America Is Overdue For A “Great Moral Reckoning”; The Republican Party Is Even More Overdue

The loudest sound to come from the 2020 election — ignore the howls of protest spewing from Trumplandia — was the celebratory gush of joy that took over countless streets across America the moment it became clear that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris had defeated Trump and Pence. That wasn’t just the happiness that comes from winning an election. The past four years weren’t just another “four years of our collective past”. Donald Trump never won the presidency — cheating does not count as “winning”. Take Russia out of the 2016 equation and Trump is not POTUS.

We’re slowly opening our eyes. What happened in 2016 was monstrous and deliberate. That wasn’t an election, it was an actual crime — that continues to this day. We inhabit a literal crime scene. There are actual bodies to step over, too. Take this to the bank: when we get to the good part of this story — where all the best reveals are — the picture we’ll get will be of a soft coup d’etat motivated by the fear of a diversifying America. We have just been treated to an exercise in Machiavellian dick-wagging by a bunch of rich white boys whose greatest fear is a Black man or (especially) woman telling them what to do.

An awful lot of Donald Trump’s animus toward Barack Obama is because Obama is a Black man. Take that to the bank, too.

We STILL haven’t dealt with slavery. The presence of the Electoral College is slavery itself reaching from the grave to haunt us. The EC vastly overweighs rural, agricultural states over urban states. Where the majority of Americans actually live. The Senate has the same, distorting effect. The reason Republicans insist America is a center right country is because of the stranglehold they have on the structure itself. Think of all the states like Wyoming, Idaho, North and South Dakota which have 550,000, 1.75 million, 800,000 and 900,000 people in them but also have two Senators against states like California, New York and Florida which have 40 million, 19 million and 21.5 million people — AND JUST TWO SENATORS. See how all those red state-ers are getting much more representation per person? They’re also getting a shit-ton more federal money than populated states like California.

The right is over-represented everywhere you look. It gives the incorrect appearance that America is “50-50”. It’s not. It’s nowhere NEAR 50-50.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won by over SEVEN MILLION votes and counting. Personally, I’d stick a pin in whatever vote total Donald Trump has until we’ve put every executive at ESS & Diebold (the republican-owned companies that made and control the majority of voting machines across America) has been put under oath and grilled relentlessly about each of their machines’ BACKDOORS and their vociferous arguments against Americans voting by more secure hand-marked ballots.

We need to be reassured that crazy ideas like mine — that these Republican-owned companies (with Republican politicians on their boards and tons of the companies’ campaign cash in their coffers) have, for years, been using their backdoors to insert self-erasing code that’s been padding Republican voter totals. Please, please, PLEASE — PROVE ME WRONG.

Take this also to the bank: I won’t be proven wrong.

This over-representation of Republicans — in the government, in our imaginations and on TV — has created myriad false impressions and narratives. We feel their phoniness every time Mitch McConnell claims to speak for what “The American People” want. Treason Turtle Mitch McConnell speaks only for Mitch McConnell and the right wing money machine for whom he happily walks point.

That day, out in the streets, it wasn’t “winning” that fed our joy, it was the belief that, after four years, justice might have a seat at the table again (with the caveat that justice actually never had a seat at the American table before).

We want America to do the right thing. We ache for it. That’s why more of us came out for this election than have ever come out for an election ever before. We want America to do a far better job of living up to its ideals. We believe America can DO it. We’re going to insist, in fact. To get from where we are to those ideals will require that, first, we experience a Great Moral Reckoning.

Come to Jesus, come to Buddha, come to the Crypt Keeper if that’s what it takes. Whoever you have to come to to experience that moment of truth, come to them now. It’s time.

Republicans — living in the past as they do, are once again behind history’s curve. If America is overdue its corrective, imagine where it puts Republicans.

I Have A Feeling THESE 20’s Are About To “Really” Roar

The Roaring 1920’s brought economic prosperity to the Western world — until a lot of that prosperity turned out to be phony, crony capitalism — and the world plunged into the Great Depression. These 20’s — the 2020’s — are about to roar as well — but for a whole different reason. The underlying cause is about the same — greed and power lust — but this time with the added weight of racism, bigotry and sexism. All those things have worked in concert with greed and power lust up until now.

The Roaring 2020’s are about to shut that down.

The problem with conservative thinking is that it stifles innovation. Innovation scares conservatives because innovation always takes us forward while conservatives (as their name says) want to conserve — what is and what was. Conservative thinking also stands behind racism, bigotry and sexism. You may disapprove of Trump’s racism — while enjoying your billionaire’s tax cut — but the fact is: if you stand with racists for any reason, it makes YOU a racist. Or a bigot. Or a misogynist.

Or a Republican.

A Great Moral Reckoning is coming. Corruption has had its way with us and we’re both disgusted by it and over it. This toothpaste is not going back into its tube.

