Dear MSM — No, It ISN’T About POLITICS

This picture is not political. It depicts a crime happening en flagrante. A CRIME against the Constitution & We The People.

The most insidious form of “Both Sides Do It” journalism is its insistence that, no matter what, it’s always about politics.

Democrats objecting to Republicans suppressing Democratic votes (they never do seem to suppress votes evenly between Republican voters and Democratic voters) is — in this view — political rather than legal. Those stolen votes are… what? Collateral damage? When a Democratic voter loses their right to vote — because a Republican TOOK it from them — the only politics being played are by the REPUBLICAN. The Democrat here is the VICTIM OF A CRIME.

That little analogy goes Big Time with Donald Trump. It’s the exact same deal. Trumpified.

What most Democrats objected to as Trump plowed his way through the Republican field back in 2016 was his racism, his misogyny, his corruption. We objected to hearing a presidential candidate say that “Mexicans are rapists”. Our objection, MSM, wasn’t POLITICAL, it was MORAL.

The fact that we were Democrats (while most Republicans stayed silent or quickly bought in) was relevant. Not because of our political affiliation but because of our morality. As usual, the MSM ate the icing and forgot that a cake even existed.

Even today, a cable news show could play thirty seconds of Trump talking about anything. The talking heads would get their shot — and the Democratic Congressperson on the panel will state the obvious: Trump lied, lied, LIED.

The news panel’s host will (with one or two exceptions) flip it to whatever Republican Talking Head is there — “Is that true? Did the president lie?”

The rest of the conversation is irrelevant. The Talking Head Host just assumed (on the audience’s behalf?) that the Democrat’s take wasn’t motivated by the truth, it was motivated by politics. To get to the truth? We need to hear the other side, too.

Both sides DO NOT DO THIS. Both sides do not commit treason to win elections. They don’t.

Both sides do not suppress the other side’s votes to win elections. They don’t.

Both sides do not wage political campaigns based on fear and outright hatred of the other to compel their voters. They don’t.

Both sides do not obstruct justice as easily as they breathe. They don’t.

Both sides do not put forward ludicrous explanations that couldn’t pass smell test in a shit factory. They don’t.

Both sides do not make excuses for a president who consistently behaves in ways that would get any other citizen arrested. They don’t.

Both sides do not have a relationship with Vladimir Putin that is so flagrantly, obviously, how-in-our-faces-does-it-have-to-be TREASONOUS that it boggles the mind we don’t call it TREASONOUS yet. Both sides absolutely, positively do not.

What the MSM cannot get through its titanium skull is that one can object to Donald Trump, to Republicans and their outright corruption, as a concerned citizen first and a Democrat second. It’s possible to think country over party. Why, we should be demanding, does our Main Stream News Media think every single American thinks like a goddamned Republican?

Both sides do not do it. Both sides do not always — ALWAYS — play politics.

And, while we’re at it – Chuck Todd is an idiot.

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WE Alone Can Fix It

The Big Lie that helped bring us the Age Of Trump flows from that wellspring of bullshit — Libertarianism. “I alone can fix it” is laughably absurd.

But, as much as some of us roared the first time Donald Trump spewed those words, some in the crowd — their ears perked up. They, too, think they alone can fix it, having convinced themselves that Ayn Rand was a genius who saw the rugged individual inside of them that ached to be a Master of His Own Fate.

Ayn Rand died in poverty on the public dole. So much for rugged individualism and “I alone can fix it”. Those are literary conceits — and, in the hands of Ayn Rand, horribly written literary conceits on top of it. I bet she even sucked as a typist.

As we all know about Trump, he couldn’t even “fix” his own election alone. Russia did that for him.

If the Democrats really want to draw a clear distinction between their message and the GOP’s (not that there’s any similarity between the two), they could focus in on the nonsensical Republican belief that “I alone can fix it”. What pretty much every single Democrat is already touting, the Democratic message is “WE alone can fix it”.

If I were running for office — that’s how I’d explain what needs to happen. For starters, we need to stop seeing a president as a fix-all. Great leaders — not fixing anything alone — know how to get the best from everyone around them. Great leaders don’t pilfer from the people supporting them (claiming credit for their ideas), they embrace the ideas — not just giving credit but demonstrating how the more ideas we get from more places, the better and more inclusive our problem-solving will be.

This is a rare moment in modern American history. For all the pride Americans take in the benefits of citizenship, too few accept the responsibilities that also come with being an American especially the responsibility to vote. Suddenly Americans want to vote. Suddenly Americans feel the tug of responsibility.

If the trend lines started in 2018 continue, the American electorate is pretty much woke. We’re paying attention as never before.

