We Live Inside A Giant False Narrative — That Donald Trump Is "Legitimate POTUS"

False narratives — creating them, living them, suffering the consequences of living them — it seems to go with being human. So, I’ll cut us some slack.

The unfortunate humans who live inside North Korea’s borders live inside a false narrative that Kim Jong-On isn’t a sociopathic madman at the helm of a hermitic dictatorship with nuclear weapons at his disposal. They think he’s a kind of god — just like his father and grandfather — because that’s what they’ve been told.

North Koreans have been deliberately fed a false narrative about how life and politics are. The point wasn’t to liberate them. One never creates a false narrative to do good things for people — despite what one tells oneself. You’re turning away from empirical truth — and choosing to walk toward fiction. Every step toward fiction is a step away from actual truth.

There may be lashings of truth IN your fiction — but, whereas facts won’t let you do with them what you want, with fiction? You can spin a story however you like. You’re bound by story logic — but not logic logic.

The biggest false narrative going, of course, is religion. The people who write religious texts — the Old Testament for instance — start out from a genuine place: they want to answer the big questions — what is life? How did we get here? Why are we here and what is the point of it all? Unless they’re wearing lab coats — with strict protocols for managing their experimentation — they’re going to pull the answers to those questions from their own heads. Or their asses.

If the men who wrote Genesis had access to the internet — if they had microscopes and telescopes available — if they knew about germ theory and plate tectonics — if they knew even that there were continents other than the one they lived on (they didn’t!) — would they have written the texts they wrote the way they wrote them? Of course not! Their worldview — even the questions themselves — would have been informed by their knowledge. They wouldn’t have written a Noah’s flood story they way they wrote it because the facts on the ground — literally — would have made such a story preposterous.

Sometimes — as with religion — the intention of the false narrative is to explain the world from the religion’s viewpoint. But, what if the starting viewpoint is wrong — or distorted. Or misinformed. What if monotheists are wrong and polytheists are right — there’s not one good, there are dozens, thousands, kajillions?

Who’s really to say? Got proof there’s only one “God”? Remind the class — who wrote that story? Oh, right — people who were “divinely inspired”. Another false narrative begins.

Even before he was sworn in, Donald Trump began signaling to us that he was not the legitimate president — that his win wasn’t what we thought it was. Take yourself back to election night 2016. Remember how it felt as Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin went red? The story was just believable enough — the press had taken the “But her emails” ball and run wild with it. Doubts about Clinton could have been the difference — 78,000 votes spread between three states. It was just plausible enough for us to allow “Well, maybe…”.

That’s all it took. The truth is, to this day, we don’t know what happened in those three states. We don’t. But the stone cold fact is Paul Manafort handed Oleg Deripaska PROPRIETARY POLLING DATA for four states (the three mentioned plus Minnesota). That’s not nothing. That’s very sensitive data about Americans, who they are and how they vote — being handed to a man with deep ties to Russian Military Intelligence.

Russian military intelligence (for those slow on the uptake) is especially good at creating, disseminating and benefiting from propaganda. They’ve gotten very good at using social media to — say it with me — create false narratives. In those three states — we know this happened — Democratic voters (African American voters especially) found their Facebook pages inundated with ads disparaging Hilary Clinton — accusing her of being a racist on the down low.

Sure, plenty of those African American voters ignored those ads. But — we also know — some stayed home. That’s no different from a stolen vote. It’s election fraud — PERIOD.

Also — no one in an official capacity has ever done any forensics on the voting machines in those three states. As we’re learning more and more — any voting machine hooked up to the internet in any way is hackable. Anyone who denies that fact wants machines that are hackable in our elections. WHY?

Any voting process that isn’t hand-marked with a complete paper trail is bullshit.

People who want free and fair elections have no problems with oversight. They welcome it because it guarantees free and fair elections. People who want shortcuts — who are willing to take what election machine vendors (almost all Republican owned companies by the way — yes, it matters) say at face value — aren’t interested in Democracy, they’re interested in undermining Democracy. Not the same thing.

If the Rule Of Law is alive and well, then you cannot cheat to become president of the United States. You cannot ASK a foreign country to help you and you cannot ACCEPT THEIR HELP when offered. But that’s exactly what Donald Trump did — repeatedly and out in the open. The Mueller Report did not exonerate Trump in any way. Quick Reminder — the Mueller Report was not the be-all & end-all of “Trump-Russia” involvements. It addressed ONE — the Trump campaign’s relationship with Wikileaks. And the report said that it couldn’t ANSWER whether or not the Trump campaign conspired with Russia because of (Mueller Report Part Two) ALL THE OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE the Trump campaign were perpetrating.

