There’s No Such Thing As A “Rugged Individual”

There’s a line in the movie “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” that nails it: “When legend becomes fact, print the legend”. The “rugged individual” is pure legend.

Only men ever think of themselves as “rugged individuals” who believe down to their atoms that “they alone can fix it”. They’re absolutely wrong, of course — like a man driving around lost, too arrogant to ask for directions — even from his phone. Women know biologically that no one alone can do anything. One cannot bear and raise a child by oneself. One can try — but one won’t succeed; neither mother nor child will thrive or flourish if left to do all that completely on their own.

As Hillary Clinton wrote, “it takes a village”.

Libertarians love the idea of the rugged individual. But then, libertarians think Ayn Rand can write.

Libertarianism is nothing more than a bunch of 6 year old boys running around braying “You’re not the boss of me!”. They think that’s what freedom is — it’s all the perks of doing whatever the hell you want with none of the responsibilities. And if their freedom and yours contradict each other? Guess whose freedom is going to get the priority? Spoiler alert: it won’t be yours.

Here’s the kicker. Know who coined the term “rugged individualist”? Herbert Hoover did — while POTUS — during the Great Depression. Hoover wanted “rugged individuals” to save America instead of the federal government.

We all know how that worked out.

Of Rabbit Holes & Republicans

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.

Mike Pence also loves a good rabbit hole. Ever watch him answer a question?

Yesterday — in the face of record-setting infection numbers, Mike Pence announced how proud he was of our efforts to stop the coronavirus from spreading. Proud? Of what? Of the fact that we’re pretty much the only country in the world getting its ass kicked like this — because we insist on denying science? If you ask Mike the obvious question — “Mike, what the hell are you talking about?”, Mike’s answer will be pure rabbit hole.

Ask Mitch McConnell about Merrick Garland. Or Oleg Deripaska. Or how much money he’s personally taken from Russia over the years. Or why he participated in the coup d’etat that put a Russian intelligence asset in power.

Moscow Mitch will hummina-hummina at you with his beady, red-rimmed Treason Turtle eyes all while leading you down a rabbit hole.

As I said — it’s all about obfuscation.

The trick? Don’t go there. Refuse to follow them. You know the argument’s going to be specious anyway. “Thanks anyway” is a perfectly good way to let them know you won’t be joining them down in bullshitland.

“Shut up” is even better.

How To Tell If You’re A Racist

Racism, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. But with a difference. Beauty is subjective. Racism isn’t.

I may walk around being the only person who thinks I’m “beautiful”. So long as no one’s bullying me though — and so long as I’m not being destructively delusional because I think I’m an Adonis — what difference does it make? No one’s getting hurt by me thinking I’m better looking than I am.

But, if I walk around thinking I’m no racist — while doing incredibly racist things — first of all, I’m hurting people and second of all my “opinion” about whether I’m racist or not is irrelevant. If you do harmful things to other people — if you think harmful thoughts about them — because of the color of their skin, how they dress, the way they pray or who they love — it’s not a matter opinion whether you’re a racist or not.

If someone calls you, calls something you’ve done or something you’ve said “racist”, it’s a sign you might be a racist. If your immediate response is to deny your racism — that’s another sign you’re a racist. Racists don’t listen. They whitesplain or mansplain over their victim instead. Another sign.

After a while, all the signs kinda add up — if you’d stop to count them. In the “I’m a racist” pile — plenty of chits. In the “I’m no racist” pile — just one: you and your insistence that you couldn’t possibly be a racist.

It’s soooooooooooo simple. No one gets to decide if they are racist. No one gets to decide if they’re bigoted — or misogynist — or even generically cruel. Our victims get to say.

That is, they should. We need to stop giving racists street cred over the people they’ve bullied. We need to make being racist impossibly expensive — both financially and personally.

We need to make being thought a racist as bad as being one. We need to fear being called “racist” the way we’d fear being called a “child molester”. It’s that offensive and unacceptable. It’s that counter-productive.

So — if someone calls you “racist” (and I don’t mean some Trumpian shithead who’s projecting their racism onto you as part of a meaningless argument) — take it seriously.

By the same token? If someone calls you beautiful? Accept it.

The Majority Of Us Did Not Vote For Trump Or What He’s Doing. So, How Come He’s Doing It Anyway?

It’s strange to live in a democracy (well, a democratic republic) where the majority does not get its way. Apparently by design.

It’s kind of hard for a democracy to continue being a democracy when too few of its citizens take part in the very process that makes a democracy work: voting. The whole point is “self-government”. We do the work.

