Fascism succeeds, in part, by obfuscation. They deliberately undermine our collective faith in “the truth”, our sense of security and our future then insist they’re the only ones who can fix the mess (they made). But, as chaotic and complicated as this faux-world seems, it isn’t. Republicans are simple creatures motivated by simple things: greed & racism. They saw demographic obliteration in their future and decided to obliterate our democracy instead. The GOP has crossed the Rubicon — from political party to criminal enterprise. Though our news media refuses to see it (they still think both sides “do it”), when people like GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy get up on their hind legs, they’re nothing like “honest actors” having never been honest actors. For reference — Kevin’s known from the get-go that Donald Trump was compromised by Russian money; he said so out loud on June 25, 2016 as he entered a meeting of Republican leaders to discuss the man they were about to nominate as their presidential candidate. “There’s two people I think Putin pays,” Kevin said, “Rohrbacher and Trump — swear to God!”
The math should have worked this way: Stunning Accusation + Roomful Of People = Outrage At The Accusation. Or, Stunning Accusation + Roomful Of People = Demands To Know Where Kevin Got This Idea. Or Stunning Accusation + Roomful Of People = Phone Call To The FBI. It didn’t of course. If anything, the math did the exact opposite. The Republicans who knew or suspected that Trump was OWNED (that’s what being financially compromised means) by a hostile foreign government engaged in cyber war with us chose — per then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan to keep this terrible secret a secret. “That’s how we know we’re family,” is how he put a bow on it.
Our story is so much simpler than we’ve been led to believe it is. Hey — math’s a bitch to lots of us. But, when you simplify the math, even the most math-averse among us (me) can see math’s beauty — its simplicity. Math can speak truth like few languages can. For instance: Republicans + Power = Corruption.
Some other examples —
Journalism – Perspective = “Both Sides Do It”
Horrible Voice + Horrible Face + Horrible Person = Ted Cruz
(The Rule Of Law – Equal Enforcement) + (The Constitution – Checks And Balances) + Originalism X (Gerrymandering + Voter Suppression) = Permanent Minority Rule
(Russian Money + Russian Cyber War + Russian Kompromat) + (The GOP + Donald Trump) X (“Mexicans Are Rapists” + “Pussy Grabbing” – “But Her Emails”) + A Cynical News Media That Thinks Both Sides Do It = Election 2016
Any Russian Involvement In Election 2016 = A Fraudulent Election
Donald Trump’s Relationship With Russia + Bill Barr – The Mueller Report = Republican Obstruction Of Justice
The thing about math that math averse people like me have a hard time with is the idea that math has one answer. And yet, where Republicans are concerned, I now see the beauty in the math. It’s as basic as one plus one equals two. Republicans Plus Power Equals Disaster For America. And just like all other math, it’s true today — as it was true yesterday — and as it will be true tomorrow. Nothing about Republicans or Republicanism adds up to anything except corruption.
The rule of law, unfortunately, cannot enforce itself. Granted, the rule of law itself is a human creation and so, flawed, but, for some reason, our inability to enforce the rule of law reveals far deeper flaws in our nature. Or in how we frame the rule of law. Racism remains built into our architecture. That’s because our founders (flawed human beings) had a great idea “All men are created equal” whose execution they bungled completely (“all men means only white, Christian, land-owning men” and no one else). Put a big, fat E for “error” down on the scorecard. That nod to racism (and slavery) still haunts us. Racism — especially when it deprives its victims of their rights — is CRIMINAL. Every single instance of it happening IS CRIMINAL. Not hyperbolic crime, REAL CRIME. “Rights crimes” may not be sexy enough for a podcast to follow, but their legal implications and ripple effects — have ya heard the recent news from Texas? All those new laws cropping up like weeds in red states — the ones restricting some voters’ right to vote — they’re all VIOLATING THE LAW as they try to become the law because they’re trampling on someone’s rights.
We are living the example of what happens when you fail to prosecute the rule of law equally and evenly.
While some Black Americans get punished for breaking arcane laws, white Americans can openly intimidate other Americans with impunity. Because they’re white. And, up until now, we have almost no history of prosecuting white people for lording their whiteness over everyone else. It’s gone to white peoples’ heads. Well, some white people. The white people to whom sharing political power (and the wealth that goes with it) is anathema have declared open war on the rest of us. They no longer hide the political nature of their actions — what they call “political”. But, by “political”, what the Republicans mean is “deliberate”. For a purpose. A political end: permanent minority rule. The problem is, every action to achieve that political end is, itself, a criminal act because 1) it violates other Americans’ rights in the present and 2) it seeks to overthrow the legitimate government of the United States (the one run by We The People) — an act that is absolutely illegal — as its goal. When a gang of thieves set out to rob a bank in the dead of night? Their criminal conspiracy is already a legal fact before they even arrive at the bank.
So — our base problem is framing. We must stop framing criminal acts as “political”. That’s where the Department of Justice steps in.
When corruption infiltrates law enforcement, society as a whole suffers terribly. Corruption at the top gains muscle. In America, policing began as a tool of slavery and that association between policing and racism has never gone away. How can we be shocked that America’s police departments are overflowing with racists when we have it in our heads that racists are the ideal hiring pool for cops? In the movie biz, casting is pretty much everything. If I cast Rob Schneider as Hamlet (when I really want Benedict Cumberbatch), I’m gonna get Rob Schneider making a hash of my movie — and it’s going to be my fault, not Rob’s. Eliminating the racism from America’s police departments one by one would be impossible. Eliminating racism from American Life — one racist incident at a time — equally impossible. That’s where the rule of law comes in — on a federal level!
From the instant Donald Trump got his corrupt hands on the Department of Justice, he set about turning America’s head lawyer and law enforcement official into his Roy Cohn. Racist elf Jeff Sessions failed in Trump’s eyes because he recused himself from the Trump-Russia investigations. Got it? Sessions feared crossing the line Trump insisted he cross — beyond ordinary corruption into TREASONOUS corruption. The fact that Jeff never went to the FBI with what he knew or even just suspected must haunt Jeff. Legally, I mean — it’s our obligation to put Jeff on the stand and grill him Benghazi-style about why, if he “saw something”, he didn’t “say something”? Silence in the face of crime is complicity. When that crime is treason?
What did the room ultimately do? They listened to then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan who insisted that this damaging piece of information remain their collective (as in conspiracy to obstruct justice) little secret. “That’s how we know we’re family”, said the Speaker Of The House, third in line to the presidency. Clearly, the family he had in mind was a mafia family.
Friends, that moment — right there? That’s a crime. That meeting was and remains a crime scene as yet uninvestigated. As far as I know, the FBI has NEVER questioned anyone who was present in the room. In retrospect, that meeting — and Kevin’s accusation — is far, FAR more than it seemed even in 2017 when the Washington Post reported on the meeting their reporter Adam Entous having heard the recording of the meeting himself. It’s not a coincidence that, even as he was being sworn in (and violating his oath of office to defend the Constitution), Trump was moving to cover up his crime. What made that tricky was that the crime was ongoing.
Bill Barr’s corruption is genetic. His dad Donald Barr ran the elite Dalton School in Manhattan that hired an unqualified Jeffrey Epstein to teach. Despite that association, Barr refused to recuse himself (like Jeff Sessions did). Barr had way more skin in the game apparently. The whole point of Barr being back at the DoJ was to stop any and all investigation into Trump’s corruption dead in its tracks. Barr kneecapped the Mueller Report, misdirecting our easily misdirected news media into thinking that Mueller’s narrowly focused investigation exonerated Trump when, in fact, it did nothing of the kind. It seems though that even a man as corrupt as Bill Barr had a line in the criminal sand. He wouldn’t join Team Trump in their insurrection attempt.
Still, Barr’s DoJ was openly hostile to enforcing the rule of law wherever it might apply to corrupt, rich white guys. Especially the treasonous ones. When the Democrats won back the House in 2018 and began the process of oversight into what Trump had done, they did so with a massive handicap: they had zero enforcement muscle. Any Trumpian refusing a Congressional subpoena had nothing to fear since the worst case scenario was the Congressional Sergeant At Arms handcuffing them and hauling them down to the basement somewhere to lock them in a closet or secure them to an old pipe. Without teeth to enforce itself, even a political investigation ain’t going anywhere.