All those SDNY investigations that Bill Barr slowed or blocked or snuffed? They would have begun exploring all the other ways Donald Trump, his campaign — and the whole Republican Party ultimately — had fallen prey to Russian intelligence. Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate is a non-stop reminder of just how corrupt the Republican Party is. Their defense didn’t rise to the level of “silly” it was so bad.

They don’t want to hear Bolton or any other witnesses because they KNOW what those witnesses will say. They KNOW what the evidence says — they’ve already heard what lots of it says. This is about keeping the truth about what happened out of the public record. WHY?

Most Republicans assume that once a lifetime judge is in place, he or she stays in place forever. Keep in mind — part of the point of this coup d’etat started years before the election. It took the form of Mitch McConnell hijacking the judiciary. He refused to let Obama appoint judges that he quickly filled once Trump was sworn in. He refused to grant Merrick Garland so much as a hearing. Hello, Neil Gorsuch.

But all that assumes we continue to accept the product of the false narrative Republicans created.

Let’s put this in terms even Donald Trump would understand. Let’s say the presidency was a beauty pageant. The winner gets lots of good things. They get to live in the White House. They get to tell the military what to do. They get to suggest and change laws. They get to appoint judges including Supreme Court judges.

That’s if they win — and they’re the Beauty Pageant WINNER.

But let’s say we find ample evidence that the Beauty Pageant Winner cheated. Let’s say the bribed judges — or threatened them. Let’s say the Winner conspired with people outside the pageant to pick a winner (outside the pageant’s rules). And let’s say these people succeeded. The Pageant’s real judges wanted Contestant X to win. That contestant reflected the Pageant’s values and hopes for the Pageant’s future.

But some of the judges, it turns out, were corrupt. The whole voting process, it turns out, was corrupted. When the judges voted — one of their votes was tallied the wrong way. Another judge went home sick and didn’t vote at all (food poisoning they think). From the moment the Winner was announced, lots of the judges — people in the audience, too — they knew something was wrong.

Okay — so the wrong person now wears the crown. They have all the power that comes with it — all the rights & privileges. But none of it actually belongs to them.

Now the Winner starts giving paying jobs to her friends. She fudges the books so no one can tell where the Pageant’s money is going. The Pageant starts co-branding with mobsters and criminals and all sorts of unsavory people the Pageant’s judges would never have agreed to. The Winner starts changing everything about the Pageant — despite the fact that they WEREN’T the actual winner and everything they’re doing goes directly AGAINST everything the judges ACTUALLY wanted and — this being democratic in theory — voted for.

But then, the judges discover evidence that PROVES the Winner cheated. They show it to the public because the public needs to know (while the Winner is doing things that directly impact them) — there’s a very good reason why the judges will now take away the Winner’s crown: it never belonged to them. EVER.

So — the Winner loses his crown. He can no longer claim to be the Winner because 1) he no longer is and 2) he never ever was.

Ah, but what of his “winnings”? What of the now-ex-Winner’s spoils? What of the laws they changed — though they had no authority to change them (only REAL winners have the LEGAL right to do that)? What of the lifetime judges they nominated THAT THEY HAD NO LEGAL AUTHORITY TO NOMINATE?

Remember all the judges Al Gore nominated? Exactly — he didn’t nominate any because he didn’t win — and was never given the authority. If he had tried to, we’d have laughed at him — “Dude, what’re you doing? You LOST. Losers don’t get to nominate anything.”

A cheater who’s been caught stops being “the winner”. A car thief has to give back the car he stole (provided it hasn’t been chop shopped into pieces already). He may have the memories of driving around in your ride, but all rights of ownership return to YOU, the rightful OWNER.

We The People “own” the outcomes of our elections. That is, we expect that our choice — if we’re in the majority — to be the basis for how our government will act. Provided our candidate followed all the laws in order to win the election, his or her actions are truly sanctioned by the electorate.

But, Donald Trump can’t say that about his “win”. He wasn’t sanctioned by he electorate. The majority of us voted not just FOR Hillary but AGAINST Trump and everything he stood for and wanted to do. We voted AGAINST destroying the government, AGAINST destroying our relationships with the world, AGAINST cozying up to Russia, AGAINST corruption in the extreme, AGAINST destroying the environment, AGAINST racism & misogyny & bigotry and judges who are FOR all those things.

The only reason Trump’s potus at all is because he manipulated the Electoral College. By literally STEALING Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania (for starters — we don’t know how pervasive the theft was), Trump robbed the American People of their actual choice. The victim of this crime is us, the American People.

What are we — crime victims in this — to do once the full depth of Trump (and the Republican Party’s) deep criminality gets revealed. Are we to shrug off the crime — and especially the part where the criminal gets to keep what he stole? Those judges — those laws — the dismantling of our system of checks and balances — that’s all stolen property. It belongs to US. It doesn’t belong to Donald Trump or the Republican Party.

