Quick Reminder — The GOP Knew During The 2016 Convention That Donald Trump Was Owned By Russia; They Kept It A Secret

This is from the Washington Post, May 17, 2017: “A month before Donald Trump clinched the Republican nomination, one of his closest allies in Congress — House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy — made a politically explosive assertion in a private conversation on Capitol Hill with his fellow GOP leaders: that Trump could be the beneficiary of payments from Russian President Vladimir Putin.” What current GOP Leader McCarthy said was “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump”. Then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan — one of the fellow GOP leaders present “…instructed his Republican lieutenants to keep the conversation private, saying: “No leaks. . . . This is how we know we’re a real family here.””

The Republican family behaved exactly like a mafia family. It was all about protecting “la cosa nostra” — this thing of ours.

I’m curious. Has ANY member of the American press corps EVER asked Kevin McCarthy, Paul Ryan or anyone who was in that room what they were thinking? Has any reporter or journalist stuck a microphone in their faces and asked “Why didn’t you call the FBI if you thought that?” Or “Why didn’t you call the FBI if you even SUSPECTED it?”

That was their obligation — to tell something. To DO something. Because they had more an an inkling that their presidential nominee was corrupt to his bone marrow. And not just corrupt — TREASONOUSLY corrupt. Perhaps Paul Ryan’s response — let’s keep it a secret — had more to do with all the Russian money they ALL had taken on the down low. Pull a thread on Trump’s Russian dalliance, you might as well pull threads on every one of their dalliances — and there were plenty.

As documented as the Republican knowledge that Trump was dirty is the knowledge that Putin had contemplated cyber war against us for years. Cyber war (or asymmetrical warfare if you prefer) is as much a war as an old fashioned “bombs ‘n bullets” war. If the Russians shut down our power grid today, we’d have to sue for peace tomorrow — on their terms. Hell, the Russians placed themselves inside the Oval Office without firing a shot. On a cost basis alone, Russia’s cyber war against us has been the greatest military victory of all time.

How much money flowed to Republican campaign coffers via the NRA? How much flowed via Russian emigrees whose Russian government pensions suddenly rose from enough money to live on to enough money to cash flow a political campaign? How many Russian contacts did the Trump campaign have — and how many have they worked overtime to hide from us? And why?

Our news media, incapable of aggregating the Donald Trump story, forgot apparently that Donald Trump was the first president EVER to run for re-election having BEEN IMPEACHED for CHEATING in the very election he was running in! And the cheating he was impeached over? It was a replay of the exact kind of “foreign government involvement” in our election as in the 2016 election. Even back in 2016, our news media couldn’t grasp how to report on Trump. They thought “but her emails” was far more important than “Mexicans are rapists”, “Pussy grabbing” and “What’s wrong with making nice to Vladimir Putin?”

It boggles the mind that journalists — still unable to tell the 2016 election story — would be just fine with Democrats “forgiving and forgetting” should the moderates somehow convince everyone else that letting criminals get away with the highest crime against We The People — stealing our votes and the intended political outcome our votes demanded — won’t have permanent, negative consequences. “Both sides do it” journalism has convinced journalists that they can never “judge” anything. Moral v immoral behavior — it’s not for them to say. The president only behaves treasonously in the minds of Democrats. And their accusation is purely political.

Oy.

This happened. This photo. At Helsinki. Way more than a thousand words are being spoken here.

I’m old enough to remember when lunatics like me would get rolled eyes from fellow progressives when we’d utter the word “treason” in reference to Trump. Now it’s part of the landscape. It should be a featured part of the landscape — the fact that the sitting POTUS is a stone cold traitor. It should also be part of the landscape that the entire Republican Party — everyone who’s known or suspected anything nefarious since 2016 — also are traitors. It kinda matters in a cyber war.

And an election.

Dear Republicans: We The People Are Angrier At You Than You Realize

The Republicans are now all-in on their power grab. The soft coup d’etat they started in 2016 has reached it’s moment of truth. There’s no going back anymore. Either the Republican Party will finish what they started — and bust a cap in American democracy’s noggin — or they’ll balk. Because, really, creating a state of permanent minority rule and then RUNNING IT SUCCESSFULLY requires more governing skill than any Republican is capable of. Republicans hate government because the suck at governing.

What scares the Trumpanistas more than almost anything is what will happen when Team Biden restores a functioning Department of Justice whose mission is actually justice (and not being the corrupt president’s consigliere). Think of all the oversight that never got done because of corruption. Think of all the investigations into Trump and all his cronies that AG Bill Barr either derailed or killed. Think of the counter intelligence investigation into Trump and his relationship with Russia that neither Team Mueller nor the FBI ever began because Rod Rosenstein — a real snake in the grass — made go away.

Take Russia out of the 2016 equation and Trump never gets past the primaries (never mind “winning” the presidency). Without Russia, Trump does not win. What more does one need to know? Russia won the 2016 election. And that cannot stand. Neither can the political party that aligned themselves with a hostile foreign power carrying out an open act of cyber war.

That’s something else the Republicans don’t realize they’ve done. The anger at them isn’t simple. It isn’t about one thing. It’s about a whole bunch of things — that ultimately come down to one thing (greed). But, as we stand here in the midst of the most important election this country will ever have, what will strike us is how many terrible, criminal, corrupt things the Republicans have done — and how much they deserve to be punished for every last bit of it.

Were it just the treason alone, of course, that would be bad enough. Perversely, the catalogue of Trumpian criminality is so vast that we’ve already forgotten that Donald Trump is the first president EVER to run for re-election having been IMPEACHED for cheating in the very election he’s now running in. We ain’t in Kansas here, Toto. Even Kansas isn’t in Kansas anymore.

Republican greed and selfishness have now resulted in actual American death. Their response to the pandemic can never be forgiven. They’ve effectively gutted the rule of law. That can’t be forgiven either. We will get it back in working order though — and when we do, Republicans will be shocked by how many of them suddenly have giant legal problems. Pretty much all of them will actually. See something, say something. See something, say nothing? We have to ask “Why?”

Why did so many Republican say nothing when they KNEW it was morally, ethically and legally wrong?

