Not Hyperbole: Portland Is The GOP’s Attempt To Turn 2016’s Soft Coup D’Etat Into A HARD Coup D’Etat

Since election day 2016, America has been living through an on-going soft coup d’etat. If the point of an election is to measure & then respond to the will of the people, what happened in 2016 accomplished the exact opposite. The election’s outcome represented the will of a white, Christian minority to exert permanent minority rule over a diverse and diversifying majority.

How did that happen? Let’s be clear about one thing up front: this was not some master plan drawn up in a boardroom somewhere. Well, part of it was — the part where the Koch’s & the Mercers made a conscientious effort to use their money to deny the majority of Americans the government they wanted. They spent their money to deny climate change and to keep the playing field in America tilted entirely toward white, Christian males. To do that, the Kochs, Mercers & the rest of the RW money put Mitch McConnell to work denying Barack Obama — and by extension We The People who voted PBO into office twice by significant majorities — the judges PBO would have nominated.

See how that worked? Mitch McConnell was actively standing in the way of what the majority of Americans voted for. Remember this — Mitch vowed (when he expected Trump to lose) that he would deny President Hillary Clinton a single SCOTUS judge — even if it left the Supreme Court with nobody on it.

This was the beginning of the soft Republican coup d’etat.

The rest of the GOP strategy pre-Trump was a perpetual stalemate — a perfectly acceptable conservative solution to their problem. No progress meant things stayed the same. It’s not quite as good as literal regression but maintaining a status quo that continues denying people of color political power or any means to acquire and build wealth will did for now. The whole point of voter suppression is to reduce the number of Democratic voters to a manageable opposition. The point of gerrymandering was to divide that manageable opposition into bite-sized tranches that can never vote Republicans out of power.

The whole point of gerrymandering is to deny the majority it’s voice by over-representing the minority. That, too, is a kind of soft coup d’etat against the Will Of The People.

Trump’s arrival changed the game. Plenty of Republicans knew from the get-go that Trump had Russian connections. Current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy famously said out loud during a meeting of muckety-mucks at the 2016 GOP convention that “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump”. Then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan replied (almost as famously): “No leaks. . . . This is how we know we’re a real family here.”

Plenty of Republicans — Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, John McCain — have taken Russian money (via legalized means) into their campaign coffers. Money always comes with strings. Russian money comes with actual rope. “The Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC run by Sen. McConnell’s former Chief of Staff, received a total of $3,500,000 ($2,500,000 in 2016 and $1,000,000 in 2017) via Access Industries and a subsidiary. Len Blavatnik is a Russian oligarch with US and UK citizenship who owns Access Industries and donated to Sen. McConnell’s 2016 Senate campaign vehicles.” International criminals (like Vladimir Putin) understand how to create layers between their crimes and themselves. Everyone seems to be following the letter of the law while violating the hell out of its spirit.

The Republic’s saving grace up until Bill Barr became Attorney General was that Jeff Sessions — corrupt as he was — recognized that recusing himself from the Russia investigation was sure to put him in prison (if not today then surely tomorrow). But then, that was still the early days of the coup when the Republicans were just beginning to reformat their thinking.

The GOP — like Trump — expected to lose in 2016. They knew damned well that their taking Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin had nothing to do with “Secret Trump Voters” suddenly showing up in just enough numbers to eek out a 77,000 vote win between the three states and everything to do with a full on Russian propaganda assault aimed at dissuading African American voters from going to the polls and pulling the lever for Hillary. Meanwhile the old Republican playbook of too few voting machines at Democratic precincts plus all sorts of other fraud (see North Carolina) did its part to literally steal the election’s outcome — the one the majority of Americans (by a lot) wanted.

The Russians played the Electoral College and its racist roots against us.

Their one shot in 2020 is to travel that road again — hoping Russian propaganda (now improved by Chinese, Saudi & Israeli propaganda) will make up the difference in a muddied election where some variation on the Comey Letter will have made the polling close enough for the election day cheating to work its magic. What’s happening in America’s streets is making that harder to pull off.

The Black Lives Matter movement stole a marketing march on the Republicans. The Trumpian non-response to the coronavirus stuck a shiv in the heart of Republican electoral hopes. But Republicans are living in a nightmare of their own making. The pundits — ever lacking in perspective — continue to deny that the GOP is as guilty of high crimes & misdemeanors as Trump is. They think a worsening Covid19 situation will force more and more Republicans — especially those in the Senate — to openly deny Trump as August drags toward the fall and the election.

But they can’t deny Trump because their connection to him isn’t philosophical (unless you consider corruption a philosophy). It’s criminal. If they turn on Trump, they know Trump will turn on them.

