How Criminals (And Republicans) Think

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Republicans Need To Taste “Failure Gravity”

What is it that stands between most of us and criminal behavior — other than the fact that we’re not criminals by nature? I’d peg it as fear of NOT getting away with it. Most of us, even when we cheat in some small, pathetic way on our tax returns, we do it with at least a twinge of fear that WE might be the schmuck that gets audited, and our “tax fraud” revealed. Not only would we fail at crime, we’d suffer the consequences, too. What would earn rich guys a slap on the wrist could devastate us. Bottom line, we’d walk around with a scarlet letter on us — “C” for “Criminal”. For most of us, the idea of being labeled a “criminal” would be like crashing to earth, never to fly again. Gravity would win as it always does. And our flightpath would perfectly describe “failure gravity”.

Some people don’t seem to fear failure gravity. Donald Trump doesn’t. Or, he hasn’t so far. Same goes for Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy, Matt Gaetz, Devin Nunes, Jim Jordan, Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz and the rest of the Republican Treason Caucus. Hawley & Cruz are the poster boys for “no fear of failure gravity”. They both openly whipped the crowd to a seditious frenzy even before January 6 then doubled down in its bloody aftermath. To this day, both “men” believe they’ll get away with this. In their minds, they think they’re golden, their futures assured as the new face of the Trumpian Party. They don’t feel gravity, they feel lighter than air.

That’s why it’s imperative that we pop their balloon.

Ted and Josh — and all the rest of their caucus — need to experience a little of what the Coyote experiences when he realizes 1) he ain’t getting the Roadrunner this time either and 2) when he hits the ground this time? It’s REALLY gonna hurt.

The Coyote, industrious as he is (and who the hell’s bankrolling him? Surely the Acme Company isn’t extending him credit!) always retains his fear of gravity. Perhaps if the Coyote had to cover his own medical expenses (he must have the same Platinum coverage Congress does) — having capped out — he’d quit and let the Roadrunner live in peace. That’s another kind of “failure gravity’ — fear of your wallet losing “lift” and crashing to earth. Ironically, the “wallet” is most conservatives’ most vulnerable organ.

What instantly began to give the seditionists pause — in the midst of their celebrations — was getting arrested for having done the thing they were so proud of. They weren’t expecting to experience failure gravity and yet, suddenly, there they were — behind bars. Some of them lost their jobs — another effect of failure gravity. Friends and neighbors, family members and loved ones all began to rat the insurrectionists out to the FBI — that was failure gravity spreading like wildfire. Well, the fear of it. The problem with being associated with a criminal is the possibility that their criminal cooties might get on you — and criminal cooties = failure gravity. You get em, you fail.

I bet not a one of the seditionists thought for a second what the ripple effect would be should they fail. For sedition alone? It’s steep. Heavy, heavy fines and prison — up to twenty years. That’s a lot of prison dinners. And each one — that’s literally what failure gravity tastes like — the succotash especially.

If every one of these criminals had been given a moment beforehand where a “Voice O’ God” had pointed to the fork in the road they’d just reached and told them success as a regular citizen lay one way and failure as an insurrectionist lay the other, which road would they have taken? Most human beings — having no taste for failure gravity (especially BECAUSE OF the succotash) — would choose success and being a regular citizen. Would anyone be surprised if more than a handful of the current class of Republicans — Ted and Josh maybe — said “Screw it! Give me failure gravity or give me death!”

Um, dude, those two things might just be the same.

What scares Republicans most as the Biden Administration slowly coalesces like a young galaxy — having been denied a proper transition by pirates unconcerned by failure gravity (even the failure gravity of people dying from a pandemic) — is the newly rejuvenated Department of Justice as it will be under soon-to-be confirmed Merrick Garland. Justice, ya see, is failure gravity to Republicans.

One thing Trumpian DoJ’s were infamous for was NOT pursuing justice while, simultaneously, fomenting and creating INjustice. Remember L’il Jeff Sessions?