We’re angry now because we see the Republican Party and Donald Trump cheating out in the open. We see how we outnumber them. We see how we are the majority and they are not. That they are still trying to impose their will over us — well, frankly, that’s really pissing us off. Having been on the receiving end of sexual assault when I was 14, I know what this feeling on the back of my neck is. Donald Trump and the Republicans may not be physically assaulting us but the impact on our minds is no different.

We feel under assault because we are under assault. And, having told you to stop repeatedly, Republican Party, now that we’ve gotten to our feet, we intend to make you stop. You will not like how this ends.

I’m not saying the feeding frenzy around the Republicans as the accusations start to land won’t be fun to watch. It absolutely will be. The catharsis will be exquisite. That’s what will drive us, drive our fury: our need to catharsis our way past this moment of epic awfulness.

There’s an “uh oh” moment coming to the GOP as more and more Republicans realize that not only are they losing the election, but also they’re entering a winter wilderness of shame, investigation, indictment and financial hardship. You can already hear them begging for a deal if only to lighten their brutal sentencing.

And the sentencing for what the Republicans have done will be brutal — at least it will seem that way to them. As we all know, most Republicans are nothing but soft, white underbelly. They’re bullies at heart, good at kicking their victims when they’re down — but only if someone is holding them down. They’re charmless sociopaths out on a joyride.

In their calculus, the Republicans must think we’ll feel obligated to keep what they did because… that’s how criminals think. They don’t want to give back what they stole but then — IT’S NOT UP TO THEM. We The People are the victims of a crime perpetrated upon us by the Republican Party. In 2016, We The People voted one way — for Hillary Clinton and whatever she wanted to make of her presidency — but, instead, were given Donald Trump because the Republican Party had conspired with Russia to alter the results in three key states: Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan.

We will arrive here: Donald Trump is not now nor has he ever been the legitimate president. He had no right or business taking any oath of office (that he would break even as he spoke it). He’s the only fake in our fake news cavalcade. Having never been the legitimate potus with the legitimate authority vested in him, at no point did he ever have the authority to sign legislation into law, make presidential pronouncements, put together a cabinet or even nominate judges. IOW Donald Trump never had the authority to nominate a single one of the unqualified hacks he nominated up to and including Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barnett.

There really are a thousand very good reasons for Americans to be angry at Donald Trump. What he’s done to this country is, well, criminal.

IF The Republicans Cheated — Padding Their Voting Machine Totals — Then The Argument The Democrats Are Having About “Who They Are” Is A False Narrative

Let me repeat: “IF” the Republicans cheated in the election we just held — using their unique, unregulated access to voting machines to inflate their own vote totals — then the argument the Democrats are having amongst themselves (about Progressives costing moderates their seats) is rubbish. It’s a FALSE NARRATIVE. Or, should I say, it’s another false narrative that sits snugly beside “Donald Trump legitimately won election in 2016”. The rule of law says that working in tandem with a hostile foreign government — executing a cyber war plan against us — voids every last bit of your presidential campaign because it wasn’t a presidential campaign, it was an act of outright TREASON.

And that void — it also applies to everything you did as POTUS. The authority to nominate lifetime judges flows from us. From We The People. If you cheat us out of the election result we voted for, you are literally stealing from us. In a democracy, there is no graver crime than denying the People their Will. That is what the Republican Party has done repeatedly starting with “Bush v Gore”.

The Republican mantra is “the majority be damned”. Their refusal — with the exception of four sitting Senators — to acknowledge the fact that Joe Biden is President-Elect and Kamala Harris is Vice-President-Elect isn’t some kerfuffle over an administrative detail. It’s part two of the coup d’etat the Republicans initiated in 2016. If the GOP thought they could have done what they’re doing now WITHOUT an election, they’d have done it. But that was a little too hard to pull off.

So, the Republicans allowed us to hold an election. As I wrote here, it’s bizarre that our news media consistently runs toward a magical explanation for “the polls being wrong”. They’ll accept that ALL THE POLLS ARE WRONG rather than ask, “But, is there, perhaps ANOTHER explanation for this bizarre discrepancy?” That’s what real journalists would do.

Donald Trump IMPLORED all HIS VOTERS to avoid voting by mail. He implored them: VOTE BY MACHINE. Hmmmmmmmmm… why was that, do you suppose? Even Trump knew a Red Mirage would only go so far. That was not the purpose of pushing all his voters to the machines. They’re dirty. All of them. By design. They have backdoors accessible to the companies — with no way to regulate the companies other than putting their owners and directors under oath and grilling them Benghazi style (which I, for one, am all for).

It wouldn’t take a grand conspiracy to cheat massively via machine and get away with it. Three people could do it. The guy who owns the company (who provides the back door but with plenty of plausible deniability), the guy who writes the code and uses the back door to apply the computer code, and the powerful politician who’s running the show. Mitch McConnell, for example.

Mitch is scum as a human but one hell of a politician. He knows how to count. And he knows how to make his numbers “work” — even when he doesn’t have them.

Take 2016 for example. The Comey Letter knocked three to four points off Hillary Clinton’s lead TEN DAYS BEFORE THE ELECTION. Meanwhile, Russia (using the proprietary polling data Trump campaign manager PAUL MANAFORT had given them) to bombard Black Democratic voters — in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin (Minnesota’s voter data was also part of that package) — with personalized Facebook ads that showed up on THEIR individual Facebook pages — that said Hillary Clinton was a racist. What happened to Black voter turnout in those three states in 2016?

IT WAS SUPPRESSED. Mission accomplished. Oh, by the way? IT’S ALSO A CRIME. You cannot win an American election if you do that. If you “do” win, it’s not a legitimate win. Cheating to win can not be “another way to win”. Otherwise, why not always cheat to win — since it’s easier, cheaper and much more guaranteed to succeed? Cheating to win is a crime and we need to see it as one and TREAT IT as one.

Having pulled HRC’s polling numbers to within the margin of error, voting machine manipulation became viable. A “surprise” outcome was still mathematically possible. Remember — Trump won three blue states by a COMBINED 77,000 votes. No one has EVER forensic-ed those machines (not that it would wield a smoking gun — the machine IS the smoking gun, you see).

