The Rule Of Law Never Stopped Being “A Thing”; We Just Stopped Enforcing It

When somebody breaks the law, the law itself did not break. Same goes for when a bunch of people — Republicans — break the rule of law all at the same time. It may look like the rule of law has ceased to be, but that’s an illusion. The rule of law still is. The onus is entirely on us for not enforcing it.

For not insisting that the rule of law “is”.

If circumstances don’t remove Donald Trump from his stolen presidency by November 3, then We The People will show him — and the entire Republican Party — the door. The Republicans know for a fact that a massive repudiation is coming their way. Ironically, they have hastened via their greed and power lust the very ending they feared: a socialized America. Progressive — socialist type — policies are now the only way out of the trench conservative thinking has dug for us.

The conservative way out? More of the same that got us here. It’s exactly like Trump insisting that the coronavirus will magically “go away”. That’s a lot of what passes for conservative “thinking”: insisting a thing is so (because that’s what they need to hold onto power) regardless of every bit of reality that says otherwise.

The very first thing that will happen when Democrats take the reins of power will be the return of the rule of law. Not the law itself — but its enforcement. When we begin enforcing the rule of law again, the first thing we’ll have to do is housekeeping. A lot of housekeeping.

The rule of law doesn’t say “But, since you were ignoring it, you can also ignore all the times it was violated”. If we did that, we’d immediately undermine the rule of law’s credibility. That would mean that every time the rule of law was “inconvenient”, someone could insist we weren’t following it anymore — so they can do whatever they want. The way to “fix” that is to turn it over to the rule of law.

It will insist — in no uncertain terms — that they’re wrong.

Everything Donald Trump & the Republican Party did to “win” election 2016 must now go under the rule of law’s microscope. Every single time they violated it must be prosecuted — or we’re back to picking & choosing among which parts of the rule of law we want to enforce and which parts we don’t. Therefore — every single violation must be acknowledged and addressed. If Trump & the GOP violated the rule of law in any way in order to “win” in 2016, then — according to the rule of law — they did not ‘win’.

If Trump — and every Republican who violated the rule of law in order to “win” — did not, in fact, “win” then everything they’ve accomplished because of that “win” no longer counts. It can’t. Their “win” belonged to the Democrats. It should have been Democrats nominating lifetime appointments to the federal bench and the SCOTUS. It should have been Democrats running the federal government and dealing with Russia and China and Saudi Arabia. That would not have been perfect — not by a long shot.

But it would not have been illegal. It would have stuck to the rule of law — if Obama’s administration is to be our guide.

Trump has always projected his illegitimacy. He’s always known his presidency was ill-gotten. He’s always known that the instant he stops being POTUS, his legal troubles begin.

Donald Trump himself is the proof that the rule of law still is and always was. If Trump really believed he had gotten away with it — with destroying the rule of law — he wouldn’t be working so hard even now to circumvent it. Trump & the Republicans know: the rule of law still is — and it stands in their way.

The rule of law never let us down. We did that to it. But the good news? We can fix that.

Trump’s Presidency Is Even Worse Than We Feared It Would Be Because The Entire GOP Is In On It

We always figure that the “bad apple” will ultimately get what’s coming to him because eventually time, luck or the cops will catch up with him. That’s how those of us who saw the Trump presidency for the nuclear train wreck it was going to be expected this would play. Eventually the Republican Party itself would recoil in horror at Trump and stop him the way the Republican leadership finally stopped Richard Nixon. That did not happen this time — and it’s not going to.

That’s the whole reason Trump’s presidency is worse than Nixon’s (by a lot) and worse than we expected it to be — the entire Republican Party is officially complicit.

The GOP is complicit with Trump’s treason. They’ve always known Trump had an odd relationship with Russia. Current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy famously worried aloud to a room filled with Republican muckety-mucks “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump”. Rather than being shocked to his shoes by such news, then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan responded ““No leaks. . . . This is how we know we’re a real family here.”

This was not news to them. In fact, like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, many of those Republicans had been taking Russian money for eons. They were already compromised by Russia — they didn’t realize the trap they were walking into. Useful idiots are like that.

Mitch McConnell has always known what the game was. We have to wonder if Mitch — with his deep ties to the Kochs & Mercers (and their money & wishes) and the Russians — was the clever guy who saw a way to tie all their “fortunes” together — the RW money, the RW power machine, Russia, Trump and a real shot at accomplishing permanent minority rule. I bet Mitch was the one who first shrugged off the terrible compromises to democracy this would entail. Mitch is pretty much as cynical as a human can be without choking to death on it.

And Mitch — don’t forget — stood firmly in the way when President Barack Obama wanted to tell We The People what Russia was up to in September 2016. At the “Gang Of Eight” meeting Obama convened at the White House, the heads of our intelligence community informed Congressional leadership from both parties (we used to do that) that Russia was actively attempting to skew the election to Donald Trump. Mitch told Trump that if he did that, he (Mitch) would scream that Obama was politicizing the intel.

Over-compensating, Obama gave in to Mitch. We The People remained in the dark while the Republican Party, Donald Trump and Russia proceeded to literally STEAL the election’s results. Want to bet that the reason Trump’s always worried about his presidency’s legitimacy is because he knows for a fact it’s illegitimate?

Bill Barr is exactly the Roy Cohn Trump wanted Lil Jeff Sessions to be. Barr’s lies about the Mueller Report altered the course of Justice — by design. Our news media still hasn’t figured it out. Some of them STILL think the Report “exonerates” Trump just like Barr said it did. It doesn’t. It does the EXACT OPPOSITE if you actually read it.

That, too, contributed to our situation being far worse than we feared it would be. Our news media’s chronic inability to tell the Donald Trump story flows from a bizarre notion that “both sides do it” and it’s not “their job” to judge the news — or whether a politician is lying to them. When people realize that, they know they can lie to the news media with impunity — which they have done.

