Our News Media, The Big Lie And Bullsh*t Kabuki

A few days ago, I blogged about “Republicans, The Big Lie And Bullshit Kabuki”. The whole notion of “A Big Lie” should stop us in our tracks. The fact that The Big Lie exists as a thing we all acknowledge — and acknowledge what it is and what it means — yet haven’t cut the legs out from under it — that’s a clue to us both how powerful Bullshit Kabuki is and how susceptible our news media is to it. The fact that Republican Congresspeople who six months ago decried the mob now want to forget there ever was one is a piece of Bullshit Kabuki all by itself.

Anyone’s who’s had kids knows what I’ mean by “Bullshit Kabuki”. You ask your kid a question where the answer’s going to be uncomfortable for them. You’ve caught them out but they refuse to give in. And, so, the theatrics begin — the kabuki. The words really don’t matter (it’s all bullshit, right?) because it’s all an improv based on a lie. At any moment, the details could change one hundred eighty degrees because the storyteller just bumped into a logic problem. Here’s where good parents ignore what’s being said and focus instead on the performer’s eyes. For starters, those eyes won’t meet yours except fleetingly — when they shoot a glance in your direction to see if you’re buying the crap they’re selling. If your kids are older — teenagers — they jump right to belligerence. They don’t care if you’re buying what they’re selling, that’s what they’re selling, take it or leave it.

Literally the entire Republican Party — minus Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger (who both enabled this vile behavior up to the point where even they couldn’t tolerate the bullshit anymore) — has committed one hundred percent to The Big Lie. That should be the end of all conversations. We should be grinding to a halt at the very notion of a “Big Lie” just as we should have ground to a halt at “Mexicans are rapists”. Think of how far this vile waste of carbon, Donald Trump, has pushed what should have been the envelope. With the GOP, it turns out, the envelope was always an illusion. Given the right stimulus, the conservative movement in America was always capable of what they’re doing — slowly rolling out a violent coup d’etat. To their credit, the Republicans are clever. If they can’t overthrow the last election (which they’re STILL trying to do), they’ll simply give themselves the means to overturn all future elections when the results don’t go their way.

If that’s the case — that any election result can be tossed because the losing party doesn’t like it — the losing party ALWAYS being the Republicans — then elections stop meaning anything since their results can always be “fixed”. For the record, this is not a problem that cuts both ways as both sides don’t think the same. It would never occur to Democrats to alter an election’s outcome because it went against them. That’s why they’re Democrats instead of Republicans because Democrats believe in democracy while Republicans don’t. That’s why Republicans gerrymander and suppress Democratic voters while Democrats don’t gerrymander (though they did in the past — to be fair) or ever even consider suppressing Republican voters. If every election’s results can be tossed for entirely political reasons then every election becomes a question mark rather than a statement.

To appreciate the GOP’s theatricality, you have to see the theater around them (as they do). Unfortunately, that’s beyond most of our news media. Our press remains determined that each and every Republican is an honest actor, there to tell the god’s honest truth. If they say they’re patriots, they must be patriots (because they say they are!) If they pooh-pooh the notion that they’re racist then, clearly, they can’t be racist. If they say the January 6 insurrection was a tourist event — or didn’t happen — then we have to consider the possibility that that could be true — because they said it.

Funny irony? Whenever our news media tries to quote the line “Well, who’re you gonna believe? Me or your own eyes?” they get it wrong. They don’t even get who SAID the line right (it’s Chico, not Groucho – from the movie “Duck Soup“).

It is absurd that more than six months after the Republican Party attempted but failed at a coup d’etat, our news media still can’t decide if anything actually happened. If I’m honest with myself, I understand them; I kept a secret from myself for 45 years that I’d been sexually molested (twice by the same man) when I was 14. I understand lying to oneself as an act of self defense. We don’t need that here; we need the truth!

As I’ve said here repeatedly, any framing of the GOP that doesn’t include the fact that they’ve always known Trump was a Russian military intelligence asset (as current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy put it upon entering a room filled with GOP leaders a month BEFORE the GOP nominated Trump in 2016, “There’s two people I think Putin pays – Rohrbacher and Trump, swear to God!”) is based on a lie. Per then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan’s advice to his collaborators at the time (that’s how he spoke to them), everyone there agreed to “keep it in the family”. You know, like a MAFIA FAMILY.

From the get-go, Trump has tried to hide the true nature of his relationship with Vlad Putin. Why, is not a mystery: the relationship’s true nature has always been clear and distinct. Putin is the alpha and Trump is the beta.

That’s the exact same reason why Donald Trump is the alpha in his relationship with the GOP and they are the out-and-out beta. It’s kind of mind-boggling that professional journalists can stare at something as evident as Putin’s literal control of Trump and — after five bloody years of it! — STILL not ask the obvious question: “what is UP with that?” Oh, sure, they ask that question — amongst themselves and on TV while scratching their heads. It wouldn’t be journalistically unethical to consider — merely as one of the possible explanations — that the reason Trump’s so beholden to Putin is that Trump’s a traitor to America and has been the whole time. One doesn’t have to present it as stone cold fact; like any good journalist, one is just asking a question. If the facts damn it then that’s what will happen. But, if the facts suggest it’s the right answer…

The problem is, our press loves bullshit kabuki. They crave it. While they happily make fun of the GOP’s Bullshit Kabuki, they also find it strangely compelling. They love Bullshit Kabuki’s rabbit hole nature.

Avoid the rabbit hole — that’s the trick. Bullshit Kabuki must be consumed in small doses; it’s surprisingly potent. One second you’re gazing at it dismissively, the next, you’re falling through space and time, the walls of the rabbit hole blurring as you plunge faster and faster.

Republicans, The Big Lie And Bullsh*t Kabuki

Anyone’s who’s had kids knows what I’m talking about. You ask your kid a question where the answer’s going to be uncomfortable for them. You’ve caught them out but they refuse to give in. And, so, the theatrics begin — the kabuki. The words really don’t matter (it’s all bullshit, right?) because it’s all an improv based on a lie. At any moment, the details could change one hundred eighty degrees because the storyteller just bumped into a logic problem. Here’s where good parents ignore what’s being said and focus instead on the performer’s eyes. For starters, those eyes won’t meet yours except fleetingly — when they shoot a glance in your direction to see if you’re buying the crap they’re selling. If your kids are older — teenagers — they jump right to belligerence. They don’t care if you’re buying what they’re selling, that’s what they’re selling, take it or leave it.