The second Trump stops being POTUS, he will be indicted. And indicted some more. And investigated and sued and then convicted and punished. And so will every one of them.

Bill Barr is sending a private army into Portland — and other cities because that’s the new election strategy: no election. Or some attempt to assert martial law because “violence”.

That’s horse shit. I’m being kind.

When Trump announces the next phase of sending law and order to our cities, the only response should be Americans taking to the streets en masse.

Go ahead, Donald — arrest us all. Tear gas us all. Beat us all.

Good luck running on that.

Good luck winning on that — in the long run or the short run.

This coup d’etat ends now.

Since “Republican” Is Now Toxic, What Should “New” Republicans Call Themselves?

From a purely branding point of view, it really sucks to be Republicans right now.

If you’re still a card-carrying member of the GOP, think of all the awful things your brand is now co-branded with — joined at the hip and head like the most freakish conjoined twins ever: overt racism, religious extremism, self-destructive intolerance, backwoods misogyny, Bond Villain corruption and the worst kind of treason — purely cynical treason without an ounce of ideology.

Wow. Pick a side of history and it’s guaranteed the Republicans will run toward the wrong side. That’s also the Republican Brand now: being wrong about everything. But then, this isn’t news to the GOP. Whenever it was that the Koch Brothers decided to use their money to alter American politics — the Will Of The People be damned — that’s really when 2016’s coup d’etat formally began. The extreme Right Wing Money saw demographic extinction on the horizon — white guys would become such a minority that even rich guys and their money couldn’t stop them from losing power. Rich white guys weren’t having it. They got the poor white guys riled up against all those “others”.

Been there, done this. Again and again and again.

The “Republican Party” is about to check into the sarcophagus in the History Of American Political Parties Graveyard right next to the Whigs’ moldy pavilion. I hear the view sucks.

It’s a “Republican Party” as a brand is finished. Its luster won’t improve between now and November 3. In fact, I’ll wager, the worst is yet to come.

Plenty of people with living, breathing consciences have shredded their Republican Party membership cards. In the media, there’s Nicolle Wallace, David Jolley, Steve Schmidt and Jennifer Ruben among others. They’ve all vocally disassociated themselves. They, somehow, can’t comfort themselves with the tax breaks they’ve gotten while the rest of the country is betrayed.

As much as those on the left might love to have a free ride here — where everything we want becomes a wish granted — that’s as unhealthy as letting the right run riot. We know what that feels like. This isn’t a question of compromising with lunatics. We’re talking to reasonable people after all. Even when we disagreed with them vehemently, they were still reasonable people.

This blog is called “How To Live Bullshit Free”. The trick to living bullshit free is understanding that each and every one of us has a mountain of our own bullshit to deal with before we even think about looking at anyone else’s. Some of us have whole mountain ranges of bullshit in front of us. And dealing with your own bullshit isn’t a “one n done” proposition. Bullshit’s like zombies: damned hard to kill. But if you don’t deal with your bullshit, your bullshit will deal with you.

No one wants to be at bullshit’s mercy. It has none. I don’t want to be at yours and, believe me, you do not want to be at the mercy of mine.

I wouldn’t recommend “conservative” because, like “Republican”, the brand’s been destroyed by the people who swore by it. We get it — as their name says, conservatives want to conserve. The problem is what conservatives want to conserve — America circa 1850 when white Christian men (especially those with money) did what they wanted to anyone they wanted.

We’re back to the America Republicans want us to be. Sucks that it’s an America the overwhelming majority of Americans reject out of hand. Throw in a stolen election and this is why even “Conservative Party” would just result in good people dealing with bad marketing when they should be defending their ideas and ideals.

What should these good people call themselves? Normally, I’d be brimming with “helpful suggestions”. Something about this assignment fails to inspire. “Moderate Party”? Sounds dull as dishwater — like a party that hates enthusiasm about anything. “Heal America Party”? Sounds too sanctimonious already — and the moment they craft a platform, they’ll contradict themselves because someone won’t feel “healed”.

What does one call modern “people without a country”? Immigrants.

Mmmmmm… Not seeing “The Immigrant Party”. Not that there shouldn’t be one — and not that such a party (if it really spoke from the heart of the immigrant experience) wouldn’t be a welcome addition as we attempt to make our politics more reflective of us. And it’s not to say that this new party couldn’t speak to or represent people wanting to come here and be new Americans.

This new party is more diverse than that. I bet guys like Michael Steele would join it (he used to run the RNC). If it was moderate enough, I bet a fair number of conservative Democrats would check it out — and feel a fair amount of camaraderie.

