How To Beat Tribalism? Be Even MORE “Tribal”

Humans are tribal by nature; it’s a survival instinct. Since reproduction is one of our key “primal directives”, our genome has built into it behaviors that give our personal DNA every chance to create a next version of “us”. After our own precious ass, our family’s ass comes next in the pecking order. Then our extended family. Or, for some people, their friend circle. The block they live on. Their neighborhood. The school district they live in. The PTAs at their kids’ schools. The social issues that matter to them. Their city. The football or basketball or soccer or baseball team they love — and every other fan of that team. If you think about it, we form tribes with anything and everything we can — because we’re social creatures and this is what social creatures do.

White supremacists are no more tribal than anyone else. They just seem that way because they put all their emphasis on being in a limited number of tribes rather than as many as possible. “Jews will not replace us” — the rallying cry and tribal grievance of the Charlottesville Fascists Club — represents a particularly odd bit of tribalism. The whole “replacement culture” thing is bizarre because it assumes that those with the grievance are “replaceable” to begin with. Replaceable how exactly? In their jobs? In their marriages? In their lives? Being replaceable by “others” to whom you are supposedly “superior” is a strange way to think of yourself and your tribe. If your tribe excelled at something then that fact would make your tribe irreplaceable. Why don’t these “white supremacists” excel at anything other than having grievances? Why do THEY think THEY are replaceable?

In a competitive job market — in a competitive, capitalistic system — one MUST compete in order to stay in the game. Every group arriving here (aside from white people) have accepted that fact and worked their asses off to achieve some degree of success (and they’ve had to do that in the face of relentless white resistance). In that sense, EVERYONE is “replaceable” if they don’t continue to contribute to the group’s effort or hold up their end of the social bargain. Ah, but that’s where white privilege asserts itself. White people have gotten it into their heads that, since white men got together and wrote the Constitution – and framed it entirely to their advantage (as the “men” who were created equal”) – that this is set in concrete. That’s the whole point of “originalism” — to falsely assert that the flawed thinking of a group of (French) enlightened racists and misogynists is America’s bottom line. The country can only be exactly how the framers framed it.

Bullshit. The men who imagined this democratic republic made it changeable. They understood that this bold idea would need plenty of room around it to expand. They seemed to grasp, on some level, the incompleteness of their ideation — that “all men” was a bigger tribe than just white men. Congress approved of “E pluribus unum” as America’s motto (they put it on our Great Seal) in 1782. Out of many, one.

Out of many tribes, ONE TRIBE.

White supremacists can’t abide that. They think their TRIBE is replaceable. That, right there, is the problem.

I’m not sure there is a solution to white supremacy. Centuries of thinking one way about themselves versus everyone else has convinced white Europeans that their whiteness makes them superior. No, white people, it does not. White people are a minority of people on earth. If not for the greater lethality of the pathogens that evolved inside white Europeans over a thousand or so years (versus the pathogens evolving inside other human groups scattered across the globe), perhaps even their guns and steel would have faltered when they went exploring. A big piece of white people even thinking they’re “superior” comes from the relative ease with which white Europeans seized the Americas. The European colonizers told themselves their Christian faith — their god Yahweh — made them superior. Again, NO! Smallpox, measles and influenza — introduced into the Americas by European explorers — wiped out 90% OF NATIVE AMERICANS. If not for fleas — which carried the bubonic plague from China to Europe, bubonic plague might not have wiped out half of Europe in the fourteenth century. If not for Europeans and THEIR bugs, Europeans would have faced far more resistance when they landed on these shores.

How do we defeat tribalism? We don’t deny it; we can’t. It’s just too hard-wired into us. Why do you think there are soccer riots? Instead, we go at it, full bore. We make everyone “hyper-tribal” but not in that they see their exclusivity as a tribe. Rather, like two people who love the same song, they forget all their other potential differences and begin with that thing they have in common. Building from there (something as simple as a song), I bet those two people will surprise themselves with all their commonalities. Yes — there are differences. But, now there’s context for the differences.

Those two people might come to blows all the same; they just don’t like each other. But once you start talking together about how and why a song touches you, you will unlock pieces of your soul (such as it is) to that other person.

It’s a lot harder to feel tribally defensive toward someone whose soul you understand.

False Narratives, The GOP And The News Media: How Bullsh*t Goes Nuclear

How in the hell did America’s news media get it into their heads that “both sides do it”? Nothing has been more destructive both to journalism and journalists than this idiotic, deeply cynical, perspective-free point of view. Do both sides do it because they’re the same? Or is it just a freak of nature that “both sides do it” despite being nothing like each other? What’s the “it” both sides are “doing” anyway? For starters, no — both sides aren’t the same. If Democrats were “like” Republicans they’d BE Republicans. But Democrats (that’s modern Democrats, not the Democrats of the Democratic Party that opposed Lincoln and ultimately became the Dixiecrats which ultimately became the Southern Strategy oriented “modern” Republican Party) are utterly incapable of marching in lock step like Republicans. Republicans are capable of all believing one thing right down to the chorus and response. Democrats, on the other hand, suck at marching in lock step. They can’t even agree on what “lock step” actually is.

The modern Democratic Party is still every bit the group about which Will Roger famously said, “I’m not a member of any organized political party, I’m a Democrat”. When you’re the party of diversity and inclusion, you don’t exclude anyone. You simply don’t think that way. Put ten Democrats in a room, you’re likely to get ten different opinions. The trick, as always, is negotiating a compromise that everyone can live with while quietly hating. Democrats are idealist but pragmatic. That’s the nature of progressivism: it lives in the real world of data points while never surrendering its aspirations. How do we get ‘there’ from ‘here’? That’s the question.

Also worth noting, the Democrats, being diverse, are not the doggedly dogmatic “Christian” party Republicans are. That’s why Republicans so good at goose-stepping together: they can all agree on the same dogma.

Democrats do not do things for the same reasons Republicans do. Democrats, by their nature, favor people over profits. Republicans, by their nature, do the exact opposite. They always favor profits over people. Modern Republicans are very much the Democrats who opposed Lincoln. They haven’t changed a bit; down deep, plenty of people who proudly stick that “R” next to their names would probably vote to bring back slavery if they could only find a way to get it onto a ballot. The only difference is, this time, they’d make a point of enslaving more of us.

As we stand here today, the Republican Party has declared open war on our democracy. Can’t blame them, really… what good is democracy to you if no one will vote for you? But then, who except for white, Christian men see the 1850’s as a “Golden Age”? The RW money grasped in the post Reagan years that the Republican Party faced demographic extinction. It was never a question of adaptation to changing circumstances. Change is anathema to conservatism. Instead of changing themselves, they set out to change the rules. That is not the same thing as “governing”.

