Why Treason Matters

Pull almost any thread on the various crises crippling America and (as it unravels the sweater that was the greatest experiment ever in human self-government), it will lead you to treason. The ongoing threat to our democracy – the Republican Party’s out-in-the-open embrace of authoritarianism – is an act of treason unto itself. But, the fact is, what set this monster free, what unleashed this treacherous kraken was the Republican Party hitching its wagon to Donald Trump despite KNOWING that Russia owned him. As this blog keeps reminding the world, it’s just a stone cold fact: the GOP leadership is on record knowing that Trump was a national security threat at least a month before nominating him in 2016. The instant GOP leaders like Paul Ryan and (current GOP Leader) Kevin McCarthy agreed to keep their terrible secret a secret – from We The People, from the press – even from the FBI – they formally became traitors.

For socialized creatures like humans, treason is about the highest crime imaginable. We rely upon the security, the health, and the sanctity of the group for our very survival. For our happiness. A democracy takes that reliance on the group and ups the ante: the people administering the group’s needs ARE the People, the members of the group itself. “L’etat c’est nous” might be how Louis XIV would penser of it. We need to trust that the people we’ve entrusted with our quotidian essentials aren’t working against us. Or working for people whose interests conflict with ours.

Why would someone turn on the group like that? We understand the dynamic tension between haves and have-nots within our culture. An awful lot of criminal behavior is just variations on greed. The lopsidedness we all feel – that’s because all the greed is getting squeezed into a smaller and smaller space – fewer haves. Let’s put aside the unfairness of it. Looking to get as much as you can with what ya got – that’s ordinary. It simply doesn’t compare to someone who – whatever issue they have with the group – goes directly to outsiders to find satisfaction.

That’s what Donald Trump has done. I think we can all agree that greed and nothing but motivates Donald Trump. Greed is what gets him out of bed in the morning. Personal enrichment is the only bottom line Trump has or recognizes. He registered as a Democrat in NY not because he embraced the Democratic Party’s values but because Trump, being cynical down to his mitochondria recognized that in order to get anything done in heavily Democratic NY, he had to be a Democrat. The reason he didn’t run for POTUS as a Democrat is because he knew he’d never win the nomination as a Democrat. If he had a shot, it’d be as a Republican.

Businesspeople are businesspeople, public servants are public servants. This, Democrats understand. It’s why Mike Bloomberg thinking he could win the Democratic nomination for president was “Never Gonna Happen!” stupid. Being entirely cynical, Trump knew he could play only to an equally cynical room – the Republican Party. The Never Trumpers in the GOP hate Trump and his methods. They don’t necessarily hate what Trump wants for the wealthy in America.

This is the petard on which the GOP will hoist itself – and, boy, is that gonna hurt!

Think of the “Good Germans” – the ones who disagreed vehemently with Hitler (including what he was doing right in front of them to the Jews) but who didn’t DO anything to change or stop it. At the end of the day, these folks were more German than “good”. Disagreeing was one thing, Actively disagreeing something else entirely. These Germans might call themselves “good”; I doubt their former Jewish neighbors – the ones who died in death camps – would concur. From a Jewish perspective, the pool of “Good Germans” is actually way smaller. It absolutely existed – but it wasn’t a “pool”; more like a puddle, Anyone NOT in that puddle collaborated even if in a small way to all those Jews – and Roma people and gay people and anyone else the Germans chose for execution – ending up in large piles of bodies or as ashes.

Evil isn’t a bond villain, it’s much more banal than that. It’s a bored Nazi guard at a death camp. It’s a Southern American sheriff stopping a Black driver just because they’re Black. It’s handing a shivering Native American a blanket you KNOW is infected with smallpox. It’s personally ordering a Japanese American family out of their home at gun point and sending them to a concentration camp just because they’re Japanese. None of these things had to happen. People did them. They refused to stand in evil’s way. They collaborated with it. They found common purpose with it.

What makes treason so particularly evil is its scope. That’s where the banal turns Bond Villain and evil gets its close up.

[NOTE: the illustration is from The Boston Globe. It’s genius.]

Republicans Are Overgrown Schoolyard Bullies – On Steroids

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Everything The Republicans Are Doing Is Going To Blow Up In Their Faces

In a way, The Republican Party is about to become like a car-chasing dog that finally catches up to a car only to realize it never prepared itself for this moment – and this moment sucks – because the car just ran over it. On two different fronts, Republicans – white, Christian conservatives – are about achieve the very goals they dreamed about. But, like an old friend of mine (the Crypt Keeper) used to say, “Be careful what you wish for, kiddees, you might just get it!” Yes, religious conservatives will finally see the end of Roe v Wade. Core Republicans, libertarians, white supremacists and originalists will finally get to make voting as hard as possible for everyone who isn’t them. For about two seconds, conservatives will celebrate like it’s 1999! And then – in both cases – backlashes will begin in earnest. And those backlashes won’t stop until they’re spent. And where that will land us as a culture and a country? It’s the exact opposite of what these pirates want.