Authoritarians first go after the Truth. When no one can know for sure what really is or isn’t, it gets easier for those in power — the authoritarians — to “be” the truth.

Our news media has waited forever for Trump to “pivot”. That was never going to happen — and it’s the wrong pivot. Our news media should have focused this whole time on the Republican Party — and whether or not THEY would “pivot” — away from co-conspiracy to patriotism.

We’ve gotten our answer. Repeatedly. No — the GOP is not going to rediscover their sense of patriotism. They’re going all in on attacking Americans protesting peacefully so as to cow them.

As usual, Republicans can’t rely on selling their ideas about how America would best be governed, the have to rely on cheating, coercion and outright criminality. The reason Trump’s presidency is so much worse than we feared is because the GOP is just as guilty as Trump is.

Not Hyperbole: Portland Is The GOP’s Attempt To Turn 2016’s Soft Coup D’Etat Into A HARD Coup D’Etat

Since election day 2016, America has been living through an on-going soft coup d’etat. If the point of an election is to measure & then respond to the will of the people, what happened in 2016 accomplished the exact opposite. The election’s outcome represented the will of a white, Christian minority to exert permanent minority rule over a diverse and diversifying majority.

How did that happen? Let’s be clear about one thing up front: this was not some master plan drawn up in a boardroom somewhere. Well, part of it was — the part where the Koch’s & the Mercers made a conscientious effort to use their money to deny the majority of Americans the government they wanted. They spent their money to deny climate change and to keep the playing field in America tilted entirely toward white, Christian males. To do that, the Kochs, Mercers & the rest of the RW money put Mitch McConnell to work denying Barack Obama — and by extension We The People who voted PBO into office twice by significant majorities — the judges PBO would have nominated.

See how that worked? Mitch McConnell was actively standing in the way of what the majority of Americans voted for. Remember this — Mitch vowed (when he expected Trump to lose) that he would deny President Hillary Clinton a single SCOTUS judge — even if it left the Supreme Court with nobody on it.

This was the beginning of the soft Republican coup d’etat.

The rest of the GOP strategy pre-Trump was a perpetual stalemate — a perfectly acceptable conservative solution to their problem. No progress meant things stayed the same. It’s not quite as good as literal regression but maintaining a status quo that continues denying people of color political power or any means to acquire and build wealth will did for now. The whole point of voter suppression is to reduce the number of Democratic voters to a manageable opposition. The point of gerrymandering was to divide that manageable opposition into bite-sized tranches that can never vote Republicans out of power.

The whole point of gerrymandering is to deny the majority it’s voice by over-representing the minority. That, too, is a kind of soft coup d’etat against the Will Of The People.

Trump’s arrival changed the game. Plenty of Republicans knew from the get-go that Trump had Russian connections. Current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy famously said out loud during a meeting of muckety-mucks at the 2016 GOP convention that “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump”. Then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan replied (almost as famously): “No leaks. . . . This is how we know we’re a real family here.”

Plenty of Republicans — Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, John McCain — have taken Russian money (via legalized means) into their campaign coffers. Money always comes with strings. Russian money comes with actual rope. “The Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC run by Sen. McConnell’s former Chief of Staff, received a total of $3,500,000 ($2,500,000 in 2016 and $1,000,000 in 2017) via Access Industries and a subsidiary. Len Blavatnik is a Russian oligarch with US and UK citizenship who owns Access Industries and donated to Sen. McConnell’s 2016 Senate campaign vehicles.” International criminals (like Vladimir Putin) understand how to create layers between their crimes and themselves. Everyone seems to be following the letter of the law while violating the hell out of its spirit.

The Republic’s saving grace up until Bill Barr became Attorney General was that Jeff Sessions — corrupt as he was — recognized that recusing himself from the Russia investigation was sure to put him in prison (if not today then surely tomorrow). But then, that was still the early days of the coup when the Republicans were just beginning to reformat their thinking.

The GOP — like Trump — expected to lose in 2016. They knew damned well that their taking Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin had nothing to do with “Secret Trump Voters” suddenly showing up in just enough numbers to eek out a 77,000 vote win between the three states and everything to do with a full on Russian propaganda assault aimed at dissuading African American voters from going to the polls and pulling the lever for Hillary. Meanwhile the old Republican playbook of too few voting machines at Democratic precincts plus all sorts of other fraud (see North Carolina) did its part to literally steal the election’s outcome — the one the majority of Americans (by a lot) wanted.

The Russians played the Electoral College and its racist roots against us.

Their one shot in 2020 is to travel that road again — hoping Russian propaganda (now improved by Chinese, Saudi & Israeli propaganda) will make up the difference in a muddied election where some variation on the Comey Letter will have made the polling close enough for the election day cheating to work its magic. What’s happening in America’s streets is making that harder to pull off.

The Black Lives Matter movement stole a marketing march on the Republicans. The Trumpian non-response to the coronavirus stuck a shiv in the heart of Republican electoral hopes. But Republicans are living in a nightmare of their own making. The pundits — ever lacking in perspective — continue to deny that the GOP is as guilty of high crimes & misdemeanors as Trump is. They think a worsening Covid19 situation will force more and more Republicans — especially those in the Senate — to openly deny Trump as August drags toward the fall and the election.

But they can’t deny Trump because their connection to him isn’t philosophical (unless you consider corruption a philosophy). It’s criminal. If they turn on Trump, they know Trump will turn on them.

The second Trump stops being POTUS, he will be indicted. And indicted some more. And investigated and sued and then convicted and punished. And so will every one of them.

Bill Barr is sending a private army into Portland — and other cities because that’s the new election strategy: no election. Or some attempt to assert martial law because “violence”.

That’s horse shit. I’m being kind.

When Trump announces the next phase of sending law and order to our cities, the only response should be Americans taking to the streets en masse.

Go ahead, Donald — arrest us all. Tear gas us all. Beat us all.

Good luck running on that.

Good luck winning on that — in the long run or the short run.

This coup d’etat ends now.