But, “Both Sides Do It” refuses to “judge” anyone. It divorces itself from taking sides in any way — even when taking sides is necessary. “Both Sides Do It” assumes that everyone has a point of view. Fair enough — in fact, I agree. Everyone does have a “point of view”. But not everyone point of view has “a point”. I have a point of view about being molested twice by the religious director at the temple my family attended when I was a kid. So does the guy who molested me. If you sat us both down and asked us: “What happened?”, we could both tell you a different side of the story. BUT — just because my molester has a point of view here, that does not mean he has a point. That’s a completely different thing.

Not every point of view is justified. In other words, not every point of view has a “point”.

Hey, remember how our NEWS MEDIA used to entertain discussions about “the climate debate”? Remember when it WAS a “debate”? It shouldn’t have been, of course. Still, because of “both sides do it” and the compulsion to invent false narratives, our news media would put a climate scientist on one side of the screen and a science denier on the other — presented visually as a total “50-50”. Regardless of the information flowing, VISUALLY, the image says both sides have the same validity. Who’s telling the truth? Don’t know — it’s a 50-50.

That happened because our news media refused to “take sides” and call obvious bullshit what it was: BULLSHIT. Instead, our news media regularly gave bullshit credence.

When you automatically give every argument, sight unseen, the benefit of the doubt, you are setting yourself up for failure. Inevitably, some of those arguments benefitting from your largesse are total bullshit. When you ask the question — as too many American journalists do (in their own way) “Yeah, but what IF bullshit was true…?”, you automatically give bullshit credence it does not deserve. It didn’t give itself legitimacy, the journalist supposing it “could” have legitimacy did that.

Once you spray bullshit with the patina of legitimacy, it never goes away. That bit of bullshit might supersede reality. Next thing you know, bullshit rules everything. And everything is bullshit. Every time a journalist sticks a mic in a Republican’s face, they treat that Republican as an honest actor; it’s what they’re supposed to do. But when you stick your mic in a liar’s face — and they lie to you as expected — it doesn’t serve anyone to act as if the lie is true. Now, either the reporters giving Republican arguments credence know they’re being lied to — and allowing their Republican interview subjects to get away with it — or they’re ignorant that they’re being lied to in which case, they’re too ignorant to be working as journalists.

There is good news on the horizon. Slowly, more and more members of America’s Fifth Estate are opening their eyes not only to the actual story they’ve been mis-reporting now for five years but to the fact THAT they’ve been mis-reporting it because they repeatedly treated Republicans as honest actors when, clearly, they’ve been nothing of the sort.

“The sun sets in the west,” Lester Holt said while delivering the keynote address at the 45th Murrow Symposium while achieving the Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism, “Any contrary view does not deserve our time or attention”. Abso-tutely, Lester! Your duty “is to be fair to the truth” first not every dumbass argument spewed by dumbasses.

Donald Trump is what happens when bullshit becomes not only pervasive but president. Our news media is what happens when bullshit becomes mistaken for journalism.

Yeah, It’s A “Small, Small World” All Right…

This week put the icing on the cake we’ve been forced to eat the whole last year. However the coronavirus that causes covid19 got from wherever it originated out into the human population, the transmission that resulted in the pandemic likely started with one person and then spread from there. While we’re now shoulders-deep in variants, they’re all variants of a variant of a variant going back to that first viral load as it immigrated into its human host and began reproducing — using human beings like cheap, edge-of-town, sex motels. We don’t have to know the person who infects us with virus. But the virus bonds us nonetheless. Small world, right? When the container ship Ever Given got wedged across the Suez Canal, that world got even smaller. It isn’t just disease that connects us (good thing!), it’s the very fact of a human being on one part of the planet wanting something that another human on the far side of the planet can procure — and ship (via ship) directly TO that first human. Interrupt that link and we feel it like a punch to the gut.

Computers did not “change” a thing when they were invented — not in a “revolutionary” way. They made various disconnected tasks easier. You could do more work faster. But the work product from a word processing program still had to be printed out and physically handed to someone in order for them to read it. If they didn’t live nearby, you had to pay postage to get it to them. It was no more than a glorified typewriter. The same went for proprietary design software used to create anything visual — the physical product had to be physically produced in order to be shared. But, when you connect computers via an internet, THAT changes things. The internet made the personal computer (and then the smart phone) true instruments of change. The capacity to communicate instantaneously with people anywhere in the world — that’s revolutionary. The capacity to share fully realized ideas be they in the form of words, visuals, sound or video — to move information that rapidly — that was the change agent.

For all its disruption, the worldwide pandemic has already begun to change the world economically just as the Black Death changed the economic structure of Medieval Europe parts of which suffered staggering mortality rates. The remaining people still had to eat. Someone had to grow those crops and farm them and then get them to market. Whereas before the plague, the peasants worked the fields their masters owned, essentially slaves, after the plague, those fields went unplowed unless the masters ponied up cash money to get them plowed. Labor — now in short supply — suddenly had value it had never had before. The master was no longer master in the same way because now the master had to negotiate with the worker in order to get the necessary work done. The worker could always refuse to work — and take their labor elsewhere. That’s what killed feudalism. It also resulted in the rise of the gilds in Europe and, eventually, unionized labor.

What the Republican Party in Georgia did this week also fits into the “small world” mold. Except the GOP is making their world smaller in exactly the opposite way. Whereas the coronavirus and the Suez Canal demonstrate how connected we all are, the Georgia Republican Party wants to believe they are an island. That is, they want to live on an island — a very white island where everyone looks and acts just like them. In the pantheon of “small worlds”, THAT small world might just be the smallest ever.

Let’s be real: we are watching the Republican Party’s death rattle. Just as Virginia went from being the reddest of red states (it’s now solidly blue and Democratic), so, too, will Georgia. Georgia’s Republican Party is about to experience outrage like they never imagined as the citizens of Georgia begin to reel from the boycotts coming their way because NO ONE outside of Georgia now wants to patronize businesses that give money to authoritarian insurrectionists. It’s just how we are. The world for Georgia’s Republicans is about to get shockingly small as they begin to actually feel the white hot rage that other Americans feel — in real time no less!

We’re about to see what happens when the smallest of people experience the smallest of worlds.