That’s why Biden winning — and winning handily (7 million more voters equals handily; the Electoral College measures corruption’s reach more than it measures the will of the people) — mattered. The authority to govern finally flowed to the person to whom We The People wanted it to flow. Take this to the bank and plan to get rich: Donald Trump did not win office legitimately. That’s not a political fact, it’s a criminal justice fact — and it’s the one we’re going to have to arrive at as the basis for our thinking. But for Russia, Donald Trump would never have been POTUS. Without Russia’s help, Trump would never have gotten past the primaries; he might never have entered the race.
Donald Trump’s illegitimacy as POTUS is the organizing principle confronting the rule of law. The rule of law doesn’t recognize degrees of election fraud to punish. It doesn’t say “if less than ‘this number’ of Democratic voters have their votes suppressed by a foreign government’s deliberate, focused propaganda aimed at stopping them from voting for Hillary” then it’s okay, “But, over ‘this number’, it’s illegal!” By the same token, the rule of law is clear about how illegal it is for ANY American political candidate to accept ANY help from ANY foreign government hostile or otherwise. The fact that Trump OPENLY accepted so much help from a government we KNEW was at cyber war with us?
If we see Moscow Mitch McConnell’s actions through a longer lens — his grim determination to deny Barrack Obama lifetime federal judgeships including so much as a hearing for Merrick Garland plus his insistence at the White House during a Gang of Eight meeting in September 2016 that if Obama told America about Russia’s active intent to make Trump POTUS that he’d publicly accuse Obama of “politicizing the intelligence”, plus Mitch’s odd relationship with Oleg Deripaska — the man responsible for spreading Russian propaganda to Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, the three blue states that flipped red and made Trump POTUS ) — suddenly “innocent” acts (is my sarcasm font working?) don’t look so innocent. Mitch McConnell denying Obama judgeships that he shoved down America’s throat the second Trump became POTUS become part of the larger “undermine America’s democracy” narrative. It becomes part of the larger Republican effort to circumvent the will of the American People and impose permanent minority rule against their will — and against the law.
Because any attempt to violate any American’s rights is a crime.
It really is this simple: the Republican Party have not been behaving politically, they have been behaving criminally — for a political end. The end therefore becomes a detail — the “why” of the crime and the point of their co-conspiracy. That is what this ultimately is: a massive conspiracy to defraud Americans and America of their democracy.
To even think of doing such a thing — if it ain’t a crime now, we better make it one. Because this won’t stop until we prosecute the living shit out of it. The moment these perps realize what they’ve stepped in — as many of the insurrection’s foot soldiers are finding — they turn. For one thing, defending yourself against federal charges is massively expensive. This is as bad as getting cancer in its potential destructiveness to a family’s generational finances. When justice finally pierces the veil of Congressional involvement in the insurrection, the whole conversation’s going to change because we’ll have stopped treating what individual Congresspeople like Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene did as political (giving tours to demonstrate the building’s best entry points and where the tunnels are) and start seeing it for what it was and is: part of a criminal conspiracy to overthrow the United States of America.
What is Merrick Garland up to? Does he see this crime scene the way I do — the way (IMHO) we all need to — as a crime scene! There are hints he does. Frustratingly vague hints. The tricky thing about justice and the rule of law is that they must dot every “i” and cross every “t” to remain legitimate. For the rule of law to really work — and gain everyone’s trust — its integrity must remain at one hundred percent. That takes time. Cutting corners — especially legal ones — infringes on integrity. And — very important — the target (we hope) Merrick Garland’s DoJ (our DoJ also!) is sizing up, measuring and taking aim at is Donald J. Trump.
AG Garland — and We The People — will get one shot at this. One shot at making our case that Donald Trump was the biggest fraud in American history. And a traitor to boot.
Stone cold fact: we are in the midst of an undeclared cyber war, launched against us by Russia which, itself, is being aided and abetted by almost the entire Republican Party. Members of the GOP’s hierarchy suspected more than a month before they nominated Donald Trump that he was more than just corrupt, he was treasonously corrupt; they nominated him anyway. Walking into that strategy session, current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy said out loud (it was recorded and the recording was heard later by a Washington Post reporter): “There’s two people I think Putin pays, Rohrbacher and Trump!” When that got a few uncomfortable chuckles (as in “Dude — you’re not supposed to say it out loud!”), Kevin doubled down: “Swear to God,” he added. Hindsight tells us it wasn’t just idle banter. Kevin really thought something that made everyone present uncomfortable. Good thing then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan was there to keep them all in line. Their secret would not leave the room. “That’s how we know we’re family,” said Ryan.
This moment matters. Especially in light of the four years that followed. “Putin pays Trump” (never mind Rohrbacher). Yeah, I absolutely buy that — just based on this photo from Norway. Putin OWNS Trump.
But for Putin, Trump would never have been president. That is the bottomest line of all. Russia MADE Trump president. Though the Republicans resisted Trump at first (the Steele Dossier exists because of the Republican money that started Fusion GPS on the oppo research that uncovered the likelihood that Trump had used his Atlantic City casinos to launder Russian mob money), when they ultimately did succumb to him, they succumbed willingly. The Kochs (both brothers were alive in 2016) KNEW that their goal to undermine our elections and Russia’s goal to do the same thing dovetailed neatly in Trump’s candidacy. That corruption would make both Russia and the Republican Party happy.
Cyber war IS war. Just because Russia hasn’t formally said “Hey, we’re at cyber war with you!” doesn’t mean they aren’t. Cyber war, by its nature, is quieter than normal “bombs-n-bullets” war. It’s way, way cheaper too. Its asymmetry levels the playing field; even little guys can knock out big guys. Putin uses both official channels (Russia’s various intelligence agencies and secretariats) and unofficial. All those malware attacks coming from Russia? They may not be official Russian government, but the Russian government thinks of them as “theirs”. Their work product is meant to support Putin’s work.
Bill Barr — we already know — deliberately lied to America about the Mueller Report’s conclusions. Team Mueller’s scope was deliberately limited. Acting AG Rod Rosenstein was responsible for that. He also was responsible for telling Team Mueller that the FBI was continuing the counter intelligence investigation into Trump’s relationship with Russia that had begun while Obama was POTUS. The FBI was doing no such thing. They believed that Team Mueller was picking up the counter intel investigation because that’s what Rosenstein told them. No more work on the counter intelligence investigation got done (as far as we know).
Guilty behavior is guilty behavior is guilty behavior. People unafraid of the truth are happy to shine a light on it. Criminals? Not so much. Criminals obstruct justice because it’s in their best interest. They KNOW they’re guilty of a crime but do NOT want to suffer any consequences. The longer they go unpunished, the more brazen they become. A Republican of one kind or another has interfered with We The People getting to the bottom of Trump-Russia from the get-go. That’s not a coincidence. It’s a clue.
I’m old enough to remember when associating the word “treason” with Trump was considered left wing craziness. Hell, I’m old enough to remember when invoking Russia got peoples eyes rolling at you. Or fascism. Remember when calling out Republicans for acting like Nazis was “no-go”? Yet, here we are. The same will go for “treason”. We WILL get there and maybe sooner than the GOP likes. The reason Republicans want no part of any January 6 Truth Commission is because they KNOW what some of that truth will be: that many, MANY Republican Congresspeople (and their staffs) had a hand in planning and executing the insurrection. People inside the White House also worked with the insurrectionists. Journalism professor and news media aggregator Seth Abrahamson has pointed to two meetings on January 5 that make it abundantly clear how deep Trumpian involvement was in the insurrection’s planning. Team Trump was intimately involved. So was Donald Trump himself.
And so was Russia. Hey, considering all the other ways Russia had its hooks set, it would be out of character for them to NOT involve themselves in the planning of an insurrection that — if it succeeded — would absolutely destroy American democracy for good? Of COURSE Russia’s fingerprints are all over January 6. While that’s not what scares the Republicans obstructing the investigations — they take it for granted — spotlighting Russia’s involvement will spotlight the GOP’s complicity in that involvement. Once that nut gets cracked (and it will be), expect the deluge to follow. Trump;s hard core followers won’t care that Trump betrayed the country. THEY are betraying the country. Just like the Kochs and their money, they’ve never been that “into” democracy since democracy’s never really been that in to them.