Literally the entire Republican Party — minus Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger (who both enabled this vile behavior up to the point where even they couldn’t tolerate the bullshit anymore) — has committed one hundred percent to The Big Lie. That should be the end of all conversations. We should be grinding to a halt at the very notion of a “Big Lie” just as we should have ground to a halt at “Mexicans are rapists”. Think of how far this vile waste of carbon, Donald Trump, has pushed what should have been the envelope. With the GOP, it turns out, the envelope was always an illusion. Given the right stimulus, the conservative movement in America was always capable of what they’re doing — slowly rolling out a violent coup d’etat. To their credit, the Republicans are clever. If they can’t overthrow the last election (which they’re STILL trying to do), they’ll simply give themselves to overturn all future elections when the results don’t go their way.

If that’s the case — that any election result can be tossed because the losing party doesn’t like it — the losing party ALWAYS being the Republicans — then elections stop meaning anything since their results can always be “fixed”. For the record, this is not a problem that cuts both ways as both sides don’t think the same. It would never occur to Democrats to alter an election’s outcome because it went against us. That’s why they’re Democrats instead of Republicans because Democrats believe in democracy while Republicans don’t. That’s why Republicans gerrymander and suppress Democratic voters while Democrats don’t gerrymander (though they did in the past — to be fair) or ever even consider suppressing Republican voters. If every election’s results can be tossed for entirely political reasons then every election becomes a question mark rather than a statement.

To appreciate the GOP’s theatricality, you have to see the theater around them (as they do). Unfortunately, that’s beyond most of our news media. Our press remains determined that each and every Republican is an honest actor, there to tell the the god’s honest truth. If they say they’re patriots, they must be patriots (because they say they are!) If they pooh-pooh the notion that they’re racist then, clearly, they can’t be racist. If they say the January 6 insurrection was a tourist event — or didn’t happen — then we have to consider the possibility that that could be true — because they said it.

That’s our news media going toe to toe in a cynicism fight with the Republican Party. Who’s going to win? Maybe a better question is “can’t they both lose?”

It is absurd that more than six months after the Republican Party attempted but failed at a coup d’etat, our news media still can’t decide if anything actually happened. If I’m honest with myself, I understand them; I kept a secret from myself for 45 years that I’d been sexually molested (twice by the same man) when I was 14. I understand lying to oneself as an act of self defense. We don’t need that here; we need the truth!

As I’ve said here repeatedly, any framing of the GOP that doesn’t include the fact that they’ve always known Trump was a Russian military intelligence asset (as current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy put it upon entering a room filled with GOP leaders a month BEFORE the GOP nominated Trump in 2016, “There’s two people I think Putin pays – Rohrbacher and Trump, swear to God!”) is based on a lie. Per then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan’s advice to his collaborators at the time (that’s how he spoke to them), everyone there agreed to “keep it in the family”. You know, like a MAFIA FAMILY.

From the get-go, Trump has tried to hide the true nature of his relationship with Vlad Putin. Why, is not a mystery: the relationship’s true nature has always been clear and distinct. Putin is the alpha and Trump is the beta.

That’s the exact same reason why Donald Trump is the alpha in his relationship with the GOP and they are the out-and-out beta. It’s kind of mind-boggling that professional journalists can stare at something as evident as Putin’s literal control of Trump and — after five bloody years of it! — STILL not ask the obvious question: “what is UP with that?” Oh, sure, they ask that question — amongst themselves and on TV while scratching their heads. It wouldn’t be journalistically unethical to consider — merely as one of the possible explanations — that the reason Trump’s so beholden to Putin is that Trump’s a traitor to America and has been the whole time. One doesn’t have to present it as stone cold fact; like any good journalist, one is just asking a question. If the facts damn it then that’s what will happen. But, if the facts suggest it’s the right answer…

The problem is, our press likes bullshit kabuki. It’s easy for them to poke at and make fun of. Yet, also they find it strangely compelling. They love bullshit kabuki’s rabbit hole nature.

Avoid the rabbit hole — that’s the trick. Bullshit kabuki must be consumed in small doses; it’s surprisingly potent. One second you’re gazing at it dismissively, the next, you’re falling through space and time, the walls of the rabbit hole blurring as you plunge faster and faster.

Teams v Mobs

Successful teams do historic things. So do mobs. While both rely on the “groupiness” of their effort, the team needs clear organization and a process; everyone needs to know and do their part. Teamwork rewards everyone who puts in the work to help the team succeed. Even the greatest of great ideas require teamwork in order to move from the abstract to the real. And, ask any athlete — even the ones who play individual sports — if they really accomplished greatness entirely on their own. No, they’ll tell you, they didn’t. Others had to sacrifice in order for them to realize their greatness. That’s not a bad thing. It’s how greatness happens — even spontaneously.

Mobs also can happen spontaneously except their energy doesn’t go in the same direction that a team’s does. Whoever’s calling out the mob — or directing their efforts once the mob has formed — THAT’S the mob’s “organizing principle”. The mob isn’t working as a team, it’s working as a cynical chaos machine at someone’s behest. Sometimes however, mobs can be organized so that they behave like mobs while not exactly looking like mobs. The January 6 insurrectionists looked like a mob but they weren’t the mob’s organizing principle. As we’re learning, the January 6 insurrection wasn’t spontaneous. Not even remotely. People (some inside the White House) planned it and planned for it. Then they directed the mob where they wanted it to spend its rage.

What Joe Biden pulled off — becoming the POTUS — required a lot of teamwork. Overcoming Trumpism required (and still requires) teamwork. Everyone had to put their personal comforts aside and make the group their priority even if it meant standing in nine for hours to vote — in the midst of a pandemic — and despite the weather. I don’t recall seeing Republicans standing in line for hours. That’s because most Republicans didn’t have to. Their precincts had enough voting machines and enough volunteers to handle any situation. Hmmmmm… Sounds like teamwork of a kind, doesn’t it? But this was a “team” working at the behest of corruption at the top. People working for a crime boss can be remarkably efficient. Their efforts don’t benefit the larger “we” however. They only benefit a handful of people — a “me”.