As I’ve argued here before, too many Americans (on the right) have a 5 year old’s notion of freedom. They think freedom means “You’re not the boss of me”. Everyone can do what they like. Since freedom comes with zero responsibilities or obligations, it doesn’t matter if your “freedom” infringes or obliterates somebody else’s. So long as your freedom “wins”? Who cares?

For starters, those whose freedoms are being infringed upon or ignored. They care.

But then, right-wing people only ever think of their own freedom when they think of that word. Everyone else’s freedom is secondary at best.

That includes their freedom to vote.

At its core, this election, this fight — it is about freedom: the group’s freedom over the individual’s freedom (to undermine the group’s freedom).

That’s what racism is — it’s the racist asserting that their rights supersede their victims’ rights. If their victims’ rights were automatically respected, the racist would lose instantly — because we’d “baked in” our intolerance of racism. But we’ve done the opposite — and baked in our tolerance of racism.

Racism exists because we let it exist — no other reason.

That changed. Americans are taking to the streets every single day to protest racism and all the terrible thing it’s done to specific people. But, also we’re protesting the fact that We The People tolerated it for so long. We allowed statues of racists and traitors to go up. We allowed them to remain in place. We accepted their “messaging” — that some peoples rights are better than other peoples’.

The times in my life when I’ve been proud to be an American had everything to do with accomplishments (the moon landing) and nothing to do with our “system”. I’ve been taught that our system is superior — with the words “freedom” and “liberty” being liberally tossed in — but never specifically “why” we were better.

I don’t know when Americans lost interest in our process or if we ever had any interest in it. Maybe the problem is democracy’s damned hard to pull off. You can’t ever take it for granted. You can’t just throw money at it.

Hmmmmm… maybe that’s another of our problems. We’ve confused money with democracy. The more money you have, the more “democracy” you have. That is, the more your vote counts.

The RW money — the Kochs, the Mercers — had a huge advantage going in to this. They had money of course. But they also had “passion”. They cared enough about what they wanted to do something. The Kochs have been behind gerrymandering and the hijacking of the judiciary. When people vote repeatedly but never get their way — or feel the ominous pressure of judges who disapprove of who they are (so, it doesn’t really matter what they’ve done) — they get cynical. They stop taking part in the process because what’s the point?

They stop voting.

They begin to act like victims expecting their victimization to go on forever.

Rapists rape because they don’t care about the word “no”. It means nothing to them. It’s not a coincidence that every sexual deviant in office (that we know of — to be fair) has an “R” next to their name. That’s why child molesters like Roy Moore can run as Republicans. They’re the “Rights Of The Rapist Over The Rights Of The Rapist’s Victim” party.

That’s the answer to “how come Trump’s doing it anyway?” He’s a rapist. Rapists do what they want. He’s gotten away with it because his party is complicit. And they are — for the moment — getting away with it because WE were complicit for so long — tolerating more and more of our rights being trampled (with the caveat that they were always being trampled).

Progressives want as many people as possible to thrive and flourish. E Pluribus Unum — out of many, one. The more there are in the “many”, the better the “one” will be. That is American Exceptionalism — our diversity. That is the majority that voted against Trump in 2016 and 2018 and who will again vote against Trump this year.

Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by around 3,000,000 votes. That were counted. I bet someone could do some research and come up with a more accurate number that included all those votes that DIDN’T get counted. Or got flipped by electronic voting machines. Or were denied at their polling place. Or were dissuaded from even showing up by propaganda that filled their Facebook pages (propaganda send specifically to them from Russia via Konstantin Kilimnik and Paul Manafort). Or were “taught” from early on that there was no point in their voting to begin with.

I bet a more accurate assessment of 2016 would have Hillary Clinton and We The People decimating Donald Trump. Take Russia out of the picture and Trump certainly does not win Pennsylvania, Michigan or Wisconsin — and therefore the Electoral College (a whole “institution” meant to limit the freedom of the voters to have their say and way).

What scares Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, Bill Barr, Mikes Pompeo, Flynn & Pence more than anything? Aside from how guilty they are, it’s how small a minority of Americans they represent. Seeing the majority suddenly rise up — taking to the streets every day — terrifies them.

I wonder if Donald Trump realized last night — as he gazed at all those empty blue seats in Tulsa — if the end was near. He’s gotten away with murder. Literally.

And that’s about to stop.

The majority has had enough.

Donald Trump Cheated To Become POTUS — Here’s How He Did It

It’s entirely possible that Donald Trump has lived his entire life without ever winning anything either fairly or squarely.

That includes the presidency. I wonder if that’s why he keeps projecting his illegitimacy.

We knew as the results came in election night 2016 that something wasn’t right. Yeah, losing always sucks. But election night 2016 transcended merely sucking. Something deep in our animal nature sensed it. It smelled off. Our animal nature was right.

