People Over Party

Resist the urge to take the bait. This isn’t a story about Trump or Clinton. It’s a story about pedophilia and sex trafficking. It’s about the private lifestyle of the rich and powerful and their privileged status that sits above the laws of accountability.

Regardless of last name, regardless of party allegiance, whoever took part in the illicit behavior, helped to cover it up, obstruct the investigation of, or failed to protect key witnesses or preserve evidence in should be held to account.

We are all on the same side here. Let’s demand a full and transparent investigation. In fact, let’s reserve a special place in Guantanamo for the guilty. The national emergency exists within our borders and “we, the people”need to coalesce and unify around our common interests and shared values.

Drown out the divisive voices and cast them back to the corners. If the preponderance of evidence shows that Trump and Clinton are two sides of the same coin, so be it. This isn’t a political fight, it’s a moral one.

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Where were they radicalized?

America has a domestic terrorism problem. We must confront that fact with the same urgency we rightfully demand of Muslim leaders. Whether we like it or not, the threat is similar. We need to take a hard look at what drives each new perpetrator to commit such heinous acts. What motivates these overwhelming number of young, white, males to have such blatant disregard for human life. We need to ask ourselves, “where were they radicalized?”

Behavior matter. This has nothing to do with politics. Look at Donald Trump’s words. Log into twitter and review his timeline of tweets. It is repulsive. You’d be ashamed of your child if that was the method they used to become class President let alone leader of the free world.

When you dehumanize people, treat them as less than human and threaten to “send them back” as if they are defective merchandise. When you use your platform to characterize people who live within our shores as “animals,” as unworthy of the basic inalienable rights bestowed upon all men, you create a culture of indifference. You birth a generation that is losing the ability to empathize. That sees targets and avatars in their crosshairs rather than sons and daughters. You create an expectation of violence and bloodshed. You spit on the vision of our founding fathers and blasphemy the words of our Declaration of Independence. The essential truths set forth therein.

When you draw false equivalents between those who protest for equality and freedom with those who represent hatred and ignorance. Who use tiki torches and strap assault rifles to their bodies to intimidate and snuff out those who seek progress. When you see the good in klansmen, neo-Nazis and white supremacists you give voice to the fringe of society. You enable their message of hate and violence. Allow those who hate for other reasons, who feel excluded, isolated and left out to rationalize their desires.

When you bow to the statues of confederate soldiers, display the hate filled flag on your pick up truck, and conflate the history of the Confederacy with that of the United States you deny the American dream. When you name call, cyberbully, race bait and shame people based on their looks you encourage our kids to do the same. To separate themselves from those they don’t like and humiliate them for it. When a pro- life agenda only includes the unborn, the living become expendable.

We reap what we sow. This is not a problem that can be prayed away. There are no alternative facts. The time for cognitive dissonance, for denial, is past. Save us the hypocrisy of lowering your flags to half mast. In fact, raise them Stars and Stripes high and proud instead. This is America! This is what we’ve come to accept as normal.

This is what we will remain until we elect leaders who understand, who as a nation we were founded to be. Who lead with the knowledge that the American identity exists. That the vast majority of us want the same things. That we share so many more values in common than we do ideas that tear us apart. That there is no “us” or”them”, “red” or “blue.”

From shore to shore America is comprised of Republicans, Democrats and Independents, young and old, Muslim, Christian, Jews, atheists and other, Irish, Italian, Asian, African, European and Native, scientists and clergy, gun enthusiasts and gun control advocates, men and women. We are the great melting pot. That diversity IS the American identity. We can’t change that anymore than a tiger can change its stripes. A list of all the great contributions immigrants and refugees have made to this country would dwarf a list of their misdeeds a million times over.

To solve school violence, immigration, terrorism, or even the opioid epidemic requires we all respect multiple views and ideas. It requires a change in Washington, DC. An understanding that we are a nation built on compromise, trust and acceptance.

Sending Out An S.O.S.

I’m not sure if it’s willful blindness, cowardice or complicitness but Americans, and more importantly our Democratic and opposition leaders need to wake up to a simple fact.

The American system of checks and balances is dead. The constitutional crisis is here.

Newsflash The GOP control the White House, the Senate and the Supreme Court!

You have zero chance of getting answers from the caravan of corrupt criminals and enablers who are already in control and occupy the three most powerful arms of the US government. Perhaps we’ve been too busy paying attention to the distractor in Chief to realize that an entire caste system has been legislated into existence.

