Oh, The Irony — It Will Be Corrupt Conservatives Who Turn America Into A “Socialist Paradise”

The only thing that scares a conservative more than “socialism” (their idea of it anyway) is diversity. Oh, they’ll tolerate diversity in the business they own. At the end of the day, they’ll happily pay minimum wage to whomever. But will they tolerate diversity in their country club — or worse, their neighborhood?

Surely, you jest!

That Black family may be able to afford to live in the rich, white conservative’s gated community, but they were never supposed to be able to afford it. And that’s the point. Conservatism’s real mission is to keep everyone in their “proper” place in the pecking order — as it was in the 50’s — the 1850’s.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with capitalism — private ownership of the means of production — for profit. In theory, capitalism is color blind. The money doesn’t care who’s profiting from it. It turns toxic however when it becomes crony capitalism that excludes most everyone else from access to that money and the means of production. Crony capitalism is greed run amok. It moves capitalism from the “apolitical” pile to the “immoral” pile. Also — crony capitalists are distinctly political because politics are always required if the crony capitalists are going to hold onto the unchecked power that keeps crony capitalism afloat.

Slavery was the epitome of crony capitalism. It was immoral and highly political. Connect all the dots of conservatism and a picture of crony capitalism emerges. One hand needs to wash the other.

Donald Trump is the epitome of the crony capitalist. He epitomizes its deep down corruption. That’s conservatism’s real problem. We’ve now seen first hand what crony capitalism aspires to. It’s very, very good for a percentage of the 1%. It frankly sucks for pretty much everyone else.

The deep hole we’re in was dug by crony capitalists practicing crony capitalism. We can keep digging — that’s what crony capitalists would want us to do (instead of decking them and climbing out of that hole). It’s just a fact (we live inside the data set): no conservative solution to the mess conservatism caused exists. All conservatism can do now is make the hole bigger, deeper, danker.

America, we now realize, does not have a health CARE system, it has a health INSURANCE system — not the same thing. When people walk in our door, the first question we ask isn’t “How can we fix you?”, it’s “How’re you gonna pay for this?” No other industrialized, first world country has profit incentive at the heart of its health care system because health care and profit are mutually exclusive propositions.

A publicly traded company has a fiduciary responsibilities to its shareholders to maximize the returns they’ve made on their investment in said company. They care about profits not patients. Patients, remember, are cash out. The more an insurance company or for profit hospital spends on patient care, the less they’ll make in profits — and the less happy the board of directors and shareholders will be with them.

Any of us needing an expensive procedure to save our lives is going to have to be more worthwhile than the Maserati the insurance company’s chairman of the board has his jaundiced eye on. The coronavirus pandemic has made it crystal clear that we can only be as healthy as the least healthy among us. It only takes one person afraid to reveal their illness to set another pandemic off and running.

People unable to afford health care — unable to take the time off from work to seek the care — are perfectly primed to infect everyone and everyone they meet. And it’s not their fault. They’re being exploited. Universal single payer health CARE is coming to America.

There’s no stopping it now. There’ll be no stopping guaranteed public university education (or comparable technical training). Think of it as something we’d be doing for ourselves. I also believe public service is vital. Every high school graduate should owe a minimum of 18 months of public service. They can join the military, man polling stations, teach kids to read or get food to the hungry and homeless. They can use whatever their skill sets are to make their country a better place for all Americans.

We could even pay for medical school educations with one caveat. We The People will pay to make you a doctor — but you will have to invest some time in public health as the means to pay We The People back. You get, you give. Yeah — it’s socialized. But it’s still democratic.

Andrew Yang’s presidential run didn’t just put universal basic income on the table. The pandemic shutting down the world’s economies made UBI downright respectable. UBI became the only comprehensive way to keep the economy from completely tanking. All the data on UBI says the same thing — it improves peoples’ lives considerably. Rather than leaping at the first job offered because they’re desperate, people receiving UBI tend to wait for the right job to come along — the one that utilizes their skill sets best and makes them happiest. Being happy makes them more productive.

And the money people get via UBI? They don’t hoard it like a bank would. They spend it — on their rent, their utilities, their food and gym membership. They put that money right back into the economy. The taxes paid all down the line help cash flow the UBI all over again. The reason Republicans like Mitch McConnell despise UBI is because it proves them to be liars, pirates and thieves. It works while their policies don’t.

There will be no way out of this crashed economy except by progressive means. When we find ourselves eventually on the upside of this tragedy, progressive policies like universal single payer health care and UBI will have been mainstreamed. Not only will they NOT have brought down Western Civilization, they will have actually benefited more Americans.