Donald Trump cheated throughout the primaries and the general election. He had foreign help every step of the way: that’s illegal. It’s also not a question. The Mueller Report (contrary to Bill Barr’s lying) did not exonerate Trump, rather it damned him — and said it could damn him no further because of 1) a silly DoJ rule that says you can’t indict a sitting POTUS and 2) everyone around Trump perjured themselves and obstructed justice so relentlessly it was impossible to fully investigate whether or not Trump’s campaign had cooperated with Wikileaks — a known Russian player.

But, how did they DO it? How did they pull it off? Wasn’t it really “Hillary was a bad candidate?”

Yeah, Hillary Clinton had baggage. She also won by 3,000,000 more popular votes. She probably won by way more — but plenty of Democratic votes never got counted. Plenty of Democratic voters were stopped from voting or their votes were destroyed or not counted.

Let’s start with the voting machines. Nobody knows if voting machines were hacked, manipulated or altered; to my knowledge, no one’s ever done a forensics on the voting machines in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin — the three states that handed Trump the victory. We do know that any machine — voting or otherwise — that hooks up to the internet can be hacked.

It’s not a coincidence that all the major manufacturers of voting machines are republican-owned. That’s how Republicans think — it’s multi-dimensional cheating.

To my knowledge, no one’s ever done any forensics on any of the voting machines used in 2016. As far as I know, no one’s even thought of doing it — not in an official capacity that is. But we know that any machine that hooks to the internet is hackable. There are, essentially, three voting machine makers: ES&S. Dominion Voting Systems & Hart Intercivic.

All the voting machines those Republican-owned companies manufacture are as unregulated as the companies who make them. They eschew producing paper trails — you know, those things one could follow to assure oneself the voting machines haven’t been tampered with and their results altered. Why, one must ask, would one not want back up — if only to prove how reliable your voting machines are?

We also know from even recent experience, even if people can get through a five-hour line and vote, there’s no guarantee their vote will be counted.

We don’t know and can’t say whether or not Trump directly cheated by screwing with machines in any way. We do know that Trump cheats. We know that Trump has no compunction about cheating. We know that he cheated in myriad other ways in 2016. We know that all the machine makers are Trump backers — and anyone backing Trump is open to corruption — that’s just a stone cold fact.

We can’t say machines for sure, but we can feel damned good betting the ranch on it.

Second, there was that old school cheating method — voter suppression. We’ll note, going in, that Democrats never, ever, EVER even try to suppress Republicans from voting. It just never happens. Why’s that, do ya suppose? Republicans do everything they can short of a literal poll tax to keep Democratic voters from voting. If Republicans thought the terrified people fleeing north from American-caused drug wars in Central America were reliable Republican voters, they’d limo every last one of them across the border to the American city of their choice, stopping along the way to get them all well-paying jobs, passports and pensions.

Republicans have been suppressing Democratic votes for a long time now. Remember though that (per Heather Cox Richardson’s excellent book “To Make Men Free: A History Of The Republican Party”), Lincoln’s Republican Party is not the current Republican Party. The GOP’s mission statement and founding policy positions sound an awful lot philosophically like modern day Democrats. The modern Republicans are more connected to the Dixiecrats — the southern Democrats who harkened back to the Democrats who hated and opposed Lincoln.

Whether it’s picture ID laws or assigning too few voting machines to mostly African American or Latino voting places, Republicans regularly make it hard for Democrats to vote. They must know that virtually none of the voters they’re inconveniencing or preventing from voting entirely are voting Republican. Republicans are inept — except when it comes to getting away with shit.

Gerrymandering was just reaching its zenith in 2016. Wisconsin is so badly gerrymandered that in 2018, Republicans won just 46 percent of the overall popular vote for the U.S. House, but 63 percent of the seats — 5 out of 8. Get that? They won a MINORITY of the votes but got a MAJORITY of the seats? A minority position “became” a majority one — because of gerrymandering. That means the will of the majority won’t be met, it will be contradicted.

Why does that seem so “un-democratic”?

In 2016, old fashioned voter suppression met Facebook. It was love at first sight. Facebook, after all, owed its existence to Russian money. Putin has always had a warm place in his pocket for Zuck & his glorified girl-rating app.

Russia focused its efforts on three states — Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan — three guaranteed blue states with a combined 46 electoral college votes. After California, Texas, New York and Florida (55 electoral votes, 36 votes, 29 & 29) are the big three. Keep in mind — the Russian play involved lots of moving parts. It was happy to create utter chaos and mistrust in our elections. Scoring the White House was a bonus.

