Why Do I Call This Blog What I Call It? Because Bullsh*t Nearly Killed Me, That’s Why!

Devout atheist that I am, I consider myself “born again’. I have seen with my own eyes the havoc bullshit can cause in both my daily life and over the whole length of it. I bear witness to bullshit’s remarkable power to convince us that it is truth and truth is bullshit. Actually, bullshit’s much more clever than that. Bullshit convinces us that our feelings are more valid than facts. That empirical truth does not exist outside our own heads, making it as fluid as our thoughts. If we think something’s so, it is so, no receipts required. . Bullshit tells us that Life is how it is and people are how they are and there’s nothing we can do to change it — that the cynicism tugging at us is correct. Paired with an angry, confused, judgmental deity, that cynicism can turn deadly. Happiness, we become convinced (by bullshit) is a matter of how we navigate our way around our bullshit and everyone else’s. In bullshit’s defense, bullshit has that half-right. The trick to living life with even a modicum of success or happiness is to focus on your own bullshit FIRST before worrying about anyone else’s. If your experience is anything like mine, dealing with your own bullshit will be a full-time job; you will literally NEVER have time to even think of anyone else’s.

My own personal bullshit had me convinced I could disappear from Life without causing my family excessive harm — that money would eventually assuage the “bad feelings”. Talk about bullshit. But, bullshit won the argument. Three days before Christmas 2016, I came within literal inches of killing myself. A decade-long depression got triggered by Trump’s seizing the presidency (he did not “win” it legitimately) into full-on self-destruction. The thing about depression is, it robs you of perspective. The deeper the depression, the less perspective you have; I had come to believe that the world was the narrow, future-less tunnel I saw it as. It wasn’t, of course. It never was. And, as my personal darkness drove me toward increasingly irrational action, I did it having denied for 45 years that at age fourteen, I was sexually molested twice by the religious director at the synagogue where my family belonged.

I had gotten it into my head that me getting sexually molested was MY FAULT. It wasn’t, of course. That was bullshit!

Long story short, being molested put me on an island because only my molester and I knew that secret about us. Anyone else? Nope! That meant (in the irrational reasoning of my young mind) that if you didn’t know this about me, you didn’t know “me”. Since I wasn’t sharing my secret (and my molester definitely wasn’t), no one was ever going to really know me. No one. And, as you sit there, on that island, you slowly begin to blame yourself for being there. And every terrible thing that happens to you? Well, hell — that’s YOUR fault, stupid! I can only speak for and from my own experience. Once you’ve opened the door to self-loathing, it’s a hard, HARD door to shut. What makes it so hard? It’s bullshit that’s fighting you every time you try to close it.

When I first realized how close I had come to hurting myself because bullshit told me to, I literally laughed out loud. “Ya dumb sonofabitch,” I said to myself, “You came within inches of bullshitting yourself to death!” Could anything possibly be stupider?

Yeah — bullshit can kill. It kills. I still think a lot about Anthony Bourdain. The guy was at the top of his game but his darkness got him anyway. Anthony Bourdain’s bullshit won out over Anthony Bourdain. That’s no knock on Anthony Bourdain. That, in essence, is a respectful tribute to the strength of Mr. Bourdain’s bullshit — it convinced him he didn’t need to be here anymore while literally everyone else on the planet saw it differently.

We just lived through four years where bullshit ran amok. Hell, bullshit convinced us that a president who bullshitted us every damned day was “how it was”. Talk about bullshit!

I knew my darkness had me in its thrall but I feared medication. My dad was a surgeon; I grew up in the medical culture; I don’t see doctors demagogically. My dad saw what he did as equal parts science and guess work. He saw the insurance companies as greedy gate keepers with hospitals as their equally greedy collaborators. The Hypocritic Oath doesn’t mention profit incentive anywhere. While I had a GP I liked and trusted, I knew however that they had little to no background in mood stabilizers and how to prescribe them correctly. Probably the only mood stabilizer they even knew about was the one a pharmaceutical rep left behind on her last customer service visit to the office. “Hey,” the Pharmaceutical Rep said as she set the samples down on the counter, “If you have any patients complaining of depression, try these!”

The problem with this class of drug is it takes time to reveal whether or not it’s working. Since everyone’s brain chemistry is different, it’s hard to accurately predict what any one mood stabilizer will do to or for any one person contemplating it. Normally, it takes six to eight weeks to get an inkling of whether it’s working or not. It’s entirely possible that the mood stabilizer could take a bad situation and make it worse. As Screenwriting God William Goldman said of the film business, “No one knows anything”. FFS, we do not even know how we’re all doing this — writing blogs, reading blogs, having conversations — having thoughts themselves. We don’t know where our memories come from — yeah, sure — we know what part of the brain they seem to emanate from. But we don’t know how they convert from lived experience to remembered experience.

And we have to consider THAT in the context of teenage boys who seem to walk around with zero remembered experience. But, I digress…

After seeing quite clearly that in a moment of sheer irrationality I now had it in me to commit to that irrationality completely, I drove straight to my GP’s office and told them what had just happened. I immediately got great service. Just like that, I was sitting with not just my GP but the head honcho doctor too! I told them everything. Told them my fear of medication — and why I felt as I did. But, I also told them of the research I’d been doing on my own. I’d looked into every mood stabilizer there was, looking for the one that might hold my depression at bay while leaving my hypomanic side mostly alone. I’m bipolar, ya see. I worried that if the mood stabilizer I chose dealt with the depression but made writing impossible, I’d be right back in the darkness’ thrall. I’d read anecdotal evidence (the only evidence there is) suggesting lamotrigine could be my answer.

Immediately, my GP and his boss whipped out their smart phones and looked up lamotrigine. Yes, they agreed, that could definitely work for me; they agreed to write the prescription. I took it, picked up the meds from my local pharmacy, went home and told my family what I was going to do. Swallowing that first .25 milligram little white pill, I expected a long period of wondering to begin. Instead, I got lucky. Within thirty-six hours, I leveled. I felt it. I experienced my first evidence not only that the lamotrigine would definitely work for me but HOW it would work.

My anger back then was volcanic. Once triggered, it was usually a matter of seconds before the rage in my gut exploded out my mouth in a profanity-laced screed. Anything could set me off: a stupid political argument I heard on the radio, other drivers, me if I dropped something (and bigger still if it broke). I don’t remember specifically what sparked the rage in my gut, only that it sparked — and, once sparked, it flowed back on itself like a blocked toilet. I felt the rage rising in me like it always did, picking up speed as it blew past my stomach, racing upward toward my mouth. And just as I fully expected that metastasizing anger to metamorphose into a lava spew — “Paf!” — the rage dissipated like a soap bubble popping.

I knew I had just felt the rage — felt its hold on me — and just like that — I knew I had felt the rage in the abstract but I did not feel it in any practical way that I could point at. It really was kind of like the anger “never was”.

Realizing that my darkness could no longer dominate me liberated me. In time — a few months — it even gave me the confidence (that’s the biggest, best benefit of perspective — it builds your confidence) to go at it head on. Now, able to confront my demon without that demon destroying me, I confessed my own truth to myself. Yeah, the night I spent weeping quietly on the bathroom floor (because I didn’t want to wake my wife and have to explain) was long, lonely and hard. But it destroyed the bullshit chains forever.

That’s the night I was “born again” — as a person. That was the day I started living my life unencumbered by the giant piece of bullshit that, unbeknownst to me, had dominated my life.

And it felt AWESOME!