Ironically, it was failure gravity that caused Sessions to recuse himself from the Russia investigation that estranged him from Trump. Hey, even Bill Barr, Justice’s mortal enemy, had enough respect for failure gravity to walk away from Trump before the really sedition-y parts of the program began.

But, fear of failure gravity and actually tasting it are two different things. Bill Barr, betcha, still doesn’t think he’ll taste failure gravity. Rod Rosenstein deliberately halted the counter-intelligence investigations into Donald Trump and his relationship with Vlad Putin — right when Putin was in the middle of a cyber war against us where Trump was his main weapon. Rod wasn’t oblivious of the bigger picture. But he obviously didn’t fear failure gravity enough not to go down a road CLEARLY marked “TREASON”.

Paul Manafort and Roger Stone — though their noses were rubbed in failure gravity’s odeur — still believed this was just temporary. In time, they’d be pardoned. The taste of failure gravity would be replaced by caviar or the finest Russian vodka or virgin’s blood — whatever taste they preferred.

However — having to answer hard questions under oath will change all that. As a matter of course — just doing his job — AG Garland will pull threads on corrupt sweaters that will unravel with lightning speed. He’ll issue subpoenas that must be answered. He’ll ask questions that lead to increasingly uncomfortable places where there’s more squirming than answering. Want to plead the Fifth? Okay — that’s your right. But you and your lawyer better be prepared for where this goes afterward. That’s the biggest problem right there — the cost of lawyering up.

None of those yahoos who stormed the Capitol ever considered what it might cost to defend them against steep federal charges. That’s some expensive lawyering right there. Times how many seditionists? Geez, if I didn’t know better, I’d swear the Trumpublican Party was about to make a whole generation of lawyers fabulously wealthy. Suddenly, I realize how right my parents were — I should have gone to law school!

Now add in what losing their jobs will cost. And getting hired in the future? Even McDonald’s will look past them. Who wants a seditionist on their fry crew?

And who wants to co-brand with sedition? Twenty of the big thirty corporate donors have said they won’t give money to any Republican who refuses to accept the election’s results — that Joe Biden won fairly and squarely. That’s because the big corporations understand that THEIR customers don’t want to buy products from companies that coddle seditionists. Home Depot doesn’t care how treasonous Donald Trump is? Fine — we can all shop at Lowe’s — or, better still, a LOCAL hardware store. Remember Bill O’Reilly? The Twenty-First Century Fox board of directors FIRED him at the top of his popularity, while he was the biggest cash cow they had. They had no choice — their advertisers made it clear — THEIR clients — actual consumers (and, where the rubber meets the road, most buying decisions in American households are made by women) were simply not going to buy anything from companies in business with Bill O.

Money talked and Bill O walked (the plank).

Ask Bill O’Reilly if HE knows what failure gravity tastes like.

Mitch McConnell caved last night to Chuck Schumer, finally allowing for the transfer of Senatorial power to the Democrats. Mitch was playing junk cards and knew it. The second Merrick Garland clocks in for the first time, Mitch will get nervous. It’ll just be a matter of time before HE gets subpoenaed. Mitch needs to answer for quite a few things: his relationship with oligarch Oleg Deripaska in particular. Mitch needs to answer for why he refused to let We The People in on the secret Barack Obama wanted us to know in September 2016 — before the election: that Russia was actively attempting to MAKE Donald Trump president. Yeah, yeah, sure, Mitch — you didn’t want intelligence being “politicized” to your candidate’s disadvantage. But, your candidate was committing TREASON, Mitch — and you KNEW IT at the time.

You did, Mitch… you knew. Your whole party knew. Hell, a month before the Republicans even nominated Trump they were agreeing to “keep it in the family” that “Putin pays Rohrbacher and Trump… swear to God”. They knew.

Voila le probleme. That’s the real failure gravity here. Treason.

Treason is the failure gravity that the Republican Party believed/believes it will escape. It is incumbent on We The People to make sure the “physics of failure” frustrate them.