Our News Media, The Big Lie And Bullsh*t Kabuki

A few days ago, I blogged about “Republicans, The Big Lie And Bullshit Kabuki”. The whole notion of “A Big Lie” should stop us in our tracks. The fact that The Big Lie exists as a thing we all acknowledge — and acknowledge what it is and what it means — yet haven’t cut the legs out from under it — that’s a clue to us both how powerful Bullshit Kabuki is and how susceptible our news media is to it. The fact that Republican Congresspeople who six months ago decried the mob now want to forget there ever was one is a piece of Bullshit Kabuki all by itself.

Anyone’s who’s had kids knows what I’ mean by “Bullshit Kabuki”. You ask your kid a question where the answer’s going to be uncomfortable for them. You’ve caught them out but they refuse to give in. And, so, the theatrics begin — the kabuki. The words really don’t matter (it’s all bullshit, right?) because it’s all an improv based on a lie. At any moment, the details could change one hundred eighty degrees because the storyteller just bumped into a logic problem. Here’s where good parents ignore what’s being said and focus instead on the performer’s eyes. For starters, those eyes won’t meet yours except fleetingly — when they shoot a glance in your direction to see if you’re buying the crap they’re selling. If your kids are older — teenagers — they jump right to belligerence. They don’t care if you’re buying what they’re selling, that’s what they’re selling, take it or leave it.

Literally the entire Republican Party — minus Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger (who both enabled this vile behavior up to the point where even they couldn’t tolerate the bullshit anymore) — has committed one hundred percent to The Big Lie. That should be the end of all conversations. We should be grinding to a halt at the very notion of a “Big Lie” just as we should have ground to a halt at “Mexicans are rapists”. Think of how far this vile waste of carbon, Donald Trump, has pushed what should have been the envelope. With the GOP, it turns out, the envelope was always an illusion. Given the right stimulus, the conservative movement in America was always capable of what they’re doing — slowly rolling out a violent coup d’etat. To their credit, the Republicans are clever. If they can’t overthrow the last election (which they’re STILL trying to do), they’ll simply give themselves the means to overturn all future elections when the results don’t go their way.

If that’s the case — that any election result can be tossed because the losing party doesn’t like it — the losing party ALWAYS being the Republicans — then elections stop meaning anything since their results can always be “fixed”. For the record, this is not a problem that cuts both ways as both sides don’t think the same. It would never occur to Democrats to alter an election’s outcome because it went against them. That’s why they’re Democrats instead of Republicans because Democrats believe in democracy while Republicans don’t. That’s why Republicans gerrymander and suppress Democratic voters while Democrats don’t gerrymander (though they did in the past — to be fair) or ever even consider suppressing Republican voters. If every election’s results can be tossed for entirely political reasons then every election becomes a question mark rather than a statement.

To appreciate the GOP’s theatricality, you have to see the theater around them (as they do). Unfortunately, that’s beyond most of our news media. Our press remains determined that each and every Republican is an honest actor, there to tell the god’s honest truth. If they say they’re patriots, they must be patriots (because they say they are!) If they pooh-pooh the notion that they’re racist then, clearly, they can’t be racist. If they say the January 6 insurrection was a tourist event — or didn’t happen — then we have to consider the possibility that that could be true — because they said it.

Funny irony? Whenever our news media tries to quote the line “Well, who’re you gonna believe? Me or your own eyes?” they get it wrong. They don’t even get who SAID the line right (it’s Chico, not Groucho – from the movie “Duck Soup“).

It is absurd that more than six months after the Republican Party attempted but failed at a coup d’etat, our news media still can’t decide if anything actually happened. If I’m honest with myself, I understand them; I kept a secret from myself for 45 years that I’d been sexually molested (twice by the same man) when I was 14. I understand lying to oneself as an act of self defense. We don’t need that here; we need the truth!

As I’ve said here repeatedly, any framing of the GOP that doesn’t include the fact that they’ve always known Trump was a Russian military intelligence asset (as current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy put it upon entering a room filled with GOP leaders a month BEFORE the GOP nominated Trump in 2016, “There’s two people I think Putin pays – Rohrbacher and Trump, swear to God!”) is based on a lie. Per then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan’s advice to his collaborators at the time (that’s how he spoke to them), everyone there agreed to “keep it in the family”. You know, like a MAFIA FAMILY.

From the get-go, Trump has tried to hide the true nature of his relationship with Vlad Putin. Why, is not a mystery: the relationship’s true nature has always been clear and distinct. Putin is the alpha and Trump is the beta.

That’s the exact same reason why Donald Trump is the alpha in his relationship with the GOP and they are the out-and-out beta. It’s kind of mind-boggling that professional journalists can stare at something as evident as Putin’s literal control of Trump and — after five bloody years of it! — STILL not ask the obvious question: “what is UP with that?” Oh, sure, they ask that question — amongst themselves and on TV while scratching their heads. It wouldn’t be journalistically unethical to consider — merely as one of the possible explanations — that the reason Trump’s so beholden to Putin is that Trump’s a traitor to America and has been the whole time. One doesn’t have to present it as stone cold fact; like any good journalist, one is just asking a question. If the facts damn it then that’s what will happen. But, if the facts suggest it’s the right answer…

The problem is, our press loves bullshit kabuki. They crave it. While they happily make fun of the GOP’s Bullshit Kabuki, they also find it strangely compelling. They love Bullshit Kabuki’s rabbit hole nature.

Avoid the rabbit hole — that’s the trick. Bullshit Kabuki must be consumed in small doses; it’s surprisingly potent. One second you’re gazing at it dismissively, the next, you’re falling through space and time, the walls of the rabbit hole blurring as you plunge faster and faster.

“Whatever It Is, I’m Against It!”

We all have a special song. Okay, we all have lots of special songs but there’s one in particular that, as you go through life, it never stops being deeply relevant. It’s the one that pops into your head with remarkable regularity because it applies in so many ways to so many things. This is the song that spoke TO you and FOR you in equal measure like no other song. The trick is, you have to get pretty far down the road to realize which song that is and why that song was “it”. The first instant I saw the Marx Brothers — Groucho in particular — I knew they were kindred spirits. And then, after decimating the room with a barrage of brilliant barbs, Groucho starts to sing.

The movie is “Horse Feathers” The setting is Huxley College — an institution of higher education successful enough to have a faculty and a football team but, apparently, no capacity to do any sort of meaningful executive search considering as they just hired Groucho’s Professor Quincy Adams Wagstaff to take over running the joint. But then, real life logic doesn’t play inside a Marx Brothers movie. That, too, made them appealing when I was ten years old. At ten, you’re starting to fall into line, doing what the adults tell you to do even as you’re just starting to sense (your teenage years not too, too far ahead) that every adult is full of shit. When, suddenly, one of the adults wheels around — breaking the fourth wall — and tells you some stone cold truths about adults that makes them look foolish? I’m all ears.

Groucho’s Professor Wagstaff sings:

I don’t know what they have to say
It makes no difference anyway
Whatever it is, I’m against it
No matter what it is or who commenced it
I’m against it

This born contrarian heard those words and felt immediate kinship. The target was always authority. In every Marx Brothers movie, the rich look fatuous and silly. In “Horse Feathers”, academia gets hosed. In the brilliant “Duck Soup”, it’s political power. In “A Night At The Opera”, it’s stuffy, white culture and rich people again. Groucho best summarized the persistent sentiment this way: “I would not want to be a member of any club that would have me as a member”. I’m even against me if ever I become the power.

