“TRUMPOCALYPSE: THE MINISERIES” Casting Office

U.S. Vice-President Biden smiles as he speaks with Croatian PM Milanovic in Zagreb

Back at the early days of the Trump madness — in the middle of his term — back when we thought our world had gone pretty much as bonkers as it could get, I wrote a post called “Trumpocalypse: The Movie”.  I smile now at my charming naivete — to think that the Trump madness could be contained within one measly feature film.  Re-thinkiing “Trumpocalypse” as a mini-series also threatens to be too small a vehicle to contain the “Trumpocalypse” story  but the thing about a mini series is it has an end point.  After the last episode, it’s done.  If we do this right, there should be no more — no sequels, no spin offs, nothing.  Whereas, if we made “Trumpocalypse” an on-going series with no end date in sight… You see what I mean?  We NEED this show to be finite because this can’t be our only show.  There’s great stuff – important stuff — on other channels that we need to get to and quickly.

Not only has the “Trumpocalypse” mini series got way more storylines in it, it’s got way more characters.  How do we organize our casting process so that, when we get to “the day”, we have not only a great cast but a great cast that will complement each other?  

I’d like to start by casting first the Trump family.  Then those immediately around it — the “inner circle” if you will.  Then, I would begin to cast the mini-series — going chronologically — major story by major story.  As this is going to be an ongoing project that’s changing on the fly, I’ve no doubt some stories will demand to be cast in the right here, right now.  Hey — welcome to life in a casting office!  Things change all the time.  Actors drop out and new characters and whole storylines suddenly get added.  If ya can’t stand the heat…

So, without any further ado, please welcome to our Casting Office! You’ll see where I’ve left the casting door open for everyone else to bring their suggestions and their casting notes…

CHARACTER

DONALD J. TRUMP

ALEC BALDWIN as Trump…

NOTES: Baldwin’s is probably the most familiar Trump. It’s an excellent caricature. And, considering that Trump IS a caricature of a human. playing Trump as a caricature makes a certain kind of sense. I wonder if there’s not a way to “multiple-cast” Trump since he worked in so many different ways on our psyche. Just a thought for later discussion…

BRENDAN GLEASON as Trump…

NOTES: Gleeson played Trump in “The Comey Rule” on Showtime.

WOODY HARRELSON as Trump

NOTES: I’ve always liked Woody Harrelson’s “interior” range. It’s amazing and we’re going to need an actor with incredible emotional range to play a character with VIRTUALLY NONE.  It’s like getting an actor to sing off key.  The ones who can actually sing will automatically do it better.  They even know where off-key is.

IVANKA TRUMP

SCARLET JOHANSSON as Ivanka Trump

NOTES: There’s a kind of irony in an actress great at playing Black Widow to play the part of a woman who acts like an actual black widow spider.

AMANDA SEYFRIED as Ivanka

NOTES: Some things just seem so natural…

DONALD TRUMP, JR

MIKEY DAY as Donald Trump, Jr

NOTES: Presently, the actor who’s gotten closest to nailing Don Jr’s unctuousness is an actor satirizing him. That’s probably not a coincidence. Still — we need some competition here. I’ll put my mind to it if you will…

ERIC TRUMP

Alex Moffat as Eric Trump

NOTES: As with Mikey Day’s Junior, SNL’s version of Eric — and I love Alex Moffat’s Eric — stands for the moment as “the” Eric. Competition’s good for everyone — Trump’s included.

MELANIA TRUMP

CASTING OPEN!

Awaiting Picture, so here’s the real Melania — in the one photo I can find of her smiling like she means it. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Melania’s smiling this way at Putin. Not cos Melania respects international relationships but because she worked the whole damned time as Donald’s handler on Vlad’s behalf. Hey, how do you say “I don’t care, do you?” in Russian?

VLADIMIR PUTIN

MADS MIKKELSON as Vladimir Putin

NOTES: Mads played the Bond Villain Le Chiffre in Casino Royale. By all accounts, Vlad Putin is the Bond Villain America fully deserves.

RUDY GIULIANI

KATE McKINNON as Rudy Giuliani

NOTES: Personally, I’m not sure a human can play the entirely humanoid Rudy but my mind’s open. Kate McKinnon can do anything. I bet she could do a fully deep dive into Rudy and actually pull off an amazing, lifelike (without being cartoonish) characterization. But still — for the moment, the part’s wide open.

MORE CHARACTERS TO COME!!!!!

The Republican Party Is What Happens When Bad Ideas And Thinking Metastasize

The reason Republicans have to rely on gerrymandering, voter suppression and terrible legislation to win elections is because nobody except them will vote for their ideas. To be clear, the only problem Republicans see looming in America’s future is diversity and the loss of political power that diversity will cost them. They see a loss of political power as a “cost” rather than as what must happen if America is ever going to live up to its full E Pluribus Unum potential as the greatest experiment ever in human self government. The fact is, conservative America doesn’t want America to live up to that potential. They want “All men are created equal” to mean what it meant to the country’s white, Christian, land-owning founders — just them and only them. That is originalism. A very bad idea (because it’s bullshit). Originalism isn’t the idea itself, originalism is the bad idea’s manifestation out here in reality. The idea is a toxic cocktail of racism, bigotry, misogyny, magical thinking and outright bullying. Want to know what happens to someone who swallows this idea?

Look around. You can practically smell the cancer.

This awful idea — that America is some white peoples’ homeland (aside from the Native American population white peoples’ pathogens obliterated) — flies in the face of reality. Europe is white, Christian America’s homeland. And, while the organizing principles that knitted themselves into our Constitution flowed from the French Enlightenment, some of those principles also flowed from pure, unadulterated greed. The entire southern economy was built on stolen labor — slavery. That is what slavery is ultimately, stolen labor. A slaver wants a slave to work for zero pay. Sure, the slaver will have to feed, clothe and house the slave, but (the fact that slavery thrived in America proves the point), those costs must have been negligible compared to the profit one could make off the actual slaves themselves.

To this day, people will argue — thinking it’s a good argument — that, without slavery, the south could never have had an economy and thus neither could Early America. First, that means America can only happen with slavery in the picture. Bullshit. Most of Europe got rid of slavery and built their economies just fine without it. They may have enslaved the lower classes indirectly and in a thousand other ways, but, at least they quit buying and selling humans in public. Republicans don’t want Americans learning Critical Race Theory because, being conservatives, they want America to live in the past but they don’t want America to examine the past (because then they wouldn’t want to live in it). If conservatives really believed that getting all Americans to live in the past was a good thing, they’d package it that way.

