Wait- We Mandate Auto Insurance Because Cars Can Kill People But We DON’T Mandate Insurance For Guns – Which Are DESIGNED To Kill?

Fact: if every gun owner had to insure every gun in their possession (and the penalties for NOT insuring were crushingly astronomical), America would not have a gun problem today.

The gun lobby has so bamboozled America that we’ve forgotten what guns are and what they aren’t. Forget what nonsense anyone uses to explain their gun purchase. They’re answering the wrong question. We shouldn’t ask “why do you need a gun?” – it’s too generic and it avoids the fact of what guns really are. The whole point of a gun’s design – the physics, the chemistry, the technology, the arrangement of gun parts across the device – is to send a piece of metal flying at speed across space and into a living target, the goal being to kill it. How can that NOT be your goal? You may not “want” to kill the living creature you just fired at, but killing them is one of the very real possibilities that firing your gun at them could produce. Killing someone was always a possibility the moment you took the gun from its gun safe (something guns aren’t designed to do – sit in a safe ). The true measure of whether or not someone’s a “responsible” gun owner begins the moment they give their gun a chance to do the thing they purchased it to do: kill.

Fact: no gun owner can say with one hundred percent certainty that once the gun is out and about – however it got there – that nothing unexpected will happen. No one can say accidents won’t or can’t happen. So – death is always a possibility when one purchases a death machine. So, the question isn’t “why did you buy a gun?”, it’s “why did you buy a death machine?” Hey, if Joe Citizen looks at the rest of us and honestly thinks they need that much protection from us? That’s not on us, that’s on John.

The Second Amendment – as written (not as reimagined by the gun lobby) is pro gun CONTROL. It contextualizes gun possession from a “well regulated militia’s” point of view – a militia being a group with combined mutual interests, safety above all – and puts the decision of who gets to “keep and bear” (it doesn’t use the word “own”) these arms – the REGULATION part – in the militia’s hands. In the absence of a defined militia, We The People become it. Our majority voice speaks for the militia. The majority of Americans (not being gun owners themselves) continue to speak clearly and distinctly about how WE feel the militia should handle these decisions – who gets to “keep and bear arms”. The militia – We The People – get to regulate however we like. The ONLY thing we know about the militia is that is IS regulated. So, why, in our democracy, can’t the militia’s – sorry, the majority’s – regulations and voice get heard?

Because of the gun lobby. The people who manufacture guns are exceptional at selling their product. They succeeded in turning the NRA from a gun safety organization into a gun manufacturer’s pimp.

Think of a shooting from the gun’s point of view. It’s guilty of nothing. It did what the person holding it wanted: it told everyone else that the person holding it had the power to kill them dead.

A lot of money has been spent on reframing how Americans – unlike any other people on earth – think about death machines. In Michigan, they just passed a law allowing high school students to conceal carry at school. Think about it… that KID (that’s what any 18 year old boy is) in Michigan needs to pass tests and get licensed to drive his car to school. His folks need to insure the car – and insure him – because cars, though designed to transport people from point A to point B – when driven by fallible human beings (like an 18 year old boy) – can do something they WEREN’T designed to do: hurt or kill people. Ah, but, as trained as our young man is as a driver, as licensed and insured as he is, no such qualifications apply to the death machine – designed to kill people – this young man has in his pocket.

Did I say “young man”? I meant ANGRY young man…

The reason there’s no such thing as “responsible gun ownership’ is because 1) it’s entirely made up and 2) we don’t mandate it. Gun owners can give their lame excuses for why they need guns (let’s put hunters aside for another day and conversation) and then convince themselves that, yes indeedy, they are what responsible gun owners look like. Know who thought that way? Nancy Lanza. Remember her? Nancy Lanza was Adam Lanza’s mom. Adam Lanza was the Sandy Hook shooter.

Nancy Lanza believe up until she died – unaware because her son shot her while she slept – that SHE was a “responsible gun owner”. You could not have convinced her otherwise. But then something unexpected happened and, before she even knew it, a “responsible” gun owner fell into the “irresponsible gun owner” column. It’s too bad the kids and adults who died at Sandy Hook didn’t get the warning. But, that’s the problem, ya see. We gun non-owners? We never get to know which of you gun owners are really, really responsible and which of you are full of shit until it’s too late. Sorry, but the data set says that “trusting you” that you are one of the responsible ones isn’t a very good idea.

If I get into an accident and I have no insurance, I will be liable. People seeking damages from me will have fair access to anything and everything I own. Irresponsibility’s gotta have a mega-steep price tag otherwise it becomes just one more option for the lazy and stupid. Want to know why gun owners are terrified at the prospect of having to insure their gun purchases? When the bean counters wade in, they’re going to make gun ownership – well, the cost of insuring one’s guns – prohibitively expensive for the majority of gun owners. Because accidents CAN (and do) happen – as the data proves.

Why don’t we mandate gun insurance for every gun purchase? Because of that same bamboozlement. The greedy gun lobby knows that mandated gun insurance will price the majority of their customers out of the market. And all those people with small arsenals? Think of their insurance costs. Because every weapons is a death machine all by itself (whose harm needs to be calculated on the harm it can do when OUT of its safe), every weapon needs to be insured individually. If such a thing came to pass, it would suck to be the gun manufacturers but be great to be in the insurance biz.

It simply can’t be said enough because it is the simple truth: every single gun manufactured is an accident or a tragedy that just hasn’t happened yet.

Republicans Are Overgrown Schoolyard Bullies – On Steroids

It’s weird, isn’t it, how some of us never leave the schoolyard? In a sense, the schoolyard never leaves those people; the schoolyard was where they peaked emotionally. “Bullies” (which includes pretty much everyone with an “R” still next to their name) look back fondly at their days terrorizing a schoolyard. They achieved a kind of mastery of their subject matter. the Zen of cruelty. They learned who they can cow, who will carry their water for them and who they needn’t bother with – because people with integrity don’t give in to bullies (without plotting to end their bullying). Republicans gravitate toward other, bigger bullies. That is, their faces light up in a bigger bully’s presence. Look at how Trump’s face lights up when he sees Vladimir Putin —

Putin bullies Trump because Putin owns Trump – a fact the entire Republican Party leadership knew before they even nominated Trump. On June 25, 2016, upon entering a meeting of GOP leaders, current GOPP Leader Kevin McCarthy said: “There’s two people I think Putin pays – Rohrbacher and Trump – swear to god!” Obviously, this fact isn’t something Trump wants known – otherwise, he’d blast it: “Putin pays me – that’s how much he loves me!” Trump has done everything in his power to prevent the rest of us from learning just how true that is. The Republicans have co-conspired to obstruct justice because they could very easily have called the FBI on that day – and warned them that their potential nominee to be POTUS was a grave national security threat. They didn’t; instead, the Republican Leadership rallied around then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan’s direction that they not talk about the subject any further – and that they keep this secret of theirs a secret.