Getting vaccinated demands that every one of us think of ourselves as part of a team. Getting vaxxed makes us better teammates because we won’t get sick (or anywhere near as sick as if we didn’t get vaxxed). We won’t transmit the virus, should we get it, to others. Not getting sick, we won’t tax the health care system. We’ll give the economy a chance to get better faster. The team that is We The People will get back to something like “normal” sooner. NOT getting vaxxed has all the opposite effects. Unless your immune system is compromised, there is no excuse not to do what the team demands. There are only crap excuses for selfish behavior.

The Delta Variant is now raging through all the unvaccinated parts of America — except for Nevada, all red states. This time, young people are landing in over-taxed hospitals. Some are dying. It’s tragedy heaped upon tragedy and it’s all preventable. I just saw a clip on MSNBC. A reporter asks a high school students in Arkansas — one of the few getting vaccinated at the vaccination event set up at their high school — why THEY are getting the stick while most of their classmates aren’t.

Turns out, most of those kids getting vaxxed in this now anti-vax red state are athletes. And the reason they’re all getting it? TEAMWORK. If anyone on their team gets sick, the whole team will have to sit down. One member’s fate is everyone’s fate.

Ironically, even when they rely on teamwork, Republicans view teamwork as something for suckers. Criminals, of necessity, need to be able to turn on their co-conspirators at the drop of an indictment. In several recent interviews, Donald Trump’s niece Mary Trump has stated that her cousin Ivanka will probably flip before Allen Weisselberg, Trumpco’s money man, does. That either would “flip” shouts volumes. That Ivanka would flip — that bellows at the top of its lungs. These people don’t even see a “team” where it should be most firmly entrenched — in their own family.

Oh, the irony… as “team-like” as organized criminals can be, we call them “the mob”. And as every good cop can tell you, it takes significant teamwork to bring down a mob.

Republicans & Dead Ends

What does the Republican Party and a dead end have in common? Pretty much everything. The “modern” Republican Party (there’s an oxymoron if ever one existed) just isn’t that “into” democracy probably because democracy’s just not that into them. In the marketplace of ideas, Republicans are selling the past as what should be our future. By that they mean the future should look exactly like our past — predominantly white. That IS the whole point of conservatism after all — CONSERVING things. Politically, conservatives want to conserve the status quo or, preferably, the status quo as it was. The problem is, we really can’t live in the past. We all know people who try — those sad dudes who could never let go of high school. Sucks to peak early, I guess. That’s Republicans’ big problem: they peaked already. There’s no more “there” there where they’re concerned. The whole reason Republicans are resorting to voter suppression in the extreme is because they know they can’t appeal to those voters with their terrible, regressive ideas.

The GOP is gambling that their angry, violent minority can overpower the rest of us and cow us into compliance. Historians and talking heads point to all the places where this behavior has lead directly to authoritarian rule. That’s not encouraging but few of those places had America’s history of and with democracy. I don’t think it’s a given that people in this country roll over the way people in other countries have. It might take us a while to spark to revolt but the white minority doing this is such a minority — and, it’s America, EVERYONE has guns. Whatever that country turns into, it’s not going to be “America”. It’s not going to be the counter balance to Russia and China. It’s not going to be any kind of economic powerhouse because it will break down quickly.

What we’re witnessing is the Republican Party (the “Party of Lincoln”) attempting to re-start the Civil War so as to bring back slavery. The Republicans may not call what they have in mind “slavery” but, in time, it won’t differ (where the stolen labor is concerned) from what Black people had to endure in this country. If the Republicans could have their way, there’d BE no “minimum wage”. There’d be child labor and no such thing as “striking”. If Republicans could get everyone else to work for free (at its core, slavery is stolen labor), they’d think “Mission Accomplished”! — especially if all the extra profits ended up in their pockets.

The problem is, we all know this now. The news media still has it in its head that — because next year’s Biden’s first off-year election, norms say the Democrats will lose the House and Senate. That assumes we live in normal times. We don’t, of course. Not only is the electorate woke, we’re hyper woke. We’re keenly aware of what the Republican Party is doing; it’s the press that’s running miles behind.

The sum total of Republican ideas: how can they get richer than they are and hold onto power. Literally nothing else matters. Except maybe not going to prison for being traitors. The fact that Donald Trump was and is a traitor will be a fact of life — sooner than everyone thinks. The DoJ’s prosecution of the January 6 insurrectionists will, at some point, stumble over one very basic fact: Russia had a hand in it. Don’t think so? Don’t think Russia knew EVERYTHING that Team Trump and everyone around them was thinking? Once we break through to even the small acts of treason, the larger acts will become plain as day.

Want to talk about a dead end? Try treason. It’s a dead end for a country — as we nearly learned. But, now that the traitors have failed, their failure needs to be a dead end for every other perpetrator, too. They should have read the signs (posted and otherwise) and stopped. They knew what they were doing when they pressed on. They expected to win. How unfortunate for them.

Letting Donald Trump take over their party will be not just a dead end for the Republican Party but a cliff behind it.

Dear Merrick Garland — Welcome Aboard! Now That You’re Officially America’s AG, Here Are A Few Helpful Suggestions…

First and foremost, Mister Attorney General, can I say what a pleasure it is to finally call you our ATTORNEY GENERAL. Frankly, I’d rather we’d been calling you Supreme Court Justice Merrick Garland for years already, but that’s a conversation for another day — one where the GOP begins to realize the terrible, terrible mistake they made denying you so much as a hearing. You would have been far less dangerous to them all as Supreme Court Justice Garland than you will be as Attorney General Garland. This was a day some of us feared might never come. Joe Biden winning the presidency was key, of course. Nothing happens if Donald Trump manages to steal another presidential election. But, Americans showed up in such massive numbers in 2020, that even Donald Trump’s overtly criminal attempts to flip the election in advance failed. For four very long years, we watched Trump and a breath-takingly corrupt Republican Party literally get away with EVERYTHING. It sucked. Yes, it was unpleasant from a political perspective. But, despite the news media’s insistence that our hatred of Trump was entirely political, the fact is our hatred flowed from the feeling in our gut on election day that Trump “winning” the presidency was an illusion — the product of a massive criminal conspiracy that saw the Right Wing’s Money (the Kochs & the Mercers) find common purpose with Russia.

