Americans Need To Start Calling Things What They Really Are… Republicans, For Instance, Are "Traitors"

Remember back to the good ol’ days when news networks, grasping at their pearls, saved us from now-POTUS Donald Trump uttering the words “grab em by the pussy”? Heaven forbid an American news audience hear those words.

An American news audience, the News Networks decided, could not possibly handle hearing what a candidate for POTUS said – on an open mic – to another man – about how he likes to treat women – because the word “pussy” would offend us. Not so much the pussy-GRABBING as that terrible, terrible word: “pussy”. The news networks had no such compunctions over Trump saying outloud how “Mexicans are rapists”. I’m guessing because none of those words offends. It’s just the idea the words express that should be bleeped from America’s airways.

George Carlin’s “7 Words” routine shouted volumes to us not just because it was brilliant and funny but because it was painfully true about us. The “two-way words” like balls comes to mind. A broadcaster can say a baseball player has “two balls on him” but wouldn’t dream of saying that on the very next pitch, he got nailed in “the balls”. A helluva lot of that nonsense comes from America’s religionistas who all think “doing unto others” means judging them.

America’s journalists have it in their heads that journalists must be neutral in every way, shape & form. They must assume that every person is pretty much the same — and what they say weighs exactly the same as what any other person says regardless of whether it’s the Truth or outright lies (because who’s to say what the Truth is?) This distortion of reality — that every argument has two exactly equal sides, one for, one against — has undermined our ability to see the Truth because we’ve already begun equating lies with Truth.

What’s worse — American visual journalists don’t grasp the power of the media they work in. For instance — they don’t understand that when you put two people in a fifty-fifty frame, the visual language says these two people have equal weight; what they say — their arguments — have the same possible validity. It’s up to the viewer to decide what’s true, what isn’t. It makes it hard to decide what’s “true” when one of the choices isn’t true — though it’s labeled as “maybe true”.

A climate scientist seen on-set with a climate denier in a 50-50 visual says “these two arguments have equal heft”. They don’t of course. The News Media is misframing and misrepresentng the Truth.

From the moment Trump was impeached, Moscow Mitch McConnell has made his partiality — his intent to ignore anything & everything Trump has done — crystal clear. He’s not been subtle about it. Yet Mitch — like all the Senators — took an OATH to do the exact opposite. That means Mitch, as we speak, is violating his oath (never mind everything he’s doing to obstruct justice).

Our MSM however presents a “strategic” Senate Majority Leader, cagily protecting his majority. They don’t see — though they should — the man who stood up at that Gang Of Eight meeting at the Obama White House in September 2016 where Obama and the Intelligence Community informed our leadership that Russia was actively engaged in impacting the election for the benefit of Donald Trump. Mitch McConnell REFUSED to let We The People in on what was being done to OUR ELECTION.

Now, WHY would Mitch do such a thing? Why wouldn’t Mitch want our election to be as free and fair as possible?

If one were thorough as a journalist — or even a base storyteller — one would have all these aspects of the character in one’s mind as one wrote about the character. A wife-beater doesn’t stop being a wife-beater just because he goes to the office. He’s a wife-beater at the office, nothing more. But our MSM seems to see it differently. When the Wife Beater walks out his door? He stops being a Wife Beater and becomes just another “Ordinary Joe” heading off to work.

No, the Wife Beater remains a Wife Beater. The Pussy Grabber (BY HIS OWN ADMISSION!) remains a pussy grabber — even when he then denies grabbing pussies or worse. He’s a self-confessed pussy-grabber, you see? And if the American Press aggregated the information we KNOW for a fact about Trump, we would START our reporting on Trump from a place far, far further along than we do every day.

it’s the Press’s instance on taking us backwards every day that’s killing the storytelling here. They keep asking the same people the same questions — because they keep ignoring the very good answers as if the very good information they just got couldn’t find purchase inside their heads. It is absurd that watching MSNBC, one is constantly whipsawed backwards and forwards in “news time” to places where we KNOW certain things to be so and places where we’ve never heard of anything and Trump’s the most normal POTUS imaginable.

There’s a reason Mitch McConnell & every Republican around Trump remains so incredibly loyal. It ain’t tribalism. To even think that is to think this is something we’ve gone through dozens of time before. To think hat is to ignore the context completely. To ignore Russia’s presence everywhere including an aluminum factory in Western Kentucky. Republican loyalty to Trump (think Lindsey Graham’s remarkable transformation) can be summed up in one word: “COMPLICITY”.

