Dear American News Media: Here's How You Can Tell It AIN'T About "Politics"…

Let’s cut to the END of the chase, shall we? Both sides DO NOT “do it”. Both sides DO NOT commit TREASON in order to hold onto power and impose a permanent state of minority rule. Both sides don’t do it because one side doesn’t HAVE to. They can sell their ideas to America.

That would be the Democrats. They want to govern. They want to solve America’s problems by empowering as many Americans (of very variety) as possible because, Democrats know, THAT is American Exceptionalism.

The other side — Republicans — want to drag America back to the 50’s — the 1850’s — when everyone who wasn’t white, Christian and male knew their place. That’s the America conservatives want to conserve. Except for white, Christian men however, no one else (who grasps what they’re up to) could possibly want that. Consequently, Republicans have to use “other means” to win elections.

Republicans have to cheat. They have to restrict voting wherever possible because anyone who doesn’t look like them might not vote like them. C’mon — if all those migrants fleeing Central American drug violence (born, as it was, on American city streets) were guaranteed Republican votes? They’d all be limo’d across the border, given an American passport and dropped off at the first job center. Republicans have to suppress the vote. They’d already be an extreme minority party otherwise.

When Republicans knowingly took Russian money, when they knowingly repeated Kremlin talking points, when they SHOWED UP IN MOSCOW on July 4, 2018 — they were acting both politically (to further their political goals) AND criminally.

By contrast, when the FBI began to investigate Trump’s involvement with Russia back before election 2016? That WASN’T political. Same token — when Obama sat the Gang Of Eight down in September 2016 to relate the IC’s profound concern that Russia was using active measures to impact election 2016 on Trump’s behalf, Moscow Mitch McConnell acted FOR POLITICAL REASONS when he told Obama he’d attack Obama’s TELLING AMERICA THE TRUTH as “political”.

How’s that for bitter irony?

When Republicans deny sworn testimony, when they insist Trump has done nothing wrong, when THEY repeat Kremlin talking points as Senator John Kennedy from Louisiana did Sunday on Meet The Press, they’re acting POLITICALLY. Their goal is a political goal.

That, American News Media, is where “The Politics” ends.

Yes, Democrats are political creatures too. Yes, Democrats DO act politically when it benefits them. And, yes, prosecuting the president and the Republican Party WILL reap significant political benefits for the Democrats.

However — if the Democrats were acting out of politics, this effort would have died already. It isn’t political tribalism driving Americans toward impeachment (50% of us want Trump impeached AND removed), it’s righteous indignation at a president and his political party. What We The People — and the Democrats — are responding to is an assault on our whole way of governing ourselves. Our reaction to this political assault on our system isn’t itself “political”. It’s a reaction to wrong-doing, immorality and outright criminal behavior.

The victim saying “Ouch!” or “Hey, stop victimizing me” isn’t being political. They’re being “a victim” — and not by their choice either. That’s how you can tell it ISN’T politics. Are the Democrats reacting to violations of the law that harm not only themselves but America?

Yes.

It’s that simple.

It ain’t politics.

Trump’s Criminality Isn’t Up For Debate Anymore; Now The MSM Needs To Connect The NEXT Dot – REPUBLICAN Criminality

Pssssssst, MSM – It’s an elephant. Trust me. And that elephant’s a criminal.

By the time Adam Schiff gavelled the House Intel Committee’s business closed yesterday, the case he and the Democrats were making was well past being made. Never mind what any Republican says about acts being bad (maybe) but still not impeachable. Divorced from politics, the information we’ve learned during the past two weeks — much of it from career diplomats wth no political axes to grind — paints one picture and one picture only: Donald Trump isn’t just unworthy of the office of President Of The United States, he’s a goddamned criminal to boot.

When the talking heads and pundits finally got to have their say, they first had to get past their own amazement at what they’d seen to get to their assessments. As amazed at they were at the picture of Trumpian malfeasance being painted, they were equally amazed by the Republicans’ questions and questioning of the witnesses.

Now, c’mon — watching Devin Nunes throw ludicrous charges around at people — as his defense of Trump tells a story if only we’d listen to it. If we pull back the camera just a scosh (the news media understands that technical term), we see Devin obstructing justice every second of every day. Seems kinda basic to ask “WHY?” No one — not even Devin — does anything for no reason.