The most basic way to win via padding is this: at some point a line or two of new computer code slips in through the back door. It reads something like this: “For every tenth Republican vote, add one.” Ten becomes eleven, twenty becomes twenty-two, thirty becomes thirty-three. Voila — you’ve added ten percent to your vote tally. Unless someone clever compares the total number of Republican voters with the result — and saw an anomaly — they’d never see the crime’s evidence.

Part of the code, mind you, erases itself.

If you’ll grant me that this mechanism isn’t a fantasy — that this tool hung on Moscow Mitch’s treasonous tool belt — then the rest falls neatly into place. It falls into place far better than imagining some “secret Trump voter” who lies to pollsters out of shame but still proudly pulls the lever for the man they’re so ashamed of: Trump. If the news media could only put a microphone in front of one of them, maybe it wouldn’t smell so bullshitty.

The “mysterious Trump voter” is a false narrative. Just like Trump “won” in 2016 is a false narrative.

Mitch and his Republican co-conspirators know they have a problem. Their lie has put forward the fiction that America is a divided nation torn between power-mad Progressive and kindly, common-man-loving conservatives. While America may have been a moderate to conservative country after World War Two, we aren’t that country anymore. America — as six million more voters just made clear — is a moderate to Progressive country. That will not tilt toward conservatism any time soon — or ever for that matter.

There simply aren’t enough conservative voters to make that happen.

Unless conservatives — via their Republican operatives — cheat.

The Democrats need to take a deep breath. They need to wait for a functional Department of Justice before judging anything. There’s so much corruption to be exposed — and once it’s exposed, the narrative will change. We’ll suddenly see that the story of Trump becoming president is far, far more complicated. And dark.

And criminal. A true narrative will take shape — about a corrupt political party fearing extinction and a con man under Russia’s control coming together in an unholy alliance bent on undermining American democracy in order to install a state of permanent minority rule.

The whole point of propaganda is misinformation. False narratives are the end game. Make Americans think they’re at war with each other. Make them think the party that lost won. Make them think a once-respected political party is still respectable.

Bullshit. All of it.

Please, America — please, fellow Democrats — stop listening to false narratives. Start triangulating the news. Start thinking critically about everything. If a Republican has touched it, it must be examined more carefully and not taken for granted. Some day soon, a new moderate conservative party will rise from the ashes of the GOP. Maybe “The Moderation Party” should be their moniker.

America will need them. Progressives like me will need them because that’s how democracy works — via counterweights. But none of those weights can be far, far heavier than all the others. Better if they’re all equal.

Election 2020: Prediction Time

From the second Donald Trump first stole the presidency in 2016, the only remedy available to We The People was going to be We The People. Barack Obama pretty much told us that in his farewell speech. As we speak nearly 100 million Americans have voted already. Considering how apathetic most Americans are come election time? That’s not insignificant.

Maybe being at war has inspired us to take our most sacred right as citizens more seriously. On the one hand, there’s the cyber war that Russia launched against us. On the other, there’s the Culture War launched by the snowflakey right wing against the diverse rest of us. Seeing all those Americans lining up to vote gives me hope — and it’s proving Obama right.   

If I go back and look at things I prognosticated before Trump was elected (going back to Facebook posts and tweets and blog posts), I’ll admit: I was wrong about Trump.  I wasn’t wrong about what he would do, I was wrong about how completely he’d get away with what he was doing.

I was wrong about Trump lasting four years.  I did not see that.  I did not see him pulling us out of the Paris Accords or treating Kim Jong-Un like a brother.  I didn’t see him betraying the Kurds or opening vast tracts of the Arctic to pollution.

I figured, by the time he got around to that stuff?  He’d be gone.

I was wrong, you see, about the complicity of the people around him.  It never occurred to me that the entire Republican Party would close ranks around Trump entirely out of party loyalty — in the face of the fact that he is a clear and present danger.

That’s not ME talking, that’s David Laufman, Former chief of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division’s Counter Intel & Export Control Section (that’s how real and technical this guy is):

This is not an ordinary election between two competing political sides.  Victory by one side will result in a very different America from what will result — sorry, what could happen — should the other side claim and get to experience their victory.

In 2016, don’t forget, the majority of Americans voted against Trump but got Trump anyway!  It feels kinda… un-democratic.  In fact, it feels kinda suspect — especially considering as the majority — by a lot — voted for the diametric opposite of what we’re living through.

That’s the thing — while life may appear to go on should Trump “win”, that will only be on the surface.  And for some.  For others, life stopped going on the moment Trump “won” the first time.  For plenty of people, life began to stop.  Literally. 

Pandemics are not political.  Why is ours?  Oh, right… 

The problem is, Trump did not “win” the 2016 election.  We still need to deal with that fact; in fact, Trump’s illegitimacy is at the heart of the question we’re asking today — or the predictions we’re making.  

In one sense, every American presidency is like a four-year story cycle with that president as the story cycle’s hero.  If we like the story cycle (and the hero), we’ll put our money down for a sequel.  If we don’t, we’ll start a new story cycle with a new hero.

Some of us understood what the Donald Trump story cycle was really about from the get-go: corruption.  His “politics” have been all over the place because he’s not a political creature.  He’s a guy looking to make a deal and if being a Democrat in NYC makes dealmaking easier than Trump’s not just a Democrat, he’s the most passionate pro-abortion Democrat of all!  Trump’s not political.  He’s flat out cynical.  He thinks everyone else is as corrupt as he is.

If only Democrats were accusing the Trump admin of corruption, an argument could be made that the accusation was political in nature.  But, there’s the Lincoln Project.  And a growing list of other Republicans — politicians, public servants and military people — who have come out and openly stated that they are voting for Joe Biden as should you because Trump’s so corrupt.  This list is amazingly long!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Republicans_who_oppose_the_Donald_Trump_2020_presidential_campaign

When literally hundreds of important, knowledgeable people from Trump’s own political party openly speak of how dangerous he is to the republic itself, I’d say that deserves our attention.