Americans, being Americans (with a very short attention span), this won’t last. We’re racing toward a resolution of Trumpism. Too many people who know the Truth are stepping forward now. 2020 will absolutely be a referendum on Trumpism — and it will be turned out utterly and completely. But, in the moments just before Americans revert back to deep-seated apathy, we can change how they think about being an American.

I would tell my fellow Americans that their being “woke” is essential to our health as a republic. Before they revert though, they need to pay attention for a little while longer. How we resolve Trumpism — how we go forward — how we think of “us” — how we think of The Rule Of Law — how we think of the taxes we pay and what we expect that money to do FOR US (not in spite of us) — all of these things need to be on the table.

Especially the last thing — how we pay for fixing us.

Americans view paying taxes the way they view death. A terrible, terrible inevitability. We believe our tax dollars buy us nothing except an army and a lot of useless bureaucrats.

I would attack that idea first. I would remind every American that we are the greatest experiment ever in human SELF-GOVERNMENT. We do this. WE.

If every tax-paying American were given a statement that showed where every penny of their tax dollars went — including things useless and things useful — they might not be happy (not at first), but they’d start to feel a little more in control. At least they’d understand their relationship to the government in practical, day-to-day terms they could actually relate to.

It’s a thought anyway.

America’s motto is not “I alone can fix it”. It’s E Pluribus Unum. From many, one.

That’s our strength. It’s our saving grace, too.

If Russian Efforts Changed ONE Vote, They Changed The WHOLE Election

That is a literal Truth. Think about it. If Russia changed ONE vote — caused an African American voter in Wisconsin, say, from showing up at the polls on election day 2016 because weaponized Facebook ads (based on stolen voter data) propagandized them into believing HRC was racist — and if the Trump Campaign KNEW that was happening or encouraged it or (worst but most likely) PARTICIPATED in it — then we cannot say that Election 2016 was truly “Free & Fair”.

And if we know that Russian interference prevented America from having a free and fair election, we have to look at the Americans who aided and abetted the Russians. And we have to ask “WHY?” Why aid and abet a country who would benefit from our diminishment?

We have to assume — since the Republicans are working so hard to obstruct Justice — that they, too, saw benefits from aiding and abetting a foreign enemy. Donald Trump — having not been punished for conspiring with Russia to steal election 2016, saw a chance to not only steal 2020 but blame Ukraine for 2016 — thereby taking the onus off Vlad Putin and Russia. So much gymnastics when all you have to do to win an election (in theory) is have better ideas than the other guy.

Trump has consistently relied on outside help. He’s done it in our faces. He relied on Russian interference in 2016 and he’s relying on it now — BECAUSE THAT’S HOW HE “WON”.

Fact: Paul Manafort handed Oleg Deripaska proprietary polling data for four states: Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Trump won Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — four Hillary states — by less than 77,000 votes combined. No one’s ever done an official forensics analysis on the machines or their results. Unofficial analysis has turned up curious anomalies (repetitive results district after district) that only an official analysis can clear up or explain (if they can be cleared up or legally explained).

Fact: Voter suppression in Wisconsin was already pervasive before election 2016; it was exacerbated by its then governor Scott Walker and by some pretty egregious gerrymandering. We don’t know how many Democratic voters were culled from the voter rolls. Strangely, it’s ALWAYS Democratic voters who get culled.

I bet if all those refugees streaming north from Central American drug wars caused by American drug lust were reliably Republican? They’d all get limo’d across the border, first stop being an employment office where they’d get handed some featherbedded job and a passport. Too bad for all those people they’re not corrupt. Better luck next time, I guess.

We have a massive day of reckoning ahead of us. We see now — in real time — how Trump’s use of outside influence to interfere with an election works. We see the quid pro quo’s. We see the staggering corruption.

Fact: Russian money flowed (through the NRA and through citizen Russian emigres doing the Kremlin’s bidding via contributions to Republicans by way of their Kremlin-cash-flowed retirement accounts to virtually every single Republican. I’m kinda suspicious where traitors are concerned. I’m more inclined to demand every Republican prove they WEREN’T financed by Russia than I am to assume they’re innocent or oblivious.

Russians do love their useful idiots.

Either Every Vote Counts Or No Votes Count

We need to make up our goddamned minds about voting. Personally, I believe that literally EVERY VOTE counts.

In election 2018, according to the Washington Post, in 133 races out of the 4,137 run that election cycle, the winner’s margin of victory was under 100 votes. That’s 3.2% of all races.