Conservatives are very good at packaging things. Being cynical, they understand how to direct message. The world is black and (especially) white to them. Whatever they feel matters more than any fact ever could. Therefore, the Truth is whatever they say It is. If, they say “Mission Accomplished” then whatever the mission is, as far as the Republicans are concerned, that mission is as “accomplished” as it’s ever going to be. Of course, the mission wasn’t accomplished. We should never have invaded Iraq — another awful idea. We should never have changed our objectives on the fly in Afghanistan.

Bad ideas flow from Republicans like pus from a wound. Trickle down economics? Bad idea. Tax cuts for the wealthy? Bad idea. Refusal to admit climate change is real and it’s being sped up by human activity? Bad idea. Making church and state the same thing? Bad idea. Poll taxes? Bad idea. Separate But Equal? Bad idea. Slavery itself? Horrible idea! Segregation? Bad idea. Refusing women the vote? Bad idea. Citizens Unlimited? Bad idea. Making Donald Trump their 2016 nominee despite knowing Russia owned him (as GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy himself put it: “There’s two people I think Putin pays — Rohrbacher and Trump — swear to God!”) Bad idea. Obstructing justice on Trump’s behalf? Bad idea. Taking part in the January 6 insurrection? Bad idea.

I could go on… and on… and on.

As the Reagan years waned, the Right Wing Money saw diversity’s handwriting on the wall of America’s future. That terrified them because it meant that after 200 years of bamboozling the rest of America into believing that “All men are created equal” referred only to them, the rest of America was done with being bamboozled. America has always been a great idea poorly executed because white people selfishly held America back. Fortunately, that bad idea has run its course.

The only real idea conservatives and Republicans have in their heads is permanent minority rule. That would be originalism’s natural, organic conclusion: the “originals” get to run America forever just because they say so. Talk about a crap idea! That is what has been metastasizing all along in real time. Unable to get the Constitution itself to go along with their bullying, Republicans in Texas devised a way for ordinary citizens to do the hard work of keeping women in their place. Republicans in the rest of America have already seized on this cancerous idea and begun to metastasize it even further. They want to make this cancer even more cancerous still.

What makes this idea even worse — from the conservative perspective — is that the short term gains (putting women in their place) will be superseded by electoral oblivion when those same women show up en masse to vote out every Republican they can. It is a very bad idea to take away anyone’s rights; they’re not going to take it well — or take it PERIOD. The Republicans probably expect to slowly squeeze the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness out of America but they’re going to be shocked by what America does.

In all the places where authoritarianism and fascism succeeded, it did so in homogenous environments like Germany where everyone (fascists and non fascists) were German. Their families were German (or proto-German) for a millennium at least. Their whole culture was homogenous. Same goes for any place where authoritarian power ruthlessly asserted itself: it’s always done so in a relatively homogenous culture. That’s not the case in America. For the first time ever in human history, a nation has been slowly building itself using other nations to supply the people. That’s the whole point of America and the American dream: anyone from anywhere can come here and — provided they’re willing to put in the sweat equity — reinvent themselves and their futures. In America, the past is NOT prologue.

The world has flocked to America — bringing its great ideas with it. America is what happens when great ideas flourish. But, our present is what happens when a bad idea — permanent minority rule — tries to bully a good one: diversity. The best way to deal with a cancer is to either radiate it out of existence or excise it outright as soon as possible. That is exactly what America must do.

Because it’s a really good idea.

Of Republicans And Rabbit Holes

How does one answer the question “And when did you stop beating your wife?”? There is no good way,. That’s the point. Same goes for “When did you stop loving me?” or “Why don’t you respect the flag?” These aren’t legitimate questions. They’re a passive-aggressive set up meant to put the person being asked the question at the event horizon of a rabbit hole. On one side of that horizon — wide open space in the form of logic and reason. On the other — a chaotic, blazingly bonkers, Wonderland-style black hole that sucks every bit of reason from any argument (before you can even argue it) and compresses this concentrated nonsense down into a singularity of such incredibly dense illogic that no kind of enlightenment or rationale can penetrate it whatsoever. This is true darkness. Logic as a null set. And every Republican’s intention is to suck, draw or push the rest of us into and down that very rabbit hole.

When Mitch McConnell — the long time chief engineer of all Republican rabbit hole construction — told Barack Obama (the democratically elected president) that, despite the fact that the MAJORITY of Americans voted for him and therefore for the his judicial nominees that he couldn’t fill Scalia’s vacant SCOTUS seat, he not only put Obama at the precipice of a rabbit hole, he put America at the precipice of one. What McConnell was doing — denying American voters the benefits of winning elections.– is an enormous rabbit hole. Mind you, if the Democrats attempted such a thing (which they wouldn’t; Democrats simply do not think this way), every single Republican’s head would explode. No part of the Republican argument makes the least bit of sense. But then, no one really expects it to — that’s a whole other rabbit hole that the first rabbit hole (voting rights) lives inside of. No one expects Republicans to EVER make sense.

For all their insistence that “both sides do it”, our news media do not hold “both sides equally culpable”. For some reason, the guilt always gets hangs around Democratic necks. That’s probably because the Republicans, not wanting EVER to take an ounce of responsibility for their actions (cos why would “the party of personal responsibility” do that?”), have split the scene before responsibility could be accurately assessed. Joe Biden did not put us into Afghanistan on an endless mission. His administration didn’t pre-negotiate this surrender with the Taliban, Donald Trump’s administration did that. Biden didn’t lock his team out of the transition process — where they might have learned how Team Trump was setting them up for failure. Team Trump did that.

Afghanistan itself is the rabbit hole where empires go to plunge helplessly to their demise. To report the story without all its context is to mis-report it. And yet, mis-report it our news media does — even knowing what they know because, one of the constants about Republican rabbit holes is that facts never get aggregated or integrated into the general knowledge base. Think about it — how long, how many lies, did it take for our news media to finally admit and accept that Trump was more likely to lie to them than tell them the truth?

The first official lie Trump told them was “Mexicans are rapists” and, to this day, the news media has more or less accepted that candidates for the office of president can say — and get away with saying — such things. That, right there, is another rabbit hole. Right beside it is one marked “pussy grabbing”. And beside it, another marked “But her emails”.

That Republicans keep shoving us down their rabbit holes is understandable. It’s the only way they can win election any more since no one but them wants to live in the racist, misogynist, ignorance-embracing shithole that they dream of turning America back into. That the news media insists that Republicans are honest actors seeking to undermine our democratic principles as a matter of “political choice” is flat out offensive. The GOP’s moves to undermine and alter the results of elections 2016 and 2020 were not and are not political acts at all. They’re entirely CRIMINAL — though being done for political reasons.

