Sitting Ducks

I feel like a sitting duck lost at sea. Adrift. Bobbing along the water. Frantically paddling towards an endless horizon of gentle waves. Hopeful to find a safety net on which to regroup. A beacon of hope and freedom to escape the schools of predators lurking just below the surface. Targeting my every move. Plotting my demise. Awaiting the apex predator’s order to strike.

Perhaps it’s the circle of life. In the words of Lin Manuel “Empires fall. Oceans rise!” Perhaps it’s just our time. Yet it all feels so avoidable. Like the experiment in individual freedom and self-governance is being cut short prematurely. For the evidence suggests it wasn’t the system itself that was flawed or failed. It was the people who ran it. The political scientists themselves that betrayed the experiment’s controls. That engaged in sabotage and deceit to pollute the fair result.

History will cast the final verdict. Assign blame and cause as they rewind America’s entire 250 year history. How our nation achieved such unprecedented aspirational highs, international influence, steady social progress and advancement of democratic values in such short order. And conversely how we just as quickly rolled them back. Reverted to base human tribal instinct. Diluted the experiment with elements of God Over Politics dogma, Guns Over People faux patriotism and Greed Or Power influencers. Strange coincidence how all may be best summarized as “the GOP.”

It’s time to acknowledge what we have become. We are a nation long past constitutional crisis. An empire well beyond “national emergency.” We are a country adrift at sea without a lifeboat. Our enemies have us surrounded. Biding their time. Waiting to strike. And with no sign of a last minute rescue mission at hand, it appears as if the dream is coming to an end. The audacity of hope replaced with our children’s worst nightmare. The words of our founding fathers distorted by the echoes of rapid fire semiautomatic blasts. The experiment in individual freedom and self-governance snuffed out by a cabal of tribal interests and corporate lobbyists #ProtestTheGOP

Dirty Rotten Scoundrel

“Those who willingly accept being conned are as corrupt as those who con them.” – Tom Robbins, Villa Incognito

Friends, deplorables, countrymen, lend me your ears;

Listen, I get it. It sucks to be duped. To get your hopes up believing that someone is the real deal. That they are going to fight the rigged system they got rich off of to level the playing field for the common man.

It’s easy to believe in hope when it’s packaged correctly. Don’t feel bad. Young and old, rich and poor, black or white all of us are susceptible to a good con. It’s truly one of life’s great equalizers that knows no prejudice.

As for Trump, well he is the ultimate con man. He identified a weakness and took advantage of it. Spun a yarn and sold America a big heaping turd of a promise to make us great again.

Now is the time to face reality though. To open your eyes and judge a person on the truth of their action. To tune out the sound bites and instead trust in the leaked recordings. It may sting a bit, but suck it up buttercup.

We’re at that point of the show where the buffoonish villain has overstayed his welcome. Pull on your big boy pants and get out of the grift now. Before we lose everything.

Understand Donald Trump is not on your side. He’s never been on your side. He’s not even a real Republican. Without regards to morality or values he simply follows whatever path he believes leads to the most power and money. #LockHimUpNow

Tales of a Boiling Frog

There’s a story about boiling frogs. According to lore if you place a frog into a pot of boiling water it will jump right out, but if the frog is put in 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 it’s life. It’s that the frog never thought to escape as the water approached its boiling point. Freedom was a simple hop away but the frog chose to remain passive because it couldn’t even perceive of the danger that lay ahead. Welcome to America’s democracy.

The warning signs are all there. The erosion of checks and balances between legislative and executive branch. The partisan judiciary that serves God or dollar before constitution. The integration and influence of church upon state. The war on the free press and mainstreaming of Tucker Carlson and the Fox News Ministry of Propaganda. The reckless wag the dog foreign policy.

The takeover of state legislatures and passage of laws that restrict voting rights. The gerrrymandering of constituents to predetermined results. The enactment of artificial barriers to entry that exclude and limit full representation. Safeguards of the status quo that will enable enable sycophants to overturn the will of the people, even election results in the absence of evidence of fraud or malfeasance.

These, and other successful efforts already erode the power of the individual. When you further implement legislation that grants and bestows individual rights upon amorphous corporate conglomerates. Then you truly tip the scales of influence so that the barons of Wall Street and the lobbyists who enable them enjoy far greater political representation than the individual store clerk, call agent or working class Main Street laborer.