More troubling is the entire judiciary has been transformed to enforce the values of white Christian America long past the point demographics would have otherwise allowed. To interpret “we, the people” to include JP Morgan, Halliburton, Monsanto, Bain, Amway and the Koch Brothers; but not JP Hernandez, Halil el Burtun, Juan Santos, LeBain Johnson, Anyone Gay, or the Koch Sisters.

All this time we spend focused on Donald Trump. Countless hours spent reporting on his every outrageous move, sound bite, and tweet. Wake up and smell the coffee! The man himself is not the story. He’s a means to an end, a pawn, a hairy arm to distract you fools. To give you something to talk about. Why on earth do you think nobody in the GOP will hold him to account?!?!.

To date, the McConnell led Senate has confirmed 146 Article III judges nominated by a man who REMAINS an active target of a counterintelligence investigation. This includes 44 judges to the US Court of Appeals and 99 judges to the District Courts, and 2 to Associate Justices to the US Supreme Court.

The majority of these mostly white men will be the ones to determine the limits of Executive Privilege and the House Democrat investigative reach. Do you trust them to stop this bloodless coup?

Rather than face this truth Democrat leaders march on and inspire us to vote Blue in 2020. They choose to take us down the path of traditional checks and balances, blind to the fact an unconventional threat looms. They bellow that our participation in the political process is the last great hope to restore our democracy! To remove the openly corrupt leader from our nation’s highest office and restore common decency!

Meanwhile, Rome burns. This isn’t a political fight. There is no political opposition only a consolidated faction of self interested criminals who seek to control the future of the greatest nation on Earth. To think our participation in the suspect and possibly rigged electoral system which placed the inept and unpopular buffoon into office in the first place is the key to his removal, ridiculous.

Does anyone think the way to remove a corrupt authoritarian from office is to vote him out in a free and fair election that he controls? In the history of the world has a single free and fair election been lost by an incumbent authoritarian in control of that country’s executive branch, and with absolute and penultimate legislative and judicial support behind them as well?

Seeing that Deranged Donald also knows a criminal indictment awaits him upon his return to civilian life and me thinks the Democrats have a better chance of surviving a round of Russian roulette than they do of taking back the White House.

It’s time to get our heads out of our asses and steer this ship away from the iceberg. If our current captains can’t do it than perhaps we need to look beyond the control tower for some help

The Strength of Adversity

My grandpa used to say you only appreciate what you have once it’s gone. As I observe the policies being pushed by our so called President and this merry bannon of deplorables I realize how true that is. My generation grew complacent. We took our freedom for granted, grew cocky. Unlike prior generations ours was never forced to sacrifice for this nation. We sat on the sidelines as others less fortunate served on our behalf, committed to public service. Our best and brightest eschewed politics for the private sector. Unwilling to fight the special interests and ingrained bureaucracy. We neglected our constitutional responsibility. Our roles as citizens of a Democratic Republic. The need to stay engaged. The necessity of informed consent.

As it turns out freedom is hard to sustain if you’ve never known its opposite. This wasn’t always the case. As recently as the 1960s our youth understood how fragile freedom was. The baby boomers and flower children of the counter revolution. The hippies and beatniks who protested American intervention in Vietnam, marched for equal rights and demanded transparency of a corrupt government. They fought, sacrificed and died defending America’s soul. In the end history smiled on them and recognized them as heroes of progress. The students of Kent State, the marchers in Salem, Muhammad Ali being stripped of his championship, MLK, Woodward and Bernstein, Rosa Parks….

These were the patriots who moved our nation forward and progressed us to the point where a Barack Obama could be elected President, see a Hillary Clinton win the popular vote. It was they who allowed the Gen Xers and Millenials of today to fall into the trap of overconfidence. They shielded my generation in the audacity of hope. Insulated us in a bubble filled with dreams of a brighter future for all. A belief and awareness that though far from perfect, we were a free people. Unaware of what its like to live through and with real adversity.

In reality, they turned us soft and cynical. Who can fault them? America was a dream founded on hope and optimism. A continuing quest to form a more perfect union centered on the concept of individual liberty. A land of exceptionalism to serve as a beacon of hope and freedom to the world’s oppressed. Heck “Operation Enduring Freedom” was the landmark conflict of our generation. No surprise we were nose blind to the stench of the emerging kakistocracy.

A new normal is starting to emerge. An unknown adversity beginning to seep over our old routines like an infestation. The daily attacks on a free and independent press. The restrictions on the right of assembly. The merging of church and state and suddenly slippery slope placed on the right to be free from religious persecution. The dismantling of checks and balance. The refusal to perform even routine vetting of the sycophants and “yes (mostly) men” being placed in control of our collective national security. The wag the dog foreign policy, trade wars, and alienation of our traditional allies and refusal to condemn Russia and other hostile actors. The tweetstorms, bullying, false equivalents and continued normalization of hate. The willful blindness and acrobatic feats in cognitive dissonance as our leaders attempt to normalize the inexplicable.