And, while Devin’s devotion to Trump seems a little extreme, even THAT demands explanation. Under oath.

Out here in reality, that sort of behavior speaks volumes. That behavior is being practiced by every Republican — irrational denial of the undeniably true. It’s not tribalism at work. At its core, it’s not political either (though a political bent does contribute to it). It’s criminal. It’s a willful intent to not just violate The Rule Of Law but to undermine the integrity of the Constitution.

But, why, you should ask. Why would Republicans want to do THAT ffs? Then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan could answer that question. The way current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy put it was “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump”. That was DURING the 2016 Republican convention — while Paul Manafort was making one change to the Republican Party platform (a change, though odd, that the party hierarchy allowed) — that was notably Putin-friendly and Ukraine un-friendly.

What our MSM can’t wrap their heads around is the insidiousness of what happened — how we got here. They love a good “smoking gun” because it requires the least amount of explanation. All they have to do is point at it and imagine the Pulitzer on their mantle. But what Vladimir Putin launched against us — and it was very much part of a concerted plan against us — is all based in intelligence active measures. It’s equally happy with chaos as a solid, identifiable result — say, a traitor in the White House.

Disinformation, misinformation and propaganda rely on the press to spread them. While it’s easy to get a provocative lie to motivate a crowd to action, if you can get the news media to broadcast the lie for you? Not only does it get a far bigger crowd riled up, it legitimizes your lie because the NEWS MEDIA was spewing it. That’s the secret to Donald Trump’s media success. Even now — today — 13,000 known lies into his presidency — and the NEWS MEDIA still quotes Trump as if his words WEREN’T outright lies.

Just because your hair’s on fire as you report the lie, you’re still a journalist speaking the words — without saying THEY’RE why your hair’s on fire. It creates confusion not because the audience is stupid but because YOU are using the language of the media (sounds & images) incorrectly. You’ve placed your camera too close to the subject so that vital information is happening outside the frame.

To put it simpler, MSM — you’re missing the story. While it’s a stone cold relief that you finally see Russia prominently here, you still don’t see Russia prominently enough. That’s because you’re still grappling with Trump’s relationship with Russia; though you see a relationship, you don’t see the depths of the relationship. You don’t see the HEART of the relationship. They WHY there even is a relationship and who controls the relationship accordingly.

Because the MSM can’t yet see Trump’s relationship with Russia, they can’t see the Republican Party’s relationship with Russia. The MSM still hasn’t acknowledged that Russia didn’t just steal Democratic emails and secrets, they also stole Republican emails and secrets. What’s in them? Could something there explain Lindsey Graham? Or is that explained better by, say, photos Russia’s obtained of Lindsey and sexual partners he’d rather we didn’t know about?

Strange behavior doesn’t just happen. And definitely not en masse. Republican intransigence in the face of incontrovertible evidence of criminality can’t be explained by mere tribalism. Make no mistake — with Republicans (feeling cornered and increasingly isolated in the culture), this goes far beyond groupthink to groupcriminality.

It’s not a coincidence that virtually every silly Republican defense of what Trump does and has done sounds like mob underlings covering for Da Boss. After three years of this bullshit, some of out here in the Public Courtroom get it. This jury member doesn’t need to see more proof (though I’m always happy to get it). The Big Picture is clear. The dots connect clearly, the picture they make unmistakable.

But, as we know, our Main Stream News Media likes to have EVERY dot connected before they commit. If there’s a smidgen of room to give any benefit of any doubt — they want to give it, no matter how ludicrous.

The Republicans are licking their lips because they think they can kill not just impeachment dead in the Senate, but all resistance to their minority rule coup d’etat. They expect it all to go away even though the Republicans in the Senate will have shrugged off staggering evidence of not just criminality but outright treason. Mitch McConnell and the GOP actually believe that they’ll just sail through another campaign season, slightly bruised but ready to set sail into full on RW authoritarianism.

They don’t expect We The People to do anything. Oh, they expect us to come out and vote — in massive numbers. But, as we speak, Moscow Mitch is expecting the same help from Moscow in 2020 that he KNEW the Republicans got in 2016. Remember — it was Mitch McConnell who refused to let President Obama tell We The People that our IC knew for a fact that Russia was actively trying to impact the election on Trump’s behalf.