Do conservatives honestly think that the SCOTUS putting an end to Roe v Wade will stop abortion in America? Do they think women will be cowed into… what? Only having procreative sex just in case something happens? Do they think women in America will do nothing after a minority has stripped them of not only a right but their own bodily integrity? Do they think America’s women won’t remind them how cynical their whole “right to life” campaign has been – from the very get-go? Abortion rights were never a thing in America “until 1979—a full six years after Roe—that evangelical leaders, at the behest of conservative activist Paul Weyrich, seized on abortion not for moral reasons, but as a rallying-cry to deny President Jimmy Carter a second term. Why? Because the anti-abortion crusade was more palatable than the religious right’s real motive: protecting segregated schools.” In fact, “W. A. Criswell, the Southern Baptist Convention’s former president and pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas—also one of the most famous fundamentalists of the 20th century—was pleased [emphasis mine]: “I have always felt that it was only after a child was born and had a life separate from its mother that it became an individual person,” he said, “and it has always, therefore, seemed to me that what is best for the mother and for the future should be allowed [emphasis again mine].” The bottom line truth: Evangelicals – the drivers of the entire abortion debate – became “pro-life” only after their battle to maintain desegregated schools failed.

The abortion battle in America has never actually been about babies. It’s always been about racism. But the fact that the abortion battle gave religionistas and women-hating conservatives a “moral war” to wage against women and their bodies? That stone cold fact is going to be the big takeaway the instant the Supreme Court delivers the final coup de grace to Roe – the whole point of Mitch McConnell’s hijacking of the American judiciary and especially the SCOTUS. Take this to the bank and prepare to get rich beyond even Jeff Bezos’s wildest dreams: not only won’t America’s women take this lying down, they’re going to get hyper motivated by it. They’re going to vote out every politician who’s piggishly and priggishly violated their rights. They’ll focus, too, on the money that’s financed these politicians and their war on women.

Here’s an example of how the marketplace of ideas works here in reality. Remember Bill O’Reilly? Yeah, sure – Bill brags about his “online presence“. Ya think he wouldn’t kill everyone he knows to have his old job, his old show, his old life back? The reason Bill shills from the internet instead of Fox News is because America’s women decided they’d had enough of Bill – and America’s advertisers, like a canary in a coal mine, saw it way ahead of everyone. And they saw it because their clients – the companies manufacturing the products whose ad dollars pay for much of Fox News’ budget – saw it coming. And they saw it coming because they know for a fact that the bulk of big ticket buying decisions in American households get made by women.

When advertisers rejected Bill O’Reilly, he became persona non grata at ad reliant Fox. The democracy of the marketplace voted Bill O’ off the air.

The truth is, Roe v Wade never was the best way to get to abortion rights. It makes abortion a privacy choice rather than a health care choice. The fix can only be legislative – and it will be. And it will be sooner than the evangelicals realize. Take this to the bank and prepare to get even richer than before. The investigation into the January 6 insurrection – now beginning to focus on elected Republicans who conspired in it – and the DoJ’s growing examination of back stage Republican planning and financing of the insurrection – will claim hundreds of Republican political lives. The GOP is about to be gutted by the very corruption that overtook it. Purple states are about to go full blue. Red states are about to go purple. People with “R’s” next to their names are going to be fighting legal battles (and paying ungodly legal bills) that make running for office impossible.

Then there’s the second front the Republicans are about to open up against themselves: voting rights.

Let’s take one small anti-democratic law as an example – like the one they now have in Georgia that makes it illegal to give food or water to anyone standing in a line to vote. Let’s do a little thought experiment… It’s November 2022. The election is happening with every bit of Republican anti-voter lawmaking still in place – and an electorate that hates what the Republicans have done. Lines in Black, brown and Democratic districts are longer than ever – by design. Finally, the rage boils over into a collective action: a thousand people hand food and water to a thousand Black, brown, female and/or Democratic Georgia voters. What happens next?

Do a thousand Georgian cops arrest these thousand food and water protesters? Let’s say they do! Let’s say Georgia arrests and sends to trial one thousand of its citizens for giving food and water to good Georgian citizens standing in interminably long lines in order to exercise their right to vote. Do the anti-democratic conservatives crafting this legislation actually think juries will convict after hearing these stories? Do they think they’ll be able to find juries to begin with who don’t sit down already committed to find against them purely on grounds of decency? I’ve served on juries. Both were incredibly decent in our approach to the law and the cases facing us.

But, like the abortion fight comes down to racism and sexism, so, too, does our voting rights fight. Originalists – being racist to the core – want America to return to the days when “All men are created equal” meant ONLY men and ONLY men like them – white, Christian land owners. Just as “right to life” was always really about racism, our fight to fully extend the American franchise – the vote – to every single citizen because it’s their right is a fight against racism (and those who only want white men to vote). The insurrection – still ongoing – is an attempt to deny a level playing field to the majority of Americans. Every last one of its aims is to return America to its conservative heyday – the 1850’s when everyone knew their place.

Alas, this won’t end well for them. American fascists count on America being like Germany. They’re counting on Americans behaving exactly like Germans and falling into line. But how Germans (steeped in German culture and history) acted in the 1930’s is not how diverse Americans will behave. Sure, there were plenty of “Good Germans” who didn’t agree with the Nazis – and they weren’t a small group. But, at the end of the day, they remained more “German” than good. They resisted quietly or, really, not at all. They went along to get along – understandable but immoral. When conservatives attempt to impose their will on a diverse American population? They won’t find enough “Good Americans” to fill enough Nuremburg style rallies to make this shitbird fly. Think Black people are going to go along with this? Think Mexican or Puerto Rican or Central American people will fall in line. A few anti-Communist Cubans will – they’re still fighting the failed Bay of Pigs invasion. But, the overwhelming majority of Latin-x voters will vote for their best interests – and they know the GOP doesn’t have them in mind.

