Stephen Miller Meets The Folks

(Note — We learned yesterday (the internet is still puking its guts up) that Stephen Miller has been dating Katie Waldman, Mike Pence’s new press flack. Previously, Katie was DHS spokeswoman under Kirstjen Nielsen — you know, the DHS’s glory days).

Having a daughter of dating age, I naturally wonder about the people she dates.  The most important thing any potential date needs to bring along on the date?  Respect.

I demand that anyone even friendly with my daughter – never mind romantically inclined – respect her as she respects them.  It’s not asking for much, really.

If you are capable of taking in information, you are capable of seeing that Stephen Miller is a smarmy, racist slimeball.  And that’s being kind.  It’s not a question of political affiliation, it’s just common decency. 

Ever see this bit of video – of Stephen (the VERY PRIVILEGED) high school student disrespecting his high school’s janitorial staff (who weren’t privileged like Stephen)? 

What a born racist looks like.

The man hasn’t changed since then – or grown up – he’s hardened from a baby racist into a full-fledged adult racist – with the political power now to DO something with his racism.

It is Public Knowledge that the very worst, the most inhumane and brutally cruel ideas to flow from the Trump presidency have, as their headwaters, Stephen Miller’s brain. 

Children sit in cages BECAUSE OF STEPHEN MILLER.

Until yesterday, sick people were going to be kicked out of the country and sentenced to death BECAUSE OF STEPHEN MILLER.

We racially profile Muslims — even instituted a Muslim Ban BECAUSE OF STEPHEN MILLER.

We turned a deeply flawed immigration system into a barbaric, cruel cudgel used to beat people desperately in need of asylum and humane treatment – because they’re brown or black and probably won’t vote for Republicans BECAUSE OF STEPHEN MILLER.

Our stature in the world has plunged like a bolder off a cliff – mostly because of Donald Trump – but also BECAUSE OF STEPHEN MILLER.

When Katie Waldman takes Stephen Miller home to meet the folks, I’m damned curious to know – how can they possibly let that man into their home?

How can they not already have a restraining order in place to keep a certifiable monster away from their daughter?

How could they sit across a dinner table from him – watching this craven sadist interact with their own flesh, KNOWING that at the end of the night, that ghoul will want – and get – his blood meal from her?

Maybe it’s just me.

Advertisements

Immigration – And The Diversity It Brings – THAT Is “American Exceptionalism”

Rich Christian white guys, pumped up on cheap beer (they don’t drink it for the taste, they drink it to get plastered) think THEY are American Exceptionalism.

What Republicans think “American Exceptionalism” looks like…

Rich, Christian white guys with real money — we’re talking Koch & Mercer level wealth — don’t care about American Exceptionalism. They care about maintaining power and cultural hegemony. They don’t give a damn if enriching themselves far beyond ANYONE’S ability to spend the money even multiple generations onward results in the demise of the greatest experiment in human self government ever.

But American Exceptionalism is a very real thing. While white Christian men — already advantaged because they brought the money with them — may have placed themselves at the center of power in their new-fangled Democratic Republic, they weren’t actually the generators of the new ideas and vitality that would bring more money (and more new ideas and vitality) to the country — all those diverse OTHER PEOPLE were and still are.

Money is important to realizing great ideas. But money doesn’t “make” the ideas. Great minds do. And most every human has the potential for greatness in one way or another if given the chance (and the training, education and encouragement).

Take just a cursory glance at the biggest ideas of the last century — who did the innovating, whose cleverness solved a challenging problem, whose genius made lots of people lots of money — and you’ll see a sea of diverse faces staring back.

If American authoritarians continue to hold power (minority rule, remember) — and they drive every immigrant away — it will only be a matter of time before somewhere else becomes “Exceptional” in the way we used to be.

But then, looking backward — to how it was — is what rich, white, Christian men are all about. They’re “conservatives” remember — hell bent on conserving. The exceptionalism they have in mind exists only IN their mind.

We Got Donald Trump All Wrong; As Horrible As We Thought He’d Be? He’s Way, WAY Worse

A lot of us anticipated the bad horror movie the Trump presidency would be. It wasn’t exactly rocket science.