America’s democratic institutions, her standing as the beacon of hope and freedom to the world’s oppressed and underprivileged, is dimming. The vision of our founding fathers compromised by the rise of a global oligarchy. The interests of the few prioritized over the dreams of the many. The majority of us understand this and are able to see through the false equivalents and whataboutism. We recognize that today’s GOP is nothing more than the Guardians Of Putin. A party of extremists who seek only the consolidation of power, wealth, and religious virtuosity within their own privileged tribe. No longer advocates of a representative democracy their entire agenda is to secure the status quo. To do whatever necessary, trade whatever freedom, and betray whatever alliance necessary to secure their privileged place in society long past the point demographics of a representative democracy will otherwise allow.

It’s time for the majority to wake up. We must not allow past experience to lull us into a false sense of security. Trump may be out of office but the same cabal of corruption that lit the stove are still in positions of power and influence. Are continuing to raise the heat on the proverbial pot in anticipation of their next course. Prepping the next January 6th in the hopes of a more satisfactory conclusion. 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.

If the majority of Americans wish to preserve the American political system, we cannot afford to sit back passively and wait for future Election Days to voice the will of the people. The stakes are too high and the future too nebulous. We need to engage in bold and direct action. National strikes, sit-ins, daily demonstrations and other disruptive but non-violent methods. We need to leave our comfort zones and make proactive sacrifice.

We must not wait to remove from positions of influence those who knowingly do not serve America’s interests before all others. The demands for swift accountability to eliminate the threat that corrupt elected officials pose to the very safeguards meant to protect our political system must be heeded. Those dregs of our society who conspired in the orchestration of the January 6th insurrection, or otherwise participated in, aided in, or served as an accessory after the fact to those who sought to interfere with the peaceful transition of Executive power, must be pushed to the shadows and extremes of political debate.

We must insist our leaders collaborate across party lines to restore American democracy. Reestablish accountability and the equal application of the rule of law. Lean into our democratic values, the individual freedoms we often take for granted, and act with the urgency the situation demands. Before the water boils and it becomes too late to otherwise react.

Transactional Democracy

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This is not about political ideology. This caravan of corruption does not represent a political methodology or follow a philosophical party platform. They do not stand for principled values or practice fiscal restraint. Today’s GOP is a cult. They advocate for nothing more than the Rapture, guns, and personal enrichment. Everything else, whether individual rights, racial or gender equality, or systems of government is negotiable, viewed as a commodity in the “art of the deal”.

That’s what is truly scary. They view their success in strictly transactional terms. They function in an us verse them paradigm where their side only wins when the other loses. The more “they” have, the greater America is #MAGA.

Consider the implications! Those who adhere to Trumpism, the modern day GOP, is openly rooting against more than half of our citizenry. They believe they are only doing their job effectively when the majority of their constituents are upset. To say this is an unsustainable form of representative democracy is an understatement. Let’s hope that justice (or karma) intervenes before the whole system collapses.

Lifetime Recusal

The constitutional crisis is here. Calls for Justice Thomas to recuse himself from any case involving the January 6th Commission are not sufficient. Democratic leadership must demand that Justice Thomas resign or be removed from the Supreme Court.

This is not some mere pretext of impropriety or potential conflict of interest. Ginni Thomas, his wife, took part in a COUP. A brazen attempt to overturn the results of what was known to be a legitimate election, with no evidence of widespread fraud. The very separation of powers her husband is charged with defending she sought to destroy. The checks and balances upon which our republic depends, she sought to neuter.

It is not as if Ginni was a periodic advisor or passive participant in these efforts. She was a central figure. She coordinated legal strategy with the Executive Branch and members of Thomas Clerk World, a private listserv that is *exclusively* used by former Thomas judicial clerks, in furtherance of the plot to keep Trump in power* (see Seth Abramson Twitter for more details).

In a text exchange with Mark Meadows, Ginni thanks him for his support in the “fight of good versus evil!” I’m paraphrasing now but she goes on to note that between his pledge of support and the recent news she got from her “best friend” she’s feeling like her efforts to preserve the status quo may just pan out.