If – per our thought experiment – the GOP did get their two big prizes here? The results will be messy and violent and ugly. But, in the end, the conservatives will lose if only because progress will ultimately happen regardless. As it does. Here in America, we’ve had our history of white men suppressing everyone else. We have zero interest in continuing or perpetuating it. Now that the Republicans have hoisted their “Hail Mary” toss toward the distant end zone, it’s incumbent on the rest of us – the not-so-silent majority – to not only knock down that pass, but to intercept it and run it all the way back for the game-ending, game-winning touchdown.

It is never nice to be hoist on one’s own petard. The Republican Party is going to wish it had never been born with a petard on which to be hoisted. Hell, by the time History is done with the GOP, they’re gonna wish they had never been born at all.

Not All Polling Disapproval Numbers Are Created Equal

One can make poll numbers say anything depending on how you frame them. Donald Trump’s poll numbers were especially terrible; h is average approval rating across his entire term was 41.1%, the lowest ever measured by Gallup. When you break that down even further, Trump’s approvals were 4% among Democrats, 30% among independents and 82% among Republicans. What, we have to ask, were people approving of and what were people disapproving of? Our news media will insist that it’s all tied to political party. It’s understandable why they would think that way – our news media being incapable of approaching this story with an ounce of perspective. Trump’s approval numbers are tied entirely to Trump’s cult of personality. The more racist Trump is, the more his approval soars (among those already supporting him). There’s no rationale to it. No nuance. No policy to speak of other than denying every person of color’s right to vote. Joe Biden’s approval numbers have always been tied to his accomplishments – his ability to fulfill not just the promises he made but the promises we wanted him to fulfill regardless of how realistic they were – and regardless of whether Biden ever actually made any such promises.

The majority of Americans disapprove of Trump not because of his political label but because he’s a pirate, a rapist, a con man, a tax cheat, a money launderer, a fraud, a criminal and a traitor. The reason Joe Biden’s approval fell isn’t because America suddenly got hip to ;how corrupt he is but because Biden’s ambitious agenda stalled. Why did it stall? Just because Team Biden doesn’t know what it’s doing? Our news media presents it that way because that’s how the Republicans are presenting it (and our news media to this day refuses to connect the “Republicans Are All In On Authoritarianism” dot to the “Republicans Are Rewriting Voting Rules Because No One Will Vote For Them Otherwise” dot. If you don’t present Republican resistance in that context – they’re not playing by any normal political rules, they’re trying to destroy the whole system – and not because it’s their “political opinion” but because they’re literal traitors whose only choice now is to go full speed ahead toward seizing the country by force and bureaucratic malfeasance.

Also driving Biden’s numbers down is the fact that we’re still dealing with the COVID pandemic – as if THAT was Joe Biden’s fault. Our news media has never gotten its head around how pandemics work and how they don’t. And they’ve never gotten their heads around how impactful Republican anti-vaxxism has been. Anti-vaxxism is now SO disconnected from reality that anti-vaxxers even boo Trump now for pushing the vaccine. This wild card of crazy cannot be controlled by Trump and it can’t be controlled by Biden – yet our news media (and their coverage drives a lot of how the polling comes out since they frame our collective narrative) want all the “blame” to be Biden’s – as if Trump never existed in this equation.

When Steve Kornacki compares Trump’s disapproval numbers to Biden’s, he’s comparing apples to Pontiacs. He’s saying that disapproval of purpose and disapproval of accomplishment are the same thing. They absolutely aren’t. The people who disapprove of Trump because of who he is and what he represents would NEVER vote for Trump. The people who disapprove of Biden because he hasn’t been able to accomplish everything (yet – after only one year) won’t vote for Trump because Biden didn’t get it all done (because of Trumpanista resistance to it)! The greatest risk is they won’t show up at the polls, that the press’s cynicism will become theirs.

That assumes that we’re living in normal times – which we aren’t. Take this to the bank: as indictments begin to fall on Republican heads – elected Republican heads – the nature of the fall political campaign will change profoundly. When the Jan 6 Investigation begins to release some of those documents Trump’s fought so hard to keep secret? That won’t make the retail politics any easier to sell.

America’s news media loves to report on polling because it saves them from having to do any work. They can simply point at all the icing and claim they know everything about the cake even though they don’t. As we all know, beautiful icing can hide a rotten cake. A cake that’s gone bad because it was always bad isn’t the same as a cake that someone deliberately left out in the sun to rot.

What If All The Dots – When Finally Connected – Spell Out “The Republicans Are Traitors”?

Our News Media's Big Problem – They Don't Know How To Connect Dots – How To  Live BULLSHIT-FREE

I confess: the moment Donald Trump said “Russia, if you’re listening…!” I concluded “That bloated orange bastard is a traitor!” To me, a presidential candidate reaching out to a hostile foreign government to help him get elected just seems treasonous. Ah, but feelings aren’t facts. “Seems” isn’t “is”. But, Trump hasn’t exactly been mysterious about his intentions and his friends. After a certain point, when you can’t see through the smoke anymore, it would be wise to conclude “there’s a fire!” How many lies did it take being told before America’s news media finally decided to call Trump’s lies “lies” and Trump himself a “liar”? If it was more than three, that’s pathetic. Three lies describe a pattern. What, I wonder, do thirty thousand lies describe? Oh, yeah – they absolutely describe a liar. But Trump is no ordinary fantasist. And his lies – taken together (as they should be) – describe something more than just a man with little regard for the truth. If our news media had connected the “why does Trump lie so much” dots, they would have drawn a very clear picture: “Trump lies so much because he’s a traitor”. Our news media is slowly heading in that direction, like the rough beast slouching toward Bethlehem to be born – the hour for its close up come round at last.

