Here’s The Problem With Letting Religions People Run Things, Part Two: Bill Barr

We all know Bill Barr as the most corrupt Attorney General of all time — that’s more corrupt than Republican all-stars Alberto Gonzalez (George W Bush’s AG), John Mitchell, (Dick Nixon’s AG — who went to prison for being corrupt) and Bill Barr himself (he was George H W Bush’s AG & covered up Iran-Contra).

But Bill Barr also stands out almost as much for being a certifiable religious fanatic.

Something about America has both attracted and inspired religious fanaticism. Shakerism was invented here (in 1772). So was Mormonism (1830). Seventh-Day Adventists opened shop in 1863. Jehovah’s Witnesses hung out their shingle in 1870. Church of Christ, Scientist 1879. Pentecostalism 1906. Reconstructionist Judaism 1920’s. Nation of Islam 1930. Church of Scientology 1953. And, let’s not forget, there have been plenty of smaller religious-oriented off-shoots like David Koresh’s Branch Dividian sect and Jim Jones’ Peoples’ Temple.

Something in us just plain adores ooga-booga with extra helpings of both ooga and booga.

Among the sects that fly under the radar is Dominionism. Dominionism (per Wikipedia) “is a group of Christian political ideologies that seek to institute a nation governed by Christians based on their understandings of biblical law. Now, Dominionism isn’t a club per se or an organization that hands out membership cards. We know that Dominionists see and seek brotherhood with other Dominionists (they have meetings in public places). But most of the big name Dominionists practice their anti-Jesus version of Christianity in the shadows.

The Kochs and Mercers think of themselves as “fellow travelers” with Dominionism. The Koch Brothers don’t seem especially religious but who has to “be” religious when the culture you’re shoving down everyone’s throat will do the dirty work for you? Same token — Attorney General Bill Barr may not be a card-carrying Dominionist but the religious fervor running around in his head is just as wacky, just as offensive, just as dangerous to our representative democracy.

Bill Barr believes in a bizarre brand of Catholicism that may even be darker and more regressive than Dominionism.

In a speech on religious freedom that he delivered to the Notre Dame Law School on October 11, 2019, Barr said —

“Men are subject to powerful passions and appetites, and, if unrestrained, are capable of ruthlessly riding roughshod over their neighbors and the community at large.

No society can exist without some means for restraining individual rapacity.

But, if you rely on the coercive power of government to impose restraints, this will inevitably lead to a government that is too controlling, and you will end up with no liberty, just tyranny.

On the other hand, unless you have some effective restraint, you end up with something equally dangerous – licentiousness – the unbridled pursuit of personal appetites at the expense of the common good. This is just another form of tyranny – where the individual is enslaved by his appetites, and the possibility of any healthy community life crumbles.

Bill Barr, Christian, fears other peoples’ “powerful passions and appetites”. He’s worried about THEM “riding roughshod over their neighbors and the community at large” — you know, like a police department beating the shit out of unarmed, peaceful protesters.

A more “effective restrant”, in Bill’s mind (overflowing as it is with “moral values”) —

“[T]o control willful human beings, with an infinite capacity to rationalize, those moral values must rest on authority independent of men’s will – they must flow from a transcendent Supreme Being.

Everything, to Bill, rests upon the thinking and feelings of a “transcendent Supreme Being”. Now, whose “transcendent Supreme Being” are we talking about here — the one who lives in Bill’s head or the one who lives in mine? Bill can’t say whether or not a Supreme Being lives in my head — he can’t get inside my head.

The Supreme Being inside my head says the Supreme Being inside Bill Barr’s head is full of shit. My Supreme Being says Bill Barr (and HIS Supreme Being) are bullies who should be ignored. In fact, my Supreme Being tells me every single day what a corrupt pile of shit Bill Barr is and how she can’t fathom why we Americans don’t just throw such an obvious criminal like Bill Barr in jail.

That’s what MY Supreme Being says. I bet Bill’s Supreme Being says something entirely different.

That’s the problem. Whose Supreme Being are we talking about here? Bill, of course, only talks about HIS Supreme Being — and not because Bill believes so fervently in his deity. In fact, Bill Barr — like most religionistas — doesn’t believe in God at all. Don’t get me wrong — Bill Barr absolutely believes there’s a God. Problem is, Bill Barr thinks it’s him.

That’s the deep, dark, dirty secret of pretty much every hard core religionista. They claim to understand God. They claim to speak for God. It’s easy — because they think they ARE God.

Right there — that’s the problem with letting a religious person like Bill Barr run ANYTHING. He’s not actually qualified to run a Department of Justice. He’s too corrupt.

He’s no more qualified to be “God”. Same reason.

What Will Americans Do If Trump Goes For Broke — And “Makes Us” An Authoritarian Shithole?

Remember back not so long ago when wacky people on the left said things like “Russia controls Trump!” and people would laugh at us? Remember back when people would, reluctantly, compare Trump & Republicans to Nazis and other people would lose their shit because “how dare you compare anyone to Nazis!”?

What Trump & the Republican Party are doing is (trying to) turn America into the authoritarian paradise they’ve always dreamed of. Conservatives want to conserve what is, remember. And what is is what remains of the past. Conservatives want to turn America back into the White Authoritarian Paradise of their dreams — a fondly remembered slave state circa 1850 where women couldn’t vote, black people were counted as 3/5 of a white person and owning other humans was justified by the gobbledygook in their 2500 year old book of supposed wisdom.

The precedent to our problem was a decision made by the RW money — the Kochs, the Mercers — to USE their money to subvert America’s future to what THEY wanted it to be (the actual Will of the People be damned). The Koch’s saw demographic annihilation in their future and moved to do something about it. Since they couldn’t effectively stop America from becoming more diverse, they put their money into limiting any political power those diverse Americans might have for the foreseeable future.

That’s the whole point of Mitch McConnell’s mission to hijack the judiciary. To reject the Will Of The People in favor of the will of the Koch Bros.