The truth is, plenty of older African American voters are “conservative”. That is, they’re skeptical first. They want change but they want to make sure it’s the right change; they’re willing to be patient. They, too, might like this new party.

The same is true of Latinos and Chinese Americans and pretty much every group I can think of. It’s this diversity thing. Politics wouldn’t divide along racial lines if racism hadn’t been one of the country’s founding principles. Not that we can ever completely vent racism’s stink, but now that we’re all staring at it, we stand a better chance of not succumbing to its poison.

You see what I’m seeing here? A party as diverse on the “right” as we’ll have on the “left”.

But I still haven’t answered the question I started with: what to call them?

Maybe it’s not on us to name them. Maybe that’s something they need to do for themselves — pick a word, a short phrase, an icon — that tells us who they are. That speaks from their hearts to ours.

That’s what they’re going to need above all — the capacity to speak to the rest of us because they relate to the rest of us. This new party, I suspect, will better understand that all Americans (minus the 30% – 40% who are Trumpian) understand that we’re pulling the cart in the same direction. The differences are far less than everything we have in common.

And often, our differences are more like “framing” issues. Perspective helps those.

Whatever this new party calls itself — whatever their mission statement — I look forward to sitting down with them and getting down to the hard, serious business of fixing what Donald Trump and the Republican Party did to America.

We’ve got a mountain ahead of us.

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.

Damn Right There’s A “Rough Beast Slouching Towards Bethlehem To Be Born” — It’s Republicanism & Permanent Minority Rule!

Just like Trump’s election caused people to seek therapy in droves (that’s a fact — it really, really did!), it caused people trying to articulate what this experience is like to pick up William Butler Yeats’ “The Second Coming”. Bits and pieces of the poem are now part of the vernacular —

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

Or —

The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

And then there’s the “icon” —

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Yeats was writing — in 1919 (when he published the poem) about Europe after World War I. “Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world” — which was the context for the best lacking all conviction while the worst, full of passionate intensity, won the day. What Yeats doesn’t answer — though he seems to have an inkling — what exactly IS that “rough beast”, its “hour come round at last”, slouching toward its second coming in a metaphorical Bethlehem?

The seeds of World War II were firmly planted in the result of World War I. And World War I was, in most every way, the death knell of Old Europe. Power was shifting from the hands of the continent’s royal families (they’re all related by blood one way or another) to more democratically-run governments that relied more on the people for their right to govern than because they king said they could. Political ideas like communism were morphing from the abstract into the real with violent consequences. Anarchism seemed a viable alternative to the supposed “order” since that “order” had led everyone into the most catastrophic war ever.

Yeats was writing about a world totally in transition from one thing into another. The problem — what will that “another” become?

We’re in transition too — the whole world. The social democratic order we all took for granted is under assault by backward-thinking greed monsters who can’t bear sharing any of the power or any of the money. If asked directly, the majority of Americans have no desire whatsoever to live in a fascist state. Given a choice between that and a “socialist state” where — while they may not get to be quite as rugged an individual (if your rugged individualism screws with other peoples’ right to live their lives to the fullest, your rugged individualism needs to be curtailed — sorry), most Americans would opt for a country where everyone got to vote, everyone got health CARE (not health INSURANCE) so that going broke cos you got sick was an impossibility, and where everyone got educated or trained to the best of their ability — for “free” (meaning our tax dollars pay for it) because the smarter and better trained our work force and innovators are, the better we’ll solve our collective problems and continue to thrive collectively.

Kinda the opposite of what we’re doing now — while insisting our way must be better, the data be damned.

I don’t know that Yeats anticipated fascism’s rise. Extreme right wing nationalism was very much in the mix in Europe. It was in Ireland. And England. He could have been referring to the Bolshevik Revolution that blew through Russia in 1917, two years before Yeats published his poem.

If ever a man fit the bill “rough beast”, it’s Donald Trump. And the thing causing all those desert birds to flap around so indignantly is the thing that will “be born” when the rough beast finally slouches all the way to Bethlehem — authoritarianism. Permanent minority rule.

Make no mistake. We are living through a coup d’etat. The Republican Party — recognizing their eventual demographic irrelevance — made an actual power grab. They didn’t see themselves working with Trump at first. That part looks like an “improv” born of changing circumstances and tons of Russian Kompromat. We still don’t know what’s contained in all the stolen RNC emails — yes, the DNC’s emails weren’t the only ones Russia stole.

