Republicans Have A “Point Of View”; They Do Not Have A “Side”

A thief — having just ripped you off — has a thief’s point of view of what he just did. The thief’s victim — you — also has a point of view.

The cops show up. They’ve caught the thief red-handed with stolen object literally in hand.

You tell your story — your side. The cops look to the thief — who they saw with the stolen object in hand. What “side” does the thief have in this story? That you gave the stolen object to him?

“Nuh-unh,” you say to the cops when they shoot you a look. Back to the thief. Unless he has a long, sad tale of why he’s a thief, he better keep his mouth shut. He doesn’t have a “side” here — meaning, he has no justifiable explanation for why he took something that did not belong to him.

Neither “I felt like it” nor “I dunno why” are acceptable or justifiable. It’s a fact — thieves don’t “have a side” unless they’re Jean Valjean. And nobody with an “R” next to their name will ever be mistaken for Jean Valjean.

What “side” could Donald Trump possibly have for backing Vladimir Putin time and time again?

What “side” could Lindsey Graham have for ferociously backing a man he said would be the destruction of the Republican Party?

What “side” could anyone possibly have for putting children in cages?

What “side” could anyone possibly have for turning mask-wearing into a political statement?

What “side” could any of the eight Republicans have for spending July 4, 2018 in Moscow?

What “side” could Jeffrey Epstein possibly have had? What side could any of his friends have had? What side could Bill Barr possibly have — in ANYTHING?

What “side” does Mitch McConnell have for refusing to let We The People in on the secret that Russia was actively backing Donald Trump in the 2016 election?

What “side” does former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan have for not calling the FBI when, during the 2016 GOP convention, current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy told him “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump”?

What “side” does any Republican Senator have for refusing to convict Trump and remove him from office?

What “side” does anyone have for keeping that “R” next to their name?

As we know — they’re happy to tell us — Republicans always have their point of view. But, being as it’s the point of view of corrupt, racist, bigoted, misogynist traitors, no “side” goes with that.

The Rule Of Law Never Stopped “Being”; We Stopped Enforcing It…

That’s an important framing. We’ve watched Donald Trump and the Republican Party violate the rule of law with impunity. They act as if the rule of law didn’t exist anymore. We have acted the same way — like the rule of law had ceased “to be”.

That’s not true. It’s a matter of perspective. We’re still inside an active crime scene.

Think of it this way: we’re not talking about our government being hijacked. We’re talking, say, about a car. A bloated orange car thief has just stolen our car at gunpoint. And, as we get back to our feet and watch the car thief drive off with our car, it absolutely feels as if the thief is getting away with the crime — as if the rule of law stopped “being”.

But there were cameras all around, seeing and recording what happened. We have tons of evidence. It’s not a question whether or not a crime was committed.

Let’s say, to keep the metaphor going, that we call the police and report the crime. But the police are shockingly unhelpful. The top cop is worst of all. And while a few of the others in power are going along with him, the majority of cops aren’t. We get it: there’s corruption in the police department.

The rule of law STILL is in effect. We’ve simply uncovered the fact that even more people are violating it — and violating it by not prosecuting it. All duly noted.

The majority of us understand exactly what’s happening. We never agreed to stop prosecuting the rule of law. We’ve come to see however what happens when you don’t follow the rule of law to the letter. If you don’t apply it equally to everyone? It will break down eventually. Not because the rule of law is flawed but because we haven’t followed it. If we had followed it, we wouldn’t have had a problem in the first place.

I think we’ve learned our lesson. Correction — those who’ve suffered from our unequal application of the rule of law — they’ve learned. And, as they take political power, they will insist not that we start the rule of law again, but that we start APPLYING IT again.

See the difference? It means that we’re still obligated by the rule of law to apply it during the times when we’d stopped applying it. The rule of law was still in effect. We also have to ask now WHY we stopped applying it equally — and who was responsible for that. The rule of law will insist.

That’s the thing about the rule of law. It takes the decision-making (whether to apply it or not) out of our hands. The answer’s always “Yes — we apply the rule of law”.

The Moment We START re-enforcing the rule of law again, every single Republicans will have a serious problem. Conspiracy works this way: see something, say something; see something, say nothing? We need to know WHY. Why did you say nothing when you saw something (potentially) unlawful going on? The rule of law says you cannot remain silent. Even if you only suspect someone is violating the rule of law, you are obligated by it to act. If you don’t? You are violating it. And the rule of law demands we act against you.

Back during the 2016 Republican convention, current GOP leader Kevin McCarthy famously entered a meeting of GOP muckety-mucks and said “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump”. Then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan just as famously told everyone there to “keep the conversation private, saying: ‘No leaks. . . . This is how we know we’re a real family here’.”

They all agreed to keep a secret rather than call the FBI. They knew what would happen to them all if the rule of law was applied to them. They knew they were violating it.

That’s the thing that will surprise us when it happens — as it should happen. As it must: the rule of law will make it explicitly clear that Donald Trump, in legal fact, was never President of the United States. Not in any legal way. He couldn’t have been because he violated the rule of law in order to become president and the rule of law says explicitly that you cannot do that. Cheating to win means YOU DID NOT LEGALLY WIN.

That, too, is an important distinction to the rule of law and how we apply it. An election is not an abstraction. Its results — from the rule of law’s point of view — belong to the people. The rule of law is all about securing equality before the law for everyone. An election’s results — if they reflect how the electorate actually voted — should be the winning candidate’s marching orders. We elected you to do these things for us, now go do them!

