Everyone Has Their Point Of View But Not Every Point Of View “Has A Point”

Does a raging, racist a-hole have a point? We know they have a point of view; they’re happy as hell braying it. But do these guys have a point to make? Do they? Is their racist, ignorant point really one we should take seriously?

Consider the professional criminal. He knows what he’s doing is completely against the law yet breaks the law anyway. The possibility of punishment is just part of the cost of doing criminal business. As the professional criminal — let’s say he’s a car thief with his eyes on your car — deliberately commits a crime (stealing your car) — he has a point of view in this scenario. So do you — now, a car thief’s victim. But the only point the car thief is making here is that your possession can be his. It’s a bully’s way of thinking. Your point of view is a crime victim’s. From the rule of law’s point of view, a wrong has been done you. The rule of law then has a “good point” to make here. Justice must be done. You, the crime victim, also have a “good point”. The injustice was done to you and that injustice needs to be fixed in whatever way we can. As for the perp? He’s the odd man out. The only one here who’s “point” was “bad”. In a court of law? His point describes a criminal.

That’s why criminals never argue the truth — the actual “why they did what they did” because that would equal a confession: “I wanted what wasn’t mine and so I took it.” That is, in fact, a thief’s point. Not their point of view, their point. The core “why” of why they did what they did.

How the hell did we get to a place where any point of view — regardless of how bad (meaning counter productive, incorrect or just plain illegal) — can be held up as being equally valid as a good point of view? The answer’s the same as why our news media used to present climate science and climate denial as equally valid points. Our news media all did that but no one did it with less self awareness and more counter productivity than our TV news media. At some point, when this is far enough in our rearview mirror that democracy can breathe a little more easily, we will have to give the news media its report card. A few will have passed the course with honors. But only a few. The overwhelming majority of American journalists failed America completely because they drank the “both sides do it” Kool Aid.

“Both sides do it” insists that journalists be completely “neutral”. It’s not for them to judge anything. If the person in front of them is a cannibal, it’s not for the “both sides do it” journalist to judge the cannibal for being a cannibal or cannibalism in general since, if that’s the cannibal’s thing, it must be valid because every point of view is “valid”. The eater’s point of view has the same “weight” as the to-be-eaten’s. The cannibal’s point is as valid as his dinner’s. In a world where cannibalism was accepted, I guess that would mean something. But, we don’t feel that way about cannibalism. It may have a point of view but we refuse to, um, swallow it.

The press is quite clear on what the Republican Party are doing to America. Between the breaking news (that’s always breaking) and the talking heads with their hair very much on fire, the point gets made over and over again: the Republicans are no longer interested in democracy because democracy is no longer interested in them or their ideas. The Republicans have a political problem on their hands that the Democrats don’t. Having become almost exclusively a white grievance party, the Republican agenda is focused on retaining power that a rapidly diversifying America is actively voting away from them. E Pluribus Unum (Out of many, one) is not a political cause, it’s a cultural safe space. It is the real promise of “All men are created equal” (so long as we understand that “all men” means literally “everyone”).

“Both sides do it” journalism insists that since Republicans do everything for political reasons, Democrats must therefore do everything for political reasons, too. So, when a Republican suppresses a Democratic voter’s ability to vote, the thinking goes, both the vote suppressing Republican and the suppressed Democratic voter are BOTH behaving politically. That is utter bullshit. The Republican is openly violating the Democrat’s Constitutional right to vote. They’re committing a literal crime albeit for a political purpose. It’s a crime all the same.

The Democrat here is NOT behaving politically regardless of what “both sides do it:” journalism says. Just like the car thief’s victim isn’t behaving like a criminal when they go to the police, neither is the suppressed democratic voter acting politically when they report the crime being committed against them. But, because our news media assumes both sides do everything for the very same reasons, they fail to see the Republicans’ actions as criminal (since, perversely, the Democrats’ reaction isn’t!) In this instance, they’re flipping “both sides do it” back onto itself. If the Democrats aren’t criminals then neither are the Republicans.

Stone cold fact: not every point of view has a point. Let’s tweak that to “not every point of view has a VALID point”. And, when our news media — towing the “both sides do it” line — gives validity and credence to points of view undeserving of that validity, they empower bullshit and give bullshit the very real potential to completely overwhelm Truth. That’s how you get a Nazi Germany. A North Korea. A Vladimir Putin.

A Donald Trump and the entire Republican Party.

Why Does Our News Media Insist On Equating Bullsh*t With Truth?

Some day, when the worst of Trumpism is behind us and American democracy is no longer under threat (or even duress), we owe it to ourselves to take a good, long, hard look at how our news media performed during this patch of time. Now, in their defense, America really hasn’t faced circumstances quite like the hand we’ve drawn here. On top of a Russian cyber war that put Trump in the White House in 2016, we’ve had a violent right wing surge across the planet that’s deliberately set out to wipe liberal democracy from the planet, massive climate change that’s already creating climate refugees, a violent, right wing near-putsch of our own and, last but hardly least, a worldwide pandemic. That’s a lot of news story for even a great journalist to wrap their mind around. Alas, our news media has not met the challenge head on. They’ve blinked — still are blinking like Chuck Todd signaling “I’m thinking!” to his audience — and resorted to old tropes instead looking at the events happening in front of them.

We owe it to ourselves to find that journalism professor at whatever J School it was who first proposed that “both sides do it”. We owe that academic a giant heap of scorn. I assume “Both sides do it” originated in academia among academics who couldn’t get hired as journalists themselves and so took to telling others “how to do” something. There’s an old comedy line (I refuse to source who said it because Woody Allen’s dead to me otherwise): “those who can’t do, teach and those who can’t teach, teach gym”. These journalism professors can’t even teach gym. Unfortunately they’ve taught a generation of journalists how to be cynical instead of skeptical and how to equate bullshit with the Truth.