The song’s theme is reflected in the name of this blog. “How to live bullshit free” has focused its attention on bullshit itself as the “it” in the “whatever it is”. And, if we’re talking about bullshit –mine especially (since my bullshit is what matters to me as yours should matter most to you) — then I am absolutely one hundred percent against it.

Republicans, The Big Lie And Bullsh*t Kabuki

Anyone’s who’s had kids knows what I’m talking about. You ask your kid a question where the answer’s going to be uncomfortable for them. You’ve caught them out but they refuse to give in. And, so, the theatrics begin — the kabuki. The words really don’t matter (it’s all bullshit, right?) because it’s all an improv based on a lie. At any moment, the details could change one hundred eighty degrees because the storyteller just bumped into a logic problem. Here’s where good parents ignore what’s being said and focus instead on the performer’s eyes. For starters, those eyes won’t meet yours except fleetingly — when they shoot a glance in your direction to see if you’re buying the crap they’re selling. If your kids are older — teenagers — they jump right to belligerence. They don’t care if you’re buying what they’re selling, that’s what they’re selling, take it or leave it.

Literally the entire Republican Party — minus Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger (who both enabled this vile behavior up to the point where even they couldn’t tolerate the bullshit anymore) — has committed one hundred percent to The Big Lie. That should be the end of all conversations. We should be grinding to a halt at the very notion of a “Big Lie” just as we should have ground to a halt at “Mexicans are rapists”. Think of how far this vile waste of carbon, Donald Trump, has pushed what should have been the envelope. With the GOP, it turns out, the envelope was always an illusion. Given the right stimulus, the conservative movement in America was always capable of what they’re doing — slowly rolling out a violent coup d’etat. To their credit, the Republicans are clever. If they can’t overthrow the last election (which they’re STILL trying to do), they’ll simply give themselves to overturn all future elections when the results don’t go their way.

If that’s the case — that any election result can be tossed because the losing party doesn’t like it — the losing party ALWAYS being the Republicans — then elections stop meaning anything since their results can always be “fixed”. For the record, this is not a problem that cuts both ways as both sides don’t think the same. It would never occur to Democrats to alter an election’s outcome because it went against us. That’s why they’re Democrats instead of Republicans because Democrats believe in democracy while Republicans don’t. That’s why Republicans gerrymander and suppress Democratic voters while Democrats don’t gerrymander (though they did in the past — to be fair) or ever even consider suppressing Republican voters. If every election’s results can be tossed for entirely political reasons then every election becomes a question mark rather than a statement.

To appreciate the GOP’s theatricality, you have to see the theater around them (as they do). Unfortunately, that’s beyond most of our news media. Our press remains determined that each and every Republican is an honest actor, there to tell the the god’s honest truth. If they say they’re patriots, they must be patriots (because they say they are!) If they pooh-pooh the notion that they’re racist then, clearly, they can’t be racist. If they say the January 6 insurrection was a tourist event — or didn’t happen — then we have to consider the possibility that that could be true — because they said it.

That’s our news media going toe to toe in a cynicism fight with the Republican Party. Who’s going to win? Maybe a better question is “can’t they both lose?”

It is absurd that more than six months after the Republican Party attempted but failed at a coup d’etat, our news media still can’t decide if anything actually happened. If I’m honest with myself, I understand them; I kept a secret from myself for 45 years that I’d been sexually molested (twice by the same man) when I was 14. I understand lying to oneself as an act of self defense. We don’t need that here; we need the truth!

As I’ve said here repeatedly, any framing of the GOP that doesn’t include the fact that they’ve always known Trump was a Russian military intelligence asset (as current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy put it upon entering a room filled with GOP leaders a month BEFORE the GOP nominated Trump in 2016, “There’s two people I think Putin pays – Rohrbacher and Trump, swear to God!”) is based on a lie. Per then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan’s advice to his collaborators at the time (that’s how he spoke to them), everyone there agreed to “keep it in the family”. You know, like a MAFIA FAMILY.

From the get-go, Trump has tried to hide the true nature of his relationship with Vlad Putin. Why, is not a mystery: the relationship’s true nature has always been clear and distinct. Putin is the alpha and Trump is the beta.

That’s the exact same reason why Donald Trump is the alpha in his relationship with the GOP and they are the out-and-out beta. It’s kind of mind-boggling that professional journalists can stare at something as evident as Putin’s literal control of Trump and — after five bloody years of it! — STILL not ask the obvious question: “what is UP with that?” Oh, sure, they ask that question — amongst themselves and on TV while scratching their heads. It wouldn’t be journalistically unethical to consider — merely as one of the possible explanations — that the reason Trump’s so beholden to Putin is that Trump’s a traitor to America and has been the whole time. One doesn’t have to present it as stone cold fact; like any good journalist, one is just asking a question. If the facts damn it then that’s what will happen. But, if the facts suggest it’s the right answer…

The problem is, our press likes bullshit kabuki. It’s easy for them to poke at and make fun of. Yet, also they find it strangely compelling. They love bullshit kabuki’s rabbit hole nature.

Avoid the rabbit hole — that’s the trick. Bullshit kabuki must be consumed in small doses; it’s surprisingly potent. One second you’re gazing at it dismissively, the next, you’re falling through space and time, the walls of the rabbit hole blurring as you plunge faster and faster.

Icing v Cake

How many times has a cake with amazing icing disappointed because the cake itself — even if it was good — simply couldn’t match the icing’s enticing promise? Or, more basically, how would we feel about being served a piece of cake that promised greatness but delivered its opposite (while making us physically sick)? . Icing’s a great metaphor. It sets up a promise that the cake beneath better deliver on — that’s how “cake” works,. The icing in the brick designed cake above is funny, clever and a great enticement to sample the cake within. But, what if the situation was reversed slightly. What if beneath every bit of icing meant to look like a brick was a real brick? Okay — clever icing but it leads to a terrible final experience — no one wants to eat an actual brick, right? Or, even if we iced the brick with the best butter cream icing available? We can make that brick look incredibly appetizing — until the moment you bite into it and wreck your teeth. Expectation v Reality. And sometimes? Flat out bullshit v reality.

Sometimes we go even further: we sugar coat poison then serve it up to people.

Politics is “Icing v Cake” on steroids. So’s religion. That’s what makes both so vulnerable — the most toxic political or religious cake can be hidden beneath Kool-Aid flavored icing a la Jonestown. Nobody went to Jonestown to die. That wasn’t the “icing” they bought into. They had no idea how diabolically evil a cake Jim Jones was baking for them all. “The Peoples Temple” sounds lovely because it’s icing. Consider what that icing looked like BEFORE the massacre: The Peoples’ Temple that Jones founded in 1955 was racially integrated and counter-cultural; Jones advised his adherents to live a communal, socialist life style filled with shared purpose. Strip away fifty years of accrued cynicism and you can sorta kinda recall how much more “innocent” we were. Innocence and icing love go hand-in-hand. That’s not a knock, it’s just a fact.

Most of the 918 people who died at Jonestown walked in the door expecting one thing — the glorious icing of happiness but, instead, ended up dead because the cake itself was utterly poisonous. Figuratively and literally.

