So You’ve Elected a Criminal as President…

When a top athlete or sports team is caught cheating the punishment is mighty. Olympic medals are stripped and given to the next person in line. Tours de France are forfeited. Basketball teams are banned from post season play. In the sports world, unfair competition is punished. Fines are levied and accomplishments are invalidated. This is how we insure sport is kept honest.

One of the growing problems in politics today is the increase in team based fervor. Also, treason. But I’ll come back to that. The 2016 election was the culmination of the belief in the electorate, “my party/team can do no wrong.” Or more accurately, “my team may have problems but they’re nothing compared to the devastation the other side will bring upon the country. As such, my duty is to vote against them no matter what.”

In some part the problem is a bipartisan one, but I hope I am not shocking anyone to say it is a predominately Republican one. To be honest, the Democrats face the opposite problem where a failure to pass a purity test means an abandonment by the voters. The Republicans faced something similar with the Tea Party movement but that populist wave won out in the end.

The far Right-wing was successful in purging moderate control from the GOP as a whole.

What are the consequences of such extremism? The Trump administration is answering this question front and center. The result is America installed a criminal as its head of state. I could post a bunch of links about Trump’s blatant criminal behavior but I’m not here to do your homework for you. Take a quick Google surf and you’ll find enough evidence.

Yet, if my statement is so cut and dry as I want to make it seem, why is Trump still in office?

Here is where the team mentality comes back into play. The GOP made a mistake. They elected a crude and vile individual who never wanted anything from the Presidency other than self-enrichment. He was blatant about it. Everything Trump has done since he took office was telegraphed in plain language during the campaign. People still voted for him though.

The question is why?

For one thing, he cheated. The time to stop being coy is now. I understand that people with real power need to moderate their message. Game of Thrones isn’t only some make believe world where dragons take forever to become important. The rules of power are true in Westeros as well as Washington. The most important being, you don’t strike at the king unless you are certain you will win.

I forgive the Democrats in Congress for not pressing harder against Trump the would-be tyrant. Should they fail he would be invincible. But we all know he’s guilty. It’s now a matter of uncovering the proof. The evidence is out there. I don’t doubt it for a second.

I also have no qualms about calling Trump a criminal. Because he is.

The team mentality is what protects him. There isn’t a single Republican in the country who would be OK with this kind of behavior from a Democrat. And they shouldn’t. I would be ashamed of any Democrat who had no issue with Hillary Clinton talking about pardoning herself six months into her presidency. If it got to that point she would deserve to lose all support.

But it wouldn’t. Because she’s not a criminal. Unlike Trump.

Republicans are not going to admit their mistake. Doing so would forever tie their party and its ideology to criminal behavior. It already kind of was, but now the circumstances are too obvious. What can be done then? Realistically, not much more than we are doing now. Resist all policy, agitate against the regime, activate people to vote the criminals out as soon as we get the chance.

If the world was truly just, then Trump would be kicked out of office and stripped of all his power. By that I mean assets and the methods to buy influence. Put him in maximum security general population and wish him all the best. Then give the Presidency to Hillary Clinton. Count her as the 45th president and remove all appointees including but not limited to the Supreme Court seat Trump and the Republicans stole.

No one who supported Trump should stand for re-election. No one who voted for him should be allowed to vote in the next cycle. Call it a time out. You voted for a criminal.

Obviously, none of this will happen. The punishment is far too extreme for our government to survive. There are far different consequences in elections than a bicycle race. And yet if the penalty for cheating isn’t so severe as to shock the system, it will happen again. When fines for breaking regulations are less than the profits gained, companies work the payments into their cost of business.

The true danger is if the Republican party accepts treason as a small price to pay for getting an ultra-conservative Supreme Court or cutting welfare programs to the bone. My biggest fear is they already have.

This will happen again. Count on it.

On the Presidency

A lot has happened over the past weekend. Incredible, unbelievable things. Donald Trump’s own son has admitted to going to a meeting where he expected to get information from the Russian government. Information that would be damaging to his father’s political campaign. Allegedly, data gathered through espionage. He was fine with that.