See how bullying works? One bully compromises another and then that bully compromises a bunch of other bullies – guys like Lindsey Graham who famously said that if the Republican Party made Trump their nominee, that they would be the cause of their own downfall. Lindsey’s the worst kind of bully; in a crowd of gutless wonders, Lindsey is the most gutless. Perhaps the stories about Lindsey Graham preferring his lovers on the young side is true. Something has to explain how Donald Trump turned Lindsey from an impediment to an ally over the course of one golf outing together. When you hear Lindsey speak about Trump after that? Lindsey sounds like a bully who’s being bullied.

I have a feeling that, in time, we’ll learn how many Republicans were compromised by similar kompromat of one kind or another. I bet that number will be shocking. Think of all the avenues and openings there were! Remember Russia’s Mata Hari, Maria Butina? We already know some of the silly Republican men she seduced into treason (either sexually or otherwise): Rick Santorum, Wayne LaPierre (head of the NRA), conservative activist Paul Erickson who was “slowly cultivating a back channel to the Kremlin for years”. And what do ya suppose Ron Johnson and the rest of the Moscow Eight had for dinner in Moscow the evening of July 4, 2018? My betting is the vodka was icy cold, the blinis were warm and the treason was served piping hot. Let’s add Senators Richard Shelby (AL), Steve Daines (MT), John Hoeven (ND), John Kennedy (LA), Jerry Moran (KS) and John Thune (SD) plus Texas Rep Kay Granger) to the pile of traitors and bullies.

Doesn’t the word “bully” flash across your mind when you hear that Marjory Taylor Greene’s name is trending somewhere? Doesn’t the smirk permanently stuck to Laurene Boebert’s mouth parts scream “I’m a bully!”

Matt Gaetz going after underage girls was a total “I’m a bully” move. And, Jim Jordan famously turned a blind eye to the sexual abuse going on while he was pretty much “in the room”. Pick a Republican and there will be a story or two or three or a hundred about something untoward surrounding them. Let’s not forget: the January 6 insurrection didn’t happen spontaneously. It was planned (as meticulously as a bunch of racist incompetents can plan a thing). It was deliberate and ambitious and it knew that what it wanted to do was absolutely illegal.

The good news is that bullies – being cowards who never stand for anything – are doomed to be bullies forever. They’re never hard to spot, easy to predict and reliable as hell. Their schtick is their schtick is their schtick. They shrink when threatened and puff up in the face of other people’s vulnerabilities. If they can’t kick someone when that someone is down, the bully isn’t kicking them/

Because the bullies victim could get up and kick the bully’s ass.

After Trump, There Won’t BE A Republican Party Anymore

A wise man (more like a wise guy actually) once tweeted ““If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed… and we will deserve it.” That was Lindsey Graham and he knew exactly what he was talking about. What Lindsey understood – deep down, it turns out – is that Trump both personified the Republican Party’s worst, greediest, most power mad instincts and gave them a vehicle with which to sell those instincts. Trump was and is the GOP’s id run amok. As much as the GOP establishment hated Trump – and KNEW he was so compromised by Russia that he’d be a national security threat the instant he took office – they hitched their wagons to his – and willingly allowed Trump to take over their political party top to bottom. Republicans have always known for a fact that Trump was a stone cold traitor. They knew for a fact that keeping it secret was imperative. They knew for a fact that Trump was their shot at forcing permanent minority rule down America’s throat.

As Trump himself pointed out – as always saying the quiet parts out loud – if more Americans vote, it’s bad for Republicans. Maybe if the Republicans hadn’t willed themselves to be a white nationalist party, that wouldn’t be the case.

What the Republicans are doing to America – trying in every way they can to undermine our democracy, the integrity of the vote and the entire American franchise – isn’t their “opinion”. It isn’t a “campaign strategy” or a “political approach”. It’s insurrection by nonviolent means – bloodless perhaps but no less deadly to our democracy. Same goes for The Big Lie. It’s not “one side of the argument”. The Big Lie is zero sides of the argument because it’s bullshit. Lies are not an alternative to the Truth. Alternative facts are not facts, they’re the opposite of facts: they’re feelings pretending to be facts – not the same damned thing!

If the Republicans want to blame someone for why there won’t be a GOP anymore after Trump? They should blame Gerald R. Ford. When Ford straight out pardoned Nixon – to spare America the pain of confronting a corrupt president, what he actually did was message the perps “Better luck next time, boys”. Plan better. Execute better. Win, don’t lose. Consequently, neither Nixon nor the Republican establishment expressed an ounce of contrition. But then, Nixonians like Roger Stone and Paul Manafort weren’t feeling contrite. They began licking their wounds and plotting.

That’s Paul Manafort on the left, Roger Stone in the middle and Republican political strategist Lee Atwater. Had Gerald Ford not stood in the way of justice, had he not had the political establishment’s back, had he allowed the nation to indict, prosecute and judge Nixon, it’s quite possible that we wouldn’t be in the fix we’re in now. Being nice to pirates never seems to work out for anyone except the pirates. An unpunished Nixon gave Paul Manafort the idea that he could betray America and get away with it. An unpunished Paul Manafort (Trump pardoned Manafort and sprang him from prison) gave the entire GOP the idea that corruption was still the business of America.

Corruption is certainly the business the Republican Party is in. Unfortunately for them, that’s not a product most Americans will continue to buy going forwards.

When the Department of Justice finally begins indicting elected Republicans over their roles in the January 6 insurrection, they may not stop until virtually every single Republican either is indicted or has a date with a Grand Jury for questioning. The insurrection, we’re now learning, was very well organized. Very well funded. Very much a product of the Republican Party and Donald Trump.

The thing about rich white people? They love their creature comforts. Prison dinner and a hard, metal bed are not something these criminals ever envisioned for themselves. That doesn’t mean they haven’t earned it. If we want to stop these criminals from criming, we’re going to need to drive it home to them that acting like a criminal is expensive, unsatisfying and not even remotely worthwhile.

I’ll be surprised if the Republicans are still viable enough to run a candidate for POTUS in 2024. It won’t be Trump and never was going to be Trump. For him, the whole point of running for president now is to sit on his bloated white backside and collect political donations. The instant Trump stops running for office, his cash machine breaks down and he’s going to need every bit of cash he can get his teeny-tiny hands on to stave off the inevitable.

America has changed since Nixon was POTUS. We’ve gotten more diverse. Though still facing an unequal playing field, more and more Black, brown, Asian and LGBTQ Americans are finding their way to political power. Having been on corruption’s receiving end, they have zero tolerance for it. What Nixon got away with, Donald Trump will not. And once Trump’s day of reckoning begins, the GOP’s day of reckoning will roll right along with it.

I find it hard to believe that when all is done and said, when every last bit of the Republican Party’s power grab has been revealed for the criminal behavior it was that there will be enough Republicans not in prison to “be” a viable political party. And,, if the strands of this corrupt party were to resurrect themselves and present themselves to America as a going concern with ideas Americans could get behind, what the hell would they be selling anyway? Can one really say “Hey, we know we used to be the Party that hated you all, but that isn’t who we are now!”? Can a candidate pitch himself as the less authoritarian authoritarian?