America Definitely Needs A “Day Of Reckoning”; After Yesterday, Our News Media Needs One Even Worse

America’s news media had a really bad day yesterday. That means America had a really bad day. Ironically, that really bad day happened in the midst of a series of much better days as America slowly begins to reacclimate to the idea that our government can actually govern if so inclined. It was the news media that bristled at the lack of formal news conferences — their star turn, in their minds. Though plenty of reporters have heaped plenty of questions on President Biden informally — and gotten good, long answers — apparently none of that counts; the White House Press Corps has its ways and those ways, it tells itself, must be respected. Over a thousand Americans died yesterday from Covid19 yet the White House Press Corps — hungry for a chance to ask the new POTUS the most important questions their readers want and need answered — asked instead about election 2024 and whether or not Biden plans to run. Wow. That wasn’t just a terrible, lame, dumb-assed question, it was a tell. We know — having lived through it — that the overwhelming majority of America’s press absolutely blew the story of their lives because they’ve convinced themselves that “both sides do it”. That lack of perspective continues to haunt their coverage of Donald Trump. Yesterday, that lack of perspective revealed itself again except this time, in a way that even people in the news media finally saw for themselves.

Why has our news media been so incapable of covering Donald Trump? Maybe a better question is “why, if SOME in the news media can see Donald Trump and the GOP for the corrupt, treasonous players they are, can’t ALL in the news media see it?” For instance — how can MSNBC’s excellent Nicolle Wallace, Ali Velshi, Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell or Joy-Ann Reid report the Trump story one way, filled with detail and hard evidence that paints a picture of massive corruption and treason, while, say, Chuck Todd acts like no such detail or hard evidence even exists? He seems to walk around in a news universe where Trump maybe isn’t corrupt or a traitor. Maybe that’s just the Democrats “playing politics”.

The fallacious notion that “Both sides do it” completely fogs the environment. Right off the bat, it jettisons perspective. It gleefully points at all instances of “it” as being equal. It doesn’t see or distinguish proportionality. All thieves are created equal; a woman stealing a loaf of bread so her children can eat is no different to this way of “thinking” than Bernie Madoff stealing billions from billionaires. They’re both thieves of a kind so therefore “both sides do it”.

For four years, the White House Press Corps regularly embarrassed themselves though they still don’t get that that’s what happened. Consumed by the fear of losing access, the press corps allowed themselves to be openly lied to. Yeah, yeah — a few dutifully tried to call out the lies — some even succeeded and they stood apart! — but the overwhelming majority of news people, given the chance to demand Trump tell the truth for once in his life balked at the opportunity and watched silently as the moment passed. No one wanted to be the kid pointing out how incredibly naked the bloated orange emperor was. Now, some of them can’t wait to be the kid asking the most pointed questions.

Democrats rarely play the access game. We simply don’t approach power the same way. We don’t see it as a possession. We see it as something the electorate has granted us the authority to use on their behalf and for their good. Yes, as the reporter added, Trump (Biden’s “predecessor”) registered to run again on the day he was sworn in, but why the hell would any reporter assume that Joe Biden would behave exactly like Donald Trump did? When Trump did it, it was remarkable — for all the wrong reasons. And yet, this reporter assumed that doing something that cynical and power mad was just “how presidents are now” since, to the reporter’s way of thinking, obviously it must be part of Biden’s thinking. Of course it’s not!

Even members of the news media were excoriating the White House Press Corps bad showing yesterday. Has any member of the WH Press corps stepped forward to say “yeah, we really screwed the pooch!” No, they haven’t. Don’t hold your breath either.

That day of reckoning will come regardless.

I’m not sure how exactly our news media came to embrace “both sides do it”. We need to make them rue the day. Journalism is the only non-governmental job mentioned in the Constitution. The Fifth estate is supposed to be our final check on power. But a press obsessed with access won’t be up to the task because they’re always too afraid to offend those in power which, ironically, is what they’re supposed to be doing).

The thing is, it’s not the entire American news media. There ARE some talented, smart, intuitive journalists who’ve managed to aggregate this story all along. I cannot, for the life of me, wrap my head around how MSNBC can have a deeply perceptive Nicolle Wallace on its payroll and, at the same time, a hack like Chuck Todd. Does MSNBC really expect its audience to forget everything it knows because it watched Nicolle’s excellent Deadline White House the second MTP Daily begins and they see Chuck Todd’s facial tics and bad haircut?

Hell, I bet if MSNBC’s & CNN’s lineups consisted of nothing but Nicolle and Nicolle clones, we’d have dealt with Trump and the Republican Party eons ago.

A Constituency Of One

“I alone can fix it” was a tell. For starters, it ain’t true. No one alone can fix anything. Donald Trump with an army of followers couldn’t fix a damned thing though, all credit to him, he and his army of trolls came damned close to “fixing” our democracy for good (and the bastards are still at it!) Trump walked in the door compromised (as everyone who was anyone in the GOP’s leadership knew even before they made Trump their presidential nominee in 2016. “There’s two people I think Putin pays,” said current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy as he entered a room filled with GOP leadership a month before they made Trump their official nominee for POTUS in 2016, Rohrbacher and Trump… swear to God!. The evangelical community forgave Trump — a man guilty of literally every mortal sin — because they saw a man as cravenly cynical as they are. The Right Wing money (the Kochs, the Mercers, Sheldon Adelstein and the lesser I Pillow acolytes) saw their last shot at installing a state of permanent minority rule under Trump’s tin pot authoritarianism — a country Trump indeed “fixed” (though not alone) — all in service of his true constituency, himself — his Constituency Of One.

What is this madness? Where does this mania — this conviction that one person is the sun, the moon, the stars, the alpha, the omega and everything in between — come from? It sure as hell doesn’t come from reality. And it sure as hell isn’t healthy (our current situation being the data set). Some people, to this day, ache to be ruled by a king chosen by God. By “God”, they mean the stern, unsmiling, unforgiving (except of them) voice in their head. Religious fervency is as big a tell as “I alone can fix it”. Scratch the surface of your average religious fanatic and you’ll realize: they don’t believe IN God, they believe they ARE God — that’s why God speaks through THEM. That’s why THEY understand God while almost no one else does. That’s why it’s incumbent on THEM to do God’s bidding here on Earth. If not them, who?

Manifest Destiny was this idea taken to its most horrible extreme. White people doing God’s bidding because (really) white people think they’re God. Bringing God and Jesus to the ignorant, unwashed natives whether they liked it or not. One person’s “enlightenment” is another person’s genocide.

A constituency of many probably wouldn’t go there. A diverse constituency definitely wouldn’t. A diverse constituency dedicated to the well-being of every part of it? It’d be an absolute impossibility. What that means is, the further away we can get from a constituency of one, the healthier we get collectively and personally.

Donald Trump epitomizes white, male greed. He’s unapologetically piggish. That’s why so many white men love him: he’s the alpha pig they wish they could be. They, too, wish they could have a constituency of one the way Trump does. Trump can do or say anything — and get away with it! They believe that if Trump is president forever, they, too, can get away with everything forever. They can get away with unspeakable greed but also unspeakable hatred. “Cancel Culture” is white peoples’ code for “Whattaya mean I can’t call Black people the “N-word”, Jews the “K-word” and everyone else whatever the most insulting ethnic reference is — that’s how I feel about them!’.