When Democrats respond to these criminal actions, they are not acting politically either. They are citizens responding to criminal acts being perpetrated against them (albeit criminal acts being carried out for political purposes). When the news media insists regardless that it’s political (since politic are what’s motivating the Republicans), we get this wonky, stilted, wholly inaccurate view of the playing field.

Every last one of our problems — the climate, voting, treason, the pandemic — has been exacerbated by whatever the Republicans’ response to it has been. That’s not a coincidence. There is a method to the GOP’s madness — a point to this terrible exercise: permanent minority rule. That is what sits on the other side of the singularity all this Republican greed and corruption are drawing us toward.

If Christianity Isn’t In The “Do Unto Others” Business (It Isn’t!), What Business Is It In Exactly?

Outside of its “sales literature”, Christianity has zero use for “Do Unto Others”. Same goes for Jesus. Christianity uses Jesus the way McDonald’s uses Ronald. He’s a mascot, nothing more. The church is about as worried whether their actions would meet Jesus’s approval as McDonald’s is worried about Ronald’s. As the McDonald’s Corporation would remind you: Ronald is just a clown. The institutional church feels pretty much the same way about Jesus. “Do unto others” is just another part of the “Christianity Brand”. To its credit, the early Christian Church realized early on how important branding would be in building their new institution. Hey — they seem to have understood that “branding” was a thing to begin with. What’s the symbol for literally every church — for the Christian religion itself? A cross. Remember — prior to being taken over by the Christian church as the symbol representing itself, crosses were the Roman equivalent of an electric chair or a gas chamber or a guillotine. If the Romans had invented the guillotine before the French did (the idea for the device was proposed in 1788 by French physician and politician Joseph-Ignace Guillotin), Christians would all be walking around today with little guillotines around their necks.

Hmmmm… Christianity isn’t really worried about the guy ON the cross (crosses can have him or not have him — they mean the same thing; Jesus is an adornment on a cross)… that must mean that Christianity cares more about the cross itself. The Romans crucified people because the shape of the cross causes a person nailed to it to slowly, painfully, agonizingly asphyxiate — usually over several days. If they had found a circle or a square caused an equally painful kind of death? They probably would have used that instead. The point isn’t even the cross. It’s what the cross causes that Christianity is really messaging: death.

The first message (never mind the “first cause”) is “Jesus died”. Not “Jesus taught ‘Do unto others’,” Jesus died. That was the essential thing about Jesus to Paul The Apostle as he went about inventing Christianity. That’s a stone cold fact: Jesus had zero to do with the invention of Christianity. Paul had EVERYTHING to do with it. One could remove Jesus and every one of his teachings from everything most Christian churches call “Christianity” and you’d still have Christianity. That’s not a criticism. Hell — that’s Paul’s genius and Paul, most certainly, was a genius. The way we look at Paul has to be different from the way we look at Jesus because we KNOW Paul was 100% real; unlike Jesus, Paul left behind a written record of himself. The bulk of the New Testament is composed of Paul’s letters and epistles to the burgeoning Christian communities spreading across Asia Minor.

The fact that there WERE burgeoning Christian communities across Asia Minor was entirely because of Paul. Without Paul, those communities don’t exist. They never start. The idea for them — for what those communities are going to believe — originates in Paul and NOT in Jesus. Jesus — Joshua ben Joseph is how he would have thought of himself — was born, lived and died a Jew. He grew up steeped in the Jewish texts, Jewish traditions, Jewish mythologies and Jewish thinking. Key to that way of thinking is “Do unto others” or, as it’s expressed in the Mishna and Talmud, “Tikkun Olam”. It is every Jew’s obligation to make the world a better place for having been in it. One does not get a choice in the matter; it’s an unspoken commandment from God. Making the world a better place begins with treating everyone as YOU would wish to be treated aka “Do unto others”.

Jesus never thought of taking his message outside the Jewish world. Why would he? He wasn’t trying to invent Christians when he preached the Sermon On The Mount, he was trying to make Jews better Jews. Nothing Jesus did — let’s remember that the stories we have of Jesus were not even remotely eyewitness accounts; they were collated and edited and chosen as canonical by the Christian church’s early leaders who themselves were part of the invention process. Again — this is not a criticism, it’s merely an observation of the process by which Christianity came into the world. And it WAS a process that took CENTURIES to happen — and the texts they were using as part of that formative process themselves were the accumulation of as much as a MILLENNIUM of oral traditions finally written down.

After his “conversion on the road to Damascus” from Saul of Tarsus to Paul the Apostle (a thing we can assume DID happen because real person Paul wrote about it), Paul went to Jerusalem to try and sell the powerful vision in his head. The problem was, Paul — who’d never met Jesus — was trying to sell HIS version of Jesus to people (including Jesus’s FAMILY) who actually KNEW Jesus, who’d actually heard Jesus speak — who’d heard his message straight from his mouth. They rejected Paul and his version of Jesus out of hand. Their version of Jesus — the REAL JESUS (as much as we can point to a “real Jesus”) — more or less died with them. Not long afterward, the Romans destroyed the Second Temple and the Jewish presence in Palestine was mostly obliterated for almost two thousand years. Scattered to the diaspora, Jewish culture turned away from a physical temple to a more intimate, rabbinic approach where questioning God’s true intent so as to decipher a meaning was the goal.

Paul meanwhile took his version of Jesus to the Gentiles. Unlike the Jews who’d rejected him, the Gentiles didn’t know Jesus and didn’t know any of the Jewish mythology Jesus knew and based his teaching on. Also, the Gentiles didn’t know any of the messiah mythology from The Book Of Daniel or The Book Of Enoch. If Paul strayed from what was written and understood, none of the Gentiles were going to call Paul on it like the Jewish community would. That liberated Paul to both adulterate and “improve upon” the original with his own focus. To Paul, it was the fact that Jesus died and, in Paul’s telling of it, rose from the dead like a zombie.

Who tells us Paul rose from the dead? Was it Jesus? NO — it’s Paul. Paul is the only reporter the church relied upon to tell us who Jesus was. Our version of Jesus is Paul’s version of Jesus; not his family’s version or even Jesus’s version of Jesus. It’s all Paul’s version. And Paul — here’s the true heart of his genius — was selling the idea that if Jesus could rise from the dead and defeat death itself (and isn’t that what scares human beings most?) then so could someone who believed in Jesus (so long as the version of Jesus you believed in was Paul’s). THAT is what Paul invented; it’s what the institutional church Paul also was inventing took as its Big Sales Tool.