Seeing everything in context also was awesome. “Hey,” I said to myself, suddenly feeling good about things, “bullshit nearly killed you. Are there any other ways bullshit’s making your life harder than it should be?”

I bet you can guess the answer to that question. Bullshit, it turned out, was dominating virtually every aspect of my life. For starters, I hadn’t slept well in years. Financial difficulties and sleep aren’t pals. I had been using (abusing really) OTC products like Simply Sleep. They’re anti-histamines. They don’t so much produce “sleep” as “unconsciousness for a while”. You wake up in the morning — if you sleep — feeling groggy and unprepared for the day. I wanted no part of anything stronger. I was terrified of what my brain would do with Ambien in it. Bullshit had convinced me that this problem was forever. It wasn’t. I live in California. I got myself a medical marijuana prescription and from the first day I started using cannabis as a sleep aid, I’ve slept wonderfully.

With bullshit negating my sleep, I’d start each day by putting on my bullshit colored lenses while breathing deeply from bullshit scented air. Lie in for another ten minutes, I’d bullshit myself, it won’t matter (bullshit — it did!). Never mind missing this deadline — they’ll be cool with it (they weren’t!). Ignore the warning signs that your marriage is struggling; those problems can wait till later (no, they can’t). Everything bad happening to me is my fault. No, it isn’t — but, then, it isn’t everyone else’s fault either. The world is more complicated than that: take off the bullshit-colored lenses and SEE IT.

That’s why I started this blog. I’m learning as I go and sharing my notes. Is living bullshit free for everyone? I have no idea — that’s someone else’s bullshit to worry about. That’s not to say that if another person’s bullshit gets them in trouble that I have zero obligation to them. That’s bullshit too. If I have to put my own bullshit aside to help them because of their bullshit — that’s what I must do. In the aftermath, I can only hope that, with this newfound perspective, that person, too, will have discovered bullshit’s hold on them and, like me, will want to break that hold.

We live in a new cycle where the Biggest Story There Is (after the worldwide Covid pandemic) is “The Big Lie”. To call it what it really is, it’s bullshit. One of our two political parties (and its mob boss leader) is trying to shove bullshit down our collective throats.

I guess if I wanted to be a hundred percent accurate I’d call this blog “Learning How To Live Bullshit Free” since that’s what I’m really doing everyday — and writing about it here. I gotta keep reminding myself: the second I get it into my head that I “know” how to live bullshit free? The bullshit will be winning again.

Sylvester Stallone Has ALWAYS Behaved Like A Trump Voter — I’ve Seen It UP CLOSE

Heroes run TOWARD burning buildings, bent on saving people. Zeroes, on the other hand, don’t. “Actor” Sylvester Stallone has, it seems, very recently paid $200,000 to Donald Trump to become a card-carrying “member” of Trump’s Mar-A-Lago Old Pervert’s Club. Imagine surveying the landscape post insurrection and choosing to side with insurrection and bullshit and The Big Lie. This is Rocky — BEFORE he finds his soul in Adrienne’s eyes and STOPS being some low level mob boss’s leg breaker. The real Sly Stallone has always been THIS Rocky — the corrupt goombah looking for a feather bed somewhere in the mob structure. Now, I’ve never met Stallone in person. But I feel like I have because our lives intertwined almost every day while I was making the movie “Bordello Of Blood” in Vancouver, British Columbia while Stallone was making a movie called “Assassins” just across the border in Seattle. Our connection was my actress Angie Everheart who — at the time — also was Stallone’s fiancé. Spoiler Alert: Stallone treated Angie horribly. He cheated on her relentlessly — which I know because Stallone tried to get my production unit to help him do it.

“Bordello Of Blood” was the second of what was supposed to be a trilogy of “Tales From The Crypt” branded horror movies, a deal that arose after my then partner Gil Adler and I took over running the show going into its third season (1992). That was supposed to be Tales’ last season; HBO felt the show had run its course but Gil and I turned the franchise around. In particular, we reinvented the Crypt Keeper which, in turn, reinvigorated the show. We ended up running for another four seasons; part of that surge in the franchise’s popularity at the time was a three picture feature deal at Universal Studios. “Tales From The Crypt Presents Demon Knight” was the first feature we produced. It’s a solid, well-made movie — directed by the incredibly talented Ernest Dickerson — about a group of people trapped in a remote decommissioned church by a charismatic demon played by the also incredibly talented Billy Zane. After “Demon Knight’s” success, we set out to make our second Tales feature — which, initially, was going to be a nuanced, character-driven, psychological horror piece set in New Orleans. Circumstances, greed and a deal that had nothing to do with us interceded however and Universal pulled the plug on “Dead Easy”, the movie we were weeks away from shooting and, instead, assigned us the task of making “Bordello Of Blood” — a romp about vampire hookers living in the basement of a funeral home.

On paper, “Bordello” sounds great — if horror movies are your thing. But, as with most things in life, you still have to DO the thing to actually make it succeed. We didn’t so much “do” Bordello as Bordello “did” us. When you make movies for completely inorganic reasons — because of a deal rather than because you want to tell a particular story — you can’t be surprised if bad things happen and keep happening. That’s the story of the making of “Bordello Of Blood”. Every day making that movie was stupider than the day before it. When I think of the accumulated talent of the named filmmakers (my executive producers on Tales were Robert Zemeckis, Joel Silver, Richard Donner and Walter Hill — some of the biggest movie makers EVER), it boggles my mind that we made so many silly, expensive, amateurish mistakes while making the movie.

One of our earliest amateurish mistakes was casting our villain.

Now, understand: every single one of us set Angie Everheart up to fail (which she did not). She acquits herself admirably. She brings everything she has to the job and she should be proud of her work. The movie has fans — and so does she. But… Angie’s miscast. She just is. Horror movies are all about the villain. How you cast Freddy Krueger is vital. “Demon Knight” works mostly because Billy Zane fills every frame he’s in with fun and menace. He was an experienced film actor when we cast him; all that experience helped because, frankly, the script was meh. Billy made a dogmatic part his (the rules behind our story’s mythology still baffle me and I helped write them). Angie didn’t because she couldn’t. In her defense, the part was even less “written”. She, too, was playing a monster beautiful on the outside, not-so-beautiful on the inside. While Billy had a pool of menace inside him, Angie did not. That’s the rub — she didn’t because she’s a super lovely person — on the inside!

Over the course of my career, I’ve cast hundreds of actors. I don’t think I’ve ever cast an actor to “act”. I’ve never wanted them to “act”. I’ve wanted them “to be”. In film acting, the camera sees everything — even things the actor doesn’t intend an audience to see. The harder they try to “act away” those things, the more “actory” their performance becomes and more the story as a whole suffers. Better to hire actors who, in some way, are like the character. That’s what most casting really is — hiring actors who are enough LIKE their characters that the audience won’t bump on them playing the part. What makes great actors great is their honesty, courage and willingness to be that honest for the sake of a story and an audience. The more real actors seem, the better they serve the story they’re part of. So — we hire actors “to be” and not “to act”.

Hiring Angie and expecting her “to be” Lilith (her character) was unfair. Originally, Gil and I wanted Robin Givens to play Lilith. Robin, we’d been told, could be tricky to work with. We didn’t care about that — FFS, we worked for Joel Silver — one of the most notoriously difficult people in Hollywood. Nothing Robin did could equal Joel. Also, instead of Dennis Miller (who plays the lead), we wanted Danny Baldwin. But Joel insisted on casting our three leads himself — his prerogative as the executive producer. I could devote a whole book to my “Dennis Miller Experience”. Dennis is a talented man. He’s very smart and wickedly funny. But, he’s deeply unhappy and seems determined to make everyone around him equally unhappy. He’s a bully.