After a reporter has reported that a certain person — a POTUS, say — lied to their face thousands of times, said reporter is entitled to characterize this liar as “a liar”. Actually, that reporter was entitled to describe the liar that way after just ONE lie. The reporter would have been reporting the truth. To NOT call them a liar then is to NOT report the truth. Now, why on earth would a journalist think that way? I suspect racism plays a large part here. Many white reporters are loathe to call out white people for bad behavior because we’ve already moved the goal posts where white bad behavior is concerned. If Kyle Rittenhouse was Black not white, he’d have never gotten to trial for killing two, wounding a third and nearly hurting lots of others with his semi-automatic weapon. He’d be dead already, shot down by the other white guys who were there that night with their guns, or the cops.

“Both sides do it” is fatally flawed walking in the door. It dispenses with all proportionality. A Republican who steals a million from the public kitty is the same as a Democrat who purloins a box of paper clips. Yes, both are thefts from the commonweal. No, they are not even remotely “the same”. But, our news media will hold up this fact as prima facie evidence that “both sides do it”. Therefore when Republicans do something — gerrymander, say — the automatic response is “both sides do it”. And yes — in the past, Democrats have gerrymandered Congressional districts. But they haven’t done it with the organization and purpose with which the GOP now is doing it. The Republicans clearly stated goal is to circumvent the will of any place’s Democratic majority by carving them into pieces and then attaching each piece to some far-flung Republican stronghold that will outnumber them. The whole reason to do this is to circumvent the majority’s will for the minority’s sole benefit.

Democrats do not do that. And Democrats don’t suppress Republican voters either. They don’t have to! Democrats can rely on the strength of their ideas to sway independent voters.

And Democrats aren’t working overtime to undermine every other democratic institution either. Have ya noticed the number of ex-Republicans disgusted by their party we now have versus the number of ex-Democrats with the same complaint? Do ya suppose that means something noteworthy? Our news media doesn’t. They think all the ex-Republicans in their ranks and amongst their punditry — all vocally outraged by what their former party is doing — are a sign of politics as usual. The news media seems to think it’s “normal” that one party backs anti-vaxism and gets violent if you ask them to put on a mask in a public space.

Republicans have become the “Feelings Over Facts” Party because facts are not their friend. Because they insist “both sides do it”, our news media immediately equates any Republican’s feelings with any Democrat’s facts. How a Republican “feels” about being vaccinated suddenly has equal weight to every fact a Democrat will put on the table about the very same thing. Nothing good can come from that. And nothing good has.

The Takeaway From Tuesday’s Election Should Be: In American Politics, Nothing Succeeds Quite Like Racism

Our news media still thinks it’s “journalism” to ask a racist if he thinks he’s a racist. It’s one of those stupid questions that’s so stupid, it’s shocking that anyone older than five would ask it. It’s like asking Hitler if he’s an anti-Semite. Really? You have to ask? And, what if Hitler denied being one? Would we take his word? “Hey, if the guy says he loves Jews — but in a “tough love” kinda way — who are we to question how he shows his love?” This is the view from inside the rabbit hole. Is an alcoholic in deep denial of his alcoholism really the best person to ask if he’s an alcoholic? Of course not! Racists are even more likely to pooh-pooh their racism as “normal behavior”. It’s the fact that we’ve normalized so much racism already that’s brought us to this precipice. And by “normalize”, I mean “accept”. We have accepted racism as a given because we think it’s up to the racist to decide whether or not they’re racist.

This is insanity!

Racism, like beauty, is entirely in the eye of the beholder. Where racism is concerned, it’s up to the racist’s victims to adjudge whether anything racist, bigoted, misogynistic or hateful has been directed at them. Only they have the proper perspective. But, America hasn’t figured that out yet. At least, our news media hasn’t…

Our news media — high again on “both sides do it” — saw the results through the lens they always see it through: as a rebuke of Progressive politics when the only vaguely progressive concept on the table was an initiative in Minneapolis to change their police department into a public safety office (which lost — a whole other conversation). The news media jumped on the Democrats for being oblivious of “kitchen table” or “water cooler” issues when the legislation they’re fighting for — the Progressives more than anyone — is all literally that: kitchen table legislation that polls incredibly well. “Gone too far left!” “centrist” Koch whores like Joe Manchin want to deny their own constituents the benefits of their tax dollars that they have said they want. The Democrats aren’t being hamstrung in these negotiations by the Progressives, they’re being hamstrung by two corrupt centrists negotiating on behalf of corruption!

Ah, but our news media is as oblivious of corruption as they are of racism. For months now, the news media focused on the bottom line number while the Progressives tried to explain WHY that number needed to be as large as possible because the goal was to level the playing field for ALL Americans. But, our news media doesn’t “do” nuance — which is why they never reported on it and reported on the “horse race” aspect — the number — instead. And, because THEY focused on the number, they accused the Democrats of focusing on the number — which FORCED the Democrats to focus on the number instead of the great things they wanted to talk about.

Meanwhile, the Republicans have been hard at work taking a sledge hammer to our democracy in plain sight. Most of the GOP now says out loud that they believe Joe Biden stole the election from Donald Trump. Get it? While the Democrats have been trying to craft legislation that will do what Americans say they want done, two centrists (representing WHO exactly in this negotiation since it isn’t their actual constituents) have stood in the way, refusing to articulate an actual position not connected to “a number”. Joe Manchin’s entire stance has been “well, that number’s too big!”, an argument he didn’t present when the Republicans were in power and robbing the American taxpayer in broad daylight. All while committing sedition, insurrection and treason to boot.