The roaring can be heard in our streets, at Black Lives Matter protest marches. It can be seen blazing indignantly in the eyes of Democratic legislators unable to get any sort of realistic, meaningful financial assistance legislation past Moscow Mitch McConnell. We The People are the ones roaring now. We couldn’t wrap our minds around the openly criminal way Trump stole election 2016. At least now a few more people are appropriately woke. They see Trump cheating and call it out.

The only problem — they (and we) have got to stop equating cheating with winning — as if one could cheat to win and get away with it because why not?

Part of our roar needs to be “if you cheated to ‘win” then you did not win”.

Republicans fear our roar more than we know. That’s why they’re so determined to hush it. They know that significant power that still resides in the will of the people.

Until they can finally kill that dead, Republicans will have to play a dangerous game of cat & mouse. In this case though, the mouse has a secret weapon — the Truth — on its side.

Dear American News Media: YOU Will Be The Problem Until YOU Stop Being It

When your job is to tell our story in real time, as it’s happening, it’s vital that you know how to frame that story — in real time. If you screw up the framing, you’ll end up telling the wrong story. Our news media can’t ever get the Donald Trump story right because they insist on framing Trump’s story from TRUMP’S point of view. That’d be great if Trump were even semi-reliable with the facts. The fact that he lies about everything — that’s his most prominent feature.

On the one hand, a storyteller SHOULD base their story about this character on the fact that they always lie. On the other hand, a storyteller shouldn’t base their story on this character’s lies as if they were true. Because they’re not — and it skews the whole story away from REVEALING who the character is toward revealing nothing except the depths of the storyteller’s credulity. Trump is not some visionary whose lies are part of some grand vision. He’s just a goddamned liar. He’s a goddamned criminal. His lies are meant to keep him from getting caught. Period, end of story.

You’d think professional storytellers could tell it.

This isn’t every journalist working this beat, but it is most of them. While their dedication to the journalistic ethos of fairness is admirable, they seem to have confused political neutrality with complete detachment. They don’t want to judge whether anyone’s politics are right or wrong. Okay, fine. But, then they go and assume that EVERYONE is being political — “both sides do it”.

Except that’s not true. Both sides don’t “do it”. Example: both sides do not relentlessly try to suppress the other sides voters. Both sides do not approach elections the same way. Both sides do not want every single eligible voter to vote.

When a suppressed voter raises their hand to complain that their vote is being suppressed, they’re not being “political”. They are responding to a political act however. The person suppressing their vote IS acting politically. In fact, the whole point of voter suppression is to undermine the other sides ability to conduct politics. To get what they need from the political process. To suppress a voter is a political act. To defend the suppressed voter is NOT. It’s an act of patriotism actually.

And an act of civil obligation. The vote suppressor is breaking the law.

All this is framing. It’s seeing the story from the neutral perspective journalists aspire to. Real neutrality would involve asking what everyone’s motives were rather than assuming.

What are Donald Trump’s motives? That’s not a hard question. As big a liar as he is, Trump is remarkably transparent. His motives are always right out in the open. You don’t even have to scrunch up your eyes to see them. The trick apparently (to judge by our news media) is in accepting what you’re seeing.

Plenty of journalists HAVE accepted what they’ve been seeing all along: Sarah Kendzior, David Corn, Seth Abramson. Even the former Wall Street Journal journalists at Fusion GPS — the research firm hired by Republican-owned Washington Free Beacon to do oppo research on Trump during the 2016 primary season accepted what they saw (after doing their due diligence): that Trump was almost certainly a criminal who’d been laundering Russian mob money through his failed Atlantic City casinos. Some journalists have accepted that Trump is every bit the rapist all the brave women who’ve come forward SAY he is.

Some journalists have accepted that Trump is the rapist he himself says he is.

And then there’s the rest…

The ones who “reset” every day to a bizarre “Square One” where Trump is a “normal POTUS” who ran a normal campaign in 2016, not at all touched by a hostile foreign power actively engaged in an undeclared cyber war against us. That Trump “strategizes”. He’s a brilliant businessman and a master negotiator. He’s a good father and husband. He was a great student. He’s well read. He’s loved and he’s made us more respected.

All because he says so.

This liar.

There’s a traditional English entertainment that plays at Christmastime called pantomimes.

These theatrical pieces are almost always based on some old chestnut — Cinderella or Puss In Boots. The story’s just a framework on which to hang a somewhat improvised game of call and response with the audience. At some point in almost every pantomime, the bad guy will end up standing behind the Good Guy who’s downstage center talking to the audience.

The audience — since their participation is expected — will tell the Good Guy with increasing desperation that the Bad Guy is behind him. The Good Guy — finally getting the message — turns one way but misses seeing the Bad Guy. He turns the other way — misses seeing the Bad Guy again. It’s maddening of course. That’s the point.

In a panto, it’s also part of the fun. Here in reality though, watching Trump and the GOP stand behind the news media while We The People shout “Look out behind you!” has become part of the tragedy. The news media has become part of the story. That is, their inability to tell the story has become part of the story.