Long story short, Donald Trump Jr. of his own free will quiet possibly admitted to being a Russian spy. If this were the 1950s he’d be in jail awaiting trial for treason as we speak.

But he’s not. Neither are the other high level Trump officials at the meeting.

Despite the Republican party’s desperate need to send the country back to the 50s politically, it is not 65 years ago. There’s no telling where this story will go. Every week something new crops up and pushes the envelope of expectations even further. What we do know, is the pattern of lies is real. The Trumps and everyone in their administration are engaged in a cover up of massive proportions.

They are lying to the American people.

Yet, here is the problem. It should seem obvious that this behavior is unacceptable. There was a time in this country where something of this nature would force a well-deserved, shame-filled resignation. However, countless Republicans and the Trump family themselves are steadfast in their refusal to admit to any wrong doing. There’s a chance that could change, given that the evidence is so blatant. Unfortunately, the damage has been done.

The President is not a person. The President is an office that a human being inhabits for a period of typically, four to eight years. I can only hope that this current resident of the office won’t be around the White House that long. Once again, that depends on the rest of the GOP standing up for themselves and admitting that they made a mistake.

The person who is selected to occupy the office of the Presidency accepts a grand responsibility. We as Americans can disagree who should be placed in the office but once that person is there, they become a representative of all of us. The President is responsible for everyone that lives in the United States, not just the people who voted for them.

Once someone decides to even attempt to assume the mantle of the Presidency they are expected to live up to a certain level of respect inherent in the office. This respect is the reason the country and its leader commands influence across the world. Many of our citizens seem to think that level of self-respect is no longer important.

Chances are pretty good that it’s going to come out that Donald Trump colluded with the Russian government in order to win the Presidency. In my opinion, I believe he did everything possible. He has shown himself to be the kind of person willing to sell anything out if it benefits him. I have no doubt in my mind that Trump had no moral issues with destroying any and all respect for our nation and the Presidency if it meant he would “win.”

But that’s just my opinion. For now, until more evidence comes out. Which I expect it will.

We can throw around the word treason all we want but the indisputable fact is that Trump’s actions before and after winning the election are beneath the dignity of the Presidency.

The 4th of July was last week. A day where all Americans are supposed to feel pride and patriotism in their country. For me, it was difficult to stir up those feelings given how disrespectful the entire Trump administration has been to our hallowed traditions.

We’ve had bad Presidents before, plenty of them in fact. We’ve never had a terrible person as President. Until now.

Trump’s Cosmic Perspective

During my overly extended, undesired staycation, I’ve had lots of free time. I’m trying to use that time to read more. A decent number of books have fallen to my casual pace. Far more than recent years. During my life in Japan my reading time was dominated mostly with magazines for smart people. National Geographic and Wired, for example. I haven’t touched them in months.

Also, thanks to some nerdy friends I’ve read more fiction than I have since I finished Game of Thrones. The books, not the show. Obviously.

Reading is, of course, fundamental. The book I just finished was “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry” by Neil deGrasse Tyson. A nice light read, perfect for storing in the restroom for guests I imagine. To be honest, if you watched his excellent recent version of Cosmos there is little in here that wasn’t covered in the TV show. Except for roundness. That was new.

Still, highly recommended.

The final chapter of the book has Tyson talking directly to the reader about the wonders of an infinite universe. Rather than letting the vastness of space make you feel insignificant, the author argues that the opposite should be the case. Revel in the fact that you are made of star stuff and can trace your existence back to the origins of the cosmos. Deep shit.

All well and good, but what about Trump?

Barely half a year in, the 45th President has locked in the title of “Worst President ever” for a large population of the country. Obviously, not everyone. That doesn’t mean that he won’t forever be the worst in many people’s minds. Just like Obama is hated by lots of gap toothed, cousin-loving rednecks.

Sorry, that was as mean as healthcare. I wouldn’t want to be accused of inflaming rhetoric.

Now, Trump has built a solid base of facts to earn that title. His personality is undeniably awful. Some people don’t mind that or even think it’s a good way to act towards people who disagree with you. I suppose that is a sad fact of the human condition. Once you choose the team to belong to it is hard to accept anything that tarnishes that distinction.

