Remember 9/12

“Never forget,”they say. As if anyone who experienced the sights, sounds, stories and unbearable sadness of that day ever could. The horrific events of that mornings are seared in my memory. The indescribable anguish that results from the realization of helplessness; with the knowledge that you are powerless to save and protect those you love and care for, is not easily erased.

While most remember the events of 9/11 what seems to have been forgotten are the lessons of 9/12 and the days that followed thereafter. The days in which regardless of party, race, gender, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or social class, citizens young and old gathered in community centers and town squares to lean on each other for support and comfort. They cast aside petty differences and coalesced around the values that unite us, the freedoms the terrorists attacked that fateful day. Grief and terror do not discriminate and the firsthand tales of tragedy and heroic self sacrifice made that clear to all Americans in those mid-September days.

Americans recognized what the terrorists attacked that day and from coast to coast swore to never let them win, never let extremists change who we are. We understood diversity to be the American identity and that a list of all the great contributions immigrants, minorities and refugees make to this country dwarfs a list of their misdeeds a million times over. We rallied around the American Dream and the great experiment in self government and individual freedom that birthed this nation. Inspired by a desire to prove their efforts futile, within days America, and NYC, was back on her feet determined to continue undeterred in the pursuit of life, liberty, and justice for all.

The words of Lady Liberty having already been disavowed by this caravan of criminals and corrupt enablers who now control this country it is difficult to imagine how much has since changed. Just tonight, on the anniversary of that fateful night, the Supreme Court ruled that immigrants who travel through Mexico may no longer claim asylum in this country. The national security risk outweigh the inherent freedoms granted within our Constitution.

Consider why terrorists wish to do is harm in the first place. Understand that it is because of the very way in which we govern. That is the great threat to the terrorists way of life.

A successful America is what the terrorist fears most. An America where individual freedoms are guaranteed and people are able to speak freely, assemble in opposition and worship as they please. An America where a free and independent press allows no man to escape accountability and all citizens to make informed choices. An America where no man, party, religion or corporation is mightier than the Constitution. Where an intricate system of checks and balances protects the basic inalienable rights of all men, women and child.

America, our ideals, our values, our system of governance is what terrorists seek to destroy. It is also why the illegal alien risks everything to come live within our shores. That this administration seeks to be complicit in the destruction of that system and to do so in the name of national security is shortsighted and dim witted at best.

That they more likely wish to do so in the pursuit of absolute power and enrichment. Well that would be nothing short of treasonous.

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The Birth of the Birther

Donald Trump has had a noose around his neck from the moment he rode down that escalator. The problem is there’s never been a hangman strong enough to pull the rope.

Trump knows what is at stake in the days ahead. Is well aware that if his finances are fully investigated he’s cooked. His family name, his fortune, his legacy, his freedom, perhaps even the same fate met by Jeffrey Epstein. The very things he promised his daddy he’d never let be taken away. That he’d do anything to protect.

You need look no further than his past to understand the depths Deranged Donald would sink to remain relevant. You know the stories of the flamboyant alter egos who served as his own PR men. The nonstop Page 6 antics and over the top personality. The willingness to pay millions to accountants simply to avoid paying even one penny more in taxes than legally required. The lack of philanthropy. The refusal to pay contractors. The slum lording. That was Donald Trump in the good times. Even then he refused to go away or act in the public’s interest.

Consider what he’d do when he actually feared he may lose everything. When after filing a 6th bankruptcy the self proclaimed tycoon found himself broke, over leveraged and with nowhere to turn. A hard luck loser who learned the hard way that the house doesn’t always win. At least not the one’s with the word “Trump” in their title.

To make matters worse Barack Obama had recently been elected and in one of his first acts delivered what must of seemed like a groin kick to any dreams Dear Donald had of making a comeback. You see the passage of Dodd Frank and other regulations made it impossible for Donald to take a loan from any domestic financial institutions. The over leveraged real estate speculator directly in the crosshairs of the legislation.