We know these things happened: Paul Manafort handed Konstantin Kilimnik proprietary polling data covering four states: Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan. We don’t know what came of the Minnesota data but there’s significant evidence that Kilimnik took that data back to the GRU where the data was “weaponized”. Meaning — it was turned into attack ads that — based on the voter data — went through Facebook directly to the pages of individual American voters — in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan.

That those voters happened to be primarily African American was not an accident. Again — proprietary polling data! They were the point of the exercise. The GRU inundated those Americans’ FB pages with tons of ads about how Hillary Clinton was a closet racist.

The majority of African American voters knew better. They may not have loved Hillary but they were going to vote for her. Except for the African American voters who — seeing the Facebook ads about Hillary being a racist on the down low — let their cynicism take over. Everyone’s a racist, they thought to themselves — and stayed home.

Voter successfully suppressed.

I bet if we did even a little bit of investigating, we could find at least one Democratic African American voter who was swayed by what Manafort & Kilimnik did — and threw up their hands in weary disgust. Why bother? Both sides do it.

Trump won those three states by a combined 77,000 votes.

If we could add back in the suppressed votes (we’ll let go of the machines for now), Trump doesn’t squeak out a win, he loses. Maybe it’s close, but he loses.

On election day 2016, if you recall, Donald Trump had moved to within the margin of error in plenty of places — having risen sharply in the polls after the release of the Comey Letter.

It’s a fact. The Comey letter cost Hillary Clinton the election. The three to four percentage points Clinton lost was all Russia needed to make its various other efforts exponentially more fruitful. The Comey Letter added to the voter suppression going on — and Russia capitalized — pushing toxic Facebook ads and other social media propaganda through to the very last day.

The Comey Letter, if you recall, was all bullshit. Comey naively hoped his letter would explain why a bunch of rogue, Clinton-hating FBI agents in the Bureau’s NYC office refused to answer his simple question posed throughout the summer: were the emails discovered on still another Anthony Weiner computer copies of emails or brand-new emails the Bureau had never laid eyes on?

The rogue FBI agents — all fans of Clinton Cash, the Breitbart-published “expose” about Bill & Hillary — knew the answer to the question (they were copies) but refused to tell Comey. They were waiting — and waited throughout the summer. Meanwhile, backstage, Rudy Giuliani was in contact with the rogue FBI agents. He and (then Utah Republican Congressman) Jason Chafetz began to exert pressure on Comey — to reveal the presence of these new, “possibly unseen” emails.

James Comey wrote his letter — 5 days before election 2016 — to try and head off what Giuliani was doing. Comey was out of his depth. He got steamrollered. So did Hillary Clinton. So did America.

The Comey Letter made every Russian play more viable. It made squeaking out a 77,000 vote victory in three blue states acceptable — if only as a possibility. The Comey letter minimized the amount of cheating required on election day to steal the election.

As we all know, it worked.

Nothing about Trump’s 2016 election was “pre-planned” per se. Russia probably didn’t think it could pull it off until the Comey letter began to hurt Clinton’s numbers.

We know from reporting that no one in the Trump camp expected to win. Melania was especially upset. Trump had assured her it was an impossibility. He must have done because — as we just learned — after the “win”, Melania re-negotiated her pre-nuptial before moving into the White House.

Now that Trump is POTUS, he needs to stay POTUS — from his perspective. He’s already “unindicted co-conspirator Number One” in the Michael Cohen legal case. You just know there are a shit-ton of other legal cases just waiting for Trump to NOT be POTUS any longer — and no longer protected by that ludicrous DoJ rule that says you can’t indict a sitting president. The instant Trump stops being president, his legal troubles begin in earnest — and they won’t stop.

It’s entirely possible — I know my fingers are crossed — that Trump could lose every building, every hotel, every golf course he owns and end up either living in a cardboard box on the street (sweet!) or a federal prison for the rest of his life (sweeter!) He deserves to lose everything. The pain from that experience should endure as long as Trump lives.

I’d even be open to keeping Trump alive by whatever means possible — zapping his bloated orange chest with however many volts it takes to bring him back — just to keep in prison that much longer.

The good news is, Trump’s not having the easy time he had in 2016. Most of the American public grasps who Trump is now. More and more of us grasp that he’s not now — and has never been — the legitimate president of the United States.

We see him for the racist con artist and traitor that he is.

It’s Time To Admit It — Europeans & European Culture Are BULLIES

There are protests now all over the world in support of Black Lives Matter and their mission to end police violence. That’s remarkable if you think about it. Three months ago, Black Lives Matter couldn’t, um, “get arrested”.

What’s even more remarkable? The protests happening outside America aren’t just protesting what happened to George Floyd and everyone who looks like him, they’re protesting their own contributions to the flourishing of racism across the planet.