They’re the car thief sitting in OUR CAR — in OUR DRIVEWAY — honking the horn at us at three in the morning.

What makes matters worse? Turns out the car thief has pals in the police department. Fact is, the thief knows the “chief of police”. That’s going to make prosecuting the car thief — and getting our car back — hard. But that doesn’t mean we don’t do it.

There’s a big “Come To Jesus” moment coming us by-and-by. We’re going to have to reconcile the false narrative we’ve been living in — that Trump’s the legitimate potus and everything he’s done is legit and inviolable — with the facts: Trump’s a criminal. He stole the outcome of election 2016 — and everything that goes with it.

Are we REALLY going to let him — and the Republican Party who benefited from it (that was the point, right?) continue to benefit when the benefits were never theirs to begin with?

If we do that — if we let thieves keep what they’ve stolen — we will not solve our problem. The criminals will continue to own us. They’ll continue to have a say in how we live our lives — and even run the Rule Of Law. If don’t recognize how stupid that will be?

We’ll deserve every bit of the horribleness that follows.

It’ll be “Slavery: The Sequel”.

You remember slavery, right? That’s the abomination we created a false narrative around — that it was acceptable for a Democratic Republic to have slavery.

Why Losing Kobe Bryant Hurts So Damned Much…

I’m an Angeleno. A transplant from the East Coast. So was Kobe.

I grew up just outside Baltimore (in the 60’s & early 70’s). My parents were Baltimore Colts season ticket holders. It’s hard to describe what it felt like the night Robert Irsay loaded the team onto moving vans — at two in the morning actually because he hoped to avoid publicity — and drove the franchise halfway across the country to Indianapolis. It felt like a betrayal.

As is often the case with beloved sports teams, Baltimore Colts season tickets were a legacy. You’d let go of your life before you’d let go of the Colts tickets. A woman had the seats directly in front of my parents’ seats. I don’t think they even knew her name but my parents and this woman saw each other and chatted amiably at least seven times a year when the Colts played at home, at Baltimore’s (now gone) Memorial Stadium.

This woman knew her shit about football. She knew stats before people started keeping them. She understood why the team succeeded when it did and why it failed when it did. Her grasp of strategy and tactics and player capabilities was flawless. And then, one Sunday afternoon — she didn’t show for a game. Her two sons did.

This was shocking. The woman had NEVER missed a game — going back years (as far as my parents knew — they were equally religious about THEIR season tickets). My father leaned forward and asked the two boys (they were in their late teens) where there mother was.

“She died yesterday,” they replied. She had cancer. Had been suffering from it for a while and finally succumbed. But — even as she was dying — she told her boys that regardless of how sad or miserable they were feeling, they were NOT letting those tickets go un-used — by them. It was unthinkable to her that death would get in the way of her family getting to a Baltimore Colts game.

Sports have that place in our hearts. Sports heroes become icons of heroism (regardless of the fact that they play a game for a living). We invest a great deal of ourselves in our sports heroes — in their success and their failure. It becomes ours by extension.

I arrived a little late for the Showtime Lakers. They were already a successful unit when I became a Lakers fan. I didn’t get to watch Magic Johnson evolve into one of the most talented basketball players ever. But I did get to watch Magic deal with having AIDS.

That felt a little like a death at the time. It’s a little weird, if you think about it, that Magic is still with us (and thank goodness for that!) — while Kobe isn’t. Here, in Los Angeles, we got to watch a 17 year old, basketball-obsessed kid live up to the unlikely challenge he set for himself: to be better than his idol, Michael Jordan.

We watched Kobe evolve from that brash ball hog into a guy his own teammates wanted to have the ball at the end of the game. There are no guarantees in sports, but Kobe had a remarkable knack for making impossible shit happen.

Then Kobe bumped into his own fame. In a Colorado hotel room, he confused being loved by the public with getting to do whatever he wanted. He pushed himself sexually on a woman.

It’s what Kobe did afterward that cemented his legacy. He grew up. He became a better husband to his wife. He became a great dad to his kids. He was on his way — with daughter Gigi — to a basketball game where Gigi would play and Kobe would coach. He loved coaching his daughter’s team. Loved coaching her.

He championed the WNBA — and saw his daughter playing there and owning the league. Who knows what other great ideas and plans and goals Kobe might have achieved? Who knows what Gigi would have become?

Who knows what the other seven people on that helicopter — the Altobelli’s, the pilot, Christina Mauser (another youth basketball coach who was on the flight) — would have done with their lives? The tragedy of that crash will rippled across multiple families and lives.

