Dear CNN & MSNBC – “Previously On” The Donald Trump Story – He Was A Traitor & A Criminal… Oh, Weren’t You Watching?

Every TV show now begins with two words: “Previously On”.

Bravo to Julien Coppola who put together this excellent video.

On the one hand, it’s a nod to any newbies who might be watching. These are the basic story threads you need to know about. But, on the other hand, the “Previously On” part of a show is where the storytellers get to remind the whole audience about certain important, key details from the story’s past that are about to become very important to the story’s future.

The point is, “Previously On” begins with a very clear concept: THIS IS WHAT WE KNOW.

This is what the story — and its characters — have revealed and revealed about themselves so far. This is our accumulated, aggregated knowledge. This is our STARTING POINT going forward.

Why, I’d like to know, can’t journalists — well, our most of our video journalists for sure — do this simple, storytelling thing? Why can’t they aggregate a story before reporting on it? Why can’t they start from what we know so far instead of what we knew back then (whenever “then” was)?

It’s like watching a TV show where the audience is always miles ahead of the storytellers because the audience has been keeping track of the story while the tellers keep going back to “fade in”.

If America’s journalists had been keeping track of Donald Trump — adding to what we know about him and then basing all new reporting off of that — Donald Trump would never have been president in the first place. That is, he would never have gotten close enough for his pal Vladimir to vote suppress & cheat “wins” out of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan in 2016. That’s because even before Trump ran, we knew — meaning the information was available in the public domain if only one went looking for it (journalistically) — that Donald Trump was a criminal.

In 2017, before the Democrats re-took the House and the Republicans were going after the Steele Dossier (because they knew it was damning and damaging to them), they hauled Fusion GPS’s co-founder Glenn Simpson (formerly a writer for the Wall Street Journal) before the Senate Judiciary Committee (August 27, 2017). Before Fusion went to work for Hillary Clinton’s campaign, its oppo research on Donald Trump was financed by the Washington Free Beacon — backers of Jeb Bush at the time.

What motivated Fusion to sub-contract out to Christopher Steele, was the question. Steele had been The Guy running the MI6’s Russia Desk. He had the best sources inside Russia of anyone outside Russia. Steele’s rep was solid top to bottom. When the FBI went after FIFA’s Sep Blatter for corruption, they hired Chris Steele to do a lot of heavy lifting for them. He’s good.

But, WHY did Fusion feel the need to sub-contract anything out to Chris Steele? Simpson testified that, upon the hire, Fusion did what they always did — what any reputable research company would do: their due diligence. In Fusion’s case, it got its hands on every PUBLICLY AVAILABLE newspaper article, magazine piece, radio interview, TV appearance — anything and everything about Donald Trump. They researched online. They bought things from Amazon. They listened to Howard Stern. They went to old book stores and combed the shelves. They even went to the public library.

Simpson testified that what Fusion found there — in publicly available material — convinced them that Donald Trump was very possibly a criminal. A shitload of evidence pointed to Trump laundering Russian mob money through the buying and selling of condos in Trump properties and (especially) through his (now bankrupt) Atlantic City casinos. Regardless of whether Trump humiliated himself sexually with Russian hookers on video or humiliated himself by being overtly racist (on video) while Russian hookers pissed all over the bed in Moscow where the Obamas slept, Trump laundered Russian mob money. As much as Trump and those around him insist that “Trump’s a germaphone! He would never consort with hookers!” no one has yet asserted “And he would never launder money for Russian mobsters”.

Strange that, don’tcha think?

You’d think, in the story we’re all bingeing on because it’s our lives, that THAT kind of detail — that no one denies Trump’s a money launderer for the Russian mob — would make it onto the “Previously On” somewhere somehow. And yet, between CNN & MSNBC, no one seems to grasp how stories and storytelling works. They certainly don’t grasp that, in a sense, ALL stories begin with a collective sense of “Previously On”.

If our MSM had “Previously On-ed” this story from the beginning, here’s (a little of) what that “Previously On” would contain…

PREVIOUSLY ON “The Trump Shit Show”:

A family history of racism.

A personal history of racism.

A personal history of involvement with organized crime and criminals.

A further personal history that Trump insists remain hidden from view including his school records, health records and tax returns.

Did we mention that Trump still refuses to show us his tax returns?

A history of sexual violence.

Admissions to acts of sexual assault.

An ex-wife who accused him of raping her.

Fraudulent use of his beauty pageant.