The Republican Party is another “Icing v Cake” situation. Their icing says they’re a political party. The cake beneath is something entirely different. The cake — and we’ve experienced samples of it for five long years now — is flavored with greed and power lust and even treason. The odor it gives off is pure, unadulterated corruption. Our news media however cannot see the cake below the GOP’s deep red surface. To them, it’s just a red cake doing things red cake does. They’ll even ask the red cake how it tastes — not an unreasonable question but you have to know as you ASK the question that the answer is going to be totally biased. “I taste great!” says the red cake even though, fact is, it tastes like an anal wart covered in putrescence.

That’s like asking a racist if they’re a racist. How the hell would the racist know? He’s too much of a racist to give you any sort of an honest answer. Want to know if someone’s a racist or if the cake they made tastes okay? Ask someone ELSE. And don’t ask someone who hasn’t sampled the cake, ask someone who’s experienced racism directly. Even better, ask someone who’s experienced the racist’s racism directly. They’ll tell you — even as the racist shakes his head in earnest denial — not only THAT the racist is a racist, but just how MUCH of a racist the racist is. Racism, of course, is one of the cakes always available in America.

Cleaning up America’s cake is going to take some time. Republicans and conservatives have been hard at work the past decade destroying our pantry, making our stored ingredients vulnerable to rats and roaches and other gnarly creatures. Worse yet, Republicans sold us out to their crazy friend Vladimir. What else are we to make of “icing” that looks as screwed up as this —

Alas, our news media are icing junkies who have a limited tolerance for cake. That’s a product of “both sides do it” journalism which insists that both sides make exactly the same cake; they just frost them differently. That is absolutely not so. Republicans like their cake dry as hell — white as hell, too. Angel food is ideal because it’s white. Any chocolate on it better come from a jar so they “keep a lid” on it at all times. Progressives and most Democrats are far more open-minded about cake. They make a point of embracing all the kinds of cake there are — especially the multi-colored kind with the chocolate icing.

Marie Antoinette famously said (was famously misquoted actually) “Let them eat cake” when told the peasants of Paris were starving because they had no bread to eat. What she really meant, of course, was let them eat icing. Rich Marie knew better than to promise the rabble anything as nourishing as cake.

Or, What If Putin Has Been Waging Cyber War Against Us The Whole Time And His Problem Is WE Finally Know It?

If ever a photo spoke volumes, it was the one taken as Donald Trump emerged from his sit-down with Vlad Putin in Oslo. The two men emerged from their meeting (no one on our side took notes) to speak to the press. They needn’t have said a word; their body language spoke every single truth they were about to deny. Donald Trump was and remains Vladimir Putin’s bitch. It’s that simple. Compromising greedy shitheads is “Intelligence Agency 101” type stuff. Whether it’s a honey pot or just plain old money, you dangle, they take and you own them. And then you own them MORE. Putin may have had his hooks set into Trump as early as the 2013 Miss Universe Pageant in Moscow. From that point on — whenever it was — a project like Donald Trump is a long play. Putin didn’t know when he “recruited” Trump if this particular gamble would pay off but Trump could be useful to Putin in myriad other ways.

Except, with Donald Trump, Putin not only got lucky, he found a Trojan Horse — a guy with political ambitions who could be weaponized like few others because he already thought like a criminal. What caused Fusion GPS to sub-contract the Russian part of their oppo research on Trump (regardless of who was paying them at the time — as both sides did) to a Chris Steele (a man with a solid rep and great contacts inside Russia) — was the suspicion that Trump had used his bankrupt Atlantic City casinos to KNOWINGLY launder Russian mob money. Russian money has been there all along, backing Trump, cash flowing him. Hey, remember that wacky real estate deal where some “dumb Russian guy” paid Trump $95 for a house in Palm Beach he bought for $40? You don’t suppose “that” was dirty, do ya?

Putin, meanwhile, had infiltrated the Republican Party at pretty much every level — covering every angle they could. Russian money poured into the GOP via the NRA and by way of Russian emigres now living in America as Americans whose retirement checks got strange bumps that they paid forward — as if by design — to various Republican politicians. If you don’t look too closely, you’d never see the crime. That doesn’t mean it’s not a crime.

We know for a fact that Putin dreams of restoring Greater Russia to the world stage as a “playeh!” His problem, outside of oil and corruption, Russia doesn’t export anything of value. Unfortunately for them, both oil and corruption are facing difficult market headwinds. But, Putin’s quite good at playing a crap hand to maximum advantage — in large part because, being an intelligence officer by training, he doesn’t play at war with conventional rules. Being a spy, his idea of warfare is entirely asymmetrical.

Asymmetrical warfare relies on the two sides thinking of war differently.

One side waits for bombs and bullets to start flying before finally declaring war on the guy who’s attacking them. Except, what if one country declares war on another — with the very same intentions and goals — but plans to accomplish them without ever firing a shot? Does that mean it’s NOT warfare? Does that mean if one country figures out how to “trick” another country into losing a war then what the first country does is okie-dokie? Is that what we’re saying here? It better not be. Any country that thinks only bombs and bullets can win wars will lose every war it ever fights going forward. It doesn’t matter how big your army is or how large your stockpile of munitions if, while the other side celebrates, you — the loser — find yourself stumbling around in the dark, your power supply cut, your food chain disrupted and your sanitation suddenly backing up on you because the ransomware guys took the money and then screwed you over. If Russia hacked into our power grid & shut it down, we’d sue for peace tomorrow.

Total cost to Russia for the same desired result as a long, protracted, bloody land, air and sea war? Almost nothing beyond the care and feeding of a bunch of computer nerds. This is where we are now: you don’t have to physically bomb people into submission to make them submit.

If you’re the news media — stuck in past definitions like what “war” is — you’re going to be late to the party. Imagine for a moment if FDR had been a little more cautious after Pearl Harbor. Consider the advantage Japan had as they attacked under cover of dawn and surprise. They knew they were at war with us months before. The fact that we didn’t know it doesn’t change the fact that a state of war existed. The citizens, airmen, sailors and soldiers at Pearl Harbor died regardless of whether an actual “state of war” had been declared. The element of surprise made a huge difference.

Let’s do a little thought experiment. What if, after attacking Pearl Harbor — recognizing the advantage surprise played at Pearl Harbor and how they might improve on that advantage — the Japanese, instead of openly declaring war, went the opposite way. What if Japanese Prime Minister Tojo — before FDR gave his “Day of Infamy” speech before Congress on December 8, 1941 and declared war on Japan — got on the horn to FDR and said “We are soooooo sorry about this, Mr. President! Admiral Yamamoto went a little nuts and pulled a ‘Doctor Strangelove! Our bad! We swear it won’t happen again. We good now?” And what if FDR, not wanting to cause a world war or anything, said “Yeah, okay, Japan, but you better be damned careful from now on that such a thing never happens again!”

And what if Japan said “Promise!” but was lying because they were already in the process of surprise attacking The Philippines, Guam, Wake Islands, Malaya, Singapore, Hong Kong and everywhere else the Imperial Fleet attacked that day and in the days and weeks that followed? And what if — each and every time, just like the first — FDR would threaten to declare war on Japan but Tojo would talk FDR from the ledge? Imagine if FDR had kept giving Japan the benefit of the doubt because they never formally declared war on us.

Our news media would run endlessly with this. It’s a rabbit hole they understand. If a state of war was never declared then how could it be “war”? Certainly, we wouldn’t call something “war” if it wasn’t, would we? See? Just like that, a state of war is normalized.

