Nobody with an “R” next to their names has any delusions about who or what Donald Trump is. When they surrendered their party to him, they did it knowing exactly what the outcome would be — because they wanted what he wanted: permanent power.
Republicans are playing for keeps because they have to. It’s all or nothing now because they’ve crossed a literal line. They need to stop America from ever enforcing the Rule Of Law ever again (it’s still around, we’ve stopped demanding that everyone follow it) because when we do? Every Republican will have to lawyer up.
From the moment current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy told a roomful of Republican muckety-mucks at the 2016 Republican convention that “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump”, it’s been an inarguable fact: Republicans knew Trump was more than just “corrupt”. They knew he was a traitor.
They didn’t accidentally drink the Trump Kool-Aid, they poured themselves a big, tall glass and downed it in one big, thirsty gulp.
And now they’re pouring themselves another glass.
You could smell the Kool Aid on Steve Scalise’s breath this morning right through the TV as he gave his opening statement to the House Covid Panel’s investigation into the Trump Administration’s criminally negligent response to the coronavirus pandemic. Never mind that more than 150,000 Americans are already dead with 4,500,000+ already infected — and the pandemic raging across parts of America, Scalise insisted that Trump’s “plan” was doing great things — and we should follow him — even if his “plan” takes us over the cliff.
Conservatives like Scalise and Trump (he’s the epitome of conservatism — that’s why they backed him in the end — that’s why they tolerated all the nonsense because tax cuts!) rely on people accepting what they say without questioning it.
They want us to believe that all those artificial flavors are real. That the bitter aftertaste is a good thing — so what if it never goes away!
But, here’s the thing: it ain’t drinking the Kool Aid that makes conservatives — and Republicans — so dangerous. It’s taking the cup into their hands that brands them. The moment they accepted the cup — they bought in. Jim Jones passed out the cups first. And everybody took one. Everyone needed to have a cup first before they could drink the poison.
Yes, there’s pressure to take the cup. And being the first to say “NO!” would take guts. But then, consider the consequences. You’d have to know — just from looking around into other peoples’ eyes: you’re not alone. Plenty of you are thinking: “Don’t drink it — hell, don’t take the cup!” That’s the moment of Truth.
You’ve already considered the possibility of taking it instead of rejecting it right out of hand because it’s poison and you know it!
When Steve Scalise gave his opening statement this morning, he wasn’t offering up the Kool-Aid so much as he was the cup into which he wanted to pour the poison. And you better believe that Scalise and Trump want to overfill our cup. They want to watch us drink and then be ready to offer us more.
The painful irony is, Scalise & Trump expect this to be how their political opponents end up —
They don’t realize — this both literally and metaphorically — is how America will end up.
Sorry, Steve. Sorry, Don-Don. The rest of America has other plans. We’ll drink something healthier, thanks!
Some false narratives are okay — Santa Claus, for instance.
In point of fact, no jolly, old white man lives at the North Pole where he “employs” (can we please see a labor contract?) elves who make toys for every child on earth — to be delivered over roughly a 12 – 24 hour period via a low tech sleigh pulled by dubious-tech flying reindeer.
It’s a false narrative to tell kids that a human such as Santa exists therefore they better behave themselves. Every time we tell a kid this tripe, we’re telling them we want an untruth to be the basis for their behavior. It won’t be the last time we pepper spray people with untruth and insist they believe it.
Most kids figure it out eventually. There’s no Santa Claus. Yeah, yeah — “culture” and “harmless” and “tradition” but a lie is a lie is a lie. We are still justifying a lie when we could just as easily have told them the truth.
Santa is a false narrative. So is “Donald Trump is a legitimate president therefore we should treat him as such”.
Donald Trump has never been legitimate. He’s been telling us that from the get-go. It might behoove us to listen to him. But, Donald Trump pushing a false narrative — his legitimacy — is one thing. The news media doing it — that’s a whole other thing entirely. That, probably, continues to be the biggest impediment to America solving its problems quickly (or at least more quickly): in the face of mounting evidence — that they themselves were reporting — the news media continues to report on Trump as if he was “normal” — as if his absurd, abnormal-to-its-core presidency was “normal”.
The evidence that our press lives inside a false narrative shows itself every time a reporter wonders aloud if Trump has finally “pivoted” or “changed tone” when all he did actually was read off a teleprompter or NOT act like an ape for two seconds. He didn’t call Mexicans rapists again or tell us how easy it is to score with chicks when you’re famous. Our press lives inside a false narrative that racists & rapists suddenly reform — as if they experienced a religious conversion.