“Have you heard the good news” is how they put it — and it also was genius. Prior to the Jews and their personal, monotheistic tribal god Yahweh (the god we’ve come to call “God” though, really, god is Yahweh’s job description not his name), the polytheistic gods had a very different relationship with humans. Yahweh on the other hand was personally interested in humans since he, personally, created them. Yahweh has a lot of the Canaanite god “El” in him, Yahweh’s creators having been a lesser tribe in that larger tribe’s shadow. El’s presence is still felt in various place names: “Isra-EL” for example or “Beth EL”. Yahweh creates Adam in his own image. How sad for Yahweh that Adam let him down in the end (oh, right — that was all Eve’s fault).

Paul cleverly took the “mankind’s fall from grace” idea from Genesis and made that the whole reason Jesus died — no, HAD TO DIE. The whole point of Jesus’s existence, Paul told his followers, was to die as collateral for Eve’s “original sin”. Nowhere in Judaism is such a thing demanded. But it is in Christianity because Paul (and then the early church “fathers”) put it in the faith they were mythologizing on the fly.

Think about it: if Jesus, instead of being crucified, lives out his days teaching and preaching to fellow Jews and dies in his bed, a respected old man (though maybe not by the temple and its priests), then Paul never has a revelation about Jesus dying (that Jesus’s family thinks is hogwash) and Christianity never comes to be. Or, maybe Paul does have his revelation on the road to Damascus — except it’s NOT about Jesus dying and being resurrected — it’s about Jesus’s message: “Do unto others”. Instead of founding a church outside of Judaism, Paul, instead, would have become more Jewish.

He’d have become a better Jew than he was. More devout maybe. More thoughtful about what Yahweh said was important (Yahweh being a mercurial cat to begin with).

The early church needed compliance with its emerging mythology, not more discussion about it. That’s why they created a canonical testament — a New Testament that reimagined and reinvented the Old Testament by turning it away from everything Jesus thought to everything Paul thought. And Paul, don’t forget, had been soundly rejected by his own. Paul, as we know, took being spurned badly. We have no idea whether or not Jesus was actually crucified even. We have Paul’s account of it and the accounts — the four canonical gospels — whose stories lined up just enough to seem like a coherent narrative. Again: there are no contemporaneous accounts of anything Paul or the Gospel writers describe. All we have to go by is them — and the thing they were beginning to figure out and figure out how to sell: Christianity.

Jesus taught his followers that none of them needed a Temple or its priests. They, Jesus taught, were corrupt! Anyone and everyone could speak directly to Yahweh without a “middle man”. That’s how approachable Yahweh was. So, how come there’s a church speaking for Jesus (of all people)? It’s a total contradiction of a core teaching. Same goes for all the dogma required to justify any church’s existence. Churches do not, in fact, teach anything “Jesus” because their very existence would disturb Jesus to his toes were he to actually experience a “second coming” and return.

Not only would Jesus be disgusted by the religion that rose in his name, he’d be doubly disgusted by that religion’s anti-Semitism. Jesus never had an anti-Semitic thought because he was a Semite. He would find the church’s history repellant. He would be crushed by the number of his fellow Jews who the church-with-his-name-on-it murdered in cold blood just because they were Jews. He would be especially blown away by how that church-with-his-name-on-it turned “Do unto others” into “Do what we say”. There may not be a bigger contradiction in the whole history of contradictions.

But, that’s exactly what Christianity’s selling. In their defense, they are selling rubbish and magical thinking — that requires a lot of hard work especially in a world that replaced theology as the Queen of Sciences with actual science. Had Paul chosen to try and sell real Jesus, he probably would have failed. His version captivated the Gentile world. In time, Paul’s genius became the state religion of Europe. Think that’s what Jesus had in mind as he preached the Sermon On The Mount?

The Reason Big Business Will Absolutely “Quit” The GOP Is The Same Reason Bill O’Reilly No Longer Works At Fox News

Hey, remember Bill O’Reilly? Bill sure wishes most of us did remember him. But, for most of America, O’Reilly sits in the “Whatever happened to?” heap and not anywhere near the top. The reason most people don’t even think about O’Reilly any more as a “choice” in the news-entertainment marketplace is exactly the same reason that all America’s Big Businesses are now turning their backs on the Republican Party over the violently anti-democratic voting laws its members have drawn up all over the country, starting with Georgia. In a consumer-driven, free market economy — that, itself, relies on a stable, genuinely democratic political environment to cash flow it — anything that causes those consumers to stop consuming products & services is bad for business. If those causes are potentially long-lasting (more to the point, if the EFFECTS those causes cause are likely long-lasting), it’s entirely in Big Businesses long term interests either to remove or mitigate those causes as quickly (and cheaply) as possible. But, Big Business also knows it has a secondary problem to contend with: branding and co-branding. Just as Fox News saw clearly that continuing to co-brand with Bill O’Reilly had to end, so, too, will America’s Big Businesses see that they can no longer “co-brand” with the GOP.

O’Reilly, remember, had a history of sexually intimidating female co-workers (though the word in his mind was probably “seducing”). This happened. And, famously, this. This did, too.

Meanwhile, a paradigm that had actually shifted years before was finally recognized by America’s Big Businesses — at least the ones who advertised on Bill O’Reilly’s top-rated Fox News show “The O’Reilly Factor”. As Time pointed out on April 6, 2017, ” …companies that advertise on The O’Reilly Factor have seen intense pressure on social media to stop running ads on the show. Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai were the first companies to pull their spots…”. Seeing the positive response those two big companies got, more of O’Reilly’s sponsors, their “integrity” having been fluffed, either pulled their ads from O’Reilly’s shows or (in the case of My Pillow, thought about it). Consider for a moment, what this really meant.

This was not one decision made in one boardroom that changed things, it was one decision being made in MULTIPLE boardrooms that changed things — because it all flowed from the same key data point: the majority of buying decisions in American households (especially the larger buying decisions) were being made by WOMEN. Appeal to the women in American households and your chances of making or keeping those households as customers increased. However, lose them as customers — especially over something like serial sexual harassment allegations — and you’d probably lose them forever. All those boardrooms saw it clearly: they could not advertise on any show having anything to do with Bill O’Reilly a moment longer. They transmitted that new paradigm to the 21st Century Fox Board (they oversee Fox News among other things). The 21st Century Fox Board did the only thing they could do as responsible stewards of their corporate entity: they canned Bill O’Reilly’s ass despite the fact that he was their main cash cow.