We don’t know, for instance, what caused Lindsey Graham to go from the ultimate Never Trumper to a man who could tell us in great detail what Donald Trump’s ejaculate tastes like. That’s metaphorical, of course. I think…

I wonder — if William Butler Yeats could experience a “second coming” — if Yeats could look around at our world in the context of his poem — what would he say? What would he think?

What would he write?

I’m going to go out on a limb here. I bet Yeats would write: “Didn’t any of you idiots read my damned poem?”

Dear Rich People: Your Money Will Not Comfort You As You Die

My wife and I finally caught up with HBO’s amazing “Succession”. We’re about to finish season one. The Roy family — mirrored after the Murdoch’s — are an object lesson in what happens when a family substitutes money for love in all its relationships. Spoiler Alert: the relationships always lose.

I’ve never been flat broke. Never been homeless. I’ve always had someone I could throw myself at if I got beyond desperate. I’ve always been lucky that way. But I have lost everything I’ve worked for. I’ve declared bankruptcy and lost my family’s home. That was after being relatively rich. Being in show business — and having succeeded at it — I’ve had many years making very good money. Shame depression robbed me of some very prime years but — that’s Life, ya know?

What coming back from deep, deep depression taught me was very fundamental. Things — possessions — really don’t matter. Only love does. When you get to that final moment — when your sentientness recognizes it’s about to stop being sentient — a taking of stock will occur. You will recognize what you can “take with you” — what will you be remembered for most in a headline-only culture?

If it’s being rich over being loved, that final moment will be even more irksome for you as you realize, holy shit, they were right — you can’t take it with you. The money stays here. It couldn’t give a damn about you. You’re just a warm place where it parked for a while. And now that you’re dead, dead, dead, it will find someplace else to hang out. Meanwhile your “loved ones” become increasingly ironic in name: “loved ones”.

What makes the Roy family in “Succession” soooooo much fun to watch is that they ring so painfully true — the rich love their money far more than they could ever love each other. They honestly do believe that the goal is the biggest pile of money rather than being the most (genuinely) loved.

Ah, but what do we mean by “loved”?

Let me throw down an example — poor guy — never had a dime (or a shekel) to his name. He preached a simple (frankly Judaic) message: above all, love — do unto others as you would have them do unto you; if you have two brain cells, that “unto” is “love”.

I don’t know where the fictionalized Murdochs will end up, but I know where the real ones are heading. It’s all the same place: The rich Father who everyone despises will end up so despised (because he valued money over everything) that the money he so loved will end up in someone else’s hands (someone he hates perhaps) precisely because those who should have loved him didn’t. Couldn’t. Wouldn’t.

The die was cast, turns out, at the beginning. Tragedy is inevitability with scene breaks. The values tied to money over humanity were delivered via mother’s milk. Such is doom.

Again, remember — there’s a big, big difference between how we, here in the outside world, see the Rich (imagining that their money has solved every problem they could possibly have) and how the Rich see the Rich. There, on the inside, they know how loveless it is. They know how no serious relationship can ever happen without legal scrutiny first because, well, THE MONEY.

Sounds like slavery to me.

We’re in a war here. The rich — having gotten richer — want to be richer still. The Republican Party has launched an outright coup d’etat — they’ve busted a cap in the Rule Of Law and tossed the body out into the street as a warning to us. They’re not screwing around. They intend to install permanent minority rule whether we like it or not.

That was the point of election 2016 (the coup d’etat) and now election 2020 (the coup de grace just without the grace).

Ah, but Republicans have one big problem. They’re a minority. When push comes to shove and people REALLY take sides? I bet those willing to “die for Trump” is a far, far smaller circle of crazy than we suspect.

They’re schoolyard bullies relying to their reputation as schoolyard bullies to cow us into submission. Those bullies have a bigger problem than the first one actually. The people standing up to them? Women. Lots and lots of women. And people of color too. Lots and lots and LOTS of them. When we restore the Rule Of Law to its rightful place and begin to live up to the ideals on which this country was founded, we will owe a massive debt of gratitude to African American women.

Despite everything this nation has heaped on them as a group and as individuals, they have remained constant. They saw through this country’s racist awfulness to the ideal we were betraying and held firmly to it. If we do survive this, we will owe a hell of a lot of that to them.

Their faithfulness should be our ideal. Their capacity to love despite the harshness of their circumstances should be a daily lesson about survival, hope and courage.

My group can relate a little. We’ve been kicked around a bit by the Christian world. We still ache to contribute to it regardless. Go figure.

There’s a saying in the Talmud (I mention this as an atheist but a cultural Jew) that resonates with me: “Save one life and you save the world”. I think Jesus had that idea in mind when (if) he preached. He wasn’t about churches and their rules — in fact, Jesus taught that one didn’t need the temple or any of its priests; one could speak directly to God. And God, Jesus taught, would listen.