At the time that we were casting “Bordello”, Joel had a movie awaiting release: “Fair Game” starring Cindy Crawford. Mostly a Big Action Movie producer, Joel was convinced that “Super Models Starring In Movies” was the next, big Hollywood trend that he, Joel, was inventing. “Fair Game” ended up bombing horribly — in part because Cindy Crawford is a very talented model but not a talented actress. So — when the idea of Angie came up — Angie, at the time, was a well-known, well-respected and sought after super model — it wasn’t entirely insane. But it wasn’t sound casting either. And Angie’s name came up only because her fiancé at the time — Stallone — was already working for Joel on “Assassins”.

We shot Bordello in Vancouver rather than LA because we were running away from the IA — the union that most of our crew belonged to. Joel was in a perpetual battle with the IA. While our crew was all union, their deal with us was “non-union” because, though we were one of HBO’s most popular shows, our budgets were tiny (by Hollywood standards). Some months before we started working on Bordello, the IA had struck another of our sets, shutting it down. In the childish tit-for-tat, Joel felt it was his turn to be the bigger asshole, so he pulled the movie out of LA and sent us north to BC. Never mind that it was June.

Thing is with horror movies? Night time is prime time. Scary things seem scarier in the dark. One thing you have very little of that far north in summer? DARK. Oh, sure, there’s a nighttime during summer — but it’s only a few hours. In Vancouver in July (when we were actually shooting), the sun doesn’t disappear from the sky until gone ten pm and the first traces of dawn appear in the sky around 2:30 am. That gives you four and a half hours of darkness in a nine to twelve hour shooting day. It makes no sense. Why on earth would you do such a thing — go make a movie somewhere antithetical to the movie you’re making?

Because we were going to be in Vancouver, Stallone apparently saw an opening. He began to needle Joel on the “Assassins” set in Seattle to hire his fiancé (he called her his girlfriend in related conversations) not just to “be” in our movie, but to star in it — as the villain. That was Sylvester Stallone’s idea for “Bordello Of Blood” — and damn if we didn’t do it! When Joel first approached us (“Guys, guys! I have a great idea — Angie Everheart as the villain in your movie!”), Gil and I balked immediately (“What? No, Joel, please don’t do that — we’ve already read Robin Givens and she’s great!”). Joel persisted though (because Stallone persisted).

Trying to find another voice that would appeal to Joel, Gil and I called Billy Friedkin. Billy had directed an episode of Tales the previous season and we’d had a great experience working with Billy. He had just directed Angie in a small role in his thriller “Jade”. “How is Angie as an actress — for our movie,” we asked Billy. We knew the role she’d played in “Jade” was small and, for Angie, very close to home (where she could “be” rather than “act”). “She’s a very nice person,” Billy told us — code for “she’s not right for the part”.

We took that professional assessment to Joel. No dice. “How about we screen test her!” Gil suggested. That way, Sly would be able to see it for himself. As someone who loved Angie enough to want to marry her, surely Stallone would come to his senses. We did the screen test. Angie gave it her very best shot but anyone looking at it honestly would have given up — if only because they loved Angie enough not to subject her to work she couldn’t possibly do justice to. Still, Stallone wouldn’t be happy on his movie if Angie wasn’t cast in ours. WTF!

We cast Angie. She really, REALLY is a terrific human being who deserved to be treated with respect — a thing her fiancé did not have for her. From the time she arrived in Vancouver — toward the end of formal prep — Angie would travel down to Seattle on the weekends to be with Sly. But, when we started shooting, Sly’s assistant called our production office and asked if there wasn’t some way we couldn’t “HOLD ONTO ANGIE” for the next couple of weekends.

Wait, what? “Hold ONTO Angie”? Why? No reason was offered. Just — Sly would like it if we could. Well, as there was 1) no justification to hold Angie for the weekend and, 2) even trickier, nothing for us to have her do instead of traveling, we declined. I mean, seriously — what did they expect us to tell Angie? “No, you can’t leave Vancouver cos you have to study your lines in this genius piece of crap script?”

On the plus side, Angie NOT visiting Sly meant she wasn’t coming back to our set with Angie’s lines rewritten (by Sly) and every bit of her performance already directed — again, by Sly.

Shortly thereafter, we heard some stories from the “Assassins” set that suggested exactly “why” Stallone wanted Angie on the Canadian side of the border. I cannot vouch for the following story’s veracity. It’s a great story nonetheless — and we heard it FROM the “Assassins” set. Stallone finishes a shot and returns to his trailer where a “pretty young thing” is waiting for him. Stallone doesn’t know that his wireless mic is still LIVE, still broadcasting back to the sound cart on the set. As the crew begin to gather around the sound cart, they’re treated to Very Famous Actor Sly Stallone having sex. Stallone, it turns out, has a few preferences (who doesn’t?) “That’s it, that’s it,” Stallone is heard saying, “Cup the balls… cup the balls!” There are a few “Stroke the shaft” thrown in, but what gets the whole crew laughing is “Cup the balls”.

The next morning, we were told, Stallone walked onto the “Assassins” set to find EVERYONE on the crew wearing the same t-shirt that read across its front “Cup The Balls”.

Did it really happen? I don’t know. But, I sure as hell hope it did.

It sucks to be a shithead’s co-conspirator. Toward the middle of the shoot, I needed to get away for a few days and arranged to fly down to LA to hang with my wife. Flying on other peoples’ dime is the best! As I settled into my first class seat — the section’s only passenger for that flight — and a drink was put into my hand while we waited to taxi from the gate — I felt a little of the stress begin to ameliorate. We were waiting, it turned out, for one last passenger to make it through the jetway. Finally, she did: Angie. She, too was flying home for the weekend.

Now, let’s be real — when a woman as statuesque and stunning as Angie Everheart greets you in a public space the way Angie greeted me, that should make a male glow from the inside. The whole rest of the world thinks beautiful women like you. For some reason, that matters. And, under most circumstances, getting to spend some quality face time with Angie (who’s actually very smart), talking about work but also about life — that would have been awesome. But, Angie sensed something was wrong with her relationship with Sly. She spent the entire three hour flight talking about Sly — how much she loved him. How excited she was for their future together.

And there I sat the entire time, knowing and thinking what a rat bastard Stallone was for cheating on her so relentlessly, so openly. So disrespectfully.

We finally got to LA, Angie and I said “See you Monday back in Vancouver!” and went our separate ways.

A few weeks later, Sly formally broke it off with Angie. I think Sly’s assistant called her to tell her. And my actress — not up to the part to begin with, having been cast only because Sly insisted — now had to be coaxed from her trailer because she was rightfully depressed.

Think of what actually happened here: Stallone wanted to break his engagement to Angie but didn’t have the courage to tell her to her face and then used US as a kind of mental “consolation prize” that HE had procured for HER.

I’ve always known that Stallone was a conservative. It’s neither here nor there to me. Don’t bring that crap onto my film set though. And do NOT infect my film set with it.

Stallone’s problem isn’t his conservatism, it’s that he’s a greedy, selfish pig who seeks approval from and community with other greedy, selfish pigs. If I was going to make a movie about greedy, selfish pigs — I’d know who to cast.

