Quick Reminder – GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy Has Been Up To His Ass In Treason From The Get-Go!

Kevin McCarthy Rolls Over for Donald Trump, Like a Dog

“There’s two people I think Putin pays – Rohrbacher and Trump – swear to God!” That’s what current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy said as he entered a roomful of GOP leaders on June 25, 2016 in Washington, DC, a month before the Republican Party nominated Donald Trump to be their nominee for POTUS. This conversation was recorded and the recording played for Washington Post reporter Adam Entous. It happened in other words. It is a stone cold fact and it represents something indisputable: the Republican Party knew before they nominated Trump that he was an extreme national security risk. Just about everything terrible that’s happened to America ever since flows directly from that moment of betrayal.

Just before asserting this, McCarthy had left a meeting with then Ukrainian Prime Minister Vladi­mir Groysman, who had described a Kremlin tactic of financing populist politicians to undercut Eastern European democratic institutions. Something about that conversation put it in McCarthy’s head that the man they were now all in bed with was corrupt and owned not just by the head of a foreign government, but by the head of a foreign government that we know is bent on destroying us. Keep this context in mind as McCarthy says to his political fellow travelers that this same hostile foreign government literally OWNS their presidential nominee.

Did anyone in the room react with shock? Did anyone demand that McCarthy produce receipts? Did anyone insist that if what Kevin was saying was true, they owed it to the country and to their oaths of office to call the FBI?

Of course not.

Then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan (third in line to power) cut off any discussion. “Ryan instructed his Republican lieutenants to keep the conversation private, saying: “No leaks. . . . This is how we know we’re a real family here.”

Let’s reiterate what Paul Ryan and the rest of the Republican leadership were agreeing to keep secret – because they were a real family: the fact that their candidate was a traitor. The moment they all agreed to keep that secret a secret? They all became traitors, too.

That’s not hyperbole.

Their actions from that moment forward were the actions of guilty men. They kept their secret a secret. They did everything in their power to interfere with any sort of investigation into not just this incident but every instance of Donald Trump’s odd relationship with Putin.

Since then, to my knowledge, few other reporters have asked GOP Leader about this remarkable assertion of his. The one time a reporter did, McCarthy spit back the usual GOP response: “I was joking”.

Yeah… except McCarthy wasn’t joking. The reason he got nervous laughter in the room isn’t because McCarthy’s delivery of the set up was so scintillating. It’s because everyone in the room knew that what McCarthy had just asserted was not only possible but likely the absolute truth. That’s why everyone there went along with Speaker Ryan’s insistence that they they behave like a family – a mafia family.

One can connect dots from that moment all the way through the election to moments like “Moscow, if you’re listening!” (they were!) to Paul Manafort handing over all that proprietary polling data that came back as propagandized Facebook ads that tried to convince Black Democratic voters to stay home because Hillary was a racist on the down low. One can see Russia’s hand in the way Trump turned on NATO and slavishly stroked Putin every day of his presidency. The dots connect to the Mueller Report – its focus narrowed to a single tranche (Trump’s relationship with Wikileaks) where even there, Mueller couldn’t say for certain how criminal Trump had been with Russia because of the unceasing obstructive behaviors.

Our slow-witted news media still scratches its head when it ponders the nature of Trump’s hold on the Republican Party. Well, if you can’t see Trump for the traitor he is, seeing the rest of the GOP for the co-conspirators to commit treason that they are is beyond you. Hey, I’m old enough to remember when people like me blogging or tweeting about Trump’s relationship with Russia, his authoritarian bent or the Nazification of the GOP, I got eye rolls. I should have gotten a few “Amen, Brother’s!”‘.

Today was a good day on this front. A lot of us wanted an indication from the DoJ where it was in all this – was it even going to do anything? The answer seems to be yes. Putting down a sedition card – charging the leader of the Oath Keepers and nine others with “seditious conspiracy” – that answered the question. A bit. Sedition is a lot more serios than the “breaking and entering” most of the lower level foot soldiers have been nailed with. Sedition is serious. You have to think a moderate, details guy like Merrick Garland wouldn’t have charged a player like Stewart Rhodes with something as serious as sedition if he didn’t think he could bring it in for a landing.

It’s the “conspiracy” part though that’s most intriguing. One doesn’t have to be a plotter to be swept up in a conspiracy. One doesn’t even have to know anything about it. A suspicion or a reasonable awareness can turn you from a disinterested party into a participant. You can’t just walk away. You are obligated to do something. It’s called “citizenship”.

I used to think it was a matter of time before one of my posts screaming about this missing piece of inquiry got some reporter somewhere to ask Kevin McCarthy what he meant by “There’s two people I think Putin pays – Rorhbacher and Trump – swear to God!”. Now I think it’s a matter of not holding my breath.

You’d think the opportunity to make a scumbag like Kevin McCarthy squirm would appeal to all those journalists eager to make a name for themselves. But, maybe they’re afraid that if they tell the truth about Kevin, he won’t talk to them anymore. And so the next round of cover up begins.

Why Do Republicans Insist On Behaving Exactly Like Slave Masters?

Never mind permanent minority rule, if the Republican Party could really have its way with America? They’d bring back slavery. That’s even more than they already have. In a number of disturbing ways, slavery really never ended in America. It shape shifted. Slavery, at its core, is stolen labor. The whole point of having a slave is they work for free. The slave master gets one hundred percent of the slave’s work output for nada. The only thing the slave master has to cover – to keep that work product coming – is whatever it costs to clothe, house and feed their slave. It’s simple business math: product minus costs equals profits. In America, in the agrarian South, they had three big cash crops: tobacco, sugar cane and cotton. All are labor intensive to farm. From a pure “cost-benefit” point of view, slavery asks “Hey, what if we could get all that farm labor (plus a little extra labor around the house) for nothing?” In a moral world, the response would have been “But, of course, slavery is wrong!” whereas, in America, the response was “Hey, so long as we can get away with it…”.

And that’s what happened. The American South – its business interests – got away with stealing the labor output of virtually all its essential farm labor. Not only did the slave economy not pay for that farm labor, it prevented those workers from ever building up the wealth they would have acquired HAD THEY been fairly paid for their work product. This is why reparations aren’t a “nicety”, they are demanded by any standard of decency.

What if the South hadn’t had the luxury of enslaving its farm work force? What if circumstances had compelled the South to pay a fair wage to every single person previously enslaved? There would never have been a Southern economy and, consequently, no Confederacy. Instead, who knows, a fairly paid work force producing those agricultural products may have been the basis for a worker’s paradise that would have shut Karl Marx’s mouth.

Alas, no such thing happened. Slavery did.