This is not an ordinary election.  The choice isn’t between two variations on a theme.  It’s between two diametric opposites.  With very real consequences for either side when the other side wins.

Very, very real consequences will ensue.

The best indicator of future events is past events.  When humans consistently behave a certain way in the past, we can make an informed guess about their future behavior.  A person with a history of getting violent when triggered in the past will probably get violent when triggered in the future (unless he does something to stop it).  If we can’t assess future risk based on the past, we’re left to face the future blind.

It comes down to what we KNOW empirically based on the past.

Part of our problem with Donald Trump — and predicting what he’ll do — is that our idea of him is tainted by television.  An awful lot of Trump’s voters voted for him because they believe to this day that Trump IS the character he played on The Apprentice.  Except he’s not.  Trump the “master negotiator” and “great businessman” was an invention of Mark Burnett’s.  

Master negotiators and great businessmen don’t declare bankruptcy as many times as Trump has — and they don’t owe over a billion dollars — AS TRUMP DOES — a fact he does not deny!

Before I make my predictions, one story.  From the moment the Steele Dossier first came to life, everyone around Trump worked overtime to trash its credibility.  The news media never understood it in its proper context — it’s raw intelligence data.  

Let’s be clear: Steele’s work product has proven to be almost (not entirely) accurate.  There are still questions about it but the overwhelming majority of Steele’s observations and notes pan out or have since panned out.

https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/the-inside-story-of-christopher-steeles-trump-dossier

https://www.lawfareblog.com/steele-dossier-retrospective

First, you have to understand how the dossier came to be in order to understand what it is and why it’s important.

During the 2016 primaries, the owners of the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative newspaper, hired Fusion GPS to do oppo research work on Donald Trump.  The Beacon’s owners were Jeb Bush supporters and they wanted dirt on Trump.  

Fusion was a research firm co-created by Glenn Simpson, a journalist who’d written most recently for the Wall Street Journal (hardly a bastion of liberal idealism).  When hauled before the Senate Judiciary Committee in August 2017 (the Republican-led committee was trying to undermine the dossier’s integrity), Simpson testified that, having gotten the assignment from the Free Beacon, the first thing Fusion did was its “due diligence”.

They got their hands on every piece of publicly available material about Trump.  They got newspaper clippings, books and magazine articles.  They watched every video they could find, every radio show interview he did.  They went to Amazon and actual book stores.  They even went to the public library so as to exhaustively find every piece of publicly available material — just so they’d have a STARTING PLACE on Trump to work from.

And their STARTING PLACE, Simpson testified, was the absolute certainty that Trump had used his (now bankrupt) Atlantic City casinos to launder copious amounts of Russian mob money.  In order to answer that question (and other questions about Trump’s strange relationships over the years with shadowy Russians), Fusion sub-contracted out the work to Christopher Steele, former head of the MI6’s Russia desk (MI6 is Britain’s CIA).  Steele had the best contacts inside Russia bar none.

The dossier is simply Steele using his sources to provide a picture of all the intel currently floating around inside Russia about Trump — and his relationship with the country’s leaders.  And its criminals — since, really, Russia is run by criminals.  

Okay, okay — I’m getting there!

My predictions come loaded down with baggage — they’re informed by a lot of reading.  There are journalists and other informed writers of this story who’ve brought remarkable insight to how I see what’s happening here: Sarah Kendzior, Seth Abramson, Rachel Maddow, Nicolle Wallace (Sarah Palin’s former handler!), Andrew Weissman, Mary Trump and Glenn Simpson himself (in Crime In Progress, his book about the Steele Dossier and Fusion’s own investigation of Trump).

Another thing I got wrong: like many people, I thought somewhere between Robert Mueller and the FBI, there was an ongoing counterintelligence investigation that was going to connect all the dots between Trump and Russia.  We learned recently however that assistant AG Rod Rosenstein, a Trump supplicant, told Team Mueller to stay in the Wikileaks lane.  They were under the impression that the FBI was handling the counterintel op.  But Rosenstein never told the FBI to pursue the counterintel op.  Deliberately.

In other words, the most important investigation into what happened behind the scenes in 2016 to explain the strange relationship between Team Trump and Russia never happened.  Those questions remain unanswered though they must be asked.

Let’s remember something: Donald Trump was impeached for cheating in the very election he’s running in.  And the thing he was impeached for was cheating in THIS election the same way he cheated in the last election.

That is my starting point.  This is not an election between two political ideologies.  

It is between right and wrong (let’s avoid good v evil, wink-wink).  

I’m not alone in thinking this.  The most prominent, forceful, brutally honest voice in the pre-election mix just might belong to THE LINCOLN PROJECT.

https://lincolnproject.us

The Lincoln Project is made up of Republicans (some now former Republicans) including George Conway (Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway’s HUSBAND!), Rick Wilson & Steve Schmidt — John McCain’s campaign manager.  These are serious Republicans.  Patriotic Americans. Good people.  Good people with whom people on the left disagree politically.  But we can all live with that because good people can argue amongst themselves and find compromises they all hate equally.  The stone cold truth is: the left needs the balance of the right as surely as the right needs the balance of the left.  Our success does indeed lie somewhere in the middle.  

To get there from where we are — swinging violently to the right against the majority’s will — to where we need to be — a more moderate “center” — requires more than just a jerk to the center.  That’s not what’s coming.  And a jerk to the far left is coming.  The Lincoln Project Team understand that.

This is from THEIR mission statement: “We do not undertake this task lightly nor from ideological preference. Our many policy differences with national Democrats remain. However, the priority for all patriotic Americans must be a shared fidelity to the Constitution and a commitment to defeat those candidates who have abandoned their constitutional oaths, regardless of party. Electing Democrats who support the Constitution over Republicans who do not is a worthy effort.”

Further, their web site states: “… sectionalism in the country and factionalism in government has led to ever uglier examples of how our political system is failing. President Donald Trump and those who sign onto Trumpism are a clear and present danger to the Constitution and our Republic. Only defeating so polarizing a character as Trump will allow the country to heal its political and psychological wounds and allow for a new, better path forward for all Americans.”