So far, Mitch & the Republicans have managed to work in the extreme background. Now they’ve been dragged into the light. Mitch has said he won’t allow any more “rescue packages” for ordinary Americans. He wants to see Blue States all go bankrupt (never mind that it’s blue states that literally PAY FOR red states and, as we speak, red states are plunging into the very same economic chaos but without the capacity or dynamism afterwards to resurrect themselves).

Mitch will change his tune because he’ll have to or the people of Kentucky will come after him with torches and pitchforks. But even then, Mitch will try to limit the help ordinary Americans get. Mitch won’t have “socialism” in America — not unless it’s corporate socialism in which case — bring it!

The initial Republican coup d’etat relied on our reluctance to accept that the Republicans were capable of doing something so monstrous, evil and corrupt. That was just Democrats being hyperbolic and “political”. That was what the news media told us, remember? Both sides do it anyway, right?

Now we all see how corrupt Republicans are. And now that Bill Barr has stripped himself naked in front of us all, we can see just how nakedly corrupt Barr is — as is the whole Republican game plan to permanently install minority rule. Barr wiped his ass with the Rule of Law then pissed all over it for good measure. Barr just said that the history of this time will get written by the winners — meaning himself and his corrupt Republican co-conspirators.

Um, no, Bill. That won’t happen. The majority of Americans don’t want what you want. They want the opposite and have voted that way only to have their votes suppressed, blocked or not counted. While Americans are too, too slow to take to the streets, when pressed, we do and we will.

Want to know if we’re pressed enough yet? Wisconsinites risked sickness and death to vote in a primary that was mostly focused on keeping a conservative state supreme court justice on the Wisconsin Supreme Court bench. They didn’t just defeat this conservative shit, they blew him away with the turnout.

In order for Mitch McConnell to have his way, every single group Republicans, their racism, their misogyny, their bigotry, their cruelty, their greed, their ignorance, their parsimony, their incompetence, their treachery and their corruption have touched will have to lie down. That’s a lot of Americans.

It’s the majority of us, in fact. What separates an America from a Nazi Germany is that, even though most Germans did not, in fact, go along with what Hitler and the National Socialists were doing, all of those Germans were “German”. That’s a very powerful tribal connection and, being social creatures, the last thing any human wants is to be cast off from her tribe. To be ex-communicated from it.

Americans may feel kinship with other Americans but we’re also parts of many other tribes to which we feel deep connections. Now, more than ever, non-white tribes see themselves and their tribe’s particular relationship with America in stark relief. Californians feel kinship toward other Californians. Angelenos feel kinship toward other Agelenos.

Trump & his Republican co-conspirators can’t even count on the armed forces to back them up — should they push this to that level. Trump may be “commander-in-chief” but our soldiers have already face questions of whether or not they have to follow immoral orders. They don’t.

Making America’s voting entirely vote-by-mail will deprive Republicans of a significant device they’ve used to cheat — the vulnerability to the internet of voting systems. Only hand-marked ballots are completely unhackable (though a well-monitored vote-by-mail system comes in second).

The blue voting surges that started in 2018 and continued since have only increased in size and intensity. Again – despite (or maybe because of) dangerously partisan decisions by the SCOTUS (to force Wisconsinites to vote despite the pandemic), more Americans are voting. As Trump himself has said out loud: when more Americans vote, it’s bad for Republicans.

Donald and Mitch and Bill and Mike (Pompeo & Pence & Flynn) all expect America to just “give in” to this physical assault on our democratic republic. They’re going to be in for a very rude surprise. It simply will not go down that way.

African Americans aren’t going to just “go along with this”. Neither will Latino-Americans or Jewish Americans or Asian Americans or LGBTQ Americans or female Americans or ANY American who isn’t a die-hard, go-down-with-the-ship Trumpanista. Yes, yes, yes — Americans are quick to anger but slow to flash it in the streets (doing it on social media is so much easier). But everything’s changed now.

Everything.

We were NEVER going to be an authoritarian shithole except in the minds of authoritarian shitheads.

The country will split apart before surrendering to what Trump and the Republican Party are doing. That will be sad and tragic. But the blue states that reconstitute into an American-like entity will eventually survive. The red states — formed into a blob of white rage and stupidity — will almost overnight become failed states and experiments in how not to run a country. They’ll be lucky to make it past six months with functioning electricity or running water.

What will Americans do when Trump tosses his Hail Mary in hopes of staying in power forever (knowing, as he does, that the moment he stops being potus, his legal problems begin)? Easy. We’ll (finally) step up and say “Enough is enough”. Trump-Russia, unfortunately, was complicated. Too complicated for a headlines-only news media to either get its head around or report. Trump-Ukraine was simpler.

We can all grasp what a quid pro quo is.

Trump-coronavirus is easy to understand. Trump’s corruption cost tens of thousands (so far) of American lives. It’s probably destroyed the economy for a while to come. It’s hard to vote for the guy (and his party) who killed your relatives, gutted your wallet and turned your future into bleak nothingness.

Never mind Trump’s base. It’s not about them and never was. This is about the rest of us — the Americans who genuinely care about America because we genuinely care about the wide variety of Americans with whom we share the country. At the end of the day, there simply is no conservative way out of this.

Trump may try to turn us into an authoritarian shithole — and, for a time, he may come close. But he will not succeed. There are simply too many of us and we’re waaaaay too angry.

What If Lying Were Physically Impossible? Could Donald Trump — Or Any Republican — Still Exist?

No one ever has to lie. That’s just by definition. A lie is something we do deliberately with the absolute intention of misleading whoever we tell it to.

You can argue whether a sociopath like Donald Trump knows he’s lying but the fact is he KNOWS there would be consequences to telling the truth — or letting the truth get out. Trump says whatever he has to say in any particular moment. He knows he does he does this. He knows why. He knows what the accumulated effect is on people. He knows he can lie repeatedly and get away with it because people now expect him to lie.

“What’d ya think Trump was gonna do — tell you the truth?”

But, what if a second virus broke out at the same time as coronavirus. While coronavirus causes Covid-19, what if this second virus causes a “disease” called “telling the truth about yourself”? What if it spread just as easily — and silently — as coronavirus does. But, unfortunately, while the majority of people who catch the coronavirus from other people remain asymptomatic and, at worst, experience mild, cold symptoms, EVERYONE who catches “telling the truth about yourself” can’t help but tell the truth about themselves.