Watching the news conference taking place right now in Brussels as President Biden completes his first sit down with the other members of NATO, it’s shocking to think that none of the “journalists” in that room can imagine a framing where Donald Trump is a traitor and that’s why he behaved the way he did for four years. Not a hyperbolic traitor, a real one. They can switch from a story about Trump letting Vlad Putin humiliate him in public to a story about Trump running for POTUS again in 2024 as if those two events had nothing to do with each other. They can do a story about Republicans actively working to destroy every bit of our democratic system — starting with voting — then wonder aloud why Democrats won’t be all kumbaya-bi-partisan with the same people — as if, suddenly, their authoritarian stink was acceptable and their attempts to force permanent minority rule down the majority’s throat is just another “policy” they’re hawking.

What if this whole time, not only have we been under attack in a cyber war but the guy attacking us is getting copious help and assistance from one of our two political parties. And what if the big money behind this party KNEW for a fact what their political arm was doing — allying with a hostile foreign government despite the fact that it’s HIGHLY ILLEGAL? And what if that money did it anyway because their goal — an entirely white electorate — aligned with Putin’s goal — an America that won’t bother it while it finishes slitting democracy’s throat?

Our news media perceives that Putin is reacting differently to Biden than he did to Trump. Their explanations do everything but satisfy. They’re like a bunch of blind guys trying to make sense of an elephant for the first time when they’re neither blind nor unfamiliar with elephants. If the news media would just read its own reporting, it might be miles ahead of the story curve. That’s more painful than anything; it’s not that our news media haven’t reported this story — reported Trumpian treachery — it’s that they have but refuse to aggregate their own reporting into an ongoing, evolving, cohesive narrative that explains the story.

Look at Donald Trump and the Republican Party’s strange devotion to him (institutional Republicans) with a purely political lens — as our news media does — and all you can see is a bunch of politicians not wanting to lose elections. But see Trump and the GOP through a treason lens and suddenly the picture gets both more complex and more clear. If Republicans knew early on that Trump was compromised by Putin — and they knew what Putin was doing (even vaguely!) then they face very real legal jeopardy. They’re dictionary definition traitors.

If America doesn’t punish Trump and the GOP’s treason to the very fullest extent the law allows then we can start counting down to the moment Trumpism rises again and, this time, goes straight for democracy’s jugular. Down deep, every Republican knows the line they crossed. They know they’ve committed treason. They know there’s no going back now. The evidence is all around us as it always has been. It won’t be a matter of digging for it but accepting it for what it is.

Trumpian and Republican treason is as plain as the vagina on Donald Trump’s neck or the orange cast to his skin. Not only is this not normal, it’s not political either; Trump and the republicans have committed criminal acts for political purposes. America, in reacting to it, is NOT acting politically. We The People are the victims of a crime perpetrated upon us by the Republican Party. The relief we seek is both criminal in the short term — and we can’t do anything else until we stop this crime from continuing — but political in the long term: we need to legislate every way necessary to make sure that such a thing never happens again.

The GOP is terrified of being outed as traitors because they know what that’ll do to corporate money (even Chik-Fil-A can’t lie down with traitors). Even more, they’re terrified of going to prison. I bet more than a few of the upper tier of the GOP still thinks they can’t possibly be made to pay for what they’ve done. Getting away with things is a way of life. Putin also has counted on getting away with everything. With Trump, his asset, in the White House, America wasn’t going to lift a finger to stop Putin.

That’s all changed now. A skilled diplomat is now POTUS. A man with considerable foreign policy experience. A man with a conscience and a soul and who’s actually put skin in the patriotism game. That’s what worries Putin — and make no mistake he is worried.

Putin runs a glorified third world country. If not for his nuclear weapons, he’d be Kim Jong Il with borscht breath. He’s not a “head of state” the way we think of democratically elected heads of state. He’s a glorified mobster with a government at his corrupt disposal. He cares about power more than anything. Holding on to power demands having lots of money which means being super corrupt and super corrupting with that money. But Putin and his oligarch pals can’t bank their dirty money in Russia because they can’t trust the banks (which they own) because those banks are all corrupt. Consequently, Putin and his pals must do their banking here in the West.

That makes Putin incredibly vulnerable. Imagine if we went after every oligarch EXCEPT Putin. What if we made their lives a living hell by taking every asset they own? Before too long, these guys would all turn to Putin and demand he do something. If he can’t stop them from getting crushed, they will turn on Putin — just like that. Don’t think Putin knows it? Don’t think he doesn’t fear it?

Putin knows he’ll exit the world stage violently because that’s the only option corrupt leaders ever leave people. He fears that attack will come out of nowhere — like a surprise in the middle of the night.

Or on a quiet Sunday morning.

Or, What If The Meeting Between Biden & Putin Is More Of A “Showdown”?

For four years, Vladimir Putin looked DOWN into Donald Trump’s eyes as Trump metaphorically serviced Vlad. As current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy knew a full month before the GOP nominated Trump to be POTUS, Putin owned him. As Kevin put it: “There’s two people I think Putin pays – Rohrbacher and Trump – swear to God!” Not much wriggle room there in retrospect. Kevin knew what he was talking about. That must have been the case because ever since, the GOP has done everything it could to keep America from connecting the Trump Dot to the Putin Dot to the Treason Dot. The undeniable fact is that but for Russia, Trump would NEVER have been president. Russia made Trump POTUS and, since, have done everything they could to keep him POTUS. Too bad for them the American electorate showed up en masse and got in Putin’s way. As the residents of Pearl Harbor can tell us, just because a war’s not declared doesn’t mean its bombs and bullets can’t kill you. In this instance, it’s our democracy that’s under surprise attack — by Russia AND by the Republican Party who sprung their surprise attack on our democracy with the assistance of Russia’s military intelligence. Or, as Republicans think of them, “oligarchs who like them”.

Joe Biden sat in on the meeting at the White House in September 2016 where President Obama wanted to inform the gang of eight — the Democratic leaders of the House and Senate — that our intelligence agencies were extremely confident that Russia was actively engaged in trying to make Trump president. Current minority leader Mitch McConnell got up on his treason turtle legs and warned Obama that if did such a dastardly thing — informing America that Russia was attacking us — he would insist that Obama was “politicizing the intelligence”. I wonder what Joe Biden looked like as he stared down Mitch McConnell that day. Unfortunately, Obama caved. He softened the message so completely that it went over everyone’s head — especially the news media’s.

They still believed “But Her Emails” was more important anyway. Ain’t retrospect a bitch?

Understanding how important our intelligence agencies are — and how to work with them — comes more naturally to Joe Biden (having done it for so much of his career in public service) than it did to Trump who was under investigation by those agencies (until Rod Rosenstein ended it). Democrats unfortunately still practice decorum. Were the treason shoe on the other foot, the Republicans probably would have hung people already. The rule of law can be frustrating to follow. Following the rule of law takes longer and demands more energy and attention than ignoring it or breaking it does. I bet Joe Biden knows things (having been briefed now by a rededicated, re-energized IC) about not only Donald Trump but plenty of Republican office holders that would curl our collective hair.