Libertarianism thinks “freedom” means “you’re not the boss of me”. What it really means is “no woman can ever be the boss of me”, “no Black person can ever be the boss of me” and “no Jew can ever be the boss of me”. Other white guys? They’ll make an exception. Libertarians want all the benefits of freedom but they don’t want to take any of the responsibilities that do come with those benefits. They want to be able to preach “do unto others” while raping and pillaging relentlessly. It all goes to serving the needs of the one, screw the many.

Personally, I blame monotheism. This absurd, fictitious concentration of all the world’s purpose and knowledge into one “mind”, alternately deeply mysterious yet just knowable enough to know what the deity hates. When such an all-powerful, all-knowing thing smiles upon you, who are you to deny that smile? Want to know who God is? Stand before your bathroom mirror and really look yourself in the eyes. Voila! You’re looking right into the eyes of God. Are you underwhelmed or overwhelmed by that?

How shall we measure success as a culture? Surely, you can’t look at where we are — so much wealth yet so much poverty, sometimes pretty much right in the same place — and think we’ve done something special here. The happiest countries on earth just so happen to be the most socialized, too. Yes, the citizens of those countries pay more in taxes but they, they GET more — and expect more. America is about to get a big taste of how effective UBI (universal basic income) is at getting an economy back up onto its feet — and keeping it there. A consumer economy like ours relies on as many consumers as possible having as much money as possible in their pockets. The more those consumers spend, on goods and services provided by other consumers, the healthier the economy will become because all that consumption will create even more demand for still more goods and services. Success will breed more success.

It works. There’s data that says so whereas with “trickle down” economics, there isn’t any such data. There’s just the guy at the top saying trickle down works while he trickles down nothing but waste products.

A constituency of one strikes again.

Donald Trump will learn the hard way where a constituency of one leads. So will every Republican who co-conspired with him. Don’t think so? Let’s revisit a few months from now, AFTER Merrick Garland’s been at the newly refurbished Department of Justice for a while. No one wants Garland to do anything other than enforce the rule of law equally. If that’s ALL he does, if justice for its own sake motivates him then once he pulls the first thread of the January 6 conspiracy to commit insurrection, he won’t stop until the entire garment is gone. The insurrection threads will lead right to Donald Trump. But then, so will all the Russia threads that Merrick Garland’s team will begin tugging on. At the end of the day, everything about Donald Trump’s corrupt tenure in the White House will lead to Russia one way or another.

Russia, Russia, RUSSIA. Take that to the bank and prepare to be the richest person you know.

There are few things more dangerous to the group than a member who only sees a constituency of one. That person does not see the group except as an impediment to them getting what they want. It’s a damnably male behavior, an outgrowth of having a “squirt ‘n go’ sexuality. The human male at his sexual peak is designed to spread his seed as many places as possible with little regard for what happens after he’s spread that seed. A woman doesn’t have that luxury. Any time a male squirts inside of her and goes — especially if she’s fertile (and even if she’s on birth control) — there’s the possibility that a child will result. As the excellent Gabrielle Blair has written on Twitter, women can orgasm without causing reproduction to possibly occur. Men, can’t. All the pregnancy risk literally comes from men.

A woman would never say “I alone can fix it” because women know biochemically that it’s bullshit. One could certainly try to bear and raise a child on on one’s own but it’s almost certainly doomed to fail. As Hillary Clinton pointed out, it does “take a village” to raise a child. For starters, it’s just way easier to have help birthing a baby — then keeping both baby and mother fed in the baby’s first days. It takes a village to educate a child and coach it through soccer or gym practices. Women can tell you that anything of value demands a village’s input.

American diversity is proof positive of what a village can do when it works together, benefitting from all the knowledge all that diversity organically brings. That IS American Exceptionalism — the fact of our diversity and its output. Hell, we even put the idea of diversity’s benefits on our Great Seal: E Pluribus Unum — out of many, one. That’s the only “one” here that has a shot at fixing anything — the one that is the sum of us, not the relentlessly egomaniacal neuroses of the hopelessly deluded, mediocre-to-its-core one of us.

Success relies on many people working together. Failure really can flow from one person. Hell, the Coronavirus Pandemic started with ONE PERSON. Though a Hitler or a Pol Pot or a Donald Trump rely on the madness of crowds to do their dirtiest work, it still begins with that one person’s ability to bamboozle other people into thinking they’re special — anointed by the divine, in fact. Surely a deity clever enough to create literally everything wouldn’t be this painfully neurotic about one of his creations (even if it is his “favorite”). Surely, such a powerful creature wouldn’t lose his mind just because one of his creations either doesn’t “believe in him” or “sanctify him” to his liking. Seriously, what kind of third-rate deity is that?

That, too, is the end product of any “constituency of one”: mediocrity. Gods can’t be judged since there’s no one up to the task. That means a god can get away with anything — as gods do.

Or did…

Trump’s constituency of one is about to crash into the Will Of The People and its constituency. Each greedy Republican — and their “constituency of one” — also will crash and burn. In their darkest moments, I sure hope the words “I alone can fix it!” flashes across their minds, suffusing their anguish with a self-loathing glow. Slowly, but surely, each and every Trumpian or Republican constituency of one will morph into a constituency of done.

“TRUMPOCALYPSE: THE MOVIE” — Let’s All Play Casting Director!

U.S. Vice-President Biden smiles as he speaks with Croatian PM Milanovic in Zagreb

Take this to the bank: a movie or two WILL be made about the Trump presidency.  A few will nibble at the periphery of the experience, capturing the graft and the grift.  Some will try to capture its essence economically but that won’t satisfy.  One really had to experience the overwhelming “everyday” of it — the relentless, sometimes narcotizing fire hose of awfulness that got locked into the “on” position — to appreciate “it”.  This story could never fit into a feature film no matter the length.  This is streaming TV territory that audiences will want to both binge and purge at the very same time.  That’s why we should make the casting process as democratic as possible.  We’re invested in getting the best performances we can.

We’ve already seen a few actors play Trump — Alec Baldwin on SNL of course (which shouldn’t put him out of the running though I suspect he’d want to add a little nuance to the part if he gets the nod) and Brendan Gleason in Showtime’s “The Comey Rule” adaptation.  Late night hosts (Jimmy Fallon) and comedians (Bob DiBuono) have played Trump but they haven’t “inhabited” Trump the way we’ll need our actor to inhabit the part.