I look forward to toasting all my conservative “friends” one day. As awful as many (not all) have been in this period, it will be conservatism as a whole that finally brought America to its senses — by making America a democratic socialist paradise. Let’s be real. Even if we never made it to “paradise”? Whatever progressives do will be a thousand times better and more popular than anything Donald Trump might ever do.

There’s A Great Moral Reckoning Coming — And I Can’t Hardly Wait!

It’s not a matter of “if”. It’s a matter of “when”: a Great Moral Reckoning is coming — and the entire Republican Party is going to hate it.

Good.

Remember back to election night 2016? Remember how the evening began to feel — especially when it became apparent that Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin were landing in the Trump column? It didn’t feel like we’d “lost”. It felt distinctly like something was “taken”. It wasn’t our expectations that were dashed — it was our sense of fairness. The Comey Letter plus Russian disinformation — landing as they did WHILE EARLY VOTING WAS HAPPENING — had a profound effect on the election’s outcome.

In the end, of course, the Comey Letter was bullshit. The investigation wasn’t being re-opened; the files in question were all old. Several “rogue agents” in the FBI’s NYC bureau — all fans of the Breitbart published book Clinton Cash — had dragged their heels for months, refusing to examine the files on Anthony Weiner’s computer. They deliberately waited until October — just so they could get the news media buzzing again about “her emails”. Of course, that was after a whole campaign season filled with cynicism, lies and the news media insisting that both sides were “doing it”.

No, both sides were not committing treason to win the election.

America has been due a Great Moral Reckoning since its inception. “All men are created equal” and slavery are mutually exclusive propositions. There are no compromises between the two. It’s a tug of war where only one side can win. Up until today, Slavery has continued to pin “All men are created equal” to the mat. That is finally changing.

The Electoral College is a vestige of slavery. It’s been a long time since a Republican became president because he won the popular vote. They now rely on the Electoral College to keep them — a minority — in power. They rely on a relic of slavery to keep slavery alive.

The Republicans have always portrayed themselves as the “moral party” — pointing to their piety as proof. Their piety is horse shit. So’s their “morality”.

The irony? The “moral party” — especially its religious wing — are the ones who most fear a Great Moral Reckoning. That’s because they’ll have the most to lose from it.

America must finally confront the racism that we built into our democracy. We have to own it. Slavery is, above all, stolen labor. That’s the whole point of having a slave: they work for you for free. You may have to house them and clothe them and feed them — so they’ll be able to work for you whenever you need them — but you don’t have to house, clothe or feed them well. The point is you’re not paying them — and that means you’re saving a fortune entirely at their expense.

Stolen labor is theft. It undermines not just the people whose labor is being stolen but all labor — because when it goes unpunished (as it almost always does), it encourages more stolen labor. I shouldn’t have to say this: stolen labor is immoral. To benefit from stolen labor is immoral. To profit from it — even more immoral.

Once we’ve owned our thievery, we can begin to fix the future. We can change our emphasis from making the rich richer to raising all boats. Real morality flows from equality. What’s moral is what’s most equal and what benefits the most people without harming anyone.

America’s women — especially Black women — are already driving us away from corruption and toward the “come to Jesus” moment we desperately need. When this is all done and dusted, America will owe its Black women more than a “thank you”. We’ll owe Black men, too. But Black women will have been made to bear the additional burden of sexism. We’ll owe Black women our deep, abiding, permanent respect — which we owed them all along.

Despite this country treating Black women callously in every way, Black women have kept the flame of American democratic principles alive. Though they’ve never benefited from the level playing field promised in our foundational documents — Life, Liberty, The Pursuit Of Happiness — they’ve demonstrated via their tenacity how the rest of us should feel about our democracy. Black women got it a long, long time ago. So did Black men of course. America’s founding ideals are worth fighting and dying for.

Note: while it’s understandable we might have to fight outside forces from time to time to protect our democratic principles, we should NEVER have to fight inside forces.

While one side perpetually plays the moral indignation card, it’s the other side that perpetually feels actual moral indignation — because of the first side’s relentless immorality. Our news media fails to see it because they’re convinced “both sides do it” while, in point of fact, both sides don’t.

Both sides don’t suppress the other side’s voters, for example. Both sides don’t commit treason in order to win elections. Both sides don’t relentlessly obstruct oversight or election security. One side does this — and for specific (political) reasons. How, I wonder, will our news media explain itself when we come to the understanding that, no, Donald Trump did not “win” election in 2016, he STOLE the election. Cheating to win does not equal winning. It can NEVER equal winning.

That’s something our news media will have to learn the hard way — via its own Great Moral Reckoning.