Are white Europeans more racist than anyone else? Hard to say. But they have been more successful than anyone else at spreading their racism across the planet and at profiting from it. The white, land-owning, Christian, European men who founded America’s government had a smashing idea in their collective heads: democratic self government. A hard thing to imagine, but even harder to keep (as Benjamin Franklin noted). What made the idea harder to keep than perhaps it should have been was piss poor execution of this smashing idea. Hey – just because white guys did it doesn’t mean the white guys got it right. In the case of founding America, they got it partially right. Either you mean “all people are created equal under the rule of law” or you mean “All men are created equal” by which you literally mean just “men” and by “men” you mean men who look exactly like you.

Sorry, but we’ll have to split that grade. “A” for the idea, “F” for the execution.

Originalism, you understand, is white men pointing at “All men are created equal” and insisting that THAT is how WE must understand the country today. That is all sorts of nasty-assed, liquid excrement.

This is conservatism’s goal however. The thing conservatives want to conserve is America the way it was. They’re terrified of America the way it’s about to be – where white people are a minority of the population – and, so, are doing everything they can think of (none of it legal, moral or ethical) to hold onto political power for as long as possible – hopefully forever. Conservatives don’t want to share power with the rest of us; in their minds, they’ve already shared too much – and look what it’s brought them!

It’s hard to say if race relations would be different in America had Restoration been allowed to happen in the South. Perversely, having forced Black people into slavery to begin with – the thing that brought the Civil War and the South’s ruin – after the war, white southerners blamed Black people for causing their economic collapse. Bitter at losing a war they maybe could have won, simmering with resentment, they saw everything in “zero sum game” terms. Whatever Black people had was at some white person’s expense. Few things enraged racists as much as Black success and Black wealth – especially if those enraged white people were failing because of their own woeful ignorance, profound laziness and copious inadequacies.

Want to know what really scares a racist more than anything? Having to compete in any way, shape or form.

Let’s go back to slavery. After the Civil War, one couldn’t literally enslave people anymore. Restoration’s failure (thanks, Andrew Johnson – if only he’d been convicted in the Senate!) disrupted the balance of power in the South. Black political power was truncated before it could even take root. Still, Black businesses and communities thrived, in part because of their insularity. That insularity enraged racists. That raged burned out Black Wall Street in Tulsa in June 1921 and Colfax, Louisiana in 1873,. It burned through Wilmington, NC in 1898 and through both Washington, DC and Elaine, AK in 1919. Racism took out the thriving Black community in Ococe, FL in 1920, and took out Rosewood, FL’s Black community in 1923. This was the white South reminding its Black inhabitants that they were nowhere near as free as they thought they were; nowhere near as free as the Constitution was attempting to make them.

Off to the side of this deeply embedded racism, sat “the money”. As Calvin Coolidge put it, “The business of America is business”. Capitalism is neither good nor evil. It’s an idea that can be good or evil. It depends how it’s executed and by whom. Socialized capitalism – like they have in Sweden and Denmark for instance (where wealth is spread as fairly as possible so as to not only reward hard work but to encourage constant innovation – produces a happy, healthy, innovative citizenry. Crony capitalism on the other hand is capitalism corrupted. There’s nothing good or worthwhile about it. Everything crony capitalism touches dies. Especially innovation.

We’ve all known bosses who tried to get us to work for nothing because they were short-sighted, greedy and stupid, and bosses who understood that compensating us fairly would get the best possible work from us – to their ultimate benefit. It’s just a fact: some people can only see value in money. They don’t see value in anything else – like good will or good faith or good relationships – even where their customers are concerned. They want every penny they can get in their pocket and no one else’s. To them, all workers are interchangeable and replaceable. They’re an expense that reduces the business’s profitability. Robots work cheaper (they’re practically slaves by design). That is precisely why so many businesses automate over hiring if possible.

For now however, our captains of industry must hire humans to do as much thankless work as possible for as long as possible for the least amount of pay possible.

It may not be literal slavery, but it can see slavery from its house. Can we call this condition “Slavery Adjacent”?

Republicans despise having a minimum wage because it conflicts with enslaving people. They hate any sort of social safety net because those people-empowering policies conflict with enslaving people. They can’t stand the idea of universal basic income because UBI especially undermines slavery (people can wait for work that suits them rather than take any job because they need the money). Republicans hate social security, medicare, free community college, free pre-school and even food for the hungry because all those things get in the way of re-enslaving Americans by turning America into a giant, corrupt, broken-to-its-core company town..

It’s just a stone cold fact. If we strip away all the pretense in virtually every Republican economic argument, what every Republican is really arguing for is either a return to slavery or a subtle variation on slavery’s theme.

There – I’ve answered my own question. Why do Republicans insist on behaving exactly like slave masters? Because that is what they are in their hearts and aspire to be out here in reality. Just like the Republicans remain hell bent on getting their coup d’etat right, they ache to get slavery right this time.

And they know, these Republicans, that if they score the one (permanent political power), the other (a return to slavery even if not by name) will come right along with it.

Republicans & The Best Stateroom On The Titanic

Sane people can never quite grok how someone will always show up to place a million to one bet on something preposterous on the pure hope that “it could happen”. Those bets never pay off and are never going to. Republicans keep betting that the Titanic – having already hit the iceberg and begun taking on water – isn’t going to sink. They think they’re all Molly Brown – except Molly’s floating away on a lifeboat while they’re sinking into the cold, icy deep. The Republicans are pirates who believe in magic. They’re white guys deluded by their own whiteness; they think because white people imposed their racist will on Europe once – which they failed at horribly, remember – that they can do it again here… with the same results? That’s the whole kicker to white supremacists worshipping Hitler. He’s the literal poster boy for what happens when you let white people’s id run amok. Sure, you get to kill millions of people you hate and (briefly) take over the world. But, then the majority finally imposes its will – and your “thousand year Reich” comes up a little short.

There’s no prettying up what’s about to happen here. It is going to be ugly and violent because of what’s at stake: white hegemony. Literally.

America is on its way to being a white minority nation. Nothing’s going to stop that. Not even the Republican Party attempting to impose permanent minority rule upon the rest of us. The Republican’s racist brain trust – Steve Bannon and Mike Flynn, the Mercers, Charles Koch, Sean Hannity – believes it can pull a “Packer Sweep” and flatten the rest of us into submission as they end American democracy on their own say-so. They believe that what happened in Nazi Germany can happen here. They hope like hell it IS happening here.

But, the GOP is absolutely wrong about that. Their power grab is doomed to fail. Here’s why.