Despite their claims of “neutrality”, our Press, every day, presents arguments where, among the possible explanations is “Trump’s completely innocent of everything”. And the Press makes that possibility plain — cos they repeat Trump saying it. They allow for a bland “Well, if he’s not ‘innocent’ per se, who can say what he’s ‘guilty’ of?” But they NEVER report the other possibility — that Trump is guilty, guilty, GUILTY of everything indicated both by the evidence and by his own admissions of guilt.

Trump’s guilt is never, it seems, one of the possible explanations.

I guess, if the Press accused Trump of being a traitor, they fear they’d have to accuse a Democrat of being a traitor, too — since both sides do it.

Americans need to stop needing baby talk. We need to grow the hell up — and fast! We need to get over our unease at adult words and concepts. We need to stop putting icing on poison and calling it cake. We need to call things what they are.

Republicans are not patriots. They’re traitors.

Donald Trump is not President, he’s a criminal — gifted the presidency by both Russia and the Republican Party who were willing to hitch their wagon to this monstrosity because it gave them their last best shot at shoving permanent minority rule down the majority’s throat. Our News Media — babytalking — would euphemistically call that “Republican strategy”. What they mean is “rape”.

What else do you call it when someone wants one thing but has another imposed on them — repeatedly and despite vigorous protestations to please, STOP?

It’s time for us to speak plainly to each other — even if our News Media won’t. What’s happening to America isn’t “politics as usual”. It’s an act of political rape. While Russia holds America down, Donald Trump and the Republican Party are raping us. They’re doing something to us we do not want & did not vote for.

Traitors are raping us in real time as we watch.

Not a word of that is untrue.

Show Me A Person Who Claims To "Speak For God" & I'll Show You A Person Who Thinks They ARE "God"

This really should be a no-brainer. Ask ten theists what “God” is & you will get ten distinctly different answers.

Ask 10 ardent theists — evangelicals, say — what “God” is and, if you listen really closely, what you’ll get is a person describing themselves. The absolutes and the moral imperatives heavy with the weight of Ultimate Decision-Making which are so far beyond the understanding of mere mortals don’t perturb the uber-religious. You see, THEIR minds CAN parse the subtleties and nuances of Divine Intent. They understand “the code”. They — unlike you or I — communicate with God on a much higher level than mere words. God thinks a thing and voila — it appears magically inside THEIR head so that THEY can dispense it to us.

That is how most theists think. It’s impossible for anyone to contradict them, of course, because no one else can crawl inside their head — the place where these divine messages were generated AND received. They can’t “prove” they DID receive a message but then, in their world, no one has to prove anything. Your word is your bond no matter how nonsensical your word is.

“God told me to do it” goes right back to Abraham coming within inches of sacrificing Isaac — the thing he loved more than life itself (supposedly). It must be “supposedly” because Abraham loved the voice in his head more than his son. He was willing to satisfy the voice’s need for loyalty over his child’s need for Life. This is the angry, self-centered, vengeful and markedly male god at the center of Abrahamic faith.

Even this deity’s “path to redemption” is boiled in blood. His own “son” has to die a horrible death so mankind can be forgiven for the character Eve biting into an apple. Think about the people who insist that these stories, steeped in metaphor and allegory and all kinds of literary device (being written as they were by creative humans) are literal truth. It’s no wackier than someone insisting the every book in the Dr. Seuss canon is literal truth.

The luxury of selling bullshit is that you never, ever have to back it up. There are no warranties, no service contracts. There’s just the sucker you took — their money in your hand and your bullshit in theirs.

Pick a televangelist — Franklin Graham… Kenneth Copeland… Benny Hinn… Joel OSteen… Listen to them get down to business. Listen to how they speak for the deity in whose service they supposedly work. Then actually THINK about it. What did they study to gain this ability? They studied THE BIBLE. They studied a work of literature whose history (how it came together) they probably don’t even know.

In other words — they studied a book of mostly fiction in order to claim expertise on dealing with reality. If the (mostly) men who wrote the texts that, in time, were assembled into the Pentateuch (the OT) and the NT had had access to the internet, if they had had microscopes at their disposal and telescopes — if they had known about germ theory and understood (having seen hard evidence) that the earth was NOT at the center of the Universe — you can bet they wouldn’t have written their texts the way they wrote them because it wouldn’t have made sense to THEM.

The NT & OT texts reflect a great deal of very real (but honest) ignorance. The people who wrote the OT & NT, by the way, didn’t know that more than one continent existed. Hell, they didn’t even know what continents were. If these texts were so divinely inspired, why didn’t the deity who supposedly created the universe have any insight into how the universe actually works?