Ask a Cubs fan if you don’t believe me. I can make that joke because it worked out for them in the end. I wouldn’t put money on the same happening for Trump.

But what does this all mean in a cosmic sense?

What will Trump’s legacy be in a hundred years? A thousand? A million?

Certainly, for most of our lifetimes Trump will be a prominent figure in history textbooks. But how many people today are still mad at Calvin Coolidge? How many can even name him? The man who brought about the Great Depression? Hardly anyone, I would wage. Especially since the President in office immediately prior to the Great Depression was Herbert Hoover.

Human memory is short. The truly outstanding individuals last through the ages but they have little direct effect on actual daily life.

Sure, you might have someone like Julius Ceaser who created the calendar we sort of use today. Except over a thousand years later some pope named George might come along and change it up. Time is long and humans are not. Eventually there will come a time when even Donald Trump is forgotten to history.

This is of course not to say that we should just let him do whatever he wants.

It is vital to resist against the things that will cause pain and suffering to millions of innocents. That’s just common sense. Trump is a symptom of a great disease which weakens America to its core. Our systems are struggling to fight off this infection but they are, for now, holding firm.

The United States is a young country. One of the jokes I often heard from my continental friends in Japan was as follows. “For Europeans, one hundred miles is a long distance and for Americans, one hundred years is a long time.”

You had to be there, I guess.

We’ve got time. When the atoms of the Milky Way have expanded beyond the heat death of the Universe, there won’t be anyone around to worry about cuts to Medicaid. That sounds like a reason to despair. I know the feeling and it’s a struggle to resist every time I check Twitter.

The point of Tyson’s book however, is the opposite. Live this moment for what it is because of the mathematical wonder required to bring it about. The same oxygen molecules that fuel the President’s unhinged tweets are the same that power the protest songs of the Woman’s March.

And they were all created in an astronomical ball of nuclear fire.

Pretty cool if you ask me.

My First Principle Event

The heat wouldn’t go away. My memories of September tend more towards the “briskness” of early fall. Perhaps that’s just a rose-colored view of the past. Or maybe it’s global warming. Anyway, it was still hot. To be fair, early September is still basically August. What’s the point of all this weather talk? I was about to spend a lot of time outside.

For anyone that doesn’t understand what I mean by “principle event”, it’s the term campaigns use when a major figure gives a speech or makes a public appearance. For us that meant anyone named Clinton or Obama with Kaine or Biden thrown in for good measure. Trump had himself and Pence. We were a bit busier probably than our Republican counterparts.

Being in the largest city in one of the most fought after swing states meant we were going to be busy constantly. Many of my co-workers still spoke in hushed tones about the joint Clinton-Obama event that had taken place a month or so earlier. At the height of the Southern summer heat. Again, with the weather. Why does it matter? Because organizers don’t set up the event in the cool comfort of air conditioning. That’s Advance.

We work the line.

During my two months on the campaign I worked seven principle events. The majority of those I did sign in and line management. The best way to learn just how angry people can get when asked to give up their email. It’s just an email, ya’ll. Give me the spam Hotmail account you never check. I don’t care. But please don’t act like I’m trying to steal your identity.

Anyway.

My first principle event arrived less than a week after I started. A big one too. Hillary Clinton herself. That’s right, I had to learn event work after only a few days on the job and during a speech by the main candidate.

It went as well as could be expected.

Luckily, I was posted to parking duty. I’m not sure if it’s because someone took pity on me or if fate smiled that day. Parking was easy work and it got easier as the lot fills up. The best thing is no one can yell at you really. It’s easy to see there are no open spots and if you’re not there in time it’s hardly the parking guy’s fault.

None of this stopped some people from getting angry but Americans are an entitled bunch.

Eventually, they stop letting in cars. That’s when I got my first taste of the line. Sounds like I’m talking about starting a cocaine habit but it’s far more exhausting. Remember when I talked about the heat? The parking lot was in shade for the most part. The line, not at all. I handed out bottles of lukewarm water and made sure people were signed in.