Jesus also taught how unimportant money was in the greater scheme of things. Those following that teaching — those already doing unto others — get it. When you love other people as much and as best you can, you get a remarkable amount of love flowing back at you. That’s REAL wealth. And when it comes to building actual wealth — it’s a good place to start from.

Will one ever get Roy-Murdoch-Republican wealthy by loving other people instead of money? Of course not. But then, who wants to end one’s days in the poor house like they always do?

But, At The End Of The Day — It’s STILL A Damned Coup D’Etat!

Today is slated to be one of the very worst in American History. Today, the corrupt-to-its marrow Republican-controlled Senate will acquit the most corrupt POTUS in American History of charges he’s corrupting this year’s election.

Think about that. We stand poised at a Treason Trifecta — A treasonous president, a treasonous Senate and a judiciary MADE treasonous by the treasonous Senate. Keep in mind, We The People did not vote for this. We did not choose this. We did not want this. In fact, the majority of us voted AGAINST this. Our majority would have been significantly larger, of course, but for massive voter suppression efforts carried out by the GOP. Quick note — only one side EVER works to suppress the other side’s voters. That’s not a coincidence.

If not for Russia’s direct assistance, Donald Trump would not be president today. That is a stone cold fact. We don’t know yet exactly how impactful the proprietary polling data Paul Manafort handed to Oleg Deripaska was. Deripaska took that polling data — which should never EVER have been given to a foreign person let alone a foreign person with a well known background in spying & intelligence as Deripaska has — and converted it into propaganda that showed up as weaponized Facebook ads on individual Democratic voters’ Facebook pages. Especially African American Democratic voters. A lot of those ads spewed disinformation claiming Hillary Clinton was a closet racist.

We know — we’ve witnessed it — one vote can change an election’s outcome. ONE VOTE. That means EVERY VOTE COUNTS. You screw with one vote — you screw with the election’s outcome. The tolerance therefore for voter manipulation of any kind is ONE VOTE.

We know — because there’s reporting — at least one Democratic African American voter stayed home, successfully dissuaded from voting because of the propaganda. That means voter fraud happened. That voter fraud was part of a larger, coordinated effort to cheat the election. That voter fraud was a clear collaboration between Trump’s campaign & Russia.

You cannot cheat to become POTUS. It’s the law. Therefore, if you DO cheat to become POTUS, you are NOT POTUS. How can you be if you broke one of the basic rules of “how to become POTUS”? That means Donald Trump has never been the legitimate president. He’s been aware of that fact from the start; he’s projected it regularly — as he’s projected every last bit of his guilt. His party has known it all along, too. That’s why they’ve worked so hard to COVER UP THE TRUTH about how exactly Trump “won” — who was behind the “win” and what’s happened since to keep all that ugly Truth from seeing the sunlight.

This didn’t just “happen”. To a degree — but only a degree — it was planned. Mitch McConnell certainly had a plan. He’s been slowly hijacking the judiciary — denying Barack Obama lifetime appointments including Merrick Garland’s seat on the SCOTUS and then using his Senate majority to cram young RW nitwits & scumbags down our throats. Mitch has taken gobs of Russian money into his campaign accounts for years.

No doubt — because it was Mitch’s PAC and because the money all got laundered one way or another — it all seemed perfectly legal at the time. Ah, but context… We now know WHY Mitch was so open to Russian money. He saw Russia as an ally in his (and the RW Money’s) plan to deny the coming demographic Republican apocalypse. By partnering with Russia, Mitch & the RW money saw a way to keep from going the way of the Whigs into extinction — at least for a little while.

Mitch wasn’t the only one hip to the game. There’s that famous moment at the Republican convention in 2016 when now Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy walked into a meeting of GOP Muckety-Mucks and announced “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.” Then Speaker of the House Paul Ryan “…immediately interjected, stopping the conversation from further exploring McCarthy’s assertion, and swore the Republicans present to secrecy.”

In theory, Paul Ryan’s response should have been “You think WHAT? Have you got any proof of that? Holy shit — somebody call the freakin’ FBI!” But, Paul Ryan didn’t say that. Instead, he swore everyone to SECRECY — as if there was a SECRET that needed keeping.

Hmmmmmm… A SECRET, ya say…

I’m willing to give the GOP this — rotten intentions aside, a lot of what’s happened over the last 3 years has been “seat of the pants”. The Republicans knew what they were involved with but they had no idea their Russian partner could pull off what they managed to pull off. As surprising as I’m sure it was to the Republicans — to find themselves the winners of an election even they were certain they’d lose — it was equally confounding. Their nominee had “won” the White House. The problem — the Republicans had just committed TREASON.