Accusations of walking in on underage beauty pageant contestants so he could ogle them.

Accusations — and VIDEO — of inappropriate touching and outright assault.

A history of making wildly inappropriate statements about having sex with underage girls including his own daughter Ivanka.

A long, sordid history with Russia and Russians (including money laundering and likely recruitment by Russian intelligence).

A long and consistent string of business failures and bankruptcies.

A long and consistent pattern of abusive litigiousness.

A long history of dubious hiring practices.

A complete and utter lack of taste.

A history as an adulterer.

He paid off Stormy Daniels (and other women) before Election 2016 — specifically to keep those stories from coming out before the election.

He accepted illegal campaign donations.

He openly conspired with Wikileaks and Russia throughout the election.

Mitch McConnell refused to let We The People in on the secret that Russia was actively trying to make Donald Trump POTUS. At the September “Gang Of 8 Meeting” in the White House, McConnell told Obama that if he made that fact public, McConnell would accuse Obama of politicizing the intelligence. In point of fact, Obama was trying to tell America the truth.

Mitch McConnell got the sanctions lifted on Russian spy Oleg Deripaska in order to score $300 million for a Russian aluminum factory in western Kentucky. Deripaska was sanctioned BECAUSE HE HELPED THROW THE 2016 ELECTION to Trump.

He openly admitted to racism: “Mexicans are rapists“.

He openly admitted to rape-behavior (“pussy-grabbing“).

He openly admitted to more racism: “There are decent people on both sides“.

He violated his oath of office the moment he took it. He has violated the Constitution’s Emoluments clause every second of his presidency.

His political party openly broke every established norm that allowed for bi-partisan governance. Mitch McConnell denying Merrick Garland a hearing was a Constitutional crisis all by itself because one branch of govt was denying another its Constitutionally mandated role. We The People voted for Barack Obama. THAT was his authority to nominate judges.

The Republican Party KNEW that members of their party were taking money from Russia.

The NRA took shitloads of money from Russia.

The NRA — and lots of Republicans — were compromised by highly skilled, highly trained Russian Intelligence Officer Maria Butina.

Everyone at the July 2016 Trump Tower meeting knew exactly what they were doing.

The Mueller Report does not exonerate Donald Trump. In fact, it does the opposite.

Donald Trump has behaved not just “strangely” toward Russian president Vladimir Putin (and every Russian), he’s behaved TREASONSLY.

Donald Trump tried to extort Ukraine — which is ILLEGAL.

Donald Trump asked China for help on Biden — which is ILLEGAL.

Trump has clearly conspired with Saudi Arabia’s MBS to cover up the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Trump’s tax cut for the rich screwed the economy. Everyone agrees.

Donald Trump has put children in cages. He’s separated families possibly forever and traumatized literally thousands of children.

Trump has lied an extraordinary number of times for a human being never mind the President of the United States.

Trump has called the press “The Enemy Of The People” and treated them that way.

Trump’s pandemic response is directly responsible for killing tens of thousands of Americans.

The only reason Trump hasn’t been indicted yet is because of a bizarre Department of Justice rule (meant to keep Spiro Agnew from pardoning Nixon). At present he is “UNINDICTED CO-CONSPIRATOR #1” in the Michael Cohen case.

Donald Trump has obstructed justice every day of his presidency. Bill Barr is not behaving as the country’s chief law officer.

Bill Barr OPENLY LIED about what the Mueller Report says.

Donald Trump has gutted the federal government. One of the agencies he gutted would have been actively engaged early on at mitigating coronavirus’ impact on us, our health, our economy.

Tune in tomorrow. You know there’ll be lots more…

There Is Only One Answer – Election 2016 Must Be Completely Voided

It’s taken almost 3 years for the Main Stream News Media to broadcast things that, when loons like me used to say them, got eye rolls so hard they nearly burst out of the heads rolling them.

Russia — or any other bad actor — COULD ABSOLUTELY hack into voting machines — in real time even — and CHANGE THEIR TALLIES. That’s even after voters (all Democrats, don’tcha know!) have survived being hacked out of the voter rolls to begin with. Let’s not skip past that very important point: a vote suppressed (where the voter could not vote or was not allowed to vote or was “provisional or was dissuaded from voting via lies sent directly to their FB pages) is a vote stolen. It means the other side’s votes count more; we don’t know for certain what the ratio is — of Republican votes to suppressed or obliterated Democratic votes.