During your confirmation, Mr. Attorney General, you said that among your very first priorities upon becoming AG would be to fully investigate every aspect of the January 6 insurrection. I have no doubt you will do exactly that — in addition to addressing every other pressing concern. Hell, you probably don’t need me handing you a laundry list of things “to do”, but that’s just how it is in a democracy — We The People get to stick our noses into your business. The last occupant of the WH was unclear on that concept. Good thing you’re there now to begin cleaning up the mess that made.

  1. THE JANUARY 6 INSURRECTION

It ain’t so much the foot soldiers that should concern us — though each and every one of them needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent the rule of law allows because they violated the law — as it is those who organized and coordinated them because they WERE organized and coordinated. The Proud Boys and Roger Stone are as tight as Roger’s Nixon tattoo is to Roger’s back.

In fact, on January 5, the day before the insurrection, Roger was hanging with the Proud Boys — they’re his personal bodyguards, don’tcha know! You don’t suppose the subject of what everyone was doing the next day came up a few times, do ya? Surely these pirates weren’t so silly as to communicate with each other about it… or were they that arrogant? I bet you already know the answer to that question, Mr. AG. And, if Roger Stone was involved (he IS that arrogant), he was doing it on Donald Trump’s behalf. And if you don’t think Roger and Donald talked about it, you haven’t been paying attention to this story. Our news media would be shocked by it, but not you, Mr. AG. Not you.

The deeper you dig into the insurrection’s back story, the more dots you connect, the clearer it will become that what happened at the Capitol on January 6 was hardly spontaneous. It was planned,, organized and paid for by the Trump White House, it’s intention the final coup de grace of the coup d’etat that Trump, the Republican Party and Russia pulled off together on Election Day 2016. But, Russia being Russia and its goals being what they are, it would hardly be surprising if Russia also had a hand in planning the insurrection — that Trump and company executed.

That would mean the insurrection wasn’t just seditious, it was genuinely treasonous too. Let’s not kid ourselves: we ARE at war. We’ve been under attack for at least four years, the unwitting victims of a cyber war. Just because Russia didn’t formally declare cyber war against us doesn’t mean they didn’t launch it — clearly they did! Let’s also not kid ourselves about what “war” is. Anyone who thinks you need bombs and bullets to win a war will lose every war they ever fight going forward. Russia could still shut down our power grid tomorrow. If they did that, we’d have to seriously consider suing for peace — on the wrong end of that surrender document. You can also think of us as being like the inhabitants of Pearl Harbor on the morning of December 7, 1941 BEFORE the Japanese Imperial Navy arrived to actualize the declaration of war they’d made (to themselves apparently) several days before.

As the bombs rained down on Americans at Pearl Harbor, they must have been baffled as hell to find themselves in mortal peril on a lovely Sunday morning. Just because you don’t know you’re at war doesn’t mean you aren’t at war. Ask Poland how it feels to be surprise attacked by Germany or the Trojans by the Greeks.

I bet you’ll even find connected dots between the January 6 insurrection and Team Trump’s criminally inadequate pandemic response. But, remember, for Team Trump, the bottomest line was staying in power because of the legal consequences of losing power. Did anyone on Team Trump ever think “Hmmmmm… I bet an America weakened by the coronavirus would have a harder time defending itself from an authoritarian coup d’etat”? Did anyone think that “out loud” via a tweet, email or other social media?

If they did, add “their negligent pandemic response” to the list of evidence that literally everyone on Team Trump is a traitor.

2. MITCH MCCONNELL

Mitch needs to explain his relationship with Russia. He needs to explain WHY he refused to let We The People in on the little secret that Barack Obama wanted to share with us prior to election 2016 — that Russia was actively trying to make Donald Trump president. Mitch’s threat to accuse Obama of “politicizing the intelligence” was bullshit on steroids. Obama was doing nothing of the sort and Mitch knew it. Mitch was protecting the GOP’s Russia connections.

We need to know how much money Mitch took from Russia and how long that went on. Russia does not EVER give money without expecting something in return. We need to know what Mitch promised “in return”.

There’s one relationship in particular we need to deep dive into: Mitch’s & Oleg Deripaska’s. We know for a fact that, in the lead up to election 2016, Paul Manafort handed Konstantin Kilimnik proprietary polling data for four states: Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. We don’t know what, if anything, became of the Minnesota data but we do know that the work product Manafort handed Kilimnik — the goal, to get it into Deripaska’s hands — was turned over to Russian military intelligence who weaponized the data and created personalized ads (suggesting Hillary Clinton was a closet racist) that they put on the personal Facebook pages of Black voters in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

This is flat out illegal. We need to establish that fact and make it a permanent part of our thinking.

In fact, what Deripaska did was so illegal that we sanctioned him! We attacked him financially with great success — until Mitch lifted the sanctions. His reward? A $300 million aluminum factory in dirt poor western Kentucky. It’s swell and all that the Russian factory created jobs where there weren’t any, but this is bad in a thousand different ways. For starters, as Deripaska now controls a big piece of western KY’s economy, he can also exert pressure upon the politicians who’ll rely on Deripaska’s largesse to remain in office.

Not only did Mitch betray America in the past and present, he’s arranged to betray us in the future too.

May I suggest you look into it? Thans!

3. KEVIN McCARTHY & THE REST OF THE GOP LEADERSHIP

A month before nominating Donald Trump as president, current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy walked into a meeting of GOP leadership. Upon entering, McCarthy said (out loud) “There’s two people I think Putin pays, Rohrbacher and Trump… swear to God!” Had the GOP an honest bone in their collective bodies, the correct answer would have been “What? Kevin — why do you think that? Holy shit, someone — get the freakin’ FBI on the phone! Houston, we have a problem here!” But, no one in that room of GOP leaders said any such thing. Instead, they bent to then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan’s will and agreed NOT to speak of it outside the room. As Ryan put it, by keeping mum about it, that’s how they’d all know they were “family”.

You know, a CRIME family?

Everyone within earshot of Kevin McCarthy’s claim must be interviewed under oath. We need to know — did THEY suspect the same thing? If they did, why didn’t they call the FBI themselves already?