Thankfully, everyone in line was on the same team. The mood was joyous and excited for the most part. Spirits were high. I bought my first campaign T-shirt ever from one of the traveling merchants that always spring up outside events. Not a lot of Obama swag made it over to Japan and my political activism in college began and ended at the voting booth.

I put it on over my other shirt, which was dumb. Because of the heat.

A chance to move inside for the speech opened up for me thanks to the sacrifice of one of the organizers I trained with. He volunteered to stay outside and catch stragglers instead of escaping the heat. I did not have his moral strength. I’m perfectly fine with siphoning off some of his for my own use, though.

Which is why he’s currently one of my job references.

I kid of course. We all shouldered the burden together at different times. That’s what it means to be a team. That’s what I was thinking as I stood in the midst of the crowd and its roiling energy. That’s when I knew that I was doing something important. It’s when I knew I’d be able to make it through whatever the campaign could throw at me.

It was when I knew I had made the right choice.

Trump is padding his legislative resume.

The Trump administration wants you to believe that they are getting things done. You might hear something along the lines of “nobody has passed more laws in this amount of time.” Or something equally pedantic.

For the record here is the list of all legislation passed in the current Congress. I have tallied them under some broad categories. Keep in mind that Republicans control both houses of Congress and the White House.

Removal of rules from previous administrations: 15

These are what makes the most headlines and aren’t actual laws being changed so much as rules for how branches of the government will act within their mandate. These “laws” do nothing new. They just role back the efforts of those that came before.

Appointments: 5

Self explanatory. These are “laws” to appoint people to various positions including getting a waver about having a retired military person running the Dept. of Defense.

Memorials/Naming Buildings: 5

Naming a federal building or setting up a memorial takes an act of Congress. Nice way to pad a stat.

Government Management: 8

This is the category that deals with mainly how the government spends its money or handles paperwork. It includes passing a continuing resolution on the budget which was needed to prevent another government shutdown. But this group also includes a bill that makes it OK for government workers to comp their travel costs when using Uber.

Encouragement: 4

These are bills that sound good but have little muscle behind them. Things like saying the US would like to have a World Expo or asking NASA to come up with a plan to inspire women to go into STEM careers. Sounds nice yes, but does very little in real terms.

Actual Laws: 2

After all of that there are only two laws passed that have any real substance to them. Expanding weather prediction capabilities and giving more money to NASA. More science money was definitely one of Trump’s major campaign promises, right?

So when you hear Trump try and convince you he’s moving the country forward, nearly half of what he’s accomplished is the exact opposite.

The rest is fluff.

But I guess yay for science?

Leaving on a Campaign

I snuck out before my friends woke up. My training for the campaign had just finished and I was about to leave from Raleigh to Charlotte, North Carolina. Standing on my friend’s porch I paused to take a picture of my car in the early morning sunlight.

The car was not as impressive as the moment would suggest. A Nissan hatchback of some sort. What more could you expect from a rental? I had only been back in the country for around five months. This would be my first proper job since leaving Japan so a car of my own wasn’t something I could manage.

Of course, renting a car for two and a half months isn’t exactly cheap but I’m fortunate to have a patron.

I woke up early because it’s a long drive from the capital to the Queen city. I never appreciated how vast my home state truly was until this experience. I drove a lot in Charlotte, which has some of the craziest roads in the state. Five lane highways suddenly split off into three and two. You might be forgiven for not noticing the change because one of those lanes was inevitably an on ramp as well.

Worst drivers too, probably.

I was fortunate during my time on the campaign to see a large part of the city. We also got to have a field trip into the surrounding areas closer to the end, but that’s a story for another day. All told, I put in about 3000 miles over two months. Not bad considering I spent most of my days in an old accounting office glued to a phone.

I don’t remember what I listened to on the long stretch of I-40 between my college home and my new temporary life in Charlotte. Either the Hamilton cast recording, which I had been listening to non-stop in those days, or the audiobook version of Team of Rivals, the classic Lincoln biography. I have a bit of a thing for early American history.

You’re required to be a bit of a nerd if you want to work in politics, I think.