And now? I’ll even know where to find him…

The Reason Big Business Will Absolutely “Quit” The GOP Is The Same Reason Bill O’Reilly No Longer Works At Fox News

Hey, remember Bill O’Reilly? Bill sure wishes most of us did remember him. But, for most of America, O’Reilly sits in the “Whatever happened to?” heap and not anywhere near the top. The reason most people don’t even think about O’Reilly any more as a “choice” in the news-entertainment marketplace is exactly the same reason that all America’s Big Businesses are now turning their backs on the Republican Party over the violently anti-democratic voting laws its members have drawn up all over the country, starting with Georgia. In a consumer-driven, free market economy — that, itself, relies on a stable, genuinely democratic political environment to cash flow it — anything that causes those consumers to stop consuming products & services is bad for business. If those causes are potentially long-lasting (more to the point, if the EFFECTS those causes cause are likely long-lasting), it’s entirely in Big Businesses long term interests either to remove or mitigate those causes as quickly (and cheaply) as possible. But, Big Business also knows it has a secondary problem to contend with: branding and co-branding. Just as Fox News saw clearly that continuing to co-brand with Bill O’Reilly had to end, so, too, will America’s Big Businesses see that they can no longer “co-brand” with the GOP.

O’Reilly, remember, had a history of sexually intimidating female co-workers (though the word in his mind was probably “seducing”). This happened. And, famously, this. This did, too.

Meanwhile, a paradigm that had actually shifted years before was finally recognized by America’s Big Businesses — at least the ones who advertised on Bill O’Reilly’s top-rated Fox News show “The O’Reilly Factor”. As Time pointed out on April 6, 2017, ” …companies that advertise on The O’Reilly Factor have seen intense pressure on social media to stop running ads on the show. Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai were the first companies to pull their spots…”. Seeing the positive response those two big companies got, more of O’Reilly’s sponsors, their “integrity” having been fluffed, either pulled their ads from O’Reilly’s shows or (in the case of My Pillow, thought about it). Consider for a moment, what this really meant.

This was not one decision made in one boardroom that changed things, it was one decision being made in MULTIPLE boardrooms that changed things — because it all flowed from the same key data point: the majority of buying decisions in American households (especially the larger buying decisions) were being made by WOMEN. Appeal to the women in American households and your chances of making or keeping those households as customers increased. However, lose them as customers — especially over something like serial sexual harassment allegations — and you’d probably lose them forever. All those boardrooms saw it clearly: they could not advertise on any show having anything to do with Bill O’Reilly a moment longer. They transmitted that new paradigm to the 21st Century Fox Board (they oversee Fox News among other things). The 21st Century Fox Board did the only thing they could do as responsible stewards of their corporate entity: they canned Bill O’Reilly’s ass despite the fact that he was their main cash cow.

That’s freakin’ tectonic! Quietly, in the background, America’s Big Businesses took care of business — yes, out of greed, but also out of greed that recognized it needed to be on the right side of history. That happens from time to time; it’s like a broken analog clock being right twice a day. While crony capitalism has made a mess and a mockery of American capitalism — a thing which Team Biden, we hope, will begin to rectify in ways large, small and permanent — actual capitalism has, out of sheer survival instinct, worked as a kind of shifting ballast. That precedent is being repeated right here, right now in Georgia. While Coca Cola, Delta and Home Depot among many others had hoped to avoid getting dragged into American politics, if you donate money to legislators who want to legislate away our democracy — from a minority position — that fact now officially binds you together in the public’s consciousness. In other words, America understands that if you donate money to a politician, we can now take it for a fact that you AGREE with what that politician is trying to do. If the politician to whom you give money actively seeks to take away a customer’s VOTING RIGHTS, then that customer — and every other customer — will assume YOU also seek to take away your customer’s voting rights. If you can live with that — go ahead. Try it on. It won’t fit how you think it will.

Big business, if it’s to endure, must think strategically — in the longest terms possible. What’s good for the next quarter or two may be toxic to every quarter beyond. Living for today at tomorrow’s expense is how businesses die. This behavior doesn’t require a soul; only a survival instinct. Screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky nailed this dynamic tension in his brilliant screenplay “Network” where — 25 years before it came to be — he envisioned the corrupting journey our news media would take from being respected, respectable news organizations to being entertainment companies with a little news thrown in. He saw Fox News coming from a million miles away. In Chayefsky’s Nostradoumus-like imagining, a weary news anchor named Howard Beale (who works for an imaginary 4th network called UBS — this was well before anything like Fox existed) becomes an unlikely populist icon/Jeremiah who taps into America’s latent rage; they’re all “mad as hell” and are “not going to take it anymore!” The UBS board, torn between keeping their integrity — albeit as the 4th place network and finally justifying themselves to UBS’s shareholders by making a little money for a change, choose the latter of course. But, Howard Beale is less than compliant. The silly man has begun to believe his own hype about being a “Jeremiah”. In this scene, UBS Chairman of the Board (played brilliantly by Ned Beatty) reads the riot act (and a few other acts) to Howard Bealed (Peter Finch who won an Oscar for his wonderful performance but died of a heart attack before actually winning the thing!).

It is one of the best pieces of screenwriting EVER. Fight me, if you dare…

Most of the corporations mentioned are no longer players — or even playing, some of them. They’ve been replaced by Amazon and China. But, aside from that? Almost every single word applies.

Bill O’Reilly was not accorded the kindness of such a “sit-down” with Rupert Murdoch. That’s how far gone, O’Reilly was. America’s Big Businesses have officially put the Republican Party on notice.

The GOP now finds itself sitting in the chair Howard Beale sat in while Ned Beatty rails at them. Remember what happens to Howard Beale in the movie? Spoiler Alert: it’s the very same thing that’s going to happen to the GOP. No one will mourn them. Hell, no one will even bother to make the funeral.

The world will be too busy trying to make a buck.

Look At It From The GOP’s Point Of View — You’d Cheat Too If All You Had To Sell In The Marketplace Of Ideas Was A Turd

To compete in a democracy, you have to sell your idea of how we should self-govern better than the other guy is. It helps a lot if your ideas are empirically better, too. That’s the case with the Democrats. Their ideas indicate that, unlike Republicans, Democrats still care about democracy. They still care about governing the best way they can so that more Americans can benefit from being American and living in America. Republicans do not want to live in a representative democracy any more. A lot of them never did care for this form of government, being royalists and authoritarians at heart. In theory anyway, Democracy is easy: each person above the age of 18 (though perhaps we should make it 16 for a thousand good reasons) get one vote. Come election day, they show up at the polls and cast their vote however they like. Period. End of story. No one’s vote is better than anyone else’s vote. They all carry equal weight. At least, that’s how it should be. But, from a Republican’s point of view, that means that a Black person’s vote has equal weight to their vote which means all hell has broken loose because, to a Republican, a Black person shouldn’t be voting in the first place.

Donald Trump keeps saying the quiet stuff out loud. For instance: “If everybody voted, Republicans would never win another election!” Want to know why Republicans will never enthuse over expanded voting rights? To them, that’d be like enthusing over your own extinction. The Republican voting base is not going to grow beyond angry white men and the women who cling to them. If Republicans really wanted to talk to people outside their base, they’d have to change their act completely. Just as well they don’t.

Republicans and republicanism favor profits over people. Progressives, by contrast, favor people over profits. We’ll leave money on the table and not beat ourselves up over it. Republicans, by contrast, can’t help being pigs at a trough, snarfing down everything they can get into their mouths. From a Republican perspective, actual human beings are the cash out in a business proposition. Every penny spent on a human or some human benefit is a penny less profit. And, if profit’s the name of the game…

What do conservatives really want to conserve? I know what Progressives want to progress toward — the future. I know Progressives want the best possible opportunities for the most possible people because that will renew and re-energize our politics and our culture. Conservatives don’t want to conserve the future, of course, because it doesn’t exist yet; in fact, conservatives want to avoid the future if at all possible. Instead, conservatives want to conserve all of the past that’s still locked into the present. If they could have their way, they’d take America back to the past — back to, what’s to them, a “Golden Age For White People”. Well, for white, Christian men and the women they’ve bamboozled into servicing them.

