Perception and Reality

I once had a boss who was very fond of the phrase “perception is reality.” 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 it’s true that 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.

A transcendent leader, one interested in building consensus and committed to the common good, understands the dangers of false perception. They work tirelessly, oftentimes over communicating with their “constituents” to shape perception to match reality.

Unfortunately, perception is no less important to a leader of ill intent. One who seeks to act only in his own self interest but is nonetheless dependent on the support of the masses to advance his/her agenda. They too work tirelessly to shape perception, only in their case success depends on perception matching a false reality. One that will justify their action and prevent ultimate accountability. One that manipulates others to act against their own self interests.

Our Comrade in Chief and his merry bannon of deplorables have made a career shaping perception to match a false reality. Led by the talentless tycoon turned “reality” show President who bankrupted both real estate conglomerates and casinos at the height of the economy and whose greatest accomplishment is being born into privilege this White House continuously tries to undermine transparency and prevent informed consent. They know the only way to mask incompetence and to hide ill intent, is to mask it. To use misdirection, doublespeak, sleight of hand, technology and sound bites to distract and manipulate the way the brain processes information. Their very hold on power dependent on this perception.

Informed consent is the constitutional responsibility of the American citizenry. Whether dealing with issues of sensible gun control, impacts of climate change, or treason it is our job to push past the sound bites, propaganda and words of those entrusted to represent our interests and find out the truth of the situation. To expose the illusionist and ruin the trick.

Though he didn’t really make the Statute of Liberty disappear David Copperfield once captured the country’s attention when he made the world perceive that he had. Millions clambered for answers wanting to know the truth. Donald Trump on the other hand has in reality rendered Lady Liberty’s words “moot” yet the country continues to chase kneeling squirrels. To quote Twitler, “Sad.”

What If….

Two simple words that comprise one of the most powerful phrases in the English language. Once the psyche enters a “what if” wormhole it may be lost for hours, occupied in an endless maze of regrets and gratitudes. What if I had been there…What if i hadn’t quit…What if those chads didn’t hang…What if she had said yes…What if I spoke up…

The one thing I learned in Hebrew School was “never forget,” and I haven’t. We know what happens when a citizenry turns a blind eye to the everyday horrors unfolding around them. When a deluge of carefully orchestrated propaganda, false equivalents, sound bites and alternative facts enable a fearful and threatened demographic to perform acrobatic feats of cognitive dissonance to normalize, what in other times would be considered irrational actions. I will not suffer that fate. There is too much to lose. The only way to preserve the dreams of the future is to heed the lessons of the past.

Donald Trump is far from an original. The recent past alone provides a litany of would be authoritarians who proved capable of hijacking democratic institutions to slowly consolidate power. That Trump is the first to so blatantly do so from the Oval Office hardly makes him unique in his technique.

He seeks to divide the citizens of this country along racial, socioeconomic and political lines in order to deflect from his own scandals and advance the agenda and interests of a select few. He uses his bully pulpit to marginalize, belittle, conflate, delegitimize and, if necessary, squash dissent and opposition. Doing so allows him to continue presenting alternative facts, only now without the alternatives. Lies then become truth, and perception reality.

Though his tactics are tried and true the danger posed is no less real. Donald Trump and his merry bannon of deplorables pose a clear and present danger to the experiment in individual freedoms our founding fathers set in motion generations ago. He makes no secret of his intent; his desire to deconstruct and eliminate outdated democratic institutions. He seeks to rip the very fabric of America’s soul from its identity, to dim the light that serves as a beacon of hope and freedom to the poor, disenfranchised and oppressed who suffer across the globe.

The right to a free and independent press, the right of assembly, the right to be free from religious persecution, the necessity of checks and balances with three equal, though often inept, branches of government. These essential ideals are all under attack. The yuge majority of Americans realize that we are the great melting pot. That diversity IS the American identity and what has always made us great. 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. Yet that is what appears to be at stake.

To those who continue to support our so called President, understand this. All you are doing is identifying yourself as a dinosaur. Painting a scarlet letter on your sleeve that your way of thinking and very belief system will soon be relegated to the history books. Think carefully about your next move.

The pathway to perdition is paved in ignorance. Do not suffer that fate. Do not remain passive. Future generations need not wonder where you stood when our leaders decided to play Russian roulette with our democracy. Do not be left to wonder what if…

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.

We Reap What We Sow

It’s easy to toss labels and dismiss our so called President as a hate filled racist. To blame him for the obvious divide that exists in our country. To point to the recent spate of mass murders as evidence of Trump’s poisonous effect on our society. The truth isn’t that simple though. To truly heal as a nation America is going to have to realize that Trump isn’t the cause of America’s ills, he’s the result.

‪The embodiment of the 21st century American dream. A child of the 1% with no discernible talents, skills or virtues beyond that of self promotion. A self aggrandizing narcissist with an unhealthy obsession for celebrity and fame‬.

More than the violence portrayed in video games and entertainment over the past generation what America has truly placed value on is fame and celebrity, at any cost. Time and again greed and avarice has been rewarded with magazine covers and reality tv shows.

Talentless hacks have launched fashion, music, reality tv, and pop culture empires with no qualifications beyond a well timed sex tape, teen pregnancy, failed audition, sound bite or in some cases drunken debauchery. Amoral executives celebrated for the ungodly sums of money they have amassed as their workers struggle pay check to check anxious in the knowledge they are one unforeseen expense away from ruin.