America simply isn’t like any other country – least of all, like Germany at the moment fascism took hold of it. What we think of as “Germans” and “Germany” is a relatively recent invention. The modern political states of Europe are each the product of two thousand years plus of evolution that slowly changed Huns, Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Vandals, Burgundians,, Lombards, Saxons and Franks (among others) into Germans, French, Italians, Belgians, Spaniards and English people (among others). The Europeans’ pathogens cleared the way for white people to conquer North, South and Central America with a modicum of effort. White northern Europeans especially stepped onto American shores utterly convinced of their superiority. The Americas are still suffering for that delusion.

The whole rest of the world then, in essence, saw America for the blank slate of potential it always was. While virtually every other human society had been around or evolving in place for a millennium at least, the society that filled up the pathogen-emptied America was made up of all those other human societies. No one – not even the Pilgrims – came here looking for any sort of religious freedom. The Pilgrims found their religious freedom in the Netherlands after they left England. They came to America looking for money – because living lives of religious freedom was expensive. My point: America was always seen as a place for opportunity. For reinvention. Where, if one was willing to put in the hard work, regardless of who you are, regardless of where you’re from, you too can achieve your dreams (so long as that doesn’t infringe on someone else achieving their dreams).

White people may think they “invented” America, but they didn’t. The best we can say for the country’s founders is that these rich, Christian, land-owning men had a great idea in their heads – inspired by the French Enlightenment – that people didn’t need kings to govern them, that they could govern themselves. To that end our founders wrote “All men are created equal”. But, being fallible – and being especially fallible cos “men” – they didn’t get the execution of this great idea one hundred percent right. For starters, they didn’t actually mean “all men” are created equal. They only meant that men like them were equal. In their eyes. They also meant that ONLY men could be their equals. Women need not apply or vote. Some of the founders though understood America, understood what made America worth founding, the republic worth keeping. James Madison insisted that “E Pluribus Unum” be our Great Seal.

“From many one”. That is how America happened. It is precisely what makes America exceptional.

It’s the thing Republicans are hell bent on steering America away from. They will fail. It is inevitable. Hitler relied on both the enthusiasm and physical violence of his followers and the silent, tacit approval of everyone else. There may have been plenty of “Good Germans” who didn’t “like” what Hitler was doing. They didn’t try to stop him either. End of the day? They were more “German” than “good”. Hitler relied on that “German-ness”. The Republicans also are relying on a cohesive “white” response to their power grab. Republicans are relying on enough white people to coalesce around the idea of permanent white hegemony to cow the rest of us into permanent acceptance of same.

I wish them luck with that.

For the Republicans to accomplish their goal, they would have to get the REST of the white people to go along PLUS Black people, brown people, Asian people, LGBTQ people, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and Buddhists. We’ll all have to agree to go along to get along. We’ll have to resist seeing common purpose in a common foe. We’ll have to stop ourselves from reacting to each new outrage with mounting contempt for the evil that thinks it can abuse us and get away with it.

IF the Republicans succeed at stealing our democracy out from under us – the only way it can happen – it will be a long, ugly, violent process to get it back. But we will because, at that point, what choice will the rest of us have? Trust me when I say this – as a child of the Holocaust: never again.

The Republicans think their whiteness is a talisman. They couldn’t be more wrong.

Skepticism Vs Cynicism Vs Joe Manchin

In theory, a journalist is supposed to bring a healthy dose of skepticism to everything they report. The questioning doubt nagging at them, the junkyard dog reluctance to trust anything until it proves itself worthy – that would be their skepticism at work if they had skepticism and if it was at work. Alas, in practice, the overwhelming majority of American journalists drive to work each day in a cynicism-mobile. They punch the clock having already delineated the game and all its players. They see everyone in terms of their labeling, but, ironically, they don’t actually differentiate between labels. A Republican spouting anti-democratic, authoritarian tripe is the same as a Democrat defending democracy. To the cynical journalist, both sides have their opinions. Both opinions carry equal weight, their opinions being based on equal things (even if those things are facts and feelings, two very unequal things). Cynicism tells a journalist that it doesn’t really matter what any politician says because “they’re just a politician” even if one is advocating for democracy and the other is advocating for democracy’s violent overthrow.

Cynicism lies at the broken heart of “Both Sides Do It” brand journalism. It takes an entirely corporate view of both its audience and the American public. The corporate view doesn’t really care about democracy, it cares about its bottom line. If some system other than democracy could guarantee it more profits? The corporate view would immediately think “Screw democracy! Profits ho!” That would be short-sighted of course but then, greed is always short sighted. Greed deals in headlines and never the deep dive because deep dives cost money and reduce profits – the only thing that matters to greed.

Cynicism assumes the worst of everyone. All motives are ulterior. All acts are political and self-serving. The commonweal is a myth or, worse, a collecting pool for suckers.

Democracy can’t live in such an environment where people who believe in democracy are considered suckers because they believe in democracy. Similarly, democracy can’t endure where one of the two parties charged with managing the democracy has decided to forcefully end that democracy. A cynical journalist looks at the GOP and thinks “Republicans behaving like authoritarians is normal; authoritarianism is their “opinion du jour”. They could just as easily change back to being “democratic” tomorrow. It doesn’t matter what their point is, it only matters that they have one; that fact alone validates their point.

A skeptical journalist on the other hand would look a little closer at those Republicans, curious about how they went from being democratic to being authoritarian. Skeptical journalists have one question that drives them eternally: WHY? Why do people REALLY do what they do or say what they say? Sure, sure – everyone has an explanation at the ready but those explanations aren’t always true. Take, say, a Republican restricting voting rights in the face of the most secure election in American history. The Republican will say with a straight face that they’re worried about “election security”. While a cynical journalist would nod along with this bullshit assertion – hey, that’s his opinion! – the skeptical journalist would bore in. “What do you mean you’re worried about election security? The last election WAS secure; the issue seems to be that YOU LOST THE ELECTION and THAT’S what all your actions clearly are meant to “fix”. When the Republican spewed their nonsensical answer, the skeptical journalist would refuse to accept it. And bore in even further, like a shark with the smell of blood in its nostrils.

Imagine for a second if our news media had refused to accept “Mexicans are rapists” and “pussy grabbing” as readily as they accepted “But her emails!” Imagine if our press had refused to move on from Trump announcing his presidential candidacy in such a racist way. But then, cynical journalists think racism is an opinion one can have or not have. That’s why they think you can ask a Donald Trump “are you a racist?” and then have faith that the answer – “I’m the least racist person you’ve ever met” – is true. See how that works? Our news media won’t violate their neutrality on the subject of “is Trump a racist” because HE (a racist) says he isn’t one.