It’s understood — we lost 9 good people yesterday. Kobe was the best known of them. But Kobe had become more than just another sports hero to us. He’d become a vital member of our community (here in LA and in the wider world). He saw his purpose as making the world a better place for as many people as he could. He was well on his way to become every bit the storyteller as he was a basketball god.

It really does feel like a family member suddenly died. There’s a hole now — in the day, in our feelings, in our sense of the future and what it should be. It’s been compromised by a helicopter accident.

Maybe the best takeaway we can hope for is a reminder to live life to its fullest because, for real — literally anything can happen.

Our Constitutional Crisis (Yeah – We're In One!) Didn't Just Start – It Began The Moment Trump Took His Oath Of Office – And Violated It In The Very Same Breath

Lots of Chicken Little running around the media landscape have finally bought in — America’s in a Constitutional Crisis! Yeah, we are, Chicken Little. Where were you Inauguration Day?

The Rule Of Law is or it isn’t. Same goes for the Constitution. Either we have one — and we follow it — or we don’t. And the very same goes for oaths that we take where we promise to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Either we mean what we say or the whole notion of oath-taking is now officially rubbish.

Want to know what first class entertainment would be? Watching Donald Trump take an oath to tell the truth — then literally lying with every word he said. That’s what happened, mind you, when Trump took his oath of office. He lied while taking it. He swore to uphold the Constitution — to defend it from all enemies domestic and foreign — while KNOWING that he, personally, was doing the diametric opposite.

Even on a smaller scale, Trump violated his oath as he took it. He was using his properties all around the world — and especially there in DC — to take in and solicit bribes. He was taking emoluments hand over fist — even as he swore NOT TO. Yeah, I know — thievery is small potatoes compared to treason.

But today’s treason started as thievery. Trump saw — on day one — that no one cared if he violated part of his oath of office. What did he have to lose seeing how much further he could push the corruption envelope? Yes, indeedy — Donald Trump has put us into a full on Constitutional Crisis. But that Crisis did not start today or yesterday.

It’s been on-going since Day One.

Quick analogy: You wake up to realize your house is on fire. Old wiring has shorted somewhere behind a wall and the entire structure is aready engulfed in flames. You hurry to get your family out safely. As you watch everything you own succumb, you need to grasp: the fire that just burned you out may have ignited a little while ago, but it didn’t “start” today. The circumstances that led to ignition started the day those wires were embedded in the walls. Maybe it started earlier even — on the day that flawed piece of wire was manufactured.

Indeed — if that’s what started the fire that burned down your house, the proximate cause of that fire began on the day the thing that will start the fire came into existence. In a very real sense, the circumstances for your tragedy started somewhere far away from you.

In the case of the flawed wire, there was nothing you could do about it. If the wire was put into the house years before you were even born (I like living in old houses), there’s still nothing you can do — except have that fact about your house in your head. Hooking a modern space heater up to wiring from 1908 could definitely cause unintended consequences.

But there’s your house — now on fire because earlier in the day — or days before — a weakness in already weak wire began to break down. Each time you turned the space heater on (unbeknownst to you), you took another step closer to causing a fire — behind the walls in wiring you knew was there but didn’t know was failing.

Tragedies rarely just happen. They’re built on mounting circumstances that, being tragic, seem inevitable. But nothing’s inevitable except death. If you’re rich (in America), taxes are off the “certainty list” for now. Death itself is a process that starts far earlier than we realize.

Think about it — the only question about any of our deaths is the when & where. The fact that it will happen is not in dispute.

In a way, death is like our Constitutional Crisis. It won’t begin the moment we realized we’re dying. It will have begun eons ago — the moment we were conceived. As always in Life, it sucks being the last to know.

The Rule Of Law Doesn't Really Exist – We Made It Up. If We Want It "To Be", We Have To MAKE IT "Be"

Americans take so much for granted. I know I took for granted that I lived in a representative democracy where everyone played by the same rules.

Unfortunately, Republicans don’t take our system of government for granted — they want to destroy it. Some Democrats — and most of the news media — take Republicans completely for granted — that they’re honest actors in this shit show. They’re not honest actors. That’s why this is a shit show.

The Rule Of Law and corruption sit directly across from each other on the circle of possibilities. There’s no middle ground between them. The least whiff of corruption and The Rule Of Law is compromised. It may not collapse like a house of cards, but, as iron-like as it seems, its foundation is actually quite vulnerable because it relies on us to maintain it — to rush in and fix it when its foundation is threatened. Donald Trump blatantly violates & violated The Rule Of Law — and no one (until now) has stepped up to stop him.

Trump is president BECAUSE he violated The Rule Of Law. The Rule Of Law says you can’t cheat to become POTUS. You can’t take foreign money. You can’t serve foreign purposes. You can’t take foreign assistance in order to facilitate a foreign power taking over our government. The Rule Of Law says “You can’t”.