Every time there’s a hint of “intelligent design” in the mix, we get a strong whiff of how stupid this “intelligent designer” actually is. This guy couldn’t design “hitting water” after falling out of a boat in the middle of the sea. He’s so inept even his union wants him gone.

There’s nothing wrong with taking “spiritual guidance” from the pages of the NT and OT. Personally, I’d say the spiritual guidance those texts advocate is dubious — but that’s just my opinion. The point is, they’re just “guidance” written by people a long, long time ago. People telling you today that those words were literally written by a magical man in the sky — or inspired by him — are bypassing spiritual guidance for ooga-booga.

Spirituality is you and things much larger than you — cosmically larger. How do you see and define that relationship? That’s your spirituality. Even a stone cold atheist, when gazing up at the cosmos, cannot help feeling awe. We live in an awesome universe. It’s so awesome in fact that we don’t even fully understand it yet.

Religion is someone trying to quantify your spirituality. They’re trying to tell you “how” to “practice” your spirituality. But, is that your spirituality they’re talking about — or “theirs”? Trick question — of course it’s theirs! They don’t give a toss about YOUR spirituality. They’re not selling yours, they’re selling theirs.

And they need you to buy theirs because building and maintaining churches is an expensive proposition. They really are black holes of cash. Most religion is trying to get YOU to help pay off THEIR shitty “time share” investment. That takes money. And getting the money it takes to flow in reliably enough requires bodies — paying members in your congregation. Oh — there’s probably a priest or a rabbi to pay for, too.

When televangelist John Hagee looks out at you and implores you to send him money, it’s not because he wants to feed your soul. He’s got expenses. Hard, hard expenses. A bank load that he cannot default on — or else. Or, maybe he’s REALLY rich and owns his own building outright. Then it’s just the upkeep he’s worried about. And his salary.

Ever see this incredible piece of tape where Kenneth Copland explains why this “spokesman for Jesus” needs a private jet to get from place to place? It’s all you need to know about most modern Christianity, televangelism, Kenneth Copeland and bullshit in general.

Look at Kenneth’s eyes in the clip. It’s a great acting job (well, not “great” so much as just an acting job that he’s committed to in his own embarrassingly over-the-top kinda way). Is that a man working in service of a higher power — or does he have it in his head that the reason he can’t fly with “riff-raff” is because GOD don’t fly with riff-raff — and he (make no mistake) is God?

If we take Jesus at his word (meaning if we look at the dozen or so things the various gospels agree Jesus might have said — keeping in mind that none of the actual gospel-writers ever met Jesus or heard his voice or words — one of his core messages is you don’t need a temple or its priests to communicate with God. Any believer can skip the intermediary and speak directly to “The Father”.

If that’s true, then why would one need a Kenneth Copeland or a Franky Graham or any of those sideshow geeks? One wouldn’t. One doesn’t.

One never did. But then, if everyone understood that, Ken & Frank & Benny would all have to find honest work.

What a sad come-down that would be for a mediocre deity.

Of Chaos Theory & Corner Kicks (And American Politics)

We all knew LIfe in the Age Of Trump was going to be challenging on a thousand different levels. I’m not sure we factored in the constant state of chaos Trumpism thrives on. That, it turns out, is what makes all the other challenges work — it’s almost impossible to attack any one of them while so many others are flaring up. The chaos stymies us. It frustrates us into cynicism — and inaction. Result? The chaos worsens, becoming unstoppable.

Chaos is a state of total unpredictability. Almost anything can happen — good, bad, indifferent. The study of chaos — Chaos Theory — attempts to find ways to predict chaos — to identify enough quantifiable elements inside the chaos so as to make prediction possible.

As Wikipedia puts it: “Chaotic behavior exists in many natural systems, including fluid flow, heartbeat irregularities, weather and climate. It also occurs spontaneously in some systems with artificial components, such as the stock market and road traffic.” Chaos exists in just about any system where human behavior pokes its nose. Like a soccor pitch…

I’m a Tottenham Hotspur supporter. That’s both a lovely experience — being part of a large, world-wide clan — and eternally crushing in its chronic “almost-ness”. Spurs have been top four or five in the English Premier League for years but never THE top. That consistency keeps a fan base happy but it never gives them the cathartic Big Win they crave. Last season, Spurs made it all the way to the Champions League Final against a superior Liverpool side. Another second place finish. So close… so far… .

