Unfortunately, There’s Really No Such Thing As “Fair”

“Fair” is kind of like the Buddhist notion of “Bodhisattva”. A Bodhisattva is someone on the road to enlightenment. But they’re not there yet. If they think they’re there? They’re definitely not “there”. Enlightenment is as hard a goal to achieve as “fair” is. It’s more surreal than real, more abstract than plastic.

And it’s so personal. What’s fair to me might not be fair to you. Even when we compromise (the goal, really), if the compromise is “fair”? Neither of us will like it much; it’s not “fair”.

“Fair” gets harder when there are multiple competing interests whose concept of “fair” contradicts one another. Maybe the problem is we value “fair” to the individual over “fair” to the group. Assuming everyone’s rights are being respected (a big assumption), it’s hard to justify being fair to one person at the expense of a large chunk of everyone else.

When we say “All men are created equal”, we better mean “everyone” is created equal — before the law (which is what it means). If the Law treats everyone fairly — that is, “equally”, there’s a better chance we’ll feel that we’ve been treated fairly. That’s all we can ask. It’s the consistency that creates a basis for “fairness” in our minds. That’s why the Rule Of Law — as a concept — gives us the best possible chance to experience the most “fairness” for the most people.

Racism is inherently unfair. Ditto bigotry, misogyny and every other form of irrational, ignorant hatred.

But, just like “fair” is a human construct, so’s the Rule Of Law. We invented it. And though we want to think it’s “automatic” or autonomous, it isn’t. It does not self-perpetuate. It’s not some perpetual motion machine. We have to care for these ideas and nurture them. We have to renew both the ideas and our passion for them.

As the Trump years have taught us, if you start taking “fairness” for granted, you’re doomed to a life of perpetual unfairness. Minority rule — as an example? Not fair. Mitch McConnell hijacking the judiciary — to give hard core conservative judges power over an increasingly progressive majority? Not even remotely fair. Committing treason to win the presidency in 2016? Don’t get me started…

“Fair” is a muscle we have to exercise every single day. We have make sure we’re being fair — despite the unfairness around us. If we don’t exercise our own sense of fair — that is, fair for the group — our “fairness” muscle will atrophy, wither and die. Before long, we’ll become like every Trump supporter. Their idea of “fair” begins and ends with them.

You want fair? Be fair. Have receipts ready to demonstrate what real fairness looks like. Be prepared to persist. “Unfair” is the bully’s preference and there are plenty of bullies around.

If The Question Is “But, What Can We DO To Stop Trump?”, The Answer Is “Let’s Start By Agreeing: Donald Trump Was NEVER The “LEGITIMATE POTUS”

A schoolyard bully who steals your lunch money and claims it was always his, is wrong. Not just morally but factually. The lunch money was never his.

Same token — a person who cheats on their bar exam or pilot’s license isn’t actually a lawyer or a pilot. They never actually qualified for it and therefore never really had rights or privileges that were given them UNDER FALSE PRETENSE. Get that last part — the FALSE PRETENSE part? Stick a pin in it. We’re coming back.

The guy cutting you open may call himself a doctor — and the scalpel in his hand is horrifyingly real — but he is not, in fact, by our mutual agreement (because we have created standards for our mutual benefit and safety) that thing he’s calling himself — be it doctor, lawyer, pilot — or POTUS.

Now, I’m simply going by the Rule Of Law here — and, as always on this blog, I assume we’ll find a way back to a world where the Rule Of Law “is” again because the overwhelming majority of us prefer it that way. Maybe that’s why I remain hopeful (if uneasily so) — though Americans should have taken to the streets en masse many insults to human decency ago, there will be a point where even the most apolitical American gets up on his hind legs and says “STOP!”

The majority of Americans do not like being told what to do by “outsiders”. They love their creature comforts — a lot. They want simple lives, yes, but simple lives of comfort. Trump’s impact on this country is only just playing out in full-assed Technicolor. It’s been building to this from the day Russia stole the 2016 election for Trump.