What the Republicans did — with their Russian pals helping significantly — is alter the election’s outcome. Did they flip votes in machines — directly stealing the outcome (the icing on the cake)? We don’t know. No one’s ever done an official forensic investigation. The evidence is mounting that they should. But if that’s the only metric we’ll use for “stealing an election”? We’ll lose every election going forward.

We’ve been living through a new kind of asymetrical warfare using information, data and social media as weapons. Bombs and bullets are completely unnecessary to bring another country to its knees. If the Russians (or Chinese or Saudis or Iranians or North Koreans or some 400 pound guy in his basement) cut off our power grid tomorrow, we’d sue for peace, white flags raised high.

That’s not hypothetical war, it’s real war that we are really losing. But that’s only because we stopped using our most important asset: the rule of law.

It will take longer than it should for all the uncorrupted people at the police department to isolate the “bad apples” among them and hunt down the bloated orange scumbag who jacked our ride. We will get our car back.

And we will prosecute everyone — EVERYONE — who participated in the carjacking in any way, shape or form. It won’t be up to us whether we do that or not. We’ll have to.

Because the rule of law says so.

Republicans Love Their Kool-Aid The Way Other Americans Love A Good Glass Of Wine

Nobody with an “R” next to their names has any delusions about who or what Donald Trump is. When they surrendered their party to him, they did it knowing exactly what the outcome would be — because they wanted what he wanted: permanent power.

Republicans are playing for keeps because they have to. It’s all or nothing now because they’ve crossed a literal line. They need to stop America from ever enforcing the Rule Of Law ever again (it’s still around, we’ve stopped demanding that everyone follow it) because when we do? Every Republican will have to lawyer up.

From the moment current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy told a roomful of Republican muckety-mucks at the 2016 Republican convention that “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump”, it’s been an inarguable fact: Republicans knew Trump was more than just “corrupt”. They knew he was a traitor.

They didn’t accidentally drink the Trump Kool-Aid, they poured themselves a big, tall glass and downed it in one big, thirsty gulp.

And now they’re pouring themselves another glass.

You could smell the Kool Aid on Steve Scalise’s breath this morning right through the TV as he gave his opening statement to the House Covid Panel’s investigation into the Trump Administration’s criminally negligent response to the coronavirus pandemic. Never mind that more than 150,000 Americans are already dead with 4,500,000+ already infected — and the pandemic raging across parts of America, Scalise insisted that Trump’s “plan” was doing great things — and we should follow him — even if his “plan” takes us over the cliff.

Conservatives like Scalise and Trump (he’s the epitome of conservatism — that’s why they backed him in the end — that’s why they tolerated all the nonsense because tax cuts!) rely on people accepting what they say without questioning it.

They want us to believe that all those artificial flavors are real. That the bitter aftertaste is a good thing — so what if it never goes away!

The Jonestown Kool Aid

But, here’s the thing: it ain’t drinking the Kool Aid that makes conservatives — and Republicans — so dangerous. It’s taking the cup into their hands that brands them. The moment they accepted the cup — they bought in. Jim Jones passed out the cups first. And everybody took one. Everyone needed to have a cup first before they could drink the poison.

Yes, there’s pressure to take the cup. And being the first to say “NO!” would take guts. But then, consider the consequences. You’d have to know — just from looking around into other peoples’ eyes: you’re not alone. Plenty of you are thinking: “Don’t drink it — hell, don’t take the cup!” That’s the moment of Truth.

You’ve already considered the possibility of taking it instead of rejecting it right out of hand because it’s poison and you know it!

When Steve Scalise gave his opening statement this morning, he wasn’t offering up the Kool-Aid so much as he was the cup into which he wanted to pour the poison. And you better believe that Scalise and Trump want to overfill our cup. They want to watch us drink and then be ready to offer us more.

The painful irony is, Scalise & Trump expect this to be how their political opponents end up —

They don’t realize — this both literally and metaphorically — is how America will end up.

Sorry, Steve. Sorry, Don-Don. The rest of America has other plans. We’ll drink something healthier, thanks!

And we’ll bring our own cups.

Not Hyperbole: Portland Is The GOP’s Attempt To Turn 2016’s Soft Coup D’Etat Into A HARD Coup D’Etat

Since election day 2016, America has been living through an on-going soft coup d’etat. If the point of an election is to measure & then respond to the will of the people, what happened in 2016 accomplished the exact opposite. The election’s outcome represented the will of a white, Christian minority to exert permanent minority rule over a diverse and diversifying majority.

How did that happen? Let’s be clear about one thing up front: this was not some master plan drawn up in a boardroom somewhere. Well, part of it was — the part where the Koch’s & the Mercers made a conscientious effort to use their money to deny the majority of Americans the government they wanted. They spent their money to deny climate change and to keep the playing field in America tilted entirely toward white, Christian males. To do that, the Kochs, Mercers & the rest of the RW money put Mitch McConnell to work denying Barack Obama — and by extension We The People who voted PBO into office twice by significant majorities — the judges PBO would have nominated.

See how that worked? Mitch McConnell was actively standing in the way of what the majority of Americans voted for. Remember this — Mitch vowed (when he expected Trump to lose) that he would deny President Hillary Clinton a single SCOTUS judge — even if it left the Supreme Court with nobody on it.

This was the beginning of the soft Republican coup d’etat.