Ya gotta figure — if all those votes Republicans work so hard to suppress were guaranteed Republican votes? We would not be having this conversation. Hell — each of those voters would be limo’d to their polling place, fed, entertained (probably including hand release if they want it) then limo’d home and eased into bed. Same goes for every single Central American refugee trying desperately to get into this country.

Let’s be very clear about WHY all of this is happening. We are experiencing a perfect storm of greed, graft, gall & treachery. The greed, graft & gall all flow from Republicans recognizing that America’s demographics spell eventual doom form them. They are (and always have been — in modern times — we ain’t talking about “The Party Of Lincoln” here) the party of White Christian Male Privilege. Guys like Lee Atwater, Newt Gingrich and Mitch McConnell saw it and saw what they had to do to maintain that privilege for as long as possible if not forever: they had to break the system.

Republicans got that the executive branch was forever gone (take away the bullshittiest SCOTUS decision ever — Bush v Gore) and Al Gore is POTUS. Take away Russia and Hillary Clinton is POTUS. Take away the Electoral College and Republicans can’t even get within the DC City Limits.

They saw, the GOP did, that the House of Representatives was also likely a lost cause. Good thing the Senate is weighted so heavily toward rural states where all the white power lives. It doesn’t put the Senate out of reach for Democrats — it demands a whole other kind of politics however.

That left the judiciary — the one (theoretically co-equal) branch of government that Republicans could (using the Senate) seize, pervert & (using lifetime appointments) employ to circumvent the majority’s will (regarding birth control, climate change, voting rights, immigration). To that end and effect, Mitch McConnell refused to grant Merrick Garland so much as a hearing. He refused to process most of Obama’s other judicial nominees.

Can we all just agree, please — Mitch McConnell (Moscow Mitch as he’s trending now on Twitter) is among the vilest humans to ever walk the planet and – bonus points – one of the worst villains to ever turtle walk across the American political stage. Mitch — beholden to the Kochs & Mercers, beholden to millions of dollars of Russian patronage into his PACS, beholden to oligarchs and any number of other bad actors — deserves to be tried & punished for treason. That’s as factual as facts get.

Though the Republican Party may have resisted Trump at first, they got seduced easily. Having secrets (including emails stolen from the RNC, as yet unrevealed to the public but very much a fact) makes you vulnerable to blackmail. I present the pride of the Carolinas Senator Lindsey Graham who went from calling Trump a racist to proudly pointing to all the places on his uvula where Trump spattered his racist DNA. Once the GOP bought in to Trumpism, they bought in all the way.

The Mueller Report — in print and in Mueller’s unwilling oral presentation — made concrete points: Russia cyber attacked us, our election, our whole Democratic process — and Donald Trump and the Republican party knew it, accepted it and participated in it. When they feared being discovered, they lied about it and obstructed justice in every single way they could.

They’re still at it — just like Robert Mueller said. He was referring strictly to Russia but — he’d already suggested that Trump and those around him were complicit. I’m sure Robert Mueller knew — as he stared back at Republicans like sexual-assault enabler Jim Jordan, DUI-guy Matt Gaetz and scumbag-di-tutti-scumbags Devin Nunes — that each and every one was a flat-out traitor.

The Republican Party approached Election 2016 like a thief approaching the score of his life. He had lots of help but still wondered if they could all pull it off. Keep in mind what we’re talking about here. This isn’t some drunken fraternity prank — this is criminal. It’s aiding and abetting a foreign enemy hellbent on 1) undermining our whole system & 2) profiting from it via the lifting of sanctions. Russia’s efforts — active measures all — aren’t “war-like”, they’re WAR. Cyber War. Information War.

Anyone who thinks wars require bombs and bullets will lose every war they ever fight going forwards. The Russians (or Iran or North Korea or any number of others) could shut down our power grid — you better believe that’s do-able — and we’d sue for peace. Cyber War IS War. We’re under attack. Think of us like Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941 — 20 minutes BEFORE the Japanese Imperial Navy arrives and starts bombing, The war has already started, the Americans at Pearl Harbor simply didn’t know it yet.

That’s us, not recognizing an empirical fact — that the man occupying the White House was PUT there by a hostile foreign power as part of an act of outright WAR. That means the crimes being committed in concert with Russia are crimes being committed in war time. THAT makes them picture-definition treason.

Let’s be clear again. What the Republican Party did & keeps doing is treasonous. That’s not hyperbole. What Mitch McConnell is doing — refusing to beef up our election security IN ANY WAY is treason on the hoof and in plain sight. THAT is absolutely what the Republicans are up to now and what they were up to back when we all went to vote in 2016.