That’s freakin’ tectonic! Quietly, in the background, America’s Big Businesses took care of business — yes, out of greed, but also out of greed that recognized it needed to be on the right side of history. That happens from time to time; it’s like a broken analog clock being right twice a day. While crony capitalism has made a mess and a mockery of American capitalism — a thing which Team Biden, we hope, will begin to rectify in ways large, small and permanent — actual capitalism has, out of sheer survival instinct, worked as a kind of shifting ballast. That precedent is being repeated right here, right now in Georgia. While Coca Cola, Delta and Home Depot among many others had hoped to avoid getting dragged into American politics, if you donate money to legislators who want to legislate away our democracy — from a minority position — that fact now officially binds you together in the public’s consciousness. In other words, America understands that if you donate money to a politician, we can now take it for a fact that you AGREE with what that politician is trying to do. If the politician to whom you give money actively seeks to take away a customer’s VOTING RIGHTS, then that customer — and every other customer — will assume YOU also seek to take away your customer’s voting rights. If you can live with that — go ahead. Try it on. It won’t fit how you think it will.

Big business, if it’s to endure, must think strategically — in the longest terms possible. What’s good for the next quarter or two may be toxic to every quarter beyond. Living for today at tomorrow’s expense is how businesses die. This behavior doesn’t require a soul; only a survival instinct. Screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky nailed this dynamic tension in his brilliant screenplay “Network” where — 25 years before it came to be — he envisioned the corrupting journey our news media would take from being respected, respectable news organizations to being entertainment companies with a little news thrown in. He saw Fox News coming from a million miles away. In Chayefsky’s Nostradoumus-like imagining, a weary news anchor named Howard Beale (who works for an imaginary 4th network called UBS — this was well before anything like Fox existed) becomes an unlikely populist icon/Jeremiah who taps into America’s latent rage; they’re all “mad as hell” and are “not going to take it anymore!” The UBS board, torn between keeping their integrity — albeit as the 4th place network and finally justifying themselves to UBS’s shareholders by making a little money for a change, choose the latter of course. But, Howard Beale is less than compliant. The silly man has begun to believe his own hype about being a “Jeremiah”. In this scene, UBS Chairman of the Board (played brilliantly by Ned Beatty) reads the riot act (and a few other acts) to Howard Bealed (Peter Finch who won an Oscar for his wonderful performance but died of a heart attack before actually winning the thing!).

It is one of the best pieces of screenwriting EVER. Fight me, if you dare…

Most of the corporations mentioned are no longer players — or even playing, some of them. They’ve been replaced by Amazon and China. But, aside from that? Almost every single word applies.

Bill O’Reilly was not accorded the kindness of such a “sit-down” with Rupert Murdoch. That’s how far gone, O’Reilly was. America’s Big Businesses have officially put the Republican Party on notice.

The GOP now finds itself sitting in the chair Howard Beale sat in while Ned Beatty rails at them. Remember what happens to Howard Beale in the movie? Spoiler Alert: it’s the very same thing that’s going to happen to the GOP. No one will mourn them. Hell, no one will even bother to make the funeral.

The world will be too busy trying to make a buck.

Dear Corporate America: Integrity Needs To Be Your New “Bottom Line”

Know who believes in democracy? Corporate America. They sort of believe in American democracy. But, the “democracy of the marketplace”? That, they believe in, unabashedly. Corporate America has to — they need consumers to “vote” with their wallets and pocketbooks as “early and often” as possible (like they supposedly used to vote in Chicago when the Democratic machine ran it). Remember New Coke? Remember how fast it disappeared from shelves when Americans resoundingly “voted against it”? Product launches are no different from candidate launches; candidates in American retail politics are no different from laundry detergent. Except some will destroy your clothing, wreck your marriage and burn your whole house down. There’s a reason Mitch McConnell fought so hard to keep Americans from getting financial support during the pandemic but insisted that companies never have to face any sort of liability for forcing their employees back to work, damn any and all risk to their lives.

Already, companies like Airbnb, Amazon, American Express and AT&T have cancelled all political contributions to any politician questioning the results of election 2020. And those are just a few of the “A’s”. They all know how easy — and likely — it is for their customers to turn on them should their customers suddenly find the companies’ political stances offensive. Remember Bill O’Reilly — Fox News’ one-time cash cow? The reason Bill doesn’t work for Fox anymore — despite how lucrative his bullshit was to the company — is because Bill lost all his advertisers. This was a boardroom decision! The 21st Century Fox board of directors were told, flat out, by the companies they needed to cash flow them that none of their customers would support their advertising on O’Reilly’s “The O’Reilly Factor” any longer because he was such a sexist, racist pig.

Just like that, Bill O’Reilly became expendable. And just like that, he was gone. The democracy of the marketplace is harsh. But fair.

American consumers don’t like giving their hard-earned dollars to companies that do not respect them. They like it even less when those companies are ripping them off or doing things that could literally hurt them by, say, polluting the air and water. And the airwaves. And companies that want to overthrow our government? We REALLY hate those guys. And we ain’t buying whatever they’re selling…

The Truth — literal, empirical, this-is-what-happened-NOT-that, replete-with-receipts Truth — is about to get its day in court (the court of public opinion which is what really matters in America). On one side are Republican sweethearts like Marjorie Taylor Greene — an affront to logic and decency every time she speaks. On the other are Democrats, the rule of law, the Constitution and the majority of Americans. When the Democrats announced they’d introduce witness testimony (under oath) before the Senate “jury” during Trump’s SECOND impeachment trial, Lindsey Graham threatened to have the FBI testify, too. The Democrats, frankly, would LOVE IT if the FBI showed up and testified. What’s the point of Lindsey’s bluff here? Bring the Truth, Lindsey! Make it rain Truth! The only person needing an umbrella if that happens is YOU — and every one of your Republican co-conspirators.

I still won’t shop at Home Depot because the company’s ownership was so vociferously pro-trump. My hardware store dollars have a choice where they go to be spent. I prefer to use my local hardware store. But, sometimes, they don’t have what I need. A big box hardware store is where I’ll have to go. Ah, but which one? My dollars will vote for ANYONE but Home Depot. If too many other curmudgeons follow my lead? Home Depot’s bottom line will suffer. Pinch, OUCH!

Mitch feels that “ouch” like a cannonball rolling around his Treason Turtle shell, flattening his guts. He’s worked his whole political career to service the Big Right Wing Money and its various political needs. He’ll let all of America down before he even thinks of letting his paymasters down. Hell, Mitch is so cynical, he bought into the whole Donald Trump-Russia connection without batting a bloodshot eye. Ya don’t think Mitch had heard — same as every other Republican in the loop in 2016 — that “There’s two people (I think) Putin pays, Rohrbacher and Trump”? When current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy posed that question to a roomful of GOP leadership (was Mitch there perhaps?) a month before the 2016 GOP convention, then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan made everyone present agree to keep this… suspicion/fact “in the family”. If Mitch wasn’t there, take it to the bank –he heard all about it.