The rest of the GOP strategy pre-Trump was a perpetual stalemate — a perfectly acceptable conservative solution to their problem. No progress meant things stayed the same. It’s not quite as good as literal regression but maintaining a status quo that continues denying people of color political power or any means to acquire and build wealth will did for now. The whole point of voter suppression is to reduce the number of Democratic voters to a manageable opposition. The point of gerrymandering was to divide that manageable opposition into bite-sized tranches that can never vote Republicans out of power.

The whole point of gerrymandering is to deny the majority it’s voice by over-representing the minority. That, too, is a kind of soft coup d’etat against the Will Of The People.

Trump’s arrival changed the game. Plenty of Republicans knew from the get-go that Trump had Russian connections. Current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy famously said out loud during a meeting of muckety-mucks at the 2016 GOP convention that “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump”. Then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan replied (almost as famously): “No leaks. . . . This is how we know we’re a real family here.”

Plenty of Republicans — Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, John McCain — have taken Russian money (via legalized means) into their campaign coffers. Money always comes with strings. Russian money comes with actual rope. “The Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC run by Sen. McConnell’s former Chief of Staff, received a total of $3,500,000 ($2,500,000 in 2016 and $1,000,000 in 2017) via Access Industries and a subsidiary. Len Blavatnik is a Russian oligarch with US and UK citizenship who owns Access Industries and donated to Sen. McConnell’s 2016 Senate campaign vehicles.” International criminals (like Vladimir Putin) understand how to create layers between their crimes and themselves. Everyone seems to be following the letter of the law while violating the hell out of its spirit.

The Republic’s saving grace up until Bill Barr became Attorney General was that Jeff Sessions — corrupt as he was — recognized that recusing himself from the Russia investigation was sure to put him in prison (if not today then surely tomorrow). But then, that was still the early days of the coup when the Republicans were just beginning to reformat their thinking.

The GOP — like Trump — expected to lose in 2016. They knew damned well that their taking Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin had nothing to do with “Secret Trump Voters” suddenly showing up in just enough numbers to eek out a 77,000 vote win between the three states and everything to do with a full on Russian propaganda assault aimed at dissuading African American voters from going to the polls and pulling the lever for Hillary. Meanwhile the old Republican playbook of too few voting machines at Democratic precincts plus all sorts of other fraud (see North Carolina) did its part to literally steal the election’s outcome — the one the majority of Americans (by a lot) wanted.

The Russians played the Electoral College and its racist roots against us.

Their one shot in 2020 is to travel that road again — hoping Russian propaganda (now improved by Chinese, Saudi & Israeli propaganda) will make up the difference in a muddied election where some variation on the Comey Letter will have made the polling close enough for the election day cheating to work its magic. What’s happening in America’s streets is making that harder to pull off.

The Black Lives Matter movement stole a marketing march on the Republicans. The Trumpian non-response to the coronavirus stuck a shiv in the heart of Republican electoral hopes. But Republicans are living in a nightmare of their own making. The pundits — ever lacking in perspective — continue to deny that the GOP is as guilty of high crimes & misdemeanors as Trump is. They think a worsening Covid19 situation will force more and more Republicans — especially those in the Senate — to openly deny Trump as August drags toward the fall and the election.

But they can’t deny Trump because their connection to him isn’t philosophical (unless you consider corruption a philosophy). It’s criminal. If they turn on Trump, they know Trump will turn on them.

The second Trump stops being POTUS, he will be indicted. And indicted some more. And investigated and sued and then convicted and punished. And so will every one of them.

Bill Barr is sending a private army into Portland — and other cities because that’s the new election strategy: no election. Or some attempt to assert martial law because “violence”.

That’s horse shit. I’m being kind.

When Trump announces the next phase of sending law and order to our cities, the only response should be Americans taking to the streets en masse.

Go ahead, Donald — arrest us all. Tear gas us all. Beat us all.

Good luck running on that.

Good luck winning on that — in the long run or the short run.

This coup d’etat ends now.

Donald Trump Has Never Been Legitimate POTUS Which Means NOTHING HE’S DONE Is Legitimate Either

I don’t know about you, but I look forward to the Rule Of Law’s return. It won’t sit well with any Republicans — they won’t even recognize it.

But it’s returning and when it’s back in its rightful place — we’re going to treat it like the jewel that it is. The first thing the Rule Of Law will do, once it’s back in force, is obligate us to actually DO something about the Trump years other than just feel grateful that they’re over.

Moving on — without prosecuting or punishing the Republican Party for what it did — would be disastrous. Showing mercy will only start the clock running on the Republicans doing it all over again. Roger Stone, don’t forget, is a Nixonite. If, instead of pardoning Nixon, Gerald Ford had screwed him to the wall — punishing him good and hard for his criminal behavior — guys like Roger Stone wouldn’t be so smug now about finishing what Nixon started.

The whole point of the exercise for the Republicans was to undermine the Rule Of Law — which they’ve done. Our first action upon taking power back from these pirates can’t be to forgive their piracy. We need to make the whole idea of being a pirate unacceptable.

The Rule Of Law doesn’t equivocate — if you cheat in order to become POTUS, it means your campaign behaved illegally. You did not actually win.

If this was one of Trump’s stupid beauty pageants (putting aside that they’re rigged), if one of the contestants, say, slept with or compromised all the judges (or both even) then blackmailed them all into voting for her, her “win” would not be accepted as legitimate — once everyone was allowed to say what they knew. Not only would the title of “Beauty Queen” get taken away, so would all the privileges that went along with being queen.

If, say, the Beauty Queen was given a key card with access to the Beauty Pageant offices, they’d take that away from her. She didn’t actually earn the access.

If she got a tiara? It’s gone. If she got money? It’s going back. Nothing that came with the office will stay — because it’s not hers and never was.