Our press apparently believes in religious conversions. You know, cos “magic!”
I’d love to know who first belched out “both sides do it” and then made that pervasive idiocy the curriculum across America’s J schools. It’s lazy — intellectually, morally, reportorially. It starts by removing itself from the moral equation. “We’re not there to judge”, this brand of journalism tells itself. “We’re just there to report ‘the facts’ as we see them.” But, if you don’t judge facts — that is, if you give all information equal weight — true or untrue — then the the first thing that dies is perspective.
Everything’s a flat, treeless plain. No hills. No valleys.
When a terrible journalist like NBC News’ Kelly O’Donnell repeats back the vile, lying puke that Trump or his press office spews — as if it “could” be true (and therefore they’re obligated to report it) — they’re giving it credence. It could be true. No, it can’t. And no amount of “coulding” will change that. Kelly O’Donnell reports virtually context free. I’m sure she’s a lovely person — warm and amiable (it’s how I perceive her anyway) — but an open mic & a camera on sticks could do what she’s doing and for a lot less money.
Bad journalists like Kelly foster the notion that Donald Trump’s presidency falls within the “perfectly normal” range. As Kelly is a trusted, professional storyteller (that’s what journalists are), the public then takes Kelly’s presentation as valid. Trump’s utter bullshit — delivered to Kelly with the utmost cynicism — has now been fed to the American news watching public as if it was “good for them”.
Kelly made bullshit wholesome.
It starts there. Then grows. No — it metastasizes because that’s what this is — a cancer. False narratives are a cancer of the consciousness. They get us believing things that are verifiably untrue (like “the coronavirus will just disappear!” — which will ultimately kill us just like a cancer.
Donald Trump turned his whole coronavirus response into a false narrative — into a whole string of them actually. The virus will disappear. It only kills old people. Masks make me look weak. He turned Black Lives Matter into a false narrative that this is about civil unrest. He turned his entire presidency into a false narrative that he isn’t owned outright by Russia. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to connect those dots.
You can’t ease yourself off of false narratives. You have to go cold turkey. Otherwise the false narrative will lure you back — using some false narrative.
We’re going to have to come to terms with the fact that Donald Trump’s entire presidency has been a giant false narrative. The rule of law has never stopped functioning; we simply stopped enforcing it. But, when we do go back to enforcing it, we’ll be obligated to deal with this patch right here — when we stopped enforcing it.
The rule of law is very clear: if you cheat to become the president, then you are not (and never have been) president. One plus one can never equal three. If Trump’s very legitimacy is a false narrative then everything inside the false narrative is — say it with me — “FALSE!” An illegitimate president never had the legitimate authority to anything presidential — especially nominate judges (with lifetime appointments). When you consider that getting to appoint those judges (despite Trump’s known illegitimacy) was the point of the exercise — none of this comports with the rule of law. The false narrative would be that it has something to do with Justice. It does not.
A lot of us felt the false narrative kick in the night Trump “won” the 2016 election. We were incredulous, terrified, gob-smacked. But we were also reacting in real time — and with incredible accuracy — to something very real: a strong sense that the man who’d just become president did not win.
We were right. That’s the narrative we should be starting from — that our news media should be starting from.
Donald Trump’s legitimacy is the biggest false narrative going.
The Trump White House — a literal house of lies — wants America to believe what it says versus what an actual doctor says about how best to handle our coronavirus response. That’s while America becomes the one country on earth (aside from Brazil maybe) that can’t handle the coronavirus because it can’t help lying about it.
The WH wants to paint Dr. Anthony Fauci as “untrustworthy” because earlier in our learning process, he didn’t know everything that we know now. They want to equate lack of knowledge with deliberately lying. Well, of COURSE they do — they’re all criminals doing everything they can think of to save themselves — including murdering tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of Americans using a virus & chaos as their lethal weapons.
Donald Trump counts on what Steve Bannon called “flooding the zone with shit”. It’s the “How To Make A Rabbit Hole” playbook.
Obfuscation and distraction are the point. While we spin our wheels in consternation at the latest outrage, Trump is busily thieving somewhere else in the environment or laying the groundwork for an even bigger score somewhere down the line.
Each Trumpian lie is a rabbit hole. The danger — and our press simply can’t keep out of it — is that you’ll follow Trump down whichever one he’s braying from. There’s never a good outcome.