What happened on November 7, 2016 was neither free nor fair. The Republican Party collaborated with Russia to steal the election and pull off a soft coup d’etat meant to undermine The Rule Of Law and install permanent minority rule. THAT was the actual result of election 2016 — the Republican Party deliberately circumvented the Will of the American People.

Well how the hell can THAT possibly stand?

It can’t. Of course it can’t. If one dollar of Russian money flowed into Republican campaign coffers, that’s a crime. It doesn’t matter if it stopped there (it didn’t); the Rule Of Law isn’t proportional, it’s absolute. If one voter was denied their right to vote then the election was NOT entirely free & fair. Again — the Rule Of Law is not proportional; it is absolute.

You cannot — in the abstract — break the law to become president of the US. You cannot break the law in reality either. And you cannot claim to have “won” an election when the only reason you “won” is because a hostile foreign power MADE YOU WIN.

That means Donald Trump never won anything. Having not actually WON, he didn’t earn the right to take the oath of office or do anything he did after that. He never had the right or the privilege to name judges — including two SCOTUS judges. The authority was NEVER vested in HIM. He did it WITHOUT actual authority.

That means those two judges — hell, EVERY judge nominated by Trump (never mind that the AEI and the Federalist Society who did the actual choosing) are as illegitimate as Trump is. Every bit of legislation. Every executive action. Every statement. Every tweet. Every racist, misogynistic, bigoted, ignorant statement — it was Trumpian but it wasn’t “official”.

So — what do we “do with” all these illegitimate judges and laws (like the tax giveaway)? I heard former Republican David Jolley on MSNBC this morning saying that maybe we just have to let 2016 go — as a “life lesson” for our Democracy.

Ummmm, no, David. Absolutely not. That’s telling the rape victim to get over it. We were raped. Our Democracy was raped. How else would you describe the Republican party shoving themselves on us regardless of how long and how loudly we protest. They’ve “inserted themselves” into us, like it or not. The bombing at Pearl Harbor has begun.

See that pile of bodies over there? See the flames? It’s all real.

It is incumbent on We The People to void every last bit of Election 2016. How do we do that exactly? I’m not sure. We’ve never had to do it before. But then, we’ve never had a president — and his whole political party — sell us out to an enemy before. None of this is explicitly mentioned in the Constitution.

We may have look & think outside the box (and the Constitution) for answers and solutions. Let’s start by throwing every single Republican in prison where they belong and by repealing every last bit of 2016.

If we don’t do that, we’ll be setting ourselves up for failure. It’ll be “Slavery: The Sequel”.

How Must Robert Mueller Feel About Being A “R”epublican Today? “R”otten, I bet…

I’m old enough to remember when the Republican Party wasn’t a racist, homophobic, misogynistic cess pit of White Nationalist tribalism and Trumpian treason.

I can remember when that “R” GOP-ers stick next to their names used to stand for “Republican”. Now it could just as easily stand for “Russia”. Or “Rape” or “Racist”.

I can remember when Republicans brought receipts (“receipts” being an “R” Republicans no longer have a relationship with). Now they bring lies and bullshit by the bucket.

And they bring treason. How must lifelong Republican Robert Mueller felt today, staring across the table at the Republican faces staring back — while they (totally without credibility) tried to undermine his. On paper it’s obscene. In reality it was even worse. Imagine how it must have felt to Mueller to be attacked by the likes of Representative Matt Gaetz from Florida (he of a dozen or so DUI’s) or Ohio’s Representative Jim Jordan (he who enabled all that sexual assault to go on on the Ohio State University wrestling team). Imagine, if you will, having to take shit from Louie Gohmert — easily the stupidest man in all of Texas.

Imagine arriving at what you know is a pivotal moment in American history and YOUR party-members are clearly doing everything in their power to obstruct justice while aiding & abetting the hostile foreign power that is attacking us as we speak. Just so we’re clear — America IS absolutely under attack. We are deep into a cyber war — and getting our asses kicked in large part because we refuse to acknowledge that this is what’s happening.

The citizens of Pearl Harbor had no idea that war had been declared on them. They did, of course, when the Japanese arrived and began bombing, but just because the bombs hadn’t started dropping doesn’t mean they weren’t coming. It doesn’t mean a state of war didn’t exist — that only one side knew was on.