So – Let’s Say We DO Have A Second American Civil War — Here’s What Might Happen

Fact: on the day he resigned the presidency because of Watergate, Richard Nixon still drew a 29% approval rating. Though it was Republicans who literally went to the White House and told Nixon it was over, a huge chunk of their party membership didn’t agree.

They wanted Nixon’s lawlessness to continue.

Another fact: more than a third of America (Nixon’s base plus a little more) have no interest in representative democracy and never have. They’ve never celebrated our great experiment in self government, they’ve despised it because they’ve always known that democracy would stamp an end date on white, Christian male rule. White, Christian men all by themselves can’t breed enough to keep up with America’s diversifying population. That’s why so many of them hole up in the woods or go full desert rat so their paranoia and racism can run wild.

As historian Heather Cox Richardson describes in her book How The South Won The Civil War, though the Confederacy surrendered at Appomattox — and its army ceased to be — it still went on to win the Peace that followed the war by getting ahold of the narrative. A war fought specifically because of slavery became a war fought over “states’ rights”. Traitors became great generals fighting for a grand but lost cause. The antebellum world — repugnant because of its reliance upon slaves and slavery — became romanticized in our popular culture. In fact popular culture — books, movies — took up the mantle of “The Glorious South” and made the racism upholding it all acceptable.

That’s a pretty good result for the side that got crushed.

Lincoln’s successor — Andrew Johnson — began undermining Reconstruction as soon as it began. Had he not done that, our history might have been very different. We might have mitigated some of the hurt caused by slavery. Instead, we doubled down on institutional racism and, in very many ways, kept the Civil War going albeit deep in our national psyche. The ripple effects haunt us constantly.

As hard as Trump and the GOP want to make voting, it looks like the numbers will simply overwhelm them. Whereas no one was looking for Trump’s cheating in 2016, in this election, he’s made it a feature — so everyone’s looking at it. Never mind that it’s insane to equate a win via cheating with a legitimate win. Trump and the Republicans have managed to offend just about everyone who isn’t a white male Christian (or the women playing beta dog to them). The reason they need to curtail the vote is because the vote will be so massive — and so massively against them. It should be so massive that even flipping votes on voting machines won’t help: the difference will be too vast. Flipping vote tallies that far apart wouldn’t even pass a Republican’s smell test.

This isn’t about the Democrats winning, it’s about winning by a staggering margin. That’s why, despite the positive polling, no one can let up. It is a numbers game. And we may not know for certain on November 3 who won. We may not know officially for a week or more — because all those mail-in ballots must be counted. Trump and the Republicans will begin their Civil War right there and then.

Remember — Trump needs to be POTUS for the rest of his life. The second he stops being president? He’ll be indicted — at the very least by the SDNY where Trump remains the “unindicted co-conspirator” in the Michael Cohen case. Now that we know that Rod Rosenstein prevented both the FBI and Team Mueller from investigating Trump’s relationship with Russia — there’ll be that too. There’ll be civil suits flying from everywhere at Trump. He’ll spend more on lawyers than some countries do on electricity.

Trump can’t and won’t accept defeat. Here in the real world, he will pay for his crimes. One way or another — especially once we’ve wrested control of the presidency, the Senate and the Department of Justice from corrupt Republican control — every last bit of Republican malfeasance and treason will be investigated, tried and punished.

But, let’s pretend for a moment that Trump and his Republican pals take over a big chunk of real estate — threatening a lengthy, violent conflict. In the end, the United States of America cedes the Trumpian States of America Wyoming, Idaho, Montana and the Dakotas. As a kind of “house warming” gift, we put up Trump’s wall for him.

As our view of Trump and his corrupt pals disappears behind that wall, we’ll start a clock running — to see, over time, which version of America prospers and thrives and which doesn’t. Will the United States of America do better — with its belief in e pluribus unum? Or will The Trumpian States of America “Be Best” — proving that a cult-of-personality-worshipping population, their heads filled with magical thinking and white rage can operate like an actual country.

Personally, I give the TSA about six months before things begin falling apart. The brain drain they suffered at the experiment’s start has left them with fantasists & sycophants to solve all their problems. Trump having succumbed to one of his various physical ailments, the TSA is now broken up into fiefdoms run by Ivanka, Junior and even Barron. He and Tiffany have had to team up to avoid getting eaten by their siblings. Another fiefdom is run by Mitch McConnell and the remnants of the Republican Party.

Mitch lives in a castle. He doesn’t care what’s happening outside of it. Same goes for every other Republican muckety-muck. They cashed out. The country doesn’t make anything that anyone wants so the cash flow’s mostly negative (hey — they do have a little mineral wealth and Mount Rushmore driving their “tourism industry”!) The great natural wonders aren’t so great or natural anymore — since plundering them was considered de rigeur.

