Sampling Cicadas Wouldn’t Be Hard – Hell, I’ve Tried CHICKEN SUSHI!*

I just saw on CNN how ~25% of Americans would consider sampling a cicada. That’s surprising. I’d have thought fewer Americans would be open to breaking down such a huge cultural barrier. If Americans had grown up eating bugs — as some other cultures do — we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Food and culture are inextricably linked. Americans like their protein big. We think “cow” or “pig” not “insect”. In time though, even a food we used to revile can become a luxury item. Take lobsters. Today, they’re expensive. They’re a treat for the wealthy. But, when Europeans first started arriving in North America, lobsters were so plentiful that “piles up to two feet high would wash ashore in Massachusetts Bay Colony.” They were used as fertilizer and to feed the poor. I mean, look at the damned things. They’re called “cockroaches of the sea” for a reason. While lobsters are only distantly related to cockroaches, they have enough in common to have made eating them that very first time likely an act of desperation or starvation. If you’d never eaten a lobster before that first time, would you really look at one and think “I gotta eat that!”?

Americans aren’t as obsessed with food’s freshness as other cultures are. The whole point of wet markets regardless of how we might feel about what’s being sold at them is the obvious freshness of the ingredients being sold. Pangolin lovers love their pangolin meat as fresh as they can get it. It’s why we love farmer’s markets. We love the idea that the food we’re eating today hung on a tree yesterday. Or walked around. We don’t need to know how it walked around or where, just that it did — somewhere in the abstract. I wonder how many of us would turn vegan overnight if we had to go out and kill our own food.

I still remember the first time I tried sushi — at a place in NYC in 1982. The whole idea was still incredibly novel; there weren’t more than a handful of sushi restaurants in all of America. Americans did not eat raw fish. That first piece of tuna stuck on my tongue and went to war with my gag reflex. Jump forward a year and I’m happily snarfing it down, eyeing the more adventurous parts of the sushi menu. I’m an adventurous eater by and large. My culinary mind’s open to a lot of things — to at least try once.

A few years ago, I did some consulting for Electronic Arts. I got hired by their studio in Vancouver, BC to help their game designers think more like storytellers. This particular studio was run by an innovative guy named Nilo Rodis. For about a year and a half, I worked on various projects with various teams. One cool project involved a completely reactive environment where the game player really could impact everything. If they blew up the room they were in, that room was going to really blow up — killing their character. Another project I worked on was a fighting game that originated in their Tokyo studio.

For about six months, I scripted the game and helped revise the story and characters in Vancouver while the game’s designers — in Tokyo — did their thing. Finally the project was nearly finished. EA sent me to Tokyo for a week. Nilo felt some face time with each other would speed us through the last phases of our work. And that’s pretty much what happened. We had a good week together.

When I arrived in Tokyo, Ken, my host at EA (and my boss — Ken is Japanese-Canadian) asked me, as we’d be dining together a lot during the week, if I had any likes or dislikes. The last thing Ken wanted to do was put us at a restaurant where there was nothing on the menu a fussy American could eat. Embarrassment is anathema to Japanese people. “I will eat whatever you eat,” I told Ken. “Great!” said Ken, pleased.

Over the course of the week, we ate in some very cool places. Remember the restaurant in Food where that huge fight scene happens? That’s a real place. I was taken there my first night. The sushi was awesome. The shootout was even better. Every meal was fantastic as far as I was concerned; I love Asian cuisine above all others, no matter which one. The week having been a raging success, Ken wanted to take the whole office out for a meal on my last night in Tokyo in order to celebrate.

Being a special occasion, Ken chose a restaurant close to the office that the whole group liked. In particular, they liked the restaurant’s specialty. They didn’t tell me what that specialty was. It was chicken sashimi.

We all arrive at the restaurant more or less together, remove our shoes of course, and follow our host to the private room reserved for us where we sit low to the ground on tatami mats. Food lands on the table immediately. Various innocuous Japanese starters. Ken — I’m sitting next to him — leans close and tells me that they’re about to serve the restaurant’s specialty. It’s why they came here; everyone in the office loves it! I look to the table as small dishes of what looks like pale yellow sushi are set down in front of everyone.

They all look jazzed. Some have already started eating as my sushi lands in front of me. Ken can hardly wait to tell me what a treat I’m in for: “It’s chicken sashimi,” he says as if that would explain everything.

I’m absolutely certain he’s kidding. What’s the course after that? Pork sushi? But Ken’s already got his chicken sashimi chop sticked and heading for his mouth. I glance at the table. My co-workers for the week are all eating it and loving it. They brought me here to share this thing they love with me, the gai-jin (outsider) they’ve been working with all week — the gai-jin they liked enough to bring here.

My next thought — okay, it’s Japan. They have all those wacky game shows. This one’s called “Prank The Gai-Jin” and I’m the gai-jin they’re pranking. While they all eat chicken sashimi made of marzipan, I’ve been served the real deal and the point is to fool me, the gai-jin, into eating it. Sensing my natural reluctance, Ken tells me quietly that the chickens are all grown on the property — no factory chickens. They’re grown here, hand-slaughtered here, processed here. That’s how we’ll know its safe to eat. I nod but not because the explanation satisfies.

As more and more of their eyes look to me — awaiting my reaction to the chicken sashimii, I begin to realize I have no choice here. I mean, sure — I could tell them they’re all crazy but I still have to work with these good people. I don’t want to insult them especially when I told them I’d eat anything they ate. I’ve set everyone up for failure… except I don’t have to “fail” everyone if I just… eat… the damned… sashimi.

I pick it up with my chopsticks and bring it first to my nose. This bird may have been raised like a prince but it still smells like raw chicken. Now I’m aware of Ken’s eager expression. His eyebrows, arching, are telling me: “Go on!”

Some of the others dipped theirs in soy sauce first. That will be my salvation. I practically swirl the sashimi in the little dish of soy sauce and, in one deft motion, pop it into my mouth. Immediately the “smell” of raw chicken hits the back of my throat. It takes everything I’ve got to keep my gag reflex in check. Instead, I chew — slowly — trying, with my tongue, to push the thing toward the back of my throat so I can just swallow it. And I smile all the way. “Mmmmmm-hmmmmm,” I say trying to will the thing down my gullet.

Still it clings to the inside of my mouth — like it wants to be there as long as possible. Like it’s found its new home. Chewing, even softly, releases more raw chicken essence into my mouth. I feel like I’ve gone for a swim in a lake filled with raw chicken. It’s like I never introduced it to the soy sauce.