Our news media KNOWS what it means when a Republican throws down “critical race theory”. It’s not taught beneath upper level college and graduate school. When Glenn Youngkin made CRT and Toni Morrison an issue in Virginia, it wasn’t because he gives a rat’s ass about anyone’s education. In fact, what Youngkin’s after is the diametric opposite of education, enforced ignorance. This is white people in America refusing to look our collective history — including theirs — square in the face because it won’t be a pleasant experience for them. Contrition never is easy but then, that’s why contrition’s so important.

If the irony wasn’t so deadly, it’d be hilarious.

The Republican Party really has become like The Worst Bond Villain Ever. While Bloefeld had world domination in his sights, the GOP has permanent minority rule. While SMERSH has an army of people loyal to them (I’m guessing) because of a decent enough paycheck to make them overlook all the compromises they’ve made working for an uber villain, Republicans have race zombies whose brains have been rotted by dreams of white supremacy. There’s no killing them because there’s no killing the thing that drives them. As I’ve said here repeatedly, America is a great idea as yet unrealized. The flaw sits right there inside “All men are created equal”. The white, European, Christian, land-owning men who wrote or stood by “All men are created equal” didn’t mean “all men”. They only meant men exactly like them. But they did mean ONLY men. That kinda takes a huge, steaming dump on the whole experiment in human self government when only some of the governed are allowed to do the governing.

To their credit, the founders DID get it right when they put “E Pluribus Unum” on the great seal. Out of many one — diversity, in other words — has always been what makes America exceptional, not “some men are created more equal than other men”. The Republican Party, in Reaganism’s wake, saw demographic annihilation coming at them faster than they expected. Democracy itself was their problem! That’s what “originalism” is meant to counter: it doesn’t matter what current day America is, it only matters what 1780 America was like — in every single way right down to how they thought regardless of how wrong it was. If the founders were racists then racism should be baked into the rules — that’s originalism.

Glenn Youngkin’s win was evidence of the GOP adjusting their marketing on the fly. They know Trump is toxic to the one group of Americans they can still pull back into their tent — suburban white people (women especially) who want to do the right thing as a community but feel tribalism’s tug more distinctly. Rebranding racism as “concern for how we educate our children” is clever but obvious. At least, it should be obvious. But, our news media punches the clock everyday and then insists “both sides do it”. They insist on being neutral because they think neutrality at all costs is “fair”. The problem is who it’s being fair to.

If you learn that someone is a criminal but refuse to report on them as a criminal, you are mis-reporting the truth. Our news media reported Donald Trump’s criminal behavior constantly over the course of his 2016 candidacy: “Hey, Russia, if you’re listening…!” was a criminal act — literally. Just because we refused to prosecute it as such doesn’t mean it wasn’t a criminal act. Put it into the context of everything that follows —

— and suddenly this photo plus a back channel communication system between Trump Tower, Russian-owned Alpha Bank and the Kremlin doesn’t look quite so… well it wasn’t innocent to begin with. We’re already deep, DEEP into treason! And, just to remind ourselves: when the GOP nominated Trump to be their candidate in 2016, they did it KNOWING that Trump was compromised by a country at cyber war with us. Or, as current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy put it as he entered a room filled with GOP leaders: “There’s two people I think Putin pays — Rohrbacher and Trump — swear to God!”

The reason Donald Trump needs to be POTUS again isn’t because he loves the job. Oh, yeah, sure — he loves the power. Because of what the power will let him do: avoid getting prosecuted and punished for betraying America.

Those are the stakes now. That’s what the national GOP is after — using the rule of law and the Constitution to subvert the rule of law and the Constitution in order to shove permanent minority rule down our throats while they point at how they did it legally. Well, it ain’t legal and never was. In order to get the ship (of state) headed the way they needed it to head, first the Republican Party committed TREASON. But for Russia, Trump never becomes POTUS. Truly — take Russia entirely out of the Trump/GOP equation and Hillary Clinton beats whatever racist ape the Republicans toss onto the fire.

Oh, make no mistake — Mitch McConnell and the rest of his racist pals would have done everything possible to shove a broomstick into democracy’s spokes. But, they wouldn’t have been able to do it with Vlad Putin at their backs, kompromat in his pocket. Want to know why the GOP was and remains so loyal to Donald Trump? Yeah, yeah — his base counts for something. But it’s the threat of being tried for treason that really sits center stage. The thought of life imprisonment — or capital punishment (it’s still on the table as a punishment for treason) — that is what terrifies every single Republican. And if it doesn’t, it will.

Our news media still thinks Republicans are honest actors. They still think a Republican unable to articulate what “critical race theory” even is represents a reasonable point of view. Would they feel the same way if the ignorance spewing from the ignorant destroyed all their rights? Wouldn’t they kinda want to jump on that because — neutrality be damned — they know from personal experience that the person they’re interviewing is a liar and a dangerous liar at that?

Of course they would cos “skin in the game”. The news media’s failure isn’t one of politics (though politics play a part), it’s one of craft. They failed the craft of journalism and, in turn, American journalism failed America.