Life in the TSA is cheap and nasty. It’s mostly white people in-breeding more of that “white superiority that isn’t”. Religion has replaced science in the classroom. Parsimony has replaced every ounce of Christian charity. It’s a dog-eat-dog world where everyone’s just another flavor of Alpo.

Meanwhile, across the border, life is hard still because it will take a while to undo the profound, systemic damage Trump caused. But, the damage made systemic change both necessary and easier. Ironically, conservative fear of socialism has created the very “socialized” America that scared them and in record time.

Health CARE is now a right of everyone in America. UBI is a fact of life as is either a fully-paid-for college education or whatever training program someone needs to fully prepare their skill sets. Our bottom line will have shifted from money to people.

That’s renewed the world’s view of America as the place where innovation happens. All those great minds are now turning to climate change and how to mitigate it. Slowly, we turn to face all our other problems too. Removing the racists from our population has definitely helped our racism problem — but everyone has the potential to be racist. It’s hard-wired into us (the potential). We still have to teach ourselves to combat it every single day.

The result? A dynamic country filled with hope and promise. An America way closer to living up to its ideals than ever before.

And then one day, there’s a knock at the door. It’s stragglers fleeing the TSA, looking for asylum.

Behind them, we see more stragglers — looking hungry, fearful and hopeless. The good news? Our strong, prosperous version of America can help them. And will.

When we get to the end of THAT Civil War — the one that ends with our banging economy and their whimpering — I hope we have the good sense to get our historians writing. This time, in addition to winning the war, let’s win the damned peace.

At least let’s make our movie version of what happened better than theirs. Not that it will be hard.

What If Donald Trump Didn’t “Win” The Electoral College In 2016 — As In, What If Russia Won It FOR Him?

Donald Trump has a special kind of smile for “the boss” — Vladimir Putin

The Electoral College was the active part of the racism that our Constitution memorialized — one of its deep flaws. It compromised with evil — with slavery — and no compromise with evil ever turns out well for the compromiser. Evil always wins because, the fact is, you can’t compromise with evil.

Russia understands our flaws and understands how to exploit them — as they did in 2016. They also understand how easily Americans can be compromised with a little cold, hard cash. They understand that, for all our high ideals, plenty of Americans are deeply cynical. They also understand as PT Barnum did — no one will ever go broke underestimating the taste of the American public. They saw the potential for havoc in Donald Trump and they exploited every last bit of that potential.

Volume Five of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the 2016 election — the counter-intel part of the investigation — concluded: Russia actively sought to make Trump POTUS. They concluded that Trump 2016 campaign manager Paul Manafort handing Russian oligarch & Russian Military Intelligence officer Konstantin Kilimnik proprietary polling data about Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan was a threat to our national security in and of itself. We haven’t officially investigated yet — at all — how Russian Military Intelligence took that polling data, weaponized it and turned it on individual voters in those states. We know how things turned out in PA/WI/MI. Trump won those three blue states by a combined 77,000 votes (out of tens of millions!)

But here’s the thing — and this is strictly according to the rule of law — that’s not legal. The handing off of the polling data right off the bat — it was illegal. It was treasonous, too. Its intent was treasonous — to allow a hostile foreign power to wage cyber war against American citizens. Cyber war is war. If the Russians shut down our power grid today (something not impossible), we’d sue for peace tomorrow, beaten without a shot ever being fired.

Anyone who thinks bombs and bullets will win future wars is an idiot doomed to lose every war they ever fight going forward.

Russia, smart as it is, probably didn’t game us — game the EC — all by itself. They had plenty of help from within the Trump campaign. And the Trump campaign, though it didn’t care much about the RNC, cared about the GOP’s money. Way behind the scenes, Mitch McConnell was orchestrating things. He’d been managing the Koch Brothers Washington, DC agenda — obstructing legislation, hijacking the judiciary by denying Obama so much as hearings for judicial nominations including Merrick Garland’s SCOTUS seat. The Mercers, via their company Cambridge Analytica were assisting Trump in other nefarious ways. At some point the RW money hitched their entire wagon to Trump, knowing his relationship with Russia.

The RW money — my bet — helped focus Russia’s efforts to subvert the election (that’s subvert the will of the American people) by pointing to states they had to have and had a remote chance of stealing. The propaganda war worked brilliantly. Trump actively called for Russia to help him win. Russia did — and we let it happen right in front of us. The disinformation — including the Comey Letter, dropped 10 days before the election — softened Hillary Clinton’s support especially among Black voters.