So with nowhere else to turn what was Donald to do? We know the rest. Enter Deutsche Bank. The direct link to the Russian oligarchs who would go on to direct the ascendancy of Trump’s political career. The art of the deal; the hangman’s rope for the marionette strings. Who cares who controls the strings. You live to see another day. The birth of the Birther complete.

The fight ahead isn’t political, it’s moral.

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.

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 adventure they choose 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 relies on tired stereotypes and strong arm tactics to intimidate and garner support.

His speech comprised of thinly veiled dog whistles that call upon the deplorables of society to rise up in support of a new order. A return to glory days!

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 now employed.

Over time the party faithful and religious flocks will join the cause or face excommunication from the party or congregation. The daily propaganda and bombardment of alternative facts creates the cognitive dissonance necessary for most to ignore the obvious and complicitily obey. The few who continue to resist will be branded race or party traitors to be forever blacklisted and cast out.

As the nationalist movement grows the narcissist’s need for control swells, and he consolidates power. He begins to divide traditional alliances through rumor, false promises and chaos. He discredits opponents with lies, misinformation and alternative facts. He discredits intelligence assessments and attacks traditionally impartial institutions as partisan and biased.

The story progresses as 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. He grows suspicious of his inner circle. Palace intrigue abounds. Et tu Bruté?

As the opposition party grows more nervous and coalesces the motive of the dictatorial villain grows more transparent in motive. The desire for ultimate power drives increasingly brutal and more brazen tactics of suppression;

“Dissent must be suppressed!”, “Fake news media!”, “Foreign enemies abound!”, “Send them back!”, “A caravan of rapists and criminals approach unchecked!”, “The opposition is filled of unhinged radical, socialist, communist, elitist obstructionists!” screams the propaganda machine.

Midway through the story a cataclysmic event occurs. The stuff of nightmares. A society’s worst fears realized. A genuine an indisputable national emergency. Freedoms must be restrained as a new threat rises. Martial law, emergency powers, troop deployment. 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 #FakeNationalEmergency the latest chapter. Surprisingly unlike the traditional midway point this national emergency and subsequent expansion of Executive power was not precipitated by “wag the dog” foreign bloodshed or an act of horrific domestic violence. Putin himself used the 2004 Beslan school siege in which over 1,100 people were held as hostages, and 334 killed to hijack a burgeoning Russian democracy and grow his grip on power. Regardless of means or methods, using the phony crisis at our Southetn border as pretext, Trump seems well on his way to achieving the same result.

There’s another version of this story though. The one written by and 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. A previous unknown who at the most critical of moment reveals herself to be schooled in the ways of the force, a secret slayer, an Amazonian Princess.

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. To coalesce and legitimize the movement. Make the masses feel safe to take to the streets and disrupt the status quo. Demand to be heard!

Either way; the good news is the story always ends the same way. Love, empathy, sacrifice and acceptance win the day. A new hope blooms in the wake of the fall of the dictator. A renewed unity and tolerance take hold of a once fractured people. The villain is unilaterally 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. It’s only a matter of time #Forward

Category 5 Inferno

You can sense the impending explosion. Hear the kindling crackle and feel the intensity of the heat as the embers glow ever brighter. You know this is no ordinary fire. Cognizant that the smart thing to do is take cover. Yet past experience anchors you in place. “You’ve never been burned before so why panic now,” you think to yourself. Besides, you are prepared for an emergency. The fire extinguisher is nearby and other traditional safeguards are in place to prevent catastrophe.

So you ignore your spidey senses and do nothing. You shelter in place and wait, prepared to react to whatever may come next. Oblivious to the fact you may never get that chance.

We’ve had 44 other presidents in this country. Some of whom were not good men. Many were corrupt and power hungry, driven more by greed and blind ambition than a public service ethos. Others had authoritarian tendencies and used the bully pulpit to foster divisions amongst the American citizenry. A few could probably be best described as immoral or maybe even criminal in behavior.

No matter who served in office, however, Americans were able to take comfort in the design of our system of governance. A belief that regardless of character of the man in office the checks and balances were architected to prevent catastrophe. The majority of Americans took for granted our democratic institutions and individual freedoms. Acted immune to permanent harm, like teenagers in our aloofness to known danger. Societal norms may get temporarily burned, but surely the house and those residing inside it will remain unscathed. Of course, we will live to see another day; cast another vote.