And, to this day, Mitch McConnell has done zilch to protect our electoral systems. There are no coincidences.

Mitch McConnell is a traitor who’s about to lead the defense of a CO-CONSPIRATOR with the fate of the Republic hanging in the balance.

That’s what’s really happening here. That’s what a “news media” should be reporting. But, to do that, they’d need perspective. They’d have to see the Republicans for what they are and — here’s the hard part — call them out for what they are. Criminals…

Traitors…

Republicans.

Dear MSM – Donald Trump Isn’t The Only One Betraying The Constitution

A few minutes ago, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Representative Adam Schiff gave a remarkable news conference.  In addition to reminding the American Press that Democrats routinely walk and chew gum at the same time (maybe the Press CAN’T do it – and assume the Democrats can’t either), Speaker Pelosi framed the Impeachment Question as a question about our Constitution.

Donald Trump has openly admitted to an impeachable act.  Fact – using Ukraine to take down a political opponent in 2020 is exactly what Trump did in 2016 except this time he got caught doing it in real time. Make no mistake: this is just a continuation of that.  This impeachable act is meant to “fix” the first impeachable act.  Actually – if the second impeachable act is the same as, the first impeachable act, it means Trump broke the law to become POTUS.  That immediately disqualifies him.

Trump is not and never was the legitimate President of The United States.  Not according to our Constitution.

What Speaker Pelosi and Representative Schiff also pointed out this morning, everyone around Trump ALSO is violating the Constitution.  That includes Mike Pompeo and Bill Barr. 

Check your watch.  The Republicans-Shittiing-On-The-Constitution Club is about to include a massive, growing blob of Republicans.  It will be the rare Republican who doesn’t get absorbed into the blob.  Pretty much all of them have already been absorbed, some without even knowing it.  If they took a penny of Russian money – whether directly or through Russia’s money mule the NRA – then they are part of a massive conspiracy to defraud the American People of a Free & Fair Election.

A massive act of cyber war – by Russia – against We The People.

Russia and the Republican Party are openly – OPENLY – interfering with a legitimate investigation into Russian interference in 2016.  They are OPENLY violating the Constitution. Betraying it and us.

We now know what the Democrats are doing to fight back – to protect the Constitution as they swore to do.  But, as Madame Speaker looked out at the Press gathered (a much larger crowd than she normally gets at this weekly briefing), she also lay down a challenge – to them.  To do THEIR part to defend the Constitution.

Madame Speaker shouldn’t have to ask.  Only one non-governmental job is mentioned in the Constitution (and its amendments)  and the Bill Of Rights – journalism.  Freedom of the Press is guaranteed because the Press is the final check on power. 

America’s Press is not a single unitary thing.  It’s a complex creature, mostly corporate but also blessed with loads of rock solid journalistic skill and passion.  But there are bad habits too.  Intellectual laziness, lack of rigor, a tendency to accept common wisdom unchallenged, and worst of all, a failure of imagination.  Normalcy Bias.

“Both Sides Do It” ignores context and proportionality.  It seems incapable of recognizing a false narrative when it sees one. 

Donald Trump is a liar.  He lies about even small things.  It’s a fact.  Yet the Press (take NBC News’ Kelly O’Donnell for instance) STILL repeats everything Trump says without contextualizing it first: “Please be advised that literally nothing POTUS’ says can be trusted at face value”.  Without that disclaimer FIRST, the unspoken message of repetition is: “Trust these words, they’re True”.

We all can see the same evidence that Trump ADMITS he violated the Constitution.  This should not – cannot – be a question.  Therefore every story, every question the Press asks should START from that point.  Donald Trump stands outside the Constitution.

Either the Press recognizes how that impacts them or it doesn’t.  There’s no middle ground. 

Ball’s in YOUR court, MSM.  Saving the Constitution survives will take a collective effort.  We know what the Democrats are doing.  How about you?

Want to do your jobs as Constitutionally mandated?  Great!  Start by kicking “Both Sides Do It” completely to the curb.  Both sides DO NOT betray the nation with Russia.  Only Republicans do that.