Do not underestimate the impact that had on the election’s results. With the polling as their guide, the Russians saw an opening. The propaganda put the race in PA/MI/WI (and probably MN) close enough that an attack on voting machines in those states became a viable way to finish stealing the election’s outcome. No one has ever done any forensics whatsoever on the voting machines, their electronic components and (most importantly) those electronic components accessible to any sort of remote impact — like a cell phone connection or the internet. We’re starting to get wise though to how hackable voting machines are.

It’s not just possible, it’s likely that Trump & the GOP knowingly stole election 2016. That is, they reversed the outcome most Americans voted for in favor of the outcome they — and their Russian co-conspirators — wanted. That means they did not win in 2016. That means that everything that’s flowed from their win — all the legislation, all the degradation of our governmental systems, all the lifetime judges — is the product of a crime. The rule of law says you can’t cheat to become president — especially if that cheating is treasonous.

Donald Trump has never been legitimate president of the United States. Nothing he did or is doing has the authority required to actually do it because the authority flows from us — We The People. If we do not grant it, you do not have it and we did not grant that authority to Donald Trump. He took it. It’s not the same thing.

Cheating can never equal winning. That’s how the rule of law sees it: if you cheat to win, you cannot “win”. Your “win” becomes void the instant you cheat in order to nab it.

We accept that Trump lost the popular vote (if we added in all the HRC votes Trump & Russia suppressed, I bet he would have lost by a shit-ton more). We will, in time, accept that without Russia’s direct interference in a free and fair election, Trump also would have lost the EC.

In other words: Trump was indeed NEVER the legitimate president of the United States.

We will have to deal with that fact, too. The rule of law will insist. Nothing an illegitimate POTUS did can stand. How can it? To let anything Trump did stand would be to reward criminality & treason. It would tell future criminals & traitors that regardless of what happened to them, their treachery would stand.

That’s ludicrous — and it flies in the face of the rule of law.

The rule of law will win the day. It will reassert itself and we will go back to enforcing it — except this time, we’ll enforce it equally. The first people to feel the rule of law’s might will be Donald Trump and every single Republican who collaborated with him or enabled him in any way.

Trump’s illegitimacy will bite him in his bloated orange ass. It will completely obliterate the Republican Party. It will also be the end of the Electoral College and — the biggest hope of all — slavery. Until we remove every vestige of slavery from the Constitution — including the EC that made it electorally viable — we will continue to live with slavery.

Better days are coming. America can and will live up to its ideals. But, first we need to take care of some old business — the theft of election 2016’s actual outcome.

Whatever We Have To Do To Get Black Women Political Power, We MUST Do It

I’ve made a bet that I won’t be around to collect on. But, if I could be? I would collect: history will credit Black women with saving America from itself.

I feel proud to my core that Kamala Harris is Joe Biden’s VP pick. I would have felt pretty close to equally proud with any of his other Black female choices — talk about a deep, brilliant bench — but I feel especial warmth toward Kamala. She’s one of my senators. She was my attorney general. I’ve already voted for her on multiple occasions. And I think Kamala will be an amazing campaigner — a vibrant, exciting contrast to every pasty, old white man in the GOP.

Those pasty, old white men in the GOP are very much our problem. For the moment, they have seized control of the machinery of our government. We didn’t give that control to them, they stole it with the 2016 election with massive assistance from their Russian friends. We’re only just catching up to the fact, our investigations into what the hell happened having been hampered nearly to death. Those pasty, old white men have made a cynical but calculated risk in the face of (what is to them) imminent demographic catastrophe — the end of white rule in America.

The RW money (the Kochs, the Mercers, etc) made Mitch McConnell their point man. Recognizing that — without profound cheating — the executive branch was out of their control and that — without profound cheating — the House of Representatives was out of their control, the RW money sought to seize control of the government via the Senate and the Judicial branch. Using the Senate, the RW has indeed seized control of the judiciary. Mitch McConnell’s proudest achievement — his own words — denying Barack Obama Merrick Garland.

Considering as We The People voted for Barack Obama — and his SCOTUS choices — Mitch McConnell was denying US of our choice — Merrick Garland. Mitch screwed us. Rather, Mitch McConnell’s backers — the RW money — screwed us by denying us the judicial choice that we voted for. And then — with the cheated win (which means it’s not really a win) of Donald Trump, the screwing continued as all those hardcore RW judges — representing a minority position in our politics — have now been installed for life.

What, we have to ask, is the RW money’s game here? What do they think they’re paying for? What do they want their money to buy? Simple: permanent minority rule minus the rule of law. The rule of law, of course, can’t co-exist with what the Republicans are doing. But then, they’ve lived outside the rule of law for a long time now. Our problem is, we let them. We bent the rule of law for all those privileged white men; the rule of law doesn’t bend. What we really did was fail to apply it equally.