Take this to the bank too. No one who heard that conversation live, took part in it or heard about it afterwards called the FBI as they absolutely should have done. This was the guy they were about to nominate as their candidate for POTUS. And they wondered about his loyalties and whether or not he might be compromised by a very hostile foreign enemy who we already knew were engaged in cyber war against us. The more we learn about this abomination — and we will once Merrick Garland punches the clock and a rejuvenated Department of Justice begins to behave like the defenders of the rule of law they’re supposed to be — the worse it will get for anyone still sporting that “R” next to their name.

That “R” will begin to stand more and more for RUSSIA.

Nobody wants that trademark next to their corporate image. Nobody wants their company to be co-branded in the buying public’s mind with traitors or treason or sedition or anything Marjorie Taylor Greene has to say. It always, always, ALWAYS comes down to money. And, for now, it’s money ironically that will keep corporate America from giving to their favorite enablers, the Republican Party. Whoever baked this irony cake knew just how long to keep it in the oven.

America is at the very beginning of a Great Moral Reckoning. We’ve needed this for a long, long time. As much of a treasonous shit as he is, on a certain level, we owe Trump a thank you — for causing the Republican Party membership to finally expose itself for the cynical, racist, authoritarians they all are. They’re the biggest, drunkest, angriest, whitest, stupidest frat party ever.

See those guys? Big companies don’t care what they want to buy. Not anymore. How long, do you suppose, will it take America’s news media to catch up with what its boardrooms figured out eons ago?

Whatever ya do, don’t bet on America’s news media. They still can’t even spell “integrity”.

The Reason “Both Sides Do It” Is Bad Journalism

In the “Pantheon Of Wrongheaded Common Wisdom”, “Both Sides Do It” is king, queen and the rest of the demented Spanish Aristocracy. It takes a nubbin of “maybe” and makes it incontrovertible fact. Bad behavior does not belong to any political party. Yes, both sides are physically capable of doing things they shouldn’t and then lying about them to keep from being revealed. Historically, both sides have “done those things”. But (and here’s where “both sides do it” hits a wall and loses), if we put it all on a scale and measured the two piles of awfulness against each other? As with right here, right now, Republican-brand awfulness is exponentially worse for America than Democratic-brand awfulness in large part BECAUSE THERE’S SO MUCH MORE OF IT!

Proportion and perspective are two things “Both Sides Do It” journalism jettisons from the get-go. It says a thief is a thief is a thief — regardless of whether it’s Bernie Madoff stealing billions because he’s a greedy pig or Jean Valjean stealing bread to feed hungry people. “Both sides ‘do it’.” See what I mean? Though theoretically correct, it is absolutely wrong in its framing because it equates two things that shouldn’t be equated.

I’ve worked as a journalist. I’ve been held to journalistic standards. In the absence of hard evidence, one must be skeptical. That’s SKEPTICAL as opposed to CYNICAL. There is a difference.

If your starting point for every story is “both sides do it”, you’re not being skeptical about human beings, you’re being cynical; you’re assuming the very worst for no reason other than you’re assuming it. Authoritarians want the population they control to be deeply cynical — making authoritarianism the only means to control all that irredeemable, inevitable bad behavior. When the press equates an act of extreme corruption with Joe Citizen claiming a few deductions he’s not entitled to — that puts a smile on a cynic’s face.

“See?” he’ll say, smiling, “Both sides do it!”

Take this to the bank, American news media: both sides DON’T do it and never have. You need to expunge “Both Sides Do It” from your way of thinking — from your brains entirely. That’s not a helpful suggestion, that’s a demand. Going forward, America needs “moral journalism”. I don’t mean phony “moralistic” journalism puked out by phony journalists who place themselves above the fray (though both sides “do it”, they apparently don’t), I mean journalists who bring perspective to work every day.

This is not an impossibility. MSNBC has multiple journalists hosting multiple shows that DON’T “Both Sides Do It” — Ali Velshi (an awesome journalist), Nicolle Wallace (fearless as hell!), Rachel Maddow (relentless and so articulate), Joy-Ann Reid (equally relentless). So, it IS possible for news networks to hire and keep journalists on their roster who DO bring perspective to work with them every day. But they also have Chuck Todd — the King of “Both Sides Do It”. They have other reporters like Stephanie Ruhl (who, though excellent when reporting on the financial world, gets lost in “Both Sides Do It” the instant she turns to reporting politics) — let’s call them “Both Sides Adjacent”. And they have Kelly O’Donnell — the QUEEN of “Both Sides Do It”.

“Both Sides Do It” refuses to take sides — even when there are no sides to take other than “pro-democracy” and “pro-athoritarianism” and the pro-authoritarian side accuses the news media of being fake. To accept that statement because you dare not get involved is to validate bullshit — even if that’s not the intent. THAT’S the biggest, baddest ripple effect rolling off of “Both Sides Do It’s” cynicism — the validation of bullshit.

Want to know why America felt so ripped apart at the end of the Trump years? Because we were facing the terrible consequences every day of being told the lie — that both sides would take us to this same, awful place.

Want to know why this morning feels so wonderful — on top of the change in leadership coming less than two weeks from now? Because we now look forward to breathing air that doesn’t stink of bullshit. That doesn’t stink of “both sides doing it”.

Republicans Have Crossed A Line From Beyond Which There IS No Return

That headline is wrong. The Republican Party has crossed MULTIPLE lines from beyond which there IS NO RETURN. The moment the RW money decided to make permanent minority rule its mission — that was a line of no return. The moment Moscow Mitch McConnell stated out loud that denying Barack Obama (the president a MAJORITY OF AMERICANS voted for) his judicial choices was his proudest accomplishment — that was a line of no return. The moment current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy walked into a GOP leadership meeting a month before the 2016 GOP convention and said “I think there’s two people Putin pays, Rohrbacher and Trump… swear to God!” and no one thought to get the FBI on the phone — that, when then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan said “let’s keep it in the family”, was a line of no return.

Hell, when Donald Trump said — out loud — that “Mexicans are rapists”. THAT should have been a line of no return — literally and figuratively.

How many affronts to our body politic and our physical bodies do we have to endure before something akin to a survival instinct kicks in? If only one Republican stood with Donald Trump, defiantly denying the election’s results, that would be bad enough. With very few exceptions (and I’m not entirely sure about Mitt Romney), every single Republican member of Congress would go right along with Donald Trump’s attempted coup d’etat if they thought Trump might could possibly get away with it. That’s the Republicans’ constant tell — they do everything based on what’s in it for them and never what’s best for the people they’re supposed to be publicly serving.