Those who hate footie — Americans mostly who need constant action to engage them — don’t grasp the slow build drama of a soccer match. In England, every year, there are tournaments (the FA Cup, the Carabo Cup) where lesser teams from the lower leagues get to play against teams from the EPL Occasionally, the lesser teams flirt with jaw-dropping upsets. If a team can play solid, organized defense, they’ll always stand a chance. Keeping a clean sheet guarantees you at least a tie.

If you can score on a counter attack — then you have a chance to win, too. That’s the gamble. There’s another tool in the underdog’s belt though — chaos. For all its organization — with players keeping their shape and knowing where they need to be — a soccer game’s outcome can rely on the pure chaos unleashed when a corner kick gets taken.

Provided the attacking team’s goalie stays in his or her goal, that puts ten players trying to put the ball into the net against eleven players trying to stop the ball — and, hopefully either clear it out of the box to buy some time to regroup or initiate a counter strike because the attacking team’s defense is, for the moment, out of position. As much as teams may practice set plays, the circumstances at the time of any particular corner kick are unique to that game and everything that led to that corner kick.

If the player taking the corner kick lofts the ball into the box, here’s what happens: 21 bodies suddenly go into motion in 21 different directions. The kick could be well taken or not well taken — that, too, is part of the chaos. Weather conditions also impact what’s happening inside the box. Rain, for instance, can make getting traction harder. It can change the purchase a player going for a header gets as he digs his spikes into the turf and leaps. Wind can knock a ball down fractionally, change its arc just enough to impact all the players’ timing.

Anything can happen. A lesser player can score a goal just by being in the right place at the right time. He or she doesn’t even have to put the ball goal-ward with a drop of skill. The ball can reflect off them and into the net. It can hit them — then hit another player (altering the ball’s flight) before slipping past the goalie. The ball can even bounce off a defender and into the goal.

For all the skill and talent moving through those 792 square feet of space (the penalty area is 18 feet X 44 feet), it’s not uncommon for one of those talented, highly paid football soccer players to put the ball into his or own own net. Shit gets that chaotic.

You play the soccer game because anything can happen.

Metaphorically speaking (and I love me a good metaphor), the Age Of Trump is like a giant corner kick. We have lots of bodies in motion, all heading in different directions. Some want to put the ball into the goal — end Trump’s presidency — while others defend if not furiously then with total desperation.

There’s another player in the box though — us. We The People. We’re on this pitch to be sure. We’re the biggest bunch of players there actually. The game’s outcome will determine our future. That’s what makes it galling that, as usual, the Republicans are cheating at the game. But then, it was always an illusion that we started the game on a level playing field.

That has never, ever been the case.

Edward Norton Lorenz, creator of chaos theory (he “…established the theoretical basis of weather and climate predictability, as well as the basis for computer-aided atmospheric physics and meteorology”), also theorized “The Butterfly Effect”. Lorenz used a butterfly’s wings as a metaphor for how a minor perturbation — like a single butterfly flapping it’s wings on one part of the globe — could result in a tornado on another part of the planet several weeks later.

If Lorenz is right — and our ability to predict weather says he is — then even small disturbances can, in time, produce gigantic effects. It’s just the nature of chaos. That means that our political situation — as profoundly chaotic as it is — is not set in stone. Change any of the elements flying through the penalty box and we don’t know if or how the end will change.

But then, how the end “ends” is a lot more up to us than we realize. That’s the point. If enough of us butterflies out here in the public start flapping our wings — voting, attending marches and rallies, speaking up — we don’t know whether or not we’ll make a difference. But we could — the math days we absolutely could.

Who wins when the chaos ends? Who knows? Chaos is chaos is chaos.

And that’s why we have to show up.

The More A Person Loves Their Church, The Less Spiritual They Seem To Be

I bet that lights a few fires.

First, let’s define “church”. We can’t define it the way Jesus would have defined it because Jesus never imagined “churches”. He was born, lived and died a Jew. He knew from temples. And — if you recall — Jesus preached AGAINST the temple and the temple authorities. They were corrupt. And anyway — after “Do Unto Others”, Jesus’s core message was “You don’t need the Priests, don’t need a Temple; speak directly to the Father — talk directly to God”.

Why, Jesus would ask, would anyone need a church to follow him when part of his core message was “Ditch the church”?

I know — logic, right? It has no place in religion. That’s the point. That’s why religion and spirituality are two separate things. Everyone — atheists included — experiences “spirituality”. Look it up. You can bring any god you want to the Spirituality Table. You can bring no god at all. Spirituality is just you and the fact that there’s something bigger than you — how’re you gonna deal with it?