If The Rule Of Law is still a going concern in America, it means Donald Trump is not now nor has he ever been the legitimate President of the United States. If not for Russian influence he would not have survived the primaries. If not for Mitch McConnell refusing to let We The People in on the secret — that Russia was actively working to game the election for Trump — Trump would not be POTUS today. We’d have had an honest conversation about Trump eons ago.

America’s founders never imagined a Mitch McConnell — a Senate Majority Leader so corrupt, he worked at the behest of a hostile foreign power to overthrow the very Constitution he took an oath to defend. Oh well — what’s an oath to a Republican except more words he doesn’t mean?

We take The Rule Of Law for granted — that’s still our operating principle. But, where did The Rule Of Law spring from? It didn’t appear by magic. Human beings wrote The Rule Of Law. We imagined it. Wrote it down. Debated it, revised it and, after a while, voted on it — and voted to live by it.

But there’s nothing automatic about it. If we never thought about it again, it wouldn’t just sit there, it would vanish — just as it did from our minds. Having a Rule Of Law places heavy demands on each and every citizen. They have to follow it, of course, but just as important — they have to insist that every other citizen follows it too. They have to insist that people who violate The Rule Of Law pay a price. It’s not just some abstract bunch of rules — it’s the code we all use to live peaceably together.

America still stands as a remarkable achievement in human history. The idea that people can govern themselves — that they don’t need kings or princes to rule them — changed everything. As Franklin said though — the problem with a Republic is keeping it. It’s hard because it demands that we all agree to keep it.

We have to show up. We have to want it. We have to be willing to fight — perhaps even to the death — to keep it. The other side is that intent on taking it from us.

Americans Need To Start Calling Things What They Really Are… Republicans, For Instance, Are "Traitors"

Remember back to the good ol’ days when news networks, grasping at their pearls, saved us from now-POTUS Donald Trump uttering the words “grab em by the pussy”? Heaven forbid an American news audience hear those words.

An American news audience, the News Networks decided, could not possibly handle hearing what a candidate for POTUS said – on an open mic – to another man – about how he likes to treat women – because the word “pussy” would offend us. Not so much the pussy-GRABBING as that terrible, terrible word: “pussy”. The news networks had no such compunctions over Trump saying outloud how “Mexicans are rapists”. I’m guessing because none of those words offends. It’s just the idea the words express that should be bleeped from America’s airways.

George Carlin’s “7 Words” routine shouted volumes to us not just because it was brilliant and funny but because it was painfully true about us. The “two-way words” like balls comes to mind. A broadcaster can say a baseball player has “two balls on him” but wouldn’t dream of saying that on the very next pitch, he got nailed in “the balls”. A helluva lot of that nonsense comes from America’s religionistas who all think “doing unto others” means judging them.

America’s journalists have it in their heads that journalists must be neutral in every way, shape & form. They must assume that every person is pretty much the same — and what they say weighs exactly the same as what any other person says regardless of whether it’s the Truth or outright lies (because who’s to say what the Truth is?) This distortion of reality — that every argument has two exactly equal sides, one for, one against — has undermined our ability to see the Truth because we’ve already begun equating lies with Truth.

What’s worse — American visual journalists don’t grasp the power of the media they work in. For instance — they don’t understand that when you put two people in a fifty-fifty frame, the visual language says these two people have equal weight; what they say — their arguments — have the same possible validity. It’s up to the viewer to decide what’s true, what isn’t. It makes it hard to decide what’s “true” when one of the choices isn’t true — though it’s labeled as “maybe true”.

A climate scientist seen on-set with a climate denier in a 50-50 visual says “these two arguments have equal heft”. They don’t of course. The News Media is misframing and misrepresentng the Truth.

From the moment Trump was impeached, Moscow Mitch McConnell has made his partiality — his intent to ignore anything & everything Trump has done — crystal clear. He’s not been subtle about it. Yet Mitch — like all the Senators — took an OATH to do the exact opposite. That means Mitch, as we speak, is violating his oath (never mind everything he’s doing to obstruct justice).

Our MSM however presents a “strategic” Senate Majority Leader, cagily protecting his majority. They don’t see — though they should — the man who stood up at that Gang Of Eight meeting at the Obama White House in September 2016 where Obama and the Intelligence Community informed our leadership that Russia was actively engaged in impacting the election for the benefit of Donald Trump. Mitch McConnell REFUSED to let We The People in on what was being done to OUR ELECTION.

Now, WHY would Mitch do such a thing? Why wouldn’t Mitch want our election to be as free and fair as possible?