The good news is Americans are waking! Our youth are waking to the dangers this regime poses on the very freedoms they once took for granted. They feel the adversity in their life. The impacts of growing up in constant fear that each day may be your last. That a terrorist attack, a nuclear bomb, a random gunman or maybe even a police officer is always just around the corner.

That fear is driving them to discover what America is truly about. As their friends and loved ones face deportation and harassment they are forced to confront the truth. To understand that we are the great melting pot. That we have a responsibility to take care of one another. To stay informed and engaged. That diversity IS the American identity. We can’t change that anymore than a tiger can change its stripes. A list of all the great contributions immigrants and refugees have made to this country would dwarf a list of their misdeeds a million times over.

This is not to say we will come to appreciate Donald Trump, but when all is said and done we will be stronger because of him. As a nation. As a people. Adversity does that. It builds character and empathy. It challenges preconceived notions and erases ignorance born by privilege and circumstance. It forces you to grow resilient, battle tested, and breathes self-confidence into your bones with the knowledge that you can defeat it. That you will persevere past it. Live beyond it. Reclaim your freedom. Outgrow it.

By definition progress knows but one direction. It’s only a matter of time #Forward

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.

This Is Us

We never learn, we been here before. Why are we always stuck and running from the bullets, the bullets? Just stop your crying it’s a sign of the times. We gotta get away from here. We gotta get away from here. Just stop your crying it’ll be alright.They told me that the end is near. We gotta get away from here” – Harry Styles

The man who my five year old daughter described as having “the most beautiful lips,” perfectly captures Trump’s America.

Stop your crying. Hold your faux thoughts and prayers. Raise those flags back to full mast.

This is us.

So long as we continue to dehumanize minorities, outsiders and those who look different. So long as we characterize them as “rapists,” “shithole countries,” “animals,” “enemies,” and worse,

This is us.

So long as we allow those in power to divide our nation into two camps. Secure a status quo long past the point demographics would allow, to erect a permanent caste system. So long as we are “haves and have nots” and are labeled as an “us”or “them,”

This is us.

So long as the leaders of our nation think it acceptable to bully, threaten, tweet racist dog whistles, and challenge one another to school yard brawls. So long as we elect those who deride a Civil Rights icon on social media but silently accept the endorsement of hatemongers, white supremacists and nationalists,

This is us.

So long as you falsely equate the child in the hoodie, hijab, yarmulke or Che tee with the ones wearing the white hood, cloaked in the sweater vest, draped in the Confederate flag, or adorned with the swastika tattoo. So long as we separate child from parent at our borders,

This is us.

So long as we build walls instead of bridges. Invest in war instead of education and research grants. So long as we celebrate “American exceptionalism” but oppose student loan reform,

This is us.

So long as “we, the people” includes Goldman Sachs, Halliburton, Monsanto and Boeing and not every Trayvon, Fatima, Ellen, Matthew, and Mohammed,

This is us.

So long as we rely on the sources that broke the Bowling Green Massacre, but dub the ones that broke Watergate as “fake news,”

This is us.

So long as we are persuaded by “alternative facts,” slogans, and double speak but tune out science, photographic evidence, and statistics,

This is us.

So long as we buy the empty promises about the wonders of trickle down economics and reject efforts to raise the minimum wage,

This is us.

So long as we profess that Earth and all its things were created by God but deny global warming, pollute our rivers and drill baby drill,

This is us.

So long as we debate whether gun lockers have a greater right to privacy than our daughter’s privates. So long as we lobby that the 2nd Amendment is absolute and unequivocable, but tweet against and act to curtail the 1st and 4th,

This is us.

So long as we offer thoughts and prayers for all of God’s children, but sit nearly silent as antisemitism, Islamaphobia, and hate crimes are committed in her name,

This is us.

So long as we declare “Mission Accomplished” all while knowing it has hardly begun,

This is us.

So long as we’re more offended by the black athlete who uses his celebrity to kneel in silent protest for equality than we are the white Christian billionaire who use his bully pulpit to disparage an immigrant nation,

This is us.

The Many Faces of Donald Trump

Trump knows his audience. He always has. It’s the secret of his success. He understands what motivates his constituents so well that he is able to craft a message that speaks direct to whatever audience is in front of him in that moment. Offer up the deal of your dreams, designed to reward you with whatever it is you most desire, regardless of precedence or existing restraints. Quid pro quos with so many competing factions it takes a full time Consigliere to keep track of it all.