Bullshit and truth are not the same thing. When a reporter, attempting to be “neutral” asks a “Yeah, but what if bullshit was true?” kind of question, they’re giving credence to bullshit. Regular bullshit is bad. Bullshit given the credence of Truth? Oy.

Is it really a wonder why at least a third of America doesn’t know what the Truth is anymore? It’s understood that political actors — Fox News — have made it their purpose to undermine everyone’s journalist credibility including their own. They need “truth” to flow from the top, truth being whatever the criminals running the kleptocracy say it is. Orwell knew what he was talking about. Control the past, you control the future.

The “truth” is, Donald Trump sucks at messaging. That is, he sucks at messaging anything other than what he is — a traitor and a criminal. The bulk of our news media also sucks — at storytelling.

It’s a fixable problem. All they have to do? Open their eyes. Accept what they know and make it part of the story.

Neutrality toward the Truth is not neutrality. It’s journalistic malpractice.

Donald Trump & Trumpism Are What Happens When Magical Thinking Goes Psycho

Magical Thinking should have an expiration date — at the end of childhood, say. Or when one turns 18 and votes for the first time.

Alas, that’s not the case. Some people — Republicans — never lose their taste for Magical Thinking. That’s because it’s more than a taste, it’s an addiction.

The reason religious dogma grabs people when they’re young is because that’s when magic still answers questions satisfactorily. Explanations don’t have to line up with facts so long as the narrative captivates. The apostle Paul’s genius — Paul invented Christianity, not Jesus — was to weave Jesus into a vague, mysterious messiah narrative that, if you accept it as “gospel truth”, will allow you to defeat death. That’s what Christianity is selling: eternal life. But only if you believe the ooga-booga lock, stock & two white-or-grey smoking barrels.

Jesus preached a pretty simple message: do unto others. While there was plenty of Magical Thinking in Jesus’s view of the world, his teaching didn’t require any mental gymnastics. One doesn’t have to believe in magic to do unto others. Even if one believed in Yahweh, Jesus taught that one could speak directly to him. One didn’t need the temple priests to do it for you — because they knew the magical code while everyone else didn’t.

Jesus never claimed to be the product of a virgin birth. He never claimed to be the son of anyone other than his actual mother and his actual father. He never claimed messiah-hood. All that magic was imposed on Jesus and Jesus’s story by the early church. The church very effectively disposed of the real Jesus, replacing him with an entirely magical Jesus instead — a Jesus who serves as mascot for their institutions and for Magical Thinking itself.

When people start out believing magic is the answer to our most foundational questions — why are we here and what is our purpose — they’ll favor magic as the solution to those questions. Instead of feeding themselves when hungry, they’ll await manna from heaven. They’ll mistake brain chemistry gone awry for demonic possession. They’ll think the voice in their head is divine and their actions therefore justified (no matter how terrible).

It’s a lot easier to forgive people for accepting magical explanations when their knowledge base is limited. The men who scribbled out the texts that became the OT really didn’t know much. Their world was tiny compared to ours. Most of them never traveled more than 50 miles from where they were born. They had no idea that pathogens existed. Their cosmology was all wrong. Imagine if, instead, they’d had access to telescopes and microscopes and the internet. They wouldn’t have written what they wrote the same way (even if they’d still had the same questions).

We don’t have their excuse. And yet, plenty of people still accept the explanations for basic facts from people who were legitimately ignorant of the facts.

Oy.

If you accept the Magical Thinking that, say, the bible is the “inerrant word of God” then you will approach your work with that as the basis for all your thinking. If God doesn’t say “Hey, don’t pollute the planet” then polluting the planet is fine. But then, if your Magical Thinking tells you that the planet’s going to turn into some magical garden after Jesus returns, it doesn’t matter what you do to the planet. In your magic-addled mind, magic will fix it all anyway.

Except, of course, no — it won’t. Because it doesn’t exist.

The four days of the Republican National Convention was a study in Magical Thinking Gone Even More Bonkers Than Normal. Not only were masks not required, neither was logic. Or any sense of history — including what’s been happening from day to day. Suddenly Donald Trump’s disastrously inept pandemic response was genius. His racism was the best thing that ever happened to Black Americans. His treason was next gen foreign relations.

Every last bit of data and evidence from the last four years says Donald Trump has been a disaster for America and the non- authoritarian world. It says the rich have gotten exponentially richer while everyone else has gotten appreciably poorer. It says racism, anti-Semitism, anti-LGBTQ bigotry and every other form of hate is on the rise. Only Magical Thinking spewed at Trump campaign rallies and by Trumpanistas on TV says otherwise.

Every time Trump tells a rapturous, maskless crowd that the economy’s never been better, that America’s never been more respected, that he cares about them above all, that every negative word said about him is “a hoax”, we see Magical Thinking at work. The crowd mews approvingly as if the words magically made bullshit true.