Both Sides do not put children in cages or side with oligarchs over sanctions or obstruct justice on behalf of a man who ADMITS to obstructing the same Constitution those pirates swore to uphold.

Stop asking idiotic “But, what if…?” questions that give credence to bullshit, lies and treachery.

Stop giving the benefit of the doubt to people who consistently demonstrate how much they DON’T deserve an ounce of that benefit. 

Open your eyes.  Buy some perspective.  Steal it if you have to but GET SOME.

The Constitution and We The People are counting on it.

Donald Trump Isn’t Just “Worse Than Watergate”, He’s Watergate’s “Unfinished Business”

On the one hand, Watergate was merely a cover up of a second rate burglary, the cover up being the crime that brought Nixon down.  But, on the other, Watergate was also a prosecution of the political culture that made the second rate burglary a viable political option – committing an actual crime to undermine your political opponents.

Paul Manafort, Roger Stone & Lee Atwater — in business together in 1980

That “Do ANYTHING To Win” mentality didn’t die with Watergate.  Guys like Roger Stone, Paul Manafort and Lee Atwater kept it very much alive.  So did Roger Ailes.  Ailes openly said that he created Fox News as a mechanism to prevent any future Watergates – that is, prevent the press from STOPPING the dark, authoritarian politics behind Watergate because the press (well, Fox News anyway) would be stoking the flames that made Watergate possible. 

Fox News was created to foster the culture of Republican political corruption.  And Fox News had an awful lot to do with the rise of Donald J. Trump.

Roger Stone, too, has never been shy about his love for Nixon.  FFS, the bastard even got a tattoo of Nixon on his back. 

The joke will be on Roger though.  I bet inmates are already lining up to meet Roger when he becomes a federal prisoner; they all want bragging rights.  They want to tell their pals that they looked Dick Nixon right in the eye while they shot a load.

The march toward impeachment during Watergate was much more of a slog – took longer – than most people remember.  Then, as now, Republicans dug in their heels, determined to protect their president.  It wasn’t until the reveal that there were tapes – irrefutable evidence that Nixon knew about everything and actively participated in the cover up – that Republicans like Barry Goldwater marched dutifully to the White House to explain to Nixon why he’d be resigning.  Impeachment and conviction were done deals.

We have “tapes” again now.  And, as before, it will be the cover up that brings a president down.  But that, pretty much, is where the similarities end.  Nixon and company were covering up a burglary – committed for political purposes.  Trump is covering up high crimes, misdemeanors and outright treason.  Whereas the rest of the Republicans were pretty much innocent of complicity back during Watergate (they may have suspected Nixon was guilty but they in no way participated in what Nixon did), that’s not the case today.

The reason most Republicans will not – and cannot – turn on Trump is because they themselves are completely complicit in all of the underlying crimes. 

All of the Republican leadership – Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy – knew or suspected that Russia was way up their ass during the 2016 campaign.  Kevin McCarthy famously entered a meeting during the 2016 convention and voiced his concern that “Russia is paying Dana Rohrbacher and Trump”.  Paul Ryan responded: “Let’s keep it in the family”.

Mitch McConnell has taken MILLIONS from Russia into his PAC. Innocent on the surface perhaps (we need to change those laws pronto), not even remotely innocent just below. Moscow Mitch made it his personal business to lift the sanctions on Putin Pal & GRU Guy Oleg Deripaska – the very person to whom Paul Manafort handed the proprietary polling data Russian military intelligence weaponized and turned on Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan – the tree parts of Hillary Clinton’s blue wall that Trump won by a combined 87,000 votes. Deripaska was sanctioned BECAUSE he interfered in the 2016 election.

We also know now that Russia infiltrated the NRA.  Using its skilled agent Maria Buttina, Russia used the NRA to spread money and influence – and the NRA knew goddamned well that that’s what Russia was doing.

Wayne LaPierre, too, is the right wing finishing what Watergate started.

It’s not a coincidence that the two most damaging assaults on our whole political system came from the right – from conservatives – from Republicans.  It’s not a coincidence because they’re connected.

Yesterday’s Twist – Trump’s Deutsche Bank Loan Docs Were All Co-Signed By Russians – Makes a “President Pelosi” entirely possible.

A lot of us have eaten through our stomach linings waiting for Nancy Pelosi to come onboard with impeachment.