In Bristol, England, a statue of slaver Edward Colston was torn from its place and pitched into Bristol Harbor. Colston (1636 – 1721) was, by the standards of his time, a great man. He was a merchant and Tory member of Parliament. He got wealthy (per Wikipedia) “initially trading in wine, fruits and cloth, mainly in Spain, Portugal and other European ports.” When he started trading in slaves — after 1680 — as Deputy Governor of the Royal African Company (the English company that held the monopoly on the English trade in African slaves) — that’s when Colston got rich.

But, Colston also was charitable. He (again, per Wikipedia) was also “a philanthropist, donating money to charitable causes which supported those who shared his political and religious views.” Most of those people lived in Bristol. I wonder if any of the slaves Colston bought and sold ever felt touched by Colston’s charity… The people of Bristol on the other hand felt so touched that they put up a statue of Colston after he died. They put it in a very prominent place — right there by the Bristol Harbor.

The kicker to the story is, someone clever moved the statue’s location on Goggle Maps from where it had been on their map to where it now lies — at the bottom of Bristol Harbor.

In Antwerp Belgium, Black Lives Matter protesters (most of the Belgian, I assume because of the lockdown) tore down a statue of Belgian King Leopold II. Leo was notorious as a colonizer for brutalizing the Congo. The city authorities of Antwerp got a jump on the protesters. They took down Leo’s statues before anyone even asked them to.

As we know from European history, the Europeans have always been incredibly competitive with each other. Though they’ve shared the same continent for a thousand years (and before that as all the scrubby little tribes that “became” French people and Italians and Spaniards), most European countries don’t get on that well with their neighbors.

The English have always hated the French. The French have hated the English and everyone else. The Swiss don’t hate anyone — they just don’t want to get involved. The Italians are only a country because we say they are; they’re really a reluctant grouping of Italian tribes who want nothing to do with each other. Jared Diamond in his brilliant Guns, Germs & Steel postulates that Europeans held an advantage over everyone else because Europe had, under it, the material needed for humans to expand successfully beyond their borders: steel.

Steel allowed Europe to industrialize first. And weaponize. Chinese explorer Zheng He set sail to expand China’s view of the world almost 100 years before Columbus did. He sailed ships that, legend had it, would have dwarfed Columbus’ scurvy little armada. He (per Wikipedia) “commanded expeditionary treasure voyages to Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, Western Asia, and East Africa from 1405 to 1433.

He visited other cultures without dominating them. Without attacking them. Without bullying them.

Chris Columbus? To be fair, Columbus didn’t know he was carrying pathogens more lethal to the people of the New World than any weapon he possessed. Had he have known, he could have saved the brutality — though I bet that wasn’t a bug of European exploration, it was a feature.

Bad enough Europeans brought their germs, guns and steel to the New World (and everywhere else they went exploring). Worse, they brought the faith they’d all taken up — conflicted as they were as to which version was the “true” version. The Europeans didn’t let the supposed core message of their church — “Do Unto Others” — dissuade them from doing unto others what they absolutely did not want being done unto them: massacres.

Europeans massacred native peoples mostly for greed. But also they murdered them because the locals didn’t want to accept the Europeans’ ooga-booga. They had their own ooga-booga, thanks — and it had served them just fine. They didn’t need the Europeans and their hack job on “being good”.

Hey, I grew up Jewish. I know what it’s like to have (European) Christians insist their faith is the superior faith and if you don’t go along, their imaginary friend will beat the living shit out of my imaginary friend. I’ve had those conversations.

Europeans bully because they believe they are divinely entitled to do so. They think their faith — screwy and hostile as it is — is superior to any other faith and that the culture that flowed from their faith — Western Culture — is superior to any other culture. But European Culture started from a false premise — that its faith was “the true faith” and that everything they did was ordained by God himself.

The more intense monotheistic faith gets, the more monotheists seem to think they hear and grasp the word of God. They believe they understand what most others do not. That’s incredibly dangerous because the “God” they’re thinking about exists solely inside their head. There’s a lot of transference that happens there. The ideas of the deity become fused with the self — since the self understands and hears and obeys the deity.

The more intensely some people believe in God, the more likely they are to think they are God. Maybe not out loud. Maybe not even to themselves. But if you think you have a “personal relationship” with the deity who created everything? That’s not coming from him, it’s coming from you. YOU think you have that relationship. Unless you can provide emails or texts — you are alone in this relationship.

When Donald Trump shoved those peaceful protesters out of his way so he could get to a church he wasn’t invited to, he demonstrated every aspect of European bullying live on TV. He lied about why he was doing it. He lied about how he was doing it. He lied about who he was doing it for.

And then — the icing on the bully cake — HE got all bent out of shape when everyone called him on it.