Our news media spends a lot of its days scratching its head over why Trump is/was so loyal to Putin and why the Republican Party is still so loyal to Trump. If you refuse to look out the window before walking outside, don’t be shocked if you get rained on. The information is out there; all anyone has to do is open their eyes. THEY reported Kevin McCarthy’s assertion about Putin paying Trump (and Rohrbacher) yet THEY seem incapable of taking in their own reporting and aggregating it into the larger narrative. The Republican Party’s treason shouldn’t be “Breaking News”. It’s been breaking the whole time Trump ran for POTUS, was POTUS and now seeks to be “reinstated” as POTUS.
The same goes for the GOP’s staggering corruption.
Our news media keeps telling itself — and its audience — that nothing criminal happened here. Have they cracked a law book to ascertain that or is that just the wind flowing from their asses? Treason is absolutely illegal. So’s conspiracy to commit treason.
“There’s two people I think Putin pays, Rohrbacher and Trump — swear to God!” should have been the end of Donald Trump’s presidential ambitions. In fact, THAT fact, was its starting point. If the treasonous shoe was on the other foot, the Republicans would already be howling for every Democrat’s head — and rightfully so. But then, Democrats aren’t as cynical as Republicans; Democrats are cynical but not the way Republicans are. Democrats are cynical because they fear Republicans always get away with everything — including treason.
That unbroken record ends now. Once We The People fully grasp not just THAT the Republicans are traitors but how many are traitors and how “creatively” they’ve betrayed us, the rage will build until every Republican gets what’s due them. In most cases, the cover up of the crime turns out to be worse than the crime itself. Treason will be the exception. Treason will fuel our rage. The Republicans know this. It truly scares them.
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.
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.
Our news media keeps proving that conventional wisdom is long on convention but short on wisdom. They also keep proving that most of them suck at storytelling even worse than they suck at journalism. And, make no mistake, the majority of American journalists really aren’t that good at journalism. It’s not entirely their fault. Somewhere along the way, a mentor or a professor or a boss put it into their heads that “both sides do it”. From that point on, whatever talent they had for journalism was screwed. They permanently perverted their sense of perspective. Skewed it & screwed it for good by confusing skepticism (what every journalist should practice) with cynicism — a terrible, dark, judge-y way of thinking that assumes the very worst of people. All people — hence “both sides do it”.
It’s “both sides do it” that caused American journalists to normalize “Mexicans are rapists” — and then “pussy-grabbing” because “But, her emails!”. In hindsight, that decision to follow one lead over the other looks even worse, doesn’t it? Not that in the face of everything that’s happened since, America’s news media got any savvier about Donald Trump. They haven’t. Our news media is remarkably incapable of aggregating any part of the Trump story. If they were capable of aggregating everything we know about Trump into a constantly evolving narrative, Trump would NEVER have become president in the first place. As Fusion GPS did when first hired in 2016 to do oppo research on Trump (for the benefit of Marco Rubio backing The Washington Free Beacon), every member of the press would have done their due diligence so that they fully understood the man they were reporting on. Like Fusion did, the press would have BEGUN its narrative about Trump with Trump already being a Russian mob money-laundering criminal.
A month before nominating Trump to be their presidential candidate, current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy famously walked into a meeting with Republican leadership and said — out loud (it was recorded and the recording was heard by a Washington Post reporter) “There’s two people I think Putin pays, Rohrbacher and Trump — swear to God!” There was laughter in the room but no shock. But there must have been a degree of concern because then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan felt compelled to rein in any discomfort. No one, Ryan counseled, should speak of the matter outside that room. That, he said (it’s recorded), is “How we know we’re family”. A mafia crime family, more like…
Nothing about the Trump presidency was “normal”. Not a single second of it. And yet — the press worked overtime to normalize the story and Trump no matter how outrageous. To this day, most members of the news media scratch their heads hard enough to carve out a trench in their skulls as they try to figure out why Trump is so chummy with Vladimir Putin. Why, they wonder — like it was the mystery of existence — are the Republicans so friendly toward Russia? In their journalistic way, they’ll consider all the possibilities — well, they’ll consider all the possibilities but one. Giving Trump the benefit of the doubt, they’ll happily assume Trump could be innocent of everything. Being serious journalists, they’ll also assume that maybe Trump could be guilty of some sort of bad behavior (but he insists he’s innocent so, obviously that can’t be the case). They’ll NEVER assume the third choice: Trump is guilty as can be which means, yeah — he’s a rapist and a thief and a racist and an anti-Semite and a traitor.
Donald Trump IS all those things — that’s just what the aggregated story says, all of which the news media itself reported but, apparently, never bothered to read.
Our news media doesn’t know what to do with The Big Lie because “both sides do it” causes them to knee-jerk acceptance of it: if someone says a thing, it must be so because they said it. They confuse someone having a point of view (which even a thief or a rapist has) with having a point (which neither the thief nor the rapist has). There’s no defense for rape and unless we’re talking Jean Valjean stealing bread), there’s no defense for thievery either. Both a rapist and a thief have their “point of view”. That’s not the same as having a “point”. When Trump — as he did last night — insists that Joe Biden’s presidency is “The Big Lie”, he’s not just lying, he’s deliberately speaking utter rubbish. When the news media reports Trump’s assertions without completely contextualizing them first as rubbish, they give bullshit credence. That can never end well for anyone.
Trump WILL BE indicted and prosecuted in Georgia. He WILL be indicted and prosecuted in New York. He WILL be sued successfully by E. Jean Carroll who Trump raped in a Bergdorf’s dressing room in the mid-90’s and then defamed as too ugly to rape.
A direct link will be drawn between the January 6 insurrection, the Trump White House and Donald Trump himself.
And, of course, a direct link is about to be revealed that connects Donald Trump TO Russia and reframes what happened in November 2016 not as a free and fair American election but as a very real coup d’etat carried out by the Republican Party in concert with Russia, the goal being permanent minority rule. The GOP’s relationship with Trump may not have been part of some long-term master plan, but there was a kind of “master plan”; even before Trump’s nomination, Mitch McConnell had done the Koch Brothers bidding and quietly seized control of the judiciary by denying Obama hundreds of lifetime appointments including the SCOTUS seat Merrick Garland should be occupying instead of Neil Gorsuch.
Even now as the GOP eviscerates itself — casting Liz Cheney as an apostate because she won’t spew the Big Lie — they are painting themselves into a corner. Fealty to Trump is about have an even more dire cost than before.
How does one campaign while defending oneself against charges of treason? That will be the GOP’s challenge. That and trying to convince Americans (the majority of whom are finally healthy, back to work (in a booming economy) and happy for the first time in years that instead of the path they’re on, what they REALLY want is more Trumpism. THAT is what the Republican Party is selling — and, to be honest, I’m not sure how one does that — except to the very small clique of hard core Trumpanistas (which, all told, is at most SIXTEEN PERCENT of all Americans).
This is the sliver of corruption that the news media INSISTS will — because it always happens — retake the House and the Senate and dash all of Joe Biden and the Democratic Party’s dreams.
In order to see how ludicrous a forecast that is, however, one MUST see Republicans for who they really are and Trump for who he really is. You’d have to stop normalizing things that should never be normalized. You’d have to stop thinking “both sides do it” and that everyone, no matter what, is always doing it for “political” reasons. Finally, you’d have to get your cynicism in check.
That might be more than American journalism is capable of right now. While outside the mainstream journalists like Sarah Kendzior and Seth Abrahmson write compellingly because they’ve taken a holistic approach and aggregated the story all along, American journalists — especially the broadcast ones — return diligently every day to a kind of “square one” where everything we’ve learned along the way stops existing; all we know now is what we knew when we set out — nada.
