Resist, Protest, Persist.

Step 1:  Bust up the unions to eliminate collective bargaining ability.

Step 2:  Implement ironically named “Right to Work” laws that allow employers to fire any employee at any time for any reason without having to prove cause.

Step 3:  Eliminate requirements for vacation/sick leave benefits after allowing businesses to fire people for needing a day off.

Step 4:  Put as many people as possible into non-standard work schedules so they can’t predict from one week to the next when their shifts will be.

Step 5:  Tie health care to employment so people are afraid that if they lose they’re current job they’ll lose their family health care.

The order of the steps is irrelevant, once completed, not only have you made it difficult for many people to be able to get to an open voting center, but you’ve eliminated their ability to be able to coordinate protest and resist injustice without fear of completely losing their ability to provide care for their families.

People all over the world are asking why Americans are not in the street every day right now protesting what is happening in our Congressional Halls, White House, and Federal and Supreme Courts.

This is the answer.

In addition is the fact that far too many of us are allowing ourselves to have what protest efforts we can manage divided. Some people fight for Black Rights, others fight for Women’s Rights, others are fighting Immigration injustices, some fighting the attacks on the press, others fighting environmentally destructive policies, yet others are fighting against voter suppression efforts, and on and on…. that we’re not coming together to deal with the underlying causation of all of them.

No matter what issue is raised about this president it all boils down simply.

We need to remember that we are fighting against a small group of kleptocrats put in power by an adversarial government with the purposes of dismantling America’s democracy and its international influence, and they are using willful ignorance, racism, misogyny, religious bigotry, and divisive partisan politics to accomplish it.

When viewed in that light, every single thing he has done, and everything others are doing to defend him, makes perfect sense.

And THAT is what all of us need to be protesting.

As many of us as possible, every moment of every day.

We need to protest at the ballots.

We need to protest in the streets.

We need to protest online.

And we need to never give up.

It isn’t just your rights, freedoms, safety, and future you are fighting for. It’s everyone’s. It’s your kid’s. It’s your kid’s kid’s. Whether they understand it or not it is even that of those that voted for and still defend him after all that he’s already done.

Please Pay Attention

Immediately after Donald Trump announced that the U.S. would withdraw its military troops from Syria, another chemical attack occurred in within the country.

 

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A picture said to show victims of the attack in a building in Douma. Credit Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets, via Associated Press

 

In response, Israeli fighters used Lebanese airspace to launch missiles at an Iranian base in Russian and Turkish supported Syria, using the chemical attacks on Syrian citizens as their justification.

All while a blustering United States President –with no understanding of diplomacy or conflict resolution — refuses to stand against Russia or Syria in any substantive way because he hero worships the leaders of Russia and Turkey.

Meanwhile, that same United States President is engaged in a trade war with China undermining any incentive for them to help with North Korean negotiations.

At the same time he’s escalating a border conflict with Mexico.

Then there is the domestic front, where The United States President’s Administration is inciting racial and religious discord, sowing distrust in the free press, dismantling our educational systems as well as our environmental and civil rights protections for personal gain, using his office to attack a business rival (who wouldn’t be a rival if the President had properly divested from his businesses when elected), and tanking the stock market with ill-thought social media commentary.

All this happens as the president is facing impeachment, civil, and criminal legal issues ranging from violations of Federal Elections Commissions regulations during his campaign, to conspiracy against the United States in the election, to obstruction of justice and abuse of power, to sexual harassment, to witness tampering.

If you don’t see where all this combined international and domestic designed incompetence and conflict is headed, you really need to start paying better attention.

Leadership 101

To be a great leader, you do not need to be able to do everything or even know everything. But you do need to know enough about yourself to recognize your strengths, admit your weaknesses, and both understand and acknowledge what you do not know.

If you are capable of that you can assemble a team that compensates for your weaknesses and compliments your strengths.

Unfortunately if you are not capable of that, such a team won’t put up with your inability to lead competently; good people will quit, while the best will never accept the job with you. Then the only people you’ll be left with, that are willing to work for you, are a team of people who either can’t get other work elsewhere or are willing to be sycophants feeding your ego enough to convince you that you’re a good leader while everything around you falls to pieces.

The Republican president is not a good leader, because he thinks he knows more than everyone else, he thinks he can do every job better than every one else. And as this synopsis of a single day of his presidency shows, he is completely and utterly wrong about both of those things. He is also incapable of admitting a mistake, and more importantly incapable of learning from it.