Here’s what sucks (well, a lot of things suck, but this sucks in context): our news media saw the Trump story happening; they reported on it endlessly. Take away the media and “Donald Trump” doesn’t exist. Take away Russia and Trump never becomes POTUS. Hell, take Russia completely out of the Donald Trump equation (as in they never money launder through his bankrupt Atlantic City casinos) and those casinos go broke even faster. In fact, take Russia’s organized crime money out of Trump, Inc and Donald Trump goes broke eons ago, having blown through daddy’s entire real estate fortune. If our news media would just read what it’s already written about Trump, we’d be miles further down the road than we are!

We (lucky us!) are living inside one of the great epic stories of human history: an attempt by an angry, racist minority to try and end the greatest experiment ever in human self government because they refuse to share power in a democratic way. Now, that’s the “view from 30,000 feet”, as our news media might put it. Presumably, it’s the view from which one can see the whole picture and not just the cool geographic features that automatically stand out. This is the view many in our news media already see – that Republicans are doing multiple things that are and will negatively impact our democracy. But, when that news media bores in on a detail – as they should – they tend to become so focused on their deep dive that they completely forget that the subject of their dive isn’t the whole story itself, it’s just one tiny detail of a much larger story. All our news media would have had to do to see the much larger story in front of them was read their own stuff.

Former Wall Street Journal reporter and Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson explained the Steele Dossier’s origin story to the Senate Judicial Committee in august 2017. The (then Republican-run) committee wanted to undermine the Dossier’s integrity (because it threatens them and their candidate). Simpson explained that what drew Fusion to even look at Russia was all the Russia-oriented corruption they found when doing their due diligence – surveying all publicly available material about Trump. In other words, Fusion became convinced that Trump had used his Atlantic City casinos to illegally launder Russian mob money based entirely on what they read in the press.

Ironically, the thing about Steele’s raw intelligence is that the detail our news media glommed onto – the salacious story of Trump watching Russian hookers piss all over the bed the Obamas slept in in Moscow – is the least important detail in the entire dossier. Far more important: all the evidence that Donald Trump’s relationship with Russia, with Russian criminals and with Russia’s head criminal Vlad Putin demanded further investigation – especially when he chose to run for president.

But, there too, had our press simply read what it had itself reported, it might have had a clearer picture of HOW Trump pulled off his surprise win by taking Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan by a combined 77,000 votes. Our news media might have pressed current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy about WHY he thought “Putin pays Rohrbacher and Trump – swear to God!” in the first place but, more importantly, why if Kevin thought Trump was a grave national security risk he and the rest of the GOP’s leadership agreed with then Speaker of the Houser Paul Ryan that there be “No leaks. . . . This is how we know we’re a real family here.”

Think about that. The GOP knew even before they nominated Trump that he was deeply compromised by Russia. Think the GOP hadn’t connected the Trump dot to the Russia dot?

Our problem: the Russia dot also was and is connected to the Republican Party dot.

Are those just my feelings talking? No. I’m connecting dots. I see a relentless pattern of Republican obstruction of justice, much of it focused on denying Trump’s relationship with Russia – who the GOP knew was paying Trump. This isn’t complicated. At all. On June 25, 2016, the leadership of the Republican Party themselves committed an act of treason: keeping it secret that they knew or suspected their presidential nominee was a profound national security threat because he was financially compromised by Russia – whose head of state, a former spy, was a master at using just such tactics!

Why would the Republican Party do such a thing? Because they see Russia as an ally now. They see dictators and authoritarians as their mentors and equals. They see democracy as an impediment to permanent minority rule. And, so, they’re doing something about it.

It often feels like our news media sits with its pencil poised above a connect4-the-dots image, the entire picture in front of them. One last dot needs connecting. But, until that very last dot joins the picture? The picture isn’t complete enough for our news media to see it. How sad that will be if indeed the Republicans succeed in destroying our democracy for good. We would have been inches from saving ourself. All we would have had to do is connect two dots via one straight line.

That line could easily be the cross bar that turns a vertical line into a “T”. For “Treason”.

Seditious Conspiracy & Cooties

BREAKING NEWS: America Is Infested With Cooties!

Remember cooties? How about cootie monsters and cootie catchers? Remember the schoolyard fear of catching cooties? On my schoolyards, not all cooties were created equal. I didn’t mind catching some peoples’ cooties – I liked them; wasn’t bothered by their cooties. But there were other people whose cooties just seemed… “cootier”. More guaranteed to infect you with whatever horrible personality defect the cootie carrier carried. Alas, not only haven’t we left the schoolyard behind, we’ve gone and brought its biggest bully and his cooties right along with him to the present. Among the most loathsome things Donald Trump did to our politics was reduce us all down to his schoolyard – the one where he’s the reigning bully.

The worst cooties present in North America today all originated in Europe. The “cootie niveus” – the “snow white cootie”. Convinced of its own innate moral and genetic superiority, the snow white cootie relentlessly tries to dominate all other living things and to try and turn all other things into it. Side note: there actually are mites that zombify other insects and literally enslave them. This is just the nature of cooties. They’re deep-down disgusting; you absolutely don’t want them on you, in you, or anywhere near you. I’d avoid being in the same zip code.