Interstate 40 is an interesting animal. It has long been a part of my life as it was the best way to get from my home town to where I went to school. For the first 24 years of my life I never moved more than 30 minutes away from that stretch of concrete. During that whole time, it’s been under perpetual construction. People from the area know what I’m talking about.

Some of my co-workers were shocked to hear I had never been to Charlotte either in that time. I moved half a world away only to wind up just off that highway once again.

Eventually, I reached Charlotte and made my way to my first voter registration drive. Straight off the highway right to work. I should have expected no less. The drive was at a Revolutionary War re-enactment of all places. This being North Carolina, my first guess would be Civil War as the re-enactors conflict of choice. I couldn’t go in and check it out, though. For one I was on duty. For another they required tickets.

This was when I first met some of the people that would become my fellow organizers. A special bond. People who would go from strangers to dear friends over a span of mere weeks. I knew I was in good company when one of them wore a shirt with a British flag on it to a Revolutionary War event. Cheeky to say the least.

That evening I got my first taste of call time. We did calls during training but there’s no substitute for the real thing. For some reason, I remember the lights being dimmer than they would be for the rest of the campaign. Perhaps my brain wants to remember that time more intimately. Maybe it was because a light was burnt out.

Either are equally possible.

Why does the Right Hate Liberals?

I lived in Japan for nine years. I bring this up because as a foreigner there, I often got the sense that the government saw me as a mild inconvenience. It might have been the frustration apparent on an official’s face when my Japanese wasn’t good enough to navigate complex tax procedures. Despite his English not being good enough to navigate Cat in the Hat.

Languages are hard ya’ll.

I lived there though, it was on me to learn how to speak good. Fair enough. It might also have been the difficulty in getting a visa for longer than I had proof of employment. One year contract? One year visa. Since you can only get a visa with a guaranteed income that made it difficult to change jobs. Unless you’re the type that works better under time pressure.

You could argue the government is just looking out for the gaijin. You wouldn’t want to be stuck in a place without a support system. It certainly lit a fire under my ass to keep steady employment whenever the visa date came around.

It might also have been knowing I had things pretty easy in terms of being a foreigner, given that I was white. And a dude. And American. That mix often adds up to banker after all.

All foreigners are required to carry ID and have to show it to police whenever asked. I was carded exactly once during my nine years in Japan. It was because I was drunk and belligerent on a public street at 8am on a Monday. I might have been yelling obscenities in front of children. I can’t remember for sure because I was drunk and belligerent.

My friend, who is also an American dude, was carded once for standing outside of my apartment late at night having a quiet phone conversation. Pretty much the exact opposite of my experience. He got carded at least once every other week, so he was used to it.

Did I mention he is of Filipino descent?

I’m not trying to make this about racism in Japan or even in America. I’m not qualified to talk about it because of my white privilege. As South Park tried to impart years ago, I don’t get it. Because I can’t. I get that I don’t get it. Get it?

But it’s hard not to see it going on.

I had it better there and I have it better here. None of this is news and I’m not expecting to open anyone’s eyes that have kept them shut until now. What worries this particular white male is the other hatred that has been stewing for a while now. Because it affects me! Me by golly! And isn’t that the point? Yes, as I will explain later.

In the wake of Trump pulling out of the Paris Agreement, many on the right said it was a great move because it “made liberals cry.” What the fuck is this? Kindergarten?

How is it that the force in charge of America makes decisions based on how much pain they cause to the other side? Is it due in part to the fact that a large number of people who identify as liberal are also minorities? It’s no longer acceptable to say racist things in public. Twitter jumps all over that shit now. Racism is going to racist so what’s the alternative?

Jeff Sessions is working diligently as Attorney General to set back civil rights by decades. And he’s like, Kunta Kinte next to the Cheater in Chief.

Elections and marriages, a double threat!

Hatred of an ideology is becoming as baseless and rooted in ignorance as the hatred of skin tone. Obviously, the history and results between the two are incomparable. I’m not trying to claim the same type of suffering by being a liberal. There are plenty of “Bernie or Bust” types out there who’ll do it for me. #shotsfired

Yet, for perhaps the first time, straight white people in America are learning what it’s like to be hated by their government. Black people have put up with it for as long as they’ve been here. Latinos certainly understand the threat of an adversarial government. Every person of color in this country is forced to come to grips at an early age that the people in charge don’t like you.