Talk about a nasty pathogen.

Donald Trump would suddenly gush truth-telling like an ebola patient gushing vomit. “I’m the biggest liar in the world! No one lies more or bigger than me! THAT, I can PROVE!” You can hear Donald Trump shouting it, can’t you?

And you can hear the press finally doing what he’s always wanted — agreeing with him.

“You want to know if I laundered Russian money? Is the Pope Catholic? Of COURSE I laundered Russian money! I’m OWNED by the Russian mob!”

Okay, Donnie — we hear you.

“I’ve molested my daughter, too. A lot. Just like I more or less told Howard Stern that I did.”

Maybe, Don, you want to quarantine yourself a little here. You’re giving everything away — and apparently there’s a lot to give.

Imagine Mitch McConnell coming clean — because he can’t lie: “Well, of course I’m corrupt as shit! Of COURSE I’m owned lock, stock & turtle shell by the Kochs! Of COURSE I made it my purpose to circumvent the will of the majority of Americans to deny Merrick Garland so much as a hearing while shoving a RAPIST (Brett Kavanaugh) down the nation’s unwilling throat.”

“Oh,” Mitch would remind us — “Those stories about me and my army discharge? All true, I’m afraid. Sodomy was at the heart of it. I’ve lived a secret my whole life. I’m not just a turtle…”.

Imagine Bill Barr: “Yes, I lied to America about what the Mueller Report says — just like I lied all those years ago about Iran-Contra. Don’t you get it? I’m a fixer. I’m a straight Roy Cohn who believes the president has full and complete power — so long as he’s a Republican. I’m the guy who’ll make permanent minority rule a “thing”. That’s why I’m here.”

Imagine Ivanka Trump: “If you think my dad’s rotten to the core, you haven’t been paying attention to me. My dad thinks he’s going to stick it to me before I stick it to him. Boy is HE in for a nasty surprise.”

The fact is, pretty much every Republican HAS been telling us the truth all along. They haven’t been confessing — not out in the open. But their body language has confessed. Their silence has confessed. Their false patriotism, sanctimony and hypocrisy have all confessed on their behalf. As George W. Bush so famously put it: “There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.”

Yeah… what he said.

In The Midst Of The Coronavirus Crisis, A Reminder: Donald Trump & The GOP Are STILL All TRAITORS

I’m old enough to remember how quickly our Main Stream News Media got over their jaw-on-the-floor outrage at Donald Trump’s “Mexicans are rapists” announcement (on Day One of his presidential campaign no less). Yes, they shrugged off Trump’s racism because “Pussy Grabbing” was now part of our political discussion, but by shrugging off one outrage to go be outraged by another, the press established a behavior pattern they haven’t changed since.

After three years of hopping blithely from one Trump-created crisis to another, the American press is now stuck on how poorly Trump is responding to a pandemic he did everything he humanly could to UNprepare us for. They keep waiting for Trump to “pivot” in some fashion. Then, it was toward being “presidential”. Now, it’s toward pulling the trigger on the Defense Production Act which would give Trump the power to order factories to produce the ventilators and masks we need right this second.

Trump won’t do it because Jared Kushner is whispering in his ears (America’s “captains of industry apparently whispering into his) that nationalizing industry would be bad for business — and piss off the captains of industry Trump’s relying on to get re-elected It always comes down to bullshit and self-service in Trump world. It always comes down to corruption.

Despite the fact that for a week now, Trump has gotten up in front of the American People in a time of crisis and lied to us, CNN, MSNBC & big chunks of the news media still insist on broadcasting Trump’s daily coronavirus updates as “news” instead of the “campaign rallies” they actually are. Even as their studio hosts (now broadcasting from their homes mostly) rage at the fusillade of lies, even as every expert with an ounce of actual expertise points at how insanely dangerous Trump is being, even as Trump accuses the reporters spaced around the WH Briefing Room of being liars and haters, the news networks STILL not only broadcast Trump’s lies live, they can’t seem to find it in themselves to stand up FOR EACH OTHER.

Why are they not either 1) demanding that Trump answer questions (and refuse to let him move on without answering) or 2) broadcasting these bullshit sessions on tape delay so that every bit of Trump’s misinformation, disinformation & outright bullshit can be fact checked BEFORE it goes out over the air. Apparently it’s a thing — once bullshit sets in peoples’ minds? It’s damned hard to root it out. That Trump’s approval ratings is up a few ticks reflects the press’s inability to report even the most blatant example of Trump’s inability to carry out his duties — never mind the eight thousand pound gorilla that’s drooling over everything: the fact that Trump is a traitor.

Our crisis has been made exponentially worse BECAUSE Donald Trump is POTUS — and the only reason Trump is POTUS is because Russia MADE him POTUS.

Russia was able to MAKE Trump POTUS because Russia had compromised nearly the entire Republican Party — (illegally) pouring money into their campaign coffers, creating Kompromat on them (think that doesn’t explain Lindsey Graham?) and who knows what else? Trump took a sledgehammer to our government (my bet) in large part at Putin’s instigation. It benefits Putin & only Putin every time America loses the ability to take care of itself and tend to its place in the world — as the counter balance to horrible actors like Vladimir Putin.

Just as Moscow Mitch McConnell hijacked the judicary, Bill Barr hijacked the Department of Justice. The point of the exercise — permanent minority rule.

America is sicker than ever — not just because of the coronavirus but because white power is trying to keep its hooks in us forever.

While compromising with these traitors will, unfortunately, be necessitated by the enormity of the crisis overwhelming us, we must remember: when the Rule Of Law becomes “a thing” again here in America, it will DEMAND that we turn our eye on these here times because illegal behavior of any kind must be prosecuted and, if found guilty, punished.

Trump’s coronavirus betrayals are just extensions of all his Russia betrayals. The bottom line will not change: we are living in war time — not just against the coronavirus — but against Russia. We’ve GOT to keep our eye on that ball despite getting hammered by a nasty pathogen.

