk everything to leave? I know I would.