Not everyone is vulnerable to cootie infection, not being white enough to catch the infection in the first place. For those people – the rest of us – our problem is the continuing ripple effect of those who are infected by snow white cooties running amok through the general population. Frankly, they’re making a total mess of our democracy.

But – here’s where we pivot to the good news – we’ve finally seen evidence that someone has taken firm charge of this patient’s medical crisis. This patient is us – We The People. We’ve been demanding a little proof that the team we hired to deal with our infected corpus was doing something more than remediate our hurt feelings. “Seditious conspiracy” is the shot of penicillin in the ass we needed – if only to start fighting off this infection of cooties..

Seditious conspiracy according to US CODE is “If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof“. I think we can say – having witnessed these things with our own eyes (making us witnesses to this crime against us) – that this happened because it was plotted to happen and it was plotted to happen by people who desperately needed it to happen – Donald Trump and everyone around him, near him or held in his thrall. The bottom line here is treason. It’s always been treason.

For the record, the entire GOP knew that Trump was a national security threat when they nominated him. A month before making Trump their flag bearer, the entire GOP leadership discussed – or, rather, brought up but REFUSED to discuss – the fact that they KNEW that Trump was compromised not just by a foreign leader, but by a foreign leader they KNEW was hostile toward us. As GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy put it on June 25, 2016 as he walked into that discussion: “There’s two people I think Putin pays – Rohrbacher and Trump – swear to God!” No one in the room questioned the statement. Instead, then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan insisted everyone there keep this terrible secret about their nominee a secret.

Hey, one has to ask WHY, doesn’t one? The answer: TREASON COOTIES! Everyone in the room was infected right there and then with TREASON COOTIES.

Jump forward to November 2020. Team Trump has successfully kept America from realizing how deeply infected it is with treason cooties. They’ve obstructed justice and bamboozled America’s news media into believing quack diagnoses that America’s problems are economic not racial. America takes the cure: an election. From most appearances, the election worked! A surge of democratic medicine washed the infection’s “cootie zero” out of our system. Finally, we thought, our immune system will get a fair chance to begin healing itself. Alas, getting rid of snow white cooties is never that easy.

America has been infected with snow white cooties from the get-go. Infected white people believe that only white people should run America. When unchecked, some infected white people will literally enslave others – especially Black people to whom they feel a particular superiority. The irony of course is that white people – infected or not – aren’t superior to anyone. They’re not inferior to anyone, but they’re not superior. And when they run around acting like they are? That’s the tell that that white person has been infected by snow white cooties.

Everyone who plotted the January 6 Insurrection walked in the door already infected. In a sense, one could hold up a cootie black light and see that, indeed, every insurrectionist has the markings of infection. If we had been able to do that as the Republican mob descended on Washington, DC in the days before January 6, we would have seen an infection infecting us in real time. Funny thing? Seditious conspiracy works exactly the same way.

And, now that we’re actually focused on seeing, rooting out and prosecuting seditious conspiracy, as cooties do, they will scramble for the shadows. Finding them won’t be hard. Already – the January 6 Select Committee tells us – hundreds of people have come forward because they DON’T want to be any more infected with snow white cooties than they already are. They can see that the eradication process will be brutal – on the snow white cooties. And they want no part of it.

Not everyone’s as self aware or honest with themselves as these people. Plenty of white people still think they can beat this scourge, infected as they are. That’s where they’re wrong. Turns out even people infected with cooties can be infected with more cooties. A guy with racism cooties can also have bigotry cooties too. Cooties co-mingle regardless. But, cooties can flow both ways. A guy with asshole cooties is bad. If he catches criminal cooties, he’ll get worse – but we have systems in place – a criminal justice system – whose job is to fight these things for the benefit of our body politic. That means that if we become aware that someone has “criminal cooties”, we can do something about it.

We can infect THEM with “criminal liability cooties”. These are cooties that other cooties fear. Criminal liability cooties can overcome criminal cooties and send criminals to prison (where they can catch a whole batch of other, really awful cooties). This is why criminals obstruct justice. They don’t want the cooties.

So far, eleven people – all Oath Keepers – are publicly infected with “sedition conspiracy” cooties. That number’s gonna rise. Exponentially. And that’s what scares the entire Republican Party. Once infected with sedition cooties, Republicans know they could be forced into “quarantine” for twenty years (per the law). But, here’s their problem: sedition conspiracy cooties spread so easily the infected don’t always know they’re infected. But they are.

“See something, SAY something” – that’s, in general, how good citizenship works. That’s why “see something, say nothing” perplexes us. Why say nothing? For whose benefit is this citizen saying nothing when it’s their obligation to warn the rest of us? Saying nothing in the face of criminal activity is both a sign of infection and an attempt to infect all rolled up into one. Saying nothing in the face of evil is tacit acceptance of evil. You might as well go all in with evil since you’re going to be considered evil anyway. Only the evil worry about degrees of evil.

The rest of us want nothing to do with your cooties.

Quick Reminder – GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy Has Been Up To His Ass In Treason From The Get-Go!

Kevin McCarthy Rolls Over for Donald Trump, Like a Dog

“There’s two people I think Putin pays – Rohrbacher and Trump – swear to God!” That’s what current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy said as he entered a roomful of GOP leaders on June 25, 2016 in Washington, DC, a month before the Republican Party nominated Donald Trump to be their nominee for POTUS. This conversation was recorded and the recording played for Washington Post reporter Adam Entous. It happened in other words. It is a stone cold fact and it represents something indisputable: the Republican Party knew before they nominated Trump that he was an extreme national security risk. Just about everything terrible that’s happened to America ever since flows directly from that moment of betrayal.