Coronavirus Throws A Monkey Wrench Into The GOP’s Soft Coup D’Etat

The Trump Era keeps proving — it’s hard to keep your eye on the ball when there are fifty balls flying at you. Trump’s coronavirus response has been everything you’d expect it to be — a chaotic, self-centered act of corruption. It’s been such a massive failure that it’s even managed to make everyone forget this essential fact: Donald Trump is a traitor who would not be POTUS if not for Russia MAKING him POTUS.

Imagine losing sight of that fact — but we have. The press — even with Trump lying daily about pretty much everything — they’ve reverted to treating Trump as a legitimate president whose every utterance about the crisis they must cover. The hue and cry to stop covering Trump’s daily campaign rallies has come from all over. it’s a puzzlement why MSNBC & CNN can’t treat it the way they treat Trump’s impromptu WH lawn news pressers. They regularly put some lag time between Trump lying and their broadcasts of his lies. Occasionally they even contextualize Trump’s bullshit — imagine!

I’ve written here often how I think we got here — not so much the coronavirus crisis (though it’s intimately connected) as the underlying political crisis that comes from having the intelligence asset of a hostile foreign government running OUR government. Hillary Clinton did not “lose” election 2016, the correct result was stolen from We The People — which would have made HRC POTUS.

The leadership of the Republican Party has always known what’s going on here. Kevin McCarthy “knew” back when he told a meeting of the Republican Party’s muckety-mucks during the 2016 GOP convention: “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump”. Then Speaker of the House Paul Ryan — third most powerful politician in the country — told now GOP leader McCarthy: “Let’s keep that ‘in the family’.”

“In the family” — like a bunch of stinking mafioso.

The GOP’s extreme deference to Trump is way beyond tribalism. It’s criminal conspiracy to commit election fraud, obstruction of justice and treason. That’s why the Republicans can’t stop this train from going off the cliff. The instant Trump stops being president, shit will get real for Trump and everyone sporting that “R” next to their names.

Whether he likes it or not — whether he knows it or not — on January 20, 2021 regardless of whether Trump cancels the election — his term expires. So does Mike Pence’s. On that day, if no election has happened, the presidency will default to the third in line — the Speaker of the House. It is now and will be then Nancy Pelosi.

This is why Mitch McConnell is begging every older conservative judge to retire now. Mitch hopes like hell that the old rules — the ones he violated regularly — will hold and his corrupt hijacking of the judiciary will stand. Mitch is going to be sorely disappointed. I’m with former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner (his Twitter feed is here): when this is all done & said, we must address the fact that everything that flowed from election 2016 — every bit of Republican legislation & chaos, every American Enterprise Institute-approved lifetime judge named while President Obama was denied the appointments — must be considered in the light of treason — of the entire Republican Party knowingly conspiring with Russia to not only seize control of the government but to maintain that control forever: permanent minority rule.

Bill Barr has come damned close to corrupting the Department of Justice beyond repair. Mike Pompeo has nearly destroyed the Department of State. Mitch McConnell, of course, has broken the Senate — with the purpose of hijacking the judiciary for all time.

And then coronavirus screwed up their plans.

For starters, shutting down the govt has already made voting by mail for every American a very real possibility now. Coronavirus has pushed a lot of ideas into the foreground that have struggled for attention up till now. That horrifies Republicans more than anything. The economic chaos — lots of it exacerbated by the damage done by crony capitalism — can only be cured by progressive, social democracy type solutions.

When a version of universal basic income works in ways austerity never could (because it’s always austerity for everyone BUT the rich) — when everyone infected by the coronavirus or kovid-19 finds relief through our socialized medicine response (you won’t get billed for your care or bankrupted by it) — when more Americans realize that the whole point of government is to create an environment where as many people as possible have the education, training and opportunity they need to succeed, they’ll stop seeing it as “the enemy”. If Americans got things for their tax dollars that they could point at — like, say, good health CARE that can’t bankrupt them if they get sick — they’d stop seeing taxes as a black hole.

This is not to say the Republicans won’t still do everything they can to hold onto power. Consider their motivation. They know they could all end up like Paul Manafort — eating prison dinner every night. And Trump knows that the moment he stops being POTUS, he becomes private citizen Don Trump — an INDICTED co-conspirator to election fraud. He could well lose every building he owns to confiscation. Sad, no?

Make no mistake — Neither Trump nor the Republicans “won” election 2016. Without heavy cheating and Russian involvement there’s no way they win election 2020 either.

As of today, Vladimir Putin insists the Russia alone conquered coronavirus. Oh, the things authoritarian shitheads say out loud. That’s just not true — and regardless of what Putin allows the disease sweeping through Russia to be called (a rash of pneumonia), it will clear out people with brutal efficiency. If Russia were suddenly stricken and found itself consumed by not dying instead of poking around in our political system, what would Trump do then?

Imagine Trump & the GOP having to run a “fair” campaign. They couldn’t do it on principle.

Who Is Directly Responsible For The Shit-Show We’re In? THESE Guys…

While the whole world is now laser-focused on surviving Covid-19, it’s important to remember that this pandemic isn’t isolated. Yes, the original vector — whether from a live animal market in China or from bat guano that migrated from shoes to hands in a Chinese cave — would have presented regardless. But what happened afterwards — THAT would have been entirely different if, say, Hillary Clinton (or Barack Obama) was president rather than Donald Trump.

Trump’s reaction — as early as January, he was sacrificing rapid response for political appearances — was just Trump’s next step in dismantling the American government at the behest of Russia and his own raging ego. But the fact that Trump is in place — that he’s president to begin with — that, too, is part of our coronavirus problem. This really has been a perfect storm of authoritarian fuckery.

Authoritarians are great at wielding power, not so good at governing. And governing really isn’t about the good times — when things are running smoothly — governing is about the hard times — when citizens need help because of a natural disaster, a war — or a pandemic. And, one thing we know for a fact about republicans — when the hard times come, they won’t be the ones governing, they’ll be the ones profiteering.