Things We Can Do To Protect Ourself From Coronavirus Infection: COPPER!

I’m not a scientist. I’ve never played one on television or anywhere. But there’s this — real, scientific information from reputable sources that all says the same thing: copper is almost uniquely qualified to “fight” viruses. We should be taking advantage of that fact as much as we can — especially if it costs nothing (relatively speaking).

Here’s the paper in its entirety. ScienceDirect has been judged highly factual by the Journal of the Medical Library Association. Here’s the abstract:

Copper (Cu) is an essential micronutrient for both pathogens and the hosts during viral infection. Cu is involved in the functions of critical immune cells such as T helper cells, B cells, neutrophils natural killer (NK) cells, and macrophages. These blood cells are involved in the killing of infectious microbes, in cell-mediated immunity and the production of specific antibodies against the pathogens. Cu-deficient humans show an exceptional susceptibility to infections due to the decreased number and function of these blood cells. Besides, Cu can kill several infectious viruses such as bronchitis virus, poliovirus, human immunodeficiency virus type 1(HIV-1), other enveloped or nonenveloped, single- or double-stranded DNA and RNA viruses. Moreover, Cu has the potent capacity of contact killing of several viruses, including SARS‐CoV‐2. Since the current outbreak of the COVID-19 continues to develop, and there is no vaccine or drugs are currently available, the critical option is now to make the immune system competent to fight against the SARS‐CoV‐2. Based on available data, we hypothesize that enrichment of plasma copper levels will boost both the innate and adaptive immunity in people. Moreover, owing to its potent antiviral activities, Cu may also act as a preventive and therapeutic regime against COVID-19.

All highlights are mine.

The paper states that while most people get an “adequate” amount of copper from their diets, absorption can be compromised by a dietary imbalance of other minerals or metals — zinc in particular. The more copper there is in your diet, the better as copper is so critical to our immune systems functioning at their best.

As the paper’s authors put it: “We hypothesize that copper supplementation can help fight COVID19, especially in older people where marginal or severe deficiency of Cu is a strong possibility.” Eating more copper will boost your immune system — for real. More than that, the presence of copper in your blood and gut make it far harder for the coronavirus to make you a host.

Unfortunately, we live in a time when the people running the country ignore science because it’s politically and financially inconvenient. They think sticking their heads in the sand and pretending there isn’t a problem will make the problem go away. As we all know — they’ve got that wrong.

We pretty much have to save ourselves by ourselves for now — same way we have to save our government from the monstrous greed machine it’s been turned into. We can help defend ourselves via diet. Since we’re all going to be wearing masks for a while, we might as well make them as effective as possible in both keeping others safe from our spew and us safe from theirs.

Foods that deliver a solid copper-load: beef liver (the king — by a long shot), oysters, dark chocolate, potatoes, mushrooms…

So — diet really is one thing we can do to help ourselves (which, in turn, helps everyone else). Now let’s talk masks — unless you’re wearing medical grade, none of these masks is virus proof. Viruses are tiny and the weave holding a mask together not so tiny. But if cloth masks can prevent 85% of virus particles from getting to your face, then a trip through that includes copper might make that last 15% less dangerous and more susceptible to your high-in-copper diet.

For a few dollars more — if those dollars are available (not a certainty these days), putting copper in your mask adds one more inexpensive way to protect yourself — if you’re of a mind to.

Another of copper’s benefits is its constancy. Not much degrades its pathogen-fighting qualities. Even if worn down, copper still works. In theory, a handful of pennies should work as a makeshift hand sanitizer — provided the pennies are clean, of course — and provided you could get pennies into all your hands’ nooks and crannies.

Maybe it’s not a bad idea to weave more cotton into more places. On the plus side, it works. On the double plus side, copper’s so cheap, we use it in pennies so adding copper thread to a fabric shouldn’t break the bank.

Will copper prevent anyone from getting sick? I have no idea. Will doing nothing prevent anyone from getting sick? I still have no idea. All I know is I do NOT want this virus anywhere near me. If adding a little more copper to my life is what I gotta do?

Where’s the hard part?

If The “Only” Impact The Pandemic Had On Us Was More Of Us Telecommuting, The Ripple Effects Will Still Be Huge

That won’t be the case, of course though more of us are going to telecommute. Those of us that have jobs to return to, that is. More of us are going to shop from home. More of us are going to entertain ourselves and small groups of friends at home.

I just heard an interesting discussion on MSNBC. The almost always excellent Ali Velshi led a discussion on how the pandemic will impact work in America. The most obvious impact — that Ali himself was experiencing if only while the pandemic is raging — was working from home. The news networks adapted with remarkable speed to their situation on the ground. They got equipment and lighting to the homes of all their key hosts — green screens and monitors behind them so it looks like a news set. I’m sure everyone got brand-spanking-new computers with plenty of fire power.

Now that we’ve all learned how to broadcast from home — and seen that we can do it — and the audience has adapted to how it looks and sounds — why would anyone doing a TV appearance get in their car and drive to a TV studio when they can do it more easily from home. Or even their hotel room if they’re on the road.

All anyone has to do, really, is open their notebook computer. Or the app on their phone. Telecommuting will not be a small thing. Currently, half the American workforce — that’s 164 million people — are working from home. That 82 million people. If even 10 percent of those people never commuted to their job again (except for special occasions), that would be 8.2 million people.

That’s 8.2 million Americans who aren’t getting into their cars or onto public transportation to get to work anymore. That means less cars on the road (less pollution — good for the planet) and less demand on public transit (at rush hours). Fewer cars traveling all those miles means less gasoline will be needed — suppressing the demand for fossil fuels. Good ripple.

Fewer cars making fewer trips should also put less wear and tear on our roads and bridges. Good thing since we’re not sure how we’re going to repair them right now anyway.

Extrapolating out a bit — less demand for oil and gas will mean the fossil fuel business looks a little less scary to our legislators. Another good ripple.

Fewer commuters also put less wear & tear on worn out public transportation systems.