That’s a lot like our situation. We’ve been slow to wake up to the fact that we’ve been cyber attacked. Are still BEING cyber attacked. That cyber attack includes disinformation warfare. As we know from experience — it’s incredibly effective.

Robert Mueller sounded the alarm bells. It was one of the few times he stepped outside the framework of his report. But he was emphatic. Russia is attacking us right this very second.

As he stared across the table at his fellow Republicans, Robert Mueller knew damned well — he was staring at people who were betraying not just his party and its supposed ideals but the country. Robert Mueller had to know today that his Republican Party doesn’t exist anymore.

Okay – Let’s Say Donald Trump’s Presidency IS Illegitimate. What’s It Mean…?

Former President Jimmy Carter spoke Truth several weeks back from a rare perch — as a former President Of The United States. He said unequivocally that he believes Donald Trump’s presidency is illegitimate. He said, unequivocally, that Donald Trump did NOT his election, that Russia changed the outcome of the election to make Donald Trump president.

I’m trying to recall the last time a former president called out a sitting president for being a traitor… and coming up dry.

Trump projects everything he’s guilty of out into the public sphere or onto other people. It sure makes knowing what all he’s guilty of a lot easier; assume Trump’s guilty of everything.

From the beginning, Trump has projected his illegitimacy like a fireworks show. It’s like he wants us to know he got away it. He thinks doing anything legally is for suckers. Good thing the majority of Americans have seen right through him. It’s only his base and the Main Stream Media who either refuse to see Trump for what he really is or see him for the despicable racist/misogynist/bigot/traitor he is — but just don’t care to do anything about it.

Never mind that Trump lost by at least three million popular votes, there’s ample evidence available right here in public that says Trump probably didn’t win the Electoral College either. Take Russia out of the election 2016 equation and Donald Trump does not make it through the primaries.

Russia isn’t just a Trump problem. Until I hear definitely otherwise, I feel absolutely justified in assuming that every single Republican has taken money directly from Russia (or Russian cut-outs). As far as I can tell, Russia has its hooks in every single Republican. I’m going to need THEM to provide proof they are who/what they say.

Trump’s win — and every Republican win — is tainted by the stink of corruption, conspiracy, treason. There are multiple stories by solid sources that Russia fed money to Republican candidates via the NRA and through the pension accounts of longtime Russian emigres (whose monthly pensions suddenly went from a couple thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars which they then donated to Republican candidates.

Make no mistake the active measures Russia applied against our election amount to an act of war. Cyber War is just as much war as anything else — especially if it nets you the other guy’s presidency. Imagine — taking control of our White House and a growing chunk of our government — without having to fire a shot.

I will take Donald Trump at his word. His presidency is illegitimate. It’s an illusion of a presidency that’s really a criminal enterprise. The Republican Party knew about this as early as their convention in 2016. There’s a story that was reported on at the time about a conversation the GOP’s head muckety-mucks had. Representative Kevin McCarthy of California enters. Says “I think Putin pays money to Dana Rohrbacher and Donald Trump”.

Does anyone there gasp in horror and insist they all run right to the FBI? Of course not! The opposite happens. Corrupt, spineless Speaker of The House Paul Ryan says “We’re not going to talk about that here. We’re going to keep it in the family”. Not the American electorate family, mind you, the treasonous GOP electorate family.

That same family had already denied Barack Obama — and all the Americans who elected him fairly and squarely — at least one SCOTUS seat that was his to pick and a shit-ton of other life-term judicial appointments. Earning his keep from the Koch Bros, uber-villain and destroyer of the Senate Mitch McTreasonTurtle has made it his life’s work to install permanent minority rule in America.

Unfortunately for the Republicans, permanent minority rule is not something most Americans would vote for. And while they are trying to shove it down our throats, ultimately they will fail. The numbers say they will. The burgeoning number of women running for political office say they will.

Failure will devastate the Republicans. Everything about election 2016 will have to be voided. Every single lifetime appointment — gone. all those ludicrously cruel rules & regs? Shredded.

We don’t have a choice. The Will of the People was stolen. Their choice was denied them by corruption and by corrupt players. To allow the theft to go unpunished — and the result allowed to stand — would be the equivalent of allowing the crime itself to continue — unpunished.

That can’t possibly be good for anyone.

