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

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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.”

Are we there yet?

The man entrusted to safeguard our nation from enemies abroad and domestic hired an active foreign agent to head his National Security Agency, a Ukrainian lobbyist who embezzles funds and is a financial felon as Campaign Manager to run his election campaign, a bumbling two-bit crook to serve as his Personal Fixer, and an “highly unstable nut job” to serve as his Communications Director.

Tell me again why our leaders are waiting to impeach?

Leadership Matters

To truly make America great again, we will need to elect leaders who work for the people they represent. Leaders from across the spectrum that will not always share the lockstep conclusions of their political peers but will share in certain attributes.

Leaders who won’t take positions for convenience or to pander to their base, but because they are passionate about their beliefs and practice what they preach.

Leaders who emphasize collaboration and inclusiveness. The ones who do not fear diversity, but embrace it.

Leaders who welcome opposition. The ones who hold town halls and do not suppress feedback or dissenting opinions, but listen and learn from them.

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

Leaders who 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.

Leaders who problem solve. The ones who do not act a prisoner of circumstance or play the victim, but innovate and experiment with new paradigms to limit or remove walls and obstacles.

Leaders who prioritize knowing their people, who serve their constituents . They do not view empathy as a weakness. They know it to be a virtue.

Leaders who extend kindness, who takes the high road when the other goes low. The ones who do not bully, but nurture.

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

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

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

Leaders who safeguard open communications, and rights to privacy. They do not silence and threaten whistle blowers and leakers. They protect anonymity by offering hotlines and access to independent arbiters.

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, I hope, is obvious.

First They Came

First they came for the illegal immigrants but I came here legally so did not speak up.

Then they came for the Muslims but I have a family to protect so did not speak up.

Then they came for the gangs but I’m worried about crime so did not speak up.

Then they came for the gays and transgender but we all know how strange they are and that Jesus hates the gay.

Then they came for the Jews. Because they always come for the Jews.

The GOP has a demographic problem. They may seem like they have a foothold on power today but make no mistake. What you see going on is a battle for their very survival. Their days are numbered unless they act now and McConnell, Pence and the rest of this caravan of criminals and corrupt enablers know it.

This is not opinion. This is statistically factual. Within 30 years the vast majority of the GOP base, white Christian males and their subservient spouses, will make up a minority of our electorate. Surpassed by members of the very groups targeted above. Not coincidentally, groups outside of that very demographic.

This is a threat to the very privilege they’ve enjoyed for 250 years. They fear that change and will do anything to prevent it. Apartheid by gerrymandering and voter suppression will prolong the status quo but can’t secure it. To do that requires more permanent measures or means of elimination.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you

The Constitutional Candidate

“We, the people,” need an opposition party and the Democrats continue to function as a political party. They respond to situations through traditional political means, rely on procedural checks and balances to carry the day. Rather than push through nominations and legislative agenda party leaders respect the process. Trust in free and transparent future elections, legislative rules, and the motives that those who engage in public service do so to act on the public’s best interests and in accordance with opinion polls and the desires of local constituents.

From the very first hanging chad Republican leaders employed a different strategy. Far more proactive Republicans push nominations, agenda, political investigations, Justices and even Presidents through and then seek permission after they seize power. They get ahead of all narratives prior to results so that they control public perception. This tactic became even more brazen following Romney’s loss in 2012. The realization that the public had fully rejected the Republican ideology of trickle down economics built on a military industrial complex. Desperate times call for desperate measures and the rich, white, Christian aristocracy that had been in control of America for generations wasn’t about to step aside because demographics and social progress demanded it so.

Americans don’t need to nominate a candidate for President through a Democratic convention. Donald Trump knows a criminal indictment awaits his return to civilian life. The office of Presidency his only shield from prison. He is never going to be defeated through the political process. A “Democrat” will never coalesce enough support to overwhelmingly drive our Mad King from his throne.

Americans need to discover an opposition leader from a Constitutional Convention of sorts. We need to find a leader from within. Somebody who will stand up and unite the great majority of Americans under one umbrella. Common sense gun control, mental health awareness, affordable health care for all, the right to a safe and available abortion, LBGTQ+ equality, affordable education, controlled borders, fiscal restraint, a strong military and modern defense capabilities…there may be political differences as to the degree and controls afforded these rights but the overwhelming majority of us agree that these rights reflect the values of America.

The majority also take pride in our immigrant heritage and standing in the world as the land of hope and opportunity to all. We do not believe it to be a zero-sum equation that you either have open borders or walls and closed borders. That you either merit entrance or have no value to our society.

There is no two party system in America. Republicans no longer represent political positions. They are a fringe party that has coalesced fringe issues into a single party. The only way to counter that is to do the same. To find a leader that will advocate for America, our common beliefs, our values, the rights enumerated under the Constitution. The job of President is not political, it is moral. We need someone who understands this and has the courage to defend America’s morals and values regardless of what party, or candidate it may offend.

That is that the only path forward at this point. Cast politics aside and coalesce around the moral majority. There are more of us than there are them. We can still stop this thing and restore our democracy. Perhaps Mark Cuban can lead the search and preliminary interviews. Narrow down the field and produce a reality show called “The Constitutional Candidate.” #HistoryHasItsEyesOnYou