Finally it slides down, more or less whole, the taste of raw chicken lingering.

My smile now approximates a death ricktus but my hosts buy it. More importantly, my boss beside me buys it. And, nodding happily at having found a convert, he starts on what will be my bigger problem than “Piece Of Chicken Sashimi #1”. Ken has piece number two between his chopsticks and heading for his mouth. So’s everyone else at the table. Again, I’m going to bring up the rear.

Let me tell ya, hard as the first piece of chicken sashimi was for this gai-jin to get down, “Chicken Sashimi Piece #2” was harder by a couple of multitudes. This time, I knew what was coming. So, in addition to the soy sauce coating my piece of chicken sashimi, now I also had dread.

That second piece of chicken sashimi has come to symbolize a certain kind of moment in my life — one where you know from personal experience how badly the shot that’s coming at you is going to hurt. The mere fact that shot number two exists makes shot number two worse.

There’s a terrific piece in a recent New Yorker about disgusting food. Writer Jiayang Fan captures both the squeamishness other peoples’ strange food can cause and the sense of communion food makes one feel toward one’s tribe (especially when your tribe’s food seems stranger to more people than yours does to them). One of the great points Fan makes is how adaptable our palettes can be if required. As Cervantes put it in Don Quixote, “Hunger makes the best sauce in the world”.

That means that given the proper incentive, and a little time, I could learn to love chicken sashimi.

*Sashimi actually but “sushi” is a funnier word.

White Perspective Is A Bully’s Perspective

We get it — the idea of power sharing horrifies you; it always has. That’s why you’ve worked ceaselessly — regardless of whether you went by the label “Dixiecrat” or “Southern Democrat” or “Republican” — to prevent anyone NOT white from participating in American democracy — a thing you yourselves abhor. The problem with democracy — from an autocratic point of view — is that you can’t trust voters to vote for you and your ideas; they probably get that you’re a power mad fraud. Democracy is a marketplace of ideas. As we all know, crony capitalists don’t want a free market for you, they want a free market for THEM. Hell, conservatives (the political wing of crony capitalists) now openly admit that they MUST cheat in order to win elections which is WHY Republicans suppress Democratic voters but Democrats NEVER even think of suppressing Republican voters. Democrats don’t have to do that — because their ideas sell just fine in the marketplace.

The right wing money understood a while ago that the more America diversified, the quicker their hegemony would end. The more Black people voted — the quicker white hegemony would end. It’s not as if Black voters are insanely liberal as a group. They’re not. To begin with, they’re not monolithic. No group is — including white people. But there’s a difference. Because they’ve been the ones holding all the political power and wealth in America, white group-think has far greater real world (realpolitik) weight than anyone else’s. We do not now stand on a level playing field. We never have and every time we treat it like it is, we’re grossly mis-representing reality.

White perspective (born of white culture) always assumes it’s superiority over everyone else. For instance, white perspective tells itself it “discovered” America. That assumes that prior to white, Christian Europeans arriving on these shores that the America was a virgin land, filled with darkness, ignorance and savagery — all waiting to be saved by them. No, actually, it wasn’t. As historian Charles C. Mann points out in his excellent “1491: New Revelations Of The Americas Before Columbus”, “… the pre-Columbian Indians were not sparsely settled in a pristine wilderness; rather, there were huge numbers of Indians who actively molded and influenced the land around them. The astonishing Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan had running water and immaculately clean streets, and was larger than any contemporary European city. Mexican cultures created corn in a specialized breeding process that has been called man’s first feat of genetic engineering. Indeed, Indians were not living lightly on the land but were landscaping and manipulating their world in ways that we are only now beginning to understand.” Native Americans founded, lived and thrived in actual cities in North America while Paris and London festered in the mud, struggling to rise above their humble beginnings.

Historian Jared Diamond brilliantly summed up European “superiority” as “Guns, Germs & Steel” (the title of his excellent history of how the white man’s germs, mostly, reduced North America’s native population so completely that defeating the survivors militarily was remarkably easy. That wasn’t the Europeans plan — not at first; in time they’d realize how effective blankets infected with smallpox can be in controlling Indian population size. It is what happened however.

For what it’s worth, the Indians did pass syphilis — one of their native infections — to the white man.

The first thing every schoolyard bully does is reduce whoever he’s bullying to something less than a human. Bullies can’t bully their equals (they’re all afraid they’d lose) and they certainly can’t bully their superiors. That leaves people the bully feels superior to. And off they go! Bullies see everyone not them as one kind of cockroach or another. Once you’ve stopped seeing other people as people? Bullying them is easy. Who cares if you “hurt their feelings” — to the bully, the bullied’s feelings are there TO be hurt. That’s why bullies bully — hurting other people gets them hot.

Another thing that happens when you reduce other people to “less-than-people” status. You negate their history. White people denied the value of Native American history before they introduced Christianity to them. Who cared what savages thought? Who cared where savages came from or why they had the traditions they had. Cockroaches don’t have “traditions”. White Americans have also negated Black history. That’s why some white Americans think they should be free to “opt out” of Black History Month.

Negating a peoples’ history also negates their wealth. White America’s greatest crime against Black America is slavery of course. But, slavery, remember, is first and foremost STOLEN LABOR. That’s the point. You can’t amass wealth if you can’t acquire it to begin with. And you can’t acquire wealth if you never get paid for your labor — the thing you have to sell.

In the American south, slave owners justified slavery by saying they couldn’t profitably engage in growing rice, sugar or cotton if they had to pay the labor needed to PICK those crops a living wage. Or any wage whatsoever. The costs of buying, housing, clothing and feeding slaves was understood as the “costs of doing business”. In fact, slavery was NEVER a good economic model for those businesses. But then, white people will believe anything if it involves denigrating Black people.

We all know what the Trump insurrectionists were thinking. They told us. We know what they wanted — and still want. Being the ultimate bully, Donald Trump can’t conceive of losing. But, Trump’s bullying has an extra dimension to it: treason. This is no secret to Trump’s republican co-bullies. Current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy famously told a roomful of Republican leaders a month BEFORE they nominated Trump to be their POTUS candidate “There’s two people I think Putin pays, Rohrbacher and Trump… swear to God!” The reason the entire Republican Party has gone along with this insanity is because they’re all guilty of treason.

White people need to step back for a bit. If they don’t do it of their own accord, their stepping back will be done for them and probably not nicely. No one likes being bullied. Especially not bullies.

Ironically, when it comes to being bullied? Bullies hate being bullied more than anyone.