Trump was a fraud who was given the maximum benefit of the doubt by a press both in love with Trump’s fraudulent audacity and in fear of his retribution.  Their inability to cover this story – from Trump’s overt racism (FFS, they still want to debate whether or not he even IS a racist) to his overt treason (they still want to go along with Bill Barr’s lie that the only thing in the Mueller Report are empty pages) should be a warning to us.  We see, hear and feel our country literally shrinking.

Trump has never run anything bigger or more complex than a Mom ‘n Pop Money Laundering Shop for the Russian mob.  There’s a reason Trump keeps everything crime family close. 

Fusion GPS noticed this fact while doing their due diligence after The Washington Free Beacon hired them to do oppo research on Trump (the Free Beacon’s owner liked Jeb Bush).  Fusion’s Glenn Simpson testified before Congress that what they uncovered about Trump – getting ahold of books, magazines, newspapers videos from everyplace thy could including the public library – motivated them to hire Christopher Steele, former head of the MI6’s Russia desk.

I remember not so long ago when our constant harping about Russia got annoyed looks even from friends.  It’s hard to get one’s mind around the enormity of this crime. 

I bet the folks living at Pearl Harbor felt kinda the same way as bombs exploded all around them.  How do you get your mind around being the unfortunate place where the spear tip punctures the body?  They went to sleep at peace, woke up at war.

Even now – with a shitload of solid evidence staring at us, we STILL refuse to call Trump the traitor he is.  Our news media will give him the benefit of the doubt till there’s no more left to give.  Then they’ll wonder which Democrat is the most “electable” against him.  FFS – a bucket of vomit with a D sharpie’d onto its side could beat Donald Trump.  The problem is, it’s Russia they’re running against.  Take Russia out of the 2016 equation and Trump never makes it past the primaries.

But Russia did make Trump the winner in 2016.  They made a lot of Republicans winners, too.  Those Republicans took a sledgehammer to the Rule Of Law.  That was my blind spot – the degree to which the whole GOP was well and truly complicit.  The Republican Party saw demographic extinction ahead of them.  They’ve had to steal the last two republican presidencies (W’s and Trump’s).  Without gerrymandering, the Republicans would lose the Congress, too.  The only co-equal branch available to them?  The judiciary.  Provided they stole it.

Which (Merrick Garland anyone?) Moscow Mitch McConnell absolutely did.  All those highly rated Obama judges held up and denied hearings, all those Trump Judges shoved down America’s throat. 

The result has been chaotic – of course.  But even chaos has advantages over what we’re being forced to endure.  I never saw children in cages coming. I never saw such blatant lying to Congress coming.  I never saw the love of depravity coming. 

I never saw the attrition coming – the way Trump’s constant lying (now compounded because EVERY Republican now lies) would wear us all down – and undermine our collective will.  Living in Trumpian times is exhausting. 

I never saw that  coming either.

If Brett Kavanaugh Is Still Working As A SCOTUS Judge, That Means The Rule Of Law Is NOT Working

The Rule Of Law is kinda like a soap bubble made of iron. In and of itself, it’s incredibly solid — it’s made of iron, isn’t it? But it’s still got the delicacy of a bubble. There’s no “slightly popped”. There’s popped and not popped.

The Rule Of Law is a radical notion if you think about it — it survives only by our mutual agreement to follow it. The chaos consuming us now flows directly from the fact that while some of us still do follow The Rule Of Law, one of our two political parties has revealed that they don’t (and never really did). The Rule Of Law says if you break it, you pay.

It says everyone gets treated equally by The Rule Of Law. And everyone who breaks it — they, too, will be treated exactly the same regardless of how many zeroes there are on their weekly pay stub. Brett Kavanaugh was NOT treated equally at any point during his confirmation hearing. Brett, rather, was shown extraordinary privilege.

He was allowed to perjure himself in fact — and even get belligerent about it as if HE were the one who’d been sexually assaulted. It doesn’t get more (white) privileged than that.