The reason conservatives don’t want to raise the federal minimum wage above $7.25? Frankly, if there was a way to bring back slavery, they’d do it. Slavery, after all, is stolen labor. Slaves don’t get paid for their work. The cost to house, clothe and feed them is the cost of a slave. So long as the slave’s work product is worth more than what it costs to keep them? Slavery’s profitable from the slaver’s point of view. Paying people the federal minimum wage keeps them permanently poor. No one can afford to pay any sort of decent rent if they work one minimum wage job for eight hours a day. They can barely afford to feed, clothe and transport themselves from wherever they’re bedding down to the minimum wage hell hole where they work.

As with 2020, the Republican Party has given up on selling ideas or policies. They simply sell hatred of the other now. Vote for the GOP because you hate people who don’t look like you.

As political advertising goes, that might get your base all fired up, but there aren’t enough boys in the bund to make this brand of Republicans anything other than a fringe regional party catering to the fringiest elements of Red America. After Merrick Garland gets through trying all the insurrectionists and then gets through with pulling threads on the corrupt Republican sweater, Republicans will pose even less of a threat because so many will have had to step down from their offices to deal with the very real legal peril facing them. Let’s remember — the Republican leadership KNEW a month before the made Donald Trump their presidential nominee in 2016 that he was corrupt and compromised by Russia.

“There’s two people I think Putin pays,” said current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy as he walked into a meeting of the Republican leadership a month before their convention in 2016, “Rohrbacher and Trump — swear to God!” Then Leader Of The House Paul Ryan cautioned Kevin not to get too crazy about it. Paul wasn’t saying, “No, no, Kevin — you must be wrong! A man as honorable as Donald Trump would never let himself be compromised in such a way!” On the contrary, Paul was saying (literally) “Let’s keep this in the family!” Keep the fact that the man they were about to nominate for President of the United States was COMPROMISED by a hostile foreign power who’ve expressed the desire previously to wage cyber war against us. A roomful of Republican leaders agreed with Paul Ryan — and kept the secret a secret that they knew/suspected that their soon-to-be presidential nominee was likely OWNED OUTRIGHT by a hostile foreign government.

Republicans know they can’t sell what they’re pitching to American voters unless those voters are already hard core racists. That’s why they’ve resorted to gerrymandering, voter suppression and treason. That’s why they’ve resorted to cheating in every way they can think of. How else is any Republican going to get elected?

White Perspective Is A Bully’s Perspective

We get it — the idea of power sharing horrifies you; it always has. That’s why you’ve worked ceaselessly — regardless of whether you went by the label “Dixiecrat” or “Southern Democrat” or “Republican” — to prevent anyone NOT white from participating in American democracy — a thing you yourselves abhor. The problem with democracy — from an autocratic point of view — is that you can’t trust voters to vote for you and your ideas; they probably get that you’re a power mad fraud. Democracy is a marketplace of ideas. As we all know, crony capitalists don’t want a free market for you, they want a free market for THEM. Hell, conservatives (the political wing of crony capitalists) now openly admit that they MUST cheat in order to win elections which is WHY Republicans suppress Democratic voters but Democrats NEVER even think of suppressing Republican voters. Democrats don’t have to do that — because their ideas sell just fine in the marketplace.

The right wing money understood a while ago that the more America diversified, the quicker their hegemony would end. The more Black people voted — the quicker white hegemony would end. It’s not as if Black voters are insanely liberal as a group. They’re not. To begin with, they’re not monolithic. No group is — including white people. But there’s a difference. Because they’ve been the ones holding all the political power and wealth in America, white group-think has far greater real world (realpolitik) weight than anyone else’s. We do not now stand on a level playing field. We never have and every time we treat it like it is, we’re grossly mis-representing reality.

White perspective (born of white culture) always assumes it’s superiority over everyone else. For instance, white perspective tells itself it “discovered” America. That assumes that prior to white, Christian Europeans arriving on these shores that the America was a virgin land, filled with darkness, ignorance and savagery — all waiting to be saved by them. No, actually, it wasn’t. As historian Charles C. Mann points out in his excellent “1491: New Revelations Of The Americas Before Columbus”, “… the pre-Columbian Indians were not sparsely settled in a pristine wilderness; rather, there were huge numbers of Indians who actively molded and influenced the land around them. The astonishing Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan had running water and immaculately clean streets, and was larger than any contemporary European city. Mexican cultures created corn in a specialized breeding process that has been called man’s first feat of genetic engineering. Indeed, Indians were not living lightly on the land but were landscaping and manipulating their world in ways that we are only now beginning to understand.” Native Americans founded, lived and thrived in actual cities in North America while Paris and London festered in the mud, struggling to rise above their humble beginnings.

Historian Jared Diamond brilliantly summed up European “superiority” as “Guns, Germs & Steel” (the title of his excellent history of how the white man’s germs, mostly, reduced North America’s native population so completely that defeating the survivors militarily was remarkably easy. That wasn’t the Europeans plan — not at first; in time they’d realize how effective blankets infected with smallpox can be in controlling Indian population size. It is what happened however.

For what it’s worth, the Indians did pass syphilis — one of their native infections — to the white man.

The first thing every schoolyard bully does is reduce whoever he’s bullying to something less than a human. Bullies can’t bully their equals (they’re all afraid they’d lose) and they certainly can’t bully their superiors. That leaves people the bully feels superior to. And off they go! Bullies see everyone not them as one kind of cockroach or another. Once you’ve stopped seeing other people as people? Bullying them is easy. Who cares if you “hurt their feelings” — to the bully, the bullied’s feelings are there TO be hurt. That’s why bullies bully — hurting other people gets them hot.

Another thing that happens when you reduce other people to “less-than-people” status. You negate their history. White people denied the value of Native American history before they introduced Christianity to them. Who cared what savages thought? Who cared where savages came from or why they had the traditions they had. Cockroaches don’t have “traditions”. White Americans have also negated Black history. That’s why some white Americans think they should be free to “opt out” of Black History Month.

Negating a peoples’ history also negates their wealth. White America’s greatest crime against Black America is slavery of course. But, slavery, remember, is first and foremost STOLEN LABOR. That’s the point. You can’t amass wealth if you can’t acquire it to begin with. And you can’t acquire wealth if you never get paid for your labor — the thing you have to sell.

In the American south, slave owners justified slavery by saying they couldn’t profitably engage in growing rice, sugar or cotton if they had to pay the labor needed to PICK those crops a living wage. Or any wage whatsoever. The costs of buying, housing, clothing and feeding slaves was understood as the “costs of doing business”. In fact, slavery was NEVER a good economic model for those businesses. But then, white people will believe anything if it involves denigrating Black people.

We all know what the Trump insurrectionists were thinking. They told us. We know what they wanted — and still want. Being the ultimate bully, Donald Trump can’t conceive of losing. But, Trump’s bullying has an extra dimension to it: treason. This is no secret to Trump’s republican co-bullies. Current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy famously told a roomful of Republican leaders a month BEFORE they nominated Trump to be their POTUS candidate “There’s two people I think Putin pays, Rohrbacher and Trump… swear to God!” The reason the entire Republican Party has gone along with this insanity is because they’re all guilty of treason.