It’s entirely possible that once the indictments start dropping that Republicans begin running for cover – and looking for deals. Don’t forget: this is about treason. The punishment for treason is death. And when more and more Republicans begin to grasp just how angry they’ve made a lot of Americans – and how unwilling more and more Americans are to show a bunch of traitors an ounce of mercy? They’ll begin ratting each other out like there’s no tomorrow. Shame for them – all the good deals will be gone by then. They’ll be getting the judicial scraps.

The people who will be responsible for ending the Republican Party are all Republicans. It cannot happen a microsecond too soon.

Not Every Issue Has Two Sides – Like The Question “Should American Democracy End?”

The “Both Sides Do It” brand of journalism – cynical all the way down to its mitochondria – gives all sides to a story equal weight because it refuses to judge anything, prizing “neutrality” above even the Truth. Pick a conflict between two people, two groups, two nations and both sides, BSDI journalism says, have equally valid arguments that journalists should never side with. That is pure crap. Let’s say my personal conflict is with a car thief. My point of view is “You stole my car and that’s wrong in every single way.” The car thief’s angle is “I stole your car from you because I wanted it”. Now, according to BSDI journalism rules, these two points (separate from points of view) are equally valid. As the car thief’s “alleged victim”, it’s just my opinion versus his. If the car thief says he didn’t do it, and until a court of law says otherwise, then it’s not for the press to “convict” the car thief even as he sits in my car outside my house, blaring the horn just to rub his thievery in my face. Even my victimhood is just “my opinion”.

The moment you give credence to bullshit, bullshit wins. Game over. That’s what our news media does every single day. It’s what they did from the instant Donald Trump stepped onto our political stage. In essence, Trump’s campaign should have ended the day it started. The moment he called Mexicans rapists, our news media should have recognized that a line had been crossed. Same goes for “pussy grabbing”. That, too, should have been an uncrossable line in the sand for ANY presidential candidate. But, our news media shrugged them both off when “But, her emails!” reared its head. In doing that, our news media false equivalanced Donald Trump telling everyone he was unqualified to be POTUS with a completely manufactured email scandal.

What, I’d like to know, are the “two sides” to Paul Manafort handing Oleg Deripaska the proprietary polling data on Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin that Russian military intelligence – Deripaska’s employer – turned into personalized Facebook ads that showed up on the Facebook pages of Black, Democratic voters in those three states, feeding them propaganda about Hillary Clinton’s quiet racism? The sheer act of giving Deripaska that information was a massive crime (for which Manafort went to jail and for which Trump pardoned him). What, I’d like to know, is the “other side” to any of this? We’re not speculating treason here, we’re outright talking about it!

To Trump’s credit, he understands our news media better than they understand themselves because he sees so much of himself in them. He also understands how to be a bully. And bullies don’t worry about the truth. They worry about “winning” at all costs. Is “winning at all costs (up to and including cheating)” the same as just “winning”? The end product may be the same but, surely, a win achieved through cheating and a win achieved through honesty are not! If that was the case, why would anyone bother doing things honestly when it’s the cheaters who always win?

That, too, is another question our news media never asks. Maybe they think cheating to win IS as good as not cheating to win.

The overwhelming majority of Americans – Democrats, independents and a few Republicans – don’t want America’s experiment with self government to end. We never even wanted it on the ballot. We never thought it was an issue.

Our news media – late to the party as ever – still can’t get it through their heads that a Republican suppressing a Democratic voter isn’t behaving politically; they’re behaving criminally (suppressing another American’s right to vote) FOR a political purpose. The Democratic voter whose right to vote has been suppressed (or gerrymandered) is NOT behaving “politically” when they insist they are the victim of a crime. They’re a crime victim reporting the crime that’s been perpetrated against their right to vote. See the difference?

Therefore the voter whose vote is being suppressed has a valid argument – their side – while those suppressing their right to vote DON’T have a valid argument. That’s two points of view but only one valid point. Our news media, alas, reports them both as if they both were valid. Just like that, Truth gets compromised because our news media has given credence to lies, corruption and bullshit.

Is Waiting For Merrick Garland To Act Going To Be Like “Waiting For Godot”?

We seem to be experiencing what Yogi Berra called “deja vu all over again”. For five years now, Donald Trump has committed crimes out in the open. He’s been as overt a traitor as a traitor could be. What else would one call Trump’s relationship with Putin except treasonous? How much more obvious does it have to be? At a July 2016 news conference at his Doral property in Florida, Trump said: “Russia, if you’re listening — I hope you are able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let’s see if that happens.” Mere hours later, Russia responded — and made it happen. Keep in mind, this is the same Donald Trump that every GOP leader KNEW was compromised by Russia. On June 25, 2016, current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy entered a room in Washington, DC where the GOP leadership was meeting and said out loud (it was recorded): “There’s two people I think Putin pays – Rohrbacher and Trump – swear to God!” No one in that room questioned Kevin. No one doubted him either. That Trump was compromised by Russia seems to have been general knowledge. Everyone in the room agreed with then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan’s plan to keep their terrible secret “in the family”.

This really has been about treason all along. The GOP was so determined to impose permanent minority rule upon America – no matter how they did it – that they were/are even willing to commit treason in order to do it. These are all or nothing stakes. Once you commit treason? There is no going back. How on earth can anyone trust these pirates ever again (not that we had any business trusting them in the first place)? We understood what it meant when Lil Jeff Sessions ran the DoJ — that it was going to do only what that racist elf wanted. When Bill Barr’s name first came up as Lil Jeff’s eventual replacement, the news media played their “he’s an institutionalist!” card, insisting that this meant the adults in the room were in control.

Alas, there are no adults in the Republican room. There are only miscreants and angry white men. Only racists, misogynists and bigots. Authoritarians, fascists and feckless fools — useful idiots all. As we all know, had Kyle Rittenhouse been Black instead of privileged white, he would never have walked away from the scene, having shot three people. Between the racist cops and the actual racists, a Black Kyle would have been raked with so much gunfire that they’d have had to use a bucket and mop to clean up what was left of him. The Rittenhouse verdict empowered the right wing yahoos to shoot first and then concoct their “I was defending myself” defense later. It undermines the legitimacy of a legitimate self defense defense. But then, no one’s ever accused anti-democratic racists of thinking big.

Merrick Garland has insisted all along that he intends to follow the rule of law. And, in his defense, we must acknowledge that the country is experiencing something extraordinary. White power has declared culture war on the rest of us because the idea of sharing power with us – especially if we represent the majority – is simply untenable. But, something else happened back in 2016 that we have not addressed yet. Our free and fair election got hijacked. In place of a free and fair election, we got Russia’s relentless, multi-faceted meddling. Don’t forget: Trump’s campaign chair, Paul Manafort, handed Konstantin Kilimnik and Oleg Deripaska (two Russian intelligence officers and “Friends Of Putin”) the proprietary polling data for Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin that Russian intelligence repurposed and redirected back at us. Some of that work went to convincing Black Democratic voters to stay home – suggesting that Hillary Clinton was a racist on the down low. If just ONE Democratic voter succumbed (it’s easy enough to find out — all we have to do is ask them), that’s illegal. Not “little illegal”, big, “GIANT illegal”.