He has already assembled his team of incompetent sycophants, and we’re all watching everything around him fall to pieces. The only one that doesn’t see it — including his supporters — is he, himself. His narcissistic delusions of grandeur shield him from any version of truth and reality.

“Wag The Dog.”

“Ivanka is a mother of three kids and she has influence,” the President’s son, Eric, told Britain’s Daily Telegraph. “I’m sure she said ‘listen, this is horrible stuff.’ My father will act in times like that.”

 

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But let’s set aside the fact that the Republican President’s own son claims his father can be provoked into committing acts of war without Congressional consent by emotional appeals from Ivanka — that could make a very lengthy essay report of its own — because there is still much to be concerned about.

“Why does a dog wag its tail?

Because a dog is smarter than its tail. If the tail was smarter, the tail would wag the dog.”

Interpretations differ as to the meaning of this metaphor.

Some suggest the dog is public opinion, and the tail represents the media; the dog is the media, and the tail is political campaigns; or the dog is the people, and the tail is the government.

Moreover, the expression “the tail wagging the dog” refers to any case where something of greater significance is driven by something lesser.

This concept was explored in Larry Beinhart‘s novel American Hero, which inspired the 1997 movie “Wag The Dog.”

Wikipedia lists the plot of the movie as:

The President of the United States is caught making advances on an underage “Firefly Girl” less than two weeks before Election Day. Conrad Brean (De Niro), a top-notch spin doctor, is brought in to take the public’s attention away from the scandal. He decides to construct a diversionary war with Albania, hoping the media will concentrate on this instead. Brean contacts Hollywood producer Stanley Motss (Hoffman) to create the war, complete with a theme song and fake film footage of a photogenic orphan (Kirsten Dunst) in Albania.

 

When the CIA learns of the plot, they send Agent Young (Macy) to confront Brean who convinces him that revealing the deception is against his best interests. The CIA announces that the war has ended, but otherwise maintains the deception and the media begins to turn back to the President’s abuse scandal. Motss decides to invent a hero who was left behind enemy lines, and inspired by the idea that he was “discarded like an old shoe” has the Pentagon provide him with a soldier named Schumann (Harrelson) around whom he constructs a further narrative including T-shirts, additional patriotic songs, and faux-grassroots demonstrations of patriotism. At each stage of the plan, Motss continually dismisses setbacks as “nothing” and compares them to past movie-making catastrophes he averted.

 

When the team goes to retrieve Schumann, they discover he is in fact a criminally insane Army prison convict before their plane crashes en route to Andrews Air Force Base. The team survives and is rescued by a farmer, but Schumann attempts to rape the farmer’s daughter and the farmer kills him. Motss then stages an elaborate military funeral, claiming that Schumann died from wounds sustained during his rescue.

 

While watching a political talk show Motss gets frustrated that the media are crediting the president’s win to a tired campaign slogan of “Don’t change horses in mid-stream” rather than Motss’s hard work. Despite previously claiming he was inspired by the challenge, Motss announces that he wants credit and will reveal his involvement, despite Brean’s warning that he is “playing with his life”. Motss refuses to back down, so Brean reluctantly has him killed and makes it look as if he had a heart attack. The president is successfully re-elected and a news report about a violent incident in Albania is shown, but it is ambiguous whether this is a true event or simply a continuation of the fictional war.

According to Eric Trump, this response undermined “ridiculous” allegations of links between the Republican president’s campaign staffers and Russian officials, which the FBI and Congress are investigating.

“If there was anything that Syria did, it was to validate the fact that there is no Russia tie,” he said.

And that is exactly the point.

They did this to divert us all from their collusion.

Putin needs a war to rescue the failing Russian economy and deflect his domestic rivals from his mismanagement.   Trump needs a war to prove to himself that he’s as tough as he says he is, and to distract his domestic rivals from his own treasonous collusion with Russia.

Both achieve their needs by going to war with each other in a “visually important” manner, in a nation that neither cares about any collateral damage at all.

As The Telegraph reports:

Russia knew in advance that Syria was planning a chemical weapons attack on its own people but did nothing to prevent it, the US has concluded.

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Not only did Russia do nothing to prevent it; but,

A senior US official told AP that Washington had analysed reports of a drone flying over the site, and determined that the drone was operated by the Russians.