I know I don’t have to explain to you how conspiracy works: “See something, SAY something; see something say nothing? Why?” One does not have to be actively engaged in the conspiracy to get swept up into it. Even suspecting — and not doing anything about your suspicions — puts you in the legal system’s cross hairs. We need to know WHY no one in GOP leadership said anything. WHO were they protecting (and, again, WHY?)

4. BILL BARR

Why would an Attorney General (of all people) lie relentlessly about his department, his department’s work, employees, work product and intentions?

Trump-Russia was not Bill Barr’s first go-around at the “Clean Up Republican Mess on All Aisles” rodeo. He did the exact same thing during the Iran-Contra fiasco, making what should have been prosecutable corruption disappear into the fog of “let bygones be bygones”.

Bar lied about the Mueller Report. He personally interceded repeatedly to interfere with legitimate criminal investigations into Trump, his family and his associates. Why?

BONUS INVESTIGATION: Rod Rosenstein. We need to know WHY Rod told Team Mueller “don’t bother with the counter-intelligence investigation into Trump, the FBI’s got that!” and the FBI “don’t bother with the counter intelligence investigation, Team Mueller’s all over it!” Why did Rod Rosenstein kill the investigation into Trump’s complicity with Russia?

5. THE ENTIRE TRUMP FAMILY

Do bears shit in the woods? The Trump family is a living, breathing pile of bear shit. That’s probably deeply unfair to bear shit; I apologize.

At this point, I’d even open a file on Barron Trump. Sorry, but the kid’s got Trump blood in him. That’s going to warp a person though, to be fair, Mary Trump has Trump blood in her and her humanity and integrity survived. Barron may be too close to the source however; Mary is the daughter of Donald’s older brother Fred, Jr — very much the less greedy black sheep in the greedy-as-hell Trump clan.

Tiffany may be unconnected to the worst of it, but, “see something, say something”. She knows what she knows, suspects what she suspects. She didn’t pick up a phone. Book her.

Eric Trump may be less of a monster than his brother Don, Jr but a monster’s a monster and a corrupt scumbag is a corrupt scumbag. Eric is neck deep in the “Seven Springs” estate investigation that the prosecutors in Manhattan have drawn a bead on. That’s good — on a state level. But, we need to know what Eric knew in its entirety. Seven Springs wasn’t the only criminal behavior Eric was perpetrating. I bet you could find a veritable shitload without even breaking a sweat.

Same goes for DONALD TRUMP, JR. Let’s put Junior under oath and grill him Benghazi style about that Trump Tower meeting in 2016. Let’s drill deeper into this, Jr’s claim that they were deeply in bed with Russia and Russian money; in fact, Jr even bragged about it.

Finally, there’s Ivanka — the feckless cherry atop the corrupt, treasonous Trump empire. How much money did Ivanka make last year? A shitload. Every dollar of it better be legal, know what I’m saying? We also need to understand how deeply Ivanka is connected to the Russian hub. Even before Trump was POTUS, Ivanka was friends with likely Russian intelligence asset Wendi Deng, former wife of Rupert Murdoch.

BONUS INVESTIGATION — JARED KUSHNER.

Jared, as I’m sure you’ve already assessed, is a whole inquiry unto himself. Light that match, please. Let it burn.

6. DONALD TRUMP

Undo this knot — right at the center of everything — and the whole corrupt construct will crash to the ground. The fact that Trump has avoided prosecution his entire life needs to change now. You know that. The fact that Trump avoided prosecution while POTUS because of that silly DoJ “rule” — this, too, must be addressed. That rule needs to go the hell away. You know that, too.

How far back does Trump’s relationship with Russia go? We need to know everything. And we will.

Here is where your integrity will most come into play. Nothing about these prosecutions can be or should be political. We need to apply not just the letter of the rule of law, but its spirit. We may have to go a little bit outside the box to actually do that, but these are extraordinary times; extraordinary measures are required. We can’t allow the rule of law to be the cause of its own undoing (because one side felt compelled to follow it while the other felt no compunction about violating it even to the point of completely destroying it). The rule of law can’t defend itself. It needs us to do that for it.

Your investigations will, at the end of the day, reveal a treasonous criminal conspiracy involving one of our two political parties. While “White Guy’s Rules” might dictate that we let it slide, the rule of law says otherwise. If the GOP deliberately set out to steal the actual result of election 2016 (they did), then we need to see that fact not as a vile political act (which it was) but as a CRIMINAL act demanding harsh punishment. If the GOP in fact conspired with Russia (they did), that, too, must be understood for what it is. There must be consequences — for Russia and for the stolen result. How can Russia “win” an American election (especially if its winning is flat out ILLEGAL? Hint: it can’t. How can a thieving Republican Party be permitted to keep election results it did not earn? How can they be allowed to hold onto judges their president never had the authority to nominate BECAUSE HE WAS NEVER LEGITIMATELY PRESIDENT?

The authority to govern doesn’t fall from the sky. It isn’t given to American leaders by a deity who thinks the sun shines out their asses. It flows from us — We The People. We grant that authority to those who legitimately win the elections in which we vote for them. If you didn’t win legitimately, you did not acquire that authority legitimately. Cheating to win cannot be “one way to ‘win’.” It can’t be. So — if the GOP cheated in any way, shape or form to win the 2016 election, then by definition they did not “win”.

Having the Department of Justice back in the hands of Justice will cause the earth to shift beneath America’s feet — but, finally, in a good way. There’s a lot of pressure on you, AG Garland, to “rescue us”. Indeed, your mandate is as much to deal with the past — and all the criminal conspiracy — as the future: virtually every bit of Republican voter suppression legislation violates the rights of American voters.

On the one hand, it’s going to be hard work being you for the next four years. On the other though, I think you’ve been waiting for this moment your entire life. Just as Joe Biden, it turns out, was exactly the right man for the moment, you, too, will achieve a kind of time & place perfection. You would still make a great SCOTUS judge. Let’s stick a pin in that.

For the moment, there’s more than enough on your plate.