Why Our News Media Sucks — Steve Kornacki Edition

I consume a lot of news — not so much for the news as because the storyteller in me hates watching the story of all our lifetimes get fumbled so completely by America’s Main Stream News Media. As I’ve blogged here, American journalism is infected with a number of diseases, “Both Sides Do It-ism” being the most pernicious. We live inside a false narrative that Donald Trump is a legitimate POTUS because our MSM keeps that fallacy alive.

Our problem isn’t so much Donald Trump being an asset of Russian intelligence — which he absolutely is; it isn’t a question — our problem is that the whole Republican Party is also a Russian asset — being fully bought & paid for both with cash & secrets kept. And, our other problem — the Fourth Estate, charged with being the final check on power has failed us miserably whether through failure of imagination or utter lack of journalistic talent. Or, the other possibility — they never had an ounce of integrity to begin with.

Look — I’ve made TV shows & feature films. I’ve auditioned and hired hundreds of actors. Whenever I can, I like to read with actors myself (giving them more to work with than our casting directors might do). Reporters are no different from actors. They’re just actors who’ve learned how to share a microphone because how they “act” can impact how an interview turns out or how they report a story. Trust me — they’re actors reading from a script, most of them. Which brings us to Steve Kornacki…

I’m sure Steve’s a lovely guy to work with. He seems upbeat, like he’d be a fun hang. But that ain’t what we’re here to talk about.

Most of the time, Steve works the numbers. His co-workers always seem amazed by the fact that Steve has all these numbers at his fingertips but Steve’s not compiling those numbers, he’s just reporting them — then adding a gloss of “analysis”. Steve’s great at pointing at the numbers. They seem to excite him like nothing else. And he can bore in deep on just about any number in front of him. But for all Steve can tell us about a grain of sand, what is made of, he can’t tell you where that grain of sand is. He has no idea whether it sits on a desert island or in the middle of the Sahara Desert.

Like a lot of numbers guys, Steve has no perspective about the numbers beyond the numbers themselves. That stunning lack of perspective is what makes Steve Kornacki so ordinary. He’s like a lot of modern American journalists.

The problem is this — Why can’t (why won’t) the Steve Kornacki’s report the Trump Russia story faithfully? Why do they insist on normalizing behaviors that should never have been normalized under any circumstances? Our MSM acts like they’ve only just stumbled over Donald Trump’s racism. Um, no, folks — Trump’s been racist since he dropped from Mary Trump’s rancid womb.

What does it take for a person in America’s Main Stream News Media — Steve, for instance — to accept facts as facts? Why would a reporter — Steve, for instance — make statements that reveal either 1) he hasn’t read the full Mueller Report or 2) he read it but was too stupid to understand it and too much of a male to ask questions? I offer this video as proof.

Here, Steve mixes it up with the always excellent Zerlina Maxwell. Steve literally leans in — the nice guy gets offended at being contradicted even though Zerlina brings nothing but receipts. Steve leaps in to inisist that the Mueller Report exonerates Trump of collusion — though (if ya read), that’s not even remotely what it says. Zerlina points out — she’s not voicing an OPINION about Trump’s complicity in stealing an election, she’s talking facts, evidence & a raft of serious-as-a-heart-attack accusations.

What, Steve Kornacki, is so hard about doing your damned job?

I Made A Terrific New Friend Yesterday — My Diametric Opposite

I am not making this up. I met my diametric opposite a few days ago. We kinda it it off. By yesterday, when we parted ways, I couldn’t get him out of my head.

Come the fall, my daughter will matriculate at UC-Davis. Despite the havoc Prop 13 wreaked upon California’s educational system, our state universities remain a shining example of what public education can be. For two days, we were both plunged into the University’s culture — my daughter off with the students, me off with the parents. As this isn’t my first time at the UC Rodeo, I was familiar with the tropes. The nuggets of good, UC-Davis-specific info were massively outnumbered by well-meaning-but-generic suggestions about dealing with our freshman angst and our own.

My new friend Gary and I started chatting — just because we were sitting near each other while waiting for one of the information sessions to start. We all wore badges with our names, our student’s first name and their intended major. That way, all the parents had a way to break the ice with each other — just by reading each others’ badges.

I’m not subtle in a room. Gary saw me immediately for what I was — a progressive. Gary did a little “lawyerly” poking around. He showed me a picture of a Remington rifle he was interested in buying. It was a nice-looking rifle. Not my thing but, still, my under-reaction surprised Gary.