It is flat out against the law to win an American election by colluding with Russia (or any foreign government). Do that – collude to win – and you did not win. Donald Trump colluded with Russia in multiple ways in order to win. Problem is, we refused to acknowledge that collusion even as he was doing it! “Hey, Russia! — if you’re listening!” is pretty direct. And when Russia literally responded in mere hours? There are myriad reasons why Republicans don’t want to dig too deeply. And when deep digging IS going on around them? Republicans do everything in their power either to neutralize that digging or to undermine its integrity or the public’s faith in its integrity.

Bill Barr flattened the Mueller Report — telling America it concluded one thing (there’s no “there” there) when, in fact, there was plenty of there there. Bill Barr oversaw the murder of Jeffrey Epstein (probably not for anyone else than his dear old dad) and the purposeful politicization of the DoJ. The Republicans deliberately slow walked Garland’s nomination — a way to buy time. For Republicans, the game now must rely on running out the clock to the 2022 mid terms. IF the GOP can (via gerrymandering and voter suppression) limit Democratic voting, they could indeed take back the House and Senate — killing all investigations dead while they finish gutting every bit of our democracy.

Is Merrick Garland dawdling? Is he hemming and hawing while the nation lurches toward authoritarianism? Is he being cavalier toward democracy? Is he giving the white guys way too much latitude simply because they’re white guys?

Or, is Merrick Garland getting every last bit of evidence he can before applying the rule of law to its biggest scofflaw ever: Donald J Trump? I still want to believe that Garland HAS set his sites on Trump (and the entire GOP) but that he knows he will get one shot here — and it needs to be the coup de grace and nothing but. If Garland’s DoJ does the right thing (applying the rule of law evenly as he’s sworn he would), he will set off a fire storm of angry, white backlash. It will definitely get ugly. But, the longer Garland and the DoJ wait to begin punishing insurrectionists, the harder it will be to punish them.

To not punish would be to invite the guilty to attempt another violent coup. That won’t be a matter of speculation, merely time and timing. We need that punishment to happen. That punishment is our “Godot”.

Samuel Becket was an amazing writer and his classic play “Waiting For Godot is deservedly a classic. Spoiler Alert! Godot never shows up. The two guys who spend the play “Waiting For Godot” will end the play still waiting. That’s the point. If the performance is good, by the very end of the play, the audience finds itself in the very same shoes as Gogo and Didi, the two main characters. Whatever relief may come from Godot’s finally arriving on site is negated by the fact that Godot never comes. Wait for him now and you’ll wait for him forever. It’s pure existentialism.

We’re still smarting from the fact that the Mueller Report flopped. It didn’t really; it only really flopped in the news media’s eyes because they can’t get out of their own damned way. When Bill Barr interpreted Mueller’s findings, the press were obligated to read the damned thing for themselves not buy Barr’s bullshit rehashing. But the news media accepted Barr’s take (why would he lie — even though he lied in the exact same way about Iran-Contra?) That’s because our news media ALWAYS accepts Republican explanations as legit even when clearly they’re not.

Yeah, it sucks watching Republicans continue to undermine our democratic institutions with impunity. It seems entirely counter-intuitive to do nothing. In “Waiting For Godot”, Didi and Gogo will be cursed to return again tomorrow to the same forlorn landscape (its one feature that leafless tree). It’s as if today never happened. And neither will tomorrow. We need our Godot – our Garland – to show up and show up ready for work. We need our Godot on stage right now.

A Blanket Pardon For Non-Violent Cannabis Offenders Would Be An Easy, Huge, Do-Able Win For Joe Biden

Here’s a fact: Joe Biden could probably guarantee the Republicans DON’T take back the House or Senate in next year’s mid-terms in one executive order. The executive branch — Joe Biden — could, all by himself, remove cannabis from The Controlled Substances Act. He can “move to federally legalize cannabis without waiting for lawmakers to act.” Not only can President Biden do this, he’s already set this ship in motion by hiring and appointing people who all want this very thing to happen. In addition, Biden could issue an executive amnesty for every single non-violent cannabis offender in the entire country. This would free all those prisoners now doing time and expunge their and every other record of every single person EVER arrested for growing, buying, selling or just enjoying the myriad benefits of cannabis — a natural product that should NEVER have been prohibited in the first place.

As a move, it would transcend politics because two thirds of Americans — both Democrats and Republicans — want this to happen (but, of course, it could NEVER happen with a Republican in office since they still have to kneel before the evangelicals). Know who else would actually be super happy if Joe Biden did everything he could to de-criminalize cannabis ASAP? The banks. They’ll literally hurt themselves in the rush to cash in on cannabis the nano-second it exits Schedule One and they can begin to invest in it legally. The states also hear the “Ka-CHING!” of money landing in their coffers. “Just in 2020, taxes from adult recreational cannabis sales totaled $2.7 billion” and that’s just part of the EIGHT BILLION TAX COLLARS collected by the 18 states that have legalized cannabis in one way or another.

Know who doesn’t like the “legal cannabis” story? No one. Hey, by righting the cannabis story, Joe Biden also can make America come to terms a little more with its racist past — without it going nuts. Hopefully, America will have a good stone on. We’ll feel the calm. Our minds will open a little.

Best part? For two seconds, it might even get the news media to focus on the bigger picture.

Even as Joe Biden rescues America daily from the cataclysmic precipice Donald Trump drove us to, in the eyes of the news media (still perspective-free), Joe Biden is failing because “bad messaging”. They still pooh-pooh Team Biden’s failure to focus on what’s IN the BBB versus what it costs when it was ALWAYS the news media who blasted the number over anything else because that was an easier (though less accurate) story to tell — disagreement over a bunch of imaginary numbers. The Progressives have always advocated for a specific end result: the level-est playing field possible in America so that every American has a genuinely equal shot at achieving the American Dream. And, every time a Progressive policy actually makes it into practice (the Child Tax Credit or the UBI-like unemployment payments received by millions of Americans), it provides a data set of success. The Child Tax Credit literally cut poverty in half. The UBI kept our economy afloat when, otherwise, it would have slipped deeper into recession because of the pandemic.

Legalizing cannabis has always been a liberal — not a conservative — policy. Let’s be crystal clear: the ONLY reason cannabis was ever “illegalized” in this country was because of racism.

A little while back, I got hired by Weedmaps News (back when there was a Weedmaps News) to write a 13 part, 25,000 word series called “BLUNT TRUTHS” on the history of cannabis prohibition in America. I had pitched them this idea because I’ve always wanted to tell the true story of Harry Anslinger, America’s first “drug czar”, the inventor (for all intents and purposes) of “reefer madness” and the man who, almost single-handedly, created the mess we have today — not just in America but all over the world. Anslinger was a complex character, one we’ve too easily dismissed as an over-reaching cop. He was, but that’s not what made him tick. Anslinger was an out-and-out racist who favored European culture and hated Black culture. He also was a remarkably skilled bureaucrat. That’s the problem.