White people need to step back for a bit. If they don’t do it of their own accord, their stepping back will be done for them and probably not nicely. No one likes being bullied. Especially not bullies.

Ironically, when it comes to being bullied? Bullies hate being bullied more than anyone.

Dear Corporate America: Integrity Needs To Be Your New “Bottom Line”

Know who believes in democracy? Corporate America. They sort of believe in American democracy. But, the “democracy of the marketplace”? That, they believe in, unabashedly. Corporate America has to — they need consumers to “vote” with their wallets and pocketbooks as “early and often” as possible (like they supposedly used to vote in Chicago when the Democratic machine ran it). Remember New Coke? Remember how fast it disappeared from shelves when Americans resoundingly “voted against it”? Product launches are no different from candidate launches; candidates in American retail politics are no different from laundry detergent. Except some will destroy your clothing, wreck your marriage and burn your whole house down. There’s a reason Mitch McConnell fought so hard to keep Americans from getting financial support during the pandemic but insisted that companies never have to face any sort of liability for forcing their employees back to work, damn any and all risk to their lives.

Already, companies like Airbnb, Amazon, American Express and AT&T have cancelled all political contributions to any politician questioning the results of election 2020. And those are just a few of the “A’s”. They all know how easy — and likely — it is for their customers to turn on them should their customers suddenly find the companies’ political stances offensive. Remember Bill O’Reilly — Fox News’ one-time cash cow? The reason Bill doesn’t work for Fox anymore — despite how lucrative his bullshit was to the company — is because Bill lost all his advertisers. This was a boardroom decision! The 21st Century Fox board of directors were told, flat out, by the companies they needed to cash flow them that none of their customers would support their advertising on O’Reilly’s “The O’Reilly Factor” any longer because he was such a sexist, racist pig.

Just like that, Bill O’Reilly became expendable. And just like that, he was gone. The democracy of the marketplace is harsh. But fair.

American consumers don’t like giving their hard-earned dollars to companies that do not respect them. They like it even less when those companies are ripping them off or doing things that could literally hurt them by, say, polluting the air and water. And the airwaves. And companies that want to overthrow our government? We REALLY hate those guys. And we ain’t buying whatever they’re selling…

The Truth — literal, empirical, this-is-what-happened-NOT-that, replete-with-receipts Truth — is about to get its day in court (the court of public opinion which is what really matters in America). On one side are Republican sweethearts like Marjorie Taylor Greene — an affront to logic and decency every time she speaks. On the other are Democrats, the rule of law, the Constitution and the majority of Americans. When the Democrats announced they’d introduce witness testimony (under oath) before the Senate “jury” during Trump’s SECOND impeachment trial, Lindsey Graham threatened to have the FBI testify, too. The Democrats, frankly, would LOVE IT if the FBI showed up and testified. What’s the point of Lindsey’s bluff here? Bring the Truth, Lindsey! Make it rain Truth! The only person needing an umbrella if that happens is YOU — and every one of your Republican co-conspirators.

I still won’t shop at Home Depot because the company’s ownership was so vociferously pro-trump. My hardware store dollars have a choice where they go to be spent. I prefer to use my local hardware store. But, sometimes, they don’t have what I need. A big box hardware store is where I’ll have to go. Ah, but which one? My dollars will vote for ANYONE but Home Depot. If too many other curmudgeons follow my lead? Home Depot’s bottom line will suffer. Pinch, OUCH!

Mitch feels that “ouch” like a cannonball rolling around his Treason Turtle shell, flattening his guts. He’s worked his whole political career to service the Big Right Wing Money and its various political needs. He’ll let all of America down before he even thinks of letting his paymasters down. Hell, Mitch is so cynical, he bought into the whole Donald Trump-Russia connection without batting a bloodshot eye. Ya don’t think Mitch had heard — same as every other Republican in the loop in 2016 — that “There’s two people (I think) Putin pays, Rohrbacher and Trump”? When current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy posed that question to a roomful of GOP leadership (was Mitch there perhaps?) a month before the 2016 GOP convention, then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan made everyone present agree to keep this… suspicion/fact “in the family”. If Mitch wasn’t there, take it to the bank –he heard all about it.

Take this to the bank too. No one who heard that conversation live, took part in it or heard about it afterwards called the FBI as they absolutely should have done. This was the guy they were about to nominate as their candidate for POTUS. And they wondered about his loyalties and whether or not he might be compromised by a very hostile foreign enemy who we already knew were engaged in cyber war against us. The more we learn about this abomination — and we will once Merrick Garland punches the clock and a rejuvenated Department of Justice begins to behave like the defenders of the rule of law they’re supposed to be — the worse it will get for anyone still sporting that “R” next to their name.

That “R” will begin to stand more and more for RUSSIA.

Nobody wants that trademark next to their corporate image. Nobody wants their company to be co-branded in the buying public’s mind with traitors or treason or sedition or anything Marjorie Taylor Greene has to say. It always, always, ALWAYS comes down to money. And, for now, it’s money ironically that will keep corporate America from giving to their favorite enablers, the Republican Party. Whoever baked this irony cake knew just how long to keep it in the oven.

America is at the very beginning of a Great Moral Reckoning. We’ve needed this for a long, long time. As much of a treasonous shit as he is, on a certain level, we owe Trump a thank you — for causing the Republican Party membership to finally expose itself for the cynical, racist, authoritarians they all are. They’re the biggest, drunkest, angriest, whitest, stupidest frat party ever.

See those guys? Big companies don’t care what they want to buy. Not anymore. How long, do you suppose, will it take America’s news media to catch up with what its boardrooms figured out eons ago?

Whatever ya do, don’t bet on America’s news media. They still can’t even spell “integrity”.

Dear Donald Trump: How Was The First Day Of The Rest Of Your Life?

Yesterday felt like we finally got over the worst bout of food poisoning imaginable. We knew the moment America “swallowed” Trumpism that Trump would put every single one of our systems through hell. I know I wasn’t alone in literally weeping with joy as I watched Joe and Kamala be sworn in, watched Lady Gaga and Garth Brooks both tear it up, watched Amanda Gorman speak a poem that seemed to drill right into our souls. Damn, what Ms. Gorman recited was incredible — it was like a warm, burbling stream that you could step into at any point and instantly feel what she was thinking about. All day, our collective reaction to Donald Trump exiting stage right felt like a dark cloud lifting.

Trump exited the building as gracelessly as he entered it. Shocking, right? Just to go the eff away, he needed pomp and circumstance. He needed every last bit of smoke he could generate from the wreckage he’d left behind blown up his bloated orange ass. I wish we had delivered Trump directly TO Mar a Lago yesterday — from 35,000 feet sans parachute. Perhaps, as the indictments start to appear at his front door, demanding attention, Trump will start to feel like he’s falling from 35,000 feet with no way to stop it.

Pariah-hood for Trump is a good beginning. It’s what he’s deserved his whole life. It will sting way more now because, at his age, he’s completely incapable of adapting or finding other alternative ways to keep it cash flowed. The adoration of money is what Trump has instead of feelings. Threaten his money, you threaten his feelings. Stomp on his wallet, you’ve wounded his heart.

Freeze Donald Trump’s bank account — you’ve pulled the plug on his existence. Without money, Trump can’t keep justice at bay. If justice comes calling — like a wolf at Trump’s door — Trump will have no way to stop it from devouring him and his whole family. Never mind Trump surviving years of being a federal prisoner (or a state prisoner if that happens first). Trump may not get through one night in detention without every physical ailment his diet and lifestyle have exacerbated suddenly becoming an existential emergency. Of course Trump fears going to jail. Who doesn’t?