Just before asserting this, McCarthy had left a meeting with then Ukrainian Prime Minister Vladi­mir Groysman, who had described a Kremlin tactic of financing populist politicians to undercut Eastern European democratic institutions. Something about that conversation put it in McCarthy’s head that the man they were now all in bed with was corrupt and owned not just by the head of a foreign government, but by the head of a foreign government that we know is bent on destroying us. Keep this context in mind as McCarthy says to his political fellow travelers that this same hostile foreign government literally OWNS their presidential nominee.

Did anyone in the room react with shock? Did anyone demand that McCarthy produce receipts? Did anyone insist that if what Kevin was saying was true, they owed it to the country and to their oaths of office to call the FBI?

Of course not.

Then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan (third in line to power) cut off any discussion. “Ryan instructed his Republican lieutenants to keep the conversation private, saying: “No leaks. . . . This is how we know we’re a real family here.”

Let’s reiterate what Paul Ryan and the rest of the Republican leadership were agreeing to keep secret – because they were a real family: the fact that their candidate was a traitor. The moment they all agreed to keep that secret a secret? They all became traitors, too.

That’s not hyperbole.

Their actions from that moment forward were the actions of guilty men. They kept their secret a secret. They did everything in their power to interfere with any sort of investigation into not just this incident but every instance of Donald Trump’s odd relationship with Putin.

Since then, to my knowledge, few other reporters have asked GOP Leader about this remarkable assertion of his. The one time a reporter did, McCarthy spit back the usual GOP response: “I was joking”.

Yeah… except McCarthy wasn’t joking. The reason he got nervous laughter in the room isn’t because McCarthy’s delivery of the set up was so scintillating. It’s because everyone in the room knew that what McCarthy had just asserted was not only possible but likely the absolute truth. That’s why everyone there went along with Speaker Ryan’s insistence that they they behave like a family – a mafia family.

One can connect dots from that moment all the way through the election to moments like “Moscow, if you’re listening!” (they were!) to Paul Manafort handing over all that proprietary polling data that came back as propagandized Facebook ads that tried to convince Black Democratic voters to stay home because Hillary was a racist on the down low. One can see Russia’s hand in the way Trump turned on NATO and slavishly stroked Putin every day of his presidency. The dots connect to the Mueller Report – its focus narrowed to a single tranche (Trump’s relationship with Wikileaks) where even there, Mueller couldn’t say for certain how criminal Trump had been with Russia because of the unceasing obstructive behaviors.

Our slow-witted news media still scratches its head when it ponders the nature of Trump’s hold on the Republican Party. Well, if you can’t see Trump for the traitor he is, seeing the rest of the GOP for the co-conspirators to commit treason that they are is beyond you. Hey, I’m old enough to remember when people like me blogging or tweeting about Trump’s relationship with Russia, his authoritarian bent or the Nazification of the GOP, I got eye rolls. I should have gotten a few “Amen, Brother’s!”‘.

Today was a good day on this front. A lot of us wanted an indication from the DoJ where it was in all this – was it even going to do anything? The answer seems to be yes. Putting down a sedition card – charging the leader of the Oath Keepers and nine others with “seditious conspiracy” – that answered the question. A bit. Sedition is a lot more serios than the “breaking and entering” most of the lower level foot soldiers have been nailed with. Sedition is serious. You have to think a moderate, details guy like Merrick Garland wouldn’t have charged a player like Stewart Rhodes with something as serious as sedition if he didn’t think he could bring it in for a landing.

It’s the “conspiracy” part though that’s most intriguing. One doesn’t have to be a plotter to be swept up in a conspiracy. One doesn’t even have to know anything about it. A suspicion or a reasonable awareness can turn you from a disinterested party into a participant. You can’t just walk away. You are obligated to do something. It’s called “citizenship”.

I used to think it was a matter of time before one of my posts screaming about this missing piece of inquiry got some reporter somewhere to ask Kevin McCarthy what he meant by “There’s two people I think Putin pays – Rorhbacher and Trump – swear to God!”. Now I think it’s a matter of not holding my breath.

You’d think the opportunity to make a scumbag like Kevin McCarthy squirm would appeal to all those journalists eager to make a name for themselves. But, maybe they’re afraid that if they tell the truth about Kevin, he won’t talk to them anymore. And so the next round of cover up begins.

Republicans & The Best Stateroom On The Titanic

Sane people can never quite grok how someone will always show up to place a million to one bet on something preposterous on the pure hope that “it could happen”. Those bets never pay off and are never going to. Republicans keep betting that the Titanic – having already hit the iceberg and begun taking on water – isn’t going to sink. They think they’re all Molly Brown – except Molly’s floating away on a lifeboat while they’re sinking into the cold, icy deep. The Republicans are pirates who believe in magic. They’re white guys deluded by their own whiteness; they think because white people imposed their racist will on Europe once – which they failed at horribly, remember – that they can do it again here… with the same results? That’s the whole kicker to white supremacists worshipping Hitler. He’s the literal poster boy for what happens when you let white people’s id run amok. Sure, you get to kill millions of people you hate and (briefly) take over the world. But, then the majority finally imposes its will – and your “thousand year Reich” comes up a little short.

There’s no prettying up what’s about to happen here. It is going to be ugly and violent because of what’s at stake: white hegemony. Literally.