“Religion” happens when people try to quantify spirituality. They try to define it specifically. But whose spirituality are they talking about? Fact: being sentient beings, all with our own particular way of seeing the world, experience existence differently. Ask ten theists what “god” is and you’ll get ten different answers. That’s not God’s fault. He is whatever we need him to be.

Jesus did not invent Christianity. If he were to actually return from the dead (something he never knew he could do) and see what’s been created in his name, his head might never stop exploding. How the hell did we get such a simple message — “Do Unto Others” — so completely and utterly wrong? The bulk of the NT is Paul’s work. It’s his noodling over this evolving concept in his head. The NT is Paul’s letters and epistles to all the far-flung gentile communities he was creating and building. It’s Paul inventing a mythology based on Jewish stories but adapted for a gentile audience who wouldn’t know how far Paul was departing from the source material.

This is in no way to diss the magnificent fiction Paul created. This is a testament to it. Paul turned Jesus into something he never was — a messiah. And he turned belief in that invented messiah into a literal “cure for death”. Believe in (Paul’s version of) Jesus and you, too can live forever!

Want to know why Christianity spread? It was selling a genius product.

There’s always been a huge dichotomy to Christianity. On the one hand you have Jesus — and his simple philosophy (“Do Unto Others”) that even an atheist can agree with and follow. On the other hand you have these massive church organizations. You have the monolithic Catholic church. You have politically active Protestant denominations here in America. You have televangelism and evangelicals who adore Trump — and NONE OF IT — not one bit — has the least relationship whatsoever with Jesus.

From the Church’s point of view, Jesus is the “Guy-On-A-Cross” mascot. He’s Ronald McDiedForOurSins.

Died for our SINS? As in Eve? As in The Garden Of Eden? That is integral to the Jesus story as the Church preaches it, right? If you want to buy in to what pretty much every Church wants to sell you, you have to buy that the Jesus THEY’RE selling you is the cure for what Eve did to Mankind by biting into the apple. What purpose in the Grand Story does Jesus serve if not to die for humanity’s (Eve’s original) sin? That, understand, is the Jesus that Paul (and, over time, the early Church fathers) invented. It’s the “Concocted Jesus” they concocted a church around.

But, again — Eve’s just the underpinning for the “beat death” sales pitch. Believe in Jesus and you can both overcome what that horrible bitch Eve did to us all AND get to live forever as the most idealized version of yourself that you can think of. Want to do all that? Then follow these rules “religiously”.

Or else.

People who love their churches — over their spirituality — they need their churches (with their rules & regs) because they don’t HAVE any spirituality. It must be so — because a person filled with actual spiritual feelings (which are expansive by their nature) would look at an institution built on reining in those feelings (do it OUR way) like they had ten heads.

The one thing of real value a Church could offer — and they do — is community. Ah, but there’s the rub. What is a community built on? A church built on common spiritual goals would be one thing.

Pretty much every Church though is built on self preservation — of the Church and the church. I’ve a dear, dear friend who’s a Presbyterian pastor. At present he doesn’t have a church; his mission — he works for the Southern California Presbytery — is to travel around to all the failing Presbyterian churches all across Southern California and help them as best he can into non-existence.

Every one of those church communities are dying (or have died) because the cost of the church building itself was impossible to bear. Buildings take money to construct and then maintain. The bigger they are, the more they cost. Who’s going to pay for it? God? Good luck with that.

To maintain a church building requires dues-paying members. Lots of them. And they have to be regular dues-payers. Got priests? They need salaries. God won’t pay their bills.

The reason more and more young people are abandoning organized religion is because organized religion does not satisfy their spiritual ache. The community is nice and all but they still walk out the door with their Big Questions unanswered. The reason is their church isn’t in the “Answer Big Questions” biz. It’s in the “Keep Being A Going Concern As A Church” biz. That’s not the same thing.

Churches are where spirituality goes to die — so its body can be sold off as relics.

At Last! We've Reached The Part Of The Story Where Mitch McConnell Gets Revealed As The Uber Villain He's Always Been

This won’t be news to the people who’ve been paying attention all along: Of all the villains in this story — and there are far, FAR more villains than heroes — Mitch McConnell will stand as one of our Uber Villains once all the secrets (finally) get revealed.

There are secrets to come. And Mitch has always lived with lots of secrets. It’s nothing to me who anyone else loves so long as the object of their desire is of age and the feelings between participants are mutual or at least mutual-adjacent (with a bottom line being that “no” always means “no”).