What’s worse — the press repeats those words — and the crowd’s mewing response. They don’t frame what’s happening as Magical Thinking so it comes across as just “thinking” — so therefore legitimate. A crowd of rubes getting suckered in real time gets reported as “Trump’s supporters agreeing with his assertions”. It’s Magical Thinking to think that’s what’s happening.

Magical Thinking never ever represents reality. Trumpism’s triumph was getting the news media to report Magical Thinking like it does.

Stealing Elections For Dummies

We The People have two problems facing us as we careen toward this election. Problem number one: The Republican Party is doing everything it can — including commit treason — to hold onto the power they stole in the last election.

Problem number two: our news media — even while reporting that Trump and the GOP are openly cheating in order to win — behave as if cheating to win and winning without cheating are the exact same thing.

No, they are not. The rule of law says cheating can NEVER equal winning. Now, the rule of law isn’t going to enforce itself. WE have to do that. But we can’t enforce the rule of law if we refuse to observe even its most basic tenets — like, say, you can’t cheat in order to win. If the press sat down to a card game and could never win because the person they were playing with cheated not only relentless but openly, they’d say something eventually. But, with Donald Trump, even if they do say something, they immediately assume that “Oh well, it’s Trump — cheating is “what it is”.

No, it’s NOT.

When republicans gerrymandered voting districts, they did it with the specific purpose of denying the majority their voice. That’s the whole point of gerrymandering. It’s to give a minority of voters political power far beyond what it should be entitled to. The point is, literally, to circumvent the will of the people. Do you think Republicans would have to gerrymander districts if they thought they could win them on the strength of their ideas?

It’s not just that Republicans fear Democratic voters. It goes deeper — beneath the labels to actual philosophy. Republicans fear the equality under the rule of law that Democrats want. They want special treatment under the rule of law — the same special treatment they’ve gotten up till now — at the expense of people of color, Black people especially.

Republicans, being conservative, want to “conserve” what is. Their name says it all. The future, in their minds, should be exactly the same as the present. The present, to them, already represents too much compromise with the future. They want to slow or stop any future evolution of our thinking and ways of doing things. Innovation is conservatism’s enemy. It has to be. All innovation causes change and change is anathema to conservatism.

If Republicans were honest, they’d campaign on a platform that promised to take America back to the 50’s — the 1850’s — back when being a voter meant being a white, Christian, landowning male. But then, if they did that, who’d vote for them?

There’s the rub. That’s why Republicans gerrymander and suppress Democratic voters and lie about their intentions. The irony is, Republicans don’t even want to govern, they want to prove that government is bad. So they govern badly — like a kid who doesn’t want to do their chores so they do them all the worst way they can. If the voting public knew what Republicans really wanted to do to the country — in fact, it’s exactly what they’re doing right now — they’d rise up in a tidal wave of anger, resentment and outrage that would turn Republicans out of power forever.

Republicans don’t need a book teaching them how to cheat. They’ve been doing it out of necessity for more than a generation now. The RW money (the Kochs, the Mercers) saw way back that America’s diversifying demographics spelled political doom for them and so set out to stop it from happening. They charged Mitch McConnell with the task of hijacking the judiciary — first, by denying Barack Obama the lifetime appointments to the federal bench to which he (and We The People) were entitled (via a thing called an “election”), then by filling the federal bench with unqualified extremists once Donald Trump had stolen power.

Partnering with Russia may not have originated inside the Republican Party, but even when they knew Russia was actively working to make Donald Trump president, they did nothing to stop it. In fact, they continued working with Russians. Mitch McConnell, for instance, refused to let Barack Obama inform us in September 2016 that Russia was actively trying to make Trump potus. He twisted every arm he had to to get sanctions lifted so that Oleg Deripaska could drop $400 million into a Russian aluminum factory in Western Kentucky. Those sanctions were put in place because of Deripaska’s role in subverting the 2016 election.

No, Republicans know perfectly well not just how to steal elections, but to steal elections via treason. And it IS treason because Russia is actively engaged in a cyber war against us — a war they envisioned years ago. Just because they haven’t fired a bomb or bullet at us doesn’t mean it isn’t a war. Russia could shut down our power grid today (they absolutely could!) and we’d sue for peace — the losers — tomorrow.

War is war is war. And anyone who thinks you need bombs and bullets to win a war will lose every war they ever fight going forward.

It’s our news media that needs to read this book. They need to see cheating for what it is — CHEATING — and not as some odd variant on “winning”.

Cheating is cheating is cheating. It can never be winning. As Republicans are fond of saying “elections have consequences”.

Point taken. And stolen elections have even worse consequences.

What Are All Those “Trump Won 2016” Journalists Going To Say When We Establish That, No, Trump STOLE The Election?

Spoiler alert — that IS where this story is going: Donald Trump did not “win” the 2016 election in any sense of the word. He stole it. Literally. Go look up the two words — “win” & “steal”. They’re not the same thing.