On the one hand, how many times does Donald Trump have to violate his oath of office to warrant being held accountable for it? On the other, this is virgin territory: a traitor president beholden to a very hostile foreign power and his equally treasonous political party obstructing justice because they’re complicit while the Main Stream News Media gawps at the whole mess, unable to make sense of it because they can’t imagine the very story they’re supposed to be reporting.

For all their years and experience, Nancy Pelosi nor any Democrat can claim to be relying on experience as they deal with the ongoing crisis that is Donald Trump. None of us has been here before. Anyone looking to the past for answers to this is an idiot. I suspect that what’s driven Madame Speaker’s reticence so far isn’t lack of desire to impeach or lack of will, it’s the stone, cold knowledge of what even beginning the impeachment process will unleash on us all.

I bet Speaker Pelosi knows that a significant chunk of this country simply will not accept the truth about Donald Trump. Their fear of losing white cultural hegemony is so strong and so acute that they will almost certainly become openly seditious. It’s entirely possible that, anticipating this, Speaker Pelosi has sought to make her case to all those people in the fuzzy middle who always need extra convincing to do the right thing).

Or, maybe, alternatively, Speaker Pelosi — having access to more docs & secrets than we realize — has anticipated that timing how & when the big bombs drop could lead not only to Trump’s impeachment in the House, but actual conviction in the Republican-controlled senate. Either Republicans will have to (finally) do the right thing or stand in the glare of explaining their own treason-y attitudes.

I experienced a proud moment about a year ago. I was visiting the East Coast & got to spend some quality time w a niece who works for the government and has a security clearance. She pitched me an idea — how Nancy Pelosi could become POTUS — which I ten tweeted. That tweet, strangely, found its way onto MSNBC’s air as a nutty but cool “What if…?” tossed in at the end of an hour to close it out on a lighter note.

Pelosi’s path is simple and straightforward. Trump gets impeached & convicted and so does Mike Pence. There is no way in hell that Mike Pence becomes POTUS. Remember — Paul Manafort brought Mike Pence to the VP table. Manafort was a criminal working with Russian criminals in order to circumvent the voting will of the American people. Does anyone with the least bit of critical thinking skill not grasp that the LAST person a criminal like Manafort would want to bring into their very criminal tent would be a goody-two-shoes who’d rat them all out the instant he heard Russia was helping Trump win?

Mike Pence is compromised. Deeply. Madame Speaker already knows that, I bet. She may even be anticipating Pence trying to pardon Trump et al if ever he got to be POTUS. Mike Pence can get no closer to being president than his pecker ever gets to a woman (Mother especially). Any move to impeach Trump will have to also impeach Mike Pence.

As Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi is third in line of presidential succession. She knows that. She knows how angry a President Pelosi will make some crazy RW-ers. Angry and dangerous. She knows, too, I bet, that if she gets handed the presidency via impeachment and conviction, there will be a backlash — undeserved but inevitable.

We’ve still only just scratched the surface of this epic shit show. I hope our stomachs can take what’s coming.

“Reefer Madness” Is What Happens When People Smoke Bullshit Instead of Reefer

The story of marijuana prohibition is an object lesson in what happens when bullshit triumphs over truth. That should matter to us right here, right now — because we’re facing a similar situation with the Mueller Report. Truth exists within its pages — yet there are people insisting that the diametric opposite is true. Too bad they have power — and the power to push their lies hard.

Republican Representative Justin Amash from Michigan held a town hall to explain to his constituents why he broke ranks with every other Republican to demand Donald Trump’s impeachment. Representative Amash had the audacity to actually read The Mueller Report. By contrast, it seems, not a single other republican has even cracked it. Wonder why…

Instead, the Republicans have relied on AG Bill Barr’s fraudulent characterizations of the Mueller Report, its findings and its tortured reasoning for why it couldn’t “do” more. And therein lies the historical comparison. Bill Barr is the new Harry Anslinger.

Anslinger was America’s first Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. A lot has been written about Anslinger recently, not all of it correct. For a more detailed analysis of Anslinger and his impact on America and the world, check out my series Blunt Truths over at Weedmaps News. Bottom line — Anslinger was a racist, top to bottom, who invested his racism in American laws. The reason we still live in Anslinger’s racist shadow is that, in addition to being a racist, Anslinger was a very good bureaucrat. He understood how the system worked and therefore how to work it.