The have produced some breathtakingly brutal ads that point directly at their problem with Trump and Trumpism: it’s sheer immorality. 

An example:

https://lincolnproject.us/video/cruel

Remember as you watch — this is Republicans addressing what other Republicans have done.  They’re advising the undecided to vote for Joe Biden not for political reasons but for moral ones.

I repeat: though I have deep and profound issues with Trump politically, my deepest issue with him transcends politics completely.  My core issue with Donald Trump (as candidate and now as president) has always been with his total lack of moral character.  His sexism.  His constant houndogging outside his marriage.  His blatant racism.  His creepy sexuality toward his own daughter.  It almost doesn’t matter what the man’s politics are.  Even if I agreed with his politics, I’d object to him as a human being.  I am not alone in feeling this way.

I believe (based on copious receipts provided by good, competent, genuine journalists) that Trump and those around him knowingly committed multiple crimes in order to “win” election 2016.  One of the protections Trump is hiding behind is that DoJ rule that says you can’t indict a sitting president.  THAT is what Trump must avoid at all costs: being indicted.

That’s what every republican has to avoid — the legal consequences of their criminal actions up till now.

You have to have this in your mind when you turn to the future — and what will happen should Trump “win”.

MY PREDICTIONS

Trump won’t “win”.  He literally can’t.  He literally never did.  

The only way Trump “wins” this election is because he’s stolen it.  Again.  Trump has no intention of governing this country in the way it was designed to be governed.  He and his party are actively engaged in preventing other Americans from voting — because they don’t want those Americans to vote them out of office.

Sorry, that’s not how this country works.  Not THIS country, not yet.  

This desperation speaks to what will happen when We The People (not the Democrats or Joe Biden) throw Donald Trump and a huge swath of the Republican Party out of power.  People are coming out to vote who have never voted before.  Young people are voting as never EVER before — and they’re voting, most of them, in one direction: for something and against the other — because of what the other is and not because of its politics.

  1. Donald Trump will get blown out by the biggest margin ever.  More Americans will vote in this election than, perhaps in any other election ever. That’s for a reason: the overwhelming majority of Americans are done, done, DONE w Donald Trump and what he’s doing to America.
  2. IF Trump claims victory, it will be through manipulating the courts and the vote count.  As Trump himself has said OUT LOUD: the problem with letting too many Americans vote is it’s always bad for Republicans.  (“They had things, levels of voting that if you’d ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again” — that’s Trump during an appearance on Fox & Friends.) Again, Trump may claim victory but he will not have legitimately won.  He “got away with it” last time; he won’t this time.
  3. Joe Biden will win handily.  The Democrats will increase their lead in the House and they will flip the Senate.  Then, here is what (I predict) they will do
    1. The Democrats will increase the size of the Supreme Court — from 9 seats to 13 or 15 at a minimum in order to make the SCOTUS look more like We The People and less like just one segment of our population.  
    2. The Democrats will make Puerto Rico and Washington DC states — giving them two Senators each — helping to bring some balance back to the Senate and how it “represents” Americans and their interests.  
    3. The pandemic (as much as the Democrats) will make socialized medicine and universal basic income done deals. They’ll launch a massive infrastructure project even bigger than Roosevelt’s WPA — all in order to help get the economy out of the ditch it’s in — the ditch Trump and his coronavirus response put us and the economy in.
    4. As Joe Biden said, it won’t be up to him what “happens” to any Republican who might have behaved illegally over the last four years, it will be up to a newly rejuvenated Department of Justice — as per our Constitution and the rule of law.  If the rule of law dictates the Justice be visited upon all the Republicans now fallen from power then so be it.  They knowingly violated the rule of law which is what brought us here.  Behold The Day Of Judgment.

In neither case will life go on as it was.  

Life will go on but we are about to experience the kind of profound political and social change that followed the Black Death.  In the same way that bubonic plague ended feudalism, the coronavirus pandemic will undermine crony capitalism and usher in a more socialistic approach to life and governance.  

My big prediction? Change is coming!

NOTE: this post was also published at https://faitheismproject.com/.

Can We Please, PLEASE Agree: “Cheating To Win” Does NOT Equal “Winning”

This shouldn’t need to be stated: Cheating to win is NOT “winning”. It’s “CHEATING”. The moment we make cheating one “way” to win, we’ve made cheating the ONLY way to win because only an idiot would play by rules while his opponent laughs at the rules — and wins every election. It’d be like playing Monopoly by the rules while the other guy starts the game with all the bank’s money and all the good properties already “hoteled up”. Free and fair elections demand genuinely level playing fields. If the playing field isn’t level because someone is cheating, we need to stop the game right there and at the very least call a red card foul.

For the record (or the scoresheet to beat the analogy to death), we’re not talking about the offenses to our sensibilities. Trump’s presidential bid should have ended at “Mexicans are rapists”. It should NEVER have made it as far as “pussy grabbing”. The onus is on us — on our news media since they’re the ones with the megaphone — for letting Trump get away with such egregiously unacceptable behavior from ANYONE in public life never mind a presidential candidate. All terrible, terrible behavior, but none of it criminal.

No, I’m talking about actual Class A Felonies. Geez, you’d think a few of the lawyers-turned-journalists would glom onto that and refuse to let go, visions of Pulitzers in their heads. I’ll reference here for what might have happened had our news media done the same due diligence on Donald Trump that Fusion GPS (founded by former Wall Street Journal reporters) did when they first got hired by the Republican-owned, Jeb-Bush-backing Washington Free Beacon to do oppo research. Fusion found so much evidence of Trump laundering money through his bankrupt Atlantic City casinos IN PUBLICLY AVAILABLE MATERIAL that they hired Chris Steele (former head of MI6’s vaunted Russia Desk) to check it all out.

As I’ve also screamed and shouted here, alas — if the American news media could aggregate the Donald Trump story, it would have ended eons ago. The starting point for their daily reporting would be (worst case scenario): “Hey, news audience, guess what the corrupt-to-his-gills traitor and his corrupt-to-its-gills political party did and said today”. We’d have busted a cap in “both sides do it” journalism and stopped equating bullshit with truth.