 

The drone went up immediately after the April 4 sarin gas attack, and begun hovering over a local hospital as victims began pouring in.  Five hours after the sarin attack, the camera switched off and a Russian-made aircraft struck the hospital. The two military officials said that it was unclear whether the aircraft were Russian or Syrian as the Syrians buy Russian-made aircraft.

 

US officials believe the jet bombed the hospital in an attempt to cover up the usage of chemical weapons.

With even supposedly liberal and/or progressive newscasters calling the action “presidential,” we easily run the risk of being played into a sense of complacency by Putin and Trump as they escalate a war both want to save their combined political power, throwing away as many lives as necessary in the process.

Imagine if you will…

“There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.  The place is here, the time is now, and the journey we are about to watch could be our journey.”

Imagine if you will a real-estate developer who is a poor business manager and leader but is; however, a gifted salesman who has amassed a fortune leasing out the use of his name to other business ventures.   More recently he has reality television star, a role he has embraced with such vigor he has begun to lose sight of his true identity and see himself as the larger-than-life celebrity character he portrays on his show.

We join him shortly after returning to the United States from presenting a beauty pageant in Russia; a visit in which he was recorded by agents of the government engaged in non-traditional acts of sex with multiple prostitutes.   These agents used the recording to black mail him into using his celebrity, fame and wealth to obtain the office of the President of the United States, while beholden to them.

To further indebt him they invested heavily into his personal business ventures over the next few years.

He doesn’t; however, want to be President.   That position is held accountable to far too many people for his taste, and under far too much public scrutiny for him to maintain the persona he wants to maintain in the public eye.

So, intent on being able to prove he tried, but also intent on losing, he declares his candidacy during the primary election season in the party contrary to that persona and runs a campaign bereft of policy but full of arrogant belligerence, smug condescension, overt racism, religious intolerance, calls for war crimes, blatant misogyny and Nationalist Isolationism.

To damage his chances further, he insults every possible grouping and classification of people based on race, religion, gender, nation of origin, income level, and profession.   He even insults his own followers claiming from the campaign podium that he loves the people that are too stupid to see the obvious problems with him as President and willing to vote for and support him even if he committed murder in a crowded street in broad daylight.

To his great surprise and dismay, they prove him correct, and he wins that primary election against much more qualified and experienced conservative candidates after being embraced by previously closeted White Nationalists and Neo-Nazis.

Finding himself entrenched in a general election campaign that he might actually win, after all, he begins to coordinate leaks of damaging information to undermine his own candidacy without appearing to be at fault so he can continue to claim to the Russian blackmailers and money lenders that he really did try.

They leak never-before seen recordings of him admitting to a history of workplace sexual assault.  Then defends it as “harmless locker-room banter.”   His supporters see this as far less offensive than shooting someone in the street and rally to his defense, further normalizing sexual assault and rape culture in the process.

He gets more aggressive with the hate speech rhetoric, and they love it and repeat it.

When all else fails, he has his staff begin to covertly leak “unsubstantiated” clues to the details of his monetary ties to Russia as if they had been uncovered through investigative reporting.  Unbelievably, his supporters embrace his contacts with the nation’s historic enemy and applaud these actions or dismiss it completely as “fake news.”

To everyone’s great shock and dismay, including his, he wins the general election as well, despite losing the popular vote due to the racial history and foundation of the Electoral College.

With little time left to find a way out, he has his staff begin leaking more details about his ties to Russia.  But to be sure, he begins to a list of appointees to his cabinet of known racists, religious zealots, Neo-Nazi supporters and war-mongers.

Intent on damaging his own credibility as much, and as quickly, as possible, he begins to appoint government division Secretaries that are the worst possible candidates for each department, with a history of not wanting to reform the department they will run but discredit and abolish it.   He even appoints several people from the same financial organization he derided his general election opponent for being associated with at all.

Even this proves ultimately unsuccessful; so, in a last great act of defiance, he and his staff secretly leak the details of what the blackmail is about, without leaking the actual proof of the blackmail so they can continue to deny it officially.

But he still hasn’t resorted to shooting someone in the street, and even if he did, it appears he was correct.   His supporters wouldn’t even leave him for that criminal offense.

Meet Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States.

twilight-zone

“It couldn’t happen,” you say?  Probably not in most places, but it did happen in the Twilight Zone.