We failed to apply the rule of law equally to rich white men and anyone of color but especially Black women.

And yet… they have been the keepers of America’s flame. They have kept our core principles alive in their hearts even as we did everything in our power to destroy them. They have borne the brunt of our cruelty and hypocrisy, of our sanctimony and parsimony.

And yet… they have not lost faith in our principles. Rather, they have seen SALVATION in them. They have always understood that if America could ever live up to its ideals then they would be its beneficiaries. As would everyone else.

Black women have always known: their salvation will be our salvation.

They’ve always known that “All men are created equal” is horse shit in a country where slavery exists. It’s horse shit when “all men” is meant literally.

The cost of keeping our ideals alive is the surrender of political power. White men are 30% of the population but control 62% of the political power. That’s 32% they must give up — it doesn’t belong to them. Our ideals say a big chunk of that power is obligated to women.

I believe in American Exceptionalism. It ain’t old white men and their dirty money, it’s diversity. Our diversity is what makes us exceptional. Our diversity brings a whole panoply of skill sets from the whole panoply of the world’s cultures. Where else does that happen but America? A huge part of that diversity is the diversity of women.

Considering the skill sets of most of those women? White men should surrender every bit of their political power for a while. It will take a while for America’s women to undo the considerable damage America’s men have wrought — trying to keep power for themselves.

Consider all the ways America has kept Black women from achieving every bit of greatness within them? Consider what we might already have achieved if we’d let women “drive” instead of letting the men drive around lost. Consider the obstacles to learning and health care and child care we legislated into their path.

For the life of me, I can’t fathom why? What kind of threat do they pose — except for the loss of political power? Looking at the Black women Joe Biden had to choose between? Every single one of them would have brought more to the table then the entire Trump White House combined. If America’s men won’t pull to the side of the road and switch drivers, America’s women will have to kick us from the car while we’re flying down the highway. They’ll have no choice because of the cliff we’re zooming toward.

I hope that when Wynta-Amor — the young lady in the photo above — is ready, she runs for political office. I have a feeling justice will be hard wired into her thinking.

In fact, I’m even willing to bet on it.

Dear Regulation-Hating Republicans: Get Ready To Be Regulated Into Extinction

It’s simple. If the playing field was automatically level for all Americans — and if everyone behaved honorably, respecting the rule of law, we could probably dispense with most regulations. Alas, that’s not the case.

Some people — okay, Republicans, it seems — cannot imagine walking past a pot of money without wanting to take it all for themselves. Having all the money means having all the power — which is really what it’s all about anyway. Yes, an over-zealous government can become tyrannical via over-use of rules and regs. But then over-zealous criminals can become tyrannical via UNDER-use of the rule of law.

There’s no middle ground unfortunately. We thought there was. Right now, our problems all flow from the unequal enforcement of the rule of law. We punish Black and brown people harshly while letting rich white people skate. The rule of law eventually breaks down when it’s applied piecemeal. It’s like integrity — it is or it isn’t. You really can’t have 99% of your integrity. It’s the dubious 1% that immediately defines you.

It’s a fact — in response to Donald Trump, Trumpism, Republican corruption and the RW’s naked greed, we will over-regulate ourselves. At least, that’s how it will feel to some people — Republicans. Having the rule of law applied to them will feel like over-regulation. Think of it from the criminal’s point of view — one moment, they’re breaking the law with impunity. The next, they’re in handcuffs. See? Over-regulation.

And handcuffs will be what plenty of Republicans are wearing come 2021. Handcuffs and prison orange will be the new Republican “look”. It’s hard to think of many Republicans who won’t be rocking that look hard. They’ve all — at the very least — conspired to commit a whole host of crimes. Republicans knew even during their 2016 convention — when they formally nominated Trump — that he was breaking the rule of law.

Current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy famously (it was reported on!) entered a meeting of Republican head honchos and said out loud: “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump”. Then Speaker of the House Paul Ryan famously replied “Let’s keep this in the family”. Everyone agreed to keep secret the fact that they were breaking the law.

The rule of law will insist that every single Republican who had even the faintest inkling that something was amiss with their party was OBLIGATED to pick up a phone and call the authorities. See something, say something. See something, say nothing? We need to ask WHY? Rather, the rule of law needs to ask “why?”

America started with an impossible contradiction — the statement “All men are created equal” cannot co-exist with slavery. And “all men” needs to be “all people — regardless of their gender — are equal before the rule of law”. That applies to them, of course, regardless of who they love. Making the playing field truly level for everyone will take time and effort and focus. It won’t happen by itself — but then, that’s how the rule of law works. We The People will have to make it happen.