Fewer cars making all those trips also means fewer second cars needed. So, fewer cars bought. That’s millions of cars that aren’t being bought, financed, serviced or insured.

Ripple, ripple, ripple.

On the local level — not having to go to work except on rare occasion means needing a lot fewer work clothes that have to be bought but also dry cleaned. Not going to work also means having lunch at home — not at a restaurant or fast food place near the office. Lots of lost business for them, a little more found business for your local grocer and local restaurants.

Your power bills will go up. Will our employers help defray the costs of our telecommuting — helping to cover our connectivity (since the better that is, the better our work product will be)? Insurance companies will feel the loss in auto insurance revenues but perhaps they’ll make up for it increased coverages elsewhere based on new-fangled insurance products just “aching” to be invented.

With more people home, burglars will have to be way more careful. Crime patterns could be impacted.

If two working adults are home — what will that do to home life? What will it do to the distribution of labor at home? What will it do to child-rearing when one parent is pretty much home most of the time (unlike now when two working parents isn’t pretty much a necessity). Why, it’d be like living back in the 50’s except either mom OR dad could play June Cleaver.

All those people who created businesses tending to our lives while we’re at work — dog walkers and plant waterers and errand-runners — they’ll have to reinvent themselves yet again. Those gigs just went away, most of them.

The pandemic’s enduring impact on us won’t be fully felt or understood even for a long while yet. We’re just at the beginning, lucky us.

A lot of people will be more devastated by the pandemic’s ripple effects than by the pandemic itself. That’s even more cruel. You survive the sinking of the Titanic — ending up in a lifeboat — only to die of hypothermia. Some people can’t win for losing.

But, as with a lot of things, while one can see the pandemic as a huge obstacle to normalcy and living happily ever after, one can also see it as a huge opportunity. New businesses will have to be invented. New systems. New ways of thinking. New ways of working together while working remotely.

Some of the new inventions will take time to develop, test, market and manufacture — we’re talking years. Who has time like that when you’re trying to get rich? But that’s how we should frame the future: as an opportunity just waiting to be exploited (in a good way).

What Will Americans Do If Trump Goes For Broke — And “Makes Us” An Authoritarian Shithole?

Remember back not so long ago when wacky people on the left said things like “Russia controls Trump!” and people would laugh at us? Remember back when people would, reluctantly, compare Trump & Republicans to Nazis and other people would lose their shit because “how dare you compare anyone to Nazis!”?

What Trump & the Republican Party are doing is (trying to) turn America into the authoritarian paradise they’ve always dreamed of. Conservatives want to conserve what is, remember. And what is is what remains of the past. Conservatives want to turn America back into the White Authoritarian Paradise of their dreams — a fondly remembered slave state circa 1850 where women couldn’t vote, black people were counted as 3/5 of a white person and owning other humans was justified by the gobbledygook in their 2500 year old book of supposed wisdom.

The precedent to our problem was a decision made by the RW money — the Kochs, the Mercers — to USE their money to subvert America’s future to what THEY wanted it to be (the actual Will of the People be damned). The Koch’s saw demographic annihilation in their future and moved to do something about it. Since they couldn’t effectively stop America from becoming more diverse, they put their money into limiting any political power those diverse Americans might have for the foreseeable future.

That’s the whole point of Mitch McConnell’s mission to hijack the judiciary. To reject the Will Of The People in favor of the will of the Koch Bros.

So far, Mitch & the Republicans have managed to work in the extreme background. Now they’ve been dragged into the light. Mitch has said he won’t allow any more “rescue packages” for ordinary Americans. He wants to see Blue States all go bankrupt (never mind that it’s blue states that literally PAY FOR red states and, as we speak, red states are plunging into the very same economic chaos but without the capacity or dynamism afterwards to resurrect themselves).

Mitch will change his tune because he’ll have to or the people of Kentucky will come after him with torches and pitchforks. But even then, Mitch will try to limit the help ordinary Americans get. Mitch won’t have “socialism” in America — not unless it’s corporate socialism in which case — bring it!

The initial Republican coup d’etat relied on our reluctance to accept that the Republicans were capable of doing something so monstrous, evil and corrupt. That was just Democrats being hyperbolic and “political”. That was what the news media told us, remember? Both sides do it anyway, right?

Now we all see how corrupt Republicans are. And now that Bill Barr has stripped himself naked in front of us all, we can see just how nakedly corrupt Barr is — as is the whole Republican game plan to permanently install minority rule. Barr wiped his ass with the Rule of Law then pissed all over it for good measure. Barr just said that the history of this time will get written by the winners — meaning himself and his corrupt Republican co-conspirators.

Um, no, Bill. That won’t happen. The majority of Americans don’t want what you want. They want the opposite and have voted that way only to have their votes suppressed, blocked or not counted. While Americans are too, too slow to take to the streets, when pressed, we do and we will.

Want to know if we’re pressed enough yet? Wisconsinites risked sickness and death to vote in a primary that was mostly focused on keeping a conservative state supreme court justice on the Wisconsin Supreme Court bench. They didn’t just defeat this conservative shit, they blew him away with the turnout.

In order for Mitch McConnell to have his way, every single group Republicans, their racism, their misogyny, their bigotry, their cruelty, their greed, their ignorance, their parsimony, their incompetence, their treachery and their corruption have touched will have to lie down. That’s a lot of Americans.

It’s the majority of us, in fact. What separates an America from a Nazi Germany is that, even though most Germans did not, in fact, go along with what Hitler and the National Socialists were doing, all of those Germans were “German”. That’s a very powerful tribal connection and, being social creatures, the last thing any human wants is to be cast off from her tribe. To be ex-communicated from it.

Americans may feel kinship with other Americans but we’re also parts of many other tribes to which we feel deep connections. Now, more than ever, non-white tribes see themselves and their tribe’s particular relationship with America in stark relief. Californians feel kinship toward other Californians. Angelenos feel kinship toward other Agelenos.