You Say “To-May-To”, I Say “To-Mah-To”; You Say “Republican”, I Say “Criminal”

Actually, no matter which way you “pronounce” their names, Republicans are criminals. They’re racists, too. And anti-Semites. And misogynists. They’re corrupt — almost every one of them. And, bottom line, traitors. Even if each Republican in question isn’t 100% corrupt or 100% anti-Semitic (they like Jews roughly 30% of the time, when a Jew is doing their taxes or defending them in court), the fact that they stand with anti-Semites (guys who wear “Camp Auschwitz” t-shirts) MAKES them just as anti-Semitic. Hate spreads like cooties. We have to assume, being a hater, you refused to socially distance yourself and won’t wear a mask. It’s a pretty safe bet you’ve caught the whole suite of diseases. The Republican Party’s leadership knew even before they NOMINATED Donald Trump as their presidential candidate that he was CORRUPT — owned outright by Russia.

“There’s two people I think Putin pays, Rohrbacher and Trump… swear to God!” said current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy upon entering a meeting of the Republican leadership a month before their 2016 convention. A discussion broke out. No one said “What? Kevin — dude, are ya SURE about this?” No one said “Whoa — that’s a problem! Somebody, quick — get the FBI on the phone — it’s our patriotic duty!” No, instead, then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan corralled the troops. They were going to keep their KNOWLEDGE (even their suspicions) to themselves. “That’s how we know we’re family”, said Paul Ryan.

For the life of me, I can’t understand why Kevin McCarthy and Paul Ryan aren’t hounded by that question — WHY DIDN’T ANYONE CALL THE FBI? Considering how impactful Russia’s been in retrospect? It seems like a question that needs answering. Why was it acceptable to them that Trump (and Rohrbacher) were being paid by a hostile foreign power? What was acceptable about even chancing it that a man compromised by Russian intelligence might win the presidency? At that moment, the GOP should have dug in its heels and said “STOP!”

The second that happened, the Republican Party crossed the line from being a legitimate political party to being criminals — traitors who themselves were already compromised by the same hostile foreign power. See something, SAY SOMETHING, see something, say nothing? WHY? Why say nothing? Who are you protecting with your silence? One does not have to be an active participant in the crime in question for the law to see you as a co-conspirator in it. Your silence — if you even suspected what the criminals were up to — damns you. WHY DIDN’T YOU SPEAK UP? There are no “good” reasons.

Even Lindsey Graham understood what would happen if the Republican Party continued down the road of making Trump their nominee: “I think he’s a kook“, said Lindsey, and “If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed… and we will deserve it.” Yeah, Lindsey — you WILL deserve it. The thing that terrifies Republicans more than anything right now is the idea of Merrick Garland finally punching the clock at the Department of Justice. That’s the “newly refurbished” DoJ (the one no longer functioning as a corrupt gangster president’s consigliere). Garland’s DoJ will rededicate itself to Justice. As Joe Biden has correctly insisted, whether or not the DoJ goes after Trump — or anyone — isn’t up to him. It’s a function of whether or not they might have broken the law. If they did? They now have a legal problem.

As all Trump’s insurrectionists are learning the hard way, defending yourself against federal charges is a very expensive proposition. Those billable hours cost a bomb — and there’s going to be a kajillion of them. I sure hope all those insurrectionists are independently wealthy. This could bankrupt their families for a generation otherwise. The GOP also is beginning to learn the cost of being pro seditionist. It’s really bad for business. America’s economy is a consumer economy. We rely on consumers buying our goods and services. But, when Americans don’t like your politics, they can be motivated to stop buying your products. The reason Bill O’Reilly no longer has a show on Fox’s air is because Fox News was told by its advertisers that women — who make most of the big buying decisions in American households these days — would not buy products that advertised with O’Reilly because they felt O’Reilly was a sexist pig. Even though, at the time, Bill O was Fox News’ biggest cash cow, they sacrificed him.

The Republican Party has lost most of its big corporate sponsors. Ford and Coca Cola don’t want to co-brand with sedition. A political party that refuses to acknowledge the peaceful transfer of power presents a problem to corporate money — that’s why they’ve suspended donating to the GOP (in some cases until the party stops insisting that Trump’s “2020 victory” was “stolen from him” Just wait till Merrick Garland’s DoJ begins exposing how Trump’s 2016 victory also was stolen — from Hillary Clinton and from We The People. The election result we voted for is not the result we got because Russia literally HANDED TRUMP the win. We The People are crime victims here. Our will has been denied. It was OUR RESULT that got “stolen”.

“There’s two people I think Putin pays” said Kevin.

Hmmmmmmmm… On second thought, you say “Republican”, I say “traitor”.

“But For” Donald Trump, There’s No Insurrection; “But For” Russia, Trump Is Never POTUS

The genius of the House Manager’s artfully crafted argument for Trump’s conviction in the Senate is its utter simplicity: “But for Donald Trump, there is no insurrection”. Take Trump out of the equation and the insurrection never happens. Cause and effect. Its Truth is undeniable. The same goes for the fact that Trump ever got to be POTUS in the first place. That’s the Big Reveal yet to land on us. “But for” Russia’s direct involvement, Trump would NEVER have been President of the United States. Let’s be clear: Trump did not ‘win” the presidency. One cannot “cheat” and “win legitimately”. On can “cheat” and win “illegitimately” but those aren’t the same thing — and we need to be crystal clear on that fact: winning via illegal means (and winning via treason is absolutely illegal!) does not and cannot ever be the same thing as “winning legitimately”. In fact, why don’t we stop calling it a “win” and call it what it is: a crime.

Take Russia out of the Trump equation — take its money out of his pocket — and Trump does not (CANNOT!) win the presidency. Take Russia out of Trump’s failing Atlantic City casinos and his casinos go down the toilet. Take the tens of millions that Russia funneled to Trump via Deutschebank — the ONLY BANK STILL WILLING TO LEND TRUMP MONEY — our of Trump’s pocket and his real estate empire crashes and burns. Russia has used real estate to launder money it’s been feeding to Trump all along. You don’t get to be or stay an oligarch in Russia without Vlad Putin’s blessing. He’s far less a “head of state” than he is a literal crime boss. Every time an oligarch gives Trump money, he’s not doing it for himself.

Every Russian condo purchase in a Trump building no matter where in the world is money being laundered. Trump gets his cut and the oligarch gets a little richer. Hey, remember that crazy Russian real estate purchase in Florida — where the “crazy Russian” paid $95 million bucks in 2008 for a house Trump purchased at auction in 2005 for $41 million? That Russian must have been crazy to pay a $54 million premium for a house, right? I mean — who does that? Ummmmmmmmm… international criminals maybe?