If one were thorough as a journalist — or even a base storyteller — one would have all these aspects of the character in one’s mind as one wrote about the character. A wife-beater doesn’t stop being a wife-beater just because he goes to the office. He’s a wife-beater at the office, nothing more. But our MSM seems to see it differently. When the Wife Beater walks out his door? He stops being a Wife Beater and becomes just another “Ordinary Joe” heading off to work.

No, the Wife Beater remains a Wife Beater. The Pussy Grabber (BY HIS OWN ADMISSION!) remains a pussy grabber — even when he then denies grabbing pussies or worse. He’s a self-confessed pussy-grabber, you see? And if the American Press aggregated the information we KNOW for a fact about Trump, we would START our reporting on Trump from a place far, far further along than we do every day.

it’s the Press’s instance on taking us backwards every day that’s killing the storytelling here. They keep asking the same people the same questions — because they keep ignoring the very good answers as if the very good information they just got couldn’t find purchase inside their heads. It is absurd that watching MSNBC, one is constantly whipsawed backwards and forwards in “news time” to places where we KNOW certain things to be so and places where we’ve never heard of anything and Trump’s the most normal POTUS imaginable.

There’s a reason Mitch McConnell & every Republican around Trump remains so incredibly loyal. It ain’t tribalism. To even think that is to think this is something we’ve gone through dozens of time before. To think hat is to ignore the context completely. To ignore Russia’s presence everywhere including an aluminum factory in Western Kentucky. Republican loyalty to Trump (think Lindsey Graham’s remarkable transformation) can be summed up in one word: “COMPLICITY”.

Despite their claims of “neutrality”, our Press, every day, presents arguments where, among the possible explanations is “Trump’s completely innocent of everything”. And the Press makes that possibility plain — cos they repeat Trump saying it. They allow for a bland “Well, if he’s not ‘innocent’ per se, who can say what he’s ‘guilty’ of?” But they NEVER report the other possibility — that Trump is guilty, guilty, GUILTY of everything indicated both by the evidence and by his own admissions of guilt.

Trump’s guilt is never, it seems, one of the possible explanations.

I guess, if the Press accused Trump of being a traitor, they fear they’d have to accuse a Democrat of being a traitor, too — since both sides do it.

Americans need to stop needing baby talk. We need to grow the hell up — and fast! We need to get over our unease at adult words and concepts. We need to stop putting icing on poison and calling it cake. We need to call things what they are.

Republicans are not patriots. They’re traitors.

Donald Trump is not President, he’s a criminal — gifted the presidency by both Russia and the Republican Party who were willing to hitch their wagon to this monstrosity because it gave them their last best shot at shoving permanent minority rule down the majority’s throat. Our News Media — babytalking — would euphemistically call that “Republican strategy”. What they mean is “rape”.

What else do you call it when someone wants one thing but has another imposed on them — repeatedly and despite vigorous protestations to please, STOP?

It’s time for us to speak plainly to each other — even if our News Media won’t. What’s happening to America isn’t “politics as usual”. It’s an act of political rape. While Russia holds America down, Donald Trump and the Republican Party are raping us. They’re doing something to us we do not want & did not vote for.

Traitors are raping us in real time as we watch.

Not a word of that is untrue.

Show Me A Person Who Claims To "Speak For God" & I'll Show You A Person Who Thinks They ARE "God"

This really should be a no-brainer. Ask ten theists what “God” is & you will get ten distinctly different answers.

Ask 10 ardent theists — evangelicals, say — what “God” is and, if you listen really closely, what you’ll get is a person describing themselves. The absolutes and the moral imperatives heavy with the weight of Ultimate Decision-Making which are so far beyond the understanding of mere mortals don’t perturb the uber-religious. You see, THEIR minds CAN parse the subtleties and nuances of Divine Intent. They understand “the code”. They — unlike you or I — communicate with God on a much higher level than mere words. God thinks a thing and voila — it appears magically inside THEIR head so that THEY can dispense it to us.

That is how most theists think. It’s impossible for anyone to contradict them, of course, because no one else can crawl inside their head — the place where these divine messages were generated AND received. They can’t “prove” they DID receive a message but then, in their world, no one has to prove anything. Your word is your bond no matter how nonsensical your word is.

“God told me to do it” goes right back to Abraham coming within inches of sacrificing Isaac — the thing he loved more than life itself (supposedly). It must be “supposedly” because Abraham loved the voice in his head more than his son. He was willing to satisfy the voice’s need for loyalty over his child’s need for Life. This is the angry, self-centered, vengeful and markedly male god at the center of Abrahamic faith.

Even this deity’s “path to redemption” is boiled in blood. His own “son” has to die a horrible death so mankind can be forgiven for the character Eve biting into an apple. Think about the people who insist that these stories, steeped in metaphor and allegory and all kinds of literary device (being written as they were by creative humans) are literal truth. It’s no wackier than someone insisting the every book in the Dr. Seuss canon is literal truth.