The Rule Of Law says if you lie, cheat or steal to achieve something, you haven’t achieved it — rather, you’ve broken the law and should be punished for it. If you broke the law, say, to become president — it means you’re not actually the president. How could you be? You didn’t meet the basic requirement of “winning an election”. Cheating does NOT equal winning — EVER.

When we finally get to do a deep, deep dive into Mitch McConnell’s actions leading up to the election (especially Moscow Mitch’s refusal to let We The People in on the secret that Moscow was putting its thumb on our election scale for Trump), we’ll have to pick apart Mitch’s real reasons for denying Merrick Garland so much as a hearing. That unprecedented SCOTUS seat grab was DESIGNED to steal the judiciary as a means to force permanent minority rule down the country’s throat. Was it illegal? That will depend on what we nail Mitch on.

By all rights, Merrick Garland should be sitting where Neil Gorsuch sits. We The People voted for Barack Obama — and part of why we voted for him was so he could — while still in office — choose SCOTUS judges to the liking of HIS voters. Mitch’s bullshit about wanting the American voter to get to choose — one has to wonder if Mitch knew anything about the machinations Russia was gearing up to throw at us.

Then again — in Mitch’s “defense”, he did say that if Hillary had won, he’d have refused to fill any vacancies — even if every single justice suddenly dropped dead.

The Rule Of Law says thieves — after they’re caught, prosecuted and convicted — do NOT get to keep the loot. In the case of Brett Kavanaugh’s SCOTUS seat, you don’t get to gut the “advise and consent” part of the process — lying through your teeth every step of the way — and then KEEP the SCOTUS seat. It sets a terrible precedent otherwise.

When the whole point of the exercise is destruction of the judiciary in order to install permanent minority rule? It makes the thievery extra rotten.

As we learned from the NYTimes today, the White House killed the FBI’s investigation into Deborah Ramirez’s corroborated accusations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh. If the FBI had interviewed the 25+ witnesses and filed that report, Brett Kavanaugh would not be a SCOTUS judge today — that had to have been the GOP’s calculus.

If our highest court is tainted by corruption, it ceases to be viable. The only way to make sure it is and remains a bastion of fairness would be to expunge every bit of Trump or McConnell influence. In the end, it should be as simple as this: If Trump cheated to become POTUS — which he absolutely did — then he has no authority to “be” POTUS. Not being POTUS, he has no authority to nominate anyone for anything.

Not a single Trump nominee can stand because the man who nominated was not AUTHORIZED to do it. I know — chaos. I don’t give a shit.

The Rule Of Law is all or nothing.

Republicans Have No Idea What “Integrity” Is — “Ditto” The Rule Of Law

Ever meet a guy with 96% of his integrity intact? “Yeah — he’s pretty honest most of the time… it’s that 4% where he’s a goddamned liar that’s the problem” is not a sentence one hears often. There’s a reason.

Integrity either is or it isn’t. There’s no middle ground, no grey area. In fact, there’s no grey area anywhere near Integrity’s zip code.

We’re all born equal where Integrity’s concerned: we all get 100% at birth. It’s entirely up to us what we do with it. Treat people with respect (“Do Unto Others is how Jesus put it) and you’re likely to keep your Integrity at 100% your whole life. Make a habit of screwing people over and people will quickly realize that you’re a dishonest shit not worth their time.

Republicans are people who somehow got it in their heads that there IS an Integrity grey area. This is something they told themselves, being corrupt. Republicans still think (apparently) that their continuing association with every Trumpian abuse of our Republic won’t haunt them when Donald Trump is long in our rear view mirror.

They could not be more wrong.

Having no Integrity, it wasn’t hard for Republicans to bust a cap in The Rule Of Law’s noggin. Just like with Integrity, the Rule Of Law can’t live in any middle ground. The Rule Of Law must either “be” or “not be”.

Our problem started the instant we turned a blind eye to the smallest violation of The Rule Of Law. To not enforce is to move the goal posts. What should have remained illegal has now been granted “don’t bother with it” status. Who made such a decision — and why? The Rule Of Law didn’t make it. It violates The Rule Of Law right on its face.