The Democrats Have A “Back Door” To Controlling The Senate — Via A Rejuvenated Department Of Justice

Let’s assume the worst case scenario for the sake of argument: Republicans “win” both Georgia Senate seats today. In light of Republicans’ penchant for cheating in order to “win” elections and their refusal to acknowledge losing should their cheating not prevail, any Republican victory (even in deeply red counties) must now be viewed skeptically. In fact, they should all be viewed the way smart people are now viewing Mitch McConnell’s string of blow out victories in Kentucky — a state where he’s only slightly more popular than rectal cancer. But, let’s say Mitch returns as Senate Majority Leader, determined to stand in the way of Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and pretty much every American.

Are we really looking at four years of worsening decline with a deadlocked Congress? In the first few weeks — yes, that’s a distinct possibility. But then things will begin to change — and Mitch’s hold on absolute power (a ludicrous amount of power for a Senate Majority Leader to have over the whole country ffs!) will wane and then disappear entirely. Now, I’ll lay down my caveat here — but I do believe this caveat is actually a fait accompli already. The Democrats are going to play hardball like they’ve never played it before. They no longer have a choice.

There is simply no way to “forgive and forget” what the Republican Party — and it IS the party as a whole — until the party as a whole experiences complete and total contrition. They must confess to everything, start to finish, top to bottom, side to corrupt side. They must tell us about all the conversations about demographics and the extinction of their hold on power. This coup d’etat didn’t just happen; it was planned. It may not have been planned like this — but the idea existed before Donald Trump and his friend Vladimir presented themselves as the best possible vehicle to get the Republican Party the PERMANENT MINORITY RULE it intended to impose upon the country forever if possible.

That is the goal here. That’s why Mitch worked so relentlessly to deny Barack Obama all those judges — Merrick Garland included. The point of the exercise: seize the judiciary first.

The GOP “brain trust” recognized that if not for the Electoral College and slavery’s vote, Republicans would never win the White House ever again. That’s why keeping the EC alive is sooooooooo important to them. Playing the EC is the only way to keep the executive branch in their hands; Trump just lost the popular vote, remember, by more than SEVEN MILLION VOTES. The GOP knows — without the EC or cheating or other “extraordinary measures ” (Bush v Gore comes to mind), the Republican Party might never win a presidency ever again.

As for Congress… well, the House is the most direct representation Americans have on the federal level. It’s really the only direct representation we have there (until we remove or disempower the EC). Yes, we directly elect Senators now (we didn’t used to), but the power the majority of voters get from the Senate is mitigated by the Senate’s structure which gives way more representation to rural real estate than it does urban voters. That empowerment of the minority is the reason Republicans don’t want Washington, DC or Puerto Rico to become states. Adding four likely Democratic Senators would automatically flip the current Senate to Democratic control. Hey — ever wonder why we have TWO DAKOTAS?

The Senate’s structure also keeps slavery’s thumb in our eye. That’s a stone cold fact. We’ve been here before. Let’s keep some perspective, please.

Mitch is counting on keeping the Senate. Losing it outright will be catastrophic for him and pretty much every Republican. It will speed up what’s going to happen past the point where Mitch — or any Republican — can control what’s going to happen.

To begin with, as Vice President, Kamala Harris has some powers in the Senate that have rarely been used in the past but they’re there. And if the Democrats intend to play hard ball, they’ll use Kamala in part like a great utility infielder who also hits for average. Multi-tasking, she’ll assume the additional duties required of a vice-president in the current chaotic environment. But, she’ll also have to assume those additional powers the Senate’s rules give her.

Mitch’s two vote majority should be thought of as a one-vote majority. Kamala’s vote — as president of the Senate — should be held at the ready because Mitch won’t be able to hold his majority together the way he used to; Donald Trump won’t be there backstopping the corruption. That will matter. So will the economic ruin left to us by Trump.

Thirty four Senate seats will be up in 2022. Of those, 12 seats were held by Democrats and 22 were held by Republicans as of November 2020. That’s twice as much pressure on the Republicans to perform as it is on the Democrats. Just as 2020 was not a normal election, neither will 2022 be normal. We’ll still be dealing with all the fallout from the Trump presidency — in large part because a rejuvenated Department of Justice will have been asking certain people (Republicans mostly) some very hard questions UNDER OATH — questions those Republicans had to answer and could not squirm out of because THIS DoJ is out for justice and its bite has teeth.

Also — even if Team Biden did NOTHING, their response to the pandemic could not possibly be worse. Come Spring and Summer as (hopefully — with warmer weather and less indoor crowding and a more competently rolled out vaccination program) we emerge slowly from Covid-19’s terrible shadow, no one will look backward to the Trump Administration with praise and thank you’s. That will all be reserved for the people who actually started the process of alleviating our suffering — the Democrats and Team Biden. At the same time, don’t forget, money will flow to Americans. We’ll get more than just painfully inadequate one-time checks for $600. Even if Mitch stands in the way, he will not have every one of his fellow Republican pirates standing with him.

Those Republican Senators up for re-election in 2022 will have to think about getting re-elected by people who are suffering, starving and desperate. And getting angrier by the day. And getting inundated — by the day — with stories of continuing Republican corruption.

That’s the bottom line here: America is tired of Republican corruption. No — we’re enraged by it now. We’re woke to it. And we will not accept it or tolerate it ever again.

Donald Trump has made it an imperative that we investigate his attempt to strong arm Georgia’s Attorney General. Even if that was ALL Trump did, it would be disastrous for him and his party — who are now standing as literal co-conspirators in an act of open sedition. Remember — every one of these traitors will be questioned UNDER OATH. Sure, they can demure and get all bitchy about their rights, but they still have to answer questions — or sit their soft, white asses in jail.

And, trust me here, those soft, white asses will not do well sitting in jail. Those soft, white asses will (pardon the pun) “crack”. They’ll see the handwriting on the jailhouse wall — and their names in that handwriting. They’ll see generational ruin for their family and their family’s fortunes; that’s what happens to traitors — no one invites them to play reindeer games anymore. Hanging out with pariahs is bad for business.

The rejuvenated Department of Justice will also re-open the counter-intelligence investigations into Trump’s relationship with Russia that Rod Rosenstein killed. That, right there, will terrify pretty much every single Republican because they all knew — or suspected at least — even before they made Trump their nominee in 2016 that he was OWNED BY VLADIMIR PUTIN. As current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy put it as he walked into a meeting of Republican leaders a month before their 2016 convention: “There’s two people I think Putin pays, Rohrbacher and Trump… swear to God”. As then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan responded: “Let’s keep that ‘in the family’.”