We’re just learning that Trump’s DoJ (by way of Sessions & Barr) went along with Trump’s demands to subpoena the metadata of his Democratic political enemies including Californian representatives Adam Schiff and Eric Swallwell. Every Trumpanista in the DoJ went along with this abuse of power (and violation of the law). Every Trumpanista in Congress feels fine with it. This plays at the same time that Republican lawmakers ramp up attempts to restrict voting to Republicans — all at the behest of Donald Trump who NEEDS Republicans to re-take power completely for one simple reason: otherwise, he’ll be prosecuted for money laundering, tax fraud, election fraud, obstruction of justice and treason. If the Republican Party could stop that from happening they absolutely would. Because they are tied to Trump’s criminality.

If Trump goes down, they’ll all go down. It’s just a stone cold fact. The Republican Party is now a package deal. Vote for them, you vote for Trump. Vote for Trump, you vote for the end of democracy and the beginning of white supremacist, minority rule authoritarianism. It’s not really as if America is facing a choice between the two. We aren’t. Most Americans are crystal clear which America they want — and it’s not the America the Republican party wants us to be. That’s why the GOP has turned to cheating in order to win. The majority wouldn’t vote for Republican ideas if their lives depended on it — which is the case.

Diplomatic principles will prevent Biden from speaking hard core truths to Putin. But, having just visited with our NATO allies — and reaffirmed our collective commitment to stop Putin in every way we can — Biden will speak for more than himself. That’s important when confronting a bully. Biden doesn’t have to threaten any sort of military action; that’d go after the wrong people with the wrong tool. Greed motivates Putin. Greed and Russian nationalism. If we want to pinch Putin hard enough to make him scream “ouch-ski!”, we’ll need to attack his most vulnerable organ: his wallet.

Putin, like all his oligarch pals (and you can’t be an oligarch in Putin’s Russia if Putin doesn’t want you to be one), must bank outside of Russia — mostly here in the West. They know they can’t trust Russian banks since they all own they and they KNOW how corrupt Russian banks are. The last place they’d put their own money is their corrupt banks. That means they need Western banking and investments to harbor their criminal gains. If we attack the gold seams that feed Putin and his pals, we’ll hurt them. Then, either we keep hurting them till they stop or we drain them dry of money. An oligarch without money is an oligarch without power. He’s a nobody.

On the one hand, Putin will savor the chaos yet to come — as prosecution of the insurrectionists begins and, increasingly, draws in Republican members of Congress who helped plan and execute the insurrection. But, it would be absurd to think Putin — with everything he’d done up to that point to make and keep Trump POTUS — that Putin had zero hand in the insurrection. Of course Putin had a hand in it. And those associations will find their way to the surface. Ironically, the insurrection may be the quickest way into prosecuting the entire GOP for treason. Once the idea of treason gets before a Grand Jury anywhere — and more than one traitor gets identified — we’ll have a treasonous conspiracy on our hands — with law enforcement pulling threads that seem to go everywhere.

Prosecuting and punishing every last Republican traitor (and if we don’t punish them or only punish a few, we’ll absolutely invite a repeat performance and soon) will focus the majority’s furor like few things could. Everyone hates being betrayed. Americans haven’t experienced betrayal this disruptive since the Civil War. And, hell — the majority of Americans were willing to take up arms and fight that betrayal.

Our news media — still wedded to framing every story from the Republican perspective — still have it in their heads (having normalized Trump) that his behavior on the world stage is “normal” for American presidents. They think it’s now “normal” for American presidents to have Vlad Putin’s dick in their mouths.

Putin will know — as he looks UP at Joe Biden — that he’ll be keeping his pecker in his pants. That goes for there in the room and outside it. Putin needs to be reminded that, except for its nuclear weapons, it’s a third world shit hole. It’s GDP is 24th in the world, about the same as Italy’s. Aside from crude oil, Russia produces nothing that anyone else wants (including their chaos).

This American leader will offer Putin a chance to get out of the rest of the world’s way. Either Putin will take it or he won’t. If Putin backs down, he’ll still end up sanctioned and his money targeted. But he’ll get to stay “President of Russia”. If Putin continues to be a pariah, he’ll be treated accordingly.

In the background meanwhile will be the ongoing investigation, prosecution and punishment of every American who conspired with Putin even unwittingly. The basic fact is this: Vladimir Putin cannot now or in the past have won an American election. If Putin did ANYTHING – big or small – to in any way “help” make Trump president then the whole enterprise of making Trump POTUS is corrupt and must be treated as such.

As Merrick Garland reminded us all just this morning: nothing is more important to the American democratic franchise than voting and the free and fair elections that make it possible for every eligible American to vote. The authority to govern Americans flows directly from those elections. If we did not elect you, you do not have that authority. We The People did not EVER elect Trump to be POTUS. If not for Russia literally MAKING Trump president, that scourge would NEVER have “taken over” the White House.

Our news media, dopy as ever, thinks this is about “deliverables”. It’s not. The meeting with Putin is very much about everything that precedes the meeting. That’s the context for the meeting. Whereas Trump would ditch our allies so he could openly fondle Putin in public, Biden has sat down with them first. Made peace and rekindled relationships. Then he will have turned to our collective enemy — knowing exactly what Putin has done to us and all our allies. And with THAT in his hand, he will reach toward Putin’s.

Cyber War IS War And WE Have Been Under A Cyber War Attack For Five Years Now

It sucks to be the second person to discover that you’re in a fight. Better to be the first. Especially when the first has attacked the second unexpectedly. Ask the folks who lived at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on the morning of December 7, 1941. As far as they knew — as they slept in on a Sunday morning or peacefully started their day — America (having so far successfully navigated the rest of the world’s growing hostilities) wasn’t at war with anyone. The idea that a modern armada was coming, the tip of its deadly spear pointed directly at them, would have seemed absurd paranoia. And then the zeroes plunged from the clouds and rained death and destruction on the naval base at Pearl Harbor, killing 2,403 U.S. personnel (including 68 civilians) and destroying or damaging 19 U.S. Navy ships, including 8 battleships. From the Japanese perspective? A state of war existed. From ours? It didn’t. Alas, our point of view became meaningless; the Japanese argument won. The next day, President Franklin Roosevelt told the country what the residents of Pearl Harbor, HI already knew: we were at war.

During World War II, if one country wanted to spy on another — or turn off its power supply — it had to do it practically. It would have to send actual humans into enemy territory, risking their lives against terrible odds. These days? A roomful of computer hackers can break into our power grid and put us in the dark unless we pay them ransom. The various Russian actors who’ve held our petroleum, meat processing, Information tech and transportation industries hostage may not “officially” be the Russian government, but that’s a nicety — “official”. Anyone operating a business larger than a borscht-n-perogy stand in Russia needs Vlad Putin’s approval. The smoking gun that Putin runs them is the fact that they exist.

Putin, let’s not forget, is a spy by profession. And a good one. He plays by intelligence agency rules where black and white really don’t exist. The end justifies all means including murder. Including mass murder. Think Putin doesn’t have a significant say in EVERYTHING that happens inside Syria? Putin has troops in Russia. He has air force bases. He has a naval base. The last one’s huge: Putin has a NAVAL BASE on the Mediterranean. Take that away? He’s still stuck in the Black Sea. Putin doesn’t think of Syria as “the country Syria”, he thinks of it as “Russia-South” with his pawn Assad minding the store. If Assad poisons or gasses his own people? It’s with Putin’s full and complete approval.