We’re not talking about the Trumpanistas. They’re “never-wozzers” where Democracy is concerned. They’re a more malignant version of the 29% of Americans who still approved of Nixon on the day he resigned because of Watergate — the last Republican power grab that we managed to stop just in time. We’re talking about the 40% or so of Americans who never or rarely engage with politics.

These are the cynical ones — never instilled with civic pride because we just don’t teach it. Civic pride doesn’t instill itself, ya know. To a degree, their cynicism is understandable. Money has always had a louder voice and bigger vote. They got that. But, that was the whole point of “giving money the vote” — to further empower the money and further disempower the actual voter.

2018 began something — a very real awakening. The surge of women into politics will continue unabated because women finally cannot tolerate living in a male-dominated world. That won’t merely effect the sex of the people doing the legislating, it will effect how those people legislate. They’ll do it like women. They’ll do it more multi-laterally than unilaterally. In fact, it’ll be the rare decision that ever gets made unilaterally at all. Because women’s bodies are designed to bear children, they know in their atoms — no one can have or raise a child by themselves. They can try — and they might not die. But they absolutely will not thrive.

Women know a lot about legitimacy. I don’t mean as it pertains to kids with married parents, I mean how it pertains to who deserves what and who doesn’t. Women have had to fight damned hard to get a fraction of what men get in the marketplace — not because their ideas are worth less or their skills less — but because they’re women. Glass ceilings are completely illegitimate. They’re not a legitimate thing. They don’t represent a legitimate reason to exclude women and their talents from the game.

Legitimacy matters.

I believe women will refuse to accept Trumpism going forwards because they will have rejected it in their guts from the get-go. Trumpism is built on a gross, male lie — “I alone can fix it”. If I want to stick my dick somewhere, I’m sticking it there.

That’s not legitimate — except as a rape threat.

We must see EVERYTHING now in its totality. We cannot see all these isolated bits and pieces of the mosaic — Mitch McConnell denying Barack Obama all those lifetime federal judges especially the SCOTUS seat — Mitch McConnell refusing to let Obama tell us that Russia was all in to make Trump POTUS — Every Trumpian lie about Russia — Trump Tower Moscow — Every Republican lie about Russia including the fact that they’ve always known about (starting with “I think Putin Pays Rohrbacher & Trump”) — every time Trump has attached himself to Putin’s anus like a limpet to a shark — every sledgehammer blow to our system of government — we have to see every single corrupt shard as part of a gigantic corrupt whole: Treason.

People who commit TREASON to become President of The United States? They can’t BE President. They’ve already broken the main rule. Remember False Pretense? You cannot “win” the presidency of this country under it.

It’s a contradiction of terms therefore to say you’re president when, in fact, you are not.

Donald Trump did not clear the most basic hurdle of becoming LEGITIMATE POTUS. He did not win the presidency legitimately.

Once we make that the foundation — our starting point for all facts going forward — then first fact we have to acknowledge is Donald Trump is not now — nor has he ever been — the legitimate president. Not being the legitimate POTUS, he never had ANY of the rights, privileges or the authority to do what legitimate POTUSes do — create legislation, represent our country abroad, nominate judges.

I’m not authorized to make air traffic decisions. I might show up and claim I have the authority and even bring along powerful friends who agree with me — that I do. But I don’t — and clearly I’m not making air traffic decisions because I care about safety in the skies. I’m not sure why I’d lie about being an air traffic control person but I know exactly why I’d lie about cheating to become POTUS.

How can the victims of a crime — that’s what We The People are in this instance — be forced to endure a lifetime of the criminal getting away with it? Who says that has to happen — when we can prove how utterly criminal the criminal here is? An election result was stolen from us. That’s not an abstraction.

We The People voted for open-minded, progressive-leaning judges — that’s who the people WE THE MAJORITY voted for. We got fascists instead. That’s not our democracy working, that’s our democracy being hijacked.