That would mean that a successful voter suppression operation only had to stop 100 people from showing up across thousands of voting districts in order to accomplish its goal: changing the outcome of an election, not by selling better ideas but by tricking or lying voters into not voting.

In a close race — decided by fewer than 100 votes — each and every voter tricked into not voting is as good as a vote for the other guy. What part of that is either free or fair?

In 2016, Republicans, with Russia’s help, carried out the Mother of all voter suppression operations. What was Paul Manafort’s intention when he handed Oleg Deripaska proprietary polling data from Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota? Was it simply “Hey, Oleg, here’s some cool stuff you might want to peruse in your copious free time”? Or was it “Hey, Oleg, here’s proprietary American polling data. Weaponize it, please.

Next thing ya know? African Americans in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan are seeing ads on their Facebook pages raging about Hillary Clinton’s secret racist agenda. It’s absurd. But the point of the exercise isn’t swaying the great unwashed masses. Sway one voter — you COULD sway a whole election.

If Russia’s efforts changed one vote — just one — that means they could have changed that election’s entire outcome.

Either our elections are free and fair or they aren’t. There’s no middle ground. Elections — like integrity — are either 100% legit or they’re not legit at all. Ever meet someone with most of their integrity (say 95%)?

No, you haven’t. You have integrity or you don’t.

An election is free and fair or it isn’t.

Every vote counts — or none of them actually do.

Storytelling For Dummies (And America’s Main Stream News Media), Part 24: How Villains Work

Villains (and by villains I mean good villains) have to play by certain rules — or they can’t be good villains.

For starters — villains must have a good reason to be villainous. There are plenty of mediocre villains — Bond level villains included — who seem to have no other purpose in life than to achieve world dominance — or, to their dying breath, go after the person preventing them. I’ve never met anyone like that — and I’ve worked in Hollywood.

Voldemort is an excellent villain, for example, because — in addition to wanting ultimate power — he’s a neurotic mess. Being the ultimate power will settle a personal score — and that’s really why he’s doing it. Villains have to be believable characters — believably bad but also believably human.

Think of Kathy Bates’ Annie Wilkes (in Misery). She’s a terrifying villain mostly because she’s soooooooo human.

Good storytelling demands good villains and good villains demand real human traits.

Donald Trump is a villain. For real.

As we’re learning, he’s been a very real villain for a lot longer than either we realized or wanted to admit that we realized. Trump’s a pervert and a rapist. People know these things. There’s always talk. There were always people along Trump’s blighted way who realized who and what Trump was. They let it slide.

Trump became POTUS by cooperating with Russia. Every Trump move since he took the oath of office has weakened America and strengthened Russia. People have died because of this. Died terrible deaths they did not deserve. Trump isn’t the only villain in this story — not by a long shot. Everyone who kept quiet, who knew or even just suspected what Trump was up to owed it to the rest of us to share.

What makes Trump’s villainy so extra awful is that it’s always been so patently obvious. It’s been so obvious, in fact, that it went right by us.

A big reveal is coming. A monster-sized reveal. That it will surprise anyone is tragic: Donald Trump is a traitor.

That it will surprise Americans will be, in large part because our press has been so slow to show up at the treason party. Think about how long it took them to show up for the Russia party. It wasn’t that long ago that some conservative talking heads STILL downplayed Russian influence because Trump did.

Our Main Stream News Media has the remarkable ability to report news — on its very own air — then act as if they’d never reported any such thing. How often do they turn from a story about all the ways Trump acts like a traitor to a story about Trump’s 2020 campaign as if Trump suddenly stopped being a traitor?

That’s the distinct feeling one gets: in the common wisdom, Trump’s only a traitor if they report that story directly. So long as they can weasel word their way around it — his reason is “obscure” — every treasonous Trump move gets chalked up to some other cause. Weasel words are music to a villain’s ears.

Trump has been a racist since birth. As far as I’m concerned, that makes Trump if not a verifiable racist himself, then someone who knows a mess of rapists and always seems compelled to spread racism’s “good news”.

Trump has also been a rapist from the moment he first realized he could score a little pleasure by forcing his teeny-tiny mushroom dick on any woman he wanted. That fact alone should make Trump a card-carrying rapist.

Trump’s also been a misogynist and a pederast and a crook and a traitor. Oh, FFS — and a VILLAIN. His whole life.

And yet — despite this fact, the MSM will have a catharsis shortly — they’ll pass a point beyond which they can’t dither anymore. Trump isn’t just a “different” kind of potus, he’s a goddamned criminal. THAT’S what makes him “different”.

And then the MSM will go apeshit — broadcasting this incredible reveal 24/7 at maximum volume. Donald Trump isn’t just a traitor, he’s a villain!