According to this 2013 post in the DailyKos (left wing for sure but not known for inventing stuff out of whole cloth), Mitch McConnell’s army discharge smacks of cover up. Sealed records? Strange, unexplained events? Sure, one could give young Mitch the benefit of the doubt — if one didn’t know what became of young Mitch. And what Young Mitch became Lying and deceit — keeping secrets from We The People — has always been Moscow Mitch’s stock in trade.

Who does Mitch represent? What I mean is — who, in Mitch’s mind, are his constituents. We know damned well it’s no one in Kentucky. Mitch’s history would tell us it’s money. Koch money, Russian money, too. Mitch hasn’t just been Donald Trump’s backstop, he’s been Russia’s backstop, too.

Let’s not forget the Gang Of Eight meeting at the White House in September 2016. The intelligence community is so concerned about information they’ve gathered about Russia’s desire to influence the 2016 presidential election on Donald Trump’s behalf that they blow all kinds of whistles. President Obama convenes a meeting at the White House where the IC presents evidence. What does Mitch McConnell do? Does he worry about Russia influencing the election’s outcome?

NO!

Mitch worries about the truth getting out to the American people. According to Slate — “McConnell raised doubts about the underlying intelligence and made clear to the administration that he would consider any effort by the White House to challenge the Russians publicly an act of partisan politics.”

Get that? Mitch told Obama that he would accuse Obama of “partisan politics” if he tried to warn us — us being We The People — that Russia was actively engaged in impacting the outcome of the election. Think about it. What Mitch had just been told wasn’t some abstraction — “Russia’s up to something but we don’t know what…” — he was told specifically what Russia was doing. This wasn’t news to Mitch. Mitch had taken gobs of Russian money. He had already been influenced in various ways by Russia

Mitch — deep in Moscow’s pocket — stood in the way of President Obama warning us about what Russia was actively doing.

Treason doesn’t get much more treason-y than that.

Remember that brand-spanking-new aluminum factory that’s going up in the poorest part of Kentucky — you know, the one paid for by Oleg Deripaska and his very Russian money? That’d be the same Oleg Deripaska who was sanctioned for participating in Russia’s attack on our 2016 election. Deripaska (once GRU, always GRU) received proprietary polling data from Paul Manafort — data for four states: Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan. We don’t know why Minnesota failed to ignite for Russia but clearly Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan did.

Deripaska turned the polling data over to the GRU who turned all that info about American voters into weaponized Facebook ads that showed up on individual Democratic voters’ Facebook pages (focused on Democratic voters of color) as propaganda. The goal: misinform or disinform the recipient into not showing up at the polls. This is voter suppression on the hoof.

It’s deceitful. It’s illegal. It’s so bad we sanctioned Oleg Deripaska and made it illegal for any American to do business with him. That meant nothing to Mitch. Putin wants all sanctions lifted. So does Deripaska.

So does Mitch.

See the team Mitch actually plays for? It’s not ours.

Mitch McConnell has himself done more to undermine the integrity of our Democratic Republic than almost anyone I can think of. He promised his constituents — the Republican Money — that he would hijack the judiciary for them. That’s exactly what he did. He hijacked a seat that was Obama’s to fill — and handed it to Donald Trump — a man Mitch knew for a fact was corrupt and working for a hostile foreign government.

I honestly believe that a day will come in the not-too-distant future when Americans wanting to call someone a traitor, won’t call them “Benedict Arnold” but, rather, will call them a “Mitch McConnell” instead.

What Being Deeply Depressed Taught Me About Life — And Being Happy

Three days before Christmas 2016, I came within literal inches of harming myself, perhaps fatally. It was pure impulse — a flash of self-directed anger that I’d been building toward for a decade. Oh, the irony… even as I plotted to off myself, I didn’t know (or admit to myself) WHY I felt this terrible compulsion.

In my case, I’d been keeping a secret from myself: I was sexually molested — twice — when I was 14 by the religious director at the northwest Baltimore synagogue where my family belonged while I was growing up. For 45 years, I kept that bit of personal history boxed up deep in my psyche. I always knew this “thing” was there. I simply refused to acknowledge it.

More irony — it wasn’t until after I tried to kill myself — and sought treatment — that I had the emotional strength to face the fact of what happened to me. The night I came clean with myself — to myself — was the longest, loneliest night of my life. I understood myself in a way I never had before. I understood my inability to bond with other people the way everyone else seemed to bond with each other.