We do NOT have to listen to hijackers. We do not have to do what they say or let them win. We can turn — right now — and look these criminals right in the face. They won’t meet our eyes — of course they can’t. They’re guilty little boys who’ve been caught out again. And this time we caught them doing something diabolically bad.

That’s why they’re fighting so hard to kill our democracy dead. If the Rule Of Law is still a thing? Every last Republican (okay — save, MAYBE a few) is going to prison for the rest of their lives. Traitors deserve nothing less.

What can we do to stop Trump & the Republican Party? Let’s start by calling them what they are — TRAITORS. Let’s also make it clear that we view 2016 as not an election but a crime scene. The election result needs to be inspected in far greater detail. We The People want the facts — as best we can reconstruct them.

We want to know what REALLY happened in 2016. If Trump — or ANY Republican — worked with Russia IN ANY WAY to facilitate Trump’s “win”, we cannot say that election was free or fair. Considering what we KNOW Russia was up to — and why?

Tossing the results of election 2016 is a big ask. But how else can we possibly proceed from a starting point of “DONALD TRUMP WAS NEVER LEGITIMATELY PRESIDENT”?

Why on earth would we insist on legitimizing what we know was treasonous? Who the hell could that possibly serve?

Oh, wait — I think I know…

We Live Inside A Giant False Narrative — That Donald Trump Is “Legitimate POTUS”

False narratives — creating them, living them, suffering the consequences of living them — it seems to go with being human. So, I’ll cut us some slack.

The unfortunate humans who live inside North Korea’s borders live inside a false narrative that Kim Jong-On isn’t a sociopathic madman at the helm of a hermitic dictatorship with nuclear weapons at his disposal. They think he’s a kind of god — just like his father and grandfather — because that’s what they’ve been told.

North Koreans have been deliberately fed a false narrative about how life and politics are. The point wasn’t to liberate them. One never creates a false narrative to do good things for people — despite what one tells oneself. You’re turning away from empirical truth — and choosing to walk toward fiction. Every step toward fiction is a step away from actual truth.

There may be lashings of truth IN your fiction — but, whereas facts won’t let you do with them what you want, with fiction? You can spin a story however you like. You’re bound by story logic — but not logic logic.

The biggest false narrative going, of course, is religion. The people who write religious texts — the Old Testament for instance — start out from a genuine place: they want to answer the big questions — what is life? How did we get here? Why are we here and what is the point of it all? Unless they’re wearing lab coats — with strict protocols for managing their experimentation — they’re going to pull the answers to those questions from their own heads. Or their asses.

If the men who wrote Genesis had access to the internet — if they had microscopes and telescopes available — if they knew about germ theory and plate tectonics — if they knew even that there were continents other than the one they lived on (they didn’t!) — would they have written the texts they wrote the way they wrote them? Of course not! Their worldview — even the questions themselves — would have been informed by their knowledge. They wouldn’t have written a Noah’s flood story they way they wrote it because the facts on the ground — literally — would have made such a story preposterous.

Sometimes — as with religion — the intention of the false narrative is to explain the world from the religion’s viewpoint. But, what if the starting viewpoint is wrong — or distorted. Or misinformed. What if monotheists are wrong and polytheists are right — there’s not one good, there are dozens, thousands, kajillions?

Who’s really to say? Got proof there’s only one “God”? Remind the class — who wrote that story? Oh, right — people who were “divinely inspired”. Another false narrative begins.

Even before he was sworn in, Donald Trump began signaling to us that he was not the legitimate president — that his win wasn’t what we thought it was. Take yourself back to election night 2016. Remember how it felt as Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin went red? The story was just believable enough — the press had taken the “But her emails” ball and run wild with it. Doubts about Clinton could have been the difference — 78,000 votes spread between three states. It was just plausible enough for us to allow “Well, maybe…”.