Good thing beauty queens don’t get to nominate lifetime judges to the federal bench. They’d all have to go back too.

Take Russia out of the 2016 equation and Donald Trump is not president. He doesn’t even run — and if he does? It ends quickly. The Republican Party may have hated Trump — they hate him still — but they made a deeply cynical choice when they decided to go with Trump — despite what they knew about him and his relationship with Russia.

And they KNEW. Current GOP Leader Representative Kevin McCarthy to a roomful of GOP muckety-mucks DURING the 2016 Republican national convention: “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.”

The correct answer would have been “What? Kevin — are you SURE about this? Putin’s paying TWO of our guys including the one we’re running for President? Someone – quick – call the FBI!” Instead, then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) “…immediately interjected, stopping the conversation from further exploring McCarthy’s assertion, and swore the Republicans present to secrecy.”

The piece continues: “Ryan instructed his Republican lieutenants to keep the conversation private, saying: ‘No leaks. . . . This is how we know we’re a real family here.’ The remarks remained secret for nearly a year.”

They’re a family all right — without an ounce of legitimacy to them.

You know how in football if a team runs a kickoff all the way back for a TD — but there was a penalty along the way? The TD comes off the scoreboard. The whole runback gets treated as if it never happened. The only thing it did was take time off the clock.

We, too, have lost considerable time. But every bit of Trump’s & the GOP’s “score” needs to come back. The points must come off the board and there must be penalties.

A Democratic blow out will put the White House, more of the House and the Senate in Democrat’s hands. But when those Democrats take their oaths of office, they need to be crystal clear — forgiveness and mercy are off the table. The Rule Of Law must be allowed to do what it does. We will try every single Republican fairly — and it must be every single Republican because we need to know: did THEY know what Trump was doing? When did they know? How much did they know? Why didn’t they say anything?

If they even suspected something was amiss — WHY DIDN’T THEY SAY ANYTHING?

Co-conspiracy will take out pretty much the entire GOP. There’s no other option if the Rule Of Law is functioning. If we do try to show the Republicans mercy, we’ll immediately undermine the Rule Of Law all over again.

That means everything Trump did comes back. E V E R Y T H I N G .

In particular, the judges. Those that perjured themselves during their hearings will immediately be impeached for having committed perjury. The others — we’ll argue over for a while — can we really undo what a sitting POTUS did?

That’s when we’ll need to remind ourselves: he was never actually POTUS. He was the guy who stole the keys to the POTUS-MOBILE then took our country for a joy ride that ended in a catastrophic collision.

If we don’t toss everything Trump did — despite its evident illegality & illegitimacy — we will start the clock running on “Slavery: The Sequel”. Not outlawing the ownership of human beings at our founding haunts us to this day. Allowing a criminal to keep any of what he and his co-conspirators deliberately took from us would have the exact same outcome.

It will haunt us forever.

For Republicans, It’s All Or Nothing Now — They Will Destroy The Republic Or Go Down In Flames Of Treason And Infamy

If there was any doubt as to what Republicans are really up to — and how extensive the corruption is inside the GOP — Chief Justice John Roberts made it explicit Monday evening when the SCOTUS (in a 5-4 conservatives v progressives decision) sided with the Wisconsin Republican Party and forced Wisconsin to holds its primary yesterday — despite the health threat it posed — and while refusing to extend any vote-by-mail deadlines (regardless of the fact that many Wisconsinites had not received their mail-in ballots). The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court gave Wisconsin permission to throw out THOUSANDS of legal votes — the most egregious act of voter suppression by a party who suppress Democratic votes the way most people breathe.

The Republican Money — the Kochs, the Mercers early on — saw demographic oblivion in their future and decided the only way to prevent it was to destroy American democracy. Relying on We The People was going to result in extinction. We The People had to be either removed from the equation or limited in our voice if we did remain in the equation. With Mitch McConnell walking point for them, the RW Money began hijacking the judiciary during the Obama presidency. There was real long-term purpose behind McConnell refusing Obama so many life-time appointments to the Federal bench.

The GOP didn’t love Trump. He compromised them. Played even dirtier than they did. Being cynical, greedy and power-mad, they hitched their wagon to the bigger bully — fully aware that that bully was himself deeply compromised by Vladimir Putin. Seems just enough Republicans were already compromised themselves (Mitch himself has taken MILLIONS into his campaign coffers that came from Russia). Russia poured lots of cash into other Republican campaigns via the NRA and a network of Russian retirees living in America, their small pensions suddenly brimming with cash intended for donation to Republicans. How convenient.

GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy famously said to then-Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan during the 2016 Republican convention “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump” to which Paul Ryan famously (per the Washington Post), “… instructed his Republican lieutenants to keep the conversation private, saying: ‘No leaks. . . . This is how we know we’re a real family here’.”

Meanwhile, remember, convicted felon Paul Manafort was handing Oleg Deripaska (he of the GRU — Russian military intelligence) proprietary polling data from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. That polling data was weaponized by Russia and sent back to Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania as propagandized Facebook ads that showed up — exclusively — on the personal Facebook pages of Democratic voters — many African American or other People of Color. The ads wanted their readers to believe that Hillary Clinton was a racist on the down low.

The point of the exercise — make voters decide to stay home instead of voting. It’s election fraud — carried out with the direct assistance of a hostile foreign government. And it’s entirely illegal.