The American news media didn’t see the Blue Wave of 2018. They insisted till they really couldn’t anymore that the 2020 race was close; it wasn’t. Yeah, sure — from an Electoral College pov, it got squeakerish at times. But the EC is slavery voting. It over-represents rural Americans and under-represents the urban majority — same as the Senate. “The Democratic half of the Senate represents 41,549,808 more people than the Republican half.” Senate Democrats represent. That’s a huge advantage for the Republicans. Why do you think there are two Dakotas — because there were too many Dakotans for one? Why two Carolinas? Why two Virginias?
To this day — as far as I know — no American journalist has even thought to ask Kevin McCarthy what made him think Putin paid Trump in the first place. If you accept Kevin as an honest actor (when he tells you Liz Cheney needs to go because she won’t pitch The Big Lie), you have no idea who Kevin is. You have no idea who any of the Republicans are or why they’re doing anything. You really don’t know anything. It makes your prognosticism dubious.
We all know what “The Big Lie” is — Donald Trump’s insistence that, despite literally all evidence to the contrary, he “won” the 2020 election. Stop for a second to savor the sheer lunacy of the fact that this is even a question. We have followed a criminal down a rabbit hole of his making by indulging him. Everything about this question — including the fact that I’m even writing here about it — is bullshit on steroids. FFS, Trump did not even win his first election, as we will absolutely learn — take that to the bank and count on getting rich. That’s where “The Giant Secret” comes in. Trump has to insist upon The Big Lie BECAUSE OF The Giant Secret. We know for a fact that the Republican Party’s hierarchy KNEW The Giant Secret at least A MONTH before the GOP nominated Trump to be their standard bearer. As THE WASHINGTON POST put it — “A month before Donald Trump clinched the Republican nomination, one of his closest allies in Congress — House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy — made a politically explosive assertion in a private conversation on Capitol Hill with his fellow GOP leaders: that Trump could be the beneficiary of payments from Russian President Vladimir Putin.” The assertion? “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump… swear to God!”
The WaPo reported this conversation, having listened to it because it was recorded! As far as I know, not a single journalist has revisited this story to ask anyone who was in that room – with the retrospect we’ve gained in four years – what exactly current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy meant by “I think Putin pays Rohrbacher and Trump… swear to God!” What made Kevin think such a thing — that Putin was paying Rohrbacher and Trump? Wouldn’t that be interesting to know? Even more interesting to know? Why NO ONE IN THE ROOM freaked out. Not a single person — according to the report — questioned Kevin’s outrageous assertion including then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan. Ryan, at the time, was one of the most powerful members of his party. Another important leader had just said — out loud — that their likely nominee for POTUS was financially compromised by a hostile foreign government — a government their very party had spent decades screaming about!
Those same Republican leaders knew what Trump’s hiring Paul Manafort to run his campaign meant. They all knew Manafort’s resume. They knew who Manafort’s friends and associates were (including Roger Stone — a former business partner). They knew his relationship with Russia and with pro-Russian Ukranians because they were all on Paul’s resume! No one had a delusion about who Paul Manafort really worked for. They just didn’t want to know about it. Plenty of Republicans, it turns out, ALSO had relationships with Russia they preferred the rest of us not know about. Plenty had taken money from Russia through quasi legal means (into various PACS so as to distance candidate from illegal contribution). The NRA, we’ve learned, was deeply penetrated by Russian influence — a lot of it in the person of intelligence agent par excellence Maria Butina.
“See something, SAY something”. That’s how we’re all supposed to respond to hearing about someone else’s illegal behavior. Hear about criminals, report the bastards! No one in that roomful of Republican leaders called the FBI. Hell, they all VOTED FOR the man they KNEW was owned by Russia. They told the rest of the country to do the same thing. See something, SAY something? Not like that!
Our news media continues to scratch its head at the question: why, oh why, is Trump so tied at the hip to Putin? ASK THE REPUBLICAN PARTY — they know the answer to the question! Why, oh why, they wonder, are the Republicans still so devoted to Trump. Yes, yes — there’s racism in the mix. But that’s not what’s driving the criminal behavior. We ARE talking about TREASON here. And treason still carries the death penalty. The traitors in question KNOW what they’ve done. They KNOW what it will cost them — cost their families — should they get caught, prosecuted and punished. The rule of law stands completely against them. That’s why the GOP is doing everything it can to undermine the rule of law.
We The People remained in the dark about the cyber attack we were already under. Because the co-conspirators in this massive crime insisted.
“That’s how we know we’re family.”
There’s something even bigger behind The Giant Secret that terrifies the GOP. It’s what will happen AFTER We The People learn The Giant Secret. First, the Republicans fear for their own asses — as they absolutely should. They’ve all committed treason! But, strangely, they also fear for the large cause they’ve all committed to: destroying our democracy and installing a state of permanent minority rule that vaguely “looks like” a “democracy” while it’s really an authoritarian shithole. The Republicans have been marching in lockstep to try and make this happen, Republicans being really, really good at marching in lockstep (being authoritarians).
The Even Gianter Secret that terrifies every Republican is the knowledge that the 2016 election “victory” was fraudulent. But for Russia, Donald Trump would NOT have “won” the presidency and an awful lot of Republicans would not have “won” either. That cannot stand. Russia cannot make someone POTUS and if they do? That POTUS is — as Trump kept telling us he was — “illegitimate”. If Trump’s victory was illegitimate than the authority to govern us that flows from winning elections freely and fairly never, in fact, flowed to him. You cannot get our authority under false pretenses like, say, you’re doing it at the behest of a hostile foreign enemy engaged in cyber war against us. That is strictly verboten.
And a presidency “won” that way is not a “presidency”.
The RW money (the Kochs, the Mercers) are counting on keeping what they stole — the judiciary, those three SCOTUS seats especially. Gorsuch’s seat belonged to Merrick Garland. Kavanaugh’s seat was achieved via perjury during Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings (and that cannot stand!) Barret’s seat — formerly RBG’s — was stolen from Joe Biden and Kamala Harris — from We The People yet again. This was the whole point of the exercise. The GOP is hoping, praying, that their stolen SCOTUS seats will yet save them.
Here’s hoping prosecution of their crimes prevents that from happening. Oh, the irony… if Merrick Garland was sitting on the Supreme Court, he would not today be the newly confirmed Attorney General. The nation’s top law officer is an honest man who’s committed to making the rule of law a “thing” again. The “thing” about the rule of law? As AG Garland knows, you can’t kind of do it, you have to completely do it. And if applying the rule of law equally (for once!) means you do not cut ANYONE slack, then AG Garland will be obligated to not only pull every single Republican corruption thread, he’ll be obligated to pull those threads until the entire corrupt Republican sweater falls apart — which it absolutely, positively will.
White collar criminals may talk tough but they’re all soft white underbelly. They have everything to lose — and, as the cost of their criminality suddenly crashes down on them, each and every Republican co-conspirator will realize just how expensive this is going to get — and the evidence is going to bury them. The cost of defending themselves will threaten to bankrupt every Republican for a generation. They won’t want that to happen and will begin to cut deals — as the January 6 insurrectionists are starting to.
What will We The People do once WE know the Giant Secret? Will we let the Republicans keep their toys? I, for one, say no effin’ way! If a guy steals my car, he doesn’t get to keep after we catch him. He has to “give it back”. It doesn’t belong to him and never did. The same goes for what Trump and the GOP stole — the correct OUTCOME of the election — the officials we actually elected crafting the legislation we voted for and nominating the kinds of judges WE approve of. That’s the product of our Will — what the will of the majority should have resulted in. We got something else entirely and that cannot stand.
Every single judge Trump appointed must be tossed. Trump never had the authority to nominate them. That authority actually belonged to Hillary Clinton, the election’s actual winner. We may not be able to go back in time and make HRC president, but that doesn’t mean we have to accept what Trump did — and allow him to keep what he deliberately and with malice aforethought perpetrated against us.