Putin famously drew up cyber war plans against us. We know who he is and we know what he wants. He’s a Russian nationalist who dreams of Greater Russia’s “glory days”. Though he was raised a “God-less Communist”, Putin’s connection to his Russian nationalism ran directly through a latent Russian Church Orthodoxy. As Steve Bannon can tell you, Putin is a religious man. That is, he believes in magic when it suits him (especially when it justifies or enables his criminality). He believes in Christian mythology just enough to see himself as a modern day crusader bent on re-taking the Holy Land from the infidels.

Anyone who thinks you need bombs and bullets flying in order for a real “state of war” to exist is going to lose every single war they ever fight going forward. While they wait to step onto a battlefield somewhere, the cyber warrior will have eaten their lunch, taken all their weapons and left them standing by a road side somewhere bare-assed naked. Building armies costs a bomb. Sic-ing a dozen computer nerds on another country’s power grid costs virtually nothing. If Russia were to do that? Shut off our power while threatening to keep it off indefinitely? We’d be forced to sue for peace — as the LOSERS — in a quick, cheap, nasty CYBER WAR.

If we think of Donald Trump as a Russian intelligence asset (you might as well — that’s what he is), then the mission he’s on has been staggeringly successful: easily the most successful intelligence mission ever in the whole history of the world. The biggest anti-democratic country managed to place its intelligence asset atop the biggest democratic country’s democracy with the express purpose of WRECKING it. Which that intelligence asset did with remarkable success! Trump repeatedly betrayed America’s interests out in the open — with Vladimir Putin visibly on the receiving end!

Trump has projected his guilt from the get-go. He’s told us he works for Putin with his words and demonstrated his fealty with his actions. Or lack of actions. Everyone knew Paul Manafort was dirty when Trump hired him to be his campaign manager in 2016. Those who really knew Manafort understood how craven he was: he owed Russian oligarch, Putin pal and Russian military intelligence agent Oleg Deripaska $17 – $20 million from a business deal that went sour. Manafort knew that he couldn’t outrun Deripaska forever and found a way to square things with his former client. Having manipulated his way into running Trump’s presidential campaign, he now had multiple ways to “pay back” what he owed Deripaska. Rather than money, Manafort offered something Deripaska could take to Putin and look like a hero: proprietary polling data from four blue states (Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania) that Russia’s military intelligence could turn into effective propaganda that they could focus with laser-like intensity on individual Democratic voters.

We don’t know whether or not Putin tried to do in Minnesota what he did in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, but in those three states, in the weeks leading up to the 2016 election, Putin’s military intelligence turned the valuable information Manafort had provided (ILLEGALLY!) into weaponized Facebook ads that popped up on the Facebook pages of actual Black Democratic voters. The ads painted Hilary Clinton as a closet racist who didn’t deserve any Black Democrat’s vote. Don’t lose sight of this key fact: THIS IS ILLEGAL. This action violates a ton of US law. If these criminal efforts resulted in just ONE Black voter staying home? It’s a crime. It doesn’t take a “certain number” of voters to be impacted by voter suppression tactics launched by a hostile foreign government aided and abetted by Americans to “become a crime”. One does it. And, we know, there was way more than one.

Betcha we could find those Black voters today — and interview them under oath. Betcha we could convince them to walk into a court of law and state unequivocally that the end result of Paul Manafort handing Oleg Deripaska (via Konstantin Kilimnik) proprietary polling data was them staying home instead of exercising their right. If you’re trying to blame the voter here for staying home? You’re already playing for the enemy. Stop.

Before the Republican Party even nominated Trump to be their presidential candidate, the Republican Party KNEW for a fact that Russia owned him. They talked about it OUT LOUD at a meeting a month before their convention. As reported (a year after the fact) in the Washington Post, current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy walked into a room of Republican leaders and said, “There’s two people I think Putin pays, Rohrbacher and Trump — swear to God!” No one in that roomful of GOP leaders reacted with surprise. No one said, “Whaaaaat? Kevin, dude — are you SURE about that? Jesus, what would make you say such a crazy thing?” We know this because the whole conversation WAS RECORDED and played for the Washington Post reporter.

Not only didn’t anyone wonder if it was true that Putin owned the man they were about to nominate to be their presidential candidate, no one thought to do anything about it. No one rushed from the room to call the FBI. No one slinked from the room later to do that either. Instead, everyone present — GOP leadership, don’t forget — agreed with then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan to keep this terrible secret to themselves. “That’s how we know we’re family,” Ryan said. “Family” as in “crime family”.

Even before that, Trump’s criminality and his vulnerability to being compromised by Vladimir Putin was a publicly available fact. Remember the Steele Dossier? Remember why a Steele Dossier even exists? During the 2016 primaries, the conservative Washington Free Beacon’s backers hired a company called Fusion GPS to do oppo research. Backing Marco Rubio, they wanted to get their hands on any information they could that would damage Trump. Nothing new about that in American politics. Fusion was started by two former Wall Street Journal reporters, Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch. On Tuesday August 22, 2017, Simpson testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee (then run by the Republicans who had the majority) that the first thing Fusion did upon being hired was their “due diligence”. Simpson was called to testify because the Republicans on the committee — at Trump’s behest — were doing everything in their power to undermine Fusion and the research they did.

As part of their due diligence, Simpson testified, Fusion got their hands on every piece of publicly available material about Donald Trump that they could. They got ahold of every book, magazine article or newspaper piece about Trump. They watched every video, listened to every radio broadcast. They went to physical book stores looking for it, and to the library even. They visited Amazon and every other web site that had anything whatsoever about Trump, his world, his businesses. What Fusion found, Simpson testified, gave them pause. There, in publicly available source material, was clear evidence that Donald Trump likely used his (now bankrupt) Atlantic City casinos to launder Russian mob money.

Wanting to pursue that lead further — but not having the Russia chops themselves — Fusion hired the best person in the world to answer those questions for them: an English company called Orbis which was run by a former British spy named Christopher Steele. Steele’s bona fides in the intelligence world were rock solid. Not only did Steele work for MI6, Britain’s equivalent of our CIA (their MI5 is like our FBI), he ran its Russia desk because no one outside of Russia had better contacts inside Russia. When the FBI, a few years prior, had gone after corruption at FIFA, they hired Chris Steele. Though by the time Steele got hired the Free Beacon was no longer paying for Fusion’s work (the tab had been picked up by Hilary Clinton supporters), Steele had no idea whatsoever who he was really working for. He was, really, a former intelligence player suddenly made aware of the biggest intelligence event of his life — the ongoing attempt by Russia to seize control of America’s government.

Cyber war doesn’t look like bombs n bullets war. It looks more like a TV show. It’s no less deadly to a democracy. But for Russia, Trump would never have become POTUS. That’s a stone cold fact. It’s the very bottom line to this story. Russia made Trump president. He knows it. Every single Republican (on some level) knows it. The important part is they ACCEPTED IT. Even though (to be kind) they “suspected” Trump was owned by a long-time enemy, they went along with it because they could merge their desired end result — permanent minority rule — with Putin’s — an America diminished.

Does it really matter if Putin never fired a shot to achieve his war’s objectives?

This fact sits at the core of everything the Republican Party has done in the “Age Of Trump”. This has always been about treason. Oh, sure — all along the way, each Republican, as they fell in line, probably wasn’t thinking “Well, here I go committing treason!” They had power in mind. How they got their hands on power or kept power — those were mere details. The bottom line is treason, treason, TREASON.