Trump & his Republican co-conspirators can’t even count on the armed forces to back them up — should they push this to that level. Trump may be “commander-in-chief” but our soldiers have already face questions of whether or not they have to follow immoral orders. They don’t.

Making America’s voting entirely vote-by-mail will deprive Republicans of a significant device they’ve used to cheat — the vulnerability to the internet of voting systems. Only hand-marked ballots are completely unhackable (though a well-monitored vote-by-mail system comes in second).

The blue voting surges that started in 2018 and continued since have only increased in size and intensity. Again – despite (or maybe because of) dangerously partisan decisions by the SCOTUS (to force Wisconsinites to vote despite the pandemic), more Americans are voting. As Trump himself has said out loud: when more Americans vote, it’s bad for Republicans.

Donald and Mitch and Bill and Mike (Pompeo & Pence & Flynn) all expect America to just “give in” to this physical assault on our democratic republic. They’re going to be in for a very rude surprise. It simply will not go down that way.

African Americans aren’t going to just “go along with this”. Neither will Latino-Americans or Jewish Americans or Asian Americans or LGBTQ Americans or female Americans or ANY American who isn’t a die-hard, go-down-with-the-ship Trumpanista. Yes, yes, yes — Americans are quick to anger but slow to flash it in the streets (doing it on social media is so much easier). But everything’s changed now.

Everything.

We were NEVER going to be an authoritarian shithole except in the minds of authoritarian shitheads.

The country will split apart before surrendering to what Trump and the Republican Party are doing. That will be sad and tragic. But the blue states that reconstitute into an American-like entity will eventually survive. The red states — formed into a blob of white rage and stupidity — will almost overnight become failed states and experiments in how not to run a country. They’ll be lucky to make it past six months with functioning electricity or running water.

What will Americans do when Trump tosses his Hail Mary in hopes of staying in power forever (knowing, as he does, that the moment he stops being potus, his legal problems begin)? Easy. We’ll (finally) step up and say “Enough is enough”. Trump-Russia, unfortunately, was complicated. Too complicated for a headlines-only news media to either get its head around or report. Trump-Ukraine was simpler.

We can all grasp what a quid pro quo is.

Trump-coronavirus is easy to understand. Trump’s corruption cost tens of thousands (so far) of American lives. It’s probably destroyed the economy for a while to come. It’s hard to vote for the guy (and his party) who killed your relatives, gutted your wallet and turned your future into bleak nothingness.

Never mind Trump’s base. It’s not about them and never was. This is about the rest of us — the Americans who genuinely care about America because we genuinely care about the wide variety of Americans with whom we share the country. At the end of the day, there simply is no conservative way out of this.

Trump may try to turn us into an authoritarian shithole — and, for a time, he may come close. But he will not succeed. There are simply too many of us and we’re waaaaay too angry.

What “Both Sides Do It” Journalism Gets Especially Wrong: Both Sides Don’t Always Act “Politically”

It’s a simple fact: American journalism has, by and large, failed America. The press is the only job mentioned in the constitution. It’s obligated there to be the final check on power. Too bad they abdicated that responsibility eons ago.

I’d love to know at which J-School this virus first started. “Both sides do it” is the basis for every false equivalence that brought us to this catastrophe. It replaces healthy skepticism with outright cynicism — a very conservative thing to do. The only outcome is a bad outcome (it says) — so assume the worst of everyone regardless of the truth.

“Both sides do it” says that Bernie Madoff is a thief. And, so is Jean Valjean (the hero in Les Miserables). Madoff stole billions because he’s greedy. Valjean stole bread to feed the hungry. But — under “Both Sides Do It”, both men are thieves. So — both sides do it. The difference in scale and context means nothing. All information has equal weight — regardless of whether it’s true or false.

That’s the framing our press insists on. Fortunately, they’ve stopped giving air time to climate deniers (though they put Trump on their air, so I take that back). But, when they put climate deniers on their air regularly, they always sat the denier next to a climate scientist in a 50-50 shot. In the visual language, that means those two points of view are equal.

It’s true. We interpret visual images in very distinct ways. If you present two points of view in a way that says they’re equal regardless of whether they are or not, your framing has already undermined the truth.

Same token — if you present anything Donald Trump says without the context that he’s probably lying, then YOU are lying to your audience. You’re implying via your silence on the matter that, of course, he’s telling the truth. When he says things that (you know) are outright lies and you DON’T correct them immediately? They BECOME the truth. How can they not? No one contradicted their UNtruthfulness.

Each time a “Both Sides Do It” journalist gives the benefit of the doubt to someone or something undeserving (MSNBC’s Stephanie Rhule is especially guilty of this), they give credence to something that had none. “Yeah, but what if total bullshit were true…?” is not “journalism”. It’s indulging liars, fabulists and frauds.

“Both Sides Do It” journalists get suckered by job titles. It’s as if the moment Trump became POTUS, he became “infallible” to some of the press. NBC’s awful Kelly O’Donnell comes to mind. She’ll quote anything Trump says without an ounce of context. The president said it, Kelly insists. She’s just there to report what he says.

I’m curious… if Trump (for shits n giggles one day) said “And I know for a fact that Kelly O’Donnell kills puppies and eats them for breakfast every day”, would Kelly O repeat those words without comment — words that SHE KNOWS are not true? Would she suddenly decide then to be a little less “neutral”?

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what Kelly O would do. She’s that terrible at being a journalist (hell, an open mic on a stand could do what she does).

When Mitch McConnell refused to give Merrick Garland so much as a hearing — THAT was a political act. Any Democrat reacting to Mitch’s abuse of his power is NOT acting politically. They’re pointing to an inappropriate political act.

Similarly — when Donald Trump violates the Constitution (say, by openly violating its emoluments clause every single day), it’s not a political act to point out that fact. It’s somewhere between law enforcement and patriotism. Similarly — when the Democrats called out the Republicans for working with the Russians to steal election 2016, that was not a political response.