That’s all it took. The truth is, to this day, we don’t know what happened in those three states. We don’t. But the stone cold fact is Paul Manafort handed Oleg Deripaska PROPRIETARY POLLING DATA for four states (the three mentioned plus Minnesota). That’s not nothing. That’s very sensitive data about Americans, who they are and how they vote — being handed to a man with deep ties to Russian Military Intelligence.

Russian military intelligence (for those slow on the uptake) is especially good at creating, disseminating and benefiting from propaganda. They’ve gotten very good at using social media to — say it with me — create false narratives. In those three states — we know this happened — Democratic voters (African American voters especially) found their Facebook pages inundated with ads disparaging Hilary Clinton — accusing her of being a racist on the down low.

Sure, plenty of those African American voters ignored those ads. But — we also know — some stayed home. That’s no different from a stolen vote. It’s election fraud — PERIOD.

Also — no one in an official capacity has ever done any forensics on the voting machines in those three states. As we’re learning more and more — any voting machine hooked up to the internet in any way is hackable. Anyone who denies that fact wants machines that are hackable in our elections. WHY?

Any voting process that isn’t hand-marked with a complete paper trail is bullshit.

People who want free and fair elections have no problems with oversight. They welcome it because it guarantees free and fair elections. People who want shortcuts — who are willing to take what election machine vendors (almost all Republican owned companies by the way — yes, it matters) say at face value — aren’t interested in Democracy, they’re interested in undermining Democracy. Not the same thing.

If the Rule Of Law is alive and well, then you cannot cheat to become president of the United States. You cannot ASK a foreign country to help you and you cannot ACCEPT THEIR HELP when offered. But that’s exactly what Donald Trump did — repeatedly and out in the open. The Mueller Report did not exonerate Trump in any way. Quick Reminder — the Mueller Report was not the be-all & end-all of “Trump-Russia” involvements. It addressed ONE — the Trump campaign’s relationship with Wikileaks. And the report said that it couldn’t ANSWER whether or not the Trump campaign conspired with Russia because of (Mueller Report Part Two) ALL THE OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE the Trump campaign were perpetrating.

All those SDNY investigations that Bill Barr slowed or blocked or snuffed? They would have begun exploring all the other ways Donald Trump, his campaign — and the whole Republican Party ultimately — had fallen prey to Russian intelligence. Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate is a non-stop reminder of just how corrupt the Republican Party is. Their defense didn’t rise to the level of “silly” it was so bad.

They don’t want to hear Bolton or any other witnesses because they KNOW what those witnesses will say. They KNOW what the evidence says — they’ve already heard what lots of it says. This is about keeping the truth about what happened out of the public record. WHY?

Most Republicans assume that once a lifetime judge is in place, he or she stays in place forever. Keep in mind — part of the point of this coup d’etat started years before the election. It took the form of Mitch McConnell hijacking the judiciary. He refused to let Obama appoint judges that he quickly filled once Trump was sworn in. He refused to grant Merrick Garland so much as a hearing. Hello, Neil Gorsuch.

But all that assumes we continue to accept the product of the false narrative Republicans created.

Let’s put this in terms even Donald Trump would understand. Let’s say the presidency was a beauty pageant. The winner gets lots of good things. They get to live in the White House. They get to tell the military what to do. They get to suggest and change laws. They get to appoint judges including Supreme Court judges.

That’s if they win — and they’re the Beauty Pageant WINNER.

But let’s say we find ample evidence that the Beauty Pageant Winner cheated. Let’s say the bribed judges — or threatened them. Let’s say the Winner conspired with people outside the pageant to pick a winner (outside the pageant’s rules). And let’s say these people succeeded. The Pageant’s real judges wanted Contestant X to win. That contestant reflected the Pageant’s values and hopes for the Pageant’s future.

But some of the judges, it turns out, were corrupt. The whole voting process, it turns out, was corrupted. When the judges voted — one of their votes was tallied the wrong way. Another judge went home sick and didn’t vote at all (food poisoning they think). From the moment the Winner was announced, lots of the judges — people in the audience, too — they knew something was wrong.