America is on its way to being a white minority nation. Nothing’s going to stop that. Not even the Republican Party attempting to impose permanent minority rule upon the rest of us. The Republican’s racist brain trust – Steve Bannon and Mike Flynn, the Mercers, Charles Koch, Sean Hannity – believes it can pull a “Packer Sweep” and flatten the rest of us into submission as they end American democracy on their own say-so. They believe that what happened in Nazi Germany can happen here. They hope like hell it IS happening here.

But, the GOP is absolutely wrong about that. Their power grab is doomed to fail. Here’s why.

America simply isn’t like any other country – least of all, like Germany at the moment fascism took hold of it. What we think of as “Germans” and “Germany” is a relatively recent invention. The modern political states of Europe are each the product of two thousand years plus of evolution that slowly changed Huns, Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Vandals, Burgundians,, Lombards, Saxons and Franks (among others) into Germans, French, Italians, Belgians, Spaniards and English people (among others). The Europeans’ pathogens cleared the way for white people to conquer North, South and Central America with a modicum of effort. White northern Europeans especially stepped onto American shores utterly convinced of their superiority. The Americas are still suffering for that delusion.

The whole rest of the world then, in essence, saw America for the blank slate of potential it always was. While virtually every other human society had been around or evolving in place for a millennium at least, the society that filled up the pathogen-emptied America was made up of all those other human societies. No one – not even the Pilgrims – came here looking for any sort of religious freedom. The Pilgrims found their religious freedom in the Netherlands after they left England. They came to America looking for money – because living lives of religious freedom was expensive. My point: America was always seen as a place for opportunity. For reinvention. Where, if one was willing to put in the hard work, regardless of who you are, regardless of where you’re from, you too can achieve your dreams (so long as that doesn’t infringe on someone else achieving their dreams).

White people may think they “invented” America, but they didn’t. The best we can say for the country’s founders is that these rich, Christian, land-owning men had a great idea in their heads – inspired by the French Enlightenment – that people didn’t need kings to govern them, that they could govern themselves. To that end our founders wrote “All men are created equal”. But, being fallible – and being especially fallible cos “men” – they didn’t get the execution of this great idea one hundred percent right. For starters, they didn’t actually mean “all men” are created equal. They only meant that men like them were equal. In their eyes. They also meant that ONLY men could be their equals. Women need not apply or vote. Some of the founders though understood America, understood what made America worth founding, the republic worth keeping. James Madison insisted that “E Pluribus Unum” be our Great Seal.

“From many one”. That is how America happened. It is precisely what makes America exceptional.

It’s the thing Republicans are hell bent on steering America away from. They will fail. It is inevitable. Hitler relied on both the enthusiasm and physical violence of his followers and the silent, tacit approval of everyone else. There may have been plenty of “Good Germans” who didn’t “like” what Hitler was doing. They didn’t try to stop him either. End of the day? They were more “German” than “good”. Hitler relied on that “German-ness”. The Republicans also are relying on a cohesive “white” response to their power grab. Republicans are relying on enough white people to coalesce around the idea of permanent white hegemony to cow the rest of us into permanent acceptance of same.

I wish them luck with that.

For the Republicans to accomplish their goal, they would have to get the REST of the white people to go along PLUS Black people, brown people, Asian people, LGBTQ people, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and Buddhists. We’ll all have to agree to go along to get along. We’ll have to resist seeing common purpose in a common foe. We’ll have to stop ourselves from reacting to each new outrage with mounting contempt for the evil that thinks it can abuse us and get away with it.

IF the Republicans succeed at stealing our democracy out from under us – the only way it can happen – it will be a long, ugly, violent process to get it back. But we will because, at that point, what choice will the rest of us have? Trust me when I say this – as a child of the Holocaust: never again.

The Republicans think their whiteness is a talisman. They couldn’t be more wrong.

Skepticism Vs Cynicism Vs Joe Manchin

In theory, a journalist is supposed to bring a healthy dose of skepticism to everything they report. The questioning doubt nagging at them, the junkyard dog reluctance to trust anything until it proves itself worthy – that would be their skepticism at work if they had skepticism and if it was at work. Alas, in practice, the overwhelming majority of American journalists drive to work each day in a cynicism-mobile. They punch the clock having already delineated the game and all its players. They see everyone in terms of their labeling, but, ironically, they don’t actually differentiate between labels. A Republican spouting anti-democratic, authoritarian tripe is the same as a Democrat defending democracy. To the cynical journalist, both sides have their opinions. Both opinions carry equal weight, their opinions being based on equal things (even if those things are facts and feelings, two very unequal things). Cynicism tells a journalist that it doesn’t really matter what any politician says because “they’re just a politician” even if one is advocating for democracy and the other is advocating for democracy’s violent overthrow.

Cynicism lies at the broken heart of “Both Sides Do It” brand journalism. It takes an entirely corporate view of both its audience and the American public. The corporate view doesn’t really care about democracy, it cares about its bottom line. If some system other than democracy could guarantee it more profits? The corporate view would immediately think “Screw democracy! Profits ho!” That would be short-sighted of course but then, greed is always short sighted. Greed deals in headlines and never the deep dive because deep dives cost money and reduce profits – the only thing that matters to greed.

Cynicism assumes the worst of everyone. All motives are ulterior. All acts are political and self-serving. The commonweal is a myth or, worse, a collecting pool for suckers.