It was a CRIME VICTIM trying to report that a CRIME had been committed — against them, against the American People, against democracy itself. FFS — it’s like a robbery victim calling the police — only to have them come and arrest HIM for being the crime’s victim.

That’s the most frustrating part of “Both Sides Do It” journalism. It constantly mischaracterizes what Democrats do, say and think.

Trust me, American Journalism, while my opposition to Donald Trump has a massive political element to it, another big element is purely patriotic. Both sides do not conspire with hostile foreign governments to undermine the integrity of an American election.

Both sides do not then cover up every aspect of that conspiracy in every way they can — out in the open even.

Both sides do not aspire to permanent minority rule.

Both sides do not — like the Kochs — intend to use their money to direct American politics how THEY want it to go.

Both sides do not think there are more important things (the economy) than living.

Both sides do not aspire to open up America’s economy — however many deaths it causes — because they need to win an election.

When this is all done and dusted — and we’ve buried the Republican Party alongside the Whigs — we must then turn our attention to the press.

We need to bury “Both Sides Do It” in the same cemetery.

Dear CNN & MSNBC – “Previously On” The Donald Trump Story – He Was A Traitor & A Criminal… Oh, Weren’t You Watching?

Every TV show now begins with two words: “Previously On”.

Bravo to Julien Coppola who put together this excellent video.

On the one hand, it’s a nod to any newbies who might be watching. These are the basic story threads you need to know about. But, on the other hand, the “Previously On” part of a show is where the storytellers get to remind the whole audience about certain important, key details from the story’s past that are about to become very important to the story’s future.

The point is, “Previously On” begins with a very clear concept: THIS IS WHAT WE KNOW.

This is what the story — and its characters — have revealed and revealed about themselves so far. This is our accumulated, aggregated knowledge. This is our STARTING POINT going forward.

Why, I’d like to know, can’t journalists — well, our most of our video journalists for sure — do this simple, storytelling thing? Why can’t they aggregate a story before reporting on it? Why can’t they start from what we know so far instead of what we knew back then (whenever “then” was)?

It’s like watching a TV show where the audience is always miles ahead of the storytellers because the audience has been keeping track of the story while the tellers keep going back to “fade in”.

If America’s journalists had been keeping track of Donald Trump — adding to what we know about him and then basing all new reporting off of that — Donald Trump would never have been president in the first place. That is, he would never have gotten close enough for his pal Vladimir to vote suppress & cheat “wins” out of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan in 2016. That’s because even before Trump ran, we knew — meaning the information was available in the public domain if only one went looking for it (journalistically) — that Donald Trump was a criminal.

In 2017, before the Democrats re-took the House and the Republicans were going after the Steele Dossier (because they knew it was damning and damaging to them), they hauled Fusion GPS’s co-founder Glenn Simpson (formerly a writer for the Wall Street Journal) before the Senate Judiciary Committee (August 27, 2017). Before Fusion went to work for Hillary Clinton’s campaign, its oppo research on Donald Trump was financed by the Washington Free Beacon — backers of Jeb Bush at the time.

What motivated Fusion to sub-contract out to Christopher Steele, was the question. Steele had been The Guy running the MI6’s Russia Desk. He had the best sources inside Russia of anyone outside Russia. Steele’s rep was solid top to bottom. When the FBI went after FIFA’s Sep Blatter for corruption, they hired Chris Steele to do a lot of heavy lifting for them. He’s good.

But, WHY did Fusion feel the need to sub-contract anything out to Chris Steele? Simpson testified that, upon the hire, Fusion did what they always did — what any reputable research company would do: their due diligence. In Fusion’s case, it got its hands on every PUBLICLY AVAILABLE newspaper article, magazine piece, radio interview, TV appearance — anything and everything about Donald Trump. They researched online. They bought things from Amazon. They listened to Howard Stern. They went to old book stores and combed the shelves. They even went to the public library.

Simpson testified that what Fusion found there — in publicly available material — convinced them that Donald Trump was very possibly a criminal. A shitload of evidence pointed to Trump laundering Russian mob money through the buying and selling of condos in Trump properties and (especially) through his (now bankrupt) Atlantic City casinos. Regardless of whether Trump humiliated himself sexually with Russian hookers on video or humiliated himself by being overtly racist (on video) while Russian hookers pissed all over the bed in Moscow where the Obamas slept, Trump laundered Russian mob money. As much as Trump and those around him insist that “Trump’s a germaphone! He would never consort with hookers!” no one has yet asserted “And he would never launder money for Russian mobsters”.

Strange that, don’tcha think?

You’d think, in the story we’re all bingeing on because it’s our lives, that THAT kind of detail — that no one denies Trump’s a money launderer for the Russian mob — would make it onto the “Previously On” somewhere somehow. And yet, between CNN & MSNBC, no one seems to grasp how stories and storytelling works. They certainly don’t grasp that, in a sense, ALL stories begin with a collective sense of “Previously On”.

If our MSM had “Previously On-ed” this story from the beginning, here’s (a little of) what that “Previously On” would contain…

PREVIOUSLY ON “The Trump Shit Show”:

A family history of racism.

A personal history of racism.

A personal history of involvement with organized crime and criminals.

A further personal history that Trump insists remain hidden from view including his school records, health records and tax returns.

Did we mention that Trump still refuses to show us his tax returns?

A history of sexual violence.

Admissions to acts of sexual assault.

An ex-wife who accused him of raping her.

Fraudulent use of his beauty pageant.

Accusations of walking in on underage beauty pageant contestants so he could ogle them.

Accusations — and VIDEO — of inappropriate touching and outright assault.

A history of making wildly inappropriate statements about having sex with underage girls including his own daughter Ivanka.

A long, sordid history with Russia and Russians (including money laundering and likely recruitment by Russian intelligence).

A long and consistent string of business failures and bankruptcies.

A long and consistent pattern of abusive litigiousness.

A long history of dubious hiring practices.