Quick casting note: having personally cast a lot of actors over my career, I can assure you: we never cast actors to “act”.  We cast them to “be”.  We cast actors to, essentially, play a version of themselves (with a different name and wardrobe) as honestly as they possibly can.  If they act the emotions, it won’t work.  The camera will see it and we’ll hate the actors as a result.  Much better that they just “open a vein” emotionally and let their hearts flow.  So — as you look at the roles, don’t think so much “who can ‘act’ this part, think “who already inhabits it in a way” because of who they are.  There’s a reason actors get so close associated with the parts they play.  They’re not playing anything.  They’re just “being”.

Back when I first threw down this post in the early years of Trump’s presidency, the story was smaller and simpler (if you can remember back that far).  It was corruption and Russia and a desperate attempt to make it to 2018 when (as we did) we could reassert control of the House at least and try to inject a little oversight into the toxic mix.  Since then… geez — what hasn’t happened?  This — is it a limited series even? — could go on for years as it’s still playing out in real time.

This will always be celebration of wishful thinking — not the TV series itself — casting the damned thing as if we could stay ahead of the story.  The Trump Age was brutal to people who write fiction for a living.  How could fiction possibly stand up to the reality we all lived through?  If a writer tried to sell what we all lived as a novel or script, they’d have been told to stop writing, period.  Way too over the top.  Way too crazy.  Way too everything.

And yet.

This post invites your contributions!  It’s an “open casting call” meaning everyone’s open to making a few casting calls.

CHARACTER              ACTOR

Donald Trump          Woody Harrelson, Alec Baldwin, Brendan Gleeson, Sarah Cooper

Woody Harrelson as Trump Woody Harrelson as Trump?

Alec Baldwin as Trump Alec Baldwin as Trump?

Brendan Gleeson as Trump Brendan Gleeson as Trump?

Sarah Cooper as Trump Sarah Cooper as Trump?

Mike Pence

mike-pence-sanctimonious Mike Pence as Mike Pence

Beck Bennet as Mike Pence SNL’s Beck Bennett as Mike Pence?

The Coronavirus

Coronavirus Coronavirus as Coronavirus

Bubonic Plague 2 Bubonic Plague as Coronavirus?

Spanish flu Spanish Flue of 1918 as Coronavirus?

Joe Biden

Jim Carrey as Joe Biden Jim Carrey as Joe Biden?

Nancy Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi Nancy Pelosi as Nancy Pelosi

Meryl Streep as Nancy Pelosi Meryl Streep as Nancy Pelosi

Helen Mirren as Nancy Pelosi 2 Helen Mirren as Nancy Pelosi?

Mitch McConnell

mitch-moscow-mitch Mitch McConnell as Treason McTurtleface

Rudy Giuliani

Rudy Rudy as Rudy

Kate McKinnon as Rudy Kate McKinnon as Rudy? Kate can play whoever she wants!

Ted Cruz

ted-cruz-sexy-eyes Ted Cruz as Ted Cruz

Josh Hawley

Josh Hawley Josh Hawley as Josh

Roger Stone

roger-stone-communicated-directly-with-wikileaks-despite-denials-thumbnail-1511217-640x360 Roger Stone as Roger

Michael Flynn

Michael Flynn Michael Flynn as Michael Flynn

The Proud Boys

Proud Boys The Proud Boys as Themselves

Nazis Nazis — as The Proud Boys dream of themselves

Bill Barr

bill-barr-is-handsome Bill Barr as Bill Barr as the Worst AG in American History

Mike Pompeo

Mike Pompeo Mike Pompeo as Mike Pompeo

Lindsey Graham

lindsey-graham-looks-haunted Lindsey Graham as the most haunted, hunted man in America

Kevin McCarthy

Kevin McCarthy Kevin McCarthy as The Guy Who KNEW Trump Was Getting Paid By Putin

Merrick Garland

Merrick Garland Merrick Garland as The Guy Who Will End It All For The Republicans

Steve Bannon            Jeff Bridges, Nick Nolte, John Goodman, John Howard

Steve Bannon Steve Bannon as Steve Bannon (for comparison’s sake)

Jeff Bridges as Steve Bannon Jeff Bridges as Steve Bannon?

John Howard as Steve Bannon John Howard as Steve Bannon?

Ivanka                         Scarlet Johanson

Ivanka Ivanka as Ivanka

Scarlet J as Ivanka Scarlet Johansson as Ivanka?

Amanda Seyfried as Ivanka Amanda Seyfried as Ivanka?

Jared Kushner

Donald Trump, Jr.

Eric Trump

Melania Trump

Vlad Putin                   Mark Ivanir, Mads Mikkelsen

vlad-is-a-tough-guy1 Vlad Putin as Vlad Putin

Mark Ivanir as Putin Mark Ivanir as Vlad Putin?

Robert Mueller           Chris Noth, George Clooney

Don McGahn                Andrew McCarthy

Sarah Sanders              Rosie O’Donnell, Mary Lynn Rajskub

Robert Mercer            Greg Kinnear, Noah Emmerich

^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^

Now let’s move on to a few new roles — JARED KUSHNER…

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Couple of thoughts — first — NICK JONAS —

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I know – Nick Jonas is 24, Jared is mid 30’s BUT — I think Nick’s youth works for the part because it will READ as such — and one thing Jared is most notable for IS BEING TOO YOUNG for pretty much everything he’s been tasked to do.  Too young and too fucking stupid…

Second thought — CHRISTIAN BALE — at 43, he’s a little old for the part but the guy’s versatile as hell.  And he’s got the tools to bring out all the passive aggressive, weak-link-in-a-weak-chain nuances that make Jared so Jared…

Christianbale

KELLYANNE CONWAY

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The obvious choice — because she INHABITS the character so hauntingly — is KATE MCKINNON.

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In fact, I can’t imagine anyone better.  As far as I’m concerned, it’s hers.

MORE TO COME…

ROBERT MERCER (CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA and one of THE Big Money Guys the Republican party RELY on.  He’s one of the reasons they pushed through a ‘tax bill’ that could completely bankrupt us with debt —

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But SOMEONE will have to play him in “TRUMPOCALYPSE:  THE MOVIE”. And April Lea — one of my readers on Twitter had this fabulous suggestion — GREG KINNEAR —

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It’s like Greg was BORN to play the part, no…?

MORE CASTING TO FOLLOW…

“TRUMPOCALYPSE:  THE MOVIE” — CASTING

I’m just trying to get ahead of the curve here.  A MOVIE VERSION of this Moment In History is coming — not today of course and not tomorrow but — not too much longer after that.

As anyone in The Biz will tell you, casting is everything.  Get it right — you’re Golden.  Get it wrong — it doesn’t matter how good the script is, the direction, the design — you’re going down in flames colored purple by terrible acting.