Politics and Justice don’t play nicely together. Politics rarely plays by “the rules”. Justice, on the other hand, is a kind of “prisoner” of them. For a moment, we told ourselves yesterday, when it appeared the House Managers would call witnesses before Donald Trump’s Senate trial, that the Truth would, at long, long last, have its day in court. Then, after negotiations with the Senate and Trump’s defense, the House Managers backed off that call. They entered Jaimie Herrera Beutler’s statement — relating GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy’s desperate call to Trump to stop the riot — into the record and let it stand there. In that moment, it certainly felt like, again, Democrats were letting Republicans get away with their corruption. That wasn’t what happened. We need to appreciate the perspective the House Managers had when they sought witnesses (it was their right to demand so they demanded it) and when they chose NOT to actually call any. Perspective is the thing we’ve lost sight of over the last four years. Perspective says that what the House Managers did yesterday was as spot on as pretty much everything else they did.
Trust them, America. TRUST THEM. Trump’s Senate trial was entirely POLITICAL. That’s a vital distinction. Being a political process, Truth was not the goal; appearances — THAT was the goal for Republicans. The appearance of loyalty to Donald Trump. The fact that Trump’s defense could spew so many blatant lies on the Senate floor with zero fear of repercussions speaks volumes. For starters, even when you’re certain you know what a witness will say on the stand — under oath — you cannot control it one hundred percent. The recorded, written statement will not change. For the moment, that sufficed. Appearances and politics were satisfied. But not Justice — because Justice doesn’t live in the Senate. It never has, never will and wasn’t going to start yesterday.
Keep this in mind: the Democrats in the Senate represent 45 million more Americans than the Republicans in the Senate do. The Senate is a variation on the Electoral College theme — where white men get over-represented and everyone else gets under-represented. Ask yourself — why are there TWO Dakotas? Is it because there were way too many Dakotans for ONE Dakota? Or is it because TWO Dakotas adds TWO conservative, white, Christian Senators to the mix. Between the TWO Dakotas there aren’t two million people. 1.7 million Dakotans (North & South) have 4 Senators to represent them. Here in California just south of 40 MILLION AMERICANS get just 2 Senators. See how that gives way more political power to rural Dakotans and their desires over literally every single Angeleno? That’s not a level playing field — and it’s by design. It’s also why it’s essential that we make DC, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands ALL separate states with two senators each and the right to vote for president.
The Electoral College is slavery voting in our elections. The filibuster is slavery interfering with the Congress actually governing America.
Had the House Managers gone down the “witnesses” road, the Senate trial would have gone into a period of recess while the process to interview witnesses began. While the truth would have gotten out into the public record, it would have taken a while to get there — and the Republicans would have used the time to take every bit of wind from the Democrats’ sails, add to the chaos, spew more lies and all without ever opening their minds. The Senate remains a minefield — too unpredictable, too political.
A better idea — and this was the House Managers’ thinking: don’t do this “here”, form a 9-11 style “Truth Commission” give it ample power and oversight. Having a functional Department of Justice with Merrick Garland at its helm will help make it happen. And — an important distinction — while the newly formed and empowered Truth Commission is doing its work, Merrick Garland also will be doing what We The People are paying him to do — seek, prosecute and deliver JUSTICE. Ignore Garland’s well-known moderation. He’s a prosecutor. All we want from AG Garland is for him to FOLLOW the rule of law and FOLLOW the Constitution. If he does that? The Republicans and Donald Trump are screwed.
Even if he sucked as a prosecutor, once Garland pulled the first Republican corruption thread he saw, Republican corruption is so massive, so pervasive, so unavoidable that Garland couldn’t help stumbling over it. We have to stop thinking that four years of Trumpian Justice are “justice”. They aren’t — and bet the ranch that all those dedicated DoJ-ers who hung on for dear life while Jeff Sessions, Rod Rosenstein and Bill Barr ran the department are just aching to set their ship aright. That will mean cleaning house of Trumpian corruption both within their department and everywhere they find it.
The State of Georgia is going to prosecute Trump for election fraud. The SDNY is going to prosecute Trump for HIS role in the same case that sent Michael Cohen to prison. All they have to do there is flip Trump’s status from “POTUS” to “Former-POTUS” and indict away. He’s already on their books as “Unindicted co-conspirator #1”. Then there’s E. Jean Carroll’s civil suit. And all the other civil suits about to rain down on Trump, his company, his former charity, his everything.
And, hey — remember that counter-intelligence investigation we all thought was happening? The one Rod Rosenstein told Team Mueller the FBI was doing but also told the FBI that Team Mueller was doing but that, in reality, NO ONE WAS DOING? That’s back on the menu — and that is the bottomest line there is here. Russia. Russia, Russia, RUSSIA.
It all comes down to Russia. “But for Trump”, there wouldn’t have been an insurrection. “But for RUSSIA”, Donald Trump would NEVER have become POTUS.
Deep breath, everyone. Now, take another. And another. Let go of your cynicism — it’s not serving you. Instead, embrace skepticism. Embrace perspective. Embrace Justice — REAL Justice, not the kind of “justice” the US Senate can “deliver”. Until we use REAL Justice to clean every bit of Republican corruption from the Senate, any trial’s a show trial.
Patience is always a virtue. Just a teensy bit more patience on our part and that virtue will begin to feel deeply satisfying too.
Quick — what’s the worst way to die imaginable? Not a nice question, I agree, but surely we’ve all contemplated the possibilities and one always comes up “worst”: being eaten, right? Being “consumed” by something isn’t just “dying”, it’s being reduced to another creature’s “food”! Everything you think you are — a husband, a wife, a friend, a lover, a son or a daughter, a rogue or a scholar — no, fool — you’re roughage, hopefully without too much cholesterol or sodium. From a shark’s point of view, you’re shark shit pre-shark. You just don’t know it. Yet.
Our news media thinks perspective is what happens AFTER the shark eats you. “Hey, don’t jump in that water,” they think journalism is, “We know there are sharks in it!” Yes, the news is important — but we all saw what happened. News of a shark might have been MORE helpful BEFOREHAND.
Was there evidence of a shark swimming around before the story even started? “Well,” the news media says, “We didn’t see any dorsal fins, so we assumed the coast was clear!” Ah, but “didn’t see any” and “so therefore they weren’t there” don’t necessarily hook up. Hey, news media — didja look? Did you LOOK for sharks in water known to be infested with them? The truth is — where Donald Trump is concerned, for instance, you didn’t!
The news media didn’t report Trump as a “shark in the water” because they didn’t realize that that’s what he was — despite the fact that they’d reported him behaving that way forever! The Steele Dossier exists because such reporting existed — that Trump was a shark who’d used his bankrupt Atlantic City casinos to launder Russian mob money. That’s what Glenn Simpson, co-founder of Fusion GPS, the research firm hired by Republicans backing Marco Rubio (the owners of the conservative newspaper The Washington Free Beacon) testified to before the Senate Judiciary Committee on August 22, 2017. Before engaging in the actual assignment, Fusion did its “due diligence” first. They got ahold of every bit of publicly available material they could on Trump — every newspaper story, magazine article, TV or radio appearance, every book, every video, every everything if it happened in a way that anyone could look at it or hear it.
What Fusion found there — in publicly available material — Simpson testified, convinced them that Donald Trump was likely an international criminal. They approached Christopher Steele (and his company Orbis) because Steele, former head of the MI6’s Russia desk, had the very best contacts inside Russia. And Steele was reliable. When the FBI wanted to go after FIFA’s Sepp Blatter for corruption, they hired Steele. Fusion hired Steele because he offered unparalleled PERSPECTIVE.
What Chris Steele found — and put into his collection of raw intel — the Dossier — convinced HIM that Trump wasn’t just an international criminal, he was an out-and-out TRAITOR.
The further one pulls back the camera on Trump, on the Republicans, on what they’ve done here, on how clearly they’re owned by a hostile foreign power engaged in a literal cyber war against us, the clearer one sees treason. Treason, treason and nothing but treason.
Yeah, America — we’re gonna need a much bigger boat here. If only our news media had done what Glenn Simpson did — THEIR DUE DILIGENCE. If only they would have screamed and shouted “SHARK!” when they reported (a year after it happened but, still — they reported it!) how the Republican leadership KNEW for a fact that Trump was owned by Russia but deliberately kept that fact a secret. This really happened: current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy walked into a meeting of GOP leadership a month before their convention and said — out loud: “There’s two people I think Putin pays, Rohrbacher and Trump… swear to God!” No one said “Say, what? Are you sure, Kevin? Hey, someone — get the FBI on the phone — WE have a problem — our candidate is probably compromised by Russia!” No, instead, the Republican leadership — then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan — insisted that everyone there “keep it in the family”.