“It’s a hoax” is a rabbit hole. Whatever Trump calls a “hoax” is guaranteed to be one hundred percent true. Nothing hoax about. The only correct answer is “No, it’s not”. Any scratching of the head and wondering “Wow, does he really think it’s a hoax?” is the rabbit hole reaching up to grab you and pull you into it.
No, of course Trump doesn’t think it’s a hoax. He knows better. But now that he’s got you asking questions about it, it might as well be real because here we all are talking about it. The rabbit hole just became real.
The very worst part about going down the shitter the way we are is how stupid we are for going down the shitter. Watching other countries not go down the shitter because they weren’t as stupid — it’s salt in the wound.
But, Republicans aren’t just being stupid here. They’re being very deliberate. They still hold most of the political power; they’re stealing even more as we watch. Ironically, even with all their thievery up to this point, had the Republicans seized the marketing high road — and demonstrated incredible efficiency at knocking the coronavirus down, they would have made it much harder for Joe Biden to clean their clock the way he’s going to. To have seized that high road however, Republicans would have had to have acted like Democrats — and cared more about people than profits.
The Trump White House knew it was profiting from our failing pandemic response. That was the point. Helping anyone? If that happened, too, okay. Whatevs.
On the one hand, Donald Trump is not even remotely stupid. He’s got the smarts any bully has — for terrorizing people. He knows a thousand ways to get you to do what he wants you to do. None of them are good for you. Like he cares. But, on the other hand, Donald Trump knows nothing. Being a sociopath, he’s incapable of learning anything from another human being. He simply can’t relate to us enough to do it. But Trump also is genetically predisposed toward criminality. Google the Trump family. I ain’t lying.
Trump lives to serve his own greed. End of story. Everyone else, everything else he comes across is just a means to his end. Do what he wants — even if what he wants is stupid. Donald Trump has forced America to be stupid. He has stupided us into where we are. He’s also treasoned us into where are but one could argue that committing treason is stupid so — can we stick a pin in that?
Donald Trump responded politically to the pandemic. He didn’t see it as a public health crisis, he saw it as a political crisis – for him. That’s actually more than stupid, it’s ignorant (stupid on steroids) but for our purposes — let’s just say that was a really stupid thing to do regardless of what the motivation was.
Donald Trump committing treason — in addition to being greedy and criminal — was stupid. He was going to get caught at it eventually if only because he’s bad at it. If not for the complicity of the entire Republican Party, this dumpster fire of treachery would be out already. The entire Republican Party is stupid — for thinking they would get away with this. For still thinking they’ll get away with it.
They’re stupidity blinds them — as stupidity does. We can say therefore that any Republicans stupidity will, ironically, stupid them even as they stupid other people.
For the moment, Donald trump stupids us every day. He has stupided us every day up until now. He will stupid us again tomorrow regardless of how much he already stupided us today.
We would have to be stupid — to stupid ourselves — to let this go on.
This would be bad enough — a stolen election, autocratic rule by gutless criminal, a continuing pitch toward permanent minority rule — without a worldwide pandemic piling onto our misery. But, at least, the pandemic revealed that our dire circumstances were even more dire than we knew.
It’s probably too much to hope for that the villains who took down America would be “great” villains — world class villains worthy of our respect. FFS, they will have taken out the greatest experiment in human self government ever. They must be geniuses to have done it!
Um, no actually. Not a one of them even knows a genius. Geniuses wouldn’t get anywhere near these people for fear they’d find some way to leech IQ points. What Rick Wilson said is truer every day: Everything Donald Trump Touches Dies. Trump isn’t good at anything — including how he’s destroying America. He’s not doing this with any expertise or panache — he’s doing it like the rapist he is. Forcing it. Forcing it regardless of what we do or say.
Everyone who comes into contact with Trump walks away not just dead but a schmuck. Everyone knows this is coming. Either you said “Not to me, it won’t” — and you were wrong, SCHMUCK!” — or you willingly crawled into bed with Donald J. Trump and you’re the worst kind of schmuck.
The incompetence on top of the bad faith, bad acting, bad everything — that’s why we all walk around feeling gut-punched. The relentlessness is the point. Schmucks are relentless. They’re gutless and insensitive and over-bearing and conceited. They’re the person who makes you curse yourself because you refuse to get violent cos that asshole needs a good ass-kicking.
You know you’ve just encountered a schmuck because regardless of what you did to get stuck in their shit or free of it, their shit’s now all over you. What a schmuck!
We have schmucks writing laws, schmucks pushing through schmuck judges, schmucks wrecking the environment and violating other peoples’ rights. We have schmucks in the media telling us both sides do it (when they absolutely do not) and schmucks out in the streets — some armed to the teeth cos they want their haircut, damn it, and you can’t stop them.