Even a story as good as THIS — and stories will NEVER (I sure as hell hope) ever, ever, EVER get ‘better’ than this — could be undermined by bad casting.  With that in mind, here are my thoughts about who in the current crop of actors we should ‘think about’ for ‘Our Movie’…

First up — OUR LEAD of course.  Now, I know — first guy in everyone’s mind is Alec Baldwin —

And who doesn’t love when Alec Baldwin does his Trump (except perhaps for Donald himself — but then, he has no sense of humor — something our actors need to grasp and incorporate into their character).  And I wouldn’t say ‘No’ to Mr Baldwin; in fact, I’d love to see Mr Baldwin come at the character from a more ‘actory’ point of view — from within.  I’d want to talk about that for sure.  Maybe get a screen test out of him…

It’d be worth it (for him).

Let’s say we like what he does — a lot — but don’t quite ‘love’ it.  I have the ace card right here — the guy we should cast regardless of how good Mr Baldwin is because WOODY HARRELSON will be better — cos he can do just about anything.

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His INTERIOR range is amazing — and we’re going to need an actor with incredible emotional range to play a character with VIRTUALLY NONE.  It’s like getting an actor to sing off key.  The ones who can actually sing will automatically do it better.  They even know where off-key is.

So — think about it, folks — THIS GUY playing THIS GUY —

Can I sign him?  Please?

Next up was going to be Robert Mueller but circumstances have forced us to consider casting THIS GUY now instead —

steve-bannon

My first thought is JEFF BRIDGES.  Bannon is like The Dude’s soul-less Evil Twin — with a side of Gin Blossoms…

jeffbridges

Got some great suggestions on Twitter.  Sorry, ‘Dude’, but you have competition.  How about THIS GUY — NICK NOLTE…

…or JOHN GOODMAN…

See?  Casting is harder than it looks!  Keep the suggestions coming, folks

Okay — I WILL get to this guy but — he’s HARD…

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In the meantime — IVANKA TRUMP —

Ivanka

My FIRST thought?  SCARLETT JOHANSSON…

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It’s almost too on the nose… I bet Scarlett would tear up the part though.  Tear it up and have it for dinner…

This is a movie with multiple villains.  And each villain is very different from the others and very interesting.  But our Uber-Villain is THIS GUY — Vladimir…

Now, personally, I’d give it to my good friend MARK IVANIR (he played the Russian Spymaster a few seasons back on the BERLIN SEASON of HOMELAND).  Mark’s Russian by birth but grew up in Israel.  Knows his way around a villain while being an absolutely delightful person in the flesh…

But I know everyone’s a star-fucker so… I would also think about TCHEKY KARYO ( on the right — ‘La Femme Nikita’) or MADS MIKKELSEN ( on the left — ‘Hannibal’) while trying to talk you into my friend Mark —

Next up TWO THOUGHTS for ROBERT MUELLER) —

Senate Judiciary Committee

A great suggestion from Purple Mountains on my Twitter feed — CHRIS NOTH —

Chris Noth

Rock solid idea.  Another possibility?  A guy with surprising emotional range who you just plain like the moment you see him —

Clooney — George Clooney… ya think?

Since she’s ‘up to bat’ — let’s try n cast Sarah Huckabee Sanders —

sarah-huckabee-750x

I’m thinking MARY LYNN RAJSKUB (24 among lots of other great credits) —

Mary Lynn Rajskub

But PURPLE MOUNTAINS — on my Twitter feed had this very, VERY good idea — ROSIE O’DONNELL —

1200px-Rosie_O'Donnell_by_David_Shankbone

That’s gonna be a hard one.  And we’ve only just started thinking about it… Next up —

JARED THE ‘K’…

jared-kushner-trump-split-pending

Of Sharks And Perspective — We’re Gonna Need A MUCH Bigger Boat, America

Quick — what’s the worst way to die imaginable? Not a nice question, I agree, but surely we’ve all contemplated the possibilities and one always comes up “worst”: being eaten, right? Being “consumed” by something isn’t just “dying”, it’s being reduced to another creature’s “food”! Everything you think you are — a husband, a wife, a friend, a lover, a son or a daughter, a rogue or a scholar — no, fool — you’re roughage, hopefully without too much cholesterol or sodium. From a shark’s point of view, you’re shark shit pre-shark. You just don’t know it. Yet.

Our news media thinks perspective is what happens AFTER the shark eats you. “Hey, don’t jump in that water,” they think journalism is, “We know there are sharks in it!” Yes, the news is important — but we all saw what happened. News of a shark might have been MORE helpful BEFOREHAND.

Was there evidence of a shark swimming around before the story even started? “Well,” the news media says, “We didn’t see any dorsal fins, so we assumed the coast was clear!” Ah, but “didn’t see any” and “so therefore they weren’t there” don’t necessarily hook up. Hey, news media — didja look? Did you LOOK for sharks in water known to be infested with them? The truth is — where Donald Trump is concerned, for instance, you didn’t!

The news media didn’t report Trump as a “shark in the water” because they didn’t realize that that’s what he was — despite the fact that they’d reported him behaving that way forever! The Steele Dossier exists because such reporting existed — that Trump was a shark who’d used his bankrupt Atlantic City casinos to launder Russian mob money. That’s what Glenn Simpson, co-founder of Fusion GPS, the research firm hired by Republicans backing Marco Rubio (the owners of the conservative newspaper The Washington Free Beacon) testified to before the Senate Judiciary Committee on August 22, 2017. Before engaging in the actual assignment, Fusion did its “due diligence” first. They got ahold of every bit of publicly available material they could on Trump — every newspaper story, magazine article, TV or radio appearance, every book, every video, every everything if it happened in a way that anyone could look at it or hear it.

What Fusion found there — in publicly available material — Simpson testified, convinced them that Donald Trump was likely an international criminal. They approached Christopher Steele (and his company Orbis) because Steele, former head of the MI6’s Russia desk, had the very best contacts inside Russia. And Steele was reliable. When the FBI wanted to go after FIFA’s Sepp Blatter for corruption, they hired Steele. Fusion hired Steele because he offered unparalleled PERSPECTIVE.

What Chris Steele found — and put into his collection of raw intel — the Dossier — convinced HIM that Trump wasn’t just an international criminal, he was an out-and-out TRAITOR.

The further one pulls back the camera on Trump, on the Republicans, on what they’ve done here, on how clearly they’re owned by a hostile foreign power engaged in a literal cyber war against us, the clearer one sees treason. Treason, treason and nothing but treason.