The GOP chose omerta over patriotism.
If our press could aggregate a story the way stories are supposed to be aggregated — where you keep adding information and then building upon what you know (instead of tossing it as if it never happened and returning to a kind of “Square One of Ignorance” every damned day) — we would already equate Donald Trump and Republicans with extreme corruption. We’d already have connected the Donald Trump dot and the Russia dot — and connected them to the Republican Party dot and the Elections 2016 and 2020 dots.
If our news media didn’t accept as gospel truth everything that tumbles from a Republican’s mouth — Bill Barr, say — they might have READ the Mueller Report rather than ACCEPTING what Bill Barr said it said. Jesus, even AFTER they’d read the report, the majority of American journalists STILL go along with Barr’s take that it says “Trump didn’t do anything”. No — that’s NOT what it says. And, we now know, even what it says was squeezed and compromised and limited to a very small question — concerning Trump’s direct communications with Julian Assange and Wikileaks. We know that then acting AG Rod Rosenstein deliberately lied to both Team Mueller and the FBI — ending the counter-intelligence investigation into Trump and Russia while allowing Team Mueller and the FBI to think the other was doing that work.
Hey — how often did anyone in our news media point out the cool historical fact that Donald Trump was the first president ever to run for re-election in the very election he’d been impeached for cheating in? Not many. And yet — Trump continued to cheat every single day — in front of everyone — as if he’d never been impeached for doing the very same thing! Imagine if our press had aggregated even a fraction of what they themselves had reported!
I’m a fan of the journalist, lawyer, professor Seth Abrahams. Abrahams’ method is to aggregate what the press has reported so as to present the fullest possible picture of what we KNOW (because it’s been sourced by the press) with the widest possible perspective. In essence, he’s doing what Fusion GPS did — using what we know to paint a picture of what we should be using as the BASIS for our thinking. By simply reporting what’s been reported — a kind of massive due diligence — Seth Abrahams isn’t just a canary in a coal mine, he’s the closest thing to “Absolute Truth” we have.
What is v what is not. The more perspective we have, the better! And even the perspective we have — now that we’re using it to see the world — tells us the boat we chose won’t be good enough. The shark’s already chewing on it.
This shark won’t go quietly. There’s no point negotiating with it. It’s going to come down to a simple question of Him or Us.
While we decide however, can we do ourselves one kindness — yeah: a bigger boat.
Donald Trump, true to his “Project-Everything-I’m-Guilty-Of-Onto-The-World” self, began projecting his own illegitimacy early in his presidency. The late Congressman John Lewis, a man who understood intrinsically what courage was, was the first member of Official Washington to state what everyone felt about Trump’s surprise victory — especially his remarkable win — by a total of 77,000 votes collectively — that delivered Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan’s Electoral College votes to Trump (0.057 percent of total voters cost Clinton the presidency). Fact: if Trump’s win had been legit, he’d have been one hundred percent behind an investigation because he KNEW his win would have been verified. But, Trump knew any investigation into how exactly he became POTUS would end with him going to prison forever: because TREASON.
Some things just seem obvious — or they should. Commit treason in order to become president? You are NOT president. Just break the law to become POTUS and you should be disallowed from being POTUS because that’s how the rule of law is supposed to work — ditto the Constitution. But, of course, in America, we’ve lived by two sets of rules from the get-go — one for white people and another for everyone else. That’s about to change. As we help the rule of law back onto its feet, we need to make damned sure we apply it EQUALLY this time. One of the reasons it failed so spectacularly is our inability to execute it. That’s not on the rule of law, it’s on us. WE need to do better. I have faith we will.
And one of the FIRST ways we can prove we’re doing better is by APPLYING the rule of law — finally and firmly — to Donald John Trump.
The nature of our representative democracy is that rather than take active part in governing ourselves, we elect other people to do that for us. The understand is simple: if we elect you, we grant you the authority to work on our behalf. So long as that authority is legitimate, whatever you do theoretically has our blessing. But, if Donald Trump used Russia to gain the White House — which he most certainly did — right in front of us (“Russia, if you’re listening!”). Just because a guy commits a crime in broad daylight, that doesn’t make it any less of a crime.
We’re not going to debate the Mueller Report. Anyone who’s bothered to actually read it knows what it says. In the very narrow slice of the larger crime Trump committed — the thing Team Mueller was allowed to investigate — Team Mueller could not assert with enough certainty to convict in a court of law whether or not Team Trump had conspired with Wikileaks and Julian Assange to undermine the integrity of election 2016 because of so much obstruction of justice. The obstruction of justice, they felt, was real and very criminal. Team Mueller fretted about that Department of Justice rule — created to block Spiro Agnew pardoning Richard Nixon during Watergate — that said a sitting POTUS could not be indicted. Though the rule wasn’t meant to apply to Trump — no one imagined a POTUS as thoroughly corrupt as Trump — Team Mueller allowed the rule’s letter to win out over its spirit. Corruption beat truth and justice mostly because white people seem to hate prosecuting other white people for crimes they’d happily prosecute anyone else for committing.
See what happens when you screw with the rule of law and how you apply it?
We need to keep reminding ourselves: the rule of law is a fiction we invented so as to better self-govern. We made it up. It’s just a bunch of words that articulate an idea — a great idea — that should transcend our occasional inability to get the words right. We have to be more protective of any law’s spirit than how it got written. Trust me here — this country’s founders did NOT intend for a treasonous president to pardon his way out of legal peril. Trump is exactly the kind of demagogue the country’s founders most feared — and yet, here we are indulging that demagogue, his followers — and even his treason.
I repeat: one cannot commit TREASON in order to become POTUS. It may not be written that way in any of our laws, but it IS the spirit of the law. You can’t betray us in order to govern us.
Questions about Trump’s legitimacy scare the Republican Party even more than it scares Trump. Trump’s problem is prison for the rest of his life. Hey — that’s the GOP’s problem now, too. But they also fear losing political power — and never ever getting it back. The craven lust for political power, born of “white man’s greed” — that’s what causes Republican hearts to beat like a Sousa march. Ah, but the terrible concessions to self respect one must make to answer that craven lust…
I bet Lindsey Graham is just aching to stop being Trump’s bitch. I bet Lindsey would be more relieved than anyone to finally confess to every terrible thing he’s done. Yeah, prison won’t be fun — and Lindsey will spend the rest of his life in federal lock up — but, you can see the exhaustion in Lindsey’s red-rimmed eyes every time he gets in front of the cameras. He may not sleep comfortably in his prison cell (neither the mattress nor the thread count of his sheets will be what he’s used to), but he’ll sleep better than now.
Mitch McConnell, too, dreads a legitimate investigation into all HIS illegitimate activities. Mitch needs to explain — under oath — his relationship w Oleg Deripaska. Deripaska, you see, is HOW Trump “won” Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, taking the EC. During the 2016, Paul Manafort — then Trump’s campaign manager — famously handed Konstantin Kilimnik proprietary polling data for those three states plus Minnesota.
Manafort wanted Kilimnik to pass the polling data to Deripaska — an “associate” of his. Manafort’s problem was he owed Deripaska money — $17 million and was afraid of what Deripaska might do to him. Manafort hoped that by 1) becoming Trump’s campaign manager and 2) providing the proprietary polling data, he might cancel that debt and get himself out of peril. That’s just a hint at what that polling data was worth to Kilimnik, to Deripaska, to Vladimir Putin and to Russia. Kilimnik was known as being GRU — Russian military intelligence. Same goes for Deripaska. Both are oligarchs — and, in Russia, you don’t get to be or stay an oligarch without Putin’s explicit okay. Putin, let’s not forget, isn’t just the Russian head of state, he’s one of the biggest criminals on the planet.
If we took Putin and Russia’s direct impact on the 2016 out of the equation, Donald Trump would never have gotten through the primaries. But Russia was behind Trump and pretty much every single Republican knew it. They chose to “keep it in the family”.