The Republican Party KNEW from the get-go that Trump was OWNED by Russia. They said so — out loud — to themselves — in a meeting that was recorded and then reported on by the news media. A MONTH before the GOP nominated Trump to be their presidential candidate, current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy walked into a Republican leadership meeting and said “There’s two people I think Putin pays, Rohrbacher and Trump… swear to God!” Did anyone in the room — in GOP leadership — question the accusation’s veracity? NO! They understood that, yeah — Putin WAS paying Rohrbacher and Trump. They understood it, some of them, because they, too were being PAID BY RUSSIA. They’d been taking Russian money into their campaign coffers forever. In the end, then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan, spoke for the Republican Party when he got everyone to agree: they’d know they were “family” if everyone kept this terrible secret “In the family”.

Donald Trump could be one of the worst negotiators ever in the whole history of negotiation. He’s all tells. He’s been telling US since the beginning how corrupt he is. How tied to Russia he is. How much of a traitor he is. Maya Angelou would be ashamed of us. How loudly does Trump have to tell us who he is before we’ll listen to him?

Trump’s Senate trial is a political process, not a criminal process. The Republicans in the Senate aren’t so much Trump’s jury as Trump’s co-conspirators (which is odd since they were also Trump’s potential victims, too). As Trump’s own lawyer, Bruce Castor suggested, when the political trial ends perhaps a criminal trial should begin. That suggestion must have horrified the majority of Republicans sitting in the chamber. But then, so does the idea of Merrick Garland hanging out his shingle as AG. There’s a reason Mitch McConnell has slow-walked Garland’s hearing (can Mitch actually look Garland in the eye considering how criminally abusive Mitch has been toward Garland?) For four years, under L’il Jeff Sessions, Rod Rosenstein and Bill Barr, the Department of Justice served as Trump’s consigliere, enabling rather than prosecuting Trump’s various crimes. All that criminal activity is about to get exposed. And, remember the counter-intelligence investigation into Trump’s relationship with Russia — the one Rod Rosenstein told Team Mueller the FBI was handling and told the FBI that Team Mueller was handling while, in reality, no one was handling it (by design) and it died? Yeah, well — if that’s not back on the books and chugging forward already, it WILL BE.

Take this to the bank: when a rejuvenated Department of Justice under Merrick Garland begins issuing subpoenas with teeth and puts certain Republicans under oath and questioning them about THEIR strange relationships with Russia, the ground will shift beneath our feet. A whole lot of Republican Congresspeople will suddenly have to lawyer up. They’ll grow less concerned with legislating and doing their jobs than staying out of prison forever. Guys like Kevin McCarthy and Paul Ryan will finally have to explain WHY neither of them — or anyone else in that room — called the FBI after learning that someone IN THEIR LEADERSHIP feared that Donald Trump was corrupt and, likely, a TRAITOR. Guys like Senators Ron Johnson and John Kennedy of Louisiana will have to explain WHY they chose to have dinner IN MOSCOW July 4, 2018 instead of here in America. Lindsey Graham will have to answer for his amazing change of “heart” from “Trump’s a kook!” and “If we make him our nominee then we deserve to be destroyed as a party” to “I will go down with the Donald Trump ship and nothing anyone can do will stop me”. Mitch McConnell will have to explain his relationship with Oleg Deripaska — the oligarch SANCTIONED for his part in skewing the 2016 election to Trump (he received the proprietary polling data from Paul Manafort that Russian military intelligence repurposed into weaponized Facebook ads placed on the pages of Black voters in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan meant to suppress their votes by convincing then that Hilary Clinton was a closet racist). Mitch got those sanctions LIFTED so that Oleg could put a $300 million aluminum factory in western Kentucky. There are a thousand reasons why that was a terrible, TERRIBLE idea regardless of Trump.

All roads will lead to Russia. Okay, maybe a few will lead to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Israel and Turkey. But only Russia really owns Trump. I bet that’s how Putin feels about Donald. Others may own a piece of Trump, but Putin owns his “soul”.

And always, ALWAYS has.

Lie Down With Dogs, You Get Fleas; Lie Down With Republicans…

There’s a great line from “Raiders Of The Lost Ark” about Americans “…always overdressed and for the wrong occasions”. That’s your basic Republican yahoo. Wearing masks as they storm the capitol because they’re hiding their criminality. Meanwhile, in Naples, Florida, white privilege will NOT be masked! Republicans are what happens when greed convinces you that freedom equals “you’re not the boss of me”. It’s what happens when you’ve committed yourself lock, stock and barrel to denying the future by force-marching the entire culture (the overwhelming majority of Americans) literally at gun point into the past. Donald Trump didn’t change the Republican Party. He didn’t force them down a road they would never have travelled otherwise. Trump was a catalyst. He was the charisma the GOP needed to get people to look past their deplorable plans for America to a jingly-jangly set of MAGA keys. But, even as the Republican Party accepted Trump as their standard bearer back in 2016, they did it KNOWING he was a traitor.

Let’s get this straight — this is about Russia. It has always been about Russia. Russia, Russia, RUSSIA.

Every bit of obstruction of justice the Trumps, their enablers, their party played, was meant to cover up a secret that everyone already knows (but, apparently, not enough of us refuse to accept still): Donald Trump is a fully owned asset of Russian Military Intelligence. He has been for years. Everything he did upon entering the White House diminished America to Russia’s advantage. Who knows if we have any secrets left. There is a monster reveal coming at us: the entire Trump presidency from its swearing in onward was a massive crime scene and an act of treason.

Conspiracy works like this: “See something, SAY something; see something, say NOTHING?” We have to ask “why?” A month before nominating Trump their 2016 candidate for POTUS, current GOP Leader and mega-coward Kevin McCarthy walked into a GOP leadership meeting and said out loud (it was recorded): “There’s two people I think Putin pays, Rohrbacher and Trump… swear to God!” A discussion broke out amongst those there which then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan ended by insisting that knowledge of this fact — that their likely candidate for president was COMPROMISED by a hostile foreign power (in addition to one of their colleagues, California representative Dana Rohrbacher who everyone understood was a useful idiot) — was not going to leave the room. As Ryan put it: “That’s how we know we’re a family”.