The idea that a Supreme Court Justice may view a political divide as a fight between “good and evil!” That to remain a nation of “good” will require half of our citizens be eradicated and removed from positions of power. That perception of Democrats vs Republicans is exactly how one comes to believe that the “ends justify the means.” It’s the kind of belief that allows a judge to rationalize setting aside Constitutional safeguards for the “greater good.” This possibility alone is enough to justify a lifetime recusal for Thomas.

To turn a blind eye to the obvious. To proceed as if our Constitition is not on fire is a dereliction of duty by the very elected officials who swore an oath to defend it. To restore our credibility. To once again be a nation of law and order there can be no doubt of the independence of our Judicial Branch. Conservative or liberal each justice is beholden to the Constitution and how the facts of each case before it relate.

Trumpian Chutzpah

Trump’s latest attempt to gaslight a nation and stoke racial tensions, as my grandpa would say, takes real chutzpah.

Three years ago, soon after Trump assumed the office of the Presidency, his Chief Strategist and Senior Advisor Steve Bannon delivered a keynote address at the Cons, Pricks and Christians show, (at least I assume that’s what CPAC stands for). At the time Bannon detailed the administration’s plan for the systemic “deconstruction of the administrative state.”

Far more specific than the figurative words of the NY BLM “leader,” Bannon specifically outlined how the Trump administration was engaged in an effort to irreparably change the relationship between government and its citizens. The first step of which was to select incompetents and purposefully place them in charge of various federal agencies with the goal of running them into extinction. This all supported his central theme; that the modern American political system, the one derived by our founding fathers and considered a beacon of freedom throughout the world, is outdated. That it requires replacement.

Black Lives Matter is correct. We need to be proactive in defense of this country we love; the values that have defined us for generations. We cannot afford to take “no” for an answer from those whose sole desire is to maintain the status quo. Those relics of the past who fear change and 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.

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 we can’t overcome. Heck American ingenuity has 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 live within our shores. That Trump and his caravan of criminal enablers wish to change that. That they seek to upend the melting pot and deconstruct us and divide us back into our separate parts. Many would say such behavior is “Treason, Sedition, Insurrection!”

A Confederacy of Hate

A confederacy of hate and white supremacy exists in America and occupies our most sacred institutions. It hides behind the cloak of religion, justice or patriotism to prey on minorities, the underprivileged and those who dare challenge their superiority. It kneels at the altar of misplaced relics of hate and ignorance that run counter to the American dream. It relies on conspiracy theory, fear and alternative facts to connect with constituents who previously sat on the fringe of society and lacked a mainstream voice.

This caravan of deplorables use tried and true methods of organized dogma, scape goating, propaganda and slogan to radicalize new members. They encourage recruits to arm themselves with military grade arsenals and practically dare them to try out their new toys on the deep state, disenfranchised minorities and radical liberals who seek to prevent their ascension.

The time has come for all Americans to protect their standing in the world. To make clear that this group of radical domestic terrorists do not define this great nation or her people. We are the land of the free and home of the brave. Let’s act it.

We cannot wait for a far off Election Day. The constitutional cris is here. The time has come to reconcile America’s identity crisis. To call out and differentiate the majority of us from those who now seek to define our values. Who wish to hit a pause on the progress button and redefine a once great nation’s dreams and ideals.

Antifa and Proud

As protests over systemic racial injustice erupt throughout the nation our so called President tweeted that “The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization.”

So in the midst of an ongoing pandemic in which the majority of participants are masked it seems to warrant asking who Deranged Donald seeks to identify as a terrorist? Whose free speech and constitutional rights does he wish to suppress by executive order? Who exactly is “Antifa?”

A quick scan of his Twitter timeline and it’s clear Trump believes socialists, radical democrats, chuck and Nancy, Mitt Romney, Hispanics, blacks, immigrants, LBGTQ+, people from California, Mexicans, Never Trumpers, reporters from CNN, MSNBC, and certain members of FoxNews, members of the intelligence community, members of the deep state, Kaepernick, Bezos, Soros, journalists from the New York Times and the Washington Post, Mueller, Comey, people from Puerto Rico, women, Romney, Obama, Hillary, and Joe Biden are all “enemies of the people” and anti-Trump.