I understood why I felt so much emotional distance from the world. Why I felt like I lived, by myself, on an island from which I could never escape: if you didn’t know this terrible secret about me, you couldn’t possibly “know” me. Only two people knew the secret: me and Yehuda Dickstein, the man who molested me. Perversely, I kept our secret — kinda like Yehuda knew I would. He molested me twice — so, he knew for a fact that I never told anyone about the first time.

That’s the hook on which I hung myself for 45 years — the fact that I never told anyone — and then it happened again.

Like lots of victims, I blamed myself. I couldn’t rationalize the first time. That made absolutely no sense to me. It was too surreal. But the second time — I helped manufacture it by not saying anything — convincing myself even that it couldn’t possibly have happened. Then I walked in the door to the place where Yehuda awaited me — and I instantly knew: yes, it HAD happened and it was about to happen again.

We all have varying degrees of darkness inside of us. Comes with being a sentient being with intrinsic knowledge of our vulnerabilities. When healthy, we see the world with a high degree of perspective. We understand when we’re at fault and when we’re not. But depression allows our darkness to take the wheel. The more control our darkness has, the more perspective we lose until, finally, we see everything though a vary narrow, very dark lens.

Though I had lived a very good, successful life, something inside was holding me back. My inability to bond — like a time bomb — ticked away steadily. Worse, my secret was the silent foundation for feelings of incredibly low self esteem. I believed my work was good — but I had no belief in myself whatsoever. And when things started to turn — because life has its ups and downs — I took those reversals of fortune as my due.

My secret had convinced me that I absolutely deserved everything bad that happened to me. In fact, I deserved worse. My darkness’s naked cynicism became a kind of mantra.

I knew I was in trouble. I was in therapy — and that was working up to a point.

But there was great white shark swimming just below the surface. I was afraid of medication, having read and heard more horror stories than success stories. Having grown up in the medical culture (my dad was a surgeon), I understood that the most my GP probably knew about the mood stabilizers I was asking about was whatever the last pharmaceutical rep told her as he slipped a package of samples from her briefcase.

And even if the mood stabilizer might work for me, it would be six to eight weeks before we’d have an inkling of whether it would or not — and there was the distinct possibility that this mood stabilizer would make my depression worse. Add to the mix — I wanted the medication to deal with the darkness while leaving my hypomania alone (I’m bi-polar, you see). My creativity resides in my hypomania — and the thought of losing my mojo — that sounded like a shortcut right back to suicide.

I had done research and identified a drug — lamotrigine (lamictil) that could work for me. After my near run-in with mortality, I drove straight to my doctor’s office and told them what happened. Great life hack? If you want really quick medical service, tell your health care professionals you just tried to hurt yourself.

I got not only my GP (a terrific doctor) but one of the two HEAD doctors. They got from the look in my eyes that I was deadly serious. They asked me three times if perhaps to consider hospitalization. In said no — I was there to try and help myself; but, first, they needed to write me this prescription. My two GP’s whipped out their smart phones and looked up the drug. They agreed to write the script.

Then I got really lucky — even luckier than I realized in fact.

Whereas one normally has to wait six to eight weeks to see if a mood stabilizer works or not, I leveled within 36 hours. I felt the lamotrigine’s impact: I triggered.

I can’t remember why anymore but something caused the rage that had been living rent free in my gut to ignite. I felt it rising like a lava plume rushing upward toward my head and my mouth — and just as it got there — just as I would normally speed up, lose my cool and become utterly irrational — the rage vanished — poof! — like a soap bubble popping. I knew I had felt all that rage and yet… now I felt nothing. The rage was gone before it could take flight and overwhelm me.

I’ve never taken more than the 25 milligram minimum dose since. And my depression has been kept completely at arm’s length. Here’s where the extra bit of luck kicked in. My research? It wasn’t complete. Yes, there was anecdotal data that lamotrigine wouldn’t impact my hypomania. There’s way more anecdotal data (no one’s ever tested lamotrigine as a mood stabilizer; it’s used mostly as an anti-seizure medication) that says it absolutely would impact my hypomania — at higher doses.

That bit of luck aside, the first lesson my depression taught me was that until you finally stand up to your darkness, it will own you. And it knows it.

Look — standing up to your darkness is hard. There are no easy answers here. Terrible things put you where you are emotionally. The thing about standing up to your darkness though is it requires help. To beat your darkness you must reach outside yourself. Seeking therapy is essential of course. But it’s important that you actively engage with your therapy — that you see therapy (the act of seeking help) as you being pro-active. It’s not just a good thing, it’s a great thing. But the real work of getting healthy remains ahead of you.

There’s no certainty in this. We’re not talking about concrete, we’re talking about the human mind — and we don’t really understand how we even “have” thoughts. And everyone’s darkness is a little bit different — because we are all a little bit different.