Everyone in that room needs to answer questions about what happened there and why no one called the FBI — as they absolutely should have. Devin Nunes needs to be interrogated — under oath — about virtually everything he’s done since Trump became POTUS. Same goes for Lindsey Graham (he needs to explain his total one-eighty on Trump). Same goes for Bill Barr and Mike Pompeo.

Same goes for the SEVEN SITTING SENATORS who had dinner in MOSCOW the evening of July 4, 2018: Ron Johnson (WI), Richard C. Shelby (AL.), Steve Daines (MT.), John Hoeven (ND), John Neely Kennedy (LA.), Jerry Moran (KS.), John Thune (SD) — plus Rep. Kay Granger (TX). Each and every one needs to answer questions UNDER OATH about why they went to Moscow on that most American of holidays. We The People need to know what went down. Was the vodka cold enough? How about the borscht — was it fresh? Most importantly, what about the treason — was it served piping hot, the way every one of those traitors likes it?

These Republican secrets will cease to be secrets. The stories they tell about Republican corruption will explode, each more damning then what came before. This will all be added to our understanding of what happened in 2016 — of how the election’s actual outcome (the thing We The People voted for) was literally STOLEN from us. We will learn that Russia won the election for Trump in 2016; without their direct impact on the election’s result, Donald Trump would never have been in the White House.

As each Republican Senator (and House member) suddenly faces legal jeopardy in the extreme (we WILL be talking TREASON after all — Russia is conducting an active cyber war against us and cyber war, we’ll have to acknowledge, is just as much a “war” as a the old fashioned “bombs and bullets” kind), they will be forced to step away from their Senatorial duties to see to their legal defense full time. There won’t be any good explanations for WHY these Republicans sided with RUSSIA over us. There won’t be any good explanations either for why these Republicans sought to overturn this election’s outcome.

Aside from five states — North Dakota, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Rhode Island and Oregon, the governor can fill a suddenly vacated Senate seat however they like (in some cases up until a scheduled election). That, right there, could flip the Senate’s balance. If the Senate’s not in Democratic control after today? Put the money on corruption culling the Republican herd.

Again — this assumes that the Democrats play hardball every day and in every way they can. While dinosaurs like Diane Feinstein might still regard her Republican colleagues with nostalgic fondness, hers is a shrinking position. Her position will literally vanish — and those friendships will become toxic — as the questioning of Republicans begins.

What Is It About Donald Trump That The WHOLE WORLD (Except For 70 Million Americans) Recognized?

What happened yesterday — after first NBC News then the rest of the world finally got on board and declared Joe Biden and Kamala Harris the winners — has never happened before. The result of an American election caused outbreaks of spontaneous joy to erupt not just in America but throughout the world. Church bells pealed in Paris. Fireworks exploded over London. In America, from coast to coast, people felt compelled to take their celebrations from in front of their TV screens to the streets. Sometimes you just feel so good, you have to share it with people.

Now, to be fair, I live in the Highland Park section of LA. It’s Silver Lake Adjacent. In Tuesday’s election, LA (no bastion of right wing sentiment) leaned even further to the left than where we were. We have a homeless problem, you see and LA has decided to lead with its humanity. My point is, while there are parts of LA that did not celebrate yesterday (I hear it was quiet as a tomb in Torrance), most of LA took a massive sigh of relief and felt the need to take that massive sigh together.

Here’s a snippet of the celebration in the Silver Lake neighborhood —

Now, I want to point out one thing about the celebrations: their nature. There was gloating. Absolutely yes there was and I will confess to doing my fair share of it. Boy, did it feel good! And I do not feel one bit guilty. That’s because of the nature of our celebration. It was focused squarely on one person and, for the most part, one person only: Donald Trump.

When I called to celebrate with my 84 year old mom, my first words to her were “Ding dong, the witch is dead”. I wish I knew the number of other people who heard that trill in their head the instant they knew the Age of Trump had reached its end. Ding dong, the witch IS dead — and good bloody riddance!

Take the loathing of Donald Trump that will be eternal out of the celebration and all you have is joy. Pure joy. It felt — being part of it — like a breath of fresh air. A massive invisible weight had been lifted from our head and shoulders. When the news first broke yesterday, I’m not ashamed to say that I wept. It was cathartic. I wasn’t alone in that either.

Aside from Trump, there was no “And let’s rub their noses in it!” Not even after three Hell’s Angels-looking guys on Harleys roared into the crowd on Sunset Boulevard — we were intermittently blocking the street — intent not on hitting anyone, but on scaring people. The crowd — having leapt out of the way — watched the Trumpanistas drive away indignantly. But they did not turn the moment into a “Hey, let’s get them!” That never occurred to the crowd because, well, they were feeling too good about what just happened.

Why wasn’t one hundred percent of America celebrating? Why, — how — could anyone live through the past four years, the pandemic especially with Trump’s calamitous response fresh in your mind, and NOT pull the lever on animal instinct alone for Joe Biden? Ah, well… never forget that on the day Richard Nixon resigned because of Watergate, his approval rating still sat at 29%. That “silent majority” is still out there, seething, hating the rest of us.

Well, aside from their shitty attitude, we’ve never hated them back. We’ve always wanted a way to talk to them without them spitting at us. In the history of modern American politics, the onus has always been on Progressives to compromise — even if it’s with out-and-out fascists. The playing field here has never been level. That’s the thing. Our perspective started out skewed. Hell, our founding document says plainly “All men are created equal” by which they meant if you were a white, Christian, land-owning male, the playing field was level. If you weren’t, tough luck.

But, fortunately, while enshrining their racism, America’s founders allowed for constant revisions to their blueprints. And so we’ve updated the structure as best we could. But you can’t update a foundation with flaws. You have to revisit the foundation — fix it — then build from there.

That’s what America has to do. That’s what they said with their votes. That’s what their joy said. We suddenly saw that an outrageous aspiration maybe possibly could happen.

We were out in the streets celebrating the return of America’s potential yesterday. We’ve got miles to go before we sleep where achieving that potential is concerned. But we demonstrated — clearly — that, when engaged, the real America (diverse and woke as hell) has the potential to realize America’s potential. America and Americans can do anything in part because of who we are: the whole world.

America is the product (once you subtract the Native Americans who the Europeans decimated with their germs) of just about every other country on Earth “sending people” to help build it. Even the English were invaders before they were inhabitants. The English instilled two things — a strong European sensibility (for what it’s worth) and a strong commercial sensibility. From England’s point of view, the colonies weren’t meant to produce freedom, they were meant to produce a solid return on an investment.