A complete and utter lack of taste.

A history as an adulterer.

He paid off Stormy Daniels (and other women) before Election 2016 — specifically to keep those stories from coming out before the election.

He accepted illegal campaign donations.

He openly conspired with Wikileaks and Russia throughout the election.

Mitch McConnell refused to let We The People in on the secret that Russia was actively trying to make Donald Trump POTUS. At the September “Gang Of 8 Meeting” in the White House, McConnell told Obama that if he made that fact public, McConnell would accuse Obama of politicizing the intelligence. In point of fact, Obama was trying to tell America the truth.

Mitch McConnell got the sanctions lifted on Russian spy Oleg Deripaska in order to score $300 million for a Russian aluminum factory in western Kentucky. Deripaska was sanctioned BECAUSE HE HELPED THROW THE 2016 ELECTION to Trump.

He openly admitted to racism: “Mexicans are rapists“.

He openly admitted to rape-behavior (“pussy-grabbing“).

He openly admitted to more racism: “There are decent people on both sides“.

He violated his oath of office the moment he took it. He has violated the Constitution’s Emoluments clause every second of his presidency.

His political party openly broke every established norm that allowed for bi-partisan governance. Mitch McConnell denying Merrick Garland a hearing was a Constitutional crisis all by itself because one branch of govt was denying another its Constitutionally mandated role. We The People voted for Barack Obama. THAT was his authority to nominate judges.

The Republican Party KNEW that members of their party were taking money from Russia.

The NRA took shitloads of money from Russia.

The NRA — and lots of Republicans — were compromised by highly skilled, highly trained Russian Intelligence Officer Maria Butina.

Everyone at the July 2016 Trump Tower meeting knew exactly what they were doing.

The Mueller Report does not exonerate Donald Trump. In fact, it does the opposite.

Donald Trump has behaved not just “strangely” toward Russian president Vladimir Putin (and every Russian), he’s behaved TREASONSLY.

Donald Trump tried to extort Ukraine — which is ILLEGAL.

Donald Trump asked China for help on Biden — which is ILLEGAL.

Trump has clearly conspired with Saudi Arabia’s MBS to cover up the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Trump’s tax cut for the rich screwed the economy. Everyone agrees.

Donald Trump has put children in cages. He’s separated families possibly forever and traumatized literally thousands of children.

Trump has lied an extraordinary number of times for a human being never mind the President of the United States.

Trump has called the press “The Enemy Of The People” and treated them that way.

Trump’s pandemic response is directly responsible for killing tens of thousands of Americans.

The only reason Trump hasn’t been indicted yet is because of a bizarre Department of Justice rule (meant to keep Spiro Agnew from pardoning Nixon). At present he is “UNINDICTED CO-CONSPIRATOR #1” in the Michael Cohen case.

Donald Trump has obstructed justice every day of his presidency. Bill Barr is not behaving as the country’s chief law officer.

Bill Barr OPENLY LIED about what the Mueller Report says.

Donald Trump has gutted the federal government. One of the agencies he gutted would have been actively engaged early on at mitigating coronavirus’ impact on us, our health, our economy.

Tune in tomorrow. You know there’ll be lots more…

Laughing At Other People Isn’t The Same As “Having A Sense Of Humor” — Take Donald Trump, For Instance…

It’s bad enough our News Media can’t figure out that Donald Trump is a traitor. They can’t figure out whether or not Trump is really being “sarcastic” either?

Yeesh!

This is not up for debate: Donald Trump has literally zero sense of humor. He can’t laugh at himself. He can’t “be” sarcastic because he can’t see irony. He can’t see irony because, in order to see irony, you must FIRST be able to laugh at yourself. And that is something Trump is physically incapable of.

Ever watch Donald Trump’s SNL appearances? I haven’t seen his 2004 appearance as host (those were the “lost days” of SNL to me but then, I was there for the original Not Ready For Prime Time Players) but I’m a Howard Stern listener so, I know Trump’s schtick.

His 2015 appearance was part of his 2016 campaign run. That means we get the full Donald. He’s being himself with purpose. He’s selling, selling, selling Donald Trump. But, as hard as he’s selling, the one thing he can’t sell — there’s none in the warehouse and never has been — is a sense of humor. Watch. Trump can read jokes about himself off a teleprompter but he doesn’t “tell them” as jokes about him. He doesn’t “step inside” the joke to “make it” about himself. The jokes — to judge by his reading — are about some guy named Donald Trump who’s laughable but who bears no resemblance to the Donald Trump who’s reading these lines off the teleprompter.

It’s a study in narcissism dressed up in a clown costume except the narcissist keeps telling himself it’s a tux. Trump knows there’s something comedic going on. He knows a lot of the laughter is associated with him. And, as much as he wants a piece of the action, he can’t quite figure it out. He can get laughs but he can never rely on it. He blames other people for that. Experience has told him that other cruel people — or people uncomfortable with his cruelty but not uncomfortable enough to stop him — will laugh at what he says and does. So, Donald capers and performs for them

Donald Trump making with the jokes isn’t even remotely funny. What he is is cruel. That’s what bullies think of as humor — cruelty. When other people laugh at their cruelty (because they, too, are cruel or bullies), it emboldens the bully to continue being cruel. Until everyone stops laughing, the bully will continue. He doesn’t need the whole house laughing with him, he needs just one other person to feel vindicated and validated. Hearing laughter, the MSM assumes (since “both sides do it”) that all laughter is the same.

Problem is, it’s not. Derisive laughter (laughing AT someone) sounds one way. Joyful laughter sounds another. A person laughing AT others may sound like a person laughing WITH others but it’s completely different. Trump can’t laugh with others because he has no idea how to. But laugh AT others? He’s already there.

The word we’re looking for is “cruelty”. Donald Trump laughs at other people regularly because he’s cruel. His attempts at sarcasm aren’t sarcasm; they’re cruelty aspiring to sarcasm and nothing more.