I recommend the whole series (I would, but then I’m biased) but here’s the thumbnail: At the time of his appointment as first Commissioner of America’s new Federal Bureau of Narcotics in 1930, no drugs were in fact “illegal”. Aside from controlling the importation of opium, the FBN had little to do, little manpower and even less money. Anslinger was an excellent choice having spent a decade at that point mostly in Europe arranging agreements about opium between America and various other nations. “Marihuana” (as Anslinger called it) was of zero concern; at that point, to Anslinger’s knowledge, only Mexican laborers in America’s southwest even knew what it was. Mexicans fleeing the Mexican Revolution (1910) brought marijuana with them as they re-settled in America. In time, marijuana made it across the country to New Orleans where a group of Black musicians were creating a newfangled thing called “jazz”.

This is a key moment both in how cannabis use became popularized but also WHY Harry Anslinger put a target on marijuana and made prohibiting it his personal crusade. Cannabis use spread alongside jazz’s rising popularity. In part, that was because every now and then New Orleans would kick out all the musicians. They’d head north to Memphis, Nashville, Chicago — from Anslinger’s point of view, “spreading” jazz and marijuana to white people. That crossed a line.

In addition to being a very good bureaucrat, Anslinger fancied himself a very good pianist. He loved European classical music. Jazz affronted him like a two by four upside the head. He hated the musicians who created jazz (people like Louis Armstrong and King Oliver), hated the marijuana that seemed to inspire it, and hated that white Americans were taking both the music and the marijuana into their systems. Anslinger was damned clever. He’d take a racist trope — “Black marijuana use was leading to crazed sexual behavior directed at white women” — to a newspaper. They’d print it because Anslinger was the freakin’ Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics — would HE lie? Then Anslinger would hold up the newspaper headline and say “See? Didn’t I tell you that Black men were raping white women because of marijuana?”

Anslinger collected what became known as his “Gore Files”. To flip through them is to fully grasp where “reefer madness” came from. It’s absurd.

Ironically, Anslinger wasn’t allowed to actually make cannabis illegal — not, at first. For starters, there’s no Constitutional basis to make any drug illegal. Hemp, cannabis’ cousin, was a vital agricultural product when the founders were founding America. Back in the 1930’s, as Anslinger tried to get lawmakers interested, the AMA came to cannabis’ rescue. All the data, so said the AMA, argued for marijuana’s remaining legal. What the hell does the AMA know, demanded Anslinger. In the end, Anslinger was forced to do an end run around the Constitution to have his way. As with Al Capone, the government made it about taxes and not paying them.

The clever cruelty buried in the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 is the stamp itself. The Act decreed that a tax had to be paid every time marijuana either was bought or sold (ditto hemp). In order to prove the tax had been paid, both parties had to obtain a stamp. Except the stamp never existed — and never was going to. By design, everyone who bought or sold cannabis from that point forward was going to be a criminal — a TAX criminal.

Fun fact: The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 scored its first success within days! For real! Samuel Caldwell became cannabis’ first sacrificial lamb on October 3, two days after the law was enacted. His crime: selling three joints. Okay — he also had a couple of pounds of marijuana in his room, but it wasn’t illegal to possess, remember?

Team Biden ought to make a blanket pardon, full cannabis decriminalization and legalization as much of a reality as the tools available to him allow. Sure, sure, plenty of those who’ll benefit are and will remain Trump voters. Not to worry. When all those criminal records get expunged — and those good citizens return to the voting rolls — hundreds of thousands of people will be motivated or re-motivated to vote because voting got them or their loved ones out of jail. This will be one more law that Democrats made happen but that Republicans (who didn’t) ache to claim credit for. We can’t let them do that.

For one thing, ya just know, Republicans will Bogart the hell out of that joint and then hand it off all dripping with their germy spit. Geez, ya can’t even get high with these people without it being a hassle…

Put Up V Shut Up

Finally – the Department of Justice has INDICTED STEVE BANNON!

Come Monday morning, it would have been two weeks since Steve Bannon thumbed his gin blossomed nose at the January 6 Committee and refused to honor their subpoena. The Committee referred the case to Merrick Garland’s Department of Justice — a luxury the Democrats didn’t have when Bill Barr ran the joint. Our collective expectation was for a kind of “justice on tap” — a thing we have not gotten (and never would have, I fear). Instead we’re having a kind of “deja vu all over again” moment reminiscent of the high hopes many of us felt when Robert Mueller was named Special Counsel. Though we pre-packaged him as a hero (and deservedly so — the man served valiantly in Vietnam, ran the FBI and stood atop a mountain of indestructible integrity. But the Mueller Report wasn’t the “put up or shut up” moment We The People both needed and craved. Bill Barr saw to that. He told us what he needed us to think the Report said — that it more or less exonerated Trump (it absolutely did not!) — and our “news media” happily went along with Barr. Fortunately, Barr no longer runs the DoJ. Fortunately — or unfortunately — Merrick Garland does now.

The Trump administration was a criminal enterprise from start to finish (actually, it hasn’t “finished” yet). The Republican Party knew a month before they nominated Trump to be POTUS that Putin owned him. They even discussed it amongst themselves but decided to keep that terrible secret a secret. That was a “put up or shut up” moment. The GOP leadership could have caught itself behaving treasonously and stopped. Surely, as they sheepishly looked around at each other on June 25, 2016, one of them must have thought “We better call the FBI!” But, no one did. Instead, per then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan’s admonition, everyone in that room agreed to stay silent. “That’s how we know we’re family,” said Ryan.

Shut up, in this case, equaled treason.

It’s now five plus years later. Having not dealt with this overt act of treason, we continue to live in its lengthening shadow. Our news media — though they themselves reported this remarkable story — still fail to see what a staggering revelation it is! How much more smoke can pour from a gun? The one time the news media stuck a mic in Kevin’s treasonous face to ask what he meant, Kevin gave the pat Republican answer: “I was kidding”. Oh, is that the “Get Out Of Treason Jail Free” card now? Ignore my words (and the context in which I said them) because otherwise, I’m screwed? Every time Trump said something even Republicans couldn’t back, he’d haul out “I was joking!” Fun fact? Not everyone has a sense of humor. The first tell that you don’t have one is you can’t laugh at yourself. Bullies laugh plenty — but never, EVER at themselves. When they laugh, it’s always AT others, at their weaknesses and frailties. When someone without a sense of humor claims absolution because “kidding”? They’re not just humorless, they’re damned liars, too.

We sensed on election day that Trump’s victory wasn’t “right”. In his entire life, Trump has never done anything legally when doing it illegally was open to him. Why, ffs, would he start with the presidency? Is anyone truly shocked that, over his presidency, Trump lied north of 30,000 times? If anything, I’m shocked the number of lies isn’t significantly higher but then I have a lower tolerance for bullshit than our news media does.

We are slowly twisting in the purgatory between Justice and injustice. Injustice plays by no rules. It can do what it wants when it wants to whomever it wants. Justice — in the form of the rule of law — has no such luxury. Not if it’s to be “the rule of law”. Playing by the rules takes time. It demands rigor and and faithfulness to a higher principle over personal desires. Bill Barr did pretty much whatever Trump wanted Barr to do with the DoJ. Joe Biden won’t — can’t — do that. “Can’t” is Biden’s nature because he believes so ardently in our democracy and its organizing principles.