Let’s go back to the sports analogy. Let’s stop equating scoring a legitimate goal with literally — with your hands — throwing the ball into the net and calling it a goal (a game-winning goal no less!) It’s not. It never was.

Offside is offside (we even have the VAR now to nail it by a shoelace). A hand ball is a hand ball (that bloody VAR again!) It’s all painful when it goes against you but it’s proof that the rule was violated. Putting emotions aside, we follow the rule. In the end, it will serve everyone better that way. If we want to adjust the rule, fine tune it and its application — that’s always open to us. But, if we had been following the rules — the ones that dictate how we play and don’t play this “game” — how this game played out would have been different.

Donald Trump buying Stormy Daniels’ silence, for instance. That, right there, was a red card foul that should have been whistled. Michael Cohen went to prison for his role in that bit of blatant criminality. Donald Trump inviting Russia’s assistance — OPENLY — was a red card foul that should have been whistled. “Hey, Russia, if you’re listening…” was an act of open TREASON. Especially when you consider what Russia literally did next: they DID SOMETHING. Russia ACTED ON Trump’s invitation — and Trump, rather than being appalled by Russia’s reaction, USED IT as part of his campaign.

Russia, mind you, was actively engaged in a CYBER WAR against us. Cyber. War.

Treason is treason is treason.

Cheating that’s also treasonous? We’d be insane to accept that in place of the results we actually voted for. I, for one, do not accept it. But then, I don’t accept cheating to win as winning — and neither should any other American.

Cheating to win is un-American. It’s immoral. It’s not winning.

The moment We The People make THAT our reaction to Trump’s cheating — to the entire Republican Party’s blatant abuse of the rules and the law — that anything accomplished via provable cheating will not stand — we will END the Republican Party’s reliance on cheating to win as their only means to win. Either they’ll adapt — and try selling their ideas instead — or they’ll die. Actually, if they adapt and try selling their ideas, they’ll die anyway — which they know — which is WHY they cheat.

Let’s stop indulging them. Let’s stop allowing their fatal flaw to be OUR fatal flaw. When they claim “We won!” the correct answer isn’t “Oh well, I guess they ‘won’ since they say they did”, it’s “NO, you didn’t”. And that’s it. The rules are quite clear. No, they did not win.

In our system of government, the authority to govern flows from US, We The People. If We The People know for a fact that our authority — it’s baked into our vote — has been not only questioned but attacked — then We The People have every right to respond accordingly (though within the law of course). Good thing the rule of law backs us here: demonstrable cheating to win is not winning.

All we have to do therefore is FOLLOW the rule of law and ENFORCE IT EQUALLY like we’re supposed to.

For starters, we’ll automatically be far healthier as a society because we’ll actually be living up to our ideals (or trying to a lot harder to anyway). Restoring justice to its rightful place — that will help a lot, too. But then the rule of law will demand that we deal with the criminality that drove us to the brink of authoritarianism — against the majority’s will. The rule of law will demand that we address every last nuance of criminality — and every last criminal. Got the stank on ya, Republicans? There’ll be no getting it off.

Gonna be a lot of old, rich, Christian white guys shouting “Out, out, damned spot!”

Maybe it’s time for a new “Scarlet Letter”. Let’s put aside the “A” for Adultery that Hester Prynne was forced to wear and, instead, repurpose those stupid red hats Trump’s sold all his dumber-than-a-rube-on-angel-dust followers by sticking a giant Gold “C” on them. That’s “C” for Cheater. By then, it should be understood that the “C” is interchangeable with a “T” — for “Trump”.

And for “Treason”.

Maybe it’s not a coincidence that the word “CHEAT” begins with a “C” for cheating — but ends in a “T” for “TRUMP”.

Indeed — let’s make it “end” in a “T” for Trump. Better still, let’s make it all end in a sentence.

The Correct Response To “Trump ‘Won’ Again” Can’t Be “Woe Is Us!”, It Has To Be “NO EFFIN’ WAY!”

Who needs a smoking gun when the entire forest is on fire — and it’s the very gun that started the fire? Not every dot needs literal connecting to be connected. We are surrounded by well-documented evidence that says clear as day that Donald Trump is not now and has never been the legitimate President of the United States because the rule of law says — clear as day — that you can’t become president if a foreign country helps MAKE you president (especially if that foreign country has declared CYBER WAR on us). Every last bit of what I just wrote is easily supportable with copious evidence — starting with the data collected by our own eyes and ears. Donald Trump is a traitor. Everyone who’s known or suspected as much — no matter how vaguely — was obligated by the rule of law to say something. When they failed that obligation, they, too, became traitors.

America did not vote for treason in 2016, but it is what we got. Rather, it was what the Republican Party — in league with Russia (Russia!) twisted the result we voted for into. What they couldn’t alter by means of old fashioned voter suppression — wiping names off the books wholesale — they accomplished via new-fangled voter suppression — flooding Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin with Facebook ads directed at individual Black voters. Or, rather, stepping back and watching while RUSSIA flooded those three states with the weaponized putback of voter data given to Russian Military Intelligence (the GRU — in the form of Konstantin Kilimnik and Oleg Deripaska) by Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s campaign manager.

Treason, treason and MORE treason.

Sorry, but no bloody way the most amazing (but flawed) experiment in human self-government goes down the crapper because of treason. Not when the majority have no interest in it — and voted otherwise. These criminals hijacked the bus once.

Sorry — they ain’t hijacking it again. The passengers won’t allow it.

It’s easy to become cynical. Driving people away from hope and toward the darkest cynicism is one of authoritarianism’s goals. Without hope, people lose their will to fight. What’s the point if nothing will come of it but terrible pain? If Donald Trump and the Republican Party thought they could take over America without having to go through this election, they’d have done it. This election scares them. It’s the one, gigantic variable they can’t fully control.

Oh, they can try to. The whole point of voter suppression is to limit the size the opposition. To them.