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is exactly how corruption gets normalized.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Donald Trump Committing Treason On The Hoof And In Real Time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Every Time A Journalist Fails To Call “Corruption” What It Is, They Normalize Corruption A Little Bit More

Donald Trump Alleges Corruption in the GOP as the Desperate Fight for  Delegates Heats Up Video - ABC News

Here’s a question for every single American journalist — or journalist who’s working the American beat: how much corruption does it take for you to witness personally before you will call that thing “corrupt” professionally? Maybe I’m asking the wrong question… Do American journalists even recognize corruption as corruption anymore? That’s a terrifying thought — that America has already sunk to such a state of banana republicanism that we don’t even see corruption because corruption is everywhere we look because we made corruption “just how it is”. That is kinda how it is right now. The Republican Party no longer even pretends not to be corrupt. I refuse to scratch my head in bewilderment as Republicans push through voter restrictions in the face of an election that passed every corruption smell test. The Republicans aren’t reacting to how Trump lost, they’re reacting to the fact THAT Trump lost. Reporters remark on this fact every day and yet, they never seem to build that fact into the narrative they’re reporting.

Reporters also report endlessly how the GOP has willfully become a white, Christian, male-dominated grievance party. Republicans don’t have a problem with the fact that this is what they’ve become. They love who and what they are now. They’re unashamed and liberated. They spew demonstrable lies about literally everything including the coronavirus. Hell, our news media has even reported on treason at the GOP’s leadership level and not followed up their own story! If Republicans honestly thought “There’s two people Putin pays — Rohrbacher and Trump — swear to God!” on June 25, 2016 (a month before nominating Trump to be their presidential candidate), then why on earth did they go and nominate a man they agreed out loud was guilty of not just corruption but treasonous corruption?

Donald Trump provingwhat Kevin McCarthy said of him “Putin pays Trump”.

The problem: the news media — the one group that can “J’accuse!” the GOP of every bit of its corruption (it’s the press’s Constitutionally mandated job FFS!) — sees GOP corruption as “political” rather than what it is, criminal. “Both sides do it” brand journalism insists that everyone does the exact same things for the exact same reasons. Everyone wants power for power’s sake. Everyone lies. Everyone is either corrupt or equally corrupt. No one is thinking about the commonweal or the very real people with very real problems that democracy and self-government is supposed to service. This assessment of American politics simply is not true. But, once a journalist goes to this cynical place and takes up cynicism’s cause, journalism itself becomes useless.

Despite what Donald Trump said on the very day he launched his bid to be president in 2015, Mexicans are not rapists and it’s not okay to grab women by the pussy just because you’re rich. Despite what Trump says now, the 2020 election was not stolen from him. Despite what Trump insisted, “But her emails” was bullshit. That our news media followed Trump to this corrupt place was our news media first giving credence to Trumpian corruption and then normalizing it. “But her emails” changed how some voters voted. “But her emails” — by design — caused some voters to throw up their hands and not vote. Cheating Americans out of their true electoral choice in order to seize power illegitimately — what could possibly be more corrupt?

Every single voter or voting restriction legislation just passed by every Republican-run state government is an act of anti-democratic criminality. If you attempt to deprive any American voter of their right to vote or of having their vote counted, you are violating their rights and that is a federal crime! There are no built in “gradations”, no “you get to violate someone’s rights “x” number of times before we tell you to stop”. That’s because no American’s right to vote is any less valid or important than any other American’s right to vote. Violate just ONE American’s right to vote and you’ve crossed a line in the sand that demands the rule of law prosecute you.

When the news media bleeps Trump’s language, they’re insulting their NEWS audience. They’re deciding that certain truths — language, for instance — are too much for their delicate audience’s sensitivities. The fact that what the Republicans are doing is monstrously obscene, far more obscene than any one word could be, doesn’t matter. When our news media calls a traitor and a criminal an honest actor or “the former guy”, they’re mis-labling the truth. They’re giving credence to bullshit. Worse, they’re giving credence to criminality and normalizing it as part of our political process.

Nothing good can come of this.

We need our news media to put on its big boy and girl pants. We need them to report every politician’s words for what they are, not the bullshit kabuki they’re trying to sell it as. A news media that can’t do that is hopelessly corrupt.

The Terrible Truth Is: Donald Trump Knows Us Better Than We Know Ourselves

Let me be clear first: with one profound exception, Donald J Trump doesn’t “know” anything! His bloated, orange treason-head is utterly devoid of coherent thought beyond how to keep filling his greedy maw. All that cobwebby space between Trump’s ears and beneath that awful haircut is filled nearly to bursting with one piece of absolute certainty. Donald Trump knows who he is. He knows what he is and he loves that entity and knows how to sell it. And he knows that most of the rest of us — love him or hate him — will buy it. Though it pains me to say, the terrible truth is Trump is a better storyteller than I’ll ever be. I’ll certainly never have his audience. Trump has made the American news media his perpetual bitch and used them — he’s still using them — to tell a story that simply isn’t true. About Trump. About us. But, he knows because his own life proves it, the more he repeats his lies, the more they’ll become “the truth”. Whole religions have risen because demonstrable unreality replaced reality. You’ve got to have done some pretty effective storytelling to get hundreds of people not only to drink your Kool-Aid but feed it to their kids. That’s exactly what Trump is doing.

And we are going right along with him though we don’t have to.

Trump’s a bully. So’s Vladimir Putin (though Putin’s the bigger bully by far). The lessons learned on the schoolyard never get disproven. Bullies, if unchecked, run a sick, twisted show the rest of us have to perform in. Even if a bully’s actions don’t directly touch us, still, their impact on the schoolyard will ripple and those ripples will touch us eventually and then repeatedly. Around us,, some people cower because they naturally play beta to the bully’s alpha. But, others cower not so much at the bully’s power, but at the bully’s effect on the schoolyard. They buy into the bully’s power over the bullied and cynically begin to believe that’s just how it is. The bully will win because (they now see) bullies always win.