The best way to deal with a bully is to say “No!” to him. “No, you may not bully me”. Bullies hate that — as the fascists among the Europeans always prove. But “No” is the only way. No is all bullies understand.

But they do understand it. It’s time for the Euro-bullies to get their damned knee off of everyone else’s neck.

Donald Trump Doesn’t Have An “Election Strategy” Unless We Count Cheating As “Strategy”

The news media uses the word “strategy” the way Wallace Shawn’s Vizzini uses the word “Inconceivable!” in The Princess Bride. As we all remember, Inigo Montoya’s notices how much Vizzini uses the word — and how conceivable all the inconceivable things actually are. Finally, Montoya calls him out on it —

Every single day, at least one journalist (and usually more) will ascribe what Donald Trump does and is doing to “strategy”. Do any of them know what “strategy” is? Strategy involves planning. A goal to get re-elected is not a plan. How one executes the goal — that’s the plan. To judge from what Donald Trump is doing, real people would be hard pressed to point to what Trump’s done in his effort to get re-elected that reflects “PLANNING”.

Making it up as we go along — the Trump playbook for everything — is not planning. It’s the diametric opposite. Trump’s mistrust of planning is why the novel coronavirus devastated America like nowhere else on the planet. Who the hell mistrusts planning FFS?

Trump didn’t have a “strategy” per se in 2016. From all accounts, Trump was counting on losing. He saw the presidential campaign as an exercise in brand-building. He wanted a media empire. Actually governing was never part of the plan because it’s not something Trump has any interest in. Money and power, yes. The responsibilities that go with it? No way.

What about this tweet —

— reflects a “strategy”? To do what? Expand his base? Attract black or brown voters? Attract women? This is not what one does to “win” an election. Not legitimately.

But then, that’s the point. This is about cheating again. Just like in 2016, the only way Donald Trump (like most Republicans) can win an election is by keeping as many people as possible from actually voting in it. Trump’s tweet is meant to intimidate. It’s meant to distract and distort and dissemble.

It’s meant to shovel bullshit onto a raging bullshit fire.

It sure would be swell if our main stream media could see things for how they are, not how they dream about them. Trump doesn’t “do” strategy just like he doesn’t do humility or compromise or research or anything every other potus could at least pretend to do.

Every time some weak-minded member of the media calls what Trump does “strategy”, they set the whole lot of us up for failure.

That shit’s gotta stop.

Dear Racists — It’s Not Up To YOU Whether Or Not You’re Racist

Does anything say “Donald Trump is a racist” more than Donald Trump proclaiming he’s “the least racist person ever”? Doesn’t it just make you want to shout “Oh, shut the hell up, you bloody, goddamned racist!”?

It’s the first sign that someone’s a racist — that they insist they’re not racist. That they can’t even spell “racism”.

They’re inability to spell isn’t the question. They’re inability to see how deeply, profoundly racist they are is. By the same token, it’s not up to other racists to say whether or not a racist is racist. They’re too racist to judge. And anyway, they think racism’s okay. Their judgment’s crap to begin with.

None of us can say whether or not we personally are racist. We’re too close to the subject matter to judge accurately. Other people have far better perspective on us. If they say we’re racist – maybe they see or know something we don’t.

While racism isn’t built into our genome, it is built into our culture. We pick it up as kids the same way we do other viruses and things we should never bring home. Of course, it’s likely racism is something we learned at home.

The trick is to own our own racism — especially the quiet racism we’d rather not talk about — and then work hard as we can every single day to mitigate that racism’s impact on us — and the world. Being a good person is way harder than being a bad person after all. Being rotten means you get to indulge every impulse, say every horrible thing that pops into your head. You get to hurt people with no consequence and never accept responsibility for anything you’re absolutely responsible for.

White people need to own the privilege that advantages us even if we don’t seek that advantage. Leveling the playing field won’t come without costs to some people. That sucks. It really does. But the larger picture will benefit everyone — including those who the leveling leveled.

Beauty is absolutely in the eye of the beholder. So is racism.

It’s Not Hyperbole: Donald Trump Is Not Now Nor Has He Ever Been Legitimate President Of The United States

Let’s start with this understanding — even in the world of beauty pageants, there are rules. There are laws even — and cheating even in something as trivial as a “who’s prettier?” contest — carries actual legal peril (beyond just losing a wardrobe department crown). Not that it ever stopped Donald Trump.

Our problem is so simple. We have only two political parties. They no longer want to live in (or govern) the same country. The Democrats want to live in this country. Republicans want to live in that country instead.