Omerta in place of patriotism.

Conspiracy spreads easily. The meeting was recorded. There’s no arguing about what was said. The question is: who in the room already knew “Russia pays Rohrbacher and Trump?” Did any of them also know that Putin paid quite a few other Republicans, too? Did they suspect — even just a “soupcon”? If they did — and they didn’t tell someone — they committed a crime. It’s that simple. How many Republicans KNEW the truth about Trump? How many suspected — even in a small, seemingly insignificant way? With conspiracy, ownership is easy. Plenty of co-conspirators don’t actually know that that’s what they are — a co-conspirator in a crime — until it’s too late.

With conspiracy, you don’t have to know anything about the crime itself to be held criminally responsible for it. You don’t even have to suspect there was criminality involved. Conspiracy moves between people like a virus, sometimes spreading silently. Tacit understanding of a thing is still understanding that it “is”. So, why didn’t YOU pick up the damned phone and call the damned FBI?

You can flea bathe a dog. Stick a flea collar on a cat or (if you’re brave) stick a pill down its throat and voila! No fleas. Now you can lie down said dog (or cat) problem-free! Not so easy with a Republican however. There’s no way to rinse off the stink of corruption. We may have caught what the Republicans have just from thinking about them — that’s how deep the rot is.

Even among themselves, Republicans are so corrupt — and so afraid of each others’ corruption that they took a secret vote on whether or not to kick Lynn Cheney from power. The Republicans said one thing out loud (she has to go!) but something different when anonymous. That, right there, is the very essence of modern republicanism: duplicity, dishonesty and dickishness.

To stand with Marjorie Taylor Greene is to stand — proudly — with racism, anti-Semitism, authoritarianism, sedition, treason, lunacy and bullshit (not necessarily in that order). Silence is tacit approval. You might as well get in the shot. Smile pretty for the camera!

The photo Republicans like Taylor Greene will be posing for shortly will be a booking photo. That’s the answer to the question — what you’ll get if you lie down with Republicans: you will get booked.

Now, lawyer up…

A Letter To Those Who Hate Democracy: Maybe We CAN’T Actually “Live Together”

We Americans tell ourselves — it’s part of our mythology — that we can do anything when/if we hitch our efforts together for a common purpose. Kumbaya. It’s time that those of us singing “Kumbaya” recognize that not everyone is joining in. And it’s not because they can’t sing. It’s because they don’t want to sing along with us. There’s another tune in their heads. A hateful one that sees the rest of us as, well, cockroaches because we’re not white. The Trumpian insurrectionists who stormed the capitol didn’t just turn on democracy because they lost this election. The truth is they’ve never cared for democracy because they always knew this day was coming. The day they finally had to reveal just how much they really and truly hate it.

Four years ago, Barack Obama handed the keys to Donald Trump probably knowing that Trump was betraying us. He took a leap of faith that We The People would backstop our democracy in the nick of time. That seems to be happening. In the nick. Now that we have control of the country back — well, now that we’ve started to re-establish control — we’re going to learn that the Democratic Party’s partner in governing America, the Republican Party, has been plotting against us.

The hit the GOP has put out on Democracy and America is as real and viable as the hit Donald Trump put out on Mike Pence and Nancy Pelosi during the insurrection. We really are like a husband or wife waking up to discover their spouse wants to kill them (but hasn’t the guts to do it themselves).

The truth is, Republicans don’t want to govern “with” Democrats. They want to govern instead of Democrats. Completely. That would be bad enough if they represented a majority position. But, they don’t. In fact, increasingly, Republicans represent a shrinking minority. Yeah, yeah — 70 million Americans just voted for a traitor. Let’s stick a pin in that 70 million. But, even if it’s closer to 65 million — that’s still 65 million people thinking absolute rubbish is true.

In order to compromise with this rabble, one has to compromise with bullshit, allowing that some part of bullshit might could be true. Well, THAT is bullshit because no part of bullshit is ever true. We can compromise with bullshit all we like; bullshit will never, EVER compromise with us. It’s like Evil in that way.

Sometimes, in life, we have to admit mistakes — or admit how things really are so we don’t make mistakes. When did the Republicans turn so completely on the rest of us? Hard to say. One could argue they were never in to us. They tolerated us. Well, that’s no way to have a relationship. Especially when you’re the one calling the shots.

Republicans have just been caught cheating in the worst way possible. It must be bad, they’re already insisting everyone kiss & make up, forgive & forget. Dudes — whatever you’re humming so horribly out of tune? It ain’t “Kumbaya”. Sounds more like a death rattle actually. The death rattle of our relationship.

When the smoke clears, the Democratic Party will still be here. The Republican Party will not. An alternative will rise up to take their place — and a good thing, too. This Progressive recognizes that everyone (not just Trumpists) needs a check and balance. We don’t need a “conservative” party to balance progressivism though. The opposite of progress doesn’t have to be regress; it could/should be moderation. Considering how brilliant the ex-Republicans behind Project Lincoln are, I won’t worry about their finding a good, clearly moderate new branding identity.

Not all relationships work out. To be honest, Democrats have always felt a little “taken advantage of” by Republicans. Now that they’ve gone completely off their meds and revealed themselves as world class lunatics, on the one hand, we “get it” — we get why they’re lunatics. On the other hand, no thank you.

The Progressive fatal flaw is a lack of cynicism. It takes a lot to make a Progressive assume the worst in people. We tell ourselves that with enough therapy, even the most awful human being can probably be redeemed or be made redeemable. I still hold out that hope for most people still putting that “R” next to their names. For starters, being a seditionist is about to get crushingly expensive. That will thin the herd considerably. The legal bills about to drop on these fools will be devastating to their families. As the stone cold realization of the poverty they’re about to inflict on their own loved ones strikes home, more and more of these cowards will bail. Trying to better their own terrible situations, they’ll start ratting each other out. Bullies are all cowards at the end of the day.

This Progressive will give up hope only under duress.

I don’t think we can have a “serious” relationship ever again. I know we can’t live together. But I still aspire to having a relationship of some sort — if only to use as the basis for visiting these pirates in prison.