Money has always been the draw of America. Money and the potential for self-reinvention. This really was (once emptied of the locals) a wide open space. A blank canvas waiting to be filled with humans and their ideas. That’s the dynamic tension at our core — the struggle between a magnificent idea and the blind spot that racism (among other “isms”) causes. Unless and until the magnificent idea applies equally to everyone, it might as well apply to no one.

Donald Trump was the epitome of what happens to America when love of money drives everything and love of people drives nothing. He epitomizes money’s corrupting influence and power. Money will always corrupt. But, when completely disassociated from all principles — that’s Trumpism. Donald Trump epitomized Republican, profits-above-people ideas taken to their extremes. That’s profits-above-principles, too.

More than half of America hated that that was how America was representing itself when it wasn’t anything like how the MAJORITY of Americans felt. Former Republican Rick Wilson may actually be wrong about one thing. “Everything Trump Touches Dies” with one exception: America. We’re wounded — no argument — but we might yet back back up off the floor and fight our way out of this.

Americans chose by a sizeable majority to deny money’s corruption in favor of human beings: we voted for and on principle.

That’s what the world saw and that’s why they cheered for us.

The 30% of Americans who still love Nixon will never play nicely with the rest of us. We will do everything we can to demonstrate how much we want to include them in every bit of success we want every American to experience. We’ll include them even. Quick reminder — plenty of those Trump lovers also love their ACA (so long as you don’t call it Obamacare). They haven’t thought through what will happen when the SCOTUS guts the ACA and leaves all them all wondering who’ll help them with their heroin addiction now?

We need to be patient. Very, very good things are coming but only after a lot more hard work. We’ve achieved the first goal. That’s it. This is the platform from which we have a chance to launch a better America.

A lot of Americans feel exactly the same way. In fact, they felt so good about the idea as it occurred to them that Americans… if you weren’t there, you shoulda been.

It was AWESOME!

The Best Thing One Can Say About Originalism Is That It’s Total, Utter Nonsense

Antonin Scalia — the King of Originalism — should have taken originalism to the grave with him. Not that the worms deserve either. Intellectually, originalism is the quintessential make-it-up-as-you-go-along, “White Guy” argument. “But the rules! But the rules!” says the one who wrote the rules, then broke them repeatedly then got upset when others threatened to write the rules instead. Even on its surface, originalism stinks. Scratch that surface and you unleash a whole sewage system of awfulness.

Never mind the fact that the King of Originalism, Scalia, set originalism aside to write the decision that will most define him: Bush v Gore. Not only did he set originalism aside to write that bit of flaming horse shit, he made Bush v Gore a one-time deal. It followed no rules then made itself unique — all in one neat, corrupt, decision.

Originalism insists the Constitution is stuck in time; therefore so is America. If not for those nasty amendments, America would still be a bastion for rich, white, Christian land owners. Like in the 1780s. The opposite view sees the Constitution as a living, breathing, dynamic document (designed) to serve America’s living, breathing, dynamic population. You know, what that famous Republican president called “Government OF the People, BY the People and FOR the People.”

Originalism is about controlling the mythology and pretending it’s the law. It’s Magical Thinking written in lawyer font.

It’s about pretending words say things they don’t.

It’s all about cynicism.

The only correct response when some right wing nitwit hauls originalism onto the table is “Oh, shut up”. The goal is to make you chase them down their rabbit hole because that’s what originalism is: a damned rabbit hole.

“Oh, shut up.” See? Easy!

What If We Told Our Story Backwards, Starting With: “Donald Trump Is A Corrupt Traitor”?

If I had a ranch, I’d bet it: we will establish beyond all doubt that Donald Trump did not “win” the 2016 election. It was STOLEN for him in large part by Russia who OWN Trump to the tune of $422 million or so — a loan that’s about to come due. We know Trump owes someone — and whoever it is, it poses an existential threat to our democracy. But, our problem’s bigger than that — bigger than just Trump. We need to know who the whole Republican Party is indebted to. We need to know how they thought they could get away with pulling off a coup d’etat.

That’s where this story will land and IS landing: the Republican Party, recognizing they faced demographic and therefore political extinction, hitched their wagon to Donald Trump despite the fact that (they knew) he was compromised, owned flat out by Russian military intelligence. If we think of what we’re experiencing as a story rather than real life, there’s going to be an ending where questions get answered and most of the loose ends get neatly tied. The villains of the piece will get fingered. Most will get punished as they deserve. A few will seem to get away but a further tidying up as the credits roll will tell us that they, too, came to terrible ends.

On that day — when our story gets fully revealed — our news media will stand astride this monster like THEY brought it down. Don’t be fooled. We The People will have saved ourselves from doom. We’ll have done it despite our news media making it nearly impossible — because they never saw the ending coming.

Even with all we already know about how Russia “influenced” the 2016 — that’s according to the news media’s own reporting — our news media still persists in saying that Donald Trump “won” election. No, those are mutually exclusive propositions. A foreign country can’t legally “influence” ANY American election. The whole idea that Russia “influenced” our election should send shockwaves and flares rumbling and flying in every direction.

There’s a famous and apocryphal story from the 2016 GOP convention. Current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy walks into a meeting of Republican muckety-mucks and announces “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump”. Kevin was so convinced, he threw in a “Swear to God”. “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.”

“No leaks,” the Speaker famously replied, “This is how we know we’re a real family here.”

The correct response should have been “Whaaaaat? Kevin, dude — are you SURE about this?”

“Swear to God,” says Kevin.

“Somebody — quick — get the FBI on the phone,” Paul should have said, “We have a patriotic duty here as citizens and leaders”.

They didn’t.

We know why. Let me repeat that WE KNOW WHY. We KNOW THE ENDING.

Donald Trump and the Republican Party have betrayed America, betrayed We The People and betrayed everything we stand for. They’ve betrayed our future and our children’s future. These are true now — as our news media finally feels secure enough to report them — as when the crimes were being freshly committed. Meaning — the Republicans in that room with Kevin McCarthy and Paul Ryan were as guilty THEN of committing criminal acts as they will be on the day the news media finally reports the fact.

The only problem — four years have elapsed between the act and the reporting of it as a crime. The fact was reported on in May 2017, nearly a year after it happened. That is, a year after it became a KNOWN fact. It was a FACT long before that. In other words — a crime was being committed long before anyone recognized that fact. It doesn’t change the fact that a crime was being committed. Our lack of knowledge of that crime doesn’t excuse the crime.