In this country, where the Democrats want to live, democracy rules. So do diversity, fairness and a level playing field. In that country, the one Republicans want to call home, there is no level playing field, there are just fields where the rest of us are meant to work our lives away for no money. It’s not a coincidence that during the Trump presidency, the rich have gotten exponentially richer. It’s also not a coincidence that the Covid-19 pandemic made the richest of the richer even richer still.

In pursuit of greed, The GOP sold out to the Koch Brothers & the Mercers then Donald Trump and his Russian Oligarch Pals (led by Vlad Putin). So long as they get richer and hold onto power, nothing else matters to Mitch McConnell and what remains of the GOP. Do ya suppose there’s a reason Republicans – and only Republicans – have worked so hard to suppress investigations into what happened during election 2016 and then lie about what those investigations uncovered? Donald Trump keeps projecting what happened. Why don’t we listen to him?

The word Trump keeps floating out there like a beach ball on a hitting T is “illegitimate”. He fears the world perceives his presidency as illegitimate. Why would that be, I wonder?

Sociopath though he is, Trump still knows enough to understand he can never stop being POTUS. The second he ceases to be protected by that ludicrous DoJ rules that says “sitting presidents can’t be indicted”, he WILL be indicted and he knows it. At the very least, Trump will go from being “unindicted co-conspirator number one” in the court case that sent Michael Cohen to prison to being INDICTED co-conspirator number one. Why wouldn’t he?

And — Trump knows this too — that first indictment will set off an explosion of falling dominoes across a variety of jurisdictions. Trump and his family and their businesses will get sued by virtually everyone. And law enforcement (now under the Rule Of Law again) will come after him for everything he’s done. They’ll have to because that’s what the Rule Of Law says they MUST do.

The Rule Of Law says Donald Trump has never been President of the United States. It can PROVE Donald Trump has never been POTUS. It has remedies, too.

An illegitimate POTUS never had the authority to nominate anyone for anything. It’s like any of us trying to nominate the next pope. We won’t be getting into that room actually. We don’t have the authority to be there. And if we walked in the door and voted anyway? Do you think they’d count it just cos we voted?

No.

And if we brought a gang with us (including our pal Vladimir) and took over the voting — cheating in myriad obvious ways to get a result that looks suspiciously wrong (as in the majority of bishops there did not vote the way the vote came out) — do you think that vote would stand up to any sort of historical smell test?

No, it would not.

Retrospect will not be kind to us. We have stood by for three years while a soft coup d’etat runs roughshod over and dismantles everything we thought we were. Our news media has convinced us that crimes committed against us — especially out in the open — can’t possibly be crimes. That’s it. That’s the logic.

And as faulty on its surface as that is, we need to see Donald Trump’s very legitimacy as faulty. The framing shouldn’t be “Donald Trump — an unusual potus — won an election so that’s just how it is”. It should be “Donald Trump is a traitor — working hand-in-glove with Vladimir Putin (and other foreign actors) — to circumvent the will of the American People — including his election and now re-election”.

This will matter “bigly” as Trump would put it (or “big league” — it’s so hard to decipher what that inarticulate shit gibbon is saying sometimes!) when we get to the prosecution and punishment phases of what’s to come. if the receipts prove that, in fact, Donald Trump’s election was fraudulent, then we need to consider the ripple effects of that fraud.

To go back to the beauty pageant — if I cheat to win and my cheating gets discovered? They ain’t letting me keep the crown or anything else that went with sweet victory. They’re taking it all back and kicking my lying ass to the curb — where it bloody well belongs. Car thieves (when caught) don’t get to keep the ride they stole. Even the movie “LaLaLand” had to give back the Oscar it thought it won (to “Moonlight”). The reason? The LEGITIMATE winner gets to keep the spoils.

At least, that’s how it’s supposed to be. That’s how it will be when the Rule Of Law becomes a “thing” again.

The Rule Of Law will insist that we prosecute everyone who violated it (especially if they were trying to undermine its very foundations). It will insist we do it fairly of course. And, if we find these people guilty? The Rule Of Law will insist that we punish them.

if we want to keep the Rule Of Law? We better do as it says.

And the Rule Of Law will insist that none of the judicial nominees Donald Trump nominated can remain on the federal benches they occupy — because Donald Trump never had the authority given him by We The People to nominate said judges. Stolen authority is not THE authority. Added bonus? Plenty of the judges Trump nominated lied repeatedly during their nomination hearings before the Senate. If they indeed committed perjury (boy, do we have receipts!), they can’t remain judges. We’ll impeach them — and they will be impeached.