Yeah, America — we’re gonna need a much bigger boat here. If only our news media had done what Glenn Simpson did — THEIR DUE DILIGENCE. If only they would have screamed and shouted “SHARK!” when they reported (a year after it happened but, still — they reported it!) how the Republican leadership KNEW for a fact that Trump was owned by Russia but deliberately kept that fact a secret. This really happened: current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy walked into a meeting of GOP leadership a month before their convention and said — out loud: “There’s two people I think Putin pays, Rohrbacher and Trump… swear to God!” No one said “Say, what? Are you sure, Kevin? Hey, someone — get the FBI on the phone — WE have a problem — our candidate is probably compromised by Russia!” No, instead, the Republican leadership — then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan — insisted that everyone there “keep it in the family”.

The GOP chose omerta over patriotism.

If our press could aggregate a story the way stories are supposed to be aggregated — where you keep adding information and then building upon what you know (instead of tossing it as if it never happened and returning to a kind of “Square One of Ignorance” every damned day) — we would already equate Donald Trump and Republicans with extreme corruption. We’d already have connected the Donald Trump dot and the Russia dot — and connected them to the Republican Party dot and the Elections 2016 and 2020 dots.

If our news media didn’t accept as gospel truth everything that tumbles from a Republican’s mouth — Bill Barr, say — they might have READ the Mueller Report rather than ACCEPTING what Bill Barr said it said. Jesus, even AFTER they’d read the report, the majority of American journalists STILL go along with Barr’s take that it says “Trump didn’t do anything”. No — that’s NOT what it says. And, we now know, even what it says was squeezed and compromised and limited to a very small question — concerning Trump’s direct communications with Julian Assange and Wikileaks. We know that then acting AG Rod Rosenstein deliberately lied to both Team Mueller and the FBI — ending the counter-intelligence investigation into Trump and Russia while allowing Team Mueller and the FBI to think the other was doing that work.

Hey — how often did anyone in our news media point out the cool historical fact that Donald Trump was the first president ever to run for re-election in the very election he’d been impeached for cheating in? Not many. And yet — Trump continued to cheat every single day — in front of everyone — as if he’d never been impeached for doing the very same thing! Imagine if our press had aggregated even a fraction of what they themselves had reported!

I’m a fan of the journalist, lawyer, professor Seth Abrahams. Abrahams’ method is to aggregate what the press has reported so as to present the fullest possible picture of what we KNOW (because it’s been sourced by the press) with the widest possible perspective. In essence, he’s doing what Fusion GPS did — using what we know to paint a picture of what we should be using as the BASIS for our thinking. By simply reporting what’s been reported — a kind of massive due diligence — Seth Abrahams isn’t just a canary in a coal mine, he’s the closest thing to “Absolute Truth” we have.

What is v what is not. The more perspective we have, the better! And even the perspective we have — now that we’re using it to see the world — tells us the boat we chose won’t be good enough. The shark’s already chewing on it.

This shark won’t go quietly. There’s no point negotiating with it. It’s going to come down to a simple question of Him or Us.

While we decide however, can we do ourselves one kindness — yeah: a bigger boat.

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.

What’s This Feeling Welling Up Inside Of Us — Is That… Happiness?

Fess up: how many people, other man me, half expected one more terrible Trumpian twist before he boarded Air Force One for his last pony ride? As I write this, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are still about an hour-and-a-half away from being sworn in. Trump, still airborne, is still POTUS. If we could manufacture justice on the spot and manifest it in reality, either law enforcement would be awaiting the Trumps when they land in Florida — and every last one of them would be taken into custody (might as well do it now, it WILL happen eventually) — or, instead, we’d deliver the Trumps directly to Mar-A-Lago from 35,000 feet without parachutes. By the time the Trump Crime Family had crammed onto AF1, pretty much everyone in Washington, DC had abandoned them; aside from Mark Meadows, no one with an official parking spot of value showed up at Andrews AFB to wave goodbye to them.

Mitch McConnell? He’s attending church with the Bidens — and Nancy Pelosi. Mike Pence? He’s got a chair waiting for him at the Inauguration. And both Mitch & Mike know their futures are cloudy. They’re not making nice to the Democrats because they want to — they know what’s coming. They need all the friends they can get especially now that the Department of Justice has taken down Bill Barr’s shingle and hung up Merrick Garland’s. The DoJ has just as much on its plate at the start as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris do. Not only do they have today’s work to plow into, they have four years worth of oversight to catch up with first — including the counter-intelligence investigation into Donald Trump’s relationship with Vladimir Putin that Rod Rosenstein ended.

It isn’t Democrats having the presidency that terrifies Republicans, it’s Democrats having the Department of Justice. That’s incorrect. Democrats don’t “have” the DoJ, We The People do. That’s the difference (it damned well better be!) Under Bill Barr, the Department of Justice became Trump’s consigliere. Under Merrick Garland, it will revert to being the nation’s overseers of justice and chief practitioners of the rule of law. If Merrick Garland does his job the way we need him to, a culture of fairness — of justice serving the public equally — will permeate every nook and cranny of the DoJ. That’s how good management works — by example and from the top down. Remember how much corruption there was during eight years of Obama’s presidency? ZERO. There was zero corruption because Barack Obama made it crystal clear that HE PERSONALLY would not tolerate it.

We know — having been the lab rats — how the opposite conditions work out.

As mentally and emotionally exhausted as we feel — if I may project “me” onto “we” for a second — watching Donald Trump leave was heartening. It felt good watching him cross from the White House to Marine One — the helicopter that flew him to Andrews. It felt even better watching him cross from Marine One to the podium where, for once, it was tolerable to hear him speak (if only because we knew it was for the very last time as president). It belt best of all when Trump and his viperous family climbed aboard Air Force One for their trip “home”.

I know, looking back, what four years of Trumpism did to my psyche and sense of mental well-being. Hell, my suicide attempt came six weeks after Trump “won” the election. I know what election day 2016 did to me — it struck something deep. I wasn’t alone that night, feeling that something terrible had just happened. This wasn’t just the woe the comes from losing an election. We could feel it — something… untoward had happened. Something not on the up-n-up. Something not quite “legit”. Something, in fact, downright criminal. If only we could “prove” that these feelings weren’t just… feelings.

Four years ago felt awful — though the Women’s March the day after Trump was inaugurated felt like we were collectively picking ourselves up, dusting ourselves off and preparing for what turned out to be four years of hard, relentless battle with the darkest part of our nation. We sought relief and thought it was coming! It breaks my heart still to think how deluded we were all were by Team Mueller. It’s not that they didn’t do good work — they absolutely did. But, wishful thinking gave them a far bigger mandate than they, in fact, worked from. We assumed that even as Team Trump obstructed justice, in the background, plenty of heavy lifting was going on; intelligence professionals and law enforcement were carrying on an extensive, intensive counter-intelligence investigation into every last nuance of Donald Trump’s treasonous relationship with Vladimir Putin.