We can document that Mitch McConnell knew as early as September 2016 when Obama called a Gang Of Eight meeting so that our Intelligence Community could brief the rest of our political leadership about the very real, very grave threat that Russia was posing to the INTEGRITY OF OUR ELECTIONS. McConnell flat out refused to let Obama tell We The People that OUR election system was under threat.

Now, WHY, I wonder, would Mitch McConnell do that?

The instant Trump “won”, if Mitch McConnell — or ANY Republican — had had an inkling that Trump’s win might be tainted — by Russian influence FFS! — they should have said something. They did not. WHY?

Yeah, okay — it’s a loaded question. We know why. Mitch & Paul & Kevin were all playing ball with Russia. They’d been compromised already — each of them — and there was no way to stop what was now in motion — an illegal attempt to change the outcome of an American election. To deny the American electorate its will.

That’s the bet the Republican Party made — that they could get away with corrupting our elections permanently — to seize power and to hold onto power. That, by definition, is a coup d’etat. The illegal seizure of power. Most coups are military. Ours was special that way. The Republicans didn’t need the military — they needed the press. And the press — by not seeing what the Republicans were doing — spread bullshit legitimacy over clear corruption.

Today the Senate Republicans will deny evidence & witnesses to clear criminality — all bent on further subverting the will of the American People.

If Americans — and our news media — didn’t grasp how very real a coup d’etat this was, this must serve as their (and our) wake up call. Never mind Nancy Pelosi tearing up a copy of Trump’s lie-filled SOTU address. Trump’s whole SOTU was him shredding the Constitution.

Maya Angelou Had It SOOOOOO Right – When People Tell You Who They Are…

If you want me to be your friend — but, the fact is, you hate Jews on sight — I’m not seeing a future for our relationship regardless of how much you tell me MY being Jewish isn’t an issue for you. That’s not the point, right? You’re an anti-Semite. It’s who you are.

I feel the same way about Religionistas. If you tell me up front (and thanks for being honest) that the whole basis for your belief system — the foundational core of why you do what you do — is based on a fiction (in other words, you’ve bought into the story instead of its point) — then I’m not inclined to take ANYTHING you say seriously. Why would I?

If you honestly believe — and insist on its veracity — that a sky creature had reproductive sexual relations with a female “virgin” who then bore a man-god who, at the last second gets repurposed with dying for all of humanity’s sins (if that wasn’t his purpose from the start then what’s the issue with him dying — since that was his whole mission in the first place?) but rises from the dead to “prove” that by “following him” you, too, can live forever… see where I’m going? That’s a whole lot of preposterous to accept as real.

It’s Magical Thinking. Magical Thinking is great when you’re five and you’re trying to decide what soda to have with your hamburger. It doesn’t work as well when you’re an adult and you’re sending women to prison because you don’t understand even the basics of biology — because you prefer Magical Thinking to science.

When you turn around then and tell us that you don’t believe in climate change — we get the context.

The same applies to Trump supporters. Yeah, yeah — bamboozlement. Lots and lots of bamboozlement — Russian propaganda and Trumpian pomposity — gobbled up and shit back at us by our own News Media. But lots of people got it. Lots of people saw this from the outset for what it was — a treasonous coup d’etat.

Donald Trump has never been shy about telling us who he is. The onus is on us for refusing to listen to him. All those people who thought Trump would “pivot”? Magical Thinking. All those people who still think Trump is a great potus? The very worst kind of Magical Thinking — Authoritarian Magical Thinking.

Anyone still saying they’d vote for Trump? They’re telling us something. Anyone not disgusted to their neutrons & electrons by Trump? They’re telling us something, too.

Let’s do ourselves a kindness — and believe them.

Can We Be Honest? “Conservative Thinking” Is An Oxymoron

I’m a proud Progressive. I prefer the term “progressive” to “liberal” because the word liberal has gone through too many gyrations over time to be effective as an accurate descriptor. “I’m a liberal” could mean a whole lot of things that “I’m actually not”.

Progressives, as the name implies, want to progress. We want to see people — as a society — progress. We want each individual person to progress — to feel like their lives are constantly improving — as are the lives of their children and grandchildren going forward. There’s a caveat there — progressives build into their calculus the fact that change is a constant. In order to progress successfully, one has to accept as a fact that things will change. People will change. Circumstances will change.

Change is a Fact Of Life.

Progressives say “Okay — change is a thing — let’s deal with it like big boys & girls, accommodate where we must but convert to our advantage in every other way”.