Want to know why the Republicans won’t abandon Trump? They can’t — because of treason. Because they’re all traitors and they know it. Donald Trump (and, by association Vlad Putin) remind them of this fact every single day.

On This Memorial Day: Let’s Consider What Treason Is Doing Before Treason Gives Us More Memorials

I’m old enough to remember when calling someone a “traitor” in public discourse was as frowned upon as invoking Nazis when describing “the other side”. I’m also old enough to remember how — during the early years of Trump’s presidency — people rolled their eyes at you when you tried to connect Donald Trump to Russia or, for an even bigger eyeroll, when you insisted that Trump and the Republican Party not only had to pay for their crimes but were going to. Now, at least, more people are fully on board with the idea that Trump really is a criminal who really does deserve to go to prison and (miracle of miracles!) just actually might. But, right this second, the crime(s) Trump could realistically do time for are 1) state crimes and 2) financial crimes having to do with things Trump and his business did BEFORE he became POTUS. That’s good but it’s not nearly good enough. Trump needs to be fully investigated, tried, convicted and punished for every last crime he perpetrated against and upon We The People. Were this just Trump, our problem would have been solved long ago. THAT is the problem. It isn’t just Trump and never was.

The entire Republican Party can now be accused either of treason or conspiracy to commit treason.

It’s simple: “see something, SAY something; see something, say NOTHING?” We have to ask “why?” WHY say nothing — especially in the face of clear, evident treason? Why protect treason when you should be protecting America? The GOP’s leadership knew at least a month before they nominated Trump in 2016 that Putin owned him. They said so OUT LOUD! Current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy walked into a room of GOP leaders a month before the nominating convention and said OUT LOUD: “There’s two people I think Putin pays, Rohrbacher and Trump — swear to God!” No one in the room — the whole conversation was recorded and that recording was played for reporters a year later) — either contested McCarthy’s claim or asked how such an outrageous idea got into his head in the first place. In fact, they seem to have understood that it was possible if not likely. Then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan’s concern wasn’t that their about-to-be nominee might be owned by a hostile foreign government, it was that their collective knowledge of that fact needed to remain a secret. “That’s how we know we’re family,” Ryan said.

Committing treason is a Rubicon you can never un-cross. The traitor needs to know it and We The People need to know it. Traitors can never, EVER be trusted ever again. Certainly not with access to political power.

Our news media, utterly incapable of either doing their due diligence or of aggregating the very information they’re reporting into an evolving, cohesive hole, scratch their heads every day as they contemplate the continuing Republican devotion to Donald Trump — who lost them the White House, the House AND the Senate. Trump never came close to winning a popular vote and, as we’ll see soon enough, even his one Electoral College win in 2016 is likely a mirage achieved by a democracy-destroying tag team of Russian propaganda and the Republican-owned and controlled electronic voting machines made by ES&S — the paper trail-less, internet accessible, backdoor vulnerable e-voting machines most of the country uses .

The sequence in 2016 went like this: Rudy Giuliani, the FBI’s Trump-loving NYC bureau and then Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz from Utah make “The Comey Letter” happen. The rogue FBI agents in NYC know there’s a laptop computer with emails on it; they know the emails are copies of “but her emails” they’ve already exploited (though they came to nothing). Their boss, James Comey, has asked them a question: are these NEW “but, her emails” or copies of old that the FBI had already seen? The answer was “old” but the rogue agents in the NYC bureau — under Rudy G’s guiding hand — managed to keep that question alive throughout the summer and into the fall. When they finally replied “We don’t know, let’s pop the top!” it was October. Everything about the Comey letter was bullshit. The point of the exercise was to create a huge moment of doubt at the last moment.

The Comey Letter cost Hillary Clinton significant polling points. She went from a safe lead outside the margin of error to an unsafe lead within the margin of error — especially in the key battleground states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. At the same time, throughout the fall, Russia had been inundating the personal Facebook pages of individual Black Democratic voters with ads insisting that Hillary Clinton was a raging racist on the downlow. How did Russia know to target these very voters? That’s where Paul Manafort comes in.

As we know — he went to prison for it (though he was pardoned) — Manafort handed Konstantin Kilimnik proprietary polling data for four states: Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Consider that Trump won the EC by winning Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania by a combined 77,000 votes. It is flatly against the law, what Manafort did. Considering his motives (he owed Kilimnik’s boss Oleg Deripaska seventeen million dollars and was desperate to pay him back or risk physical violence to his family!), it’s impossible not to see Manafort’s actions as treasonous. That dot connects directly to the “Russia pays Trump” dot.

Not only did the Republican Party know that Trump was a Russian asset, they deliberately covered it up every step of the way. Bill Barr could just as easily have told the truth about what he read in the Mueller Report. Except he never read it because he KNEW what it said: Team Trump and the entire Republican party were all traitors. Instead, Barr lied about Mueller’s work product. He completely misrepresented it. We’ve also learned recently that in addition to quashing the counter-intelligence investigation into Trump begun under the Obama admin, then acting AG Rod Rosenstein lied to Team Mueller when he told them not to wander into a counter-intel investigation because the FBI was doing; he told the FBI not to bother with it because Team Mueller was doing it. In the confusion (and because everyone trusted Rod Rosenstein to be an honest actor), the counter intel investigation never happened — and no one ever asked about it. Until recently.

Treason is behind every terrible thing the Republican Party is doing. Fearing demographic extinction, the RW money (the Kochs, the Mercers etc) hitched their wagons to Russia and Putin. Guys like Steve Bannon — who’s a religious zealot aching for the rapture — saw common purpose with Putin whose Russian nationalism is tied deeply to the Russian Orthodox Church. Republicans saw so much common purpose with Russia that on July 4, 2018 EIGHT Republican Congresspeople (Sens. Richard C. Shelby of AL, Steve Daines (MT), John Hoeven (ND), John Neely Kennedy (LA.), Jerry Moran (KS.), John Thune (SD) and Ron Johnson (WI), plus Rep. Kay Granger (TX.) flew to Moscow for DINNER. On a date when they should have been strutting their patriotic bona fides back home, these eight were being wined and dined by Vladimir Putin. We need to know what marching orders Putin gave them all that night. What did he demand of these useful idiots? What did he threaten them with if they dared deny him?

Our news media goes to work every day, the biggest story of their lifetimes in front of them and yet most of them, though they know the story’s big, can’t get anywhere close to wrapping their minds around it. It’s bigness defies their limited imaginations. As they contemplate all the reasons Republicans might be so crazy loyal to Trump, they’re quite happy to go with “just because”. They apparently believe that Republicans are loyal to Trump “just because” but not because they might all be guilty of conspiracy to commit treason. They don’t have to accept it as the explanation until it passes all journalistic muster but, once it does? They’ll have to accept it.

These same journalists, convinced that “both sides do it”, have also convinced themselves that “bi-partisanship, no matter how you achieve it, is worth more than anything — even if that “bi-partisanship” completely undermines the nation’s integrity. Even if the “bi-partisanship” in question exists everywhere except the Senate chamber. Even if the people the media want Democrats to be bi-partisan with are flat out traitors. For some reason, the news media can report one second how Republicans are trying to undermine democracy by passing vile, anti-democratic new voter suppression laws then demand to know why Democrats aren’t trying hard to “work with” those very same Republicans.

They want to know why Democrats are so reluctant to “bi-partisan” with out-and-out TRAITORS.