So — not only is Trump’s entire presidency illegitimate, so is the Republican Party’s response to Trump’s illegitimacy. They deliberately covered it up — benefitted from the illegitimacy — then tried to make that illegitimacy permanent. THAT evolved into the point of the exercise. No one — Trump included — expected Trump to win. Trump did not want to win, in fact; he was so certain he’d lose — needed it to happen so badly that he promised Melania he would lose. That’s what she was expecting.
That’s what most everyone was expecting. Oh, the things we’ll learn. The Comey Letter’s impact on the election was significant: it closed the polling gap between Clinton and Trump to within the margin of error in places like Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. And the Comey Letter itself — let’s remind ourselves — was caused by Rudy Giuliani, Jason Chaffee and the rogue New York City FBI office threatening to spew all sorts of nonsense they’d read in Clinton Cash, a book as truthful as the Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion. Comey had been asking the NYC FBI office about the notebook computer with the mysterious, possibly new Clinton emails (they were copies of old) for MONTHS but the rogue FBI agents — collaborating with Rudy Giuliani — refused to answer Comey’s question until late October — when they suddenly announced “We don’t KNOW about these emails — they COULD be new.”
Horse shit. The goal was “make noise”, distract, disillusion — on multiple fronts at the very same time.
Keep in mind — part of that relentless thump-thump-thump was directed at Black voters in those three states. That proprietary polling data? It showed up on their personal Facebook pages as ads directed directly at them that implied Hillary Clinton was a closet racist. The goal wasn’t to flip those votes, it was to suppress them — lie them into staying home election day instead of voting. Considering all the illegality surrounding it, every single suppressed vote is a crime against an individual voter and our system as a whole.
Once the race got close enough — brought there via the Comey Letter’s false premise of more dirt on Clinton and the constant thump-thump-thump of Russian propaganda filtered through Wikileaks and our own useful idiot news media — voting machine manipulation became an option. As we’ll eventually learn from what happened in 2020, if one has access to internet-connected electronic voting machines (because companies like ES&S and Diebold are owned by Republicans who donate heavily to Republicans and on whose boards of directors sit nothing but Republicans), one does not FLIP votes — that’s too risky! While it’s damned hard to verify an electronic machine that leaves no paper trail, it’s damned easy to pad vote totals without anyone catching on. Just for reference, as of 2019 ES&S claimed a U.S. market share of more than 60 percent in customer voting system installations. That’s a lot of the country that votes on machines with zero accountability.
You’d need three co-conspirators max. You need the guy running ES&S to open the back door every single machine has.
You’d need the guy writing the computer code that will enter voting machine or tabulator via that back door having gotten there via internet connectivity. The code says simply something like “For ever ten Republican votes, add one”. So, every ten Republican votes now becomes eleven. Twenty becomes twenty-two, thirty becomes thirty-three and so on. The machines have added ten percent. If you didn’t go back and compare the number of votes to the number of voters in order to see the discrepancy, you’d probably never find it. In this case, everyone would simply accept that Republican result — where they got a ten percent bump. If the race in question was within the margin of error, that ten percent bump could give an otherwise losing candidate the win.
The last co-conspirator would be the politician pulling the trigger on such a theft of the voters’ intent. Plenty of journalists are beginning to wonder if Mitch McConnell is just such a politician. On paper, Mitch shouldn’t be able to get elected turtle catcher in Kentucky yet there he is — unbeatable (in a state with more registered Democrats than Republicans!) Want to know why it doesn’t seem to add up? Because it doesn’t.
In the case of 2016, all one would have need to have done was send code like that to far flung voting machines in the hinterlands of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Vote totals in the cities, they hoped, were already dinged by propaganda. By now adding just enough votes electronically (hoping ya got the percentages right), one could close a seemingly impossible deal, capturing three blue states for candidate red. It was all done illegally — with full on criminal intent — the only question is will We The People ever get to ask it.
Well, now, we are getting to ask it.
If the answer comes back “Trump was elected illegitimately via illegal means and as an act of treason, then we will have two possible paths to travel. Path One — we do nothing. We shrug our shoulders and say “We’ll do better next time, we hope”. We literally allow a traitor to pardon his own treason — making it crystal clear: want to betray America? Run for president — and get away with it! Any country that lets that happen to them won’t be a country for very much longer.
If Trump had run in one of his bullshit beauty pageants and they’d learned that the winner had bamboozled them all? Do you really think the phony would get to keep her title, her crown, her loot? Of course she wouldn’t! Same goes for a guy who steals your car. Just because he’s sitting in it outside your house at three a.m., honking the horn, that doesn’t make him the car’s owner. And when we catch up to him? He won’t get to keep the car. If it’s still in one piece, he’ll have to give it back. The rule of law never lets thieves keep what they stole after they’ve been caught. The rule of law doesn’t let murderers get away with murder, polluters get away with polluting or traitors get away with betraying us. We may do that to ourselves, the rule of law does not.
It’s just a stone cold fact — Donald Trump NEVER had the legitimate authority that flows from We The People and, sociopath that he is, Donald Trump recognized that fact himself. He said as much out loud repeatedly.
Since he never had the authority vested in him, he didn’t have the authority or right to nominate a single judge, SCOTUS judges included. Throw in the deliberate intent behind Mitch McConnell’s blocking of most every Obama judicial nominee. Not allowing Merrick Garland so much as a hearing might not have been technically illegal, when re-framed from the perspective of McConnell’s treasonous relationship w Oleg Deripaska and Konstantin Kilimnik, the connected dots make Mitch’s intent look a lot more sinister. Mitch and the GOP want permanent minority rule. While they’d made great strides to get there prior to Trump’s presidency, Trump presented not just the darkly charismatic figurehead they needed, he also provided a partner in crime who, the Republicans now realized, had already seduced them into useful idiot-hood.
They’d all, like Rohrbacher, taken copious amounts of money from Russia. That money was not “free”. As most money does, it came with strings. More like rope actually. The Russians wanted something for their investment. When Trump sewed up the Republican nomination, Russia became the central driver of all things Republican, all things Trump.
If we do this right — and we’d be insane to do it otherwise — literally everything Trump did gets voided. All those judges? They’re gone. They have to be — Trump never had the authority to nominate them. That goes for EVERY judge Trump nominated, his three SCOTUS judges included. In point of fact, the authority to nominate those three judges belonged to Hillary Clinton, the rightful winner of the 2016 election.
The crime victim here, ya see, is We The People. Our CHOICE was stolen from us in 2016. When we elected Hillary by more than three million popular votes (and, minus all the criminality via the EC, too), we gave her the authority to create legislation and nominate judges whose values reflected ours. We did NOT give Trump any such authority. He TOOK IT. He STOLE IT. And then, like a car thief, he drove around in it, speeding, recklessly changing lanes and tossing garbage out the window.
The Good Cops will be back in power starting tomorrow. Merrick Garland — the moderate judge Obama chose for SCOTUS who Mitch wouldn’t even give a hearing to — will take over at the DoJ. Oh, the irony… Merrick Garland will be the guy who brings Mitch McConnell down. And then the entire GOP. These are not brave people. They’re all criminal co-conspirators. It won’t take more than a few gentle tugs on this ugly-as-sin, corrupt Christmas sweater for it to completely fall apart. It’s that ugly, it’s that badly made.
And, like any badly made sweater that we did not want, we should return it from whence it came. Return to sender. Forget you ever knew us.
We don’t have anything like a “complete picture” of the Trump Administration’s raging incompetence in their handling of the coronavirus pandemic, yet we already know — with that limited perspective — that their incompetence isn’t just “raging”, it’s outright CRIMINAL. Imagine how much worse it will look when we DO know all the nuts and bolts details. Those details will tie THIS treachery into the LARGER Trumpian treachery — Russia. Perspective’s funny that way. It’s like seeing part of a mosaic and thinking that’s the picture. But, then, we pull the camera back — because there’s almost always more room for perspective — and we realize how much more complex and interconnected the world is once we see how vast and complex a world it is.