I got a small taste of that in Japan. Racism Light, fewer problems, less filling. But even then, my white hetero-maleness shielded me from the worst of it all. A super power that doesn’t make for a good comic book perhaps but I was comfortable taking advantage of it.

I came back and stumbled head first into the frontlines of this fight. Racism Classic, now with more power. Thousands and millions of us tried to stop it. Or rather, shove it under the rug for another cycle. It didn’t work for a hundred reasons that didn’t involve someone named Clinton.

Most of my volunteers on the campaign were black women, which should surprise no one. They knew what was going on. They also knew the election wouldn’t wave a magic wand and fix the problems in their community.

They still came out though. And that was before all the horrors Trump has unleashed in his short tenure as President. Obviously though, we all saw it coming. Us stupid libruls. We tried to warn you that hate was growing. It threatens all of us. That’s why things feel so scary.

It’s equality of hate. Because now it doesn’t matter what you look like. If you believe certain things, a way of thought that you chose, now you are a target for the worst ills of humanity.

But what do I know? I’m just a Liberal.

Shared Humor is Cathartic: #covfefe

In case you’re not the type of politico who checks Twitter constantly, you might not know what covfefe means. Then again, it’s already seeped a bit into the general consciousness. The true meaning will be discussed for ages to come, I’m sure. The actual creation of this new vocabulary it thanks to the Tweep in Chief, Donald Trump.

I came late to the covfefe party, I only checked into Twitter about an hour after Mr. 45 tweeted a partially formed thought. The tweet itself is now gone from Twitter. Once again, Trump goes with the deletion of Presidential records because it embarrasses him. This is on paper, from what I understand, a crime. But whatever, get to the lolz.

Late on Tuesday, the President of the United States tweeted “Despite the negative press covfefe”. Now, as I write this the White House is trying to spin this as something more than a simple typo and a mistakenly sent tweet. They even tried to claim there’s some secret meaning that only super smart Trump types understand.

Which is complete bullshit. Not a chance. It’s more embarrassing to pretend otherwise.

Anyway, as the internet often does, it latched on to this mistake by the most powerful man-child in the world and mocked it without mercy. Trump deserves every single mocking tweet and late night joke. Here’s why.

He is causing severe emotional torment for a large number of Americans. I’ve disagreed with a lot of politicians before. I disagreed highly with George W. Bush. Until this year, I was confident Bush Jr. would go down in history as the worst President the USA has ever had. No longer, not a chance. Trump wins by a mile.

Now, I understand that a lot of people will disagree with me. Some people think he’s doing a great job. Some people don’t care as long as it doesn’t bother them. There are even some people who think Hillary Clinton would have been worse. Whatever. That’s all fine and good.

The problem is Trump is so blatant about not caring what people who disagree with him think. He is convinced 100% that every idea he has is perfect because he thought of it. A lot of people agree with him because on the surface he appears to think like they do. These are the same people that railed against Obama as an imperial President.

The difference is Obama actually tried to work with the other side and was constantly slapped away. He didn’t say and do things that embarrassed the nation as a whole. People say Obama ruined our reputation abroad which is the complete opposite of what happened. He repaired what was damaged by the last bumbling fool to occupy the Oval Office.

Trump is the bull in the china shop of all our nightmares. Can you blame us for latching on to the one purely innocent example of comedy this man has produced? We try to joke about his awful relationship with NATO but it represents the worst our relations with Europe have been since WWII. The Russia investigation kicks over new rocks every day. He threatens the entire world because he thinks the US shouldn’t have to take any responsibility whatsoever.

We are tired of constantly being stressed out by the assault on our values this man represents. That sounds ironic I know because it’s highly reminiscent of the Tea Party rhetoric. Obama in their eyes wanted to tear down their most fundamental beliefs. The problem is, he really wasn’t trying to do anything of the sort.