It is important to understand that at heart Trump is a casino man. He preys on the desperate. He knows that for the right price anything is negotiable and for the man who holds no core beliefs or morals there’s never been a price he isn’t willing to pay if it will advance his own self interests.

It’s actually fairly easy for a talented conman to rise to power. The difficult part is remaining there. To do that you need to make those various factions that promised support in exchange for influence that you will deliver. That they can trust you to continue to deliver on their behalf. So long as you do that, serve your purpose and advance all agendas, you can murder a man on Fifth Avenue in plain daylight and your so called base will continue to turn a blind eye. Once the naked emperor slips up though and loses the trust of any one bloc the entire pyramid quickly begins to crumble. Et tu Brute?

As a reality television star Trump is well aware of this. He knows the key to retain that trust is to continue to talk to every faction as individuals. Make them know he still cares about them. Is there to advance “their” agenda.

Pay attention. Each time he appears before the camera he plays a different character, a different instance of a GOP President. Each tweet or speech written by a schizophrenic clone of the same id. Let’s go through but a few of them.

There’s Evangelical Trump ready to shepherd the righteous to the Rapture they foolishly seek. He’s the anti-Muslim best friend of Netanyahu who fights for family values, Jerusalem and God in absolute ways. You’ll often find Preacher Pence staring doe eyed at this Trump.

There’s Military Hawk Trump who is interested to see what will happen with Rocket Man, stands for the National Anthem, and has a keen understanding that Cold Wars and calls for faux patriotism are great for recruitment and military budgets.

There’s Establishment Trump who awkwardly poses alongside McConnell and Ryan and promises to advance whatever legislation will secure the status quo of white Christian male dominance far beyond demographics would otherwise allow. Abolish regulations with the stroke of a pen as Executive Order after Executive Order is placed in front of him to be signed unread. Ambassadorships and plush Cabinet posts are often reserved for these folk.

There’s Comrade Trump who is more of a mute unless it concerns impending military operations. Unable to say anything negative about his PuppetMaster Putin. Alienating traditional allies at every turn and advancing Putin’s agenda in the Ukraine and throughout the European arena. A frequent tweeter, he screams WITCH HUNT and no collusion. He also places known foreign agents in charge of our national security.

There’s Tea Party Trump who you’ll frequently see at rallies. It seems to me like this character is often on coke as he sniffles a lot and tends to go off script more than the other characters. He’s Mr Anti-Establishment, but only to a degree. He often talks tough but backs down if a deal can be made – the no DACA, no treaties, no trade deals initial stance that he secretly negotiates against.

Finally there’s Deplorable Trump. The most dangerous and controversial of all the characters he plays a critical role. Though not as large as some of the other blocs they are disproportionately influential and necessary to hold the other groups together. A twisted mutation of Tea Party Trump, Deplorable Trump is the one who delivers the dog whistles and codes to what heretofore was an unrepresented fringe group. This is the Trump that promotes deep state conspiracy theory and casually dehumanizes entire minorities, religions, and countries. He builds walls not to stem illegal immigration but to protect us from Mexican rapists and drug dealers. He disparages shit hole countries and falsely equates klansmen, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists to protestors who seek peace and justice for all people. He wages war on a free and independent press, judiciary, or any attempt at checks and balances. He blatantly rewards loyalty and encourages corruption. God bless the Kakistocracy.

Whenever the noose tightens around Trump’s neck this is the character we see respond. It’s no coincidence Trump’s Charlottesville remarks happened days after the Manafort raid. This is the very constituency he counts on to keep him in office. The ones who troll our posts and claim to “own” us. Who challenge the liberal elites to just try to impeach their leader, silence their voice. They carry the tiki torches, display their Confederate flags, and no longer even try to cloak their appearance behind the white hoods of their ancestors. They threaten to “crush” anyone who disrespects THEIR President and are armed with military grade artillery.

Deplorable Trump knows this. He depends on them keeping their word. Relies on them to keep the other Republican blocs in line through threats and intimidation. He uses them to dig up compromising information on friends and foe alike to use to his advantage. He invites and encourages them by referring to his opposition as “animals,” “enemy of the people,” and “unAmerican.” Terms meant to dehumanize and promote the cognitive dissonance that will allow a fanatical following to justify future acts of horrific violence.

Even the most domesticated of animals grow dangerously unpredictable when they sense the end is near. Desperate Donald is one character we should all fear. Let’s not sit back and wait for his appearance