Harold Pinter’s play (and then feature film) “Betrayal” literally tells its story backwards — in reverse chronology. It’s about how an affair destroys a relationship. The story begins with the aftermath of the destroyed relationship. We see the wreckage. Then we march backward through time, scene by scene. Whereas normal storytelling relies on adding information learned in the previous scene, in “Betrayal”, we see instead where that information came from. At the end, we see the moment when the affair began — the spark that preceded the affair — and how that spark smoldered then suddenly ignited a blaze that burned through everything.

What if we told the Donald Trump Destroyed America story that same way? What if our news media began with all the facts laid out neatly then deconstructed the story, scene-by-scene, detail-by-detail back to the very moment (or moments) where this crisis really began. For one thing, we’d get to see the story in context — in its proper context. We’d understand from that context that Donald Trump is not (and never was, as the news media kept reporting) a “different kind of POTUS”. In fact, he’s always been a criminal, guilty of laundering Russian mob money in exchange for solvency.

He’s also guilty of tax fraud and election fraud and treason.

We don’t have our ending yet. It’s our saving grace. It’s still to be written. But our ending will include all those facts because they ARE facts. Donald Trump and, now, the entire Republican Party are guilty of treason. The sooner our news media starts reporting these facts AS FACTS — as established parts of the narrative — the sooner we’ll stop this charade of an election. The sooner we’ll start solving our problem instead of exacerbating it.

Dear American News Media – Stop Acting Like The Dance Band On The Titanic

The Dance Band on the Titanic went down with the ship. America, like the Titanic, is sinking. The difference is we don’t have to. Our ship of state can still be saved.

America’s news media can’t be blamed for Donald Trump. Fred and Mary Trump deserve that credit (oh, that we could go back in time and tie Mary’s tubes while also delivering a good, swift kick to Fred’s family jewels). But Donald Trump’s resiliency — the fact that he’s still POTUS and not a federal prisoner — THAT falls almost entirely on the news media and their remarkable inability to convey the story in front of them. The story they themselves have reported.

As we stand here today, Donald Trump is the first person EVER to run for re-election as POTUS having been IMPEACHED — for cheating in the very election he’s running in.

That’s not a small thing. It’s a huge, HUGE thing. And yet, our news media never reminds its news audience that THAT is the context in which Donald Trump is running for re-election. He does it — overtly cheating — having already been impeached for cheating!

But, not just cheating — committing TREASON while cheating.

The news media — what else can we conclude? — has accepted and normalized not only cheating but treason. It’s now just another facet of “Trump’s a different kind of potus” — that toxic confection the news media keeps feeding itself to explain away Trump’s lawlessness. No, he’s not “different”, he’s a criminal. He’s always been a criminal — and it’s always been there for all to see because the news media itself reported on it!

Among the stories our news media can’t seem to 1) get straight or 2) comprehend is Christopher Steele and the dossier of raw intelligence he put together and then desperately tried to get into the right hands. As an example of what I’m talking about — if (as our news media does) you simply assume that Chris Steele’s dossier dropped from the sky by magic — it’s easy to dismiss. It could just as easily be the work product of a crank.

Except it’s not. If we trace the story back to how we GOT TO the Chris Steele part of the story, we suddenly discover not only that there IS a story but there’s a story that the news media has already reported on — and seemingly forgotten. As the 2016 Republican primaries got under way, every Republican who wasn’t Donald Trump hated and feared Donald Trump. That included Republicans who supported Jeb Bush’s campaign.

Among them was The Washington Free Beacon (financed by hedge fund magnate Paul Singer). They funded oppo research into multiple Republican candidates but their research on Trump proved the most compelling. The Beacon hired the firm Fusion GPS — a commercial research and strategic intelligence firm founded by two former Wall Street Journal reporters. One of them, Glenn Simpson, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on August 22, 2017. The committee — under Republican control, don’t forget — was attempting to undermine the Steele Dossier’s integrity by undermining the integrity of those who hired Steele.

Why was Chris Steele hired in the first place, the Committee wanted to know — assuming, I guess, that they could imply something nefarious where nothing nefarious existed? Simpson explained how, after Fusion was hired, they did their due diligence. They got their hands on every piece of PUBLICLY AVAILABLE material on Trump that they could — newspaper articles, magazine pieces, radio interviews, TV shows — everywhere Trump’s name appeared or was spoken. They went to Amazon and actual book stores. They combed the internet. They even went to the public library.

What Fusion found — in publicly available material that anyone (including the press) could just as easily have found — convinced them that Donald Trump was likely a criminal who laundered Russian mob money through his (now bankrupt) Atlantic City Casinos. They saw other possible connections between Donald Trump and Russia, too. They were so concerned, in fact, that they sub-contracted the research out to the Westerner with, perhaps, the connections inside Russia — former head of MI6’s Russia Desk Chris Steele.

Did you follow that, American News Media? Publicly available material suggesting Trump’s likely criminality is what motivated the Steele hire. That means anyone — any journalist — could have, at any time, have done what Fusion did: the due diligence.

By the time Fusion got to Chris Steele, the Free Beacon had stopped funding the work; Trump had become the presumptive nominee. Steele’s work was paid for by Marc Elias, the lawyer for the D.N.C. and Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign. That doesn’t in any way disqualify it. Steele — with his excellent connections inside Russia — had no idea who was underwriting his work product.

Ah, but Trump says… The Republicans say. It’s like reporting what the iceberg says. “Go ahead — hit me! I promise nothing bad will happen to ya…”.

The Titanic’s dance band was great at dying nobly. For the purposes of argument though, what if Sam, the band’s talented sax player, possessed knowledge that could have saved the ship? What if Sam — in a previous life — had worked in a shipyard, building ships and new of a way that might stem the flow of water into the six forward watertight compartments that the iceberg exposed. What if another of the band — Val, the Violinist — recognized that if he could get the passengers to rush to the back of the ship, it would aid Sam’s plan and, perhaps, save them all? And what if all the others in the band immediately pitched in to do whatever they could to help.

Our news media has knowledge that could save our ship of state from sinking. They know the iceberg we’ve hit — they’ve reported on it. They also know how the ship works. How its engines work. While, like with the Titanic, time is short, our news media can still stem the flow of water into our tanks. Or, in this case, the flow of bullshit, propaganda and disinformation.

For starters, the news media needs to stop running around the deck like Chicken Little. They need to see themselves as PASSENGERS on this vessel with a rooting interest in not sinking. They need to stop seeing this story from the iceberg’s point of view — or the ocean’s. They need to see it entirely from the passengers’ point of view — because that’s who’s going to suffer the consequences.