The GOP may not have known how Russia was going to pull off their theft of election 2016, but once the “win” was Trump’s? They did nothing to address the eight thousand pound gorilla sitting in the room — the total incongruity of Trump’s “win”. There are myriad reasons Trump and the Republicans have resisited every attempt to investigate election 2016. They all have to do with culpability.

Fact: the entire Republican Party is as guilty of election fraud, obstruction of justice and treason as Trump is. They all knew or at the very least suspected what was happening. They were all obligated — legally — to say something. That they didn’t made them guilty of conspiracy.

That means every single Republican has a legal problem. And that’s where America’s problem begins.

For Trump, it’s a matter of staying president forever or probably going to prison forever — his list of crimes is that long and that bad. Robert Mueller — in his team’s report — pointed out their obligation to follow a DoJ “rule” (not a law) created while Spiro Agnew was veep (to keep him from pardoning Nixon — per “The Bagman” — the very good, very deep dive podcast by Rachel Maddow) that would not allow them to indict a sitting POTUS. That’s why the SDNY couldn’t indict Trump along with Michael Cohen for paying Stormy Daniels to keep quiet. As we sit here today, Trump remains “Unindicted Co-Conspirator #1”.

Trump knows: the instant he stops being POTUS, he’ll become INDICTED Co-Conspirator #1. And that will be just the start of his legal problems. And Trump also knows — his legal problems are so deep and so far-reaching, he could lose every single property he owns to seizure. And have we mentioned “treason”? Trump cannot stop being POTUS. That’s his bottom line.

Because it’s Trump’s bottom line — it’s the whole GOP’s bottom line too. If Trump’s crimes get exposed, theirs will get exposed too.

And everyone’s crimes have just gone nuclear because of our coronavirus response. Republican criminality has now KILLED thousands of Americans. Literally. Talk about criminal!

Norms have not mattered for a decade now to the GOP. Mitch McConnell destroyed every norm while Obama was POTUS. The Republican Senate destroyed Congressional oversight when it refused to convict Trump on impeachment. Now Trump is taking a sledgehammer to the IG’s and all possible oversight to how he doles out billions of tax-payer relief dollars. We already know that Trump himself is PROFITING from the very (unproven) cure — hydroxychloroquine — that he’s been pushing during his daily “coronavirus briefings” even as Dr. Fauchi shakes his head in alarmed disapproval.

The Republican Party is so far beyond corrupt they can’t even “corrupt” from their houses anymore.

It’s time for us — for the NEWS MEDIA especially — to stop treating Republicans as honest actors. It’s time to start treating them as what they are: CRIMINALS intent on building upon a criminal act — the stolen 2016 election — to shove permanent minority rule down the majority of Americans’ throats. It’s a rape fever dream by a Party that understands rape intrinsically. If you can vote for a rapist, it’s because you approve of the rapist — and you approve of his raping whoever he likes.

That’s who the Republican Party are — rapists. And they will destroy America rather than face the consequences of their crime.

Here’s the hopeful part. There’s more of us than them. Way more. Way, way, WAY more. As a percentage of the electorate, Trumpanistas are a mere 16%. Fact. And what Trump has steadily done to the military (undermining their purpose in Northern Syria, betraying our Kurdish ally — that doesn’t sit well with “brothers in arms”, firing Brett Crozier, the captain of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt who went public to save his crew from a rising coronavirus threat onboard their ship) will not get him the loyalty he’ll need to turn the military against the American People. It only takes having a few balk at the audacity of a full-on military coup d’etat to make the whole enterprise fall apart.

Trump will try to further rip apart the very voting procedure he always uses: vote-by-mail. But once the Post Office is spared — and we make sure EVERY American GETS their vote-by-mail ballot — the real day of reckoning will begin for Trump & the GOP. It’s way, WAAAAAAY harder to suppress voters when they vote by mail. And if We The People can make vote-by-mail how most Americans vote this November?

As Trump himself said (out loud) this week — the more people vote, the worse it is for Republicans. Agree, Don-Don. Agree completely.

Let’s make that a stone cold reality.

Coronavirus Throws A Monkey Wrench Into The GOP’s Soft Coup D’Etat

The Trump Era keeps proving — it’s hard to keep your eye on the ball when there are fifty balls flying at you. Trump’s coronavirus response has been everything you’d expect it to be — a chaotic, self-centered act of corruption. It’s been such a massive failure that it’s even managed to make everyone forget this essential fact: Donald Trump is a traitor who would not be POTUS if not for Russia MAKING him POTUS.

Imagine losing sight of that fact — but we have. The press — even with Trump lying daily about pretty much everything — they’ve reverted to treating Trump as a legitimate president whose every utterance about the crisis they must cover. The hue and cry to stop covering Trump’s daily campaign rallies has come from all over. it’s a puzzlement why MSNBC & CNN can’t treat it the way they treat Trump’s impromptu WH lawn news pressers. They regularly put some lag time between Trump lying and their broadcasts of his lies. Occasionally they even contextualize Trump’s bullshit — imagine!

I’ve written here often how I think we got here — not so much the coronavirus crisis (though it’s intimately connected) as the underlying political crisis that comes from having the intelligence asset of a hostile foreign government running OUR government. Hillary Clinton did not “lose” election 2016, the correct result was stolen from We The People — which would have made HRC POTUS.

The leadership of the Republican Party has always known what’s going on here. Kevin McCarthy “knew” back when he told a meeting of the Republican Party’s muckety-mucks during the 2016 GOP convention: “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump”. Then Speaker of the House Paul Ryan — third most powerful politician in the country — told now GOP leader McCarthy: “Let’s keep that ‘in the family’.”