What really exacerbates our problem is this — our Main Stream News Media have repeatedly normalized behaviors and flat out corruption that should have set their heads ablaze. Instead, they eventually let every last Trumpian outrage (illegal ones included) go. And each time they let go and looked toward Trump’s next sparkly object, they paid for it. More importantly, We The People paid for it.

When — it’s not an “if” — we manage to get The Rule Of Law back up onto its feet, we may be shocked by how cruel The Rule Of Law seems. a Shitload of Republicans will have to be punished — including Republicans who eventually came around (talking to YOU, Joe Walsh). Those Republicans that had so much as an inkling what Trump & the GOP were up to (especially as it concerns quid-pro-quoing sanctions) need to be punished because The Rule Of Law says you report shit like that to the Proper Authorities — the FBI, for instance.

We have to be firm though in seeing that The Rule Of Law is carried out to its very letter even if people we like get swept up in its execution.

If we saw The Rule Of Law any differently, it would mean we had zero Integrity.

Dear America: We Are Living Through World War III And Don’t Even Know It

Anyone who thinks it takes bombs and bullets to win a war will lose every single war they ever wage going forward. Right now, that would be us — still thinking that Donald Trump is anything other than a literal weapon, fully loaded and pointed directly at our heads.

If Russia wanted to (hell, a bunch of countries could probably do this — Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Israel), they could shut down our electric grid today — and leave us in the dark, disconnected from the internet and social media and our lives. We’d sue for peace in a heartbeat. That’s a whole war waged — successfully — without a single shot being fired.

We know for a fact (it’s in the Mueller Report and it’s part of the reason he eats prison dinner every night) that Paul Manafort gave Oleg Deripaska (oligarch & “Pal O’ Putin”) proprietary polling data for Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan & Pennsylvania. We know for a fact that that polling data was processed inside the GRU (Russian Military Intelligence) then weaponized — and returned to those states (PA/WI/MI especially) in the form of highly personalized Facebook ads that showed up (especially) on the FB pages of African American voters.

The point of the exercise is voter suppression — the use of propaganda to dissuade a voter from voting. Every voter dissuaded from doing their duty as a citizen (think ANY of these voters vote Republican?) is as good as a vote for their opponent. The fact that such activities aren’t already massively illegal is a testament to how much Republican corruption we’ve already normalized and how deeply institutional racism runs.

Like the skilled cold warrior he is, Putin knows how to make big plays in the secret realm that, strangely, never get any attention.

I’m not the first or only person to see us living in a second Pearl Harbor — in the hour or so before 7:15 when the Japanese Imperial Navy arrived and started attacking us. That however is a painfully ironic description of where we are. Putin & Russia have attacked us from the worst possible direction — from within.

Being unable to beat us economically or technologically — or even ideologically (since Putin’s only ideology is greed, power & corruption), Putin, calling on his mad intelligence officer skills, has declared war on us in the only way available to him — via espionage: info war, cyber war.

We don’t know yet the full extent to which our very perceptions of election 2016 were colored by propaganda, misinformation and disinformation originating from outside the country (Russia but also Saudi Arabia, Israel and who knows where else). How much Hillary Hatred was actually Russia?

As its first act of open war on us, Vlad Putin took the truth out back and busted a cap in its head.

It’s incumbent on us — if we want our Democracy back — to finally see the war that’s been declared on us in secret for the war that it is. More important? We need to see all the Fifth Columnists & outright TRAITORS who’ve thrown in with our enemies — because they saw that as a cynical pathway to permanent power.

I’m talking to YOU, Moscow Mitch McConnell.

That’s the other painful irony — it isn’t just enemies from without who’ve declared war on us, there’s an enemy within. The Extreme Christian Right and its money — Kochs, Mercers et al — saw that the demographics were going to mean an eventual end to their hold on this country. They declared cultural & political war on the majority — and, using gerrymandering & voter suppression, have done everything they can to install permanent minority rule — THEY being the minority.

That, too is undeclared war. It doesn’t make it any less real — or its effects any more painful and permanent.