The more telling video of Donald Trump’s “comedic nature” comes from the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner when Barack Obama (quite famously now) roasted Donald Trump on a spit and reduced him to charred bits. Blubber burns, ya know.

Plenty of people have speculated that this was the night Trump decided to run for POTUS. Not so. By then, Trump had fancied himself POTUS for years already and (turns out) Russia had been grooming him (using him to launder Russian mob money through his Atlantic City casinos). If Trump started planning anything that night, it was personal retribution.

That was the night Trump decided (if his Russian pal could pull it off) that he would dismantle everything Obama did — for entirely personal reasons.

At least the last laugh will be on Donald. One way or another, Trump will not get away with this. The election is fast becoming a blow-out in the making. Trump’s politically-motivated response to the coronavirus pandemic has sealed his fate. The news is never going to be good for Trump now. Even a cure or a vaccine will arrive despite Trump and not because of him.

Worst case scenario (for We The People) — Trump, regardless of what he thinks or says, cannot live forever. He will die. And, judging by his diet and health — even a natural death will hurt. But that’s not really what makes Trump’s death comedic. It’s the fact that Trump has built a snake pit around himself. Which of the snakes will be head snake when Trump is gone?

Ivanka? I bet she assumes it’s her. And maybe Junior and Eric let that go on — at first. But, does anyone really think either of their wives really think it should be Ivanka at the head of the table while their “men” sit to the sides? Lady MacBeth lives — and she has an equally evil twin.

Outside the Trump bubble, does anyone think a Trump not named Donald will hold the same sway and power over the Republican Party? Surely you jest!

The instant Trump shuffles off this mortal coil — or even gets too sick to handle his own day-to-day criminality — the sharks will all go for each other.

Now THAT will be funny.

We Need To Make Corruption Public Enemy #1

We take “integrity” for granted. We take our own for granted — that’s for sure. We shouldn’t. Instead, we should be protecting our integrity like a mother protecting her babies. Integrity is the only thing standing between us and corruption.

Integrity and corruption are literal opposites. They gave literally nothing in common. The moment integrity even looks in corruption’s direction — as if to consider it? Can we really look at integrity the same way again, knowing that it was tempted? What about next time (when we’re not watching)? Will the lure be just enough to compromise integrity — even if just a little?

See the problem? There is no “just a little” where compromising one’s integrity is concerned. Integrity is an all or nothing proposition. You got it or you don’t.

I defy anyone to name a Republican with integrity.

You can’t. Now ask “why?”

The GOP’s integrity problem didn’t start with Donald Trump. In “Both Sides Do It” world, Democrats are just as capable of being corrupt. And Democrats have been and are now corrupt. But let’s talk scale.

Bernie Madoff is a thief. So is the character Jean Valjean from Les Miserables. One stole billions (albeit from billionaires) while the other stole bread to feed hungry people. Both Sides Do It, see? And yet, they don’t.

We’re talking minnows versus whale sharks. Let’s stop wasting our time, okay? Republican corruption goes deeper than just ordinary greed. The Republican money — the Kochs, the Mercers — made a calculated decision to control America’s politics so as to prevent it from reflecting who America really is and what America really wants. Their goal is permanent minority rule — make no mistake. To achieve this, with their hold on the Senate and a willing lieutenant in Mitch McConnell, the RW money (prior to 2016) set out to hijack the judiciary. They denied Barack Obama more than a hundred lifetime federal judge appointments, even denying Merrick Garland so much as a hearing.

Mitch wanted “the American People” to “choose the next SCOTUS judge while refusing to let the POTUS We The People overwhelming elected to do that very thing. This was bullshit. This was a power grab. And as we learned in Jane Mayer’s excellent piece on Mitch McConnell in the New Yorker, Mitch KNEW that lots of foreign players were actively engaged in altering the outcome of the 2016 election.

Mitch, don’t forget, refused to let Barack Obama tell We The People the truth in September 2016 about what Russia was up to. Mitch threatened to go nuclear, screeching about how Obama was “politicizing the intelligence”. No, Mitch, what Obama wanted to do was tell America the truth. What YOU wanted to do was be corrupt.

Now, here’s the deal — and we have to stick to it — but we have to acknowledge, going in, that it’s going to be hard. The Rule Of Law is or it isn’t. It plays by the same “rules” as Integrity. The instant we make an exception to the Rule Of Law (invariably for someone rich or powerful), it’s just a matter of time (and continuing corruption — because it follows as naturally as water running down a hill) before the whole structure collapses. Again.

No exceptions. For anyone Period.

That means the moment anyone tries to take advantage of anyone else or of the system itself, we investigate them, prosecute them (as warranted), sentence them, punish them and (if it’s in the cards) rehabilitate them — all fairly.

In the case of the Republican Party — all those people without an ounce of integrity — that’s going to hurt. A lot. Considering what they’ve done and the fact that every last one of them has at least something to answer for (even Mitt Romney has “inklings” of what Mitch McConnell is really up to and has not gone to the FBI or other “proper authorities”), the return of the Rule Of Law will dictate the end of the Republican Party.

Well, either it will be the “end” of the GOP or it will a null set as a political party — a party with literally no one in it.

Who would want to run for office as a Republican when the Republican Brand is the Corruption Brand? Going forward, it’s going to be hard enough finding Republicans who aren’t either dead or knocked down a few pegs by coronavirus. We all know what the investigations of the Trump response will turn up: a miasma of personal financial gain being used to leverage American foreign policy for even more personal financial gain — all in the middle of a catastrophe. And we all know that the Republican Party has enabled every last bit of it.

Just like integrity is all or nothing, so is corruption. Donald Trump may be the most corrupt human in history. That’s hyperbole. There’ve been plenty of corrupt assholes to equal Donald Trump. Our problem is none of those assholes ever stole the American presidency.

There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain from making “Anti-Corruption” one of the central themes of the Democratic Party’s 2020 campaign. Aside from the corrupt, no one wants corruption.