“In the family” — like a bunch of stinking mafioso.

The GOP’s extreme deference to Trump is way beyond tribalism. It’s criminal conspiracy to commit election fraud, obstruction of justice and treason. That’s why the Republicans can’t stop this train from going off the cliff. The instant Trump stops being president, shit will get real for Trump and everyone sporting that “R” next to their names.

Whether he likes it or not — whether he knows it or not — on January 20, 2021 regardless of whether Trump cancels the election — his term expires. So does Mike Pence’s. On that day, if no election has happened, the presidency will default to the third in line — the Speaker of the House. It is now and will be then Nancy Pelosi.

This is why Mitch McConnell is begging every older conservative judge to retire now. Mitch hopes like hell that the old rules — the ones he violated regularly — will hold and his corrupt hijacking of the judiciary will stand. Mitch is going to be sorely disappointed. I’m with former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner (his Twitter feed is here): when this is all done & said, we must address the fact that everything that flowed from election 2016 — every bit of Republican legislation & chaos, every American Enterprise Institute-approved lifetime judge named while President Obama was denied the appointments — must be considered in the light of treason — of the entire Republican Party knowingly conspiring with Russia to not only seize control of the government but to maintain that control forever: permanent minority rule.

Bill Barr has come damned close to corrupting the Department of Justice beyond repair. Mike Pompeo has nearly destroyed the Department of State. Mitch McConnell, of course, has broken the Senate — with the purpose of hijacking the judiciary for all time.

And then coronavirus screwed up their plans.

For starters, shutting down the govt has already made voting by mail for every American a very real possibility now. Coronavirus has pushed a lot of ideas into the foreground that have struggled for attention up till now. That horrifies Republicans more than anything. The economic chaos — lots of it exacerbated by the damage done by crony capitalism — can only be cured by progressive, social democracy type solutions.

When a version of universal basic income works in ways austerity never could (because it’s always austerity for everyone BUT the rich) — when everyone infected by the coronavirus or kovid-19 finds relief through our socialized medicine response (you won’t get billed for your care or bankrupted by it) — when more Americans realize that the whole point of government is to create an environment where as many people as possible have the education, training and opportunity they need to succeed, they’ll stop seeing it as “the enemy”. If Americans got things for their tax dollars that they could point at — like, say, good health CARE that can’t bankrupt them if they get sick — they’d stop seeing taxes as a black hole.

This is not to say the Republicans won’t still do everything they can to hold onto power. Consider their motivation. They know they could all end up like Paul Manafort — eating prison dinner every night. And Trump knows that the moment he stops being POTUS, he becomes private citizen Don Trump — an INDICTED co-conspirator to election fraud. He could well lose every building he owns to confiscation. Sad, no?

Make no mistake — Neither Trump nor the Republicans “won” election 2016. Without heavy cheating and Russian involvement there’s no way they win election 2020 either.

As of today, Vladimir Putin insists the Russia alone conquered coronavirus. Oh, the things authoritarian shitheads say out loud. That’s just not true — and regardless of what Putin allows the disease sweeping through Russia to be called (a rash of pneumonia), it will clear out people with brutal efficiency. If Russia were suddenly stricken and found itself consumed by not dying instead of poking around in our political system, what would Trump do then?

Imagine Trump & the GOP having to run a “fair” campaign. They couldn’t do it on principle.

Here’s The Question We Should All Be Asking: WHEN Did The GOP Collectively Decide To End Our Democratic Republic?

Yesterday, Lamar Alexander — Moscow Mitch McConnell’s Kentuckian partner in Senate Crime — gave the whole Republican game away. Yeah — the House proved its case beyond a shadow of a doubt. Donald Trump did everything he’s accused of. He did more — and we’re likely to learn about it. So what?

“So what?” is the Republican response to “But, the Constitution…” and “But, the Rule Of Law…” and “But, just basic logic says…”.

Let’s be clear — Mitch McConnell didn’t walk into that vote with any doubts how it would turn out. He has not a doubt how Wednesday’s vote will go. He can count — and he knows he can count ON every single other Republican there in Congress. Lamar Alexander put it plainly — “We all know that Trump 1) broke the law, 2) intends to KEEP breaking the law and 3) intends to break the law in order to UNDERMINE THE INTEGRITY of the election all the Republicans scream we should wait for.”

Our not-very-bright MSM keeps asking the same not-very-bright question: why, oh why does the Republican Party continue to back Donald Trump? WHY do they stay so loyal to him? How could they piss in the face of 70% – 80% of the country who wanted evidence and witnesses? It’s simple. Yes, on the one hand, the Senate is rigged to give real estate more say than human beings. Those Republican Senators don’t necessarily have to fear for their seats. But, don’t they have to fear for their souls?

“Juror” (sworn to impartiality) Mitch McConnell wasn’t the only Republican Senator to openly state how he intended to vote in this trial before it even began. Think of it — anyone with an “R” next to their name who took their oath seriously should have been horrified at the thought — because that meant their fellow jurors would be violating their oath — and perverting the solemn process they were now part of.

Please, say you’re laughing right now. Every Republican violated their oath during this trial. Every Republican knew they were doing it as they did it. Every Republican pretty much marches in lock step.

Hmmmmmm… Democrats never march in lock step — we’re too disorganized. What Will Rogers said early in the 20th century still holds true about us: “I’m not a member of any organized political party, I’m a Democrat”. Republicans, by contrast, enjoy walking in lock step. They’re good at getting ORGANIZED like that.