The goal always is happiness. The absence of suffering and emotional pain. The goal is to be the master of your darkness and not the other way around.

I’m a “devout atheist” to my core but I know exactly what born again Christians are talking about. Being able to see my darkness in its proper perspective — understanding WHY there was that darkness to begin with and WHY it had held so much power over me — liberated me. It can’t make the memory of that event go away. It can’t undo the broken relationships and poor choices. It can’t bring back all the time I lost to being depressed and having zero faith in myself.

But I can see that period of my life for what it was. And I can see my present for what it is and, more importantly, my future for what it could be — if only I pursue it. That’s the nature of hope — of believing in a future where happiness can blossom in its fullness.

That’s the biggest lesson my depression taught me. Happiness is absolutely possible.

Life In Trump's America: The Political Thriller Of Our Lifetimes Is Also Theater Of The Absurd

Our inner animals knew it instinctively even as the tide was turning election night 2016. We were being told something that every fiber of our being knew was untrue — or knew was truth complicated by layers of deception, deceit and treachery — that Trump had “won” the presidency.

Ever read the details on exactly what happened chronologically on election night in the Trump campaign — especially between Trump and his flotus to be? Trump wasn’t just “surprised” that he won, he was shocked. And not because he had “pulled it out”. Trump knew better than anyone that THAT was not what happened election night. Trump knew better than anyone that “The Boss” — Vlad Putin — had suppressed, propagandized or — via internet-connected-voting machines — literally stolen just enough votes in three key states (Pennsylvania, Wisconsin & Michigan, three states for which Oleg Deripaska had received proprietary polling data from Paul Manafort) to GIVE Trump the EC victory.

Melania wept openly. She raged at Trump — who, per Steve Bannon, morphed from a “disbelieving Trump into a horrified Trump”. That’s disbelieving he could win to being horrified that he HAD “won”. Winning wasn’t part of Trump’s plan. Using a presidential run to platform launch a Trump-branded news network was. Winning — once victory was gettable (via cheating) — was absolutely Vladimir Putin’s plan. Putin saw a way to put Trump in the White House — the greatest intelligence coup in the history of intelligence — and he took it.

Keep in mind — Putin had already compromised enough of the Republican Party that he knew he could keep them in line. Take Lindsey Graham, for example. You can practically see the Kompromat Vlad’s holding over Lindsey play in Lindsey’s mind’s eye every time he speaks.

That’s where it starts crossing over from John Le Carre territory into Becket — from George Smiley realpolitik into waiting for a Godot who will never, ever appear. Our spy movie as real life beats anything any writer could possibly imagine — or get away with if they did imagine.

We’ve got intrigue and treason and cyber war and actual war and murders out the wazoo. We’ve got a handful of heroes and scoundrels by the bucket. And we’ve got a Main Stream News Media that makes an unsatisfying hash of the whole damned thing. We’ve got liars lying, rapists raping and con artists conning.

The feeling, watching this madness rush by on a daily basis, is a lot like watching an English pantomime (a Christmastime tradition in England). Based on old chestnuts like “Puss In Boots” or “Cinderella”, panto’s are very much the groundlings having a good time at their local theater — talking back to the characters on stage as if a fourth wall never existed.

One of the moments every panto must have — the villain (upstage) creeps toward the hero who’s downstage — while the audience tries to warn the hero. Every time the hero looks toward where the audience points — the villain ducks or disappears — then reappears the moment the hero has turned away again. It’s absurd, of course, because the truth is so apparent — and yet so impossible to hold onto.

It is numbing — by design — how far from “normal” we’ve shifted. It’s inconceivable that Donald Trump’s presidential bid didn’t end the moment he started it by telling us all how Mexicans were rapists. More absurdity compounded by pussy grabbing — compounded exponentially when “Mexicans are rapists” and “pussy grabbing” went back seat to “her emails” sitting in the front seat of the news media’s Scooby van.

Looking back today at “But her emails” — even Ionesco at his most obtuse couldn’t touch the absurdity of our news media obsessing over an abstraction over constant evidence of dubious, devious behavior. Despite three years of this madness, of Trump’s lying, deceitfulness and cruelty, our news media still wants to give him the benefit of the doubt — as if “this time”, Trump “could be” telling the truth.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve shouted far too often at the news “professionals” on your TV set — “FFS, don’t be absurd!”

Is it really asking that much to have our political theater be one thing and our theater of the absurd be something else entirely? Apparently so…