But, and this is what the MSM won’t get — it won’t mean that Trump “just became” a traitor and a villain, it will mean he’s been one all along.

And that will mean the MSM has gotten that traitor & villain’s story wrong all along. It’s goddamned villainous, I tell ya…

Dear Stephanie Ruhl: FFS, Hon – Stop Giving Our Lying Scumbag POTUS The Benefit Of The Doubt!

Hey, Steph – sorry to call you out like this but today you said & something so egregious that it demanded comment.  Frankly, this applies to lots of your fellow journalists; they need to listen up, too.

You’re a talented financial journalist, Stephanie.  Your bona fides there are top notch.  But when you wade into politics, you lose your way.

You say things that betray a troubling lack of perspective.  You seem to believe that in politics “both sides do it”.  Oy.

In a discussion this morning on your air with Rick Stengel re the implications of Trump’s extortionate actions toward the Ukraine, you stopped Rick mid-sentence to ask: “But, wasn’t Trump elected to let Trump be Trump?”  Oy again.  Do you not see the inherent problems in that question – hell, do you not see the inherent problems in that way of THINKING?

First of all – it dives right into the false narrative that Trump is the legitimate president who was legitimately voted into office in a free and fair election completely untouched by Russian influences (or the influence of other countries like Saudi Arabia and Israel).  It ignores the whole context in which election 2016 took place – a context we now know was steeped in Russian money and propaganda all designed to make Donald Trump president despite what the American People wanted.

The Mueller Report was NOT the uber-document on Trumpian corruption and treason.  It’s scope was limited from the get-go – except for the counter-intelligence part of the investigation (which started the whole thing).  Even so, the Mueller Report doesn’t say there “was no proof” that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia regarding Wikileaks, it said there was insufficient proof to convict (a different benchmark entirely) but that the investigators could not complete their investigation because of all the Obstruction Of Justice.

The Report suggested that the Congress remove Trump from office via impeachment so that he could be prosecuted for all the crimes he’d clearly committed.  Remember all those other criminal matters that got spun off?  Some of them are still percolating – the ones, that is, that Bill Barr didn’t squash.

Bill Barr is another apparent blind spot for you, Steph’.  You report on activities that CLEARLY indicate profound corruption in every which way.  You even speak that word yourself.  And yet – each time Barr or anyone else in the Trump White House pushes further into uncharted corrupt waters, your first impulse – even as you point to its outrageousness – is to accept it as the new normal.

Why do you persist in doing that?  Oh, right… because both sides do it.

No, love, they don’t. 

You pointed out a few minutes later to Rick Stengle that most Americans don’t know everything Rick Stengle knows.  You allowed that when Trumps base (with whom you are obsessed) hear Trump get up at the United Nations and lie about how America is burdened by having to pay for the bulk of defending the Ukraine from Russia – they’re gonna think, “Yeah – I agree!”

And then you said this:  “How are they supposed to know the truth?”

FFS, Steph – that’s where YOU come in, don’t you get it?  That’s where YOU – as the Fourth Estate, charged in the Constitution with being the final check on power – are supposed to step forward SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER]

You however insist on giving Power the Benefit Of The Doubt instead.  And therein lies your problem and consequently OUR problem.

Why would you give a liar the benefit of the doubt that he might not be lying this time?  Wouldn’t a more skeptical “journalistic” approach be to assume he might be lying – and demand he back up everything he says until he becomes trustworthy?

Would you, Stephanie, a talented financial journalist give the benefit of the doubt to a financial criminal who you see right through?  Would it not offend you – knowing the absolute truths you know – to give such a fraud “the benefit of the doubt” you KNOW he does not deserve?

Wouldn’t your time on air be better spent reporting on the evidentiary case against him?  What good can come of air time spent framing the story from a lying, corrupt point of view – as if it was valid?  That’s what giving the benefit of the doubt does – it validates because it asks “Okay, but what if this utter bullshit were true?”

It’s not true.  It was never true and never will be true.  It’s like taking flat earthers seriously.  But worse.

It is absurd that even as Donald Trump tries to commit the same crime in 2019 and 2020 that he committed in 2015 and 2016, the bulk of our press still doesn’t get it.  They see the far flung pieces of Trumpian corruption but refuse to connect the dots.

Please try to grasp this concept, Stephanie (it could, some day, make you as good a political reporter as you are a financial reporter): a crime committed right in your face is still a crime.

Stop giving it the benefit of the doubt. Please?

Thanks,

Signed: A Wanna-Be-Loyal Audience Member 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I never saw that  coming either.