Billionaires who boast about paying a lower tax rate than the chauffeurs who drive them around town. Who unironically cite their ability to artificially manipulate the free market as proof of their economic genius and capitalist ability. Corrupt politicians who lack all empathy and who care more for the unborn than the living. Who sell their influence to the highest lobbyist and unabashedly serves the party over we, the people.

More than the problem Donald Trump is a symptom of what plagues America. Our so called President stands for nothing and cares only for power, fame and money. He is driven by ratings and vengeance, and looks only for the next score to settle, a deal to win. All he knows is how to marginalize, belittle, conflate, de-legitimize and, when necessary, squash dissent and opposition. Doing so allows him to continue presenting alternative facts, only now without the alternatives. Lies then become truth, and perception reality

It’s a Matter of Trust

The oncoming conflict was so obvious. Heck the most notorious American conman alive was the opposition. Did anyone with even half a brain really believe he was there to save America.

It’s truly laughable! We knew he was a pawn…the overwhelming majority of us. A man so repugnant that his own reflection screams back “ImPeach.” Some of us chose to turn a blind eyes for selfish reasons, others out of fear they’d be labeled an alarmist, but we knew he had the stench of caviar and old fashioned American whiskey all over him…a pawn for the rich and putinful.

Even Obama…chose to put his faith in our institutions…The dreams of his ancestors and the audacity of hope…til the end. We would have listened to him. The majority, the military, all of us had he taken a stand. Had he taken that microphone on January 20th, and passed on to the nation what the FBI had told him…how the Russians had interfered in our elections…attacked our most fundamental institution…an act of war.

We would have listened had he appointed an independent commission. Had he given them 90 days to confirm one question and one question only…had he conditioned the peaceful turnover of power on that one condition and that one condition only…

One question…ninety days.

Was Donald Trump fairly elected by and if he were to assume office would he be working for the American people.

In the interest of national security we would have listened. Ignored the rantings and protestations that would have followed. It would not have been easy, but we would have listened.

I honestly believe Obama considered it. It was his constitutional duty to protect our security interests until his very last day in office. McConnell and the GOP efforts to strip him of that power a year early notwithstanding. The fact is Obama allowed a known and imminent threat to slither into the most powerful office in the world.

Perhaps it was our fault, the majority of like minded Americans who hold the ideals of this nation so sacred. Perhaps it was our responsibility to push this great experiment in individual freedoms forward. Perhaps Obama would have fought harder had it not all been so difficult for him. From his first day on the job McConnell made clear that his number one priority was to obstruct the agenda of the most progressive candidate in our nation’s history. Think about the insanity of that!

Worse “we, the people” stood by in near silence as the GOP did just that. In February 2016 McConnell took it one step further and unilaterally declared a “3/4 Compromise” whereby duly elected African American Presidents will only get to fulfill the constitutionally enumerated duties of the Executive office for 3/4 of the term to which they were freely elected!

For some reason, still unexplained to me so I’ll just assume cowardice and corruption, this sounded like a good idea to the other Democrats in the Senate. No mass protests followed when the Senate announced they refused to even consider Garland’s nomination to the Court. What little outrage there was was quickly muffled by the outrageous headlines, tweets and sound bites being generated by the emerging candidacy of Mr. Birther himself. Impeccable timing maestro.

Who could blame Obama really if he grew disheartened, if he had enough. His loyal constituents and party backers abandoned him to stare at a clown show at the time he needed them most. So he chose to go high, as everyone else around him looked low, distracted by the shiny object, the hairy arm. Perhaps that explains why rather than put his trust in his constituents and political allies, the most respected man in the world put his faith in hope.

There’s still a chance he is right. That we avoid the worst of this.

It’s not the institutions that will save us though. As nice as it is to see the lowest branch of Congress flex it’s oversight muscle the truth is they hold absolutely no ability to hold this caravan of the corrupt to account. Try as they may I’ve seen this story enough times to realize that the legislative branch is no longer a separate and equal branch.

The same is now true of what once was our independent judiciary. As of today, our 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, 99 judges to the District Courts, and 2 Associate Justices to the Supreme Court. Nearly a quarter of the jurors who will ultimately determine the limits of Executive Privilege were hand selected by the Defendant himself. It still boggles my mind that our defenders of the constitution allowed such a blatant coup to take place.

Our system of checks and balances has failed. The constitutional crisis is here.

We all know of the historic turnover and corruption that has taken place at the highest levels of this administration. We know of at least 30 examples of high level advisors receiving security clearances despite the recommendations of our intelligence agencies. We know of the advisory ethic opinions that have been ignored and disregarded. Forget extreme vetting, there isn’t even routine vetting of these protectors of our freedom.

Our Comrade in Chief finds safety and job security in the chaos he stokes. He uses it to his advantage to distract from the caste system being legislated in the wake of his tweetstorm. Security will not be found in a far off election. We must act now and stop turning a blind eye to the damage being done today. Take to the streets in a sustained peaceful protest and make clear that we are the majority.

To move forward the dreams of our ancestors we must demand answers. Take comfort in the audacity of hope and hold those who wish to trample on our ideals to account. The spirit of the American people has been a beacon of hope and freedom throughout the world for over two centuries. Our diversity our greatest strength, the backbone of our success.

Remember, it’s as Billy Joel sings “The good old days weren’t always good. Tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems.” Resist the urge to look back, trust in progress, for it is never ending and infinite #HistoryHasItsEyesOnYou #RiseUp #Resist #NeverForget

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