Donald Trump & the Republican Party are our democracy’s iceberg. In collusion with their Russian friend, they intend to sink us and raise a Jolly Roger over the remains. That isn’t crazed left wing lunacy. It’s all been reported by our press. You’d think our press wouldn’t be so reluctant to read their own stuff.

The journalism professor turned journalist Seth Abramson hasn’t done any original reporting. Rather, he’s aggregated all the reporting that’s been done — all in one place: his three Collusion books. The portrait Abramson’s work portrays is beyond devastating. Like Fusion GPS mining what every other journalist could mine, Abramson demonstrates how journalism is supposed to work. We already know an awful lot about how exactly Donald Trump became POTUS. We know how corrupt Trump is and how vulnerable to blackmail because of it. Our news media reported it.

Our news media can still save the day. All they have to do is adhere to a few basic principles while seeing themselves as citizen journalists instead of corporate journalists. They might as well since anyone who doesn’t go full corporate, access journalist if Trump “wins” (cheats to win actually — which is not the same thing as actually “winning”) is going to end up in a gulag. Here are a few actions they need to take —

  • Stop Normalizing Everything Trump Does. Mexicans still aren’t rapists (despite the news media’s apparently accepting it) and pussy-grabbing is absolutely not acceptable, no matter how rich you are.
  • Access Journalism is stone cold bullshit. Stop running for the next Judith A Miller ‘It’s All About Access” Award.
  • Listen to Maya Angelou’s wise words: when someone (like Donald Trump) tells you (repeatedly and ad nauseum) who they are? BELIEVE THEM!
  • Whatever you have to do to get it, GET SOME PERSPECTIVE!
  • Words matter. A lie is a lie. Call it what it is, not some euphemism. And trust that your audience is at least as adult as you are. Swear words aren’t nearly as offensive as corruption.
  • Both sides don’t do it. That’s you generalizing — and badly. John Q. Citizen under-reporting his taxes is not the same as Bernie Madoff though both are committing fraud. Proportion and scale matter. So does motive.
  • No one does anything “just because”.
  • When you repeat bullshit without saying it’s bullshit, you validate the bullshit. Once bullshit has credence, it doesn’t give it back.
  • Learn to aggregate. Storytelling builds one scene atop another, each scene (ideally) adding information to the information added in the previous scene. It’s monstrously stupid — and bad storytelling — to keep returning to square one, as if you don’t know the very things you’d already reported on.
  • Recognize your Constitutional obligation. Look, you chose journalism. You choose to pursue it, regardless of the myriad challenges and difficulties. Journalism is the one non-governmental job mentioned in the Constitution — as the final check on governmental power. Tasks don’t get more sacred than that. Take yours seriously FFS!

C’mon News Media — career-minded as you are, you still have souls (religious or otherwise). Most of you got into journalism because you wanted to change things. You wanted to tell truths that stopped villains, rewarded heroes and made the world a better place because of it.

Great! Live that ethos, News Media! Report it. Our ship’s going down with all hands on deck otherwise.

Mind you — we’ll be on deck listening to YOU play us out. Glug, glug, glug…

Oh, What A Tangled Web We Weave When We’re A Corrupt Treason Turtle

I bet Mitch McConnell woke up this morning in his turtle enclosure feeling on top of the world — just like his hero Yertl.

But, just as Yertl ended up in the mud, so too will Mitch and all his grand plans come to nothing. Well, the grand plans weren’t Mitch’s. Mitch McConnell doesn’t do grand plans. He’s a functionary. A politician working for Big Money Interests. The Big Money has the grand plans — an unfair world where they all get richer while the rest of us fall further behind, our debt growing, our health failing. Mitch is their bitch. His job — manifest these terrible grand plans in reality.

That’s why Mitch worked so hard to deny Barack Obama all those federal bench openings. It’s why Mitch denied Obama so much as a hearing for Merrick Garland. Mitch was in the middle of pleasing his masters — of hijacking the judiciary on the sly. Here’s the thing: the popular vote reflects the majority’s voice. Barack Obama was the majority’s voice and choice — to fill every judicial vacancy during his tenure. Our voice and choice was denied us by Mitch McConnell — for the benefit of his masters. That is not hyperbole.

And this is not how our democracy is supposed to work. Not according to the rules or the rule of law.

In addition to destroying the judiciary, Mitch also has destroyed the Senate. Anyone suggesting the Democrats aren’t showing enough comity toward their Republican co-workers needs to shut up. Comity will be reserved for whatever party replaces the Republicans. No one who calls himself “A Republican” can do so without also being a Trumpist. Trumpism & Republicanism are now equal in every way.

Mitch has operated in the shadows for most of his career. He’s about to end his career in the spotlight. That is, his corruption is.

The Democrats are about to retake the Senate. What was a likelihood before is now a dead certainty. RBG’s passing — even without all the additional political baggage — would have moved people to action. It would have motivated tens of millions of women at the very least. Now it’s a question of Legacy. And reproductive rights. And basic health.

What happened in 2018 — that massive blue “wave” — wasn’t a wave. It was the leading edge of a much larger wave. The Trump years have torn every last bit of cover off our various failings. Remember — we didn’t vote for this, this was forced on us. Donald Trump — with massive Russian assistance — stole the outcome of election 2016. Together they stole our intention — what WE wanted this country to do for our benefit and in our name. Their aim is to make that theft permanent.

Their problem: America’s women aren’t down with and aren’t going to be. Ever. That’s Mitch McConnell’s biggest miscalculation of all.

Mitch, when he’s done, will have finished the hard work of turning America’s women into the most potent, dynamic, unstoppable political force in America. He’ll be shocked by how socialist they are by nature. Of course women are more “socialist” — they care above all about their babies and they KNOW from pure experience that it DOES take a “village” to raise a child — of family members and community members and teachers and mentors and coaches and friends. The healthier and happier that village is, the healthier and happier their babies will be.

Women — and I’m generalizing, but biology does impact us in particular ways — think communally — and seek the group’s wisdom before making a decision while men think they alone can fix it. If we look at the current world leaders and how they’ve handled the pandemic, the women — Angela Merkle in Germany, Jacinda Ardern in New Zealand — did especially well in both protecting their people but also protecting their economies.

I’ll go further onto this limb. Merkle and Ardern’s success relative to Trump’s stems in large part from their political and personal strengths and skills but also, to a measurable degree, from their chromosomes. They have a little more empathy baked into their genetics. That radiates in the form of humanity — and then policy.