The subject of marijuana had come up. I forget why. It seems to come up a lot around me. Gary had recently developed type 2 diabetes. When he and I and the two other hookey-playing dads sat down for an off-campus beer, Gary and I were the only non-drinkers. I asked if he ever used cannabis instead. Gary said he almost did once (at UC-Davis — he was a very proud alum) but hadn’t since — and really couldn’t because of his work.

Gary, ya see, is a judge. A very conservative judge from a very conservative part of California. The instant I heard Gary was a judge, I was captivated. I grew up a surgeon’s son. While I thought of my dad as “dad”, other people revered my dad because of what he did — and did for them. Working as I have in show business, I’ve seen people be revered because they can memorize dialogue and act it out on cue. But, perhaps because I grew up being unimpressed, I became immune to being impressed. Gary being a judge (never mind his politics) made him a guy with a job I wanted to know more about. The perfect basis for a friendship.

Now, I hope Gary will forgive me for this. I’m about to give away his secret. He’s a profoundly decent man. His care and compassion for drug addicts — his work on their behalf to keep them out of the penal system (but with the penal system’s threat very real) makes him a hero. There’s a saying in the Talmud: “Save one life, you save the world”. I told Gary that’s what he was doing. He downplayed it. The last laugh is mine — I’m shouting it from the rooftops here.

The truth is, because Gary isn’t a doctrinaire conservative — and I’m a pragmatic progressive — we found an amazing amount of, if not common ground, then ground where structures could be built where we both could live. It’s funny how when you put politics — even differing politics — inside decent people, one hears the differences but one also sees a way to get past them. Decency is a remarkable thing, I tell ya!

Decency means you have to listen sometimes — and wait your turn to counter. You have to argue facts and not feelings. You have to stay reasoned and reasonable.

I have a confession to make. I used what my new friend Gary told me about himself against him. And he let me. The subject of Donald Trump came up. The subject of Russia came up. The subject of Robert Mueller and The Mueller Report came up.

Gary said he hadn’t read the report, didn’t intend to, and thought it was a waste of time. That’s when I played dirty. I talked to my new friend Gary as the compassionate, law-abiding judge I knew he was — there was video, news reporting — testimonials from drug addicts who’d been saved from their own demons. Gary is especially fond of his time in drug court. He’s put more than a few demons to the sword there.

I put Robert Mueller into Gary’s courtroom,. Was Mueller a “good witness”? Purple Heart War Hero… Second longest-serving FBI Director… a man who’d spent his whole career as a public servant — whose reputation even now remains sterling. I asked — if the evidence presented in the 488 page Mueller Report was evidence presented in HIS courtroom, how would Gary feel about it?

I told you — Gary is a very decent man. He did not disagree that AG Bill Barr misrepresented Robert Mueller and his work product. The more we talked about the subject, the quieter Gary became. I don’t argue feelings. I argue facts (and I can back up everything with receipts if needed because I’ve learned the hard way — it sucks being humiliated by someone who does bring proof that they know whereof they speak). But feelings are part of the equation and depending on how intense those feelings are, the facts can easily get de-contextualized. A fact out of context is a statistic waiting to be abused.

Gary and I talked about the 2nd amendment too. We talked about how it’s worded. We talked about guns and gun culture. Though it pains me to say it, i don’t see how we’d ever make America a giant gun-free zone. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work toward it. My bet is the more women flood the political system, the tighter gun restrictions will be because mothers hate the thought of anyone’s baby getting shot.

Guns will be a series of conversations we’ll have over time, I bet. I believe we will have those conversations. And though we won’t see eye-to-eye, I believe we’ll begin to see ways to bridge the chasm. Decency, I believe, will make the chasm harder to maintain. I hope that Gary’s decency was a reflection of my own. Having someone listen to you — really listen — changes things.

I bonded with Gary. I found a compadre (and a partner in crime). I found someone whose world fascinates me — as my world fascinates him. I doubt we’ll ever have the same war stories.

As someone who rages against political opponents like a fool shrieking into the void, I found it incredibly satisfying to listen. To ask questions. To understand the perspective that made another person who they are.

I guess that’s what happened. I looked inside the heart of another person — and saw them beneath what they thought.

I can’t say for sure if this new friendship will endure. I want it to. I already come away from it enriched by it.

We’re Living Through World War THREE – And Don’t Even Know It

Anyone who thinks you need bombs & bullets to win a war is going to lose every war they ever fight going forwards. Right now — that’s us.

We’ve been under intense Cyber attack ever since Donald Trump became part of our political process. That’s not hyperbole or conjecture — it’s material fact — contained right there in the Mueller Report. Russia didn’t just “meddle” in election 2016, they changed its outcome. They made Donald Trump the winner even though he absolutely was not.