The thing people like me didn’t count on — this story really did run far darker than imagined — was the extent of Republican complicity. I know I kept thinking that surely the third rail of going to prison forever would keep the Republican leadership from letting Trump run completely amok. But, it turns out, once you’ve committed treason — as pretty much the entire Republican leadership has — it really doesn’t matter anymore if you let a treasonous POTUS run amok since — if the other side wins the election — you’ll be going to prison, too, now. Because that’s how conspiracy works.

See something, say something. See something, say NOTHING? We have to ask: “Why?” Why say nothing? Whose interests are you protecting here — since, clearly, they’re not ours? Perfect example? Current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (who — ironically — attended church this morning with Mitch and Nancy and Kamala and Joe) who, a month before the GOP nominated Trump to be their 2016 standard-bearer, walked into a roomful of the Republican leadership and famously said “There’s two people I think Putin pays, Rohrbacher and Trump… swear to God!” The correct, moral, patriotic response in the room would have been “Wait, WHAT? Why do you say that, Kev’? Holy shit — if that’s even remotely true, we gotta tell the FBI!” That, alas, is NOT how that roomful of Republicans responded to hearing that their presidential candidate was likely already compromised by a hostile foreign power. No, instead, they all followed then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan’s lead and “kept it in the family”.

What we felt settle over us on election day 2016 — like the blackest cloud imaginable — was Trumpian corruption. Today, that cloud officially lifts.

The air — filled with coronavirus as it is — smells fresher. The sun feels warmer. And we now have a president who doesn’t wear orange face paint because he thinks it improves his appearance.

For that alone — I feel better!

What If Trump’s Vigorously Inadequate Coronavirus Response Was Part Of Trump’s Goal Of Taking Over The Country?

When it comes to Donald Trump, NOT assuming the worst is foolish. Assuming you’ve seen Trump’s worst? Even more foolish. While Trump isn’t personally capable of thinking in grand strategic plans, he is capable of having one master plan that supersedes everything else: self-survival, damn the costs. Once Trump became POTUS (that is, once Russia MADE Trump POTUS — an important distinction), his NOT being POTUS became a personal impossibility. In addition to all of Trump’s other legal liabilities, he now had treason to ice them. Trump can’t resign. He cannot get pardoned for his crimes; that is, even if he WERE to resign in order to let Mike Pence pardon him (good luck with that scenario now that Trump put a literal hit on Pence), the fact that TREASON sits at the heart of Trump’s criminality — and no pardon will forgive TREASON especially when the point of the TREASON was to destroy the country from within — means Donald Trump’s choices are literally life v death.

Which do we think Trump will choose for himself and which do we think he’ll choose for the nation?

Like that’s a question.

Donald Trump has nothing to lose. Hey, once you’ve tried a seditious assault on the Capitol building — with all the legislators inside, intent on taking out the power structure beneath Trump (Mike Pence and Nancy Pelosi) — there’s nowhere to go back to, as hard as every Republican tries to convince us to forgive them now before we get “carried away” with wanting them to take ownership of their criminality. The Trump admin deliberately hamstrung the transition. Do we not think it a stone cold certainty that mountains of evidence have already been destroyed? Part of that info the Trumpanistas have withheld goes directly to the heart and nature of Team Trump’s abysmal response to the coronavirus.

Again — let’s not hamstring ourselves. From the moment Russia stole the 2016 election’s outcome on Trump’s behalf (we will closely examine the strange 77,000 vote win disparity Trump won by in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan in light of things we will learn about how certain internet-connected, Republican-owned electronic voting machine manufacturing companies have been altering election outcomes for years now), Trump has been winging it with the GOP, the Heritage Foundation, Fox News, the Koch Brothers and the Mercers all exerting control (or thinking they were) over a traitor who owned them far more than they owned him. Cynicism and greed have brought the Republicans here. They will reap what they have sown.

There really are no coincidences. Not in Trump World anyway. Two criminal occurrences occurring at the same time aren’t a coincidence, they’re a conspiracy. His behavior toward Russia is directly connected to his obstruction of justice. His obstruction of justice is directly connected to his dismantling of the Federal government, the Justice Department in particular. That’s why Trump put Bill Barr back on the federal payroll: Barr wasn’t America’s Attorney General, he was Trump’s consigliere. Not the same thing.

As I stated above: Trump must remain in the White House to remain a free man. He KNOWS what he’s done is shockingly bad. That’s why he’ll fight to the literal death to resist paying for it though, ironically, it all comes to the same ending for Trump. I’m not sure that Trump immediately leapt to the realization that a nation weakened by a vicious virus might be easier to overthrow, but I bet at some point that thought DID occur to someone in Trump’s “brain trust”. This one feels especially “Stephen Miller”. It’s that cruel.

Hey, my little visit to Conspiracy World can be easily shot down. I have to produce proof. Without it, I’m as full of shit as they are. But, I bet there IS proof and plenty of it. I bet these arrogant pricks put it down in emails or texts or other social media — even if in code. And let’s not pooh-pooh accusing people of using code to spread hateful messages and associations…

It would be completely Trumpian — and completely Proud Boy — to communicate both tribal pride and tribal plans via visual signals.

In addition to bringing guns and Molotov cocktails and zip ties and other tools with them, the seditionists also brought an intent to murder — not just individual public servants (though I’m not sure Mike Pence fits that description, he’s just a rat the other rats got tired of) but the republic itself. That, really, was Trump’s target on Wednesday: he honestly believed he would end the American Democratic Experiment and install himself as boy king forever.

That’s what most of the GOP was counting on, too, apparently: their idiotic coup would succeed — and they’d never have to face the consequences their actions demanded. Donald Trump and the Republican Party really did have it in their heads for a while there that they were pulling it off. The lack of police resistance got them into the building and may even have steered them toward the places where the perps expected to find their political targets. How unfortunate for them that they tasted disappointment.

Their disappointment is about to grow bitter.

We just learned that, as they huddled together, under threat of physical violence from the insurrectionist mob, a number of the Republicans REFUSED to mask up. We don’t know yet — they haven’t told us — which of the people in the room is the “incubator” here. We need to know — were they innocently asymptomatic and unaware or were they aware they were carrying and (we’re talking about Republicans here), simply refused to tell anyone, figuring that if they infected anyone? “Mission accomplished”.

Republicans have proven they’ll do literally ANYTHING to win — including ally with a hostile foreign country — a traditional enemy — waging a CYBER WAR against us. Is it really that far-fetched that — to weaken us so as to never ever have to pay for their crime (of indeed ALLYING with that hostile foreign enemy) — the Republicans deliberately tried to infect us with coronavirus?

Shrug it off at your peril. I’m old enough to remember when saying out loud that Trump was a traitor was a reliable eye-roller.

We ain’t in that Kansas anymore, Toto.