Getting organized… you cannot march in lock step — even on a critical vote about a president everyone taking that vote KNOWS is guilty — without getting organized FIRST.

That means at some point in the past, a bunch of Republicans had to sit in a room together an GET organized — to march in lock step — to do the thing they’re not doing. Considering the extreme criminal nature of it — violating the Constitution in myriad ways — they had to CONSPIRE together.

No doubt, this criminal conspiracy started small. A handful of criminals — Mitch (representing the Money and the GOP’s deepest, darkest desires), Paul Ryan… Paul Ryan we know because when current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy walked into a room of muckety-mucks during the 2016 GOP convention and said “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump“, Paul Ryan said “Let’s keep that ‘in the FAMILY’.”

Ya mean like ‘Crime Family’, Paul?

At some point this conspiracy to defraud Americans of a free & fair election spread as far & wide as the Russian money did to Republican campaign coffers. Not a single Republican raised their hand to say anything. Not a one called the FBI.

Quick Reminder: we KNOW that the Russians hacked into the Republicans same as they hacked into the Democrats. They spent all their Democratic hacking finds during 2016. The betting is they’ve been holding their Republican hacking all along — using it and lots of other material as kompromat. Once you’ve started down that road, there’s no going back shy of a confession.

The Republican Party knows exactly — E X A C T L Y — what it is doing here. It’s calculated. It’s planned.

You can’t really wing a coup d’etat after all and expect to get away with it.

It Really Is This Simple: By LAW, You Cannot CHEAT To Become POTUS; Therefore Donald Trump Has NEVER Been POTUS

Now, that’s just The Rule Of Law talking and what does The Rule Of Law know? That’s how Republicans think these days apparently.

To be absolutely fair about it, they’re right. The Rule Of Law is a fiction that we invented for our mutual benefit. There are lots of places on Earth where the people don’t live by The Rule Of Law — so, The Rule Of Law is not some absolute, inviolable Law Of The Cosmos. The only thing actually keeping The Rule Of Law in place as our guiding principle as our faithfulness in maintaining it.

It’s like stamina, if you think about it. You can build your stamina. You can maintain it. But stop working on it and it goes away just like that. You can’t store it. Can’t bank it.

Part of our problem — here in America: we’ve taken The Rule Of Law for granted. Those following it always assumed that everyone was following it. Sure, sure — there are criminals outside The Rule Of Law but that’s why we HAVE a Rule Of Law — to isolate those people and handle them fairly but judiciously. We never imagined, We The People, that so many of those who swore an oath to defend The Rule Of Law (that’s what our Constitution is) were committed to overthrowing The Rule Of Law in a kind of soft white Christian male coup d’etat.

The Rule Of Law says foreign interests can have no say in American elections. The Republican Party violated the hell out of that throughout election 2016. Current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy FAMOUSLY said to a roomful of Republican muckety-mucks “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump”. Pays for what, someone in the room should have asked. “Pays for what purpose?” even. Instead, then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan (per the Washington Post) “…instructed his Republican lieutenants to keep the conversation private, saying: “No leaks. . . . This is how we know we’re a real family here.”

According to The Rule Of Law, Speaker Ryan’s response should have been more along the lines of “Holy shit! Guys — get the FBI on the phone pronto! We’ve got a huge PROBLEM on our hands!” But Speaker Ryan didn’t say that. No one in the room even thought anything like it. Hmmmmmmm…

The literal instant we stop following The Rule Of Law to the letter, we compromise it. When we follow it for some people but not so much for other people — that violates The Rule Of Law’s core principle. Speaker Ryan knew he was violating The Rule Of Law — that’s why they all had to agree to “keep it in the family”. Another group of criminals would call that agreement an OMERTA.

It’s the kind of agreement people do when they’ve abandoned The Rule Of Law for their own set of laws. They just haven’t had the decency to tell the rest of us. You know — THE MAJORITY.

We don’t know yet the full extent to which the entire Republican Party was compromised by Russia (and, perhaps, other countries or bad actors). We can only imagine the kompromat Russia is dangling over Lindsey Graham’s pervy head. Even before this though, the Republican Party displayed a disdainful cynicism toward The Rule Of Law. They applied its full pressure whenever they could — while ignoring all the ways they were violating the hell out of it at the very same time.

We know that the Republican Money Machine turned its back on The Rule Of Law a generation ago when it saw the demographic writing on the wall: America was not going to be a predominantly white country for much longer. By 2050, it’s estimated, white people will cease being the majority of the population. Think that doesn’t scare the snot out of conservative white people?

The hard right in this country turned its back on The Rule Of Law the instant they saw it was going to STOP being their instrument of destruction. I don’t know if they feared retribution, but they certainly feared losing absolute power (and the money that goes with it). The Republican Party morphed into The Trump Party — and The Trump Party works for Russia. Russia made Trump POTUS (he did NOT win Pennsylvania, Wisconsin or Michigan legitimately — he couldn’t have after Paul Manafort gave Oleg Deripaska proprietary polling data on those three states). Even Trump’s reported behavior on election night speaks to a kind of guilty behavior. Ever since, no one has obsessed more than Trump has on his presidency’s legitimacy. Why’s that?

IF we really do believe in The Rule Of Law then Donald Trump’s presidency violates it. The fact of his presidency violates it and stands OUTSIDE The Rule Of Law. Trump’s presidency and The Rule Of Law cannot exist at the same time and in the same place.

There is no precedent for what’s happening to us. We have to stop looking to the past for guidance. If Trump violated The Rule Of Law in order to BECOME president of the United States then, by law, he never was president. Not being president, he never had the authority to do anything he did. He never had the authority to negotiate on our behalf or nominate judges.