And, despite all the awkwardness and inconvenience that applying the rule of law will cause, the indisputable fact is — it will be worth it.

Republicans won’t think so. Their lawyers will write angry letters demanding we release their clients from long federal prison sentences.

The rule of law will read their letters and refuse to budge. It didn’t condemn them to extinction, they themselves did that. The rule of law was simply the road they took to get there.

Republicans Have Made Themselves The New Face Of Authoritarianism & Treason

Show me a Republican and I’ll show you a traitor.

The Republican Party is making a calculated gamble that they can get away with altering our form of government right in front of our faces — despite the fact that the majority of Americans not only didn’t vote for them to do this, the majority of Americans clearly voted to do the opposite. The GOP intends to create the illusion of democracy while actually ruling the country as permanent authoritarian minority dictators.

Republicans didn’t suddenly hit on the idea of doing this — down deep, conservatives and Republicans have always regarded representative democracy with disdain. The idea of non-white, possibly non-Christian, non-penis-possessing people having political power petrifies these pirates. That’s why the Kochs and the Mercers dug into their pockets to stop such a thing from happening. They employed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to shepherd their plan — first by denying Obama the lifetime appointments to the federal bench to which he (and his voters) were entitled — having WON multiple elections. Then by denying Obama the SCOTUS seat he and his voters were entitled to. Merrick Garland, recall, didn’t get so much as a polite conversation from the Republicans.

When Trump landed among the Republicans in 2016, they did their best to resist — at first. But, being so easily compromised, being so corrupt, the Republican Party quickly fell under Trump’s influence. Russia’s influence. The Republicans knew that too — that Trump and Russia were in it together. During the 2016 GOP convention, current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy walked into a room of GOP muckety mucks and announced “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump” to which then Speaker of the House Paul Ryan responded “No leaks. . . . This is how we know we’re a real family here.”

Instead of being patriots — and calling the FBI, the Republicans kept it a secret.

If Bill Barr — the most corrupt AG ever to hold that office (and that includes other corrupt Republican AG’s like John Mitchell (Nixon’s AG who went to jail!) and W’s Alberto Gonzalez. Even when Republicans follow the rule of law, they’re being cynical. They may be following it to the letter but rest assured, at the same time, they’ll be violating its spirit like Kossacks fomenting a pogrom.

There will be coming back from this — for the Republican Party or for the rest of America. Their betrayal is unforgivable. To show these traitors the merest hint of mercy will encourage them to start all over again. The simple fact is — they’ve never been that into “us”. They want what they want and will do whatever it takes to get it.

And they’re arrogant enough — throw in utterly lacking in self awareness — to think they can get away with enslaving the whole nation just like they once did Black people.

Boy, are they in for a shock.

Are Republicans Hard Wired To Be Mediocre?

There’s a moment at the end of the movie “Amadeus” where the character Salieri — the court composer to the Hapsburg Empire — looks to the priest weeping in front of him. The priest had come to hear Salieri’s confession but got way more than that.

Salieri has just confessed to, more or less, murdering Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart — a thing Salieri claims he did because God had implanted such incredible talent inside Mozart instead of him. Mozart’s remarkable abilities have made it clear to Salieri just how mediocre he is.

Salieri looks to the speechless priest, tears running down his cheeks. “I will speak for you, Father,” says Salieri, “I speak for all mediocrities in the world. I am their champion. I am their patron saint.”

Salieri is the institutionalist. The inside-the-box guy whose imagination ends where the box does. Mozart, on the other hand, lives outside the box — where genius can take flight and flourish.

Republicans are a lot like Salieri. They’re rich and privileged. They’re connected to power. They haven’t an original idea in their heads — because original ideas, they know, are dangerous. To them.

Look at the lineup of Congresspeople working either to investigate or defend Trump. On the Democratic side you have Adam Schiff and Kamala Harris and Katie Porter and Val Demmings and Stacy Abrams — outside-the-box problem solvers and thinkers.

On the Republican side? Matt Gaetz… Jim Jordan… Devin Nunes…

Is there a more mediocre person on the planet than sexual-assault enabler Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan? Piss ants laugh at Jim for being so useless.

It shouldn’t be a mystery why Republican excel at not excelling. At being mediocre. It’s a function of being conservative. Conservatives — as their name implies — want to conserve. Since you can’t conserve the future (it doesn’t exist), you focus on conserving the present because it contains the past — and the past, really, is every conservative’s goal: conservatives want to conserve the past. They want to regress the country back to how it was when everyone understood that white, male Christians were the alpha dogs of American politics.

Those mediocrities will tell you that those alpha dogs made America. Hog wash. Manifest Destiny was thievery. Slavery should have been criminalized, not institutionalized. America has been way better at preaching democracy than practicing it. How mediocre of us.