Here’s a line they’ve crossed: by denying the validity of this election — which some of them WON in — because Trump lost, they’ve made any future participation in ANY election completely dubious. Why take part in an electoral process you think is bullshit? Or is it only bullshit if you lose? Hmmmmmmm… now, why does that smell funny?

What the dishonorable “gentleman” from Missouri — Josh Hawley — is doing? It’s horse shit wrapped in bullshit wrapped in sedition.

Are we to accept as “normal” that we can never know for certain whether the Republican candidate in an election will accept his defeat? Speaking personally here — HELL, NO! If I own a shop and you walk in and regularly steal from me, I’m going to stop you from “shopping” in my store because you keep proving yourself a thief. The Republicans have just demonstrated — are still demonstrating — that openly stealing elections is not something they feel ashamed about. When — after January 20, 2021 we have a functioning Department of Justice — we begin to shine some light on everything Trump, we will learn — take it to the bank — that without Russia’s direct involvement, Donald Trump would NEVER have become POTUS. Foreign countries — especially hostile ones conducting CYBER WARS against us — cannot win American elections.

Treason cannot win American elections. And, TREASON is yet another line pretty much every single Republican — Mitt Romney included — has committed. Sorry, Mittens, but “See something, say something” — that’s how conspiracy works. “See something, say nothing” — as you’ve done? You don’t actually have to “know” something to be considered part of a conspiracy. You only have to suspect your confederates are up to something in order to be liable — should you do nothing. Has Mitt called the FBI to tell them what he suspects? No? WHY?

That’s how the spider web of conspiracy will ensnare almost the entire GOP before the investigations are finished. We’re talking TREASON here — which still carries the death penalty — THANKS TO DONALD TRUMP! I bet he had hoped to use it on all his political enemies — more than half of America in other words. Oh, the delicious irony when Trump’s own bloodlust comes to haunt him personally.

As my old pal the Crypt Keeper used to say, “Be careful what you wish for, kiddies, you may just get it!”

The Republican Party’s behavior here whether by intention or not would set a precedent. They’d never have to lose another election. They’d simply contest the result endlessly, making governing nearly impossible. They’d always have “holding their breath till we all turn blue” in their pocket.

How can Republicans — having revealed the authoritarian pricks at their core — ever campaign as anything else? They have forever BRANDED themselves as corrupt, seditionist TRAITORS. Or do some Republicans plan to run in the future as “old fashioned” Republican who only fantasize about undermining the republic — they’d never, ever actually do it? Anyone putting that “R” next to their name — or seeing common purpose with people who do — is “co-branding” with everything the Republican Party has done and is doing — up to and including TREASON.

If our press could aggregate this story — growing their foundation of knowledge about Donald Trump and the Republicans as new, evidence-based information came in — they’d have stopped asking WHY the Republicans have followed Trump down this terrible, terrible road. They’d know already. They’d have reported it so that WE’D know. The entire Republican Party — to a man (and woman) — has betrayed the America the rest of us live in and aspire to.

How does a party guilty of such total betrayal “run” in an election? At some point, should they win, they’ll have to SWEAR AN OATH to uphold the rules we all agree we’re living under; how shall we take oaths sworn by people who’ve sworn not to stand by their oaths? That’s the question our news media asks us every time they even talk about elections in 2022 or 2024 — when they suggest Republicans would be the ones running against Democrats. How will America choose — between patriots or traitors — in the next election?

The only reason we still have to listen to anything any Republican has to say is because our news media is convinced both sides do what the Republicans are doing. That’s what they apparently think — whatever terrible, corrupt, treasonous thing the Republicans are up to? The Democrats are doing the exact same thing — we just can’t see it yet.

“Both sides do it” robs itself of perspective then smugly asserts that it can see inside everyone’s head though the only heads such “journalists” ever gaze into is their own. They are projecting their own moral ambiguity onto everyone else. That ain’t journalism, it’s cowardice.

The GOP has already poisoned itself. Its death throes will stretch out across 2021 and probably 2022. There’s a lot of terrible behavior to investigate. On the bright side, we’ll be clearing the prisons of drug “criminals” (their records wiped clean) and making space for (checks notes) pretty much the entire Republican Party.

The next line these craven Republicans come to, they better NOT cross. Their toes better be on it as they become (prison) wards of the state.

Why Do Some Christians Hate Being Forced To Reap What They Sowed?

As an atheist, I wonder frequently why so few Christians follow Jesus. That is, they belong to a church — but their church sees Jesus the way McDonald’s sees Ronald. He’s a mascot. He’s the “Do Unto Others” bait that they switch with “Do What We Tell You To Do — Or Else!” Institutional Christianity has no use for Jesus beyond his being a mascot. Jesus didn’t invent Christianity after all, Paul did. If Jesus were to rise from the dead and see the violence (much of it anti-Semitic!) that has been attributed to him, supposedly “inspired” by him and belief in him? His head might literally explode.

Religion gets to make up its rules as it goes along — and change them when they become inconvenient. That’s not a criticism, it’s just a fact. If science could play by those rules, it probably would. But, it can’t. Science relies on rigor. It needs the math to add up and check out. Consistently. Science, for instance, understands that there’s no magic. The carbon we pour into the environment today won’t disappear just because that’d be more convenient for us. Pandemics don’t disappear just because we want them to either.

And, every time we meet with a friend — even with masks on — just because we’re convinced neither of us has or will give the coronavirus to each other? We’re gambling. We’re playing Russian Roulette (ironically) with a pathogen.

Our sister sight Mulligan Jesus, has suggested that lots of Christians (if inside their own minds) see their Bibles more as a smorgasbord line than a book on which to base their lives. How’s the adultery looking today? Fresh? I’ll overlook the fact that I shouldn’t do it then “because it’s so fresh!” How about greed or pride or any of the other sins that practicing Christianity is supposed to “cure one of”? All available. All waiting to be piled onto my plate. That’s why they adore their “Pick N Choose” Bibles — why pretend to follow rules you think are stupid — or that might could get in the way of you having a good time, doing whatever the hell you want, and getting whatever the hell YOU think you’re entitled to?

That’s the dirty, little secret every one of these Christians (as opposed to “followers of Jesus”) carries around in their tiny black hearts: they don’t believe IN God, they believe they ARE God. Gods, you see, don’t “do unto others” because no one — they believe — is good enough to “do unto them”. Gods do whatever the hell they want. Or, that is, they think they can.

With the Republicans coup attempt, we are witnessing this behavior writ large. Republicans long ago reimagined themselves as “The White Guy’s Party”. They cannot abide the idea of Black people, brown people or women having authority over them (never mind governing). And just as these Christians pick n choose what they “believe in” from their Bibles, they pick n choose what laws from our Constitution they want to follow (if for the moment). You know — like someone who thought they were “God” might do.