Democrats, you’ll notice, NEVER try to suppress Republican voters. It would never even occur to us to do such a thing. Democrats have this bizarre idea that you should vote for them because you like their ideas better. You’d prefer how they would govern over how the Republican clearly intends to “govern”. As of today, over fifty million Americans have already voted (four years ago, it was around two million votes at this point). They’re voting by mail and standing in long, long lines. Sure, sure — a few of them must be Republicans. But the polls aren’t trending up and down. The polls paint a picture of more House districts flipping blue and red Senate seats previously thought impregnable suddenly looking soap bubble vulnerable.

We’re gun shy about getting too excited about what looks like a blowout because, you know, 2016. But this isn’t then. This year’s version of the Comey Letter — the Hunter Biden Whatever — just blew up spectacularly. Last night Trump sounded like a lunatic spewing nonsense only QAnon-tards could fathom. Then this morning the Wall Street Journal (owned by Rupert Murdoch) blew the rest of it apart. Oh, did we mention? It’s all Russian Military Intelligence work product.

Yeah. It’s something our enemy dreamed up.

Let’s be crystal clear: Donald Trump did not “win” in 2016. He is not now nor has he ever been the legitimate president. Cheating again will not make him legitimate. It will only add to the criminality we must prosecute. Because that’s how we need to see this — not as the “oh well, better luck next time…” lament of people cheated out of their democracy (there won’t BE a next time), but as the last straw. The people behind Trump — the right wing money — represent a sliver of a sliver of who we are. Even the most violent Trumpanistas — the ones who will most likely go down in blazes of “gory” — represent not just a minority point of view but an extreme minority point of view.

We’re headed into winter. Where most of them live, winter will drive them inside if it hasn’t already. They won’t mask, won’t distance. Even as they gather together to plot against the election’s winners — the rest of America — they’ll be sickening each other. Yes, for sure there’ll be flashpoints. But they’ll peter out as the virus takes hold of their parts of America.

Remember in HG Wells’ “War Of The Worlds” how the Martians land and kick the crap out of earth’s armies? We look doomed until the Martians start dropping dead. What kills them? Germs. Earth germs. The Martians aren’t vulnerable to bullets or bombs, but they are to the tiniest earthlings — single-celled pathogens. That’s exactly what’s happening to Donald Trump and the Republican Party.

A teeny-tiny pathogen — a thing not even alive! — is going to save America and drive the Republican Party into well-deserved extinction.

The day of bullies owning the schoolyard is over. We own the yard now. We The People. And we do not plan to surrender it any time soon.

If We’re In A Kind Of “War Of The Worlds” Between Good & Evil, The Coronavirus Might Be The Ultimate “White Knight”

It’s perverse — that headline. How could something so pathogenically hostile to human beings — a virus able to spread so easily & kill its victims — be a “good guy”? As we know from History, some human beings are worse than pathogens when it comes to killing other people. Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin… Those are just the recent hot shots. The Catholic Church was pretty good, too, in its day. Wouldn’t want to forget about them.

Dark, Right Wing forces have found an opening across the world. Empowered by each other — and by flaws inherent in free societies — uber-conservatives have gotten shockingly close to knocking social democracies from their place as how mature cultures govern themselves. Nothing scares uber-conservatives more than the future. If they could halt evolution itself, they absolutely would.

As their name suggests, conservatives want to conserve. Uber-conservatives want to conserve in the extreme. They really do want to live in the past — in a golden age of order (where they’re 100% in control of that order) that exists only in their minds. The uber-conservatives in America are SO terrified, it turns out, that they were even willing to risk the punishment that could result from attempting a soft coup d’etat.

So far, the Republicans have avoided punishment for their betrayal. When you’re that good at being corrupt, you’re also good at knowing how to keep from getting caught. They now stand squarely outside The Rule Of Law. Squarely outside of oversight. Squarely outside of punishment.

Or so they think…

In HG Wells’ “War Of The Worlds”, Martians take over Earth. They make very short work of our armies and armaments. They subdue us quickly and it looks like humans are in for a long patch of “terrible”. But then the Martians begin to die. Almost overnight, their incredible victory vanishes — and all because the Martians couldn’t handle earthly PATHOGENS.

Quick note to you anti-vaxxers — yes, it’s fiction, but the concept holds for any organism vulnerable to other organisms. Europeans didn’t subdue the native peoples’ of America, their pathogens did. If the Martians had done just a little more homework about the planet they were going to invade, perhaps they would have learned about — and planned for — earth’s pathogens.

Authoritarian China demonstrated by authoritarian government is terrible for human beings. The decision-making process is restricted to those at the very top and no one wants to be the bearer of bad news to decision-makers known for killing bearers of bad news. Every day that China dithered — afraid of offending those in power with the news that a deadly pathogen was on the loose — STALKING THEIR CITIZENS — the coronavirus spread.

Because no one was being quarantined yet, all those people who’d been exposed to the initial infection headed in different directions, potentially spreading the virus to everyone with whom they came into contact. The infection rate rose exponentially — and spread out to the four corners of everywhere else.

Now that we’ve started to actively contain the coronavirus — and find a vaccine for it — we can begin the process of actually neutralizing it as a global threat to human life. It will take time. Meanwhile — China is shut down. Considering all the goods it manufactures (on the cheap) and supplies to the rest of us, China shutting down has the very real potential to shut a giant piece of the world’s economy down.

Considering as the super-charged economy is Trump’s one positive (regardless of the fact, apparently, that the economy was already supercharged during the Obama years), should China’s economy grind to a near halt because of the coronavirus, then all the widgets China supplies won’t be available. That means the bigger product into which the widgets go — that can’t get finished now either.

As supply chains freeze or dry up — even if only for a short period of time — the impact will be ferocious — easily enough to throw our souped up economy into a profound stall. If that happens — and, with no moves left in our hand to effect the economy, Trump oversees a massive recession, even the stupidest journalist would have to give in — Trump will get blamed for being an incompetent and a traitor.

Wars are messy thing and we are most definitely in one. This is the first world wide Cyber War — World War Three, it will soon be known as. America’s election was attacked by a cyber-experienced Russian spy shop. How much control they have over this Frankenstein’s Monster — we don’t know yet.

But, we’re about to find out.