America truly stands on the precipice. We will go one way or the other. There’s no middle route.

Either Mitch McConnell will see the rot he introduced succeed or Mitch will fail spectacularly with dire, terrible consequences for every single Republican legislator who had the least inkling what Mitch was up to. Keep in mind — Mitch is a traitor. That’s not hyperbole either. He’s taken gobs of Russian money into his campaign coffers (though legally via his PAC but not-so-legally with added perspective), denied We The People the knowledge that Russia was fixing the 2016 election for Trump, canned the sanctions Obama implemented BECAUSE of that election interference and TO THIS DAY has refused to spend a penny on election security.

Mitch McConnell is one of the biggest traitors in all American history. And THAT isn’t hyperbole.

Like Yertl, Mitch will end badly. Mud will seem like caviar to Mitch. Russian caviar.

It’s important — vitally important — that we not only punish Mitch McConnell for what he’s done but that we punish him to the very fullest extent the rule of law allows. We need to make an example out of Mitch for all time. We need to send the lesson that, perhaps, would have been sent had we punished Richard Nixon instead of pardoning him — abuse of power (especially at the executive level) is wholly unacceptable.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, listens during a news conference after a weekly GOP luncheon meeting at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, July 11, 2017. McConnell said he’s delaying the Senate’s August recess by two weeks after divided lawmakers have been unable to agree on how to revise health-care legislation he proposed to replace Obamacare. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Mitch is already the architect of his own downfall. We owe it to Mitch to see those plans carried out all the way.

Just So We’re Clear — America Doesn’t HAVE TO Go Along With What A Bunch Of Treasonous Thieves Want Us To Do

By “Treasonous Thieves”, of course, I mean Republicans. Republicans are treasonous — because they conspired with Russia to undermine the integrity of an American election — a thing Russia was doing as an act of Cyber War.

Cyber War is war. Undeclared war is war. Undeclared Cyber War is no different from sitting in Pearl Harbor the moments before the Japanese fleet arrives to surprise attack us. Just because we don’t know war has started doesn’t mean it hasn’t started. Quick note to selves: it always sucks to be the last to know you’re at war.

Thieves. Republicans are also thieves. Treason was the tool they used to steal the true 2016 election result from We The People. It wasn’t just Hillary Clinton who got cheated of the result she won, We The People got cheated too. We got cheated of the policies Clinton would have executed that would have been the diametric opposite of what Trump has done. We got cheated of hundreds of lifetime judicial appointments — reflecting OUR values. That’s THE MAJORITY’S values, not the values of the shrinking white, Christian male minority.

Being the survivor of two sexual assaults when I was 14, I’m kinda hyper sensitive to rapey behavior. I’ve come to realize — now that I’ve put what happened to me into its proper perspective — that rapey people are rapey in everything they do. It’s subtle sometimes, not-very-subtle otherwise. Yet we either look past it or, strangely, don’t recognize it for what it is. Donald Trump, for example, behaves like a rapist in literally everything he does. Everything is about exerting his will upon others. That’s how rapists think and operate.

Well, we don’t have to go along with it. In my mind’s eye, I now turn on the man who sexually assaulted me. I put two hands firmly in his chest and I shove him backwards. I explain to him — simply, directly — that will not be happening. I will not be his victim.

Had I been empowered then, I would not have put up with his shit. Well, I am empowered now — and I’m not putting up with Donald Trump’s shit.

You cannot violate the rule of law to become president. You can’t violate the rule of law to become or do anything. I know: Trump and the republicans don’t give a shit about the rule of law. Doesn’t matter. And it’s beside the point.

WE care about the rule of law. It’s important that we recognize it has always been in effect. That fact’s going to be important for what comes next.

Not only do we NOT have to accept what Donald Trump and the GOP are doing to us now, we don’t have to accept what they did to us in the past. Meaning: we don’t have to accept its legitimacy. We don’t have to accept the intended outcome — because that outcome was achieved ILLEGALLY. See how that works?

We The People did not make Trump president. Russia did. Russia and a criminal Republican cabal that was operating well outside the rule of law.

As we just learned — Rod Rosenstein personally kept We The People from INVESTIGATING what Donald Trump had done to become POTUS. You can’t get much more outside the rule of law than that. First you violate the rule of law, then you do everything you can from preventing us from learning that you violated the rule of law. And all at the service of a hostile foreign power.

Wow. Just wow.

I have no intention of going along with this. You?

Helsinki, July 16, 2018 — Trump sides with Russia over the FBI on the subject of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The Sins Of The Father

I’m only about halfway through Mary Trump’s fascinating analysis of her stunningly dysfunctional family. She pulls no punches: if her uncle Donald Trump wins a second term, she writes, “It would be the end of American democracy”.

I absolutely believe her. Not only does Mary Trump bring an insider’s knowledge of the Trump family, she bring a trained clinical psychologist’s eye to the subject too. And it doesn’t hurt that she’s a good writer, too, with a good eye for telling detail.

In her preface, Ms. Trump quotes a line from the 1984 movie version of Frankenstein which hewed more closely to Mary Shelley’s original. The Monster is filled with both passion and rage. If he cannot be loved to his liking, he’ll make up the difference in rage. That’s Donald Trump, says his niece. But the monster does not make itself. Someone else does that. In Trump’s case, it was his father Fred who truly birthed this bloated orange beast.

Imagine — America is teetering on the brink of catastrophe because Fred Trump was a shitty father. But that seems to be the case. Fred Trump’s terrible parenting skills — which went along with his greed, ignorance, lack of empathy, corruption, racism and cruelty — created the monster that is Donald Trump.

This is not to apologize for Donald Trump, but to explain why he is how he is. Our news media keeps asking the same dunderheaded question: WHY does Donald Trump behave this way. They seem to think it’s just how he “is”. But no one just “is”. We’re all a product of forces mostly beyond our control. Especially while in childhood.

It’s incumbent on us to punish Donald Trump to the fullest extent the law allows — and for EVERYTHING he’s done that violates the law. Same goes for everyone in Trump’s family. They’re all co-conspirators (in addition to being members of a crime family). The entire GOP are also co-conspirators — how can they not be? These pirates aren’t hewing to Trump entirely out of brand loyalty. They’re hewing to Trump because they’re guilty of all the same crimes and face the exact same legal jeopardy.

The majority of us did not vote for Donald Trump. We definitely didn’t vote for Fred Trump — yet that’s who we’re really dealing with here. The sins of the father have been visited upon us.