Conservatives also do what their name implies. They want to conserve — what is (if only because they failed in this instance to conserve WHAT WAS and so have no choice but to accept it) but really — they want to conserve WHAT WAS. Or how they “remember” what was. How they idealized “what was” in reality.

There’s a reason conservatives tend to be more institutionally religious — more affiliated with their church than the spiritual side of their faith. They like the rules and regs; doing unto others — that’s a little too hippie-dippy for them. You know — “progressive”. They prefer the concrete of Commandments. Don’t Do This, Do That — Or Else.

Conservatives want to hold tight to a thing that makes them feel safe and secure — a world where men were men and women (and people of color, non-Christians, LGBQT people) knew their place. They see the antebellum south as a kind of heaven on earth. They think white people ARE America. And that’s the America they want to conserve.

Unfortunately, that America is entirely a figment of their imagination. Yes, white people have always held sway. But “white people” have never been the engine that drives the remarkable (but flawed) experiment in self-government that is the United States of America. One of our flaws is that white people have held too much sway. The engine — the thing we call “American Exceptionalism” is diversity. It’s the flow of people from every other country in the world into this one — e pluribus unum — from many, one — that’s the nature of American Exceptionalism.

It’s the opposite of what conservatives “think”. That’s just it — conservatives, by their nature, don’t have to “think”. When everything you do is motivated by your knee jerking lizard brain, you’re not thinking — ever. You’re reacting in real time to a fear-fueled twitch instinct. Everything you do is colored by it. Your whole goal in life is to get the toothpaste back into the tube.

As we all know — that’s never going to happen.

This is why conservatives stopped playing by the rules the rest of us play by. It was leading them nowhere — except to extinction — and they know it. That’s why Mitch McConnell — at the behest of conservative money (the Kochs, the Mercers, Sheldon Adelstein) — refused We The People Merrick Garland (chosen by the POTUS we elected) — then conspired with Russia to literally STEAL election 2016 in order to shove conservative judges into every open judicial seat — seats they’d been KEEPING open for this very purpose.

Make no mistake — what Mitch McConnell did and is still doing — is a deliberate soft coup d’etat. Mitch is a traitor (not a revelation). Mitch is the conservative errand boy, doing what he’s told to do. Reminder — it’s not just conservative money holding Mitch’s nuts in their hand — it’s Vladimir Putin, too. Mitch has taken gobs (as in MILLIONS) of Russian money into his PAC. In the abstract — perfectly legal. But in the midst of a counter-intelligence operation looking directly at Russian influence on American politicians and an American election? NOT so innocent or even legal perhaps). But I digress…

Mitch isn’t “thinking”. He’s reacting. He’s trying to drag us back to a time and place in the past that never was — not because he’s thinking how good it will be for us if only we’d listen to him — but because he’s stuck in the past like a mastodon stuck in tar — sinking slowly — grabbing desperately at everything around it.

They can’t save the mastodon. They can only get sucked into the tar with it. Welcome to “conservative thinking”.

Can We Be Honest? “Conservative Thinking” Is An Oxymoron

I’m a proud Progressive. I prefer the term “progressive” to “liberal” because the word liberal has gone through too many gyrations over time to be effective as an accurate descriptor. “I’m a liberal” could mean a whole lot of things that “I’m actually not”.

Progressives, as the name implies, want to progress. We want to see people — as a society — progress. We want each individual person to progress — to feel like their lives are constantly improving — as are the lives of their children and grandchildren going forward. There’s a caveat there — progressives build into their calculus the fact that change is a constant. In order to progress successfully, one has to accept as a fact that things will change. People will change. Circumstances will change.

Change is a Fact Of Life.

Progressives say “Okay — change is a thing — let’s deal with it like big boys & girls, accommodate where we must but convert to our advantage in every other way”.

Conservatives also do what their name implies. They want to conserve — what is (if only because they failed in this instance to conserve WHAT WAS and so have no choice but to accept it) but really — they want to conserve WHAT WAS. Or how they “remember” what was. How they idealized “what was” in reality.

There’s a reason conservatives tend to be more institutionally religious — more affiliated with their church than the spiritual side of their faith. They like the rules and regs; doing unto others — that’s a little too hippie-dippy for them. You know — “progressive”.

Conservatives want to hold tight to a thing that makes them feel safe and secure — a world where men were men and women (and people of color, non-Christians, LGBQT people) knew their place. They see the antebellum south as a kind of heaven on earth. They think white people ARE America. And that’s the America they want to conserve.