So — why is coronavirus kicking the world’s ass? Because Donald Trump is president of the United States. And Donald Trump is POTUS because of himself of course but also because of THESE scumbags…

VLAD PUTIN

In Vlad Putin’s defense, he’s doing what we expect him to do. He’s a Russian nationalist, suckled by the dying Soviet intelligence state, a spymaster who also runs a criminal enterprise masquerading as a government. He has actively plotted against the West while dreaming of the return of a Greater Russia. Problem is, Vlad’s Greater Russia has a crap economy based entirely on oil. Sanctions are killing him — that’s why he needs them lifted. Putin recruited & nurtured Trump as early as the 80’s. Considering what his cyber war has cost him — pennies compared to a shooting war — Putin has succeeded beyond his wildest dreams and for virtually no money.

THE KOCHS/MERCERS/RW MONEY

While Putin was doing what Putin was doing, the Big Republican Money machine was busy too. As Reaganism peaked, the RW money saw something terrifying in the nation’s demographics — no them. America’s diversification (the source of our exceptionalism) was moving more rapidly. White people are going to become a minority. That’s just a fact. The Big Money Republicans (the Koch Brothers, David & Rebekah Mercer) saw that handwriting and resolved to DO something about it.

What the RW Money got was this: the presidency was pretty much out of reach for Republicans (take away Bush v Gore and Russia and there’d be a straight run of Democratic presidents). The House of Representatives is too mercurial to control — it is the Peoples’ House after all. Instead, Republicans focused on holding the Senate forever and using the power of confirming judges to control the most important part of their gambit: hijacking the judiciary.

That is the point of the exercise — lifetime appointments at the federal level especially SCOTUS seats. The goal — lock down the courts for another generation at least — making it hard for a Progressive House to get anything done or enact anything.

The ultimate goal, of course: Permanent Minority Rule.

MITCH MCCONNELL

One of the most corrupt people to ever serve in Congress. A weakling’s weakling who’s at his happiest abusing power for his patrons — the RW Money. And Russia.

Mitch’s greatest hits are well known — He’s taken gobs of Russian money into his PAC… he refused to let Obama tell We The People in September 20167 that Russia was actively attacking our election for the benefit of Donald Trump… He has enabled every anti-Democratic, un-American, pro-Russian move Trump has made… He got rid of the sactions on Oleg Deripaska (“former” Russian intelligence to whom Paul Manafort handed proprietary polling data on Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota before election 2016 — data which Deripaska weaponized and turned back on America as individualized propaganda appearing in individual Democratic voters’ Facebook pages. That most of those Democratic voters were people of color — and the ads were accusing Hillary Clinton of racism (in an environment where she was constantly under assault?) Oleg Deripaska is engaged in an info/cyber war against us.

That makes what Mitch did TREASON.

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

BILL BARR

Trump wanted a Roy Cohn and he got one. Every Democrat who said yes to Barr has some ‘splainin’ to do. Barr’s lies about the Mueller Report weren’t his first time at the Bullshit Rodeo. Barr did that once before during Iran-Contra. Barr is a rabid Christo-Fascist who wouldn’t know Jesus if he stopped mid-way through nailing Jesus to a cross to spit in Jesus’s eye. Bar lied about the Mueller Report — completely mischaracterizing its conclusions. He tried to do the same thing with impeachment.

If Bill Barr were out of the equation? Donald Trump would already be facing prosecution for high crimes, misemeanors, low crimes, rape, election fraud and treason.

DONALD TRUMP

Every time the bloated orange jackal turd opens his anus mouth, he literally tells us how guilty he is.

If only we’d believe him…

Dear Fellow Humans: Can We All PLEASE Admit It — We’re Making It All Up As We Go Along

You know how kids learn not to trust adults because, kids quickly get, adults are lying pretty much most of the time about pretty much everything?

What we all experience as kids is a moment of absolute clarity — about adults and the world adults make for us all: it’s all bullshit. Kids realize that adults don’t actually know what they’re talking about; they’re falling back on “how it is” or “how it’s always been done” instead of really thinking about the questions they’ve been asked.

Take religion, for instance. Most religions frown on kids asking questions about the faith. Kids ask questions because all organized religions (religion and spirituality are not the same thing) rely on nonsense to justify themselves. Instead of simply saying “Hey, want to live a good life? Just do unto others, okay? Ya got that?” Christianity buries that simple directive that anyone can do (atheists included) inside great, massive heaps of fiction. “Doing unto others” quickly becomes irrelevant because the fiction requires so much pretzel logic in order to follow it. Instead, the church wants its followers to worry about heaven and hell and eternal punishments all caused by a fictional woman eating a symbolic piece of fruit offered up by a totally fictional snake.

Ask a Buddhist or a Taoist or an animist or a polytheist how they feel about that. Turns out? Their mythology doesn’t line up — at all.

Hmmmmmmmmm… could somebody be making stuff up here?

Hmmmmmmmmm… could it be EVERYONE?

That’s not a knock on us. Homo sapiens are damned clever. It’s the good news and the bad news about us. Granted, it took us hundreds of thousands of years to graduate from hunter gatherers to whatever the hell we are now, but once we figured out how to dominate our immediate environment — and the planet (so we thought), we became unstoppable. Unfortunately for us.

We’re curious. We want to know how things work — the Universe, for instance. In the absence of hard facts, we’ll imagine what the answers could be. In the absence of hard facts, we tend to get a lot of things wrong. If the men who wrote the OT (and the NT) had had access to the internet, if they’d had microscopes and telescopes and all our modern technology available to them, would they have written their texts — where they tried to imagine how the universe worked — the same way?

Of course not!

Their view of the universe would have been an informed view — and, with that knowledge in hand, they would have written their texts differently.

In other words — they would have made up what they made up differently. And they WOULD HAVE had to have made some things up because — fact — we don’t KNOW with certainty how the universe began. Or why (or if there even is a “why”). Religion fills in the gaps in our knowledge — for those who need it filled in.

The big difference between people of faith and atheists is that people of faith get triggered by uncertainty — of not knowing why we’re here, what it all means and (most important of all) what happens to us when we die. Atheists accept that there are things we don’t know yet. Rather than fill in the blank with an imaginary answer, atheists shrug and say “I accept the fact that we don’t actually KNOW this yet”.