America now does things for schmuck reasons because schmucks control virtually all levers of power except the House. Scmucks were told a pandemic was coming but did nothing about it because, being schmucks, they planned to profit off the pandemic first and foremost. Those same schmucks, we should point out, had already sold us out to Russia (and Saudi Arabia and Turkey and the UAE and Israel and who knows who else) because — say it together now: they’re schmucks.
We now live in a schmuck-topia run by schmucktocrats. Nothing good ever happens because nothing ever gets done for the right reason. What the schmucks want us to do — what they expect us to do — is give in to them. Do the schmucky thing.
Remember back not so long ago when wacky people on the left said things like “Russia controls Trump!” and people would laugh at us? Remember back when people would, reluctantly, compare Trump & Republicans to Nazis and other people would lose their shit because “how dare you compare anyone to Nazis!”?
What Trump & the Republican Party are doing is (trying to) turn America into the authoritarian paradise they’ve always dreamed of. Conservatives want to conserve what is, remember. And what is is what remains of the past. Conservatives want to turn America back into the White Authoritarian Paradise of their dreams — a fondly remembered slave state circa 1850 where women couldn’t vote, black people were counted as 3/5 of a white person and owning other humans was justified by the gobbledygook in their 2500 year old book of supposed wisdom.
The precedent to our problem was a decision made by the RW money — the Kochs, the Mercers — to USE their money to subvert America’s future to what THEY wanted it to be (the actual Will of the People be damned). The Koch’s saw demographic annihilation in their future and moved to do something about it. Since they couldn’t effectively stop America from becoming more diverse, they put their money into limiting any political power those diverse Americans might have for the foreseeable future.
That’s the whole point of Mitch McConnell’s mission to hijack the judiciary. To reject the Will Of The People in favor of the will of the Koch Bros.
So far, Mitch & the Republicans have managed to work in the extreme background. Now they’ve been dragged into the light. Mitch has said he won’t allow any more “rescue packages” for ordinary Americans. He wants to see Blue States all go bankrupt (never mind that it’s blue states that literally PAY FOR red states and, as we speak, red states are plunging into the very same economic chaos but without the capacity or dynamism afterwards to resurrect themselves).
Mitch will change his tune because he’ll have to or the people of Kentucky will come after him with torches and pitchforks. But even then, Mitch will try to limit the help ordinary Americans get. Mitch won’t have “socialism” in America — not unless it’s corporate socialism in which case — bring it!
The initial Republican coup d’etat relied on our reluctance to accept that the Republicans were capable of doing something so monstrous, evil and corrupt. That was just Democrats being hyperbolic and “political”. That was what the news media told us, remember? Both sides do it anyway, right?
Now we all see how corrupt Republicans are. And now that Bill Barr has stripped himself naked in front of us all, we can see just how nakedly corrupt Barr is — as is the whole Republican game plan to permanently install minority rule. Barr wiped his ass with the Rule of Law then pissed all over it for good measure. Barr just said that the history of this time will get written by the winners — meaning himself and his corrupt Republican co-conspirators.
Um, no, Bill. That won’t happen. The majority of Americans don’t want what you want. They want the opposite and have voted that way only to have their votes suppressed, blocked or not counted. While Americans are too, too slow to take to the streets, when pressed, we do and we will.
Want to know if we’re pressed enough yet? Wisconsinites risked sickness and death to vote in a primary that was mostly focused on keeping a conservative state supreme court justice on the Wisconsin Supreme Court bench. They didn’t just defeat this conservative shit, they blew him away with the turnout.
In order for Mitch McConnell to have his way, every single group Republicans, their racism, their misogyny, their bigotry, their cruelty, their greed, their ignorance, their parsimony, their incompetence, their treachery and their corruption have touched will have to lie down. That’s a lot of Americans.
It’s the majority of us, in fact. What separates an America from a Nazi Germany is that, even though most Germans did not, in fact, go along with what Hitler and the National Socialists were doing, all of those Germans were “German”. That’s a very powerful tribal connection and, being social creatures, the last thing any human wants is to be cast off from her tribe. To be ex-communicated from it.
Americans may feel kinship with other Americans but we’re also parts of many other tribes to which we feel deep connections. Now, more than ever, non-white tribes see themselves and their tribe’s particular relationship with America in stark relief. Californians feel kinship toward other Californians. Angelenos feel kinship toward other Agelenos.