To have legitimately won the 2016 presidential election (and this applies to the races up and down the ballot), Trump and the Republicans would have had to have sold Americans on the superiority of their ideas. They didn’t. They sold America the idea that Hillary Clinton was less trustworthy than Trump — a message they sold in collaboration with Russia. Stone cold facts — Wikileaks equals Russian Military Intelligence and Trump’s campaign was actively engaged with not only Wikileaks but multiple Russian intel officers. Paul Manafort — the convict — handed Konstantin Kilimnik proprietary polling data concerning four states: Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

We don’t know what did or didn’t happen in Minnesota. We know what happened in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. It’s not just the fact that Trump pulled off “surprise victories” in three blue states — it’s the margin by which he pulled off those three victories. He won them by a combined 77,000 votes. Between three states.

That’s just over 25,000 votes PER STATE.

One of the now accepted reasons for Clinton’s loss in those three states was the weaker than expected turnout of Black voters. Those same voters were the focus of Facebook ads delivered to their individual computers — saying that Hillary Clinton was a closet racist so why bother voting for her? Where were those messages originating? At Russian Military Intelligence. They were using all that proprietary polling data Trump’s campaign manager had illegally given them.

This isn’t just bad behavior, it’s flat out illegal. It’s a crime. It’s a flagrant violation of the rule of law.

That’s the bottomest line there is: it violated the rule of law. The rule of law says you cannot cheat in order to win. The act of cheating disqualifies the win. And if you didn’t legitimately win, then you never had the authority that would have flowed from that win. Donald Trump — as he’s been telling us since he “won” — has never been the legitimate President of the United States. It’s a stone cold fact. He’s never had the authority to do anything. None of it can stand — not “none of it should stand” — none of it can stand. That is, if we really and truly intend to enforce the rule of law.

Quick reminder: the rule of law has never stopped being in force. We have stopped enforcing it (having never enforced it properly to begin with). That does not mean it wasn’t in effect. The rule of law didn’t let us down, we let it down. Not the same thing. But, fortunately, we have a chance to fix that. Hell, we have in front of us a golden opportunity to do even better: we can create structures that guarantee (or do a better job of guaranteeing at least) that we follow the rule of law to the letter.

If we don’t enforce the rule of law — the founding principle of our republic — then the rule of law will eventually break down. Can we please learn this lesson?

When we finally factor in how Russia didn’t just “influence” the election on Trump’s behalf, but physically weighed in on its outcome — literally changing it from how We The People actually voted (or intended to vote) to what Don & Vladimir wanted — we’ll face a difficult Day of Reckoning. First in line for that day of reckoning will be Trump and every single Republican who allowed this to happen.

That will be every single Republican. “See something, say something” is part of the rule of law. When we even suspect anyone is violating the rule of law, the rule of law obligates us to say something to the authorities charged with enforcing it. That’s how it gets enforced. We The People actually work to maintain it. Self government isn’t automatic. To virtually a person, the Republican Party, though aware (even vaguely) that something was amiss, have not met their obligation as citizens following the rule of law.

This isn’t some “conspiracy theory” conspiracy, it’s a nuts & bolts conspiracy. A conspiracy of silence because… well, that will be what comes out at trial. The “why” each and every single Republican failed to uphold their oath of office. Most of their excuses will be the same. A few Republicans have indeed been compromised (Lindsey Graham, I bet… Dana Rohrbacher, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell for sure!) but most will have been willing participants who had little idea where the treason bus was headed. They didn’t care whether it was a treason bus or not.

We know — because the press reported it — that the Republicans knew for sure as early as the 2016 convention that Trump was owned by Moscow. No one called the FBI.

See something, say nothing? That’s how conspiracy works.

The case will be made — and made emphatically: Donald Trump did not win the presidency in 2016. Moscow won it for him — as an act of Cyber War. Trump — and everyone conspiring with him — are literal (not hyperbolic) traitors. He did not “win” the 2016 election in any way, shape or form.

What a relief that will be because finally, We The People will be off the hook.

The news media hammers away at us how “Yeah, but Trump won the election” or “But America voted for Trump!” No, he didn’t and we didn’t.

The question will land on our heads: “So, now that you know for a fact that Trump didn’t win the presidency and has never been legitimate POTUS, what do you intend to do about it?” Do we let an illegitimate president keep what he stole from us — OUR CHOICE? Would we let a car thief — caught inside our vehicle, pissing all over the nice leather seats — keep our car after we’ve caught him? I wouldn’t. You probably wouldn’t either.

Well, neither would the rule of law.

Judges were stolen from us. Judges and the lifetime of sitting on the federal bench that each (now doctrinaire conservative) judge will spend judging. Those judges should represent the majority’s choice and choices, not some treasonous minority’s.

Trump and the GOP will get their day of reckoning inside a court room (and then a federal prison). The news media — who kept hawking a story they knew (but couldn’t convince themselves) was true — will get their day of reckoning in the court of public opinion and the marketplace. Just like we can’t let a single Republican get away with what they’ve done, the same goes for every journalist who failed to meet their First Amendment obligation to be the final check on power.