A skeptical journalist would never ask a racist that question to begin with because they’d know before asking the question what the answer would be. Skeptical journalists understand that “who’s a racist?” is a question for the racist’s victims and no one else. Only a racist’s victim knows whether or not a racist is being racist. No one else has the proper perspective.

This is precisely why Joe Manchin presents a particular problem for American journalists.

Let’s add one more ingredient to the mix. Our news media reports the American political playing field as if it’s level. It’s not and never has been. It’s already tilted far to the right – not by the electorate but by the rule makers – most of whom have been white, Christian men up till now. Hey, the whole reason we’re facing this existential crisis is because those white, Christian men refuse to share political power with the rest of us. They even co-conspired with RUSSIA ffs in order to avoid sharing power with Black, brown, Asian, LGBTQ or female Americans.

Cynical journalism accepts corruption as a given. Skeptical journalism sees corruption as the problem that journalism itself is charged with revealing and eliminating. More importantly, skeptical journalism sees itself as a crusader against corruption. Whereas cynical journalists accept Joe Manchin’s corruption (his relationship with the coal business and Koch industries, his daughter’s relationship with the outrageous price of insulin in America), skeptical journalists would want to know more.

The cynical approach to telling the Joe Manchin story – the one we’re getting – has the press grilling Democrats about their Manchin (and Sinema) problems. Cynical journalists see that “D” next to Manchin’s name and that’s as far as their journalistic instincts go. Sure, Manchin’s a Democrat in a Trump-loving state, but Manchin has zero challengers. Go on – name a West Virginian who could run against Joe and win. Joe doesn’t exist in West Virginia the way normal Democrats do. And as much as Mitch McConnell would love to have Joe become a Republican, there is no reason for Joe to do such a thing. He’d go from being a powerful hold out to one of fifty-one intransigent assholes. He’d lose in the deal; he ain’t doing it.

Joe Manchin has power in this situation because he’s a Democrat. If you don’t understand that, you don’t understand any of the realpolitik at play here. Joe Manchin has made himself the power broker of American democracy. If you want to understand why that is, you’d have to ask Joe Manchin – and not any of the Democrats. You’d have to ask Joe himself who he’s “representing” when he stands in the way of things his actual constituents want: pretty much the entire BBB. Clearly it ain’t anyone who lives in West Virginia, one of the poorest places in America. When the entire Republican Party makes RESTRICTING THE VOTE its goal – and the intention of that goal is so crystal clear: permanent white political hegemony – then a rational person – a skeptical journalist – would have to ask “Why on earth would Joe Manchin stand with these people over his own constituents?”

Let’s reframe this slightly – away from the cynical lens. This crisis is not Democrats v Republicans. It’s democrats v authoritarians. Any other framing is dishonest. It’s corrupt and we have to ask WHY? At a moment like this, indifference equals complicity with evil. As blissful as ignorance is, it too is evil. The lights are on now. We can all see what’s what on the table. We can see the Republican Party for the fascist death cult it allowed itself to become. FFS, these idiots are now drinking urine just make some idiotic political point in their heads. Feelings are what lead lemmings over the fact of a cliff.

But, there’s cause for hope! There are journalistic voices in the mix that see – have seen from the get-go. For all the rabidly mediocre, journalistically-corrupt-to-their-mitochondria Chuck Todds and John Kings there’s a Niccole Wallace and a Rachel Maddow and a JoyAnn Reid and a Mehdi Hasan and an Ali Velshi bringing SKEPTICISM to a CYNICAL landscape. They all had to play the rich, white man’s game to get where they got, but they know in their bones it isn’t supposed to BE a “rich, white man’s game”. It’s supposed to be everyone’s game.

As in E Pluribus Unum.

So long as the majority of American journalists practice cynical journalism instead of skeptical journalism, American journalism will fail America – exactly as they’re doing right now.

Not Every Issue Has Two Sides – Like The Question “Should American Democracy End?”

The “Both Sides Do It” brand of journalism – cynical all the way down to its mitochondria – gives all sides to a story equal weight because it refuses to judge anything, prizing “neutrality” above even the Truth. Pick a conflict between two people, two groups, two nations and both sides, BSDI journalism says, have equally valid arguments that journalists should never side with. That is pure crap. Let’s say my personal conflict is with a car thief. My point of view is “You stole my car and that’s wrong in every single way.” The car thief’s angle is “I stole your car from you because I wanted it”. Now, according to BSDI journalism rules, these two points (separate from points of view) are equally valid. As the car thief’s “alleged victim”, it’s just my opinion versus his. If the car thief says he didn’t do it, and until a court of law says otherwise, then it’s not for the press to “convict” the car thief even as he sits in my car outside my house, blaring the horn just to rub his thievery in my face. Even my victimhood is just “my opinion”.

The moment you give credence to bullshit, bullshit wins. Game over. That’s what our news media does every single day. It’s what they did from the instant Donald Trump stepped onto our political stage. In essence, Trump’s campaign should have ended the day it started. The moment he called Mexicans rapists, our news media should have recognized that a line had been crossed. Same goes for “pussy grabbing”. That, too, should have been an uncrossable line in the sand for ANY presidential candidate. But, our news media shrugged them both off when “But, her emails!” reared its head. In doing that, our news media false equivalanced Donald Trump telling everyone he was unqualified to be POTUS with a completely manufactured email scandal.

What, I’d like to know, are the “two sides” to Paul Manafort handing Oleg Deripaska the proprietary polling data on Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin that Russian military intelligence – Deripaska’s employer – turned into personalized Facebook ads that showed up on the Facebook pages of Black, Democratic voters in those three states, feeding them propaganda about Hillary Clinton’s quiet racism? The sheer act of giving Deripaska that information was a massive crime (for which Manafort went to jail and for which Trump pardoned him). What, I’d like to know, is the “other side” to any of this? We’re not speculating treason here, we’re outright talking about it!

To Trump’s credit, he understands our news media better than they understand themselves because he sees so much of himself in them. He also understands how to be a bully. And bullies don’t worry about the truth. They worry about “winning” at all costs. Is “winning at all costs (up to and including cheating)” the same as just “winning”? The end product may be the same but, surely, a win achieved through cheating and a win achieved through honesty are not! If that was the case, why would anyone bother doing things honestly when it’s the cheaters who always win?

That, too, is another question our news media never asks. Maybe they think cheating to win IS as good as not cheating to win.

The overwhelming majority of Americans – Democrats, independents and a few Republicans – don’t want America’s experiment with self government to end. We never even wanted it on the ballot. We never thought it was an issue.