Trump & his Republican co-conspirators can’t even count on the armed forces to back them up — should they push this to that level. Trump may be “commander-in-chief” but our soldiers have already face questions of whether or not they have to follow immoral orders. They don’t.
Making America’s voting entirely vote-by-mail will deprive Republicans of a significant device they’ve used to cheat — the vulnerability to the internet of voting systems. Only hand-marked ballots are completely unhackable (though a well-monitored vote-by-mail system comes in second).
The blue voting surges that started in 2018 and continued since have only increased in size and intensity. Again – despite (or maybe because of) dangerously partisan decisions by the SCOTUS (to force Wisconsinites to vote despite the pandemic), more Americans are voting. As Trump himself has said out loud: when more Americans vote, it’s bad for Republicans.
Donald and Mitch and Bill and Mike (Pompeo & Pence & Flynn) all expect America to just “give in” to this physical assault on our democratic republic. They’re going to be in for a very rude surprise. It simply will not go down that way.
African Americans aren’t going to just “go along with this”. Neither will Latino-Americans or Jewish Americans or Asian Americans or LGBTQ Americans or female Americans or ANY American who isn’t a die-hard, go-down-with-the-ship Trumpanista. Yes, yes, yes — Americans are quick to anger but slow to flash it in the streets (doing it on social media is so much easier). But everything’s changed now.
We were NEVER going to be an authoritarian shithole except in the minds of authoritarian shitheads.
The country will split apart before surrendering to what Trump and the Republican Party are doing. That will be sad and tragic. But the blue states that reconstitute into an American-like entity will eventually survive. The red states — formed into a blob of white rage and stupidity — will almost overnight become failed states and experiments in how not to run a country. They’ll be lucky to make it past six months with functioning electricity or running water.
What will Americans do when Trump tosses his Hail Mary in hopes of staying in power forever (knowing, as he does, that the moment he stops being potus, his legal problems begin)? Easy. We’ll (finally) step up and say “Enough is enough”. Trump-Russia, unfortunately, was complicated. Too complicated for a headlines-only news media to either get its head around or report. Trump-Ukraine was simpler.
We can all grasp what a quid pro quo is.
Trump-coronavirus is easy to understand. Trump’s corruption cost tens of thousands (so far) of American lives. It’s probably destroyed the economy for a while to come. It’s hard to vote for the guy (and his party) who killed your relatives, gutted your wallet and turned your future into bleak nothingness.
Never mind Trump’s base. It’s not about them and never was. This is about the rest of us — the Americans who genuinely care about America because we genuinely care about the wide variety of Americans with whom we share the country. At the end of the day, there simply is no conservative way out of this.
Trump may try to turn us into an authoritarian shithole — and, for a time, he may come close. But he will not succeed. There are simply too many of us and we’re waaaaay too angry.
The current crop of Republicans would have felt right at home in Feudal Europe — all of them vassals to corrupt king Donald who, himself, sold out the Kingdom to the Kingdom’s chief rival, King Vlad The Impaler.
Feudalism relied on having lots of peasants to work the lord’s fields. The Black Plague gutted Europe, killing 60% of its population. In the aftermath, when it came time to plow again, there were now far fewer peasants to do the work. That was true for pretty much every lord around — they needed a hundred plebes, they had twenty. Next thing you know, the lords are fighting over laborers, trying to “grab” their neighbors’ peasants by offering them better deals. Bigger plots of land. A better percentage of whatever the peasant farmed to keep for himself and his family.
For the first time, maybe ever, labor sat atop the seesaw.
The economic system that Europe had lived under for hundreds of years disappeared virtually overnight — because the next harvest had to come in. People were starving. That change in the balance of power killed feudalism dead.
The Trump White House aches to send America “back to work” even as our numbers shoot upward alarmingly. The Trump WH’s own projections call for horrifying numbers that should make the idea of opening the country unthinkable. Yet here we are.
Trump needs to restart the economy because it’s the only argument he (thinks he) has for re-election. It was never a good argument to begin with. It’s even more laughable now. You simply can’t make people want to spend money and buy things when they’re in fear for their lives and the lives of their loved ones. You’ll bankrupt them all first.
Trump doesn’t care about killing Americans. He cares about remaining POTUS.
If he loses this election (he’s going to lose it), he’ll stop being POTUS and the moment THAT happens, his legal problems begin. And once they begin, they may never stop. And the moment Trump’s legal problems begin, so do the legal problems of everyone around him. Right now, that pretty much includes the entire Republican Party.