The Rule Of Law is no different. As the Republican Party proves to us every day now, the Rule Of Law doesn’t exist if people don’t willingly follow it. Trump breaks it repeatedly every day. Nothing happens. Republicans like Bill Barr break it every day. Nothing happens. That kind of proves that the Rule Of Law is only as “real” as we make it — because, in truth, it ISN’T “real”. We made it up.

Human rights? Sorry to break everyone’s heart. There’s no such thing. We invented it. No one has any “rights”. We’re born, we live, we die. Life comes with one guarantee — that eventually (if not sooner) it will end. We’ve invented pretty much everything that happens to us while we’re here — religions, governments, neighborhoods.

We need all these things, of course. How would we live with each other without these fictions guiding us?

The point is, they ARE fictions — human inventions as malleable as our own DNA (and, as we keep learning, our DNA is plenty malleable).

We’re only as trapped by circumstances as we think we are. Donald Trump is a bully — but he’s not a bully capable of dominating us. THAT PART’S a total fiction.

At any moment, if just one brave journalist called Trump out for being a liar, a corrupt criminal & a traitor — to his face on live TV? The whole FICTION that is Donald Trump would start to crumble. Because Trump would crumble.

Trump is a fiction surrounded by fiction that’s all fed by fiction — that white people and their money are superior to everyone else.

Mmmmm — is that bullshit I smell?

Sounds like something only a white guy and his money could make up.

We Live Inside A Giant False Narrative — That Donald Trump Is “Legitimate POTUS”

False narratives — creating them, living them, suffering the consequences of living them — it seems to go with being human. So, I’ll cut us some slack.

The unfortunate humans who live inside North Korea’s borders live inside a false narrative that Kim Jong-On isn’t a sociopathic madman at the helm of a hermitic dictatorship with nuclear weapons at his disposal. They think he’s a kind of god — just like his father and grandfather — because that’s what they’ve been told.

North Koreans have been deliberately fed a false narrative about how life and politics are. The point wasn’t to liberate them. One never creates a false narrative to do good things for people — despite what one tells oneself. You’re turning away from empirical truth — and choosing to walk toward fiction. Every step toward fiction is a step away from actual truth.

There may be lashings of truth IN your fiction — but, whereas facts won’t let you do with them what you want, with fiction? You can spin a story however you like. You’re bound by story logic — but not logic logic.

The biggest false narrative going, of course, is religion. The people who write religious texts — the Old Testament for instance — start out from a genuine place: they want to answer the big questions — what is life? How did we get here? Why are we here and what is the point of it all? Unless they’re wearing lab coats — with strict protocols for managing their experimentation — they’re going to pull the answers to those questions from their own heads. Or their asses.

If the men who wrote Genesis had access to the internet — if they had microscopes and telescopes available — if they knew about germ theory and plate tectonics — if they knew even that there were continents other than the one they lived on (they didn’t!) — would they have written the texts they wrote the way they wrote them? Of course not! Their worldview — even the questions themselves — would have been informed by their knowledge. They wouldn’t have written a Noah’s flood story they way they wrote it because the facts on the ground — literally — would have made such a story preposterous.

Sometimes — as with religion — the intention of the false narrative is to explain the world from the religion’s viewpoint. But, what if the starting viewpoint is wrong — or distorted. Or misinformed. What if monotheists are wrong and polytheists are right — there’s not one good, there are dozens, thousands, kajillions?

Who’s really to say? Got proof there’s only one “God”? Remind the class — who wrote that story? Oh, right — people who were “divinely inspired”. Another false narrative begins.

Even before he was sworn in, Donald Trump began signaling to us that he was not the legitimate president — that his win wasn’t what we thought it was. Take yourself back to election night 2016. Remember how it felt as Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin went red? The story was just believable enough — the press had taken the “But her emails” ball and run wild with it. Doubts about Clinton could have been the difference — 78,000 votes spread between three states. It was just plausible enough for us to allow “Well, maybe…”.

That’s all it took. The truth is, to this day, we don’t know what happened in those three states. We don’t. But the stone cold fact is Paul Manafort handed Oleg Deripaska PROPRIETARY POLLING DATA for four states (the three mentioned plus Minnesota). That’s not nothing. That’s very sensitive data about Americans, who they are and how they vote — being handed to a man with deep ties to Russian Military Intelligence.

Russian military intelligence (for those slow on the uptake) is especially good at creating, disseminating and benefiting from propaganda. They’ve gotten very good at using social media to — say it with me — create false narratives. In those three states — we know this happened — Democratic voters (African American voters especially) found their Facebook pages inundated with ads disparaging Hilary Clinton — accusing her of being a racist on the down low.

Sure, plenty of those African American voters ignored those ads. But — we also know — some stayed home. That’s no different from a stolen vote. It’s election fraud — PERIOD.

Also — no one in an official capacity has ever done any forensics on the voting machines in those three states. As we’re learning more and more — any voting machine hooked up to the internet in any way is hackable. Anyone who denies that fact wants machines that are hackable in our elections. WHY?

Any voting process that isn’t hand-marked with a complete paper trail is bullshit.

People who want free and fair elections have no problems with oversight. They welcome it because it guarantees free and fair elections. People who want shortcuts — who are willing to take what election machine vendors (almost all Republican owned companies by the way — yes, it matters) say at face value — aren’t interested in Democracy, they’re interested in undermining Democracy. Not the same thing.

If the Rule Of Law is alive and well, then you cannot cheat to become president of the United States. You cannot ASK a foreign country to help you and you cannot ACCEPT THEIR HELP when offered. But that’s exactly what Donald Trump did — repeatedly and out in the open. The Mueller Report did not exonerate Trump in any way. Quick Reminder — the Mueller Report was not the be-all & end-all of “Trump-Russia” involvements. It addressed ONE — the Trump campaign’s relationship with Wikileaks. And the report said that it couldn’t ANSWER whether or not the Trump campaign conspired with Russia because of (Mueller Report Part Two) ALL THE OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE the Trump campaign were perpetrating.

All those SDNY investigations that Bill Barr slowed or blocked or snuffed? They would have begun exploring all the other ways Donald Trump, his campaign — and the whole Republican Party ultimately — had fallen prey to Russian intelligence. Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate is a non-stop reminder of just how corrupt the Republican Party is. Their defense didn’t rise to the level of “silly” it was so bad.