A huge heaping of the blame for our collective lack of perspective sits heavily on our News Media’s lap. Their stone cold refusal to AGGREGATE the story of Donald Trump cannot go unaddressed! We just had an election where — for the first time ever in our history — a sitting POTUS was running for re-election having been impeached! And the thing he was impeached for? CHEATING in the very election he was now running in! And the cheating — that was via a foreign government’s intervention in our election — a variation on the exact same “cheating strategy” (one of them) he used in the 2016 election! You would think that would get a mention in the run up to that election. You’d think a NEWS MEDIA would want to bathe in it. They’d want to ask that candidate about it repeatedly — and the squirrelier that candidate got on the subject, the more they’d want to ask. Especially if that candidate was the sitting president!
They got ahold of every piece of PUBLICLY AVAILABLE material they could possibly find on Donald J. Trump: books, magazine articles, newspaper stories, radio interviews, TV show appearances — literally everything they could in order to create a picture for themselves — in order to create the perspective with which to start the investigation: what do we already KNOW about Donald Trump?
Turned out? What we KNEW — it was all there in PUBLICLY AVAILABLE material — should have set the alarm bells ringing. The former journalists at Fusion GPS saw so much likely EVIDENCE of outright criminal behavior — Trump using his bankrupt Atlantic City casinos to launder Russian mob money — that Fusion hired former MI6 Russia desk legend Christopher Steele (and his company Orbis), to do the “research” inside Russia since, it was agreed, Steele had the best contacts inside Russia bar none.
When Fusion went “fishing” in Russia for dirt on Trump? They knew exactly where to drop their lines. And damn if there wasn’t a whole SCHOOL of treason swimming around. The reason Chris Steele worked so hard to put his dossier of RAW INTELLIGENCE under the right noses was because those noses needed the perspective that raw intel would provide. Was everything in the dossier guaranteed verifiable? Of course not — IT’S RAW INTELLIGENCE. You have to understand what it is and how you need to look at it. There are few smoking guns in this world but plenty of smoke. You have to look for where the smoke is thickest — and make educated guesses from there.
The news media glommed onto the most sensational of the stories in Steele’s work product — the Moscow hotel room and the hookers peeing on each other while Trump watched (maybe or maybe not screaming about Trump and his race). The news media — having zero perspective — assumed that if that one story wasn’t spot on, one hundred percent correctomundo, then every last bit of Steele’s RAW INTELLIGENCE could be discounted. Oy!
Now, the people most intent on undermining the dossier’s authenticity (after Trump) have been almost the entire Republican Party. That, after all, was the whole point of dragging Glenn Simpson before the Senate Judiciary Committee (controlled then as now by Republicans hell bent on interfering with any oversight) — not to get at how true the dossier was or wasn’t but to completely undermine every last vestige of any reliability. People obstructing justice aren’t doing it “just because”. They’re doing it because what the rest of us call “justice” scares the snot out of them.
To this day — more than a MONTH after Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the 2020 Presidential Election, almost every Congressional Republican (minus 27!) STILL refuses to acknowledge that fact. The news media gazes at that fact, utterly baffled by it. They scratch their heads so hard, as they contemplate it, that they’ve begun to carve divots into their skulls. “Why do the Republicans continue to go along with Trump?” “Don’t they realize what they’re doing to their own legacies?”
If the news media had aggregated this story — adding to it every day, adding to WHAT WE KNOW and then building upon that knowledge base to MOVE THE STORY FORWARD — Donald Trump would not have survived the primaries. His whole candidacy would have gone up in “Mexicans are rapists” flames. That’s because the Trump heading down the gold escalator would NOT have been seen as the “successful businessman” and “master negotiator” that Mark Burnett INVENTED for “The Apprentice”, he would have been seen as the racist, bankrupt FAILURE he was. If the news media had done the same due diligence Fusion GPS had done, they’d have thrown “and likely criminal” into the mix too.
The instant Team Biden takes over at the Department of Justice, our whole perspective on the Trump years will begin to change appreciably. For starters, the DoJ will be re-dedicated to serving Justice and not as a corrupt president’s consigliere. It won’t be a question of should we or should we not prosecute Trump and the entire Republican Party for their transgressions. The SECOND Trump stops being POTUS, he WILL be indicted. He’s already BEEN indicted — but, because he’s been the sitting president, that indictment has gone un-delivered. It WILL get delivered now. And then the litigation-prosecution-punishment merry-go-round will begin. It might never stop.
Donald Trump will not go down alone. He won’t. He won’t keep his mouth shut. He won’t keep his secrets or anyone else’s because those are all worth something to him now. And, don’t forget, he’s not a “master negotiator”, he’s a horrible one. He’s all tells. And Republicans have known at least since before the convention that Trump (and other Republicans) were dirty, dirty, DIRTY when it came to Russia. As current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy put it in 2016, just before the convention, as he entered a meeting of the GOP leadership: “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump”.
The correct response to such a statement should have been “Whaaaaaat? Kevin, why do you say that? Why do you even THINK that, dude?” Even if the connections Kevin made were tenuous, that they could have been possible should have guided their actions — that is, if Kevin or then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan or any of the other GOP leaders present had had an ounce of integrity. They didn’t, of course.
The Republican Party has known all along the Trump was dirty. They’ve known all along that THEY are dirty. Why, it’s even been REPORTED IN THE NEWSPAPERS. All one has to do — to benefit from that fact — is READ.
Remember the Mueller Report? Same damned thing. The Report itself says one thing but Bill Barr — and then every single Republican — said it said something else entirely. How does one gain perspective in such a situation? YOU READ THE REPORT! And, if you’re even a semi-literate journalist, you get: inside this NARROW SLICE of the Trump-Russia story, it was hard to say with certainty whether or not Donald Trump and his presidential campaign were guilty of crimes (connected to Wikileaks and how information flowed from and to it) — though there’s significant evidence suggesting it — because of all the OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE in our way. THAT is what the Report’s conclusions actually say.
Imagine, if you will, where we’d be if the news media had simply added those two pieces of information to the knowledge base they reported from: 1) the Republicans knew Trump had a criminal relationship with Russia and 2) they consistently denied that fact and were actively covering it up. That’s with the Perspective Meter turned down super low so it only catches the most OBVIOUS takeaways.
Our news media — its head stuck deeply up its own “Both Sides Do It” ass — STILL thinks Donald Trump might could go on to “build a media empire” or “run again in 2024” as if we were going to simply deny that anything even remotely CRIMINAL or TREASONOUS happened — as if we were all just going to stand here denying the truth. Even if criminal charges only ever got leveled because we need to prosecute Trump’s mishandling of the pandemic response (and all his friends who got rich off it), it will touch EVERY SINGLE MEMBER of the Trump family. They’ve all profited!
It’s strange — having perspective — when you compare notes with someone who doesn’t. Talk about not reading from the same hymnal. You ain’t even in the same house of worship. But then, that someone experiences a revelation or a catharsis. They open their damned eyes. And they put down the nonsense and read from the real “Good Book” — reality.
Here’s the reality: if we don’t hold Donald Trump, the GOP as an institution and every single Republican responsible for attempting a literal coup d’etat, we will get to experience “Slavery, The Sequel” — a terrible, immoral misjudgment that can never and will never sit right. Perversely, our current crisis is very much a product of not outlawing slavery at the outset. Institutionalized racism (“All men are created equal” did not mean “all men” — or even “all people”) was America’s original sin. It haunts us to this day.
The Republican Party is trying to perpetuate that racism via permanent minority rule. Why else would you BEG state legislators in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Michigan to overlook the popular vote in their states to IMPOSE Donald Trump upon them? Ignore the voters because they voted AGAINST racism — that’s what they’re selling.
The news media though continues to scratch its head, unsure still if what they’re seeing IS indeed racism. There’s an old joke we used to tell on the schoolyard. Kid sees a pile of what could be poop on the street. He picks it up. Sniffs. Smells like poop. Has a lick. Uh huh — tastes like poop, too. He puts it back down on the street and continues on: “Sure glad I didn’t step in it!”
Hey, News Media: you’ve already stepped in it. Pick up some perspective. You won’t make the same mistake again.