The Republicans aren’t working toward any grand vision here. They’re on a Permanent Minority Rule Or Bust trip. It’s all or nothing now. When they threw in with Trump, they threw in with Russia (which some of them, it turns out, had already done via Maria Buttina or the NRA). The GOP is in it to win it. There’s no other option for them.
They will go down with this ship — the SS Trump-tanic.
On the other side of this crisis — eighteen months from now, give or take — the RW will get the thing they feared most. Their greed and lust for power is now being revealed. There’s no way to pretty up what the Republicans did and are doing. But there’s also no conservative way out of this. We can only go deeper into the shit by listening to them.
We can fall into a deep, deepening depression that takes longer from which to recover.
THAT’S the conservative way out. Everybody dies except them and their money — they hope. That’s not hyperbole. What else does “There’s more to life than living” mean?
We will emerge from this far more socialized. Of necessity. We must expunge profit incentive from our health CARE system. We need to turn our health CARE system into a care system instead of the health INSURANCE system it now is. As the pandemic makes crystal clear, we are only as healthy as the least healthy person among us.
We will also emerge far more unionized. What the meat packing workers and Amazon workers and others being “essential worker-ed” into the coronavirus’ maw have to endure is horrifying and (if it’s not, it should be) illegal. The Republican Party piling on by insisting that workers refusing to work because of the threat to their lives cannot collect any benefits — in addition to being expected, it’s disgusting.
The lag time between a person’s initial infection with coronavirus and the symptoms it gave the person covid-19 can be about two weeks. Or longer. It’s like when people drink but don’t feel tipsy or happy or drunk right away. They think, “Hey, the booze didn’t work this time — what’s up with that? I better have a lot more right now!”
The issue isn’t the booze, it’s the lag time. Now, in addition to being regular drunk when the lag time finally ends, you’ll be extra drunk because of the chaser you threw down. Ah, but Republicans never learn anything. That’s because they don’t want to. What’s in it for them to learn things? They’re conservatives, remember? They want to conserve — keep things as they are now or, better yet, make them how they were back when white people ruled everything.
Conservatives always have a great sense of history — in that there’s a time in history they want us all to return to. They don’t see history as a teacher of anything. That’s why they keep repeating it.
Every TV show now begins with two words: “Previously On”.
On the one hand, it’s a nod to any newbies who might be watching. These are the basic story threads you need to know about. But, on the other hand, the “Previously On” part of a show is where the storytellers get to remind the whole audience about certain important, key details from the story’s past that are about to become very important to the story’s future.
The point is, “Previously On” begins with a very clear concept: THIS IS WHAT WE KNOW.
This is what the story — and its characters — have revealed and revealed about themselves so far. This is our accumulated, aggregated knowledge. This is our STARTING POINT going forward.
Why, I’d like to know, can’t journalists — well, our most of our video journalists for sure — do this simple, storytelling thing? Why can’t they aggregate a story before reporting on it? Why can’t they start from what we know so far instead of what we knew back then (whenever “then” was)?
It’s like watching a TV show where the audience is always miles ahead of the storytellers because the audience has been keeping track of the story while the tellers keep going back to “fade in”.
If America’s journalists had been keeping track of Donald Trump — adding to what we know about him and then basing all new reporting off of that — Donald Trump would never have been president in the first place. That is, he would never have gotten close enough for his pal Vladimir to vote suppress & cheat “wins” out of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan in 2016. That’s because even before Trump ran, we knew — meaning the information was available in the public domain if only one went looking for it (journalistically) — that Donald Trump was a criminal.
What motivated Fusion to sub-contract out to Christopher Steele, was the question. Steele had been The Guy running the MI6’s Russia Desk. He had the best sources inside Russia of anyone outside Russia. Steele’s rep was solid top to bottom. When the FBI went after FIFA’s Sep Blatter for corruption, they hired Chris Steele to do a lot of heavy lifting for them. He’s good.
But, WHY did Fusion feel the need to sub-contract anything out to Chris Steele? Simpson testified that, upon the hire, Fusion did what they always did — what any reputable research company would do: their due diligence. In Fusion’s case, it got its hands on every PUBLICLY AVAILABLE newspaper article, magazine piece, radio interview, TV appearance — anything and everything about Donald Trump. They researched online. They bought things from Amazon. They listened to Howard Stern. They went to old book stores and combed the shelves. They even went to the public library.
