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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Both Sides Do It” Journalism Is Immoral; It Needs To STOP

I just watched morning host Cris Jansing — while interviewing fellow host Joe Scarborough about his Harry Truman bio — ask if Joe DiGenova (one of Donald Trump’s LAWYERS!) suggesting execution for people with whom they disagree politically was just “some strategy”. The obvious answer is “No, of COURSE that’s not just “some strategy”. Wanting to execute people with whom you disagree is monstrous. It’s evil and indefensible. Yet Chris Jansing called it a “strategy”. What if executing political foes WAS a Trumpian strategy? What would Chris Jansing call it then? What would Chris call such an immoral strategy? Would she break down and call it “immoral”?

She should. But, the fact that we don’t know that she would? That’s as much a reflection on Chris as it is the school of journalism she practices: “Both Sides Do It”.

Journalists need skepticism in their tool belt. Too many think cynicism is just another brand of skepticism. It’s not. They’re two very different things. A skeptical journalist wants receipts for everything — or, hopefully, enough good circumstantial evidence that “equals” a receipt. A cynical journalist just flat out assumes the worst possible outcome because everyone’s a scumbag. End of story.

From that point of view, a thief is a thief is a thief no matter the scope of the thievery. Bernie Madoff stealing billions (albeit mostly from millionaires) is exactly the same as, say, Jean Valjean (the hero of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables) stealing bread to feed hungry people. A thief is a thief is a thief: both sides do it. Except, really, they don’t. Scale matters. Motivation matters. Patterns of behavior matter.

Yet something in “Both Sides Do It” can’t aggregate anything. While assuming the worst of people, it doesn’t aggregate the “worst” — the reasons for thinking the worst. So, if Donald Trump says “pussy grabbing” after insisting that “Mexicans are rapists”, “Both Sides Do It” journalism doesn’t add those two together. By the time Trump said “pussy grabbing”, most “Both Sides Do It” journalists had already forgotten “Mexicans are rapists” as if some “other” offensive candidate had said it.

That’s the normalization process at work. By the time Trump got to “pussy grabbing”, “Both Sides Do It” journalists had already normalized “Mexicans are rapists”. It was just something a “different kind of potus candidate” says. And, eventually — the kind of thing a different kind of potus says. To normalize evil is to be evil. That’s because evil never compromises with anyone. People always compromise with IT. And the moment you do? It’s “game over”. Evil just won.

Among “Both Sides Do It’s” worst offenders is NBC News’ Kelly O’Donnell.

Kelly is an award-winning journalist. She’s respected by other journalists. That’s a problem. She’s not just terrible at her job, she’s immoral and every time she gets on camera, she spews immoral journalism at us. Kelly thinks her job is to faithfully report whatever Donald Trump or his administration says without editorializing. In “normal world”, reporting about a “normal administration”, that would be one thing. That has NEVER been the case here. Reporting lies you KNOW are lies without FIRST pointing out that they’re lies is journalistic malpractice at best.

Is there a line in the sand for Kelly? Is there something Trump might say that was so deliberately cruel and egregiously incorrect that even Kelly might hesitate before repeating it? For instance — what if Trump spewed “And, by the way — people tell me Kelly O’Donnell eats children for breakfast!”? Would Kelly O repeat the president’s words faithfully because, well, “they’re the president’s words”? Or would Kelly O FINALLY draw a line in the sand?

Would Kelly O think “Hey, wait a minute — I KNOW I don’t eat children for breakfast (too much cholesterol!)” Would she say to herself “If I repeat these words, people might think they’re true — that I really DO eat children for breakfast!”? Would she put her foot down finally and say “Mister President, NO! I refuse to repeat what you just said because it’s bullshit!”?

I wouldn’t hold my breath. I guess that makes me cynical where Kelly O is concerned.

Yeah, okay — ya got me. I have zero faith that reporters/hosts like Kelly O’Donnell or Chuck Todd or John King or Wolf Blitzer or Andrea Mitchell or Alex Witt or Kris Jansen will ever bring enough perspective with them to work each day to evolve. Even as the Chuck Todd’s shake their heads in consternation, unable to fathom why Trump or Republicans do the seemingly inexplicable things they do, they’re looking for ways Democrats do the exact same things.

Except Democrats don’t do the exact same things. If Democrats did the exact same things as Republicans, they’d BE Republicans. We don’t. We never have. We’re still every bit the same group of whom Will Rogers said “I’m not a member of any organized political party, I’m a Democrat”. Diversity doesn’t not march in lock step. It does the opposite; that’s its strength. “E Pluribus Unum” — out of many, one — preaches the opposite of “Both Sides Do It”. There are no “both sides”. There’s OUR side. The American side.

We are engaged in a Great Moral Struggle. The American People didn’t just “vote Trump out of office”, we repudiated him. More Americans voted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris than have ever voted for any presidential ticket — and by a margin of over six million votes. As for Trump’s number, let’s stick a pin in it. As any journalist with an ounce of perspective would tell you, when Donald Trump complains about something, whining about it relentlessly, pay attention to it: he’s projecting his guilt. If Trump’s accusing Democrats of voter machine fraud, it’s because HE’S COMMITTING IT HIMSELF.

As I wrote here, when you “own” the machines, when you have full backdoor access to them, when you your political interests are tied in to one of the two parties whose elections you’re always tallying — and your business is completely unregulated — it offers opportunities to the less scrupulous. People avoiding transparency (could Diebold and ESS — who make the majority of American voting machines — have tried any harder to resist hand-marked paper ballots for security reasons?) shouldn’t be given a pass just because they’re white, Christian guys running a business. But “Both Sides Do It” journalism refuses to aggregate or judge a story. They get the pass every stinking time.