Except that’s not true. Most bullies, in the end, lose. In time, another bully rises up and kills them. That’s the tingle at the back of every bully’s neck that never goes away. It’s Tony Soprano always having to wonder if one of his fellow diners in the restaurant he’s eating in plans to bust a cap in his head before he’s finished his pasta. Bullies know that there’s always another bully out there, gunning for them. They know that though most of us will cower, some of us will come for them instead. They may not know us intimately, but they do know how we’ll react to them. They calculate their storytelling accordingly.

Putin’s a spy by training. Spycraft, by its nature, is all about storytelling. Sometimes to explain the truth and sometimes to make the truth unknowable. It all depends on what the spy needs to accomplish. The Hitlers of the world know how deeply tribal hate runs inside most of us; it certainly runs deep inside of them. Being mostly lizard brain themselves they grasp how easy it is to trigger other lizard brains emotionally and then to action. It’s all about fear. Authoritarians and fascists tell and sell “fear stories” to the fearful. They understand that, regardless of their own complicity in their problems, the fearful are much happier blaming their misery on “the other”. Self analysis is hard even for those willing to do it. For those unwilling to do that hard work? They’ve walked into the marketplace of hateful bullshit with their credit card in hand and no limit on the card.

The Trump’s of the world see the rubes coming. Whatever their grievances are — justified or unjustified — Trump plays to them. Magnifies them and turns them into “a cause”. And then he turns to the news media and sells them a story, too — that what he’s doing, ugly as it is, is legit. That’s how things like “Mexicans are rapists” and “pussy grabbing” get normalized and legitimized. Things presidential contenders could NEVER say out loud and get away with — well, now they CAN say those things out loud — and get away with them. They know that we’ll buy “But, her emails!” too — because we’ll buy everything! And we’ll equate “But her emails” with “Mexicans are rapists” and “pussy grabbing”, thus equating Trump’s very real racism and rape mentality with entirely unreal obfuscation.

Hey, “both sides do it, right?”

Despite the fact that the MAJORITY of Americans don’t want what Donald Trump or the GOP want (we voted against it FFS!), America teeters on the precipice of authoritarianism. How is that even possible?

Simple: because Trump knows us better than we know ourselves.

Despite the fact that the majority of Americans want what Joe Biden wants, want what’s in his Build Back Better package, our news media has us convinced that we might not get those things anyway because the Democrats can’t get their shit together. That’s a piece of storytelling all by itself. The MAJORITY of the Democratic caucus supports what Biden and the Progressive wing wants to do — because their constituents want it too. Ask Joe Manchin’s actual constituents policy by policy if they want what Joe Manchin is negotiating away. Then ask — since he’s not doing it for the voters in West Virginia, on whose behalf IS he negotiating? Then ask if we were talking about a shootin’ war somewhere versus a “war on poverty in America” would we even be having this conversation? We wouldn’t. Regardless of its rightness or wrongness, we always have money for war and never a question of “how’re we gonna pay for this?”

That’s Republican storytelling working its dark magic.

But, here’s where their storytelling magic and its debilitating effect on us suddenly runs out. What Trump and the GOP are counting on — America going along with their criminal hijacking of our democracy (that their version of our story is THE story) — won’t work because it counts on a character detail that simply isn’t present in America’s story. Homorgenous cultures like Germany’s circa 1900 (or any of the European nations and their cultures) were the product of at least a thousand years of different tribes from the same place slowly forging into (in Germany’s case) one German-identifying “nation”. Hitler rose to power despite the majority of Germans hating him (hell,, Hitler was Austrian, not German!). In part, Hitler succeeded through sheer schoolyard bullying. But, in much larger part, Hitler succeeded because he understood the schoolyard and understood how to play the schoolyard’s commonality — nationality — to his advantage. The German tribe was quite large at that point — and very, very “German” even if their passport wasn’t.

Down deep, even the “Good Germans” felt more German than good.

Nationality is key to “national socialism”. America’s sense of “nationality” is entirely different from Nazi Germany’s. Oh, yeah, sure — a third of Americans DO see nationality the way the most fascist Germans did. But they’re only a third — and that’s at best. Feeling white superiority is one thing. Acting upon it is something else entirely. The bottom line on bullies is they’re cowards. If they don’t trust the group will be there to hold their victim down so they can beat that victim? They’re keeping their hands in their pockets. White supremacists know down deep that they and everyone like them are cowards. If they had an ounce of real confidence, they wouldn’t worry about being replaced. They’d go out and compete like big boys and girls.

Should America stumble into its worst case scenario — and the Trumpist Party (that’s who and what the Republicans are now and will be forevermore) literally seizes power (by whatever means which is exactly how they’ll accomplish it) — their moment of triumph will evaporate right before their eyes because they won’t get the willing compliance of a “nation with a common history”. Those white nationalist tribalists will, instead, find staring back at them (and not up at them) the faces of every other tribe — all the ones they shat on, enslaved, denied rights to, abused or thought could never, ever challenge them for supremacy. Not a one of those faces will be compliant.

Or going along to get along because they all know where that leads.

If there is to be a Second American Civil War, it won’t go the way the people who want that war to happen think it will. Witness the number of Americans who won’t go back to work because, frankly, who wants to be a slave? That’s what the corrupt, right wing money has done to our economy — turned most of us into economic slaves, chained to a system we can’t escape and so we go along to get along. Or, at least, we used to.

The Second Civil War won’t be fought with guns. Oh, the right wing will fight that way. They’ll use violence because violence is literally all they have. But, arrayed against them will be the intellectual might of E Pluribus Unum. America’s diversity is what makes it truly exceptional. And America’s diversity will not kowtow to racism, bigotry, misogyny or treason. America’s diverse citizens believe wholeheartedly in America even if those who think they’re “more American” don’t. The many tribes that make up “America” will stand against (and will defeat) the one tribe that stands with Donald Trump.