Our news media – late to the party as ever – still can’t get it through their heads that a Republican suppressing a Democratic voter isn’t behaving politically; they’re behaving criminally (suppressing another American’s right to vote) FOR a political purpose. The Democratic voter whose right to vote has been suppressed (or gerrymandered) is NOT behaving “politically” when they insist they are the victim of a crime. They’re a crime victim reporting the crime that’s been perpetrated against their right to vote. See the difference?

Therefore the voter whose vote is being suppressed has a valid argument – their side – while those suppressing their right to vote DON’T have a valid argument. That’s two points of view but only one valid point. Our news media, alas, reports them both as if they both were valid. Just like that, Truth gets compromised because our news media has given credence to lies, corruption and bullshit.

Profiles In Monotheism & Madness: Kenneth Copeland

If you don’t know who Kenneth Copeland is, you should. Kenneth Copeland is the poster boy for why monotheism is dangerous.

Ken’s a televangelist and a big fan of the “prosperity gospel”. He preaches that contrary to what Jesus actually said about money and how corrupting it is, “true believers” like Ken owe it to themselves to get filthy, stinking rich. Still, ya gotta give guys like Ken their due. That’s quite an imaginative leap to get from “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” to a an actual rich man like Ken buying the kingdom of God out from under God because Ken is richer than God. That’s just one measly example of how easy it is in the religion biz to take something that clearly means one thing and make it mean its diametric opposite. As moored as monotheism seems to a concrete “God”, its god is never in fact made of concrete.

What a luxury it is to have such a fluid, malleable deity that each human can make God in their very own image – which is exactly what every theist does (by design). What’s the alternative? Imagine God in someone else’s image – like the guy praying across from you? Look, I honestly don’t care what anyone else believes so long as it doesn’t “get on me”. But, make your crazy belief system my problem (by, say, legislating it) and then, yeah – I’m going to take issue with you AND your deity. Especially when you think you ARE the deity.

Whose voice is it really that fills a believer’s head when a believer surrenders themselves to God? Does God (or Jesus) really “want” Ken Copeland to fly private rather than commercial? I doubt God or Jesus actually give a flying eff. But, Kenny C sure does – and he believes down to his mitochondria that it’s not him insisting that he treat himself like God, it’s God!

Except it ain’t.

Ask ten people who believe in God what God is and you’ll get ten different answers especially if those ten people run the gamut from Reform Jews to lapsed Catholics to FLDS Mormons to Wahabist Muslims. “God” can cover a lot of territory, plenty of it outright contradictory. Theists point to this fluidity as evidence of God’s transcendence. He can be all things to all people. So can a finger painting. The Lord may work in mysterious ways but if he’d just stay on his meds maybe he’d get a handle on that.

Guys like Kenny Copeland and Benny Hinn and Joel O’Steen and TD Jakes and David Oyedepo and Pat Roberson and Jesse Duplantis and Creflo Dollar do not for two seconds believe IN God. But they all – every one of them – believe they ARE God. Take that to the bank and prepare to get richer than a televangelist.

The Bottom Line Explanation For EVERYTHING The Republicans Are Doing Is TREASON

It all starts with Russia.

Take Russia out of the Donald Trump Equation and Trump never wins anything. In fact, take Russian mob money away from Trump and his Atlantic City casinos fail even faster. Take Miss Universe in Moscow away from Trump and he has zero avenues available to try and launch a Trump Tower Moscow project. Take Russia away from Trump and he never gets to rescue himself; he ends up squandering daddy’s entire real estate fortune. Take Russia away from Donald Trump and not only was he never POTUS, he might be living on skid row himself – in one of the more squalid trash heaps. The Republican Party KNEW for a fact that Trump was compromised by Russia before they nominated him to be their candidate for POTUS. They KNEW that a Trump presidency would be a massive national security risk (and failure!) . Nothing about Trump surprised the Republican Party’s leadership from the moment he shoved his way into their tent.

They KNEW Trump was a traitor – and they stepped in line behind him regardless.

Some receipts… As the primaries got underway, the Marco Rubio-backing Washington Free Beacon funded some opposition research on Trump. They hired a commercial research and strategic intelligence-gathering firm called FUSION GPS to do the work that ultimately produced the Steele Dossier. Fusion had been co-founded by former Wall Street Journal writers Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch. When he was called before the Senate Judiciary Committee on August 22, 2017 (the then Republican controlled Senate was trying to squash all investigations into Trump and was especially focused on knocking down the Steele Dossier’s damaging implications), Simpson told the story about how we got a “Steele Dossier” to begin with. Before beginning its oppo research work in earnest, Simpson testified, Fusion did its “due diligence”: they got their hands on every piece of publicly available material they could on Trump – newspaper pieces, magazine articles, radio and TV appearances. They scoured Amazon. They went to actual bookstores. They watched and listened to a lot of video and audio tape.

What Fusion found there – in material anyone could find (including the rest of the news media) – took them aback. Simpson testified that the picture they had – even before beginning their real work – implicated Trump as a money launderer. And maybe worse. In order to bore down more deeply into the questions they now had about Trump and his odd relationship with Russia, Fusion sub-contracted that part of their research to another company – Orbis – which was owned and operated by the former head of the MI6’s vaunted Russia desk, the highly respected Christopher Steele. Steele WAS known and respected when Fusion engaged him; the FBI had relied on Steele and his integrity when they took down Sepp Blatter, the corrupt former head of FIFA.

By that point in the chronology, Marco Rubio’s presidential ambitions had been kicked to the curb. The Washington Free Beacon had stopped paying for the research but the ball was picked up by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and by the DNC. Quick note: Hillary Clinton has been 100% right about EVERYTHING regarding Donald Trump). Now, we all have to understand one simple thing: Steele is in the intelligence business. By its nature, this is a smoke and mirrors world. Very often, facts have to be discerned; they won’t necessarily present themselves. One must approach information with both caution and perspective. Our news media, being shallow and sensationalist, got it into their heads that the worst allegations about Trump had to do with hookers and a bed that Obama slept in. Perversely, the most titillating parts of the Dossier are its least problematic for Trump. There’s nothing inherently illegal in watching hookers piss on a bed.

There’s something inherently illegal however when you are on a foreign country’s payroll especially when that country is engaged in cyber war against us.

Another receipt: let’s visit the moment on June 25, 2016 when current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy entered a meeting of GOP leaders in Washington, DC. It’s a month BEFORE these very people will crown Donald Trump as their nominee. “There’s two people I think Putin pays,” Kevin says, “Rohrbacher and Trump – swear to God!” Let’s take “I was joking” off the table, please. It’s bullshit (and it was Kevin’s explanation the ONE TIME he was questioned about this moment). People with no sense of humor cannot kid, joke or be ironic. This is for real. Not every has a sense of humor because not everyone can laugh at themselves. Being able to laugh at oneself is the marker for having a sense of humor. People who can’t laugh at themselves laugh exclusively at others; they’re called “bullies”. When Kevin added “Swear to God” to his accusation, it was in answer to the ripple of nervous laughter his accusation had caused.