It’s perverse as hell to root for a nasty little pathogen over innocent humans. But, clearly, Big Ideas will not stop criminals from harming the rest of us. Hopefully Little single-celled organisms can rise to the challenge — and save us from ourselves.

The Reason So Many American Journalists Suck At Journalism Is Cos They Suck At STORYTELLING

Ever hear someone massacre a joke? They trip all over the set-up and blow the punch line then wonder why no one’s laughing. That’s America’s news media — except it’s not a joke they massacred, it’s the truth.

While everyone has a story, not every can tell a story — or tell their story. What most of America’s journalists don’t seem to get (it’s not evident in their reporting) is that Trump-Russia IS their story. They’re not just neutral observers in this dumpster fire, they’re both witnesses and active participants. Their very neutrality, in fact, has been turned against America.

Russia is attacking us as we speak. We are living through World War Three — a Cyber War, an Information War, an Intelligence War — no less threatening to our security and future as a bombs n bullets war. Instead of ammo, the Russians fire lies, propaganda & misinformation at us — and they use our own news media to do it. And our news media — unaware to see that THEY are indeed PART of the story — continue to go along with it. They continue to repeat Russia’s misinformation & disinformation.

Lies mingle with Truth to create a new-fangled concoction of half-truths — like a poisonous slurry that’s about to swamp us all.

Good storytelling demands that the storyteller have PERSPECTIVE. To gain perspective, you have to continually add to your story’s foundation. As you learn new info, you make it part of the story. When you learn that Trump lies more than he tells the truth, you make “Trump’s a liar” part of the story. You don’t start every day’s reporting by assuming he’s telling the Truth. That would take the story backwards.

By the same token — when you report breathlessly about all the ways Trump is betraying the country and then turn to the subject of election 2020? Trump doesn’t suddenly STOP being that traitor. He’s the TRAITOR who’s “running for office” again — by using Russia to guarantee his win — just as he did in 2016. Our MSM keeps saying “Russia meddled in 2016” as if “meddled” is some vague abstraction with results no one could possibly identify.

That’s our MSM normalizing what should never be normalized.

When Fusion GPS first got hired by the Washington Free Beacon to do oppo research on Trump, they did their “due diligence”. They got ahold of every bit of publicly available material on Trump: video, newspaper stories, magazine articles, radio interviews — everything. What they found there — in publicly available material — so concerned them about Trump’s obvious criminality (at the very least he laundered Russian mob money through his Atlantic City casinos) that they contracted with former MI6 intel pro Chris Steele whose contacts inside Russia were unequaled.

Fusion saw the story — and incorporated it into their narrative.

Our MSM, on the other hand, keeps (even now when so much of Steele’s raw intel has been proven correct) referring to Steele’s output as “unverified”. That might have been so two years ago. It’s not true today. To say it is to distort the story significantly.

The whole basis for storytelling is “add information”. Learn something new about the story? You add it to the story — and make it part of the storyTELLING.

And yet — on MSNBC & CNN, we still get reporters who refuse to add information to the story — or do so grudgingly then wonder why everyone else always scoops them.

Maybe our reporter class should go back to basics. Learn how to tell a joke. Get good at it THEN return to reporting. Otherwise they’ll continue turning our Democracy into a joke — and ain’t no one gonna laugh at that.

Japan’s Pearl Harbor Surprise Attack Wants To Teach Us A Lesson About Right Now; Will We Listen?

We think of WWII starting for Americans the moment the Japanese attacked our Naval base at Pearl Harbor. That’s not entirely accurate.

The Japanese arrived at Pearl Harbor and started bombing it — killing Americans & doing grave harm to our navy. But the Japanese didn’t just suddenly appear at Pearl Harbor. They had to plan their attack. They had to move assets into forward positions in order to launch it. Then they had to set off on the attack itself.

The Japanese arrived at Pearl Harbor at 7:55 a.m. Hawaii time. A Japanese dive bomber bearing the red symbol of the Rising Sun of Japan on its wings dove from the clouds above Oahu. But the Japanese task force that attacked Pearl Harbor — including six aircraft carriers, left Japan on November 26, 1941 — two weeks earlier. That’s really when Japan declared war on us — with the intention of attacking the base at Pearl Harbor.

In theory, a murder isn’t a murder until the victim dies. But, up to that moment, it’s still attempted murder. There’s still the plotting of a crime, too — both being criminal acts. The act of rearing back to throw a punch you intend to throw regardless is very much part of your attack. The instant you pull the trigger, the act is irreversible.

We’ll set the planning aside — too abstract.

But the moment the Japanese fleet left port — the attack was on. The only thing standing between the Japanese and carrying out the attack was time and distance. And then timing so as to arrive when the Americans living at Pearl Harbor would be least likely to expect anything — and most vulnerable to the attack’s intended outcome: the crippling of the American Pacific fleet.

We are under cyber attack. We’ve BEEN under cyber attack for nearly four years now. Donald Trump isn’t POTUS because he “won” election 2016 freely & fairly, he “won” because Russia launched the most successful intelligence operation in history — a CYBER WAR relying on, among other things, weaponized polling data and a steady stream of propaganda.

Anyone who thinks you need bombs or bullets to win a war anymore will lose every war they ever fight going forward. Cyber war is cheap and just as effective — if not more effective. Fact: Russia (or perhaps various other bad actors) could shut down America’s power grid tomorrow — and we would be forced to sue for peace — losing the war.

We are under attack. Russia has already put its asset into the White House. They’re using that asset — Trump and everyone around him — to actively undermine every facet of American Democracy. If our Republic goes away, there will be no backstop to Russian hegemony. Putin will have his Greater Russia back. The world will have more authoritarianism, more corruption, more darkness.

Until we — our news media especially — embrace this Truth — that yes, indeedy, we ARE under attack — this very well could be World War Three we’re living through — we will not stop it from happening.

It seems like a no-brainer. Someone’s hitting you — hard. Either you demand that they stop hitting you or you return fire — and you force them to stop.

That’s where we are. It’s where we’ve been — in the not-all-that-distant past. Can we not repeat yet another historical mistake because we refused to take any lessons from it?