More than that, almost everyone within those groups believes Trump a fascist, or at least that he possesses fascist tendencies which they oppose. Is it crazy to think Trump believes them all to be Antifa? Do you see the slippery slope here?

It’s one thing for a talented manipulator to get into power. It’s a whole other thing to stay there. The tighter the noose around Trump’s neck the more desperate he grows and dangerous he becomes. Trump’s broad effort to designate an amorphous antifa a terrorist organization poses a clear and present danger to the foundation of our democracy.

Without a credible counter narrative to contend with this caravan of corrupt criminals will be free to project their own shortcomings onto the most vulnerable members of our society. They will use sound bites, click bait and propaganda to deflect from whatever scandal plagues them and otherwise fear monger, scapegoat and blame shift at whatever the cost. They will continue to present alternative facts, only now without the alternatives. Lies then become truth, and perception reality.

The American Puzzle

Tune out the flash bangs and peer through the fog of tear gas and you’ll see a new America on the horizon. Change will not occur overnight. Systemic transformation takes time and patience. Progress is incremental and requires commitment and resolve. It requires proactive risk mitigation, resiliency and experimentation. The more care and meticulous planning you put into it, the quicker it occurs.

It’s like the world’s largest puzzle. The picture of a more perfect union painted on the box for all to see. The end state a foregone conclusion so long as we extend the effort. The first step is to build a framework that supports the larger picture. To align the like pieces in a shape and order that will govern and guide the upcoming transformation. A border of individual pieces comprised of all shapes, colors and sizes. In spite of the other differences each of these pieces also has one smooth side that marks its importance. That allows it too stand out from the thousand of other pieces in its midst. Enables the builders to quickly identify and link these pieces with its like neighbors.

The border now complete. Now comes the hard part. Like pieces assembled in support of the whole but the picture on that box still far from complete. Thousands of remaining pieces remain in the box. Most of which remain buried or are turned upside with no visible way to identify where they may fit in.

To make order from this chaos requires a detailed examination of each individual piece. A systematic methodology of review and assortment and a clean work space to ensure no pieces are lost along the way. A means to sort through and group like colors and shapes until the pattern of progress reveals itself. Slowly the pieces come together to reveal the future picture. As you move along frustration sets in. You feel like quitting but pull the box cover back out to remind yourself that the end result is worth it.

You get back to work. Mistakes are discovered, pieces are rearranged and even the strangest, most out of place shapes begin to fit in place. Eventually your sorted piles dwindle. The red, white and blue pieces are all that remain. They may all look the same but day after day through trial and error you plug away. As each section fills in your determination to see it through to the end grows. A beautiful picture begins to emerge before your eyes. A perfect union of shapes and colors, interconnected and dependent on each other to form the greater whole. It’s only a matter of time.

Cult of Facism

A cult of fascism now controls our Executive. One that takes no chances and scoffs at traditions and checks and balances. A President’s role is to represent all Americans, his constituency comprised of all citizens. To do otherwise is an abdication of his constitutional responsibilities.

When Trump boasts of record approval ratings within the Republican party people must peel back the curtain to dissect what that means. Charles Manson, Jim Jones, David Koresh and many others enjoyed near universal approval among their followers too. Such does not make them mainstream leaders or representative of a majority. In fact it’s easy to have a high approval rating when your denominator keeps shrinking. When only likeminded members are permitted membership.

Today’s Republican Party no longer consists of patriotic or principled Americans. They abandoned that sinking ship along with the dismissals of Boehner, Kelly, Tillerson, Mattis and Will. Those that remain have no central ideology such as fiscal conservatism. No foreign policy doctrine exists that guides their acts abroad.

On the other hand we have Democratic leaders that continue to point to traditional means as the path to victory. They refuse to act with the proactive urgency necessary to afford transparency but instead point is to the ballot box. They stare blindly ahead and refuse to sacrifice or “go low” even as their opposition chops off their legs.

Tradition and precedent have no place in our current environment. A bloodless coup has occurred in which the enemy has taken control of our most sacred institutions. This is not about political ideology or race. This caravan of corruption does not represent a political methodology or follow a philosophical party platform. They are a cult who advocate for nothing more than God, guns, and money. Anything that stands in the way of those goals is fair game in the “art of the deal.”