Unfortunately, that America is entirely a figment of their imagination. Yes, white people have always held sway. But “white people” have never been the engine that drives the remarkable (but flawed) experiment in self-government that is the United States of America. One of our flaws is that white people have held too much sway. The engine — the thing we call “American Exceptionalism” is diversity. It’s the flow of people from every other country in the world into this one — e pluribus unum — from many, one — that’s the nature of American Exceptionalism.

It’s the opposite of what conservatives “think”. That’s just it — conservatives, by their nature, don’t have to “think”. When everything you do is motivated by your knee jerking lizard brain, you’re not thinking — ever. You’re reacting in real time to a fear-fueled twitch instinct. Everything you do is colored by it. Your whole goal in life is to get the toothpaste back into the tube.

As we all know — that’s never going to happen.

This is why conservatives stopped playing by the rules the rest of us play by. It was leading them nowhere — except to extinction — and they know it. That’s why Mitch McConnell — at the behest of conservative money (the Kochs, the Mercers, Sheldon Adelstein) — refused We The People Merrick Garland (chosen by the POTUS we elected) — then conspired with Russia to literally STEAL election 2016 in order to shove conservative judges into every open judicial seat — seats they’d been KEEPING open for this very purpose.

Make no mistake — what Mitch McConnell did and is still doing — is a deliberate soft coup d’etat. Mitch is a traitor (not a revelation). Mitch is the conservative errand boy, doing what he’s told to do. Reminder — it’s not just conservative money holding Mitch’s nuts in their hand — it’s Vladimir Putin, too. Mitch has taken gobs (as in MILLIONS) of Russian money into his PAC. In the abstract — perfectly legal. But in the midst of a counter-intelligence operation looking directly at Russian influence on American politicians and an American election? NOT so innocent or even legal perhaps). But I digress…

Mitch isn’t “thinking”. He’s reacting. He’s trying to drag us back to a time and place in the past that never was — not because he’s thinking how good it will be for us if only we’d listen to him — but because he’s stuck in the past like a mastodon stuck in tar — sinking slowly — grabbing desperately at everything around it.

They can’t save the mastodon. They can only get sucked into the tar with it. Welcome to “conservative thinking”.

What You Laugh At (And Who With) Defines You

The new SNL season premiered last night — and aside from Kanye West’s strange performances (culminating in his MAGA-hat-wearing finale number) was, start to finish, terrific.  Here in my house, we laughed a lot.

We were laughing, in part, cathartically.  We needed to laugh as a way to release the incredible tension.  But the laughter wasn’t completely therapeutic.    It was angry, too.  There were notes of righteous indignation and bitterness — because we live in a time when the Truth is being flat out ignored.

We live during a soft coup d’etat. During Cyber War while a hostile foreign power dominates us because one of our two political parties has been completely compromised by them.

There’s a lot to be angry and bitter about. And one way we ‘deal’ with that is through laughter.  It’s a coping mechanism.  But laughter also is a way that a culture defines itself, its boundaries, its quirks, its contradictions and idiosyncrasies.  We laugh at our hypocrisy and sanctimony.  We laugh, in a way, to self-critique.

Well, some of us do.

Others laugh as a way to belittle.  Their laughter doesn’t ever sound joyful or delighted.  It always has dark, threatening notes to it.

Perhaps it’s because of what exactly those people are laughing at.  For one thing — it’s never themselves that they’re laughing at.  That’s a tell.

People incapable of laughing at themselves are people without an actual sense of humor.  Not all laughter is caused by things that are funny.

If you think about last night’s SNL — and why it was so funny to so many people — it’s because it was aiming squarely at things we all know are TRUE.  It’s the way they attacked the Truth that made us all laugh.  TRUTH lies at the core of comedy.

(Often) painful Truth.

But a person laughing at, say, another person’s physical disability or handicap — isn’t laughing so much at a ‘truth’ as at the person with the disability or handicap; they’re not laughing at how unfair the universe is, they’re laughing at the fact that this person has this problem — and they don’t.  They’re laughing AT ‘the other’ — a person ‘unlike’ them for whatever reason.

When a group of people — with no sense of humor — begin laughing at ‘the other’ you get mobs.  You get fascists.  You get Nazi Germany.  You get white supremacists.  You get Donald Trump.

Want to know who’s who & what’s what in America today?  Look at who was laughing at SNL last night.  Who was laughing with it.

And who wasn’t laughing at all…

Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump Holds Election Night Event In New York City
NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 08: People cheer as voting results for Iowa come in at Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s election night event at the New York Hilton Midtown on November 8, 2016 in New York City. Americans today will choose between Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton as they go to the polls to vote for the next president of the United States. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)