But, for Trump, it means the literal end. Contemplating prison is contemplating mortality. As he flew home on Air Force One, his empire of bullshit collapsing around him, Trump knew he’d be landing as much in hot water as in Florida.

I bet the SDNY is already moving to convert Donald Trump from his status as the “unindicted co-conspirator” known as “individual 1” in Michael Cohen’s felony election fraud conviction to a fully INDICTED co-conspirator. The only thing ever standing between Trump and that indictment was time — and Trump losing the election — and therefore losing the “immunity” from prosecution he benefited from (though he should never have benefitted from it). Trump is about to meet the E. Jean Carroll buzz saw head on — and that will be even uglier for Trump.

The last 36 hours of Trump’s presidency was increasingly bizarre because so many forces were actively at work. The big overhanging question — aside from who-all would Trump pardon before leaving — remains “will the Senate convict Trump?” Trump needs the Senate to NOT convict him — desperately. If the Senate were to convict Trump (making him the first POTUS ever 1) to be impeached twice and 2) first POTUS ever to be impeached AND convicted), they’d move on to the next question they’re obligated to ask: “shall this person to be allowed to run for public office again EVER?” For Trump, THAT’S the danger inherent in being convicted by the Senate.

Trump doesn’t want anyone asking that question about him because if they’re asking, the answer’s going to be “no”. Trump can never run for public office ever again. That will mean Trump can’t raise campaign cash to theoretically use for getting elected (but that he’d actually use to cash flow his life or pay his legal bills). With the Trump brand’s collapse — caused partly by the pandemic and partly because who wants to give money to a traitor — he can’t rely on the hospitality business to keep him afloat.

Trump’s in desperate financial straits. His presidency has now completely and utterly destroyed his brand. The Trump name is synonymous with corruption, sedition and (soon enough) treason. Think Coca Cola wants to co-brand with that? That’s what would happen if they gave a traitor campaign cash. It’d be “Hey, drink Coca Cola! It’s the official cola of traitors everywhere!” Think Ford wants its trucks to be how “seditionists sedition”? Only traitors want to be a traitor’s pal — or the co-conspirator who keeps stuffing cash in the traitor’s pocket.

Treason, as most Fortune 500 companies will tell you, is terrible for business.

With his properties losing value and huge, balloon payments on ridiculous loans coming due, Trump’s somewhere north of $400 million in the hole. He owes — in total — north of a billion. And Deutschebank, one of his main financial bitches, just told him “Enough!” They don’t want to be in business with him anymore either. With other money sources drying up or, like Sheldon Adlestein, actually dying, Trump needs the sucker bait factory that a having Political Action Committee (a PAC) legally permits the way a vampire needs a fresh blood supply.

Donald Trump’s election sent this country into a psychological tailspin unequaled in history. I betcha that will be duly noted in history books — how, in the aftermath of November 2016, a significant portion of America sought intense therapy to deal with the trauma they felt. Trumpism was bad for plenty of Americans, but it was awfully good for the psychotherapy business. Considering how long the PTSD is likely to last, therapy should continue to be growth industry for quite a while longer.

Though LOSING the election by a lot, Trump has still reaped a whopping $210 million in cash by bamboozling people into thinking some kind of “fight” still remained to be fought. Trump sees re-election the way he saw election in the first place — as a cash cow for him to use up and then plow into with his golf cart, killing it. IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT THE MONEY! Take that to the bank and get richer than rich.

What America needs — what it yearns for — is justice. Donald Trump assaulted us (like the rapist he is). That can’t go unmarked or unpunished. As a victim of sexual assault who’s on the mend, let me assure you — until you 1) admit something was done to you, 2) that it’s not your fault, and 3) that the person who did this is a bad person for doing this to you, you can’t 4) start to heal. There is right, there is wrong. We need both to acknowledge these things and we need to acknowledge that we’re acknowledging it.

Trump didn’t just violate the law with impunity, he violated our sense of decency. While he unintentionally exposed some terrible truths about who America really is, Trump wanted to exploit those terrible truths and ride them to a state of permanent minority rule. Too bad democracy got in his way.

Merrick Garland will both revert Justice back to how it was when Obama was POTUS and make it even better at carrying out its mission. Trumpian corruption is like the ugliest Christmas sweater ever knit by human hands. It’s also badly made. Pull one of the many threads hanging off it and the whole rotten garment will instantly fall apart.

Just like Donald Trump’s life is about to.

Yesterday was a terrible, terrible day for Trump. Today will be even worse and tomorrow will make today look like a picnic.

E. Jean Carroll’s success against Trump will create a cottage industry. Once it’s safe to go after Trump — his NDA’s now being toothless because they covered criminal activity — I bet most of the women we know about and plenty that we’ve never heard of will seek justice and satisfaction from Trump.

Charges of tax fraud and insurance fraud will land on Trump. His taxes will finally see the sunlight. His adult children will find themselves in deeper shit than they ever imagined shit could be piled. We don’t think Trump pardoned himself or his adult children but that doesn’t mean he didn’t. It would have cost Trump nothing to do a silent pardon for himself and his family. That is a possibility and it’s completely legal — these will only ever come to light if Trump or his family are charged with something. That’s when they’d have to pull their “get outta jail” cards from their corrupt pocket.

Then we’ll take it to the SCOTUS where — rest assured — Trump will lose. By then, Trump and his crime family will stand utterly naked, utterly alone, utterly exposed.

The only place left to run will be Russia. Putin will welcome them — with open arms even. He’ll greet them as the heroes that they are — to Russia. For a year or so, things will go swimmingly. On the surface anyway. But, once Trump stops being useful to Putin, he stops being worth keeping around. Or alive.

One night — quite suddenly — a group of thugs will round up every last Trump and take them to a secret location where they’ll all be “Romanov-ed” just like the last Czar’s family. Perhaps, being vain and stupid, the Trumps — like the Romanovs — will think they’re about to pose for a picture — something they’re all fond of doing. I’m not sure if they’ll all be ready for that day’s “close up”, but I feel pretty certain the rest of the world will be.

Can We Please Agree: “If” Donald Trump Committed Treason, His Whole Presidency Is Treasonous

Trust me here: one plus one equals two. It just does. Donald Trump behaves the way he does (and has) toward Vladimir Putin because Donald Trump is a traitor. If we took Putin out of the equation entirely, not only would Trump not be POTUS, he would never have run for president in the first place. It’s not new news that Trump is corrupt — and corrupted by Russia (among others). Why, the Republican Party itself KNEW IT for a fact even before their 2016 convention. Current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy said it OUT LOUD for a roomful of the GOP hierarchy to hear: “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrbacher and Trump”.

How did then Speaker of the House Paul Ryan respond? Per the Washington Post: “Ryan instructed his Republican lieutenants to keep the conversation private, saying: ‘No leaks. . . . This is how we know we’re a real family here’.” When told that Russia had likely compromised their presidential candidate, the GOP leadership didn’t call the FBI, they ran for their bunker. Mark this — even before he won his own party’s nomination, Trump was allied with a foreign government actively engaged in a CYBER WAR against us. Trump doesn’t have to know anything inside Putin’s head to be guilty of committing treason. Useful idiots are just as treasonous as useless ones.

Our news media — always light years behind this story — still wonders aloud why Trump is so chummy with Putin. If they scratched their heads any harder while pondering that question, they’d create permanent divots in their noggins. Repeat: one plus one equals two. Trump is chummy with Putin because Putin owns him. Nothing Trump has done before or during his presidency would contradict that. Trump’s treachery is the biggest open secret in the whole history of secrets.