Let’s also remember, this Memorial Day, those soldiers who were killed by Afghanis promised cash for shooting American soldiers. That, too, was another Russian instigation.

There is no middle ground here. Either you stand with treason or you stand against it. We know how progressives feel about treason. We also know how conservatives feel about it.

Republicans Now Officially Live At The Intersection Of Ooga & Booga

There’s a reason we all feel like the Republican Party is careening out of control like a deranged, evil clown car packed with explosives (in addition to being packed with Republican clowns). Ironically, the news media has, for the most part, stopped using the word “strategy” to describe what Republicans are doing when it’s now most apparent that this madness IS their “strategy”. The old rubric says if you don’t have the truth, argue the process; if you don’t have process, bang your fists on the table. Republicans are flipping the table over, dismantling it and setting it (and the whole courthouse) on fire. The Hill reported this morning that, in a recent poll, fifteen percent of Republicans now believe that “…the government and other entities are controlled by Satan-worshipping pedophiles running a child sex trafficking ring”. That’s in addition to 53% who believe Trump is still president and that Joe Biden and the Democrats stole the election from him. That — and it’s ludicrous that it needs to be said — is rubbish. It’s bullshit that any of us has to qualify ourselves and our truth-telling bona fides against a person and a party famous for their blatant disregard for truth.

The modern GOP is what happens when lies and truth become indiscernible. When what happened in the past is a function of what those in power need it to be. It’s not a coincidence that Republican culture is grievance culture is white supremacist culture. And white supremacist culture is one hundred percent fear culture. White supremacists have convinced themselves that white people are genuinely superior (a thing totally unsupported by all evidence) and that God has chosen them to rule the planet on his behalf. Once you’ve put that idea into your own head — that a deity mighty enough to create literally everything has chosen you to speak for him because you’re “special”? You’ll pretty much always believe it. Why wouldn’t you? Having God on your side — or in your pocket even? That’s heady stuff!

Our news media can’t imagine how or why Republicans believe The Big Lie. The news media, always happy to carry water for Republicans, continue to report Republicans refusing to acknowledge Joe Biden’s legitimacy or the need for a January 6 Truth Commission as if they were legitimate, concerns by serious people. FFS – how much bullshit must a journalist endure before he or she is willing to call the stuff being spewed at them “bullshit”? If the answer is “an infinite amount” then we’re doomed. It gets worse, of course, when said journalist takes the bullshit that’s been spewed at them and holds it up as “possible”. It usually comes in the form of a “Yeah, but what if bullshit was true…?” kind of question. What if the murderer/thief/rapist was justified? What if the high crime wasn’t that big a deal? What if the end of democracy was just another thing that could happen?

On the one hand, Republicans are at the point where literally nothing except survival matters. They’ve committed treason — or been suspicious or aware that possibly treasonous acts occurred but said NOTHING. That makes them co-conspirators. That puts them in extreme legal jeopardy — a baseline fact. But then, plenty of Republicans are also deeply religious (Christian mostly of course). If they ‘re even remotely devout, that means they’ve accepted as “Gospel Truth” a lot of things that simply could not and did not happen. If one is willing to believe in all sincerity that a sky deity had sex with a female human virgin in order to impregnate her with a man-god tasked with dying for humanity’s sins (all caused by the first woman eating a piece of fruit cos a talking snake told her to), then truly one might believe almost anything.

Not all Republicans live at the intersection of Ooga & Booga, their belief system utterly fungible. Plenty live in the sewer beneath that intersection.

There’s No Point Being “Honest” With Everyone Else If You Can’t Be Honest About Yourself First

There’s an iconic film moment in the movie “A Few Good Men”. Military JAG officer Tom Cruise has the movie’s villain (played by Jack Nicholson) on the stand where he’s pressed him hard to get at “the truth”. Nicholson’s Colonel Jessep barks: “You can’t HANDLE the truth!” Of course, in the movie (written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Rob Reiner, both very progressive), we’re meant to shake our heads at Jessep’s arrogance. Of course we can handle the Truth. Ah, but, can we? Can any of us really handle the Truth about who we are and where we are in our lives versus where we wished we’d be? As much as I advocate in this blog for “living bullshit free”, the unvarnished truth about humans is we need a certain amount of bullshit just to get through each day. Hell, we need a certain amount of bullshit just to justify getting through most days. Especially these days.

The trap in being honest with ourselves is if we equate being honest with being judged. The reason we don’t want to be honest is because we don’t want to be judged — especially if we’re just “being honest”. Inside our own heads though, things get grey. We don’t judge ourselves the way we judge others. We couldn’t stand it if we did. But, if we could push past that kneejerk judgment, let our psychological hair down and run free, we’d probably be shocked by the stone, cold truth about ourselves. That’s neither good nor bad. It’s just the Truth.

For instance: none of us can say whether or not we’re racist. It’s not up to us. It’s up to anyone toward whom we may have been racist. IF someone were to accuse us of being a racist (or bigoted or misogynist in any way), would we accept hearing such a terrible TRUTH about ourselves? Or would we insist the “truth” was otherwise — something kinder and gentler toward us? Being honest with oneself is hard, hard work. But the payoffs are considerable. Important detail: being totally honest with yourself about yourself must precede any attempt to be totally honest about anyone else.
If you’re doing it right, being honest with yourself about yourself is pretty much a full time job all by itself. You won’t have time to give others the “benefit” of your honesty. If the world was working the way it should, all those others will be as consumed as you will be by the work involved in patrolling their own “perimeters of truth”.

One of the first benefits of being honest with oneself however is how it opens one’s eyes to the myriad ways OTHERS aren’t being honest with themselves but with some very important, very human context around it. On the one hand, that can make us more empathetic to why and how others dance around the truth. On the other, the context makes it crystal clear when others aren’t being “truthful” about WHY they’re dancing as fast as they’re dancing: they’re being cynical. Or, worse, corrupt.

The whole point of being honest with oneself is to “vaccinate” against bullshit and bullshit’s influence on our psyches.

Cutting ourselves slack is completely understandable. We all have to live inside our own heads. But, we have to recognize (if only to ourselves) that that’s what we’re doing. Again, the point isn’t to judge, it’s merely to RECOGNIZE what really is versus what isn’t and probably never was.

There is not a Republican Congressperson alive right now who doesn’t know what they’re really doing. They KNOW they’re not working to make America a stronger democracy dedicated to expanding its electorate. They KNOW that what they’re doing will, in fact, undermine American’s democracy because that is the point. If you can’t win elections via the strength of your ideas and arguments, you’re going to have to “win” elections by “other means”. Republicans don’t suppress Democratic voters because they believe in democracy, they do it because they fear democracy. That’s not a judgment; it’s a stone cold FACT.

Hey, look — Republicans aren’t “obligated” to want the greatest experiment in human self government to continue. They are obligated however to be honest about their intentions. And, if they refuse to be honest about themselves, it’s incumbent on our news media to force them to be honest. That’s their Constitutionally mandated mission — to be the final check on power. Honesty and sunlight — they both work wonders on a dark, corrupt world.

In Hamlet, Shakespeare put it this way: “To thine own self, be true”. Of course, the person giving that advice (Polonius) is a deceptive skunk, but the sentiment’s right. We can only really be honest — and the sunlight can only do what we need it to do — if we begin the process with ourselves to ourselves.