Don’t tell me about voting machines — how if no voting machines were impacted, how can the vote be effected. That’s just as ignorant and troglodytic as thinking cyber war doesn ‘t happen. First of all, no official forensics have ever been done on any of the voting machines in Pennsylvania, Michigan or Wisconsin (that I know of). Those are three of the four states for which Paul Manafort handed over proprietary polling data to Oleg Deripaska — who then gave them to the GRU (Russian military intelligence) for weaponization. Unofficial forensics on the numbers by terrific citizen journalists like Mike Farb and Jennifer Cohen have pointed to numerous clear anomalies. Counties with the exact same percentages of Trump v Hillary vote tabulations. it doesn’t pass the “what a coincidence” smell test.

The point is, we don’t KNOW if machines were attacked and their vote totals altered — we’ve never asked the question. It’d be easy enough to DO the forensics and put the conspiracy theories to bed. Wonder why they don’t…

If you honestly think a changed vote at the point of purchase — a voting machine — is the only way to flip an election, you will lose every election you run in going forward. That, too, is contained within the Mueller Report — how weaponized social media works — and rest assured it does. If one — ONE — single voter (their voter data stolen, weaponized and turned back on them via an ad on THEIR Facebook page) changed their vote or changed their mind about voting in the first place — that, too, is like changing their actual ballot. If you LIE them into NOT VOTING, their non-vote aids the opponent — it’s as good as a vote that’s been stolen because it directly impacts the election’s outcome.

One vote can change an election’s outcome. That means our tolerance for bullshit here can only be ONE VOTE. That is our margin for error.

Trust me on this — please — more than ONE VOTE was changed via weaponized (stolen) voter data. This virtual attack on our voting system was meant to directly alter the election’s outcome. It was meant to circumvent the will of the American people in order to put Vladimir Putin’s candidate — Donald Trump — in the White House instead.

Every word of that is true. And — it’s right there in the Mueller Report, too — Every member of the Trump Crime Family, their entourage and every member of the Republican Party knows it too. What else could you call this BUT an ACT OF WAR? If Putin shut off our power grid tomorrow — something he CAN DO apparently — we’d sue for peace immediately on whatever terms he dictated. We’d have to.

Imagine — a war fought and lost without a shot being fired.

Sound horrifyingly possible? Well, BE horrified — it’s happening. We’re living in. We are that frog slowly being boiled to death, completely unaware. Problem is, it isn’t us that’s being boiled away, it’s our Democracy.

Donald Trump knows the only thing standing between him and indictment for multiple crimes is a stupid Department of Justice rule meant to keep Spiro Agnew from pardoning Richard Nixon back during Watergate. Once out of office, Trump will be instantly indictable — and indicted. He has to fight tooth & nail to remain in office forever because the alternative will be criminal charges, prosecution and — cos he’s SO incredibly guilty — asset forfeiture. It’s a fact, being such a ginormous criminal, Trump has no incentive to leave power EVER.

It’s maddening that we’ve been so slow to see this — though Trump’s been sociopathic about it from the get-go. He’s projected every last bit of it (with remarkable candor actually) — that his presidency was totally illegitimate, that his election was “rigged”, that he is Putin’s bitch. He’s also projected from the start that he intends to stay in power forever. He’s told his followers that — and they love the idea.

Want to know the worst part of living through World War Three? It’s seeing so many Fifth Columns already fanning out (like in, say Oregon where armed militias SHUT DOWN THE STATE CAPITOL). It’s knowing that one of our broadcast networks is a propaganda wing for Trump — and therefore for Russia. What — it’s not bad enough we still have cable systems & satellite providers pumping RT into our homes? We need a “news” network propagandizing, too?

I think of our situation as being akin to the Hawaiians living at Pearl Harbor on the morning of December 7, 1941. The Japanese attacked at 7:22 a.m. — that’s when their first airplanes arrived and began dropping bombs. But, if we visited with those people at, say, 6:45 a.m. — and asked them — “Hey, are you at war with anyone?” They would have said no. That included Japan.

Just because you don’t know you’re at war doesn’t mean you aren’t. And just because a war wasn’t formally declared — well, bullets and bombs don’t care about your semantics. They’ll kill you even if you want to call them something kinder and gentler. You can call a bullet a marshmallow but when they bust that marshmallow inside your head, you’re dead.