Every journalist who repeated Trump’s bile context-free (looking at YOU, NBC News’ Kelly O’Donnell) as if truth and bullshit had equal weight must confess their journalistic sins and atone.

Every journalist who asked “Yeah, but what if bullshit was true?” questions (looking at YOU, NBC News’ Stephanie Ruhl!) needs to acknowledge that they were directly responsible for giving bullshit the credence of Truth to the Truth’s detriment. The whole “fake news” meme stems from asking “Yeah, but what if bullshit was true?” Bullshit is never true. Ever.

So stop asking.

Finally, all those journalists will have to answer for their inability to aggregate the story of Donald Trump and the Republican Party. They will have to answer for why they couldn’t pry the normalcy bias blinders from their heads. They will have to answer for why — in spite of the mountains of evidence produced often by their own reporting — they couldn’t manage to build the narrative past a “square one” where Donald Trump was merely “a different kind of president”.

When Paul Manafort was convicted — when Roger Stone and Michael Cohen and every other Trumpanista was convicted — that wasn’t the starting point for their criminality. It was (we hope) the end point. Up until that moment though, they were actively engaged in committing the crime they were sentenced for. In Manafort’s case — it went back to the 2016 campaign. That means everything he did was criminal in real time. The lag in reporting it is the problem. Same goes for the time it took for us to enforce the rule of law.

We’re stuck in a problematic zone where an active crime is being committed upon us — we know it — the criminals know it — even the people reporting it know it — and yet, we’re strangely limited in our ability to do anything to stop it — in real time. But we must. The criminals here are on a do or die mission. There’s no going back now — look at what they’re all guilty of: treason. That’s still a capital offense. And think of how financially ruinous this will be for every guilty person and their family.

Treason will be a hard brand to shake — personally and universally. I don’t know how the Republican Party will ever stop being the party that nurtured treason in its heart. That went along with treason. That actively aided and abetted it.

The news media will have reported all this in real time — but failed to connect dots it should have connected. That’s for itself but more importantly for its audience — We The People. What damns our news media more than anything is that it wasn’t everyone. There were reporters and news writers and journalists who saw it from the get-go and screamed it as loud as they could with the means they were allowed. The news networks have the Big Megaphone. They decide which of those voices gets heard — and gets credence.

Imagine if MSNBC had swapped each Hugh Hewitt appearance for a Sarah Kendzior appearance. The mind boggles at how much further down the road to stopping this we’d be. Imagine if each and every reporter on staff was as sharp, focused and outraged as Nicolle Wallace, Rachel Maddow or Joy-Ann Reid. Yes, they bring a lot of advocacy to their journalism. But the thing they’re advocating for is the Truth.

I’m not sure what all those journalists will say when their day of reckoning comes but it had damned well better start with “I’m sorry.”

Dear American News Media — You All Report That Trump’s So Desperate To Win He’ll Destroy The Post Office; PLEASE ASK WHY!

This is not a “why did the chicken cross the road?” question. Donald Trump doesn’t want to win this election just “to get to the other side”. It’s pretty much universal now that Trump is cheating to win right before our eyes. That is, “cheating to win again.”

That’s how it’s put by the “news” media. He’s cheating to win again. That suggests he cheated to win at least once before — and considering as the only other election Donald Trump ran in was 2016, that says that our news media acknowledges now that if not for cheating, Trump would not be president today.

Think about that — and think about how we’re “thinking about it”.

In theory, cheating to win is a literal impossibility. You might “win” by cheating but, if we’re playing by the rules, by cheating, you disqualified yourself from winning. The rule of law is quite clear on this point. One cannot win by cheating. In fact, if one cheats to win, one opens oneself up to all sorts of legal exposure. I know we may not be enforcing the rule of law as I write this, but that doesn’t mean it’s not still completely in effect. It absolutely is — and we will return to living under it except this time (we hope) correctly.

But, I digress. Even Trump will say out loud that destroying the post office is to prevent Americans from voting. If Americans vote the way they’re going to, it’s not a question of if Trump loses, it’s a question by how much he’ll get blown out by. That’s Trump and every single Republican running on the ticket with him. Trump already has a whole wing to himself in the Museum Of Historical Miscalculations. Going after the post office — even as an act of desperation — is idiotic. He’s a Dumbass Don Quixote tilting not at a windmill but a T Rex which promptly eats him like a cocktail olive.Republic

Even some of the rubes Trump tricked into voting against their own best interests last time have suddenly turned. They get it: if their prescription opioids get delayed coming through the mail, they’re screwed. Ditto any sort of check they rely on in lieu of electronic payment. You can shoot yourself in the foot only so many times before it’s completely useless to you.