Okay… I was wrong. Donald Trump does NOT know us better than we know ourselves. Trump’s fatal flaw is what I thought his strength was — he knows himself. He knows only himself and, because he’s counting on “himself” to be there at the moment of truth, he’ll fail.

And that’s because he doesn’t know us. He has no idea who we are and doesn’t care. Same goes for everyone who still puts that “R” next to their names (important life hack, Republicans: if you stand with a monster — even though it’s just because that’s where the money is — YOU are a monster). None of them know or appreciate yet who we are and why we will NEVER let them get away with this. Neither the villains of the piece nor our professional storytellers (the news media) get who we are or what that means about our reactions.

Let’s please, please, PLEASE keep reminding ourselves that WE do.

How To Argue With A Republican

Step One: Don’t. That is, don’t argue with a Republican on their terms. That’s because Republicans don’t really have terms. They’re hell bent on winning all arguments purely for winning’s sake and it doesn’t matter how they win. That means if you enter an argument with a Republican thinking there are some kind of “rules”, then you’ve already lost the argument. Rules, as any Republican will tell you, are for losers and Democrats. What applies to arguments also applies to elections. So long as a “W” results, it doesn’t matter how you got it. If cheating is as good as not cheating (and cheating is easier), why NOT cheat? And, since the cheating almost never gets punished, it makes zero sense not to at least include cheating in your campaign strategy whether that cheating is accomplished by gerrymandering, voter suppression or outright treason. This nihilism is the baseline for every Republican argument. It is their rabbit hole — and to argue with any Republican is to find yourself plunging down their rabbit hole.

That’s why step one is “don’t”. Don’t follow any Republican down their bullshit rabbit hole. Force them either to step outside the rabbit hole to argue or to argue from inside the rabbit hole while you argue from reality. Republicans tire quickly of arguing with themselves. That’s why they prefer it if Democrats did that. Republicans forced into reality quickly realize the difference between their bullshit world and the real world. Take the January 6 insurrectionist foot soldiers — the ones who stormed the Capitol building at the behest of the Republicans in power. They were all full of themselves while committing their crimes. They screamed and shouted how proud they were. They even took pictures of themselves doing it — like they expected these videos to make their futures.

They’re getting their wish — just not how they intended. Suddenly, these “patriots” find themselves in legal peril with no one rushing to help pay the legal bills. And those bills are a bitch because billable hours to defend oneself against federal charges add up quickly. That’s a big reason so many of the little fish pled out. They got that even trying to defend themselves would bankrupt their families. Hey, even a traitor’s most vulnerable organ is their wallet (since they have no soul or heart and, clearly, no life to give for their country). At some point — soon — the January 6 investigation will formally pierce the veil of Congressional involvement in the insurrection. Actual members of Congress and their staffs will be caught out helping to PLAN the insurrection and to co-conspire with the foot soldiers — giving them guided tours in the days ahead of the insurrection as part of the crime’s planning.

It is absurd that we, as a nation, continue to call crimes committed in the clear light of day “political” when they’re criminal as hell. It doesn’t matter that they were committed FOR a political purpose. I could rob a bank for political reasons. I’ve still robbed a bank! What the GOP is doing — directly attacking our democracy — isn’t them asserting a problematic political position. It’s them committing a crime. If you attempt to deprive an American of their rights, you are committing a crime — and that is the whole point of the exercise. The Republicans have said so — out loud. It’s about time we took them at their word and at their deed.

So — Step Two: having refused to step inside the Republican’s rabbit hole, hoist them on the petard of their own words. In fact, bury them in their words. Make them explain their words — every nuance of them. Demand the motives behind “There’s two people I think Putin pays — Rohrbacher and Trump — swear to God!” and refuse to accept “I was joking”. Schoolyard bullies and their friends have no sense of humor. That’s a fact. People with no sense of humor can’t laugh at themselves — that’s the tell. Think: Donald Trump. It’s obscene that GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy was recorded speaking those words (on June 25,, 2016) as he entered a meeting of GOP leaders and yet, to this day, has never been questioned about them by any member of the press other than the one time where Kevin said “I was kidding!” Kevin McCarthy needs to be put under oath and Benghazi’d. So does every Republican.

Step Three: demand receipts or the argument ends right there. “Back it up or it’s bullshit” is how I’d put it. Imagine if every time, while Trump was president, instead of going along with Trump’s version of things, the White House Press Corps had, instead, stiffened its back and said “Back that up or it’s bullshit” then stood its ground. Now, sure, Trump’s first reaction would have been to explosively toss every offending journalist. But Trump’s a raging narcissist. He aches to be loved especially by those whose love he can never have. He craves their respect especially. Also worth noting: Trump’s a horrible negotiator. He keeps giving away that the only thing in his hand is his mushroom dick.

Imagine if every time Mitch McConnell got up on his treason turtle hind legs and began spewing, some reporter, shaking his head said directly: “Back that up, Senator, or we will understand it to be bullshit”. Imagine if every time Ron DeSantis or Gregg Abbott or Rudy Giuliani or Mark Meadows or Mike Pence or any Republican had to bring receipts to every conversation or they knew the convo would be short and always to their disadvantage. Republicans need to keep the conversation afloat in order to keep prosecution at bay.

The instant the news media stops thinking of Trump and every one of his Republican co-conspirators as honest actors acting politically and, instead, as criminals acting for a political purpose, the entire conversation we’re having will change. The framing will finally have caught up with the subject matter.