The luxury of selling bullshit is that you never, ever have to back it up. There are no warranties, no service contracts. There’s just the sucker you took — their money in your hand and your bullshit in theirs.

Pick a televangelist — Franklin Graham… Kenneth Copeland… Benny Hinn… Joel OSteen… Listen to them get down to business. Listen to how they speak for the deity in whose service they supposedly work. Then actually THINK about it. What did they study to gain this ability? They studied THE BIBLE. They studied a work of literature whose history (how it came together) they probably don’t even know.

In other words — they studied a book of mostly fiction in order to claim expertise on dealing with reality. If the (mostly) men who wrote the texts that, in time, were assembled into the Pentateuch (the OT) and the NT had had access to the internet, if they had had microscopes at their disposal and telescopes — if they had known about germ theory and understood (having seen hard evidence) that the earth was NOT at the center of the Universe — you can bet they wouldn’t have written their texts the way they wrote them because it wouldn’t have made sense to THEM.

The NT & OT texts reflect a great deal of very real (but honest) ignorance. The people who wrote the OT & NT, by the way, didn’t know that more than one continent existed. Hell, they didn’t even know what continents were. If these texts were so divinely inspired, why didn’t the deity who supposedly created the universe have any insight into how the universe actually works?

Every time there’s a hint of “intelligent design” in the mix, we get a strong whiff of how stupid this “intelligent designer” actually is. This guy couldn’t design “hitting water” after falling out of a boat in the middle of the sea. He’s so inept even his union wants him gone.

There’s nothing wrong with taking “spiritual guidance” from the pages of the NT and OT. Personally, I’d say the spiritual guidance those texts advocate is dubious — but that’s just my opinion. The point is, they’re just “guidance” written by people a long, long time ago. People telling you today that those words were literally written by a magical man in the sky — or inspired by him — are bypassing spiritual guidance for ooga-booga.

Spirituality is you and things much larger than you — cosmically larger. How do you see and define that relationship? That’s your spirituality. Even a stone cold atheist, when gazing up at the cosmos, cannot help feeling awe. We live in an awesome universe. It’s so awesome in fact that we don’t even fully understand it yet.

Religion is someone trying to quantify your spirituality. They’re trying to tell you “how” to “practice” your spirituality. But, is that your spirituality they’re talking about — or “theirs”? Trick question — of course it’s theirs! They don’t give a toss about YOUR spirituality. They’re not selling yours, they’re selling theirs.

And they need you to buy theirs because building and maintaining churches is an expensive proposition. They really are black holes of cash. Most religion is trying to get YOU to help pay off THEIR shitty “time share” investment. That takes money. And getting the money it takes to flow in reliably enough requires bodies — paying members in your congregation. Oh — there’s probably a priest or a rabbi to pay for, too.

When televangelist John Hagee looks out at you and implores you to send him money, it’s not because he wants to feed your soul. He’s got expenses. Hard, hard expenses. A bank load that he cannot default on — or else. Or, maybe he’s REALLY rich and owns his own building outright. Then it’s just the upkeep he’s worried about. And his salary.

Ever see this incredible piece of tape where Kenneth Copland explains why this “spokesman for Jesus” needs a private jet to get from place to place? It’s all you need to know about most modern Christianity, televangelism, Kenneth Copeland and bullshit in general.

Look at Kenneth’s eyes in the clip. It’s a great acting job (well, not “great” so much as just an acting job that he’s committed to in his own embarrassingly over-the-top kinda way). Is that a man working in service of a higher power — or does he have it in his head that the reason he can’t fly with “riff-raff” is because GOD don’t fly with riff-raff — and he (make no mistake) is God?

If we take Jesus at his word (meaning if we look at the dozen or so things the various gospels agree Jesus might have said — keeping in mind that none of the actual gospel-writers ever met Jesus or heard his voice or words — one of his core messages is you don’t need a temple or its priests to communicate with God. Any believer can skip the intermediary and speak directly to “The Father”.

If that’s true, then why would one need a Kenneth Copeland or a Franky Graham or any of those sideshow geeks? One wouldn’t. One doesn’t.

One never did. But then, if everyone understood that, Ken & Frank & Benny would all have to find honest work.

What a sad come-down that would be for a mediocre deity.

Of Chaos Theory & Corner Kicks (And American Politics)

We all knew LIfe in the Age Of Trump was going to be challenging on a thousand different levels. I’m not sure we factored in the constant state of chaos Trumpism thrives on. That, it turns out, is what makes all the other challenges work — it’s almost impossible to attack any one of them while so many others are flaring up. The chaos stymies us. It frustrates us into cynicism — and inaction. Result? The chaos worsens, becoming unstoppable.