Democracy can’t live in such an environment where people who believe in democracy are considered suckers because they believe in democracy. Similarly, democracy can’t endure where one of the two parties charged with managing the democracy has decided to forcefully end that democracy. A cynical journalist looks at the GOP and thinks “Republicans behaving like authoritarians is normal; authoritarianism is their “opinion du jour”. They could just as easily change back to being “democratic” tomorrow. It doesn’t matter what their point is, it only matters that they have one; that fact alone validates their point.

A skeptical journalist on the other hand would look a little closer at those Republicans, curious about how they went from being democratic to being authoritarian. Skeptical journalists have one question that drives them eternally: WHY? Why do people REALLY do what they do or say what they say? Sure, sure – everyone has an explanation at the ready but those explanations aren’t always true. Take, say, a Republican restricting voting rights in the face of the most secure election in American history. The Republican will say with a straight face that they’re worried about “election security”. While a cynical journalist would nod along with this bullshit assertion – hey, that’s his opinion! – the skeptical journalist would bore in. “What do you mean you’re worried about election security? The last election WAS secure; the issue seems to be that YOU LOST THE ELECTION and THAT’S what all your actions clearly are meant to “fix”. When the Republican spewed their nonsensical answer, the skeptical journalist would refuse to accept it. And bore in even further, like a shark with the smell of blood in its nostrils.

Imagine for a second if our news media had refused to accept “Mexicans are rapists” and “pussy grabbing” as readily as they accepted “But her emails!” Imagine if our press had refused to move on from Trump announcing his presidential candidacy in such a racist way. But then, cynical journalists think racism is an opinion one can have or not have. That’s why they think you can ask a Donald Trump “are you a racist?” and then have faith that the answer – “I’m the least racist person you’ve ever met” – is true. See how that works? Our news media won’t violate their neutrality on the subject of “is Trump a racist” because HE (a racist) says he isn’t one.

A skeptical journalist would never ask a racist that question to begin with because they’d know before asking the question what the answer would be. Skeptical journalists understand that “who’s a racist?” is a question for the racist’s victims and no one else. Only a racist’s victim knows whether or not a racist is being racist. No one else has the proper perspective.

This is precisely why Joe Manchin presents a particular problem for American journalists.

Let’s add one more ingredient to the mix. Our news media reports the American political playing field as if it’s level. It’s not and never has been. It’s already tilted far to the right – not by the electorate but by the rule makers – most of whom have been white, Christian men up till now. Hey, the whole reason we’re facing this existential crisis is because those white, Christian men refuse to share political power with the rest of us. They even co-conspired with RUSSIA ffs in order to avoid sharing power with Black, brown, Asian, LGBTQ or female Americans.

Cynical journalism accepts corruption as a given. Skeptical journalism sees corruption as the problem that journalism itself is charged with revealing and eliminating. More importantly, skeptical journalism sees itself as a crusader against corruption. Whereas cynical journalists accept Joe Manchin’s corruption (his relationship with the coal business and Koch industries, his daughter’s relationship with the outrageous price of insulin in America), skeptical journalists would want to know more.

The cynical approach to telling the Joe Manchin story – the one we’re getting – has the press grilling Democrats about their Manchin (and Sinema) problems. Cynical journalists see that “D” next to Manchin’s name and that’s as far as their journalistic instincts go. Sure, Manchin’s a Democrat in a Trump-loving state, but Manchin has zero challengers. Go on – name a West Virginian who could run against Joe and win. Joe doesn’t exist in West Virginia the way normal Democrats do. And as much as Mitch McConnell would love to have Joe become a Republican, there is no reason for Joe to do such a thing. He’d go from being a powerful hold out to one of fifty-one intransigent assholes. He’d lose in the deal; he ain’t doing it.

Joe Manchin has power in this situation because he’s a Democrat. If you don’t understand that, you don’t understand any of the realpolitik at play here. Joe Manchin has made himself the power broker of American democracy. If you want to understand why that is, you’d have to ask Joe Manchin – and not any of the Democrats. You’d have to ask Joe himself who he’s “representing” when he stands in the way of things his actual constituents want: pretty much the entire BBB. Clearly it ain’t anyone who lives in West Virginia, one of the poorest places in America. When the entire Republican Party makes RESTRICTING THE VOTE its goal – and the intention of that goal is so crystal clear: permanent white political hegemony – then a rational person – a skeptical journalist – would have to ask “Why on earth would Joe Manchin stand with these people over his own constituents?”

Let’s reframe this slightly – away from the cynical lens. This crisis is not Democrats v Republicans. It’s democrats v authoritarians. Any other framing is dishonest. It’s corrupt and we have to ask WHY? At a moment like this, indifference equals complicity with evil. As blissful as ignorance is, it too is evil. The lights are on now. We can all see what’s what on the table. We can see the Republican Party for the fascist death cult it allowed itself to become. FFS, these idiots are now drinking urine just make some idiotic political point in their heads. Feelings are what lead lemmings over the fact of a cliff.

But, there’s cause for hope! There are journalistic voices in the mix that see – have seen from the get-go. For all the rabidly mediocre, journalistically-corrupt-to-their-mitochondria Chuck Todds and John Kings there’s a Niccole Wallace and a Rachel Maddow and a JoyAnn Reid and a Mehdi Hasan and an Ali Velshi bringing SKEPTICISM to a CYNICAL landscape. They all had to play the rich, white man’s game to get where they got, but they know in their bones it isn’t supposed to BE a “rich, white man’s game”. It’s supposed to be everyone’s game.

As in E Pluribus Unum.

So long as the majority of American journalists practice cynical journalism instead of skeptical journalism, American journalism will fail America – exactly as they’re doing right now.