Integrity Is An All Or Nothing Proposition

What Zero Integrity looks like — en masse

Nothing is funnier than a Republican drawing himself up, having just been asked a serious question about his integrity. He knits his brows, purses his lips and goes all “earnest” with his voice.

Mitch McConnell talking “patriotism” — having just lifted the sanctions punishing Oleg Deripaska for changing the outcome of election 2016, say. That’d be Mitch insisting he’d done something great for the people of Kentucky (while betraying them and everyone else in the country).

Your average Republican thinks THAT’S “Integrity”. Acting like you have it.

When you have no integrity, acting like you have it is as close to having integrity as you’re ever going to get.

What Republicans especially don’t seem to grasp — integrity while iron-clad at its core, is built of gossamer. It’s a soap bubble, easily punctured. And just like a soap bubble, once popped? It’s popped for good.

There’s a reason we don’t say things like “Ya know, that Kevin McCarthy — the GOP Leader — he may not have all his integrity, but 70%’s okay with me!” The moment Kevin slipped below 100%, that should have been the end of it. How can you trust someone almost completely but not completely? That means you DON’T trust them because even when you do, you really don’t.

That’s how integrity works. It is or it isn’t.

Can we all please, please, PLEASE agree? When it comes to integrity, if you still have an “R” next to your name? While Donald Trump’s a Republican? If you stand in any way, shape or form with him?

You can’t even spell “integrity”.

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These Are Desperate Times, Mrs. Lovett, And Desperate Measures Are Called For

Sweeny Todd got it right. These ARE desperate times we’re living in. What if it’s already be too late for desperate measures?

What measures come after the desperate ones?

A lot of us sensed it election night 2016 the way animals can sense a temblor coming. Trump “winning the election” (he didn’t, Russia did) wasn’t going to be the worst of it. It was going to be the start of it.

When I ran Tales From The Crypt for HBO, I took pride in the fact that I murdered people for a living and got away with it. I’ve spent my career imagining terrible, terrible things that could happen to people. I’ve written scenes that would make your average person squirm to watch, never mind actually endure.

But nothing I’ve written — or could write — can compare with or compete with Donald Trump. There’s nothing special about Trump except for the fact that he’s the embodiment of evil. Evil — real evil — isn’t special; most of the time, it’s pretty banal. We prefer our evil to be beat-you-over-the-head obvious. Unfortunately, that’s not how evil works.

There is nothing exceptional about Donald Trump. And yet, this unexceptional man has done something, well, exceptional — he’s very nearly destroyed the greatest experiment in human self-government ever. He’s had help, of course — Moscow Mitch McConnell (starting with his mission to hijack the judiciary as a means to impose permanent minority rule), Bill Barr (the most corrupt AG ever – and that includes John Mitchell, Nixon’s AG!), Mike Pompeo (the most corrupt Secretary of State since whoever Trump’s last Sec State was) and GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (whose worry that Russia was paying Dana Rohrbacher & Trump was put to rest with a simple “Let’s keep that in the family” by then Speaker of the House Paul Ryan).

The only thing that’s even remotely exceptional about Trump — his capacity for banal evil. That, apparently, is bottomless.

This Is That Point In The Movie Where The Villains Decide To Go All Out…

No writer could have written what we’re still living through and gotten away with it. No one would have bought it — way too unbelievable. Yet here we are.

Perversely, the villains in this piece operate by the exact same rules by which a Bond Villain operates — power & money cos why not? With Vlad Putin, throw in a heavy dose of Russian nationalism and old fashioned Crusader-thinking.

With Donald Trump, it’s all greed. Greed and a sociopathological personality desperate for daddy-love that he can never have.

With Mike Pence, it’s the power lust of the religious charlatan. He can never be a primary villain. He’s too empty.

With Mitch McConnell, it’s power & money but more than that? It’s the Revenge Of The Nerd. Same goes with Stephen Miller. Mitch is a “man” insecure in his manhood (for shits n giggles, shout “SODOMY” right in Mitch’s face and see how he reacts). You know he was picked on relentlessly in every schoolyard he ever sat in — unfortunately. Most people deal with it through therapy or alcohol. Moscow Mitch had the Constitution at his disposal — and he disposed with it.

Back during the 2016 Republican Convention (it was reported FFS!), current House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy famously walked into a meeting of the Republican muckety-mucks and said (this is his direct quote): “There’s …there’s two people, I think, Putin pays: [California Representative Dana] Rohrabacher and Trump … [laughter] … swear to God.”

Instead of responding, “If you really think that, we should call the FBI right this second!”, then-Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan “…immediately responded: ‘This is an off-the-record … [laughter] … NO LEAKS … [laughter] … alright?!”. That is literally what he said.

The Republican hierarchy KNEW. They might not have known all, but they knew some. If they knew ANY, they were obligated to pick up the phone and report it. As we’re learning though — too slowly for our own collective good — is that lots of these Republicans were in Mitch’s boat — they’d already been bought out themselves by the Russians.

When Russia gives you money, it comes with strings. When Russia gives you an aluminum factory and hundreds of millions of dollars, it comes with ropes.

Just like Donald Trump will never pivot, neither will the Republican Party. They can’t now. They committed to Mitch McConnell’s plan (imagined not by him but by the Koch-Mercer money behind him) to install permanent minority rule in America first by j=hijacking the judiciary. Can you say “Merrick Garland”?

If The Rule Of Law is going to be truly viable again then there can be no exceptions to it. Any Republican who even suspected what his co-partiests were up to was legally obligated to report it. They didn’t and we have to ask “why?” Whose interests were they protecting — when they took an oath to uphold the Constitution’s?

I fear, Republicans having nowhere to go but prison, that this ending will indeed be like one of those Bond movies where it takes 80 shots at the villain to finally kill him. It already feels that way, doesn’t it? The bombshells going off every day — the reveals of staggering corruption and debauched greed — that never result in the bad guys even breaking stride — it really does feel like bullets bouncing off a bad guy’s magical force field of pure evil.

It’s wired into our culture that just before it’s too late, a white knight rides to the rescue. We’ve convinced ourselves that the good guys ultimately win in the end. That’s all ooga-booga we made up.

Here in Real Life, truly anything can happen. Get too sucked into “normalcy” and you become the frog who gets boiled to death. The reason Uber Villains go for broke in the end is because something inside them suspects — if they can just outlast the good guy — they’ll triumph. It will be up to We The People to stop them. Because we’re the Good Guy.

I’m old enough to remember when speaking or writing in these terms would have been hyperbole on steroids. But then, I’m old enough to remember when you couldn’t write this story and get away with it.