Chaos is a state of total unpredictability. Almost anything can happen — good, bad, indifferent. The study of chaos — Chaos Theory — attempts to find ways to predict chaos — to identify enough quantifiable elements inside the chaos so as to make prediction possible.

As Wikipedia puts it: “Chaotic behavior exists in many natural systems, including fluid flow, heartbeat irregularities, weather and climate. It also occurs spontaneously in some systems with artificial components, such as the stock market and road traffic.” Chaos exists in just about any system where human behavior pokes its nose. Like a soccor pitch…

I’m a Tottenham Hotspur supporter. That’s both a lovely experience — being part of a large, world-wide clan — and eternally crushing in its chronic “almost-ness”. Spurs have been top four or five in the English Premier League for years but never THE top. That consistency keeps a fan base happy but it never gives them the cathartic Big Win they crave. Last season, Spurs made it all the way to the Champions League Final against a superior Liverpool side. Another second place finish. So close… so far… .

Those who hate footie — Americans mostly who need constant action to engage them — don’t grasp the slow build drama of a soccer match. In England, every year, there are tournaments (the FA Cup, the Carabo Cup) where lesser teams from the lower leagues get to play against teams from the EPL Occasionally, the lesser teams flirt with jaw-dropping upsets. If a team can play solid, organized defense, they’ll always stand a chance. Keeping a clean sheet guarantees you at least a tie.

If you can score on a counter attack — then you have a chance to win, too. That’s the gamble. There’s another tool in the underdog’s belt though — chaos. For all its organization — with players keeping their shape and knowing where they need to be — a soccer game’s outcome can rely on the pure chaos unleashed when a corner kick gets taken.

Provided the attacking team’s goalie stays in his or her goal, that puts ten players trying to put the ball into the net against eleven players trying to stop the ball — and, hopefully either clear it out of the box to buy some time to regroup or initiate a counter strike because the attacking team’s defense is, for the moment, out of position. As much as teams may practice set plays, the circumstances at the time of any particular corner kick are unique to that game and everything that led to that corner kick.

If the player taking the corner kick lofts the ball into the box, here’s what happens: 21 bodies suddenly go into motion in 21 different directions. The kick could be well taken or not well taken — that, too, is part of the chaos. Weather conditions also impact what’s happening inside the box. Rain, for instance, can make getting traction harder. It can change the purchase a player going for a header gets as he digs his spikes into the turf and leaps. Wind can knock a ball down fractionally, change its arc just enough to impact all the players’ timing.

Anything can happen. A lesser player can score a goal just by being in the right place at the right time. He or she doesn’t even have to put the ball goal-ward with a drop of skill. The ball can reflect off them and into the net. It can hit them — then hit another player (altering the ball’s flight) before slipping past the goalie. The ball can even bounce off a defender and into the goal.

For all the skill and talent moving through those 792 square feet of space (the penalty area is 18 feet X 44 feet), it’s not uncommon for one of those talented, highly paid football soccer players to put the ball into his or own own net. Shit gets that chaotic.

You play the soccer game because anything can happen.

Metaphorically speaking (and I love me a good metaphor), the Age Of Trump is like a giant corner kick. We have lots of bodies in motion, all heading in different directions. Some want to put the ball into the goal — end Trump’s presidency — while others defend if not furiously then with total desperation.

There’s another player in the box though — us. We The People. We’re on this pitch to be sure. We’re the biggest bunch of players there actually. The game’s outcome will determine our future. That’s what makes it galling that, as usual, the Republicans are cheating at the game. But then, it was always an illusion that we started the game on a level playing field.

That has never, ever been the case.

Edward Norton Lorenz, creator of chaos theory (he “…established the theoretical basis of weather and climate predictability, as well as the basis for computer-aided atmospheric physics and meteorology”), also theorized “The Butterfly Effect”. Lorenz used a butterfly’s wings as a metaphor for how a minor perturbation — like a single butterfly flapping it’s wings on one part of the globe — could result in a tornado on another part of the planet several weeks later.

If Lorenz is right — and our ability to predict weather says he is — then even small disturbances can, in time, produce gigantic effects. It’s just the nature of chaos. That means that our political situation — as profoundly chaotic as it is — is not set in stone. Change any of the elements flying through the penalty box and we don’t know if or how the end will change.

But then, how the end “ends” is a lot more up to us than we realize. That’s the point. If enough of us butterflies out here in the public start flapping our wings — voting, attending marches and rallies, speaking up — we don’t know whether or not we’ll make a difference. But we could — the math days we absolutely could.

Who wins when the chaos ends? Who knows? Chaos is chaos is chaos.

And that’s why we have to show up.