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political system, the one derived by our founding fathers and considered a beacon of freedom throughout the world, is outdated.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.”

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.”

Competent Incompetence

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Trump’s response to the corona pandemic is not incompetent. Incompetence implies failed effort. It suggests an attempt by this administration to fulfill its constitutional responsibility to faithfully defend and protect the health and security of all our citizens against threats both foreign and domestic. The word does not apply to our current situation.

Trump and his caravan of corrupt criminal enablers made no effort, incompetent or otherwise, to faithfully protect all American people from this pandemic. Rather they quite competently treat the threat as an opportunity to tighten their grip on power and further their own agendas. Whether furtherance of the permanent oligarchy being erected under our noses, the elimination of voices of dissent or the assurance of the paper tiger king’s reelection all their efforts and sound bites speak to these goals.

Trump’s actions are premeditated. They are meant to suppress voter turnout through fear, disease or otherwise. Far from incompetent what you see is designed to eradicate political enemies and voter turnout through suppression and fear. Make no mistake. These acts may be described as unpresidential or as a dereliction of constitutional responsibility but they are not the result of inability.

To dismiss poor behavior or sloppy work product as mere incompetence is the easy way out. It prevents a deeper analysis of motive and ill intent and suggests that by simply replacing the person we will improve the result. No larger lessons learned or systemic change need result when the cause of failure is mere incompetence. The quicker we as a nation realize what ails our nation goes beyond mere incompetence the sooner we may be able to heal from this cancerous mass.

Follow the Leader

Trump’s latest abhorrent tweetstorm in which he accuses Adam Schiff of treason, seeks to confront the whistleblower and encourages a second Civil War with cries of Witchhunt and accusations of coups proves once again that he’s unfit to be elementary school President, let alone the so called leader of the free world. If our Comrade in Chief wants to talk about “enemies of the state,” or protect against a clear and present danger I suggest he take a hard look in the mirror.

Analyze those essential attributes that the greatest leaders share. Compare his own actions against past leaders to examine how he stacks up in history. Is Trump destined to be a cautionary tale of how absolute power corrupts absolutely or does he behave and exemplify the behaviors of those champions of freedom? The wisest of kings, leaders and community organizers who acted with singular purpose and are remembered for contributions that advanced human civilization and individual freedoms. Make no mistake. Such leaders share easily identifiable behaviors from which to compare your own leadership style;

They safeguard open communications and transparency. They do not obstruct investigation or silence and threaten whistle blowers and leakers. They protect anonymity by offering hotlines and access to independent arbiters.

They emphasize collaboration and inclusiveness. They do not fear diversity. They embrace it.

They welcome opposition. They do not suppress feedback or dissenting opinions. They listen and learn from them.

They build a shared vision of the future. They do not think perception is reality. They rely on facts, science and logic to shape perception to match reality.

They own their actions. They do not finger point, blame predecessors or deny accountability for their decisions. They understand that once empowered the buck stops with them. Period.

They problem solve. They do not act a prisoner of circumstance or play the victim. They innovate and experiment with new paradigms to limit or remove obstacles.

They prioritize knowing their people. They do not view empathy as a weakness. They know it to be a virtue.

They extend kindness. They do not bully. They nurture.

They encourage teamwork. They do not ostracize, belittle, or build walls. They promote commonalities, break barriers and build bridges.

They lead with hope. They do not rule by negativity and fear. They grow consensus through transparency and communication.

They create opportunity for all. They do not close doors or instill artificial barriers to entry. They rely on objective measures to reward and promote all those who merit consideration.

In the course of history there have been countless examples of leaders who chose to rule otherwise. Who ruled through fear mongering, authoritarian accountability and slogans. Who preyed on the weakness of the disenfranchised to promote their own agenda. Who gave voice to the extremes.

But riddle me this. Has such a leader ever been on the right side of history? Have they ever progressed our collective interests? Brought us closer to that more perfect union our founders dreamed of?

The answer is obvioua

Scared Schiffless

Initiation of an impeachment inquiry is not a political decision. A sitting President has torn the Constitution into shreds and sent the scraps to our immigrant camps so the inhabitants no longer have excuse to complain about the lack of toilet paper and menstrual pads.

Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats must demonstrate to the world that America remains on the side of morality, law and order. They must seize the daily headlines and shine light on all of the crimes and corruption that trickle down from the caravan of greedy oligarchs, religious fundamentalist and white supremacists that comprise the whole of today’s GOP.

The Democrats need to choke the oxygen that feeds this cabal. Take control of the narrative and sensationalize the crap out of an impeachment inquiry. Make it a spectacle each and every day. The purpose is not conviction, heck the majority of the Senate jury, are defendants in the inquiry; architects of the entire coup. The purpose is transparency.

The only way to defeat a bully is to face it head on and let the world see how weak it really is. To strip it of power you must first publicly expose the naked emperor so the world sees its insecurities. Laughs at its own naïveté and moves on to better things

Cognitive Dissonance

The pathway to perdition is caked in the blood of those who thought it could never happen to them, never on their native soil. Those who refused to believe their eyes and ears as the boundaries of civility slowly erode. Those who willfully chose to accept alternative facts and alternative charts rather than deal with the hard realities of life and be forced to confront some unpleasant truths.

Ignore the blatant patterns and lessons of the past at your own risk. History rewards early adaptors. Movies are made about those who risk everything to flee over mountains rather than join up with the rising authoritarian. Statues erected of those who resist in plain sight. Those who smuggle refugees across borders, hide entire families in their crawl spaces. They are the heroes of yore and exemplars of man’s perpetual progress.

The same cannot be said for those who bury their head in the sand. No honors will be awarded to those who appease the madmen in his quest for absolute power and silently benefit from the new power structure being erected to serve the ruling elite. Those everyday citizens who temporarily fall victim to the allure of the golden calf; who normalize the inane, illogical, and inhumane policies of the rising authoritarian, until one day the spell is broken. They wake up to find lifelong friends or coworkers have been rounded up or deported simply because their name showed up in an immigrant database, designated a clear and present danger. By that point it’s too late to resist, too late to play the hero. By then they are relegated to the shadows, to play the roles of the nameless extras that looks glance sympathetically, biding their own time as the horrors around them unfold.