Let’s bore in here – and, for the record, this conversation among Republicans WAS RECORDED and that recording was played in 2017 for Washington Post reporter Adam Entous. Kevin McCarthy has just accused the man they’re all going to nominate of being corrupt. Not just corrupt – corrupt because a hostile foreign government is PAYING HIM. And the job they’re going to nominate this corrupted man for is the PRESIDENCY.

But, no one in the room seems surprised by Kevin’s damning accusation. No one says “Whaaaaat? Kevin, are you SURE about this? Do you have RECEIPTS for such a crazy idea?” Instead, as I said, there’s nervous laughter. That’s why McCarthy stammers “Swear to Go!” He wants the room to believe him. He’s not making it up. And no one present thinks he is. Least of all then Speaker Of The House of Representatives (and third in line to the presidency) Paul Ryan. Does Paul Ryan – the country’s national security apparatus two heartbeats away from his control – demand to know why Kevin thinks their soon-to-be nominee is a clear national security risk? No, he doesn’t!

Instead, Ryan goes in the OTHER direction – away from transparency! Away from patriotism. Away from doing the right thing. This terrible secret, Ryan tells them all, will remain their terrible secret. Nothing about this conversation, Ryan insists, will leave this room. “That’s how we know we’re family” is how he puts a bow on it.

I keep going back to this moment because it’s real. It is a fully documented, primary sourced instance of deliberate treason. There is absolutely no refuting it.

And everything that led to where we are today flowed directly from it: an act of treason.

Another receipt. September 2016. Barack Obama calls an urgent “Gang of Eight” meeting at the White House. He wants the intelligence community to present information they have that alarms them deeply: Russia is actively engaged in trying to throw the coming presidential election to Trump. They have proof and believe the American electorate deserves to know. But, then Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gets upon his treason turtle hind legs and insists that if Obama tries to warn America about what Russia is actively doing on Trump’s behalf, he, McConnell will tell America that this mighty NOT be true – that Obama is merely “politicizing the intelligence”.

That wasn’t the case of course. And do ya really think Mitch wasn’t as aware as anyone else with an R next to their name that “Putin pays Trump”?

Think about that. Mitch McConnell refused to let America know that Russia was actively engaged in making a man Mitch knew Russia was paying president. That’s a hell of a secret to keep from We The People, don’tcha think?

But if you appreciate that Mitch was just keeping the same secret Paul Ryan insisted they all keep – like a mafia family – then, suddenly, every last bit of Republican behavior makes absolute sense. Instead of endlessly scratching their heads as they wonder what hold Trump has on the GOP, our news media could 1) read what it’s already reported and 2) do a deeper dive into it especially in hindsight. The answer isn’t hard to find. :Hell – like almost everything that Trump did, it’s right there, out in the open! All any reporter really has to do is look at it and report honestly what they see.

There’s another element here that’s worked entirely to Trump’s benefit. Rich white people are loathe to prosecute other rich white people. It’s weird… like they all know where each others’ bodies are buried… It is remarkable what white men can get away with in America that no one else can even contemplate. Apparently, that includes treason.

At the end of the day, there will be a clear, simple explanation for everything that’s happened over the past five years. The January 6 insurrection didn’t just spontaneously “happen” regardless of what the Republican Party needs America to believe. The insurrection was planned and paid for by people who needed Trump to stay in power – up to and including Trump himself. Our news media will insist that Trump is merely being childish – he’s a grown man refusing to accept a humiliating electoral defeat. But that misses the point entirely. It misses what Trump actually is and what he’s actually guilty of.

The reason Trump needed to stay in power was less because Trump loves power than because without the power of the presidency, Trump is going to be prosecuted out the wazoo – and especially as a traitor. He was “golden” while protected by that silly Department of Justice directive that sitting presidents can’t be subpoenaed. But, now that any lawyer with a case can have a shot at him? He’s feeling the pain (though not the financial pain since Trump now has the RNC paying his legal bills).

But, consider that fact all by itself! Why would the Republican Party pay MILLIONS OF DOLLARS in legal fees for charges that have zero to do with Trump’s time in office? You can hear the question forming in our news media’s head already: “What ‘hold’ does Donald Trump sill maintain over the Republican Party?”

Hey, remember when using the word “treason” got you nothing but eye rolls? Remember when calling Trump a fascist cost you respect because you went “there” (regardless of how right you were)? Remember when we used to think that Republicans were ordinary, patriotic Americans just like Democrats?

Neither do I. Treason has blotted out everything.

What Impact Will COVID Have On Our Future? If The Black Plague Is Any Guide, The Impact Will Be HUGE

Three years into the COVID-19 pandemic, we still have no fixed idea of how to deal with this damned pathogen. That’s less a reflection on the science than it is on the nature of pathogens. And people. It’s hard enough fighting an actual pandemic. Having to battle misinformation, deliberate propaganda and genuine, honest confusion at the same time? People wanting black and white answers is understandable. Being handed a delineated tick tock of how to solve a problem beats having to figure it out for oneself. Alas, pathogens don’t play nicely. They’re intensely single-minded. Bigger problem? They’re adept at adapting. For a creature that’s no more than a clump of RNA, incapable of reproducing itself by itself (it needs another creature’s host cells and their DNA in order to do that), COVID-19 has been remarkably savvy. It has evolved continually, always looking for a way to improve its ability to infect us and our cells (saliva, lung, heart, brain, blood or whatever) and spread more explosively. Like most viruses, COVID-19 evolves on the fly because it can – and because it has to in order to survive. That’s why pinning it down is so challenging. That’s why as a way to cull the human herd, pandemics are even more efficient than war.

Consider our relationship with COVID from COVID’s point of view. COVID has one “mission” built into its being: make more of itself. That’s it. That’s its entire mandate – reproduce at all costs. That reproduction will require penetrating our cells and converting our DNA into their RNA. In essence, viruses see human beings as cheap sex hotels where they go to boink like bunnies. Considering what a mess COVID makes of its lodgings – it does to us what Who drummer Keith Moon used to do to hotel rooms – what kind of idiot “lodging facility” would open its doors to monstrously rude guests like these? In America, it turns out, plenty of idiots.

Like war, pandemics cause massive disruption to nearly ever facet of normal life. We are now part of a data set that proves the point. We ache for life to return to normal because we assume life CAN still return to “normal”.