Unfortunately past experience does not apply to Donald Trump. The safeguards designed by our founders are ill equipped to protect against such an unconventional threat. Our founders were wise but the American Dream was founded on certain assumptions. Chief among them was that facts exist and “we, the people” would no longer live in a world where equal time had to be given to authoritarians who espouse “alternative facts” that serve their own agenda.

Moreover that delicate system of checks and balances was built on the premise of trust and the belief that collectively those in office will serve the interests of their constituents or be held to account. Anchored on the premise that our government will consist of three separate, but EQUAL, branches of government to mitigate corruption in the other. Dependent upon a free press and an informed electorate that will insist leaders act logically and represent the majority interests.

Those assumptions no longer hold true. The constitutional safeguards no longer exist. It turns out our system of checks were not meant to be passive tools. Like a fire extinguisher there success is dependent on somebody being there to operate them.

We know Donald Trump is petrified of his finances being examined. We know he bankrupted casinos and real estate conglomerates at the height of the economy yet somehow struck gold once the economy tanked. Guilty people who launder billions in Russian money generally know what they’ve done before being charged.

We know Vladimir Putin, a former KGB agent who has never before acted with America’s best interest in mind, went to great lengths and invested precious Russian resources specifically to elect the man who promised to “make America great again!” We know of the public refusal to denounce Putin by name or hold Russia to account for its attempts at interference in our election.

We know the man who mocked his predecessor for doing so, telegraphed forthcoming military operations to our enemy in Syria apparently with ample time for them to prepare! Tweeted out classified surveillance photos and leaked other intelligence to traditional foes. That he is engaged in an unwinnable trade war with China, that he has legitimized the brutal North Korea regime on the world stage and done nothing to stem their nuclear program. That he has alienated and insulted traditional allies at every turn.

Yet, despite all evidence that an unprecedented threat looms, the vast majority of our elected officials continue to play traditional politics. Act content to rely on reactionary safeguards.

This is not about party politics. This has never been about red verse blue. This is about patriotism. This is about the evolution of the American dream. We can no longer stand by passively. Our representatives need to get off their asses and do their intended job. Grab the extinguisher before the flames erupt uncontrollably and the conflagration consumes us all.

Perception and Reality

One may perceive the world differently ut facts, logic, science and statistics do exists. Good leaders understand this. They work to shape public perception to match and align with actual reality. Donald Trump on the other hand is not a good leader. He has made a career shaping perception to match a false reality. First as a talentless self-proclaimed tycoon who bankrupted both real estate conglomerates and casinos at the height of the economy, yet played a master negotiator on “reality” television. Then as a crusading populist whose greatest adversity faced in life was being born with a silver spoon in his mouth to a conspiracy obsessed bigot father who made millions as a slumlord.

Each day the primary focus of this caravan of criminal deplorables and corrupt enablers is to undermine transparency and prevent informed consent. Every tweetstorm, each prevarication, each appearance by Propaganda Hannity, Rudy Giuliani or Kelly Conway meant to further distract from truth of situation. The only way to mask the incompetence, to hide the ill intent, is to conceal it from the masses. 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 the public’s perception of their power.

Informed consent is the constitutional responsibility of the American citizenry. 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 Statue of Liberty disappear David Copperfield once captured the country’s attention when he made the world perceive that he had. Millions clambered for answers and tuned into his special to discover the truth of her whereabouts. Unlike a magician Deranged Donald does not deal in illusion. He has in reality erased Lady Liberty from our nation’s shores and designated her a meaningless relic. Extinguished her torch and muted her words of hope and opportunity. Yet rather than clamor for answers the country continues to chase squirrels.

To quote our Comrade in Chief, “Sad.”

Carpe Diem

Initiation of an impeachment inquiry should not be a political decision. A sitting President has torn the Constitution into shreds. 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 must demonstrate to the world that America remains on the side of morality, law and order. She 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 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 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 #HistoryHasItsEyesOnYou