Okay — so the wrong person now wears the crown. They have all the power that comes with it — all the rights & privileges. But none of it actually belongs to them.

Now the Winner starts giving paying jobs to her friends. She fudges the books so no one can tell where the Pageant’s money is going. The Pageant starts co-branding with mobsters and criminals and all sorts of unsavory people the Pageant’s judges would never have agreed to. The Winner starts changing everything about the Pageant — despite the fact that they WEREN’T the actual winner and everything they’re doing goes directly AGAINST everything the judges ACTUALLY wanted and — this being democratic in theory — voted for.

But then, the judges discover evidence that PROVES the Winner cheated. They show it to the public because the public needs to know (while the Winner is doing things that directly impact them) — there’s a very good reason why the judges will now take away the Winner’s crown: it never belonged to them. EVER.

So — the Winner loses his crown. He can no longer claim to be the Winner because 1) he no longer is and 2) he never ever was.

Ah, but what of his “winnings”? What of the now-ex-Winner’s spoils? What of the laws they changed — though they had no authority to change them (only REAL winners have the LEGAL right to do that)? What of the lifetime judges they nominated THAT THEY HAD NO LEGAL AUTHORITY TO NOMINATE?

Remember all the judges Al Gore nominated? Exactly — he didn’t nominate any because he didn’t win — and was never given the authority. If he had tried to, we’d have laughed at him — “Dude, what’re you doing? You LOST. Losers don’t get to nominate anything.”

A cheater who’s been caught stops being “the winner”. A car thief has to give back the car he stole (provided it hasn’t been chop shopped into pieces already). He may have the memories of driving around in your ride, but all rights of ownership return to YOU, the rightful OWNER.

We The People “own” the outcomes of our elections. That is, we expect that our choice — if we’re in the majority — to be the basis for how our government will act. Provided our candidate followed all the laws in order to win the election, his or her actions are truly sanctioned by the electorate.

But, Donald Trump can’t say that about his “win”. He wasn’t sanctioned by he electorate. The majority of us voted not just FOR Hillary but AGAINST Trump and everything he stood for and wanted to do. We voted AGAINST destroying the government, AGAINST destroying our relationships with the world, AGAINST cozying up to Russia, AGAINST corruption in the extreme, AGAINST destroying the environment, AGAINST racism & misogyny & bigotry and judges who are FOR all those things.

The only reason Trump’s potus at all is because he manipulated the Electoral College. By literally STEALING Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania (for starters — we don’t know how pervasive the theft was), Trump robbed the American People of their actual choice. The victim of this crime is us, the American People.

What are we — crime victims in this — to do once the full depth of Trump (and the Republican Party’s) deep criminality gets revealed. Are we to shrug off the crime — and especially the part where the criminal gets to keep what he stole? Those judges — those laws — the dismantling of our system of checks and balances — that’s all stolen property. It belongs to US. It doesn’t belong to Donald Trump or the Republican Party.

They’re the car thief sitting in OUR CAR — in OUR DRIVEWAY — honking the horn at us at three in the morning.

What makes matters worse? Turns out the car thief has pals in the police department. Fact is, the thief knows the “chief of police”. That’s going to make prosecuting the car thief — and getting our car back — hard. But that doesn’t mean we don’t do it.

There’s a big “Come To Jesus” moment coming us by-and-by. We’re going to have to reconcile the false narrative we’ve been living in — that Trump’s the legitimate potus and everything he’s done is legit and inviolable — with the facts: Trump’s a criminal. He stole the outcome of election 2016 — and everything that goes with it.

Are we REALLY going to let him — and the Republican Party who benefited from it (that was the point, right?) continue to benefit when the benefits were never theirs to begin with?

If we do that — if we let thieves keep what they’ve stolen — we will not solve our problem. The criminals will continue to own us. They’ll continue to have a say in how we live our lives — and even run the Rule Of Law. If don’t recognize how stupid that will be?