The one thing we can definitely say about Donald Trump is that, for everything he is, he ain’t mediocre. When it comes to being corrupt or treasonous or racist or misogynist or bigoted or greedy or ignorant or just plain awful, Donald Trump is exceptional.

When it comes to being a human being?

He ain’t even mediocre.

First & Foremost, Slavery Was Stolen Labor

If I steal your car, I’ve stolen something you bought using money you made from the sweat of your brow. If I enslave you, I cut out the middle man as it were. I don’t have to steal your car to get what was yours, I steal your labor directly. It’s more efficient. More ruthless.

In America, slavery belonged to the south where it worked the fields mostly. Picking cotton and cutting sugar cane were labor intensive work back before machinery showed up. If a plantation owner had to pay for labor (never mind a fair wage for that labor), their profits would have been wafer thin if they’d had any at all. The whole point of slavery is you get the work done — and you make your money — without having to worry about the cost of labor. Sure, sure — you still have to feed and house that labor but, since they’re slaves anyway, it’s not like you have to make their food or housing decent.

Since slaves aren’t technically human to the slaver (even calling slaves three-fifths of a regular white person was an over-statement to them made solely to cut the Electoral College deal), he can not only steal their labor but every other facet of their lives too. The slaver can see the slave’s children like calves or lambs to be separated from their parents and sold off individually.

If I steal your labor, I steal a big part of you — of who you are and why you’re here. You may think your purpose in life is to live happily. I think your purpose is to pick my cotton and keep the mint juleps flowing — for free. If I win that fight and force you to work for me, for nothing, you will have no way even to earn your way to freedom. I will know that you will be my slave forever.

The fact is, slavery was very good for the Confederacy’s agrarian economy. “If the Confederacy had been a separate nation, it would have ranked as the fourth richest in the world at the start of the Civil War.” Without slavery, the south couldn’t produce cotton cheaply. That is no justification for slavery. But it was to the south.

Ironically, when Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin in 1794, they thought the gin’s ability to comb cotton seeds from cotton bolls would reduce the need for slavery. The opposite happened. While a slave “could pick the seeds out of 10 pounds of cotton in a day. The cotton gin could process 100 pounds in the same time.” The white guys running things planted more cotton. Rather, they had their slaves plant more cotton.

America has always lived with an impossibility at its core — the idea that “all men are created equal” except the ones who are slaves. Not only did we not actually believe that all men were created equal, we did not believe their work was equal either. We’ve always believed that white peoples’ work was worth more than black peoples’ work — even if it was the same damned work.

Once I steal your productivity, your happiness is easy to pick off and destroy. It’s stolen labor that makes slavery “slavery”.

Necessary Trouble

Courage is a mysterious thing. You can’t buy it. If you have it, you can’t save it till you need it. You have to rely on the fact that your courage will be there — and that there will be enough of it — at the moment you really, really need it.

Maybe, as with John Lewis, you’re born with it. Or, maybe as John Lewis taught, it’s something can cultivate in yourself.

John Lewis died last night. He taught us so much — and had so much more still to impart. Even when he spurred us to action, he did it in a way that understood both what he was really asking of us and how we might best understand what we were really doing.

“My philosophy is very simple. When you see something that is not right. Not fair. Not just. Say something. Do something. Get in trouble. Good trouble. Necessary trouble.” –

Representative John Lewis

Say something. Do something. Get in trouble.

Good trouble.

Necessary trouble.

Good trouble is the moral imperative to fight what’s wrong. Necessary trouble is the act of engagement — of putting your ass (or your head — as John Lewis did) on the line. If a thing is necessary, it takes away any moral equivocating. You have to do it. It’s necessary (not just “good”).

The day John Lewis’ skull got fractured by Alabama State Police, he knew from previous experience that things could get violent. Deadly even. But the necessity of changing America overrode everything. It demanded Necessary Trouble.

It’s our obligation to carry John Lewis’ hopes for America forward. The Black Lives Matter protests aren’t the culmination of necessary trouble, they’re the process of necessary trouble producing its desired outcome. In a way, it’s like a glacier carving out a mountain as it flows downward. It’s a long, long grind.

America’s latent racism has become blatant. That cannot stand. We owe it to ourselves to make America live up to its ideals — if only for the first time.

That’s white people I’m talking about. Black people, brown people, native people, Asian people — any people not strictly White – they’ve always lived up to America’s ideals because they actually believe in them. They actually believe that all people are created equal before the law.

White people need to own a hard, painful truth about ourselves: we tolerated racism because we benefited from racism.

That can’t be.

We must confront it head on — in an act of necessary trouble.