History says “normal” died the moment COVID appeared. History says pandemics not only kill, they leave the survivors with a “new normal”. The first pandemic that provided a viable data set for us to consider is the Black Plague that swept through Europe, when a Genoese trading ship unwittingly transported plague from Kaffa (in the Crimea) to its Italian base in 1347 . Along with trade goods, these ships carried sailors sick and dying from pestilence. Imagine how much more terrifying a pandemic would be if we had zero idea what was causing it and even less of a clue how to stop it. The sars-cov-2 virus, so we keep learning, is remarkably at home inside our bodies. It finds purchase not just in our lungs but in virtually every one of our organs. Long term COVID has only just begun to present itself. It’s going to be torment millions of the disease’s survivors for the rest of their lives. But, sdars-cov-2 – as bad as it is – pales in comparison to what the plague bacillus does to human (and animal) bodies.

Bubonic plague arrived in two forms at the same time: one infected the bloodstream and caused egg-sized buboes to form in its victims’ armpits and groin. The buboes oozed dark blood and foul-smelling pus. This form of plague – spread via physical contact – caused severe pain, internal bleeding and organ failure that could kill a victim within five days of being infected. The second form of plague killed even more brutally and quickly. Pneumonic plague infected the lungs and spread via infected bodily fluids. This form could kill in three days; sometimes within 24 hours or less. Its victims coughed and sweated heavily. Everything flowing from them – sweat, saliva, blood, urine, shit – smelled foul and spread infection.

Depression and despair accompanied both forms of plague. As historian Barbara Tuchman describes in her magnificent work “A Distant Mirror”, “before the end, ‘death is seen seated on the face’.”

Just as COVID-19 has massively impacted the world’s economy – being as so much of it is now tied together – plague disrupted the Medieval economy. In fact, bubonic plague destroyed feudalism. Feudalism relied on a kind of slavery at its core. Peasants farmed the land for the benefit of their immediate lords. Those lords owed the lords above them taxes paid in the form of the farm products grown on their lands by the peasants. Most of everything flowed upward to the king, the “lord’s lord”. But, after the plague wiped out anywhere from 20% to 100% of the people in any particular place, every part of the economic process ground to a halt. Dead peasants couldn’t pick anything. Unpicked crops didn’t get to market and didn’t get up the food chain to the higher lords and the king. And it’s not like the lords were going to do something as crazy as farm their own fields.

Here’s Tuchman:

“When death slowed production, goods became scare and prices soared. In France, the price of wheat increased fourfold by 1350. At the same time, the shortage of labor brought the plague’s greatest social disruption – a concerted demand for higher wages. Peasants as well as artisans, craftsmen, clerks and priests discovered the lever of their own scarcity. Within a year after the plague had passed through northern France, the textile workers of St. Oman near Amiens had gained three successive wage increases. In many guilds artisans struck for higher pay and shorter hours. In an age when social conditions were regarded as fixed, such action was revolutionary.”

See any contemporary echoes? COVID has disrupted our supply chains and caused inflation. But, it’s also given exceptional power to workers over their bosses. The Great Resignation happening now owes everything to the pandemic.

Just like now, conservative forces attempted to minimize labor’s power. In 1351, the English Parliament passed “The Statue of Laborers” which (Tuchman again) “…denounced not only laborers who demanded higher wages but particularly those who chose ‘rather to beg in idleness than to earn their bread in labor’. Idleness of the worker was a crime against society, for the medieval system rested on his obligation (emphasis mine) to work”.

The conservative forces lost the fight then just as they’ll lose it again now. Tuchman gets to the heart of it: “Once people envisioned the possibility of a change in a fixed order [like feudalism], the end of an age of submission came in sight; the turn to individual conscience lay ahead. To that extend, the Black Death may have been the unrecognized beginning of modern man.”

That’s a pretty significant disruption. Something a lot like it is coming our way. But, that’s just history talking.

The GOP Wet Dream: Turn America Into White Trash Heaven

Think about the America the Republican Party wants us to be: a racist, bigoted, misogynistic hellhole of corruption where the rich get richer and everyone else gets the shaft. It’s an America of sham elections and squalid values. It favors feelings over facts, ignorance over expertise and bullshit over truth. It’s not a coincidence that the GOP’s vision for America resembles America circa 1850 when white, Christian, land-owning men still ruled everything. That’s the America conservatives want to conserve. The one where they held all the advantages, all the power and pretty much all the money. They can’t imagine a world where rising tides even exist – never mind rising tides that lift all boats. Instead, they see the world entirely in “zero sum game” terms. If anyone else gains something, it can only be because they lost the very same thing.

After Trump first seized the presidency in 2016, our news media bought into the whole notion that white rage (lots of it secretive) fueled Trump’s “win”. They made JD Vance (author of “Hillbilly Elegy”) a wealthy man. They accepted as true that economic concerns – rather than racism – fueled white rage when it was nothing BUT racism. Quick side note about racism – asking a racist like Donald Trump IF he’s a racist is utterly pointless. It’s never up to a potential racist to adjudge whether they’re racist. How would they know? The racist’s pals aren’t a good measure either. Nor are any of the rest of us. The ONLY people qualified to say whether or not someone is a racist are that racist’s victims.

Only they know if what happened was racist or not.

I know for a fact that Donald Trump’s an anti-Semite. That’s because I’m Jewish. Everything in me says Trump’s a racist too but I can never be the final word on that subject. Black people can tell you quite definitively: Trump’s not just a racist, he’s a racist’s racist.

The white, Christian, land-owning men who founded America had a great idea. We tell ourselves they not only had a great idea, they executed it perfectly. That’s not so. The white, Christian, land-owning men who founded America and wrote out its founding documents, got plenty wrong at the get-go. In their defense, many never took part in the founding of a nation before. They were new to nation building and because of that they got things wrong. They were short-sighted, some of them. Others were already compromised by slavery – America’s original sin.

Let’s please understand slavery for what it was first and foremost – stolen labor. That’s the whole point of enslaving someone – to get their work product for free. The entire Southern economy was built principally on three main agricultural products: tobacco, sugar cane and cotton. All three required a lot of intense physical labor to get the product from field to marketplace. If every grower had been forced to pay a fair market rate for all the labor needed to build their economy, their economy would never have gotten off the ground. The Confederacy could not have existed without stolen labor. Not only does a slave not get paid, but, because they’re not getting paid for the sweat of their brow, they’re never getting to accumulate wealth and the power that goes with accumulated wealth.

Aside from tax cuts for the rich, cruelty at the border and a non-stop hummer delivered to Vladimir Putin, the Trumpublicans were amazingly short on policy and process. But then, governing has never been the GOP’s “thing”. Proving that government doesn’t work – that’s always been their brand. That’s why they put forward incompetent people to run for office. In their minds, it would do them zero good to make government succeed. Better to make government fail leaving them as the only viable alternative.