Trump is actively trying to tear down what I believe is good about this country. Then he has the gall to look us all in the eye and tell us it’s not happening. Or if it is it won’t be that bad. Or if it is that bad, then it’s not a big deal. If it is a big deal then it’s not his fault. Or if it is his fault then we deserved it.

Having to constantly fight against that coming from the highest reaches of power is exhausting.

Please excuse us for taking a small break to make fun of an old man who has trouble handling technology. Of course, when I put it like that it sounds mean doesn’t it?

But this is Trump we’re talking about. He’s beyond sympathy.

Trumpism: The Cult of Donald Trump

Editor’s note: This was originally posted in February 2017. Almost none of the revelations that consume the news today regarding Russia had come out yet.

So I’ve been reading this book in my spare time called “The 48 Laws of Power” by Robert Greene. It was first brought to my attention by an Uber driver in L.A. so you know it’s high quality…

So I’ve been reading this book in my spare time called “The 48 Laws of Power” by Robert Greene. It was first brought to my attention by an Uber driver in L.A. so you know it’s high quality…

Anyway, basically it’s a collection of stories from history and teachings from books like The Art of War and The Prince broken down into lessons about gaining the ephemeral quality known as “power”.

I wanted to read it because even if I couldn’t be as ruthless as required by some of these tactics it is good to be aware of them in case they are used against you. However, when I reached Law 27 things became a little scary.

“Law 27: Play on People’s Need to Believe to Create a Cult-like Following”

There are 5 steps to this law. Rather than just list them and let readers come to their own conclusions I feel like I need to be more explicit as to how the man currently in the office of the President has seemingly followed this path to power in particular.

Step 1: Keep it Vague; Keep it Simple

“To create a cult you must first attract attention. This you should do not through actions, which are too clear and readable, but through words, which are hazy and descriptive.”

Trumpisim: “Make America Great Again”, “Repeal and Replace, Build the Wall”

These phrases sound great and project a real sense of power. When it comes to achieving them things become far murkier. Trump’s much vaunted deal with Carrier was fraught with unfortunate realities in terms of making America great again. Republicans have been calling for repeal of the ACA for years but are only now rolling out ideas for replacement. Ideas which do little to fix what problems there are with the program and threaten to take away the parts that are actually working.

The wall will be a boondoggle. Mark my words.

Step 2: Emphasize the Visual and the Sensual over the Intellectual

“Once people have begun to gather around you, two dangers will present themselves: boredom and skepticism.”

Trumpisim: Constant rallies

Trump never seems comfortable unless he’s in front of a large crowd of sympathetic supporters. That might be part of the reason he brings staffers to speeches to applaud and cheer for him. Less than a month into his Presidency while being assaulted from all directions over allegations of misconduct and incompetence, Trump holds a literal campaign rally. In 2017, not 2020. Clearly he’s falling back on the spectacle that served him so well in 2016. The sight of large cheering crowds emphasize his popularity which is why he is so adamant in his attacks on stories to the contrary.

Step 3: Borrow the Forms of Organized Religion to Structure the Group

“Your cult-like following is growing; it’s time to organize it. Find a way both elevating and comforting.”

Trumpism: Mike Pence

I don’t think anyone can argue that Trump has ever been an ardent representative of the Christian faith. This step is actually the one that applies the least to Trumpism as it is intended to be more about structural organization specifically. However, the 45th President is not afraid to claim divine intervention in the weather. The choice of Mike Pence as VP gives him all the cover he needs in terms of Christian conservatism without demanding any real sacrifice on his part.

Step 4: Disguise Your Source of Income

“…you must never be seen as hungry for money and the power it brings. It is at this moment that you must disguise the source of your income.”

Trumpism: Tax returns

Do I really need to go over this part?

Step 5: Set Up an Us-Versus-Them Dynamic

“To keep your followers united, you must now do what all religions and belief systems have done: create an us-versus-them dynamic.”

Obviously this is not a unique aspect of Trump or many other political candidates. It is a central idea behind why spectator sports are so popular. People like being part of a “team”. What is dangerous and scary about Trumpism is the official target known as “them”.

The media. The term “fourth estate” refers to a medieval concept of society where the people were broken up into three broad groups. (The clergy, the nobility, and the commoners, in case you were wondering.)