“The Party Of Personal Responsibility” is always first to avoid it. Quick thought experiment — if Barack Obama (or anyone in his administration) had said what Michael Flynn said last night, inciting sedition against a winning Republican presidential candidate, what do you think would have happened to him? Kinda makes one think the whole “Party of Personal Responsibility” thing was always horse shit. Ain’t that shocking…

The Catholic Church protecting child molesters didn’t exactly surprise anyone — except for the extent of child abuse and its acceptance within the church. And is anyone truly caught off guard when scumbags like Jerry Falwell, Jr. get outed for the frauds they are? We all recognize that religiosity breeds deceit because it breeds judgment. If you perceive yourself to be more “God-like” in your behavior while others are “demonic”, you’re probably going to cast all your actions in the best possible light (regardless of the truth).

The reason so many “devout Christians” hate to reap what they sow is because they never intended to reap it. They expected someone else to get suck with their diseased crops. You know — like the man they think God “made” president — Donald Trump — always does.

I bet if Trump spoke the words “Do unto others”, he’d actually burst into flames — or melt like the Nazi at the end of “Raiders Of The Lost Ark”. That’s why he’d say — under his breath to protect himself: “…before they do unto you.” That’s the Trumpist’s creed.

The Day Republicans Made Treason Part Of Their Brand

Picture the scene — it really happened: a month before Donald Trump officially becomes their presidential nominee in 2016, the Republican Muckety Mucks all sit down to a meeting on Capitol Hill. Late to the meeting, current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy enters and says out loud “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump”. Per the Washington Post’s Adam Entous, “House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) immediately interjected, stopping the conversation from further exploring McCarthy’s assertion, and swore the Republicans present to secrecy.” Did ya catch that? Instead of saying something like “What, now, Kevin? You think WHAT? Jesus — WHY? What do you know? Quick, someone, GET THE FBI ON THE PHONE!” — which is what then Speaker Ryan SHOULD HAVE said next — he said “No leaks. . . . This is how we know we’re a real family here.”

I guess Speaker Ryan meant “a mafia family”.

It’s curious what wasn’t said or asked by anyone in that room filled with the Republican leadership. Things like “Do they KNOW they’re being paid or are they being duped?” or “How’s Russia doing it? How’s it putting money in their pockets — and what does Russia want in return?” It’s like all those Republicans already knew the answers to those questions. Because they do. Plenty of Republicans took plenty of Russian money into their campaign coffers. Traitors like Moscow Mitch did it a bit more “cleverly” — they took the Russian dosh in via PACS so as to (theoretically) distance themselves from the crime they were committing.

The reason no one picked up their phone and called the FBI is because they were all already co-conspirators.

Think of the calculation! Think of the furious process working overtime inside each Republican’s soft, mushy head, justifying treason. That is what it is.

Cyber War = War.

Undeclared Cyber War = War.

Undeclared Cyber War In Which We NEVER Fight Back (And Maybe NEVER Realize We’re Under Attack) = War.

The Americans living at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in the hours before Dawn on December 7, 1941 did not know that Japan had declared war on them — but, in fact, Japan had. A state of war existed (without the US government or anyone at Pearl Harbor knowing it) the instant the Japanese Imperial Navy set forth to attack Pearl Harbor weeks before the actual event. Remember — it takes time to move a naval strike force from its home base on one part of the globe to its attack positions on another part of the planet. The Japanese set sail absolutely determined to attack us whatever the consequences.

Like the unfortunate inhabitants of Pearl Harbor, just because you don’t know you’re in epic danger doesn’t mean you aren’t. And just because you didn’t mean to commit treason while launching your cut rate coup d’etat, it doesn’t mean you didn’t. The Republican Party took a big, reach-down-to-its-heels swing at permanent minority rule. To get as much on their swing as possible, they hitched their wagon to Donald Trump KNOWING not only that he was corrupt, but corrupt in partnership with a hostile foreign government.

Even the dumbest kid in class knows: corrupt people are easily compromised. A person as corrupt as Donald Trump must be compromised in remarkable, new ways. The same goes for the entire Republican Party.

Think of Mike Pence, for instance. For four years now, some people have had it in their heads that if Trump quit, we’d get Pence which would be bad but not quite as bad as Trump. That’s insane. Mike Pence is one of the most compromised people in the whole corrupt construction. Remember — it was Trump’s CAMPAIGN MANAGER Paul Manafort who brought Mike Pence to the Veep dance. Paul, at the time, was deep up to his corrupt neck in a criminal conspiracy; he needed to get $17 million into Oleg Deripaska’s hands or Deripaska would kill him. The last thing on earth a criminal like Manafort would want anywhere near him was a boy scout who’d freak out the second he heard all the Russia Secrets.

Manafort knew going in — with the Pence suggestion — that Pence would be properly deferential and compliant. He knew Pence would never even think about rocking the boat. Or calling the FBI.

So — Pence didn’t tell anyone what he knew. Neither did Manafort or Paul Ryan or Kevin McCarthy. Already, Republicans at the top of the food chain had embraced corruption on a scale they hadn’t quite before. In the days since the GOP — with their Russian friend’s help — stole election 2016, virtually no one (still) calling themselves a Republican has turned their back on their Republican fellow travelers — despite all obvious criminality.

It’s still like every Republican thinks they’re sitting in that room on Capitol Hill — and Kevin McCarthy has just walked in, with Paul Ryan eyeing him like he just infected them all with coronavirus. We’re not going to talk about that, Paul Ryan said.

In the aftermath of the event’s reporting, Kevin insisted (as all Republicans do when caught speaking actual truth about something): “I was just kidding!” Kevin, don’t ya know, has the reputation up on Capitol Hill of being THE Yuckmaster General. Suddenly a roomful of humorless white people become George Carlin or Richard Pryor. Funny thing about lots of Republicans — as it is with Donald Trump? They don’t HAVE any sort of “sense of humor”.

In order to have one, you must FIRST be able to laugh at yourself. It’s the first prerequisite. If you can’t laugh at yourself, you can’t do or see humor. You’re still capable of laughing — but only ever AT things or people. People with no sense of humor aren’t physically capable of laughing WITH anyone. Bullies — notoriously humorless — still get plenty of laughs from their crews — but those aren’t real laughs, are they? No one who hangs out around bullies has a sense of humor either.

In the years since they first actively conspired to commit treason, the GOP has done exactly nothing to change the course they’re on. They haven’t hemmed or hawed. They’re on this journey because they want to be. End of story.

It will be the end of the Republican Party, too.

Good thing Republicans can’t make irony part of their brand.