Simpson testified that what Fusion found there — in publicly available material — convinced them that Donald Trump was very possibly a criminal. A shitload of evidence pointed to Trump laundering Russian mob money through the buying and selling of condos in Trump properties and (especially) through his (now bankrupt) Atlantic City casinos. Regardless of whether Trump humiliated himself sexually with Russian hookers on video or humiliated himself by being overtly racist (on video) while Russian hookers pissed all over the bed in Moscow where the Obamas slept, Trump laundered Russian mob money. As much as Trump and those around him insist that “Trump’s a germaphone! He would never consort with hookers!” no one has yet asserted “And he would never launder money for Russian mobsters”.
Strange that, don’tcha think?
You’d think, in the story we’re all bingeing on because it’s our lives, that THAT kind of detail — that no one denies Trump’s a money launderer for the Russian mob — would make it onto the “Previously On” somewhere somehow. And yet, between CNN & MSNBC, no one seems to grasp how stories and storytelling works. They certainly don’t grasp that, in a sense, ALL stories begin with a collective sense of “Previously On”.
If our MSM had “Previously On-ed” this story from the beginning, here’s (a little of) what that “Previously On” would contain…
Mitch McConnell refused to let We The People in on the secret that Russia was actively trying to make Donald Trump POTUS. At the September “Gang Of 8 Meeting” in the White House, McConnell told Obama that if he made that fact public, McConnell would accuse Obama of politicizing the intelligence. In point of fact, Obama was trying to tell America the truth.
His political party openly broke every established norm that allowed for bi-partisan governance. Mitch McConnell denying Merrick Garland a hearing was a Constitutional crisis all by itself because one branch of govt was denying another its Constitutionally mandated role. We The People voted for Barack Obama. THAT was his authority to nominate judges.
The coronavirus pandemic has ripped the bandage off a thousand flaws in how Americans do things.
Health care was the first thing we were destined to slam into because we don’t HAVE a health CARE system, we have a health INSURANCE system. Not the same thing. As I’ve often said here, when people walk in the door of any part of our health system, the first question we ask isn’t “How can we fix you”, it’s “How’re you gonna pay for this?” Can’t pay? Sorry, pal.
That’s not health care speaking, it’s profit incentive. And while having profit incentive in our health care system may be profitable (the capitalism part), it was deadly to a staggering number of Americans before coronavirus. Think of all those Americans who couldn’t even think of getting tested — if they felt like shit — because they feared that if covid-19 didn’t kill them, the hospital bill surely would.
That’s the crony part.
Watch Mitch McConnell. He is dead set against doing anything even remotely “socialistic” to save America. The idea of UBI is anathema to him — even if it means saving ordinary Americans from ruin. Mitch even thinks letting New York or California go broke is the way to go. Never mind the fact that states like NY & CA are the economic ENGINES of the economy. The consumers in those states — they POWER the consumer demand that fuels the engines. People with actual expertise in economics are already saying that what Mitch is thinking wouldn’t just drive us into an economic depression, it will plunge us there. What part of capitalism is that good for?
It turns out America is especially bad at capitalism. There’s nothing inherently wrong with capitalism in the abstract. If we accept the fact that — if humans are involved — there are no perfect ways of doing anything — then one can argue that compared to everything else humans have tried, capitalism can give more humans more opportunities to enjoy a decent standard of living. The “social democracy” brand — where the commonweal always has a good seat at the economic table — makes capitalism fairer (though never ever fair enough).
Crony capitalism — what America calls capitalism — is bad for everyone ultimately — as the coronavirus is demonstrating relentlessly. It set us up for failure and damn if we’re not failing.
While the pandemic was descending upon us, Donald Trump and Jared Kushner were selling OUR supplies for profit and cornering the market on everything that was left. Rather than taking profit out of the picture — because this is a national emergency — Trump made profiteering and even outright price gouging part of the process!
Trump and the Republican Party don’t care if opening the economy kills hundreds of thousands of Americans (so long as it’s not them — then they’ll care plenty). Their bottom line, as always, is the money. And the power.
They have no idea how much rage against them is building outside their bubble. It was already building because of three years of lawlessness and treason. Throwing a daily death list into the mix is not going to expand Trump’s base. In fact — because it’s mostly Trump voters who are refusing to social distance or in any way behave safely — two weeks from now, it will be Trump voters who start dying in droves.
And Trump — as I said — won’t be adding voters. He needs every voter he can get. Or keep from dying.
As we know, Donald Trump is a horrible president just like he was a horrible businessman, a horrible father, a horrible husband, a horrible son, a horrible friend, a horrible associate, a horrible citizen, a horrible human.
He’s also a horrible capitalist. Just like every other Republican.