The idea is the press is a separate entity who’s role is to check the power of the others. An independent press is so important that the founders of America made sure journalistic protections were enshrined in the Constitution itself.

Trump’s attacks on the press started almost immediately. His administration has constantly given false or misleading information to the public and when news reporters point that out he calls them “fake news”. Anyone the least bit critical is denied legitimacy. The message is clear “we [us] are right and anyone who disagrees [them] does so just because they want us to fail.”

We need to have the ability to question power. If they do something wrong they should be held responsible. The chilling effect Trumpism could have on legitimate criticism is frightening. I’m personally somewhat worried about posting a long description comparing the President of the United States to a cult leader as the family is notoriously litigious.

Despite the click bait nature of the title of this post I am not saying with any certainty that President Trump is a cult leader. I have no way of knowing if he’s read this book or even if he consciously follows the steps listed above.

But the similarities frighten me.

Imagine If: Dispatches from an Alternate Political Universe

January 22nd, 2017.1 –

President Clinton spent her first full day in office responding to controversy surrounding statements she made about the crowd at her inauguration. Several outlets have questioned an assertion she made during a visit to the CIA regarding the attendance of the ceremony.

During her speech, which was intended to show her support of the intelligence community after the firestorm surrounding both the alleged Russian hacking attempts and her own troubles regarding the handling of classified information, Mrs. Clinton stated that her inauguration was “one of the largest crowds in history.”

Several news organizations quickly released photos from President Obama’s first inauguration in 2008 side by side with those from yesterday. While after a cursory glance both crowds appear similar in size there do seem to be several large gaps towards the back of the viewing area during yesterday’s event. Ridership numbers provided by D.C Metro indicate Mrs. Clinton’s inauguration was indeed heavily attended but the numbers are less than those reported 8 years earlier.

President Clinton’s newly appointed Press Secretary, Samantha Spencer, was out earlier in the day to answer questions from an at times hostile press core. She repeated claims that Mrs. Clinton never said her inauguration was “the largest ever, period,” but in fact had used a more moderate framing as “one of the largest.”

This defense hasn’t won over many Republicans on the Hill, however. Jason Chaffetz, Chair of the House Oversight Committee, held a press conference moments after President Clinton had left the CIA. “I was there,” Congressman Chaffetz said of the inauguration, “It was certainly not one of the biggest inaugurations in history. The fact that the President would mislead the American people on day one of her administration is despicable.”

Chaffetz, who was one of the lead drivers of the Benghazi hearings that plagued President Clinton when she was Secretary of State, went on to announce his intention to continue a pattern of rigorous congressional oversight. “I find it troubling that we never got a satisfactory answer to the question about the President’s missing emails. Now that we have clear evidence of her desire to mislead the American public about something as simple as the size of a crowd, I believe it’s time to re-examine what happened with the infamous private server.”

Donald Drumpf, who following his narrow electoral college defeat has hounded the Clinton transition about supposed voter fraud, took to Twitter once again to rail against the new President. In a series of early morning tweets, he referred to Mrs. Clinton as both, “sad” and “a liar.” He went on to rail against the apparent “slack” that the mainstream media is giving President Clinton. His final tweet ended with “If I were President people would be going crazy over this. Unfair.”

Drumpf has been meeting with various leaders in conservative media, including former campaign advisors Roger Ailes of Fox News and Steve Bannon of Breitbart News. When he isn’t tweeting about the Democrats he has been dropping hints about his plans for a new media company, the scope of which remains to be seen.

Lost in the flurry of news surrounding the crowd size statement was President Clinton’s assertion that the intelligence community is a key component of the fight against terrorism. “This is a fight we can win without sacrificing any of our basic freedoms or personal safety,” Mrs. Clinton said to finish her rousing speech, “And that’s exactly what I plan to do.”

The White House has announced that one of President Clinton’s first executive orders will deal with strengthening the country’s borders and adding resources to the fight against terrorism. The President is expected to sign the order later this week.

  • This article is a complete work of fiction. If you needed to be told that then you haven’t been paying attention.