In 1930, when Anslinger first took office, marijuana was a non-entity to most Americans. They had no idea what it was and didn’t care about it. Why would they? Prior to 1910 — when the Mexican Revolution sent Mexican war refugees heading north — Americans thought of cannabis as 1) medicine and 2) hemp. The influx of Mexicans meant an influx of Mexican culture — which included marijuana (the way WASP culture includes cocktails).

Apparently the sight of Mexicans blissing out horrified white people (and their abuse of alcohol).

Cannabis does what cannabis does. It doesn’t do what it doesn’t do. There are behaviors it “causes” and behaviors it doesn’t — because of how it works biochemically in peoples’ brains. Fact — if the crowds at football games (soccer games) all smoked cannabis instead of drinking beer, there’d be no lager louts rioting, setting cars and shops afire after matches. They’d all be hugging each other more likely. Or asleep. Happily. With no hangover in their future.

But people being happy and snoozing doesn’t “sell” anything. The first anti-cannabis laws were passed in California in 1915 — pushed hard by the Pharmacists. Funny thing? Though they were pharmacists, they weren’t thinking about whether or not cannabis could or would hurt its users. They were thinking only of its users — Mexicans. THAT, California’s pharmacists decided, was the problem.

Every single anti-cannabis measure ever passed — EVER — has been born of racism and nothing but. FACT.

As late as 1935, Harry Anslinger still didn’t give a damn about cannabis. But then something changed. Word began to filter toward Anslinger that white people were now using marijuana. During the 1920’s, cannabis use spread from the American Southwest to New Orleans where it found a very happy home amongst black jazz musicians. Musicians discovered that cannabis unleashed their creativity (whereas alcohol killed it).

Our thoughts are electrical currents flowing across the synapses in our brains. Our synapses are like digital circuits — they’re either open or closed. THC causes more of those synapses to be open. More thoughts flow through our brains. It’s not that we see more or hear more, we just become more aware of all the things we’re seeing and hearing. THC makes our brains more cognizant. That additional information flow can feel intimidating. It can feel like paranoia. But it can also make food taste incredible. It can make music sound sublime. It can make things funnier than you realized.

The truth about cannabis (and yes, yes — it’s not all positive — so what; people abuse EVERYTHING including chocolate and love) is that it’s a perfectly good product that, used responsibly by adults, produces a host of positive effects. That was not the story Harry Anslinger told about it however. The thought of white people acting like black or brown people horrified Anslinger. He leapt into action.

There is absolutely no basis in our Constitution to outlaw cannabis. None. When Anslinger bumped into that problem, he circumvented the spirit of the law by pushing through the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. Very cleverly, the Tax Act imposed an onorous tax on every purchase and every sale of marijuana or hemp. To prove that you paid the tax, you had to have a stamp. The stamps were impossible to get. Therefore, everyone who thereafter bought or sold marijuana (or hemp) was a tax cheat.

Anslinger, in addition to being a very good bureaucrat, was an astute purveyor of public relations. He knew that Americans were completely ignorant about marijuana. Anything they were going to know about it would be what he told them about it. And that’s where Anslinger’s lesson about how to manipulate the American Public leaps forward in time.

The first two men arrested and convicted because of marijuana were sent away for not paying taxes. I bet that made Al Capone laugh.

Harry Anslinger lied utterly and completely when he told Americans what cannabis was. AG Bill Barr lied utterly and completely when he told Americans what the Mueller Report says.

Anslinger’s lies about cannabis have cost this country dearly — in lost money, manpower and justice. When racism’s juice began to falter in the 1950’s, Anslinger invented the “Gateway Theory” to suggest that cannabis use led to heroin use or worse. The same statistical horse shit could be used to suggest a link between coffee drinking and heroin use. Or tobacco use and heroin. Or breathing and heroin. It was dishonest and intentional. And racist.

Bill Barr is working from the exact same playbook. We The People — having been fooled once by White Bamboozlement syndrome — need to avoid a sequel. Lies need to be shot down the instant they land among us. They don’t ever go away of their own volition.