Some of us saw Donald Trump coming. Some of us didn’t. Those who did see it didn’t perform magic. We used our imaginations. We asked ourselves “Hey, what if Donald Trump actually became president — what (do I imagine) would actually happen?”
What we imagined was massive corruption — the merging of Trump’s business with our politics — with our government. That is exactly what happened. We imagined (because we were already mindful of Trump’s bizarre relationship with Russia) Trump betraying us more and more as Vladimir Putin gained more and more access to our Holiest of Holies — our secrets. We didn’t realize that a few other countries (Saudi Arabia especially) also had their hooks in Donald.
We imagined Trump’s corruption destroying the Republican Party — literally driving it into extinction. What happened is far worse. Turned out the GOP was already deeply corrupted by Russia who’d been gaming them for eons through lap dogs like Dana Rohrbacher.
Our news media have been particularly lacking in imagination. They can’t seem to get their Normalcy Bias Blinders off. Though “Mexicans are rapists” should have been the end of Trump’s campaign, our news media let it pass. “Pussy grabbing” had reared its head. Our news media let that pass too. There were “her emails” to worry about.
When those of us on the loony left first shouted “Russia!”, we were told how crazy we were. How “conspiracy theory” we were being regardless of our receipts. That’s the most frustrating thing. The Loony Left brings receipts. We don’t, as a rule, talk out our asses. We let facts, data, reality do the talking instead.
Remember back — before the Democrats re-took the House — when the Republicans ran everything and they were determined to undermine the integrity of the Steele Dossier at all costs? The Senate Judiciary Committee called Glenn Simpson before them in August 2017. Simpson, a former (respected) Wall Street Journal reporter co-founded a company called Fusion GPS. They did research on people. Oppo research. In 2016 Fusion got hired by the pro-Jeb Bush Washington Free Beacon to do oppo research on Donald J Trump.
Simpson testified that before they began their work, they did their “due diligence” — they got their hands on every single thing they could that had in any way been written about, said about or reported about concerning Donald Trump. They listened to Howard Stern episodes. They went to used book stores. They searched Amazon. They even went to the library. In short, they got their hands on just about everything that had ever been written, said or even thought about regarding Donald John Trump.
What Fusion found — in publicly available material (that is, material every last one of us can get access to and read if we’d only just put ourselves out a little) convinced them that Donald Trump had used his failed Atlantic City casinos to launder Russian Mob Money. That’s why Fusion sought out and then hired Christopher Steele. The former MI6 intelligence officer had run MI6’s Russia desk. It was understood that Steele’s contacts inside Russia were unmatched.
Want to know anything about Russia? Ask Chris Steele to run it down. That’s what Fusion and Glenn Simpson did. To not see Chris Steele in that simple context is to fail in imagination. To see him as nefarious in any way is to fail in imagination. Rather, it’s to have all the wrong kinds of imagination.
Problem solving demands imagination. It will take a staggering amount of imagination to get us out of what the coronavirus has done.
Hell — according to the SDNY, Trump’s already “Unindicted Individual #1”. He stops being POTUS? He’s now INDICTED individual #1.
I’m old enough to remember when using the word “treason” in any way to describe Trump or anyone in his White House was like calling them Nazis. Remember when THAT was poo-poo’d? Now we simply ASSUME that they’re all Nazis.
You can’t solve a problem without first admitting you have a problem. It takes no imagination to say “I’m not an alcoholic!” and lots to say “You know, if I think about it, I might have a problem.” It doesn’t mean you have a problem — but until you’re willing to entertain the idea, you can’t do anything about it.
Getting to the other side of the coronavirus will demand a shitload of imagination. Same thing — whole mountain ranges of outside-the-box-thinking will be vital to “fixing” what Donald Trump & his Republican co-conspirators have done to our democratic systems. When people violate the Rule Of Law to win an election, it means — according to the Rule Of Law — they didn’t win. Nothing they took as the “spoils” of victory was actually theirs — including money, legislation & especially judges.
You cannot legitimately nominate judges (to the SCOTUS say) if you do not have the authority to do so. You may think you have the authority. You may pretend you have it. But that authority is vested in We The People. We “give” that authority just like we give the authority to spend our tax dollars. Just as we “giveth”, we can “taketh”.
It was a failure of imagination that kept slavery alive in our Constitution. It’s been an on-going failure of imagination that has kept Donald Trump in power.
Donald Trump’s failure of imagination (he has none of course) to see what a pandemic could do to his political fortunes is now killing thousands of Americans every day.