America’s News Media Failed America The Same Way Their Imaginations Failed Them

Failure of imagination is a very real thing.  We’re living in its shadow so it must be real.

Remember the fable about the ant and the grasshopper?  The Grasshopper’s happy because there’s food aplenty right now so why not hang out?  Why work like the Ant is — gathering food for the winter?  The Grasshopper’s problem isn’t laziness.  When he needs to eat, he’ll go eat.

His problem is he can’t imagine that there’ll be a tomorrow — and tomorrow, he might NOT have all the food he has now.  The Ant almost can’t deal with what “is” he’s so obsessed with what might be or could be his future.

When the talking heads on pretty much any American cable news show start yammering away at each other — wondering why, say, Donald Trump has such a beta dog relationship with Vlad Putin — they’ll entertain the possibility that they don’t know why it is.  They’ll also entertain the possibility that it’s completely innocent — so they’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

But there’s a third very distinct possibility in the mix that keeps getting short shrift or NO shrift:  Trump kowtows relentlessly to Vladimir Putin because Putin owns him outright.  Though Lawrence O’Donnell was forced to retract his single-sourced story last night that Trump hides his tax returns to hide the fact that Russian oligarchs co-signed his Deutsche Bank loans — it was too soon to report it (that’s what we’ll have to live with until it’s fully proven) — no one is saying or thinking “Gosh, I wonder if that means the whole story is screwed up!” 

When Fusion GPS’s Glenn Simpson testified before Congress (remember when the GOP was trying to undermine every bit of the Steele Dossier’s integrity?), he described how Fusion, upon being hired to do the oppo research on Donald Trump (hired, remember by the conservative Washington Free Beacon, Jeb Bush supporters), they first did their due diligence.  They got ahold of everything they could that even just mentioned Donald Trump in passing.  They got & read every magazine article, newspaper article, saw or listened to every radio and TV interview.  To find that material, Fusion did what any ONE of us could do all by ourselves — they bought, rented, borrowed from the library.

What Fusion found, doing its due diligence, convinced them that Trump had been mixed up with Russian mobsters for years.  And, being good journalists by training, Fusion grokked that if Trump was messing with Russian mobsters, he was likely dirty as hell.

So, Glenn Simpson testified, they hired Chris Steele to do the deep dive because no one had the Russian bona fides that Chris Steele had — he was the Russia desk at MI6.  Steele’s integrity as an investigator was well known to American investigators including the FBI.  The FBI had hired Steele when they after FIFA’s Sepp Blatter for corruption.  They knew Steele was a pro. Everyone did.

That America’s news media still can’t handle the Steele Dossier — most don’t get how different the intelligence world is from the “real” world.  The idea of “raw intel” freaks them out because it’s so grey and their world is so black and white.  Intelligence analysis requires Big Picture thinking.  You have to see what’s there knowing a whole lot of the picture is missing.  You’ll never “see it” but you’ll need to know what it probably is; you’ll have to IMAGINE IT.

That’s the leap most American journalists can’t seem to make.  Maybe their Normalcy Bias Blinders are bolted on too tightly. 

More likely they simply lack the imagination to think of it — until it’s already happened or happening.  Then, what a coincidence, it’s the most natural thing in the world to them.

Our news media’s lack of imagination (best expressed by the question “What do YOU make of this?”) has metastasized into an outright cancer.  The preponderance of the evidence says Trump’s a liar — our news media still faithfully report every word he says without prefacing it with “This is probably a lie but the POTUS said it so we’re telling YOU what he said”.  The preponderance of the evidence says Trump’s a racist — yet our News Media still asks if Trump is a racist; they’ll even report him insisting he’s the least racist human on the planet with a straight face. 

The preponderance of the evidence says Trump’s a rapist and a thief and a fraud.  The preponderance of the evidence says Trump owes Vlad Putin big.  The preponderance of the evidence says Trump and his whole corrupt family are traitors.

We will get there — to the Big Reveals.  One way or another, we’ll get there.  And each time, huge swaths of our News Media will be shocked to their socks by the revelations.  They shouldn’t be shocked.

They wouldn’t be.

If they had any imagination.