How Criminals (And Republicans) Think

Inside every criminal’s head is a scale upon which they balance their criminal behavior’s risks versus that behavior’s rewards. If the risk of stealing a six pack of beer is a decade plus in prison — and the risk of getting caught is high, it’s probably not worth it. But, if the risk of stealing a whole country is that two thirds of the people will despise you while cowering in your presence? No big deal. That’s the calculus that criminals and Republicans make as they contemplate the actions that make them criminals and Republicans. The only thing that will stop a career criminal from continuing in his career is law enforcement stopping him. That’s why one of the first things career criminals do is compromise law enforcement in any way they can. Mafia dons buy cops. Dark Money buys politicians. The point of the exercise is corruption. Corruption itself becomes a kind of currency that criminals either pass around like dividends to their pals or wield like a cudgel to keep the less “dedicated” to crime in line.

Because our news media still insists — despite the mountain ranges of information stacked in front of them — that “both sides do it”, they see Republicans as honest actors. This misrepresents them horribly. Even worse, by giving all information equal weight and validity (since it’s not up to the journalist to judge anything), in their reporting, these journalists knowingly equate bullshit and truth while refusing to qualify which is which. Back before the news media was shamed into refusing climate deniers any more air time, they regularly gave climate deniers all the air time they wanted! This happened regularly on NEWS channels and shows: News show host would set up a debate between a climate scientist or believer in climate science like Bill Nye and a climate science denier like David LeGates or Marc Morano (formerly Rush Limbaugh’s “Man in Washington”).

Notice how a NEWS channel set up its shot here? It’s a “50-50” image. In other words, both people — both arguments — get 50% of the screen. In visual language (which most of us understand quite implicitly), CNN is saying: “these two arguments have equal validity to them”. That’s not even remotely true but the visual image tells us it is. The same applies to when any news panel includes at least one person there specifically to lie. If the show presenting the news panel doesn’t make that fact explicit then that fact doesn’t exist for the news audience. And the truth-speaking panelists will find their truths being compared equally to the liars lies.

It gets worse! The “both sides do it” spewing news media — having equated truth and bullshit — set themselves to the task of “analyzing” what’s happening. With their skewed view of the universe and all the people in it, they attempt to characterize the players so as to explain them. But the lens these “journalists” use is their own experience, their own way of thinking. Problem is THEY’RE NOT CRIMINALS and don’t think like criminals. They end up normalizing criminal behavior by recasting it as political.

Or — as so many American journalists insist on doing — they put themselves inside Donald Trump’s mind and assume Trump acts like they act and thinks like they think. That’s how we ended up with a White House Press Corps that regularly gawped at Trump as he openly lied to them. They ascribed political motives to criminal behavior — then reported the whole thing through the non-criminal prism inside their own heads. Trump’s hold over the GOP became entirely political: it’s all about Trump’s ravenous base. Yes, that’s true — to a degree. But it’s not the real leverage Trump’s held the whole time.

Crime is. Criminals understand that the more people they compromise (including law enforcement), the harder it will be for anyone to stop them. Another tactic criminals use is normalization. If everybody’s doing what they’re doing, can it really be a crime? And (as with Trump), if you do your “criming” out in the open where everyone (the press included) cans see it, can that really be a crime? The answer to both questions is hell yes. Crime never stops being crime (the statute of limitations be damned!)

If I attempt to deny another American their right to vote — in any way — I am violating their rights and committing a crime. If I do it because I’m racist, that’s a whole other level of crime. And it is a crime to be actively racist in an E Pluribus Unum country.

White America wants the rest of America to overlook two hundred-forty years of consistently terrible behavior toward non-white Americans (or non-whites who, for whatever reason, came to live and “work” in America). They want every other American to forget about slavery or every deal our government made and then broke with a Native American tribe. They want the rest of us to deny the long term impacts of white racism on its victims (including the very real, generational impacts on its victims’ wealth). And then our news media gets all warm and cuddly with these racists by refusing to call out their racism. They go and ask the racists “Hey — you’re not a racist, are you?” And then they shrug inconclusively when the racist — news cameras in their face — insists “Me? No! I’m not a racist!”

Trust me, CNN, MSNBC, the rest of the news media — when Donald Trump says “I’m the least racist person in the world”, that’s bullshit. The last person you should ever ask “are you racist” is a racist since they have the least perspective on the subject. Same goes for the racist’s racist buddies. They can’t tell you if their friend’s a racist because THEY’RE so damned racist. The ONLY people who can honestly and accurately tell you if anyone is racist is that racist’s victim. They KNOW when someone’s being racist toward them. They’ve had a lifetime of experience with it, don’t forget. Their racism “spidey senses” are always cranked up to eleven.

Ah, but “both sides do it” says that a racist remark and the racist victim’s response are equally valid.

Racists are racist in everything they do. Literally. Same goes for rapists, by the way. When your view of the world allows you the freedom to infringe on other peoples’ personal space at will and without consequence — as a matter of personal power — you will act that way toward others until someone with more power rises up to stop you. Republicans? Exactly the same.

Donald Trump has been a criminal his entire life. Just because he’s never been prosecuted — that’s a technicality, really. That’s us failing to do right by ourselves and remind criminals their crimes are unacceptable to the rest of us and will be treated accordingly. The rule of law’s a wonderful thing but it can’t enforce itself. That’s our obligation. And it’s not hyperbole to say that Donald Trump is a criminal and that plenty of people have always known or suspected this to be true.