We’ll deserve every bit of the horribleness that follows.

It’ll be “Slavery: The Sequel”.

You remember slavery, right? That’s the abomination we created a false narrative around — that it was acceptable for a Democratic Republic to have slavery.

Elections Are Either Free & Fair Or They Aren’t

Without gerrymandering and voter suppression, America’s true political map would look significantly different than it does now.

Example – Texas, where Republican gerrymandering has given blue-as-can-be Austin more Republican representation than Democratic. In Austin, gerrymandering is literally circumventing the will of the people — exactly as designed. That IS the point of gerrymandering — to give a minority of voters a way to take and keep power from the majority indefinitely. I guess if you could do that with the quality of your ideas, you would…

Without voter suppression, Georgia would now have Democrat Stacy Abrams instead of Republican Brian Kemp, Georgia’s former Secretary of State.

Among the reported irregularities — 3,000 people were wrongly flagged by the state as being ineligible to vote prior to election day and, then, another 53,000 voters had their registrations delayed by Kemp’s office without adequately notifying the applicants. Can you guess how many of those 56,000 voters were either African-American or Democratic? How about pretty much ALL OF THEM.

The final tally gave Kemp the win by 54,723 votes. If (and we don’t know) every one of those suppressed, uncounted votes (and Kemp’s Georgia Department of State’s got some integrity issues) had been votes for Stacy Abrams… well, you see how that works? If Stacy Abrams had won by ONE VOTE, then she would be governor now and corrupt-to-his-toes Brian Kemp wouldn’t be.

One vote CAN make a difference and sometimes, ONE VOTE absolutely does. “Every Vote Counts” is not bullshit. It’s a verifiable fact. There’s data that says it’s a fact.

In a “Free And Fair Election”, every vote gets counted. No one would do anything EVER to dissuade another voter from voting. THAT would be seen as 1) anti-democratic and 2) anti-American. And yet… American elections are rife with one side (and it’s ONE SIDE ONLY — both don’t do it) doing everything in its power to dissuade, disincline and prevent the other side from using its right to vote.

When you screw with another American’s vote, you’re screwing with their rights. And when you screw with another American’s rights, YOU’RE BREAKING THE LAW. Not sort of breaking the law, BREAKING THE LAW.

Our slippery slide down the slope to corruption began the instant we first compromised The Rule Of Law. The moment we stopped practicing The Rule Of Law evenly across the board, we hurt it. We undermined its integrity — and once a thing’s integrity is gone, it’s just a matter of time before rot completely destroys it. We have two sets of rules. One for Rich White Guys and one for everyone else (assuming the everyone else is People Of Color).

But, what if Charles or David Koch (back from the dead) were to show up at THEIR polling place only to be told “Sorry, dude — your name’s not on the list”? Would either Koch Brother stand for such a thing? Of course they wouldn’t. They’d be on the phone to their high-priced lawyer before the polling place worker had finished their sentence. The law would be rewritten on the spot.

They’d vote and their vote would be counted. Probably two or three times even just because.

But, of course, in reality, such a thing could never, ever, EVER happen. The circumstances could never exist where a rich, white, Christian Koch Brother — reliably Republican — would have have HIS right to vote challenged or questioned or abridged or compromised or withheld in any way, shape or form.

And THAT is at the very heart of the problem. It’s the Koch’s manipulating everyone else’s vote, right to vote, ability to vote or means to vote either directly by their actions or indirectly through their money. Has one dollar of their money ever found its way into a voter suppression effort?

That’s one dollar too many. Same token — if just ONE VOTER is prevented from voting because of bullshit? That election can no longer claim to be “free and fair”.

There’s no “magic number” of acceptable suppressed votes. A suppressed vote is not an abstraction if the vote is yours. It’s a very real denial of your most fundamental right as a citizen. In the face of that denial, the question must be asked: WHY?

Why is MY right to vote being denied me?

Like I said — that’s a question Charlie Koch will never have to ask himself.