We’ve traveled miles from where we began with the Trump saga. Imagine if, on the day Trump was sworn in, we’d been as vigilant about Trump, his corruption, his lies, his racism, his misogyny, his TREASON as we are now. Imagine if our news media had been capable of adding information so that their framing of Donald Trump constantly updated; we wouldn’t still be treating him like a “different kind of potus” as some of the news media still think of him. We’d be treating him like the treasonous, corrupt pretender he’s always been.

Yeah, I’m old enough to remember when saying Russia too loudly got eye rolls. When using the word “Traitor” got groans. When comparing Trump to Hitler ended the argument cos you went “there”. But “there”, it turns out, is where we all should have been.

Our choice is going to be incredibly simple. If we don’t void the results of election 2016 — if we allow criminals bent on undermining our democratic institutions to get away with it — we will be setting ourselves up for failure. It would be like letting racists get away with “Slavery, Part II”. Not outlawing slavery was a colossal mistake that will haunt the republic forever. We’re still fighting the Civil War. Make no mistake. It’s still a going concern.

And the same forces that betrayed us then for immoral reasons are betraying us now. They’ve never actually been down with representative democracy because people never want to vote for their ideas. They can’t grasp why no one else wants to live in the 50’s.

That’s the 1850’s.

If The Rule Of Law Becomes A “Thing” Again, It Will Have To Void Donald Trump’s Presidency — Or Immediately Stop Being A “Thing”

The Rule Of Law is a lot like Hamlet. Well, it’s a lot like Hamlet’s dilemma: “To be or not to be”.

The Rule Of Law is like integrity that way — it’s an all or nothing proposition. Ever met anyone with, say, 90% of their integrity intact? “I trust John 90% of the time. It’s that 10% about him that worries me” is not something anyone has ever said. The instant mistrust appears in any way, shape or form? Trust is gone.

The Rule Of Law is pretty specific about most things (though, as we’re realizing, not specific enough about certain important things). It says what one cannot do and what should happen to them if they do those things anyway. One thing it says explicitly — it is against the Rule Of Law to solicit any kind of foreign help in any sort of American election.

There’s no wriggle room there. All v Nothing.

That means if Donald Trump — or anyone working with him or for him — sought or received any help whatsoever from anyone foreign, they broke the law. That means Trump’s campaign should have stopped right there, right then. How can an illegal campaign continue to run and be legit when it’s conspiring with a foreign country that’s created an actual plan to do do the literal thing it’s doing in order to disrupt America?

The answer is “it can’t”. That it did continue running — and that it “won” — shouldn’t make us shrug our shoulders in surrender, it should make us bristle.

Let’s come at this differently. It’s not an election. Let’s say you manufactured a winning lottery ticket that scored you $100 million bucks. The lottery’s rules say you can’t do that. If you make your own lottery ticket and claim the prize, you may be handed the prize but you did not “win” it. it’s not legitimately yours.

If the lottery agency figures out that you might have cheated — and they investigate — and discover that, yeah — YOU CHEATED — what do you suppose that lottery agency will do when they learn you’re guilty as charged? Will they let you keep the $100 million? You better believe they won’t.

That money’s coming back — and you’re going to prison.

Same token — and this is an example even Donald Trump can appreciate. Let’s make it a beauty pageant this time. Contestant T (for Trump) doesn’t play by the pageant’s rules which say pageant contestants can’t even talk to the judges before the contest. Instead, Contestant T seduces or pays off every single judge — and wins. Is that win legit? If the rest of the judges — or the pageant’s backers or advertisers — get wind, how will they feel? Will they agree that regardless of the rules being blatantly violated for the purposes of winning, nothing can be done and the (cheating) winner they crowned is the only person who can be winner now and — despite not winning fairly — will get to keep her crown and everything that went with it including money?

I doubt it.

An office is no different than a beauty pageant crown. If you broke the rules to get the crown, the crown does not belong to you.

Neither does anything that came with the crown. In the case of the presidency of the US, the crown comes with power. It comes with the AUTHORITY to nominate judges and sign legislation into law. But only if you HAVE THE AUTHORITY. If I show up at the airport wanting to stamp the passports of people entering the country, they’ll kick me out — I’ve got no training, no history, no authority to allow anyone into the country.

The same goes for Trump. If he was never the legitimate potus then he never had any of the authority a legitimate potus has. If he never had the authority, then nothing he’s done has been authorized by We The People. Without that authority, those judges & legislation have no legitimacy.

As former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner has pointed out, an awful lot of Donald Trump’s lifetime nominees to the federal bench went before the Senate — for their nomination hearings — and lied through their teeth. They perjured themselves repeatedly. That means they can be impeached — and they most definitely WILL be impeached. Or voided.

Donald Trump — the Projector-In-Chief — has projected his own illegitimacy from the moment he was sworn in before a teeny tiny crowd. It’s about damned time we listened to him.