Case in point — as I’ve repeated in this space often — June 25, 2017, current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy walks into a GOP leadership meeting to talk about their soon-to-be presidential nominee. He says — out loud (it was recorded and the recording played later for Washington Post reporter Adam Entous) “There are two people I think Putin pays, Rohrbacher and Trump — swear to God!” Even in the context of the time — without four years of treasonous behavior toward Vladimir Putin — this is treasonous! One of the head muckety-mucks of the Republican Party is telling other muckety-mucks that their candidate to be POTUS is compromised by a hostile foreign government — AND THEY KNOW IT! And they — per then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan — are going to keep this criminal secret a secret because “that’s how we know we’re a family”.

The instant you become a co-conspirator to commit treason — as everyone in that room did — you become a criminal! At the very least, you should become someone our news media (who reported the crime) suspects could be a criminal. But not just a “criminal”, a traitor. To report such a person as if there was no possibility they were a criminal or a traitor misreports them entirely and can’t possibly hope to report them accurately since it’s already detached their true motives from the story. Suddenly, treasonous behavior becomes something less — far less. It stops being a crime, for one thing.

And just like that, treason becomes normalized. Criminal behavior becomes political behavior. Crime becomes acceptable to the people who are supposed to be our last backstop against the abuse of political power. Nothing good can come of that — as our current situation proves.

Texas + Zero Gun Laws = Death, Death & More Death

Perversely, one of the advantages of America’s students having to study from home during the pandemic was that it radically reduced the number of school shootings. There was plenty of gun violence outside those empty schools to make up for it though — a whole other problem — but, thankfully, school shootings were zero for an extended period: bravo, America! The rest of the civilized world understands what America refuses to: the proliferation of guns across a society endangers every bit of that society. We’re the data set that proves their point! Alas, there’s little one can do to soothe a lizard brain aflame with the fear of mortal peril because Black and brown people live in America. Let’s be honest — every single one of America’s gun laws (like policing itself here in America) has its roots in racism or slavery. Racist paranoia is the organizing principle undergirding Texas’ new gun law — the one that makes it even easier to get a gun, carry a gun in the open and use that gun — as an 18 year old high school student did today in Arlington, Texas when he opened fire at Timberview HS, (so far) injuring four people.

https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/lockdown-issued-at-timberview-high-in-arlington-possible-shots-fired/2759727/

Even as our news media trips over itself to cover yet another school shooting, they can’t make the leap to “why” it keeps happening. It’s painful watching our news media scratch its head over yet another seemingly intractable American problem, having framed the story for so long from the NRA’s perverse point of view. Australia used to be almost as gun-mad as America. But, on Sunday April 28, 1996, lone gunman Martin Bryant — armed with two semi-automatic assault rifles — killed 35 people and wounded another 23 in Port Arthur, Tasmania, a tourist town. Within two weeks, Australia — its six states completely in agreement — tightened its gun laws, banning semi-automatic rifles and shotguns outright. They also “put more hurdles between prospective gun owners and their weapons.” Want a gun in Australia? Prepare for a 28 day waiting period, a thorough background check and a “requirement to present a ‘justifiable reason’ to own a gun”.

The result? “The number of Australia’s mass shootings dropped from 11 in the decade before 1996, to one in the years since – the murder-suicide of a family of five in New South Wales in 2014.” There’s icing on that “reduced gun violence cake”: The overall rates of homicide and suicide also fell significantly after 1996. There are still illegal guns in Australia; it’s a problem they know hasn’t gone away entirely. But they’ve demonstrated the flip side of what we’ve demonstrated: fewer guns where they don’t belong equals less gun violence equals less death.

In other words, one plus one equals two.

I’m old enough to remember when the NRA was a “gun safety” organization. That was before they became the gun manufacturer’s lobby, determined to get richer than they already were by stoking white peoples’ fear of Black people. When dangerous muttonheads like these losers leave their caves, armed to the teeth, who out here are they so afraid of? Do they honestly think a situation could suddenly happen where they’re going to be the thing that prevents a tragedy? They ARE the tragedy — walking around, just waiting to happen!

Every gun — every single one — is an accident or a tragedy that just hasn’t happened yet. Guns are all “death machines”, designed from the inside out to send a piece of hot metal hurtling through the air at a live target, the point being to kill that live target dead. Every part of the gun is designed to facilitate that. Sure, you can fire your gun at a non-living target but that wasn’t the point. Neither is a gun sitting in a gun locker. While that’s a responsible thing to do with a gun that you’re not using, you’re doing something with the gun that it wasn’t designed to do — sit. Guns are death machines. For starters, as they do in Australia, we need to ask: “for what purpose, citizen, do YOU need a “death machine’?”

“Because you’re paranoid” won’t cut it as an answer.

Our biggest problem with guns and our gun laws is that we’ve never been honest about guns or our gun laws. Hell, we’re living inside the NRA’s linguistic bamboozlement that turned a “well-regulated militia” choosing which citizens get to “keep and bear” arms (not OWN them — and “own” was a perfectly good word back then) into a “Have All The Guns Ya Want!” free for all. As written, the Second Amendment was about gun control; it’s right there in the words, no making shit up required.

Conservatives believe feelings are more important than facts. They’re paranoia trumps any facts you can throw at them abut violence. And just like they couldn’t care less if their own children succumb to and die from Covid-19, conservatives apparently couldn’t care less if their children end up in a stack of bodies recovered from a school shooting.

We used to take comfort from the fact that what stopped Russia and America from nuking each other and the planet into a permanent winter was the doctrine of mutually assured destruction. Since we both feared the bleak outcome of one side pulling the trigger, both sides agreed in advance not to pull the trigger. The Republican Party is a death cult on a suicide mission — permanent minority rule or bust. We can’t rely on them for anything good or positive. Gun laws epitomize the Republican way of seeing things. From their vantage point? The more death, destruction and chaos we experience, the more they like it.