One could probably count the number of times on one hand that ANY American broadcast journalist or news show host reminded their audience before a segment that Donald Trump was the FIRST POTUS EVER to run for re-election HAVING BEEN IMPEACHED for CHEATING in the very election he was now running in. It’s never happened before. It’s truly extraordinary.

And yet — it never even made it INTO most news stories about the election. Both sides DON’T get impeached for cheating in elections. Both sides don’t get impeached over blow jobs either but that’s a whole other story.

I have to wonder. If we transported the bulk of American journalists from today back to Germany in 1931, how would they “represent”? Would they sniff out Hitler for the monster he was? Or would they “Both Sides Do It”? Would Hitler’s authoritarian violence just be the “Both Sides Do It” counter to those pesky communists protesting? People did see Hitler for who and what he was. Just not enough people in the right places.

That’s what makes “Both Sides Do It” journalism so dangerous to our democracy. Its lack of perspective isn’t just a character flaw, it’s a fatal one. It TURNS political behavior INTO innocuous behavior when Republicans suppress Democratic voters and turns a victim reporting a crime into political behavior when Democrats react to having their votes suppressed. When journalists refuse to judge these acts — and call them what they are up front — crime and crime victim become one and the same thing.

Both sides do NOT do it. They never have. They never will.

Racists Don’t Get To Decide “If” They’re Racists And Illegitimate Politicians Don’t Get To Claim They’re “Legitimate”

Racism, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. It’s not for the racist to say whether or not he’s racist — how the hell would he know if he’s racist or not? He hasn’t the perspective; that’s why it’s up to the racist’s victim — the person the racist behaved in a racist way toward — to say whether or not racism occurred. They get to say “That was racist!” or it wasn’t. The same goes for political legitimacy. You can claim it — but it’s not yours to bestow.

The Washington Post is reporting that even now, Donald Trump weeps to himself “I won, I won, I won” like the dumbest kid on a losing peewee soccer team. It doesn’t turn the losing peewee soccer team into winners either. This time, we were clever enough to vote in numbers so large they outpaced Donald Trump and the Republican Party’s blatant attempts to steal the result from the majority as they did in 2016. Or — alternative theory: did the Republicans willfully use the voting machines to pad their totals in key Senate and House races (easy enough to do, hard to catch if you don’t compare all the numbers to see the anomalies) but not in the presidential race?

Think of it from Moscow Mitch McConnell’s point of view. Having Trump around your neck is a burden-and-a-half. You’ve accomplished your mission: you’ve hijacked the federal judiciary with lifetime appointments that should set America back a generation while keeping most of the real power in America concentrated into the minority rule-ing hands of the Republicans. Who needs the daily tsoris (that’s the technical term) of Trump yanking everyone’s chain this way and that? While Mitch and the Republicans can’t betray Trump directly (he’s got too much hold over them, too much kompromat, I’m guessing, or too much knowledge of how deep their criminal complicity runs), the American People could — via an election — solve their problem FOR them.

As we just did.

Every single Republican knows that Joe Biden’s win was 100% legit. Every single Republican either knows or suspects that Donald Trump’s victory in 2016 WAS NOT. How could Trump’s win be “legit” if people like current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy and then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan suspected even before the GOP convention THAT DONALD TRUMP WAS DIRTY and likely taking money from Vladimir Putin. Putin — let’s remind the class — was actively engaged in a cyber war against us at that very moment.

From that moment on, not a single Republican could honestly say Donald Trump’s campaign was legitimate. They sure have worked hard, the Republicans, to keep Donald Trump’s relationship with Russia and Vlad Putin a secret. These aren’t things that make you go “Hmmmmm…”, these are things that make you go: “I get it”. But then, political legitimacy is not a thing you can claim for yourself. In a democratic republic like ours, legitimacy flows from We The People. We grant the legitimacy and authority required to govern us via our votes. If we do not or did not grant you such legitimacy? You do not have it.

If you STEAL an election result — as Donald Trump and the Republican Party did in 2016 — literally giving the majority of voters the diametric OPPOSITE of what they voted for — you cannot claim to govern legitimately. You can call yourself “the president” all you like. In point of fact, you are not the president. You’re using the power gained via your illegitimate power grab to call yourself “president” but the facts say something else. And the facts are about to land on your head.

The Republicans have done everything in their power to avoid oversight and use their offices to help Donald Trump undermine our democracy. Even now, the majority of Congressional Republicans have refused to acknowledge Joe Biden’s legitimacy — as if that would deny it to him. That, in poker, is called a tell. It’s the Republicans acknowledging very quietly that they know that THEY lack legitimacy.

But then, that’s so on-brand for Republicans — claiming to be one thing (patriots, say) while in fact being another (traitors).

That’s why traitors or criminals or Republicans don’t get to say whether or not they are patriots. That’s for others to say. If Republicans feel so compelled though to talk about themselves, there are plenty of things they could confess to. We The People will be happy to listen. But then, pirates like the Republican Party aren’t exactly down with contrition.

They’re not down with legitimacy either. It’s too hard. Requires too much work. Too much honesty and integrity. For criminals, it’s just easier to do whatever works — to put money that isn’t theirs into their pockets and power that isn’t theirs into their hands. Republicans are all children, their mouths crammed with cookies, a cookie in each hand, insisting that, no, they don’t know anything about any stolen cookies.

Then they puke up the whole jar.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They need us.

Let’s not let them down, okay?

Police in Belarus watch rioters.