That means, regardless of all our public pressure — even if we think we want Biden to put his thumb on Merrick Garland — really, we don’t. Or do we?

Ah, there’ that painful, dynamic tension again.

This will end one way or the other. There isn’t any middle ground. Now that Garland has forced Bannon’s hand and a Grand Jury has indicted him, the floodgates will open. Bannon will probably think he can tough it out behind bars. He should give Paul Manafort a call to see how Paul enjoyed his 23 months of prison dinners. Sure, Paul got out way ahead of time courtesy of a Trump pardon (which needs to be re-examined as pardons may not be given for illegal activity and treason is definitely “illegal”), but Paul really had no choice in the matter. When you climb into bed with Russian mobsters — and Putin, Deripaska, Kilimnik and every other oligarch is a stone cold mobster — you have to live (or died) by their rules. If Paulie Polling Data had flipped and connected the Trump dot to the Russia dot for the FBI and DoJ? Even the best new identity and relocation wouldn’t save Manafort. Eventually, he knew, they’d find him. And when they did? Ouch.

Bannon never owed Deripaska (or any Russian mobster) $17 million. An uber-Christian in love with the exclusivity of its dogma, he’s never been beholden to Russia; he merely shares an orthodox vision of the “Holy Land” with its mob boss. For all the terrible things Bannon is, he’s not stupid. He knows exactly what he’s doing — and he knows it’s treasonous. That’s why he doesn’t want to be placed under oath. That’s why, even if he is eventually placed under oath, he’ll plead the fifth. That will be Bannon’s undoing.

The folks around Bannon (and beneath him), they don’t have Bannon’s certainty, his white guy’s swagger and braggadocio. But they will have a sense of vertigo when it hits them that they’ve set themselves up for the not just failure but prison. Congressional staff, recognizing that if they say nothing, they’ll be implicated in the bigger crime, won’t so much “spill their guts” as spew them.

So far, the insurrection has only sent the low level foot soldiers to jail. The next tier up are only just starting to realize how expensive it is defending yourself against federal charges. Not wanting to bankrupt their families for a generation, some of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers are pleading out already. Flipping. And other voices are popping up — pointing out all the “planning” sessions at the Willard “war room” in the days before the insurrection. Some, no doubt, are explaining where the money came from — to pay for the hotel and the food and the travel to get to DC.

When the flipping starts in earnest, all the good “deals” will dry up quickly. Then the perps will start looking for the best deals they can get and those will start to suck almost immediately. This is an organized crime carried out by organized criminals who have a political end in mind: permanent minority rule. The criminals now include pretty much the entire Republican Party (minus Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger). It ain’t rocket science connecting the Steve Bannon dot to the insurrection dot to the criminal conduct dot. The fun part will be when we connect the Russia dot to the Insurrection dot.

Does anyone really believe that, having succeeded in digging its hooks into Trump, would Russia really let a perfectly good insurrection go to waste?

The insurrection will lead us to a lot of things — treason especially. Not just “generic” treason but treason committed alongside a foreign enemy actively engaged in cyber war against us. Steve Bannon now has a much bigger problem than just prison dinner on his hands.

Republicans And Treason Kabuki

Sometimes, you just have to give Republicans their due props: when it comes to getting away with literal murder (I’m thinking of our democracy here), they are stone cold geniuses at getting We The People to see them as they want us to and not at all as they are. Actors do that because it’s their job. They pretend they’re someone else. They look like em, sound like em… I’d always heard that Robert De Niro thought “holitically” about acting — that he believed he had a character nailed down when he knew what the guy had in his right front pocket… But, of course, actors like De Niro aren’t really their characters. Unless they’re Daniel Day Lewis getting into and (insisting on) staying in character for the duration of the shoot

— or Dustin Hoffman on the set of “Marathon Man” where Laurence Olivier helpfully suggested that instead of staying up for three days to “look” exhausted, Dustin “try acting” it instead, when quittin’ time comes, the actor slips out of their character as they slip out of that character’s wardrobe.

Acting is acting is acting. And — though I’ve hired thousands of actors in my career and I really do love them — we’re hiring them to bullshit us. And the better they bullshit us, the better we like it and like them!

Republicans have taken this core tenet of acting — making believe on purpose that you’re something you’re not — to an obscene, okay, “CRIMINAL” extreme.

Like I said — I’ve hired thousands of actors. I even studied acting in College (I went to ONE audition after graduating and realized that wasn’t me). I studied all the different kinds of acting there have been throughout history. Hell, I even wrote a paper while at Vassar wherein I tried to pinpoint the very first time in Europe where an actor got paid to act (I suggested it could have been for a performance of the 15th century morality play “The Castle Of Perseverance”). As I look at Republicans performing in public, I see Kabuki. From Wikipedia (because I really couldn’t put it any better): “Kabuki theatre is known for its heavily-stylised performances, the often-glamorous costumes worn by performers, and for the elaborate kumadori make-up worn by some of its performers.” Hey, does that not sound like Republicans?

When Matt Gaetz or Jim Jones or Kevin McCarthy get up on their hind legs and bray at the press (or even at their own supporters), we are watching the picture definition of “stylized performances”. They absolutely dress for the part and what would Donald Trump be without being orange? Matt Gaetz walks in the door a convicted drunk driver and a man inches away from being indicted for statutory rape among other nastiness. Jim Jordan, while a wrestling coach at Ohio State University, looked the other way while a pal sexually molested the wrestlers under their care. Kevin McCarthy knew Donald Trump was compromised by Russia well before the Republican Party nominated Trump to be their standard-bearer n 2016 (“There’s two people I think Putin pays — Rohrbacher and Trump — swear to God!” is how he put it). There’s no way to be delicate (not that I’d try): these three men are all scumbags. But they pretend to be something OTHER than scumbags. That requires an awful lot of acting. Subtlety will not help much. They need to 1) put the idea that they’re honest into our heads however they can and 2) distract us from the truth when their guilty behavior convinces us it’s there.

And the truth? In this story? C’mon now, everyone, we know what this story’s about. Treason.

Voila the Republican Party’s reliance at all times upon “Treason Kabuki” to keep from getting held to account for their remarkable run of criminality.

Also worth noting — our news media ADORES Treason Kabuki so much that they’ve normalized it. What should be seen as, well, theater, our news media sees as genuine. Hmmmmmmmm… that can’t turn out well. Our truth-tellers (the media) don’t understand that regardless of whichever actor is now playing Batman, Spiderman or Superman, none of those actors actually is any of those super heroes. The capes and the costumes should give it away, no?

Of course, the one, true master of Treason Kabuki is Donald J. Trump.

I say let’s give the man his acting award and then stick him in the “acting venue” he most deserves to play in for the rest of his stinking life: the federal penal system.

For our next course on Republican acting styles, let’s visit “Republican Kabuki’s” evil twin: “Bullshit Kabuki”.