It’s conceivable now — unless Trump stops bullshitting the nation about vote-by-mail’s reliability and allows the USPS to do its job the best way it knows how — most of the stage AG’s will go after DeJoy, Trump’s Postmaster General flunky for deliberately screwing up mail delivery in their states. Voting for Trump now equals “Killing the Post Office”. As political marketing goes, that flat out sucks. Good luck selling it.

Of course, the point isn’t to “sell” anything. It’s to stop just enough Americans from either voting or having their votes count so that voting machines in certain states important to the Electoral College can be electronically flipped. Any machine that in any way connects to the internet is vulnerable. But then, isn’t that the point? If you really wanted a totally safe, secure election to take place — without having technology just for the sake of having it (especially when it’s the thing that makes voting vulnerable) — you’d accept hand-marked paper ballots and that would be the end of it.

Republicans are cynics. Their actions say it. I cannot think of a single Republican — Mitt Romney included — who isn’t walking around with knowledge in their heads that make them complicit in a grand conspiracy to rob the American people of their electoral choice. Everyone with an “R” next to their name believes deep down that the end justifies the means. The end that every Republican has in mind is permanent minority rule.

To get to that end, the Republicans made the worst Devil’s bargain ever: they hitched their wagon to Donald Trump despite knowing he was corrupt — and despite knowing that he was literally OWNED by Russia. Republican leadership knew it going into their 2016 convention. Current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy famously announced to a meeting of the Republican leadership that “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump”. The GOP leadership didn’t run to the FBI, fearful about the implications for their presidential nominee. No, they agreed to go along with then Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s demand that they “keep the conversation private, saying: ‘No leaks. . . . This is how we know we’re a real family here’.”

So — Republicans have always known that Trump’s relationship with Russia was “problematic” from a legal point of view. They must have understood it that way because they knew to keep it secret. When Barack Obama wanted to alert We The People about Russia’s active determination to make Trump POTUS, Mitch McConnell threatened to accuse Obama of politicizing the intelligence. Moscow Mitch knew for a fact that that wasn’t at all what Obama was doing.

For some reason, our news media can’t aggregate a story. They can’t add information so that they’re understanding of Trump — and how to report him — evolves. That’s terrible storytelling. It’s not journalism. Even a quick perusal of the Mueller Report (versus taking Bill Barr’s word about it) — with an understanding that it doesn’t represent the entirety of the Trump-Russia story but merely a thin tranche of it — says Donald Trump cheated to win in 2016 and committed treason while doing it.

For some reason, our news media can’t aggregate the guy who was impeached in the House for trying to cheat in the coming election with the guy who’s trying to destroy the Post Office in order to cheat in the coming election. Even just those two things aggregated gives us a person, shall we say, unusually motivated to want to win an election. But, WHY?

Yeah, sure, everyone likes to win. Shitheads like Donald Trump are especially dedicated to winning at all costs because they’re man-babies whose frail emotional architecture can’t stand up to losing. But, that doesn’t explain them breaking the law to win. Well, it doesn’t explain Trump breaking the law so flagrantly, so willfully, so desperately.

At every character’s core is “why”. Why they do what they do. Why they get up in the morning and will themselves to get through the day. Even if they can’t articulate the why, there is one. No one does things “for no reason” except in the minds of bad storytellers and way too many American journalists.

Trump doesn’t do immoral, corrupt, racist, misogynistic, ignorant things because “he’s a different kind of POTUS”. He’s does them because he IS all those things. Especially corrupt.

When Fusion GPS was hired by the Washington Free Beacon in 2016 to do oppo research on Donald Trump, the first thing they did (according to co-founder Glenn Simpson in his Congressional testimony) was their due diligence. They sought out every bit of publicly available information on Donald J. Trump. They got ahold of newspapers, magazines, radio broadcasts, TV shows — anything and everything. They went to book stores, Amazon, even the public library.

Simpson testified that what they found there — in publicly available material — convinced them that Trump might have used his bankrupted Atlantic City casinos to launder Russian mob money — a fact which Vladimir Putin knew and exploited. That’s why they subcontracted that part of the research to Christopher Steele’s Orbis. Steele, former head of MI6’s Russia desk, had the best contacts inside Russia bar none.

The reason Trump needs America to believe the investigation into him isn’t even remotely a hoax is because he’s so incredibly guilty in so many ways. The only thing shielding Trump from indictment and prosecution right now is a silly DoJ rule (not a law) that says sitting presidents can’t be indicted.

That rule is Trump’s Hail Mary. The longer he can keep it in the air? The longer he’s not a federal prisoner for the rest of his life. His best bet? Never stop being POTUS. Ever.

That’s the “why”, you see, at the center of Donald Trump’s core.

He won’t tell you that, of course — he probably can’t articulate it. But then, Donald Trump can’t articulate anything directly. He’s an ignorant boob operating far, far above his competency. He’s making it up as he goes along and he has zero imagination.

But then, that shouldn’t be hard to discern. The evidence has come at us in a relentless stream of reporting. So has the evidence that Trump is a traitor.