And now, Republican nitwits like Marjorie Taylor Greene dream of a “separation” between red and blue America. If we really wanted to punish the MTG’s of the world, we’d up and give them the very America they want (in their red districts). Red America wouldn’t vaccinate anyone. You couldn’t buy a mask there. The Big Lie will be the organizing principle around which everything orbits. First, of course, we’d have to erect a wall to separate us from them; they’d approve of course and happily get to building it (albeit badly).

But, I don’t give it long before boredom sets in. Red America can’t stand Americans succeeding if any of those American are Black, brown, Asian or some other non-white hue. I give Red America about a month before things start breaking down. I give their electric grid two months before it starts blinking out. I give Red America six months before they start to run out of food. At seven months, we should start to expect a quiet knocking at the the other side of the massive wall Red America will have built to keep Blue America out.

That would absolutely happen in the future exactly as it’s happening now. Pretty much every red state gets far, far more from the federal government than it ever puts in. The exact opposite is true for Blue states like California. We GIVE far more than we ever get. But, that’s how innovators roll. And if there’ something conservatives can’t do/won’t do it’s innovate. Innovation produces change and change is anathema to conservative, red state Americans.

I say let’s give MTG and the GOP the divorce they want. And then let’s cut them off. Completely.

Yeah, sure – I’ve no doubt Blue America will break down at the sight of red America’s abject misery and we’ll want to make them whole again. Let’s not. Let’s teach Red America a few important lessons about what they are and what they are not.

What Would Happen If Donald Trump Were To Suddenly Vanish?

My original headline for this post was “What would happen to the world were Donald Trump to suddenly die?” I wanted to (and will) explore the “What if…?” possibilities of Trump – a famously unhealthy person with a famously unhealthy diet suddenly succumbing to a lifetime of bad habits and croaking unexpectedly due to natural causes. In other words, what if Trump disappeared personally from the public stage in a way that made it harder for his followers to martyrize him? Would that rob Trump of some of his disruptive potency? Disruption really is the secret to Trump’s dark success. He disrupted the GOP, disrupted our entire political process, disrupted our government, disrupted climate change, the SCOTUS, NATO, the USPS, health care in general, abortion rights specifically, and free and fair elections themselves forever more. No other candidate in the entire history of American politics has been as negatively impactful as Trump.

No one has been more deserving of investigation, prosecution and punishment than Trump. Yet, no one’s investigation,. prosecution and punishment is more likely to cause so much violence. We assume a big part of why Merrick Garland still hasn’t prosecuted Trump is because of what his followers would do. Yeah, sure, aside from Richard Nixon, America has never criminally prosecuted a president in any way (and his resigning because of the threat he’d be impeached and convicted was a political result, not a criminal justice result). The DoJ going after Trump would set some pretty significant precedents.

But, what if Trump suddenly vanished from the picture in a way that even his looniest followers couldn’t say was suspicious? What if Trump went face down in his lunch time taco bowl and checked off the mortal coil?

On the one hand, justice would then never get properly served. Even if we rounded up and prosecuted every single Trumpanista from top to bottom, the fact that Trump would escape prosecution would make justice feel a lot less satisfying. But, I suspect, we could learn to live with that lack of total justice. On the plus side, prosecuting every single political player who benefited from Trumpism would pretty much eliminate the entire Republican Party as a going concern. How key is Trump’s continuing presence to the Republican Party’s ongoing ability to avoid prosecution for overt criminal acts? How key is Trump’s continuing presence to the GOP’s plan to destroy American democracy forever?

Could the Republicans really finish what Donald Trump started without Trump’s physical presence? Are Republicans really as politically dangerous without Trump as an organizing principle around which to corruptly organize? If we take Trump away as their rallying cry, what’s the rallying cry to replace him? Fascism and authoritarianism itself?

It was always hilarious that our punditry (witless as ever) actually entertained the idea that Ivanka or Don, Jr could have political careers in the future. They’re more likely to have careers in the priesthood or at NASA than as president. Ron DeSantis running for president doesn’t have the same threat as Trump because Ron DeSantis, terrible human that he is, is not Trump and will never gin up the Republican base the way Trump did. No other Republican can manipulate the rest of the Republican Party the way Trump can because no other Republican has compromised the entire Republican Party the way Trump has.

Even before the GOP nominated Trump to be POTUS in 2016, they KNEW for a fact that Trump was a grave national security threat because of his relationship with Putin. As current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy put it as he entered a meeting of GOP leaders on June 25, 2016, “There’s two people I think Putin pays – Rohrbacher and Trump – swear to God!” This moment cannot go unexplained or uninvestigated. Understand this moment from the inside and you’ll understand what the last five years have really been about.

You’ll understand why Trump could do whatever he wanted without the GOP reeling him in. You’ll understand Mitch McConnell insisting in September 2016 that if Barack Obama informed the American electorate that Russia was actively working to tip the 2016 election to Trump, that he, McConnell would tell America that Obama was “politicizing the intelligence” in order to help Hillary Clinton win. You’ll understand why Trump has continued to do everything humanly possible to keep his finances private, why Rod Rosenstein ended all counter intelligence investigations into Trump, why Bill Barr lied about the Mueller Report and why there even was an insurrection to begin with.

Take Donald Trump’s fight to the death to obstruct justice out of the conversation and what would happen going forward?

Sure, some of the Republicans would try to keep the bullshit flying but without Trump as the bullshit’s chief inspiration – without Trump himself peddling The Big Lie – The Big Lie will not fly.

Without Trump’s bloated orange presence, a lot of the legal roadblocks would stop immediately. No other defendant will have the criminal capacity (or genetics) to persist at all costs the way Trump will. None of them sits at the nexus of all the corruption the way Trump does,

If Donald Trump were to suddenly vanish, the world would instantly become a better place simply because Donald Trump was no longer in it. Our Trump-loving news media won’t be able to fill the void with any other Republican. That void will become increasingly apparent as the GOP further fragments into small personality cults and violent militia groups. As prosecutions continue, the rudderless Republicans will quickly realize that all the good sentence reduction deals are long gone; they’ll have to fight to the death for scraps. And fight to the death these criminals absolutely will.

That’s the moment we should all be waiting for – the one where the villains of the piece realize the piece is going to end with them all in federal prison. This will happen regardless of whether Trump is here or not. Trump’s presence makes it harder – way harder. But no less essential.

Could we “live with” not getting every last drop of justice we want from this? If it means our democracy survives – and that everyone who aided and abetted Trump gets what they deserve? Hell, yes. It will still beat the living crap out of the alternative.