Can A Stolen Election Ever Have “Legitimacy”? Not If A Democracy Wants To Continue Being A Democracy

Oh, the irony… Joe Biden absolutely did not steal an election from Donald Trump but Donald Trump absolutely did steal an election from Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump not only lost election 2020, without Russia’s direct involvement, he would never have “won” election in 2016 to begin with.

Trump may have wet-dreamed about being POTUS before he ever met Vladimir Putin, but had laundered Russian mob money not propped up his bankrupt Atlantic City casinos and bought countless condos as money laundering vehicles, Trump would have completely crashed daddy’s real estate business eons ago and no one (not even his most ardent followers) would even know his name today. For one thing, Mark Barnett would never have thought to invent a reality show based on him. Tony Schwartz would never have ghosted “The Art Of The Deal” because no one would have equated Trump with success. Take Russia completely out of the Donald Trump equation and Trump is nothing and (maybe even literally) a nobody.

These two things are mutually exclusive propositions: winning a presidential election & having the direct assistance of ANY foreign government least of all a hostile one actively engaged in a cyber war against us in winning that election. Take your pick. There’s no middle ground. Benjamin Franklin famously said of our government’s prospects that we could keep our Republic going but only so long as we were willing to keep it going ourselves. Keeping that republic — keeping it safe from enemies foreign and domestic — demands real and constant vigilance. There are no gradations to corruption or treason. No “acceptable” amount of bad faith or bad intent. One can’t just be “a little bit corrupt” or “a little bit treasonous”. One is or one isn’t. And, once one is — corrupt or treasonous (or corrupt AND treasonous as with Trump and the entire Republican Party) — that’s it. There’s no coming back.

Stone cold fact: the GOP hierarchy knew before they even nominated Trump to be their presidential candidate in 2016 that Russia owned him. They said as much out loud (it was recorded and the recorded conversation was played for Washington Post reporter Adam Entous a year later) but agreed to keep this terrible, national security threat a secret. If the rule of law is (and, it too either must “be” or “not be”, it can’t really exist in some quasi-enforced state) then it demands that everyone in the GOP hierarchy who knew or even suspected that Trump was behaving treasonously was obligated (at the very least by their oaths of office!) to do something or say something.

Regular readers of this blog know that I harp on this moment relentlessly. That’s because it’s a very clear line in the sand between any possible reasonable doubt about the GOP’s complicity in treason and the GOP having really and truly committed treason. This is one of the clearest examples I can think of of our news media reporting important stories with important details that they then fail to aggregate into the larger story — to our detriment. How many Trumpian lies did it take for our news media to finally decide Donald Trump might be “a liar”? How many euphemisms did NEWS media use to avoid using the only correct word: LIAR? Why would a news operation hesitate to tell its news audience the truth they’re tuning in to see? Because what’s making news might hurt some of their feelings? What kind of bullshit arrogance is that — by people with commercial interests?

This is exactly how corruption gets normalized.

When politicians or news media or average citizens accept corruption as “just how it is”, they speed corruption’s spread. Corruption doesn’t need any more advantages over integrity and the rule of law. The corrupt can cut every corner there is. Integrity can’t. The rule of law takes time because it has to play by the rules whereas corruption can take a huge, steaming dump on the rule of law. When that happens, the rule of law can’t defend itself. That part’s up to us. And, if we stood up for the rule of law as it applies to Donald Trump and how he became POTUS, the rule of law would DEMAND that we prosecute Trump to the fullest extent the law allows because of how Trump broke it and why.

For starters, if we don’t punish people when they cheat in order to win elections, we’re telling them “cheat more”. We’re telling them that cheating is just another (accepted) election strategy. Similarly, if you don’t punish the crap out of people for trying to overthrow the government, you’re telling them, get your insurrection right next time! Bet the ranch: they will.

And, if Donald Trump and the Republicans thought Trump’s cavorting with Russia was in any way defensible (meaning not completely illegal), they’d have run that argument down our throats long ago. It was the only shot at legitimacy they had (bullshit as it was). Instead, from the get-go, Trump and his Republican co-conspirators have done everything possible to obfuscate, lie and obstruct justice on Trump’s behalf. Like the co-conspirators to commit election fraud, obstruction of justice and treason that they all absolutely are.

Here in our little experiment in human self-government, The authority to govern flows FROM the people. Win election fairly and squarely and you have our permission — the authority — to govern us. Cheat to win and the authority doesn’t flow to you the same way. It shouldn’t flow to you at all because you cheated. Without the authority to govern America you don’t have the power or permission to nominate SCOTUS judges; you’re just pretending that you do. And, if you cheated (as the Republicans did) in order to secure the power (versus the authority) to nominate judges (so as to shape the judiciary more to your liking than the Peoples’ preferences), then when you nominate those judges, you’re committing a crime.

To deny the majority their will — what they voted for — IS A CRIME. It’s not a political opinion, it’s a crime. And just like with a guy who stole your car, if we catch him, you get your car back. We caught Trump and the GOP stealing from us. Are we really going to let them keep what they stole?

They stole lifetime judiciary appointments that Obama had the authority to fill — which means they stole from US. They denied Merrick Garland so much as a hearing so they could hand that SCOTUS seat to Neal Gorsuch. They stole what should have been Joe Biden’s first SCOTUS selection by handing that seat to handmaid Amy Barrett. Even Trump’s one “legitimate” choice — Kennedy’s replacement Brett Kavanaugh — stinks of corruption. Judge Kennedy’s son worked Trump’s account at Deutsche Bank (where he works). Brett Kavanaugh’s entire nomination process was a study in even more corruption from the bogus FBI investigations into Kavanaugh’s rapey past to Brett’s own perjured hearing testimony. The reason Republicans always seem to be acting like criminals is because they are.

We’re soooooo close to having the first real threads pulled on the Trumpublican Corruption Ugly Christmas Sweater. The first ones publicly pulled will be “January 6 Insurrection” threads. Once we pierce the veil of Congressional Republican involvement in planning the insurrection, this story will undergo a massive shift in its focus. Suddenly, sitting members of Congress will be in very real legal peril that will cost them very real money.

That’s going to be what destroys Republican corruption: what it costs them personally. None of them seem to grasp what defending themselves against federal charges like these is going to cost them in real cash money. Billable hours for this kind of lawyering is staggeringly expensive. That’s one reason so many of the foot soldiers are throwing in the towel and copping pleas. They don’t want to bankrupt their families for a generation. They don’t want to lose their family homes while also becoming unemployed and unemployable. Also in the mix: we will find Russian involvement. Count on it. If you consider how much money and effort Russia expended to make Trump POTUS and then to keep his corrupt, treasonous admin alive and unprosecuted, it’s impossible that they’d have nothing to do with a coup attempt to keep Trump in power.

Russia paid for part of it. They helped arrange it. If that’s the case then this physically violent act against the US is itself an act of flat out treason.

And voila — Trump will be tied directly to Russia. That will pop the lid on Trump and the GOP’s treasonous behavior.