If only there was someone out there to report it…

Why It’s Really, Really Important That We Beat Trump At The Polls: The Rest Of The World Is Counting On It

There are myriad reasons why authoritarianism is on the rise across the planet. The biggest reason is the success (so far) of authoritarianism here in America. Having Donald Trump in power signals every other tinpot dictator to get his game on. If Putin could pull this off and diminish America, imagine the destruction he could cause your sad little country.

That, as of today, is the message countries around the world are getting. America is diminished. We are on the ropes — no two ways about it — but we were sucker punched. Those are the only punches Donald Trump knows how to throw — punches when you aren’t looking. Trump is reduced to destroying the post office to keep Americans from voting.

Think about that — the current occupant of the White House is doing everything in his power to stop the majority of Americans from using their right to vote to remove Trump from an office he never earned in the first place. We are watching him cheat in real time. If we were clever, we’d point out that the moment you cheat? You can’t win. Cheating disqualifies any win you accomplish — just like Trump’s cheating in 2016 disqualifies his “win”.

If Trump cheated in 2016 in order to win, it means he did not win — and we know for a fact that he cheated. The world sees the triumph of tin pot corruption where it least expected to see it. Worse, they see Russia controlling America’s ship of state. Trump doesn’t count as a “leader”. He’s an open invitation to the rest of the international crime syndicate that owns him to visit the trough as often as they like.

The world sees Trump actively cheating again — twisting and turning every which way to hold onto power. Behaving like a Mussolini-with-training-wheels. Destroying the post office to stop Americans from voting safely during a pandemic is criminal. But then, so is forcing Americans to use the voting machines (tied to the internet as they are) that Trump is counting on — AGAIN — to steal the last few points of difference so as to “eke out” a win like he did in 2016.

That was Russia’s game — first, disenfranchise, propagandize, suppress or interrupt as many Democratic voters as possible in blue states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Then, on election day, make voting hard as hell for Democratic voters by limiting the number of precincts and the number of working machines within each precinct. Then, make sure the machines are all susceptible to alteration (as every internet or wifi-connected voting machine is). Flip just enough votes to pull out the win without triggering an automatic recount. Voila — another election stolen out from under We The People.

Except, not this time. This time, we see Donald for what he is and we see what he’s dong for what it is.

Though he will do everything in his power to stay in power, We The People are taking all power away from him. And his Republican buddies, too. Every bit of it.

The moment he’s no longer POTUS, Donald Trump will be indicted, investigated, charged, sued, poked, prodded and, finally, convicted of every crime he’s perpetrated. It’s not like there aren’t whole mountain ranges of damning evidence. Why do ya think he’s fought so hard to keep every last bit of it secret?

Clearly Trump knows how open and shut this is. So does every Republican.

That’s why a repudiation of these pirates will resonate not just here but everywhere. Removing Trump will begin a cleansing process in America that will lap over our borders. Righteousness of purpose — real patriotism — a respect for the commonweal — all these things will feel like a second coming for the rule of law. That’s what the world wants from us — they want us to exemplify what it means to be ruled by laws and not people.

The moment Joe Biden becomes POTUS and Kamala Harris becomes Veep, the world will know that America is on the road to recovery. The moment Joe Biden steps forward — a finger pointed at Vladimir Putin’s chest — to tell him he’s now under international quarantine — the world will know we’re back. And so will every petty tyrant suddenly feeling his oats. The good times just stopped rolling. Shit’s about to get real.

The more America finds and lives the ideals we were always supposed to live by — where all PEOPLE are created equal under the rule of law — the quicker we’ll get back to a place of relative safety. We won’t have to wake up every day wondering how the world might end because Donald Trump is both a career criminal and an incompetent jerk.

If Joe & Kamala were in power right this second, Belarus “leader” Alexander Lukoshenko wouldn’t be threatening his citizens — telling them to simmer down because Vladimir Putin has his back. Lukoshenko would be gone from power — his fraudulent election having been overturned with the help of American poll watchers. Putin would know to keep his dirty hands off Belarus because he would already be under sanctions so severe he’s counting the change in his pocket, not sure he can afford dinner tonight.

If America was “America”, China wouldn’t be threatening Hong Kong and Taiwan.

If we suddenly held MBS accountable for murdering Jamal Khashoggi or Kim Jong-Il for being a murderous little shit — the world’s downward plunge would reverse. The sheriff will be back in town and that, really, is what the world wants and needs from us. The truth is, America IS exceptional. That is, it has exceptional potential because of its exceptionally diverse population. People from all over the world have become Americans. That’s why the rest of the world sees themselves in us — and they desperately need us (and that part of them) to get their shit together.

At the very least, the rest of the world wants and needs America to get the coronavirus under control. The fact is, they need our dollars as much as they need our ideals — our real ideals. They need the dynamism we bring to the marketplace. They need our inventiveness and daring and willingness to take chances. They need our American spirit.

They need us.

Let’s not let them down, okay?

Police in Belarus watch rioters.

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 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.