They don’t want to hear Bolton or any other witnesses because they KNOW what those witnesses will say. They KNOW what the evidence says — they’ve already heard what lots of it says. This is about keeping the truth about what happened out of the public record. WHY?

Most Republicans assume that once a lifetime judge is in place, he or she stays in place forever. Keep in mind — part of the point of this coup d’etat started years before the election. It took the form of Mitch McConnell hijacking the judiciary. He refused to let Obama appoint judges that he quickly filled once Trump was sworn in. He refused to grant Merrick Garland so much as a hearing. Hello, Neil Gorsuch.

But all that assumes we continue to accept the product of the false narrative Republicans created.

Let’s put this in terms even Donald Trump would understand. Let’s say the presidency was a beauty pageant. The winner gets lots of good things. They get to live in the White House. They get to tell the military what to do. They get to suggest and change laws. They get to appoint judges including Supreme Court judges.

That’s if they win — and they’re the Beauty Pageant WINNER.

But let’s say we find ample evidence that the Beauty Pageant Winner cheated. Let’s say the bribed judges — or threatened them. Let’s say the Winner conspired with people outside the pageant to pick a winner (outside the pageant’s rules). And let’s say these people succeeded. The Pageant’s real judges wanted Contestant X to win. That contestant reflected the Pageant’s values and hopes for the Pageant’s future.

But some of the judges, it turns out, were corrupt. The whole voting process, it turns out, was corrupted. When the judges voted — one of their votes was tallied the wrong way. Another judge went home sick and didn’t vote at all (food poisoning they think). From the moment the Winner was announced, lots of the judges — people in the audience, too — they knew something was wrong.

Okay — so the wrong person now wears the crown. They have all the power that comes with it — all the rights & privileges. But none of it actually belongs to them.

Now the Winner starts giving paying jobs to her friends. She fudges the books so no one can tell where the Pageant’s money is going. The Pageant starts co-branding with mobsters and criminals and all sorts of unsavory people the Pageant’s judges would never have agreed to. The Winner starts changing everything about the Pageant — despite the fact that they WEREN’T the actual winner and everything they’re doing goes directly AGAINST everything the judges ACTUALLY wanted and — this being democratic in theory — voted for.

But then, the judges discover evidence that PROVES the Winner cheated. They show it to the public because the public needs to know (while the Winner is doing things that directly impact them) — there’s a very good reason why the judges will now take away the Winner’s crown: it never belonged to them. EVER.

So — the Winner loses his crown. He can no longer claim to be the Winner because 1) he no longer is and 2) he never ever was.

Ah, but what of his “winnings”? What of the now-ex-Winner’s spoils? What of the laws they changed — though they had no authority to change them (only REAL winners have the LEGAL right to do that)? What of the lifetime judges they nominated THAT THEY HAD NO LEGAL AUTHORITY TO NOMINATE?

Remember all the judges Al Gore nominated? Exactly — he didn’t nominate any because he didn’t win — and was never given the authority. If he had tried to, we’d have laughed at him — “Dude, what’re you doing? You LOST. Losers don’t get to nominate anything.”

A cheater who’s been caught stops being “the winner”. A car thief has to give back the car he stole (provided it hasn’t been chop shopped into pieces already). He may have the memories of driving around in your ride, but all rights of ownership return to YOU, the rightful OWNER.

We The People “own” the outcomes of our elections. That is, we expect that our choice — if we’re in the majority — to be the basis for how our government will act. Provided our candidate followed all the laws in order to win the election, his or her actions are truly sanctioned by the electorate.

But, Donald Trump can’t say that about his “win”. He wasn’t sanctioned by he electorate. The majority of us voted not just FOR Hillary but AGAINST Trump and everything he stood for and wanted to do. We voted AGAINST destroying the government, AGAINST destroying our relationships with the world, AGAINST cozying up to Russia, AGAINST corruption in the extreme, AGAINST destroying the environment, AGAINST racism & misogyny & bigotry and judges who are FOR all those things.

The only reason Trump’s potus at all is because he manipulated the Electoral College. By literally STEALING Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania (for starters — we don’t know how pervasive the theft was), Trump robbed the American People of their actual choice. The victim of this crime is us, the American People.

What are we — crime victims in this — to do once the full depth of Trump (and the Republican Party’s) deep criminality gets revealed. Are we to shrug off the crime — and especially the part where the criminal gets to keep what he stole? Those judges — those laws — the dismantling of our system of checks and balances — that’s all stolen property. It belongs to US. It doesn’t belong to Donald Trump or the Republican Party.

They’re the car thief sitting in OUR CAR — in OUR DRIVEWAY — honking the horn at us at three in the morning.

What makes matters worse? Turns out the car thief has pals in the police department. Fact is, the thief knows the “chief of police”. That’s going to make prosecuting the car thief — and getting our car back — hard. But that doesn’t mean we don’t do it.

There’s a big “Come To Jesus” moment coming us by-and-by. We’re going to have to reconcile the false narrative we’ve been living in — that Trump’s the legitimate potus and everything he’s done is legit and inviolable — with the facts: Trump’s a criminal. He stole the outcome of election 2016 — and everything that goes with it.

Are we REALLY going to let him — and the Republican Party who benefited from it (that was the point, right?) continue to benefit when the benefits were never theirs to begin with?

If we do that — if we let thieves keep what they’ve stolen — we will not solve our problem. The criminals will continue to own us. They’ll continue to have a say in how we live our lives — and even run the Rule Of Law. If don’t recognize how stupid that will be?

We’ll deserve every bit of the horribleness that follows.

It’ll be “Slavery: The Sequel”.

You remember slavery, right? That’s the abomination we created a false narrative around — that it was acceptable for a Democratic Republic to have slavery.

I Know Who I See Staring Back At Me In A Mirror… What Does A Republican See?

At some point, unless you’ve removed every reflective surface from your house, you WILL have to see your own face reflected back at you. I don’t know about the rest of you (cos none of us will EVER be in a bathroom ALONE with anyone else) but when I look at myself in the mirror, I look right into my own eyes.