America’s original sin was and remains slavery. We’re still dealing with it today. If we allow Trump to get away with betraying us, if we allow the GOP to go unpunished for its treachery, then we will have brought the end of our democratic republic ourselves. A country that won’t stand up for its sovereignty (and letting Russia make Trump POTUS was us letting Russia choose our president) won’t be a sovereign country for much longer. It’s told all its enemies that it’s no longer serious about its own government, it’s own people, its own future.

There’s A “Why” Behind “The Big Lie” That Our News Media Refuse To Ask

Donald Trump Committing Treason On The Hoof And In Real Time

Every last bit of the legitimate press agrees: Donald Trump’s claim that the 2020 election was “stolen from him” is monstrously untrue and he knows it. That makes Trump’s claim — by actual definition — a lie. We’ve gussied it up by calling it “big”. Donald Trump lost the election fairly and squarely and now he’s lying about it. Okay. WHY? Can we all please agree that this is not something “normal” presidents do after losing an election “by a landslide”? Even if Trump was merely deranged, this should make him “exceptional” in our thinking (just not in a good way). A president refusing to accept defeat — and claiming fraud — is not normal. Whatever is causing Trump to behave this way — nothing can be normal about that either. Same token: nothing can be normal about an entire political party staking their future (and their freedom) on a man they all agreed was owned by Russia even before they nominated him to be their presidential candidate. The news media seem content with the idea that Trump thinks the election was stolen from him “just because that’s how he is”. Trump has an unusual “opinion” about what happened and the rest of the GOP support his opinion. That, our news media thinks, explains why our democracy’s facing a moment of imminent demise.

That moment — reported on by the Washington Post (and then everyone else) — remains almost completely unexamined. When current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy’s insistence that “There’s two people I think Putin pays — Rohrbacher and Trump — swear to God!” finally made it to print (a year after it happened), the news media wrote down Kevin’s response (“I was joking”), having bought it completely. Problem: like Donald Trump, Kevin McCarthy has no sense of humor. For real. Not everyone has a sense of humor. Not everyone makes jokes. You have to be able to laugh at yourself to demonstrate a “sense of humor”. That’s the whole basis for having one — the ability to see one’s own failings and laugh at them. Laughing at ourselves lightens any laughter against others since we include ourselves among our targets. Humor becomes a bonding mechanism. Bullies can’t laugh at themselves; they can only laugh AT others — at their infirmities or disabilities or frailties. Only other bullies ever laugh at what bullies laugh at. They, too, use “humor” to bond.

Kevin McCarthy wasn’t kidding. He believed Donald Trump was not only corrupt but treasonously corrupt. He said so out loud and no one in the room contradicted what Kevin said In fact, Kevin’s “Swear to God!” was a reaction to the nervous laughter he’d caused. Nervous laughter? How come no one said something like “Whaaaaaat? Kevin, are you sure about that, dude? Man, where’d you hear that?” It’s a fact: no one in that room doubted what Kevin McCarthy said — that Donald Trump, the man they were going to nominate to be their presidential candidate a month later, was compromised by a hostile foreign government. Think about that! A month before nominating Trump, the entire GOP leadership KNEW that their candidate posed a very real national security threat.

Did anyone call the FBI? You kidding? No one even thought such a thing. Instead, they all quickly nodded along to then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan’s version of “leadership”. No one, the man third in line to the presidency said, was going to talk about Trump’s compromised situation outside that room. Their silence on the subject, Speaker Ryan said, was “How we know we’re family”.

How touching. “Family”. So are the Sopranos.

From the get-go, Donald Trump has both been bonded to Russia and determined to keep that bond hidden and secret. Here goes: “WHY?”

Because TREASON, that’s why. And because the GOP’s leadership knew they were committing treason both by supporting Trump and by helping him obstruct any and all investigations into Trump’s (and the GOP”s) treasonous relationship with Vladimir Putin. Our news media has scratched its collective head about this relationship as if it was inexplicable. They’ve entertained the possibility that it’s all completely “innocent”. They’ve dared not entertain anything else — regardless of how much the only other possibility stares at them. Either Trump is 100% innocent of conspiring with Russia to “win” election in 2016 (an illegal and treasonous act!) or he’s guilty. Even one percent of “not innocent” of this kind of behavior makes you 100% guilty. There are zero gradations of “treasonous”.

Trump’s hold on the Republican base counts for part of the hold — but only on a level that could exist in a world where the Republicans aren’t prosecuted and punished for being traitors. Trump’s base may go to war with the majority when Trump gets arrested, prosecuted and punished for being a traitor, they won’t lift a finger for a single one of Trump’s wannabe’s. Criminals have no loyalty except to themselves. And even then, it’s to whatever their need is in the moment.

If our democracy survives this threat to its survival, we will owe ourselves a complete post mortem of our news media and its behavior. “Both sides do it” brand journalism destroyed the news media’s ability to see perspective since, in their mind, one side is equally guilty of whatever the other side is guilty of. If Republicans are corrupt, Democrats are equally corrupt. If Republicans do things for entirely cynical, political reasons then so do the Democrats. This simply is not true. And, once you frame our story that way? You’re telling some other country’s story, not ours. Is it failure of imagination? Is it corruption? Is it some unholy marriage of the two? Do journalists really think Republicans they describe as “anti-democratic” one moment, can suddenly become “honest actors” the next?

The truth about Donald Trump has always been (publicly) available to every last member of our news media. As Glenn Simpson testified on August 22, 2017 before the Senate Judiciary Committee (then Republican-run so they were trying to undermine Simpson’s integrity), before his company Fusion GPS began their oppo research work on Donald Trump for the owners of the Marco Rubio backing Washington Free Beacon, they did their “due diligence”. They got their hands on every last piece of publicly available material concerning Trump that they could. Every newspaper article or magazine piece. Every book by him or about him. Every radio interview, every TV appearance. They scoured the internet, dove deeply into Amazon, even went to the public library. What they found there — in material ANYONE could find — convinced them that Donald Trump was likely guilty of laundering Russian mob money through his bankrupt Atlantic City casinos (which, wouldn’t ya know it, had, in fact, been CITED on numerous occasions for seeming to launder Russian mob money).

The rule of law is a human invention. So’s the Constitution and the Magna Carta. So’s the entire Old and New Testament, the Koran, and the Hindu Vedas. That’s not a knock on them. They’re all magnificent creations. But they are creations. It is an invention that Donald Trump will get away with everything. The fact is, it remains to be seen.

If Trump and the GOP get away with what they’re doing then soon enough, America will come apart. I don’t believe a diverse majority will tolerate a racist, bigoted minority forcing authoritarianism down its throat. What worked in homogenous cultures like Nazi Germany won’t work in a diverse, multi-cultural, heterogeneous place like America.

It shouldn’t come to that. We can’t let it. Our news media can be persuaded as people without imaginations can be. If they won’t ask “why?” the Republicans are pushing the big lie, we need to make them ask. At the end of the day, every last journalist dreams of Woodward and Bernstein glory (even if getting it themselves is a virtual impossibility). The biggest, bestest book deal ever awaits the journalist who — like the kid who calls out the emperor’s nakedness — musters the moxie to pipe up with “WHY?”