Let’s use a metaphor that even Donald Trump would understand: A Beauty Pageant. An American presidential election is a lot like a beauty pageant. If, it’s learned after a winner is announced, that the winner wasn’t honest with the judges (as, say, Vanessa Williams was about some mildly erotic photos she’d been part of), the judges can take away the winner’s crown and give it to someone MORE deserving. Someone, say, who followed the pageant’s rules about not doing things that might undermine the pageant’s “brand”.

Vanessa Williams lost her crown — and everything that went with it. If the judges had known before GIVING her the crown, they would never have crowned her, right? They would never have given her the rights & privileges that went with it. In their minds, they were lied to. Vanessa Williams mis-represented herself.

If part of Vanessa Williams’ rights had been to negotiate branding deals on behalf of Miss America, the judges — the whole Miss America organization — would have voided every single one of them for the same reasons.

I know what I’m saying seems impossible to pull off. HOW would we undo the results of an American election? Well, as one of the wronged in this equation — as one of the MAJORITY whose rights are being threatened by a willful right wing minority — HOW CAN WE NOT? Why, I’d like to know, are we always fair beyond fair to conservatives while demanding Progressives explain themselves relentlessly. When did the press lose its mind demanding from conservatives how they were going to pay for Trump’s tax breaks for the rich?

There’s a stone cold reality staring us in the face: Donald Trump was never the legitimate president of the United States.

That fact ripples a thousand ways in a million different directions. We cannot simply ignore it. We can’t “agree to agree” to get past it. We won’t. It’s exactly like slavery — a gross insult to The Rule Of Law.

But then… The Rule Of Law is only what we say it is.

Ball’s in our court.

It Won’t Be Enough Just To Impeach & Remove Trump From Office; We Must EXPUNGE Every Bit Of Him

America’s original sin — not outlawing slavery in our Constitution — still haunts us to this day. We fought a Civil War over that fact — before Andrew Johnson’s small-minded, racist actions prevented the Reconstruction that might have salved slavery’s wounds just enough to let us move forward productively. Wrongs that go unrighted will not fix themselves.

By the same token (there’s a reason the country’s founders made their foundational document (the Constitution) updateable — they recognized the likelihood of flaws in their work and the need for We The People to remedy their flaws. Not giving women equal rights to men was another tragic mistake. Think of all the brain power, the governing talent, the skills, insights and sheer competency we kept not just on the sidelines but in the stands, watching the men follow a game plan down the shitter.

We need to get this right — impeaching Donald Trump. We’re poised to double down on our slavery mistake. If we don’t expunge every bit of Donald Trump from our Democratic and electoral systems, those bits of Trump will linger. Eventually they’ll coalesce into something vaguely Trump-like that will try again to betray everything we’re based on. Trumpism is evil. Leave even a trace and that trace will metastasize into a facsimile of the evil itself.

The legal logic to expunging Trump is sound. The law says you cannot cheat in order to “win the job” of being President of the United States. Therefore, if you DO cheat, you did not, in fact, win the job. Take Russia out of the equation and Trump never gets past the Republican primaries. Take Russia out of the equation and Trump doesn’t get the bump weaponized proprietary polling data gave him in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan. Trump has indicated like a pointer dog standing over a downed duck at his own illegitimacy.

It’s time we took him at his word. It’s the one way he’s ever truthful. In spite of himself.

We need to flat out void Donald Trump’s presidency. We can’t pretend it never happened, but we can reverse every bit of Trumpian legislation. Keep in mind — as much as Trump has betrayed us, so, too, has the entire Republican Party. They let this happen. They KNEW it was happening as far back as the 2016 convention when now GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy worried to a group of the Republican muckety-mucks that “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.”

Moscow Mitch McConnell knew what was happening when he stood up on his treason turtle legs at the Gang Of Eight meeting President Obama hastily convened at the White House in September 2016 and insisted that if Obama tried to hip the nation to what Russia was actively doing (attacking the election to make Trump POTUS), he would accuse Obama of “politicizing the intelligence to win the election for Hillary Clinton”. Of course, that’s NOT what Obama was doing. He was trying to warn us of a very real, very imminent threat to our Democracy and our Republic.

Mitch McConnell opposed that happening. You have to ask “WHY?”

McConnell — like all the Republicans — want Donald Trump to be permanent potus. They want minority rule to be fixed and unremovable. They want to destroy our Democratic foundations and literally dismantle the Republic — the greatest experiment in human self government ever. Why would we want to “work with” these people? Why would we want to “hold onto” any impact or influence they’ve had when all their impact and influence was meant to destroy the very thing we hold dear?

We don’t want to. We can’t. If slavery is any guidepost, we need to blow up Republican corruption before it dooms us to pay for NOT blowing it up some time in the future. Everything Trump touched needs to be gone. Every law. Every judge. Every SCOTUS judge.

Republicans made a concerted effort to steal political power from the American People. They stole the outcome of an election in order to bend the Republic’s future toward them and their desires. From the Constitution’s point of view — ditto the Rule Of Law — the Republican Party is a criminal enterprise. They’re car thieves.

And the way the Rule Of Law works, there’s no middle ground. You cannot claim ownership of a stolen car just because you (the thief) are sitting in it. That’s not how it works.

If we allow the Republicans to keep the loot they stole — the will of the majority — we will be setting ourselves up for failure exactly the way we did with slavery. It’ll be “Slavery, Part Two: History Repeats Itself”.