In those moments, I bore in on “me”.

I see those moments as me getting to talk to ME. It’s me having a chance — if I choose to take it — to speak directly to myself — to that box of thoughts and traits and wild imaginings that I think of as “me”.

Now, let’s be clear — we all lie to ourselves. Mostly we tell small lives to us about us. Mostly it’s because we want to be “better” than we are: better friends, better spouses, better parents, better at our jobs, better at spelling, better at sex, better at getting what we need (vs what we think we want). Telling ourselves little lies is a survival skill.

Except we know we’re lying to ourselves even as we do it. Because it’s us doing it. To us.

We know what we know. We know when we’re bullshitting ourselves about it, too. Except… we are capable of keeping secrets from ourselves. Hell — I “kept one” from myself for 45 years (that I was sexually molested twice when I was 14 by the spiritual director at my family’s synagogue). I knew it happened. It rippled through my life every day; hell, it was the reason I tried to kill myself. That secret.

A part of me always knew it was there, waiting to be dealt with one way or another.

I make it a point now — my mental health depends on it — to be as honest as I can with myself. Lying has proved it’s no good for me. Honesty with myself to myself is where good mental health lives. That’s what makes watching Republicans lie so compelling to me.

Donald Trump is a text book sociopath. He has no conscience to speak of. He’s not capable of being honest with himself; lying — even to himself — is how he rolls. That doesn’t excuse the lies for two seconds. Most Republicans are quite capable of discerning truth from bullshit; they’re NOT sociopaths. The only good explanation for how Republicans behave these days is “guilt”. Knowledge of guilt.

Bill Barr may be a hard core Christian shill but he’s not an ignoramus. He KNOWS empirically that the bullshit he spewed the other day to the Federalist Society (like the bullshit he spewed at Notre Dame a few weeks before that) is rubbish on steroids. When you say things that are demonstrably untrue, it’s not because you believe the opposite is true; you NEED the opposite to be true because you’re a goddamned liar, a thief or a criminal.

My bet is most Republicans don’t see anyone staring back at them. They see a physical body. They see a face. They even see eyes. But there’s nothing behind the eyes — except fear maybe.

We know damned well they’ll never see an honest person staring back.

Show Me An “Uber Christian” & I’ll Show You A Man Who Thinks HE’S “God”

A few days ago Attorney-General-From-Hell Bill Barr gave a speech to the Federalist Society — that bastion of soft, white, institutional bigotry — in which he (again) donned his full Cultural Warrior battle armor.

Barr has a history of stepping in and deflecting justice. He did it most recently by hijacking both the end of Robert Mueller’s investigation and Mueller’s written report. Barr’s gross mischaracterizations of the Report’s conclusions weren’t semantics or “differences of interpretation”. They were a blatant attempt to convince the American public (via its terrible at details news media) that Mueller’s work exonerated Trump — that it cleared him of “collusion” and came to no conclusions about obstructive behaviors.

That is NOT what Mueller’s report says. It says they couldn’t come to any conclusions about whether or not Trump conspired with Russia (via Wikileaks — Mueller’s purview wasn’t the entirety of Trump-Russia, it was a narrow, narrow slice) because they were met with so much OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE. To back up THAT assessment, the Report listed (with receipts) 10 specific obstructive acts.

Barr’s history of bamboozlement goes back to the Bush Administration (Junior’s). Bill Barr circumvented justice during Iran-Contra — insisting THEN that Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger was being treated unfairly by the people accusing him of being a corrupt criminal undermining the Rule Of Law.

Bill Barr’s never behaved this way on the behalf of a Democratic POTUS. I guess all that Unitary Executive Power actually works when the POTUS is Republican. I find it hard to believe that Bill Barr’s dick would get this hard on behalf of Barack Obama’s executive power.

Bill Barr calls himself a Christian. He ain’t no follower of Jesus — that’s for damned sure. Bill Barr wouldn’t know Jesus if he stopped mid-way through nailing Jesus to a cross to spit in Jesus’s eye. Bill Barr is a “churchist”. Bill loves the INSTITUTION that Paul created. Being a die-hard Catholic, Bill loves his church above all else.

Funny thing? Jesus preached AGAINST having churches. He taught that no one needed temples or priests; one could speak directly to “the father”. In other words — a follower of Jesus does not need a church. They don’t want one — because churches are antithetical to Jesus’s most core teaching.

In theory, Bill Barr should love Jesus because Jesus would tell Bill — “Hey, Bill — talk to God, why don’tcha!” But that’s not where Bill’s head is at. He’s still riled up about something. Just talking directly to his deity doesn’t satisfy him. He’s still yapping. Someone’s telling him — “Not good enough, Bill! Go further!”

Now, Bill would say “It was God telling me that”. But, as we know, Bill picks & chooses his articles of faith ever so carefully. He supports and follows and does the bidding of people Jesus would absolutely disprove of. And if Jesus doesn’t like them — what’s in it for God? Are God and Jesus not in agreement about something? Something basic?

No — it’s because the only voice in Bill Barr’s head is Bill’s. Bill doesn’t hear “God”, he hears BILL. Bill may say he “speaks for God” or “understands God” (better than YOU — that’s the suggestion. It’s remarkably arrogant. It’s remarkably arrogant for bullshit.

Bill Barr’s hardly alone in this freak show. Pick the name of any televangelist out of a hat and you have another extreme perversion of (never mind Jesus) Christianity’s most basic message — you have a money changer fooling the faithful. The way every one of these assholes struts — insists they speak for the Divine (and you don’t) — rakes in the cold, hard cash — it’s as far removed from Jesus as human decency or honesty is from a Trump.

What is a Catholic Pope except an attempt to create a “god” who hears God (better than you)? A pope becomes “infallible”. What does that even mean? Infallible in what sense? If we make him draw a perfect likeness of the guy standing next to him — and he fails — does that mean he’s NOT infallible or that we need to redefine “infallible” to include “this”?

It’s ludicrous. Worse — it’s bullshit. Anyone who says they speak on behalf of a deity thinks THEY are the deity.

Fact.

Picture of a man literally praying to himself…