His treachery is the reason he’ll fight to the bitter end to hold onto power — as if it was his to “hold onto”. That’s Trump’s big mistake. It’s the Republican Party’s big mistake, too. They’ve forgotten, authoritarian shitheads that they are, that power in our democracy flows from us, We The People. We may not be good at asserting ourselves until forced to but once we do, our intentions are almost always clear. We just asserted how much we want Trump fired. We weren’t kidding.

“Both Sides Do It” brand journalism refuses to take sides — because “both sides do it”. By assigning any one argument a 50-50 chance at being right, they assume that any two arguments being made are literal equals. Both sides have their “point of view”. That may be, but having a point of view doesn’t mean you have a point. They’re not the same thing. The guy who just stole your car may have a reason (he needed money), but so what? The bottom line is HE STOLE YOUR CAR. He can never be its rightful owner no matter how much he drives around in it.

“Both Sides Do It” journalism disagrees. It concludes it’s his car if he says it is. Who are they, the news media — or us, the car thief’s victim — to tell him otherwise?

Just as a car thief can never be your car’s rightful owner, “if” Donald Trump committed a crime — ANY CRIME — in order to become POTUS, the act of committing that crime VOIDED his presidential bid. You cannot commit a crime in order to become president. Likewise — you cannot CHEAT to become POTUS. Correction — you can certainly cheat (people have!) to become president. But, if we catch you at it, that cheating negates your success. Cheating to win does not and can NEVER equal NOT cheating to win. Otherwise, why wouldn’t everyone cheat to win? If the other guy’s cheating to win — taking a big steaming dump on the rules in the process, you’d be an idiot to stick to the rules. He’s not.

Why do we insist on letting the cheater always have an unfair advantage?

Trump has projected his illegitimacy from day one. Why, oh why, are we so dead set on not listening to him? The reason Trump can never stop being POTUS is because the instant the title ceases to be his, the indictments and subpoenas will drop on him like nuclear fallout. Same goes for every single Republican who, though knowing or suspecting what Trump (and the other Republicans) were up to, remained silent. That racist “good ol’ boy” complicity doesn’t play here anymore.

There will be a day of reckoning when we face the stone cold truth: Donald Trump was never the legitimate president. He never had the AUTHORITY that flows from LEGITIMATE AUTHORITY. Just because Trump STOLE that authority and MIS-USED IT to, say, nominate judges — it doesn’t mean he ever actually HAD the authority to do that. Trust me on this — if you or I enter a contest, cheat to win and then get found out? Whatever we won in the competition? We’re not getting to keep it — and rightfully so: IT WAS NEVER OURS.

The same goes for every judge Trump nominated. If he never had the rightful authority, then none of those nominations can stand. Each and every one of them is an affront to American democracy. They fly in the face of the rule of law and the Constitution. Why should we — who follow the Constitution — be bound by those hell bent on destroying the Constitution? Why should (or would) Democrats go forward — attempting to govern — with Republicans who’ve questioned the whole system’s integrity — because they want to destroy it and replace it with permanent minority rule?

It would be stupid beyond words to tell ourselves we’re bound by what criminals did. No, we’re not. The correct response to a child throwing a tantrum isn’t to get down on the floor and tantrum alongside them. You don’t parent by acting like the child and you don’t ever chase a rabbit down its hole.

The correct answer to “But, Trump says…!” is “So what?” He’s a liar. He needs to bring receipts to the table from now on. Otherwise, we’ll assume he’s lying. And why would anyone with two brain cells listen anything a liar says? See how that framing works?

That’s the simple trick our news media needs to teach itself. Of course, if you think truth and bullshit are the same thing (because both sides do it), you’ll never frame anything the right way. The fact is, We The People will not permit Trump or the Republican Party to get away with betraying us.

Whether or not we hold the news media accountable — that’s a whole other question.

Why Do Some Christians Hate Being Forced To Reap What They Sowed?

As an atheist, I wonder frequently why so few Christians follow Jesus. That is, they belong to a church — but their church sees Jesus the way McDonald’s sees Ronald. He’s a mascot. He’s the “Do Unto Others” bait that they switch with “Do What We Tell You To Do — Or Else!” Institutional Christianity has no use for Jesus beyond his being a mascot. Jesus didn’t invent Christianity after all, Paul did. If Jesus were to rise from the dead and see the violence (much of it anti-Semitic!) that has been attributed to him, supposedly “inspired” by him and belief in him? His head might literally explode.

Religion gets to make up its rules as it goes along — and change them when they become inconvenient. That’s not a criticism, it’s just a fact. If science could play by those rules, it probably would. But, it can’t. Science relies on rigor. It needs the math to add up and check out. Consistently. Science, for instance, understands that there’s no magic. The carbon we pour into the environment today won’t disappear just because that’d be more convenient for us. Pandemics don’t disappear just because we want them to either.

And, every time we meet with a friend — even with masks on — just because we’re convinced neither of us has or will give the coronavirus to each other? We’re gambling. We’re playing Russian Roulette (ironically) with a pathogen.

Our sister sight Mulligan Jesus, has suggested that lots of Christians (if inside their own minds) see their Bibles more as a smorgasbord line than a book on which to base their lives. How’s the adultery looking today? Fresh? I’ll overlook the fact that I shouldn’t do it then “because it’s so fresh!” How about greed or pride or any of the other sins that practicing Christianity is supposed to “cure one of”? All available. All waiting to be piled onto my plate. That’s why they adore their “Pick N Choose” Bibles — why pretend to follow rules you think are stupid — or that might could get in the way of you having a good time, doing whatever the hell you want, and getting whatever the hell YOU think you’re entitled to?

That’s the dirty, little secret every one of these Christians (as opposed to “followers of Jesus”) carries around in their tiny black hearts: they don’t believe IN God, they believe they ARE God. Gods, you see, don’t “do unto others” because no one — they believe — is good enough to “do unto them”. Gods do whatever the hell they want. Or, that is, they think they can.

With the Republicans coup attempt, we are witnessing this behavior writ large. Republicans long ago reimagined themselves as “The White Guy’s Party”. They cannot abide the idea of Black people, brown people or women having authority over them (never mind governing). And just as these Christians pick n choose what they “believe in” from their Bibles, they pick n choose what laws from our Constitution they want to follow (if for the moment). You know — like someone who thought they were “God” might do.

“The Party Of Personal Responsibility” is always first to avoid it. Quick thought experiment — if Barack Obama (or anyone in his administration) had said what Michael Flynn said last night, inciting sedition against a winning Republican presidential candidate, what do you think would have happened to him? Kinda makes one think the whole “Party of Personal Responsibility” thing was always horse shit. Ain’t that shocking…

The Catholic Church protecting child molesters didn’t exactly surprise anyone — except for the extent of child abuse and its acceptance within the church. And is anyone truly caught off guard when scumbags like Jerry Falwell, Jr. get outed for the frauds they are? We all recognize that religiosity breeds deceit because it breeds judgment. If you perceive yourself to be more “God-like” in your behavior while others are “demonic”, you’re probably going to cast all your actions in the best possible light (regardless of the truth).

The reason so many “devout Christians” hate to reap what they sow is because they never intended to reap it. They expected someone else to get suck with their diseased crops. You know — like the man they think God “made” president — Donald Trump — always does.

I bet if Trump spoke the words “Do unto others”, he’d actually burst into flames — or melt like the Nazi at the end of “Raiders Of The Lost Ark”. That’s why he’d say — under his breath to protect himself: “…before they do unto you.” That’s the Trumpist’s creed.