Step One: Don’t. That is, don’t argue with a Republican on their terms. That’s because Republicans don’t really have terms. They’re hell bent on winning all arguments purely for winning’s sake and it doesn’t matter how they win. That means if you enter an argument with a Republican thinking there are some kind of “rules”, then you’ve already lost the argument. Rules, as any Republican will tell you, are for losers and Democrats. What applies to arguments also applies to elections. So long as a “W” results, it doesn’t matter how you got it. If cheating is as good as not cheating (and cheating is easier), why NOT cheat? And, since the cheating almost never gets punished, it makes zero sense not to at least include cheating in your campaign strategy whether that cheating is accomplished by gerrymandering, voter suppression or outright treason. This nihilism is the baseline for every Republican argument. It is their rabbit hole — and to argue with any Republican is to find yourself plunging down their rabbit hole.
That’s why step one is “don’t”. Don’t follow any Republican down their bullshit rabbit hole. Force them either to step outside the rabbit hole to argue or to argue from inside the rabbit hole while you argue from reality. Republicans tire quickly of arguing with themselves. That’s why they prefer it if Democrats did that. Republicans forced into reality quickly realize the difference between their bullshit world and the real world. Take the January 6 insurrectionist foot soldiers — the ones who stormed the Capitol building at the behest of the Republicans in power. They were all full of themselves while committing their crimes. They screamed and shouted how proud they were. They even took pictures of themselves doing it — like they expected these videos to make their futures.
They’re getting their wish — just not how they intended. Suddenly, these “patriots” find themselves in legal peril with no one rushing to help pay the legal bills. And those bills are a bitch because billable hours to defend oneself against federal charges add up quickly. That’s a big reason so many of the little fish pled out. They got that even trying to defend themselves would bankrupt their families. Hey, even a traitor’s most vulnerable organ is their wallet (since they have no soul or heart and, clearly, no life to give for their country). At some point — soon — the January 6 investigation will formally pierce the veil of Congressional involvement in the insurrection. Actual members of Congress and their staffs will be caught out helping to PLAN the insurrection and to co-conspire with the foot soldiers — giving them guided tours in the days ahead of the insurrection as part of the crime’s planning.
It is absurd that we, as a nation, continue to call crimes committed in the clear light of day “political” when they’re criminal as hell. It doesn’t matter that they were committed FOR a political purpose. I could rob a bank for political reasons. I’ve still robbed a bank! What the GOP is doing — directly attacking our democracy — isn’t them asserting a problematic political position. It’s them committing a crime. If you attempt to deprive an American of their rights, you are committing a crime — and that is the whole point of the exercise. The Republicans have said so — out loud. It’s about time we took them at their word and at their deed.
Step Three: demand receipts or the argument ends right there. “Back it up or it’s bullshit” is how I’d put it. Imagine if every time, while Trump was president, instead of going along with Trump’s version of things, the White House Press Corps had, instead, stiffened its back and said “Back that up or it’s bullshit” then stood its ground. Now, sure, Trump’s first reaction would have been to explosively toss every offending journalist. But Trump’s a raging narcissist. He aches to be loved especially by those whose love he can never have. He craves their respect especially. Also worth noting: Trump’s a horrible negotiator. He keeps giving away that the only thing in his hand is his mushroom dick.
Imagine if every time Mitch McConnell got up on his treason turtle hind legs and began spewing, some reporter, shaking his head said directly: “Back that up, Senator, or we will understand it to be bullshit”. Imagine if every time Ron DeSantis or Gregg Abbott or Rudy Giuliani or Mark Meadows or Mike Pence or any Republican had to bring receipts to every conversation or they knew the convo would be short and always to their disadvantage. Republicans need to keep the conversation afloat in order to keep prosecution at bay.
The instant the news media stops thinking of Trump and every one of his Republican co-conspirators as honest actors acting politically and, instead, as criminals acting for a political purpose, the entire conversation we’re having will change. The framing will finally have caught up with the subject matter.
Fascism succeeds, in part, by obfuscation. They deliberately undermine our collective faith in “the truth”, our sense of security and our future then insist they’re the only ones who can fix the mess (they made). But, as chaotic and complicated as this faux-world seems, it isn’t. Republicans are simple creatures motivated by simple things: greed & racism. They saw demographic obliteration in their future and decided to obliterate our democracy instead. The GOP has crossed the Rubicon — from political party to criminal enterprise. Though our news media refuses to see it (they still think both sides “do it”), when people like GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy get up on their hind legs, they’re nothing like “honest actors” having never been honest actors. For reference — Kevin’s known from the get-go that Donald Trump was compromised by Russian money; he said so out loud on June 25, 2016 as he entered a meeting of Republican leaders to discuss the man they were about to nominate as their presidential candidate. “There’s two people I think Putin pays,” Kevin said, “Rohrbacher and Trump — swear to God!”
The math should have worked this way: Stunning Accusation + Roomful Of People = Outrage At The Accusation. Or, Stunning Accusation + Roomful Of People = Demands To Know Where Kevin Got This Idea. Or Stunning Accusation + Roomful Of People = Phone Call To The FBI. It didn’t of course. If anything, the math did the exact opposite. The Republicans who knew or suspected that Trump was OWNED (that’s what being financially compromised means) by a hostile foreign government engaged in cyber war with us chose — per then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan to keep this terrible secret a secret. “That’s how we know we’re family,” is how he put a bow on it.
Our story is so much simpler than we’ve been led to believe it is. Hey — math’s a bitch to lots of us. But, when you simplify the math, even the most math-averse among us (me) can see math’s beauty — its simplicity. Math can speak truth like few languages can. For instance: Republicans + Power = Corruption.
Some other examples —
Journalism – Perspective = “Both Sides Do It”
Horrible Voice + Horrible Face + Horrible Person = Ted Cruz
(The Rule Of Law – Equal Enforcement) + (The Constitution – Checks And Balances) + Originalism X (Gerrymandering + Voter Suppression) = Permanent Minority Rule
(Russian Money + Russian Cyber War + Russian Kompromat) + (The GOP + Donald Trump) X (“Mexicans Are Rapists” + “Pussy Grabbing” – “But Her Emails”) + A Cynical News Media That Thinks Both Sides Do It = Election 2016
Any Russian Involvement In Election 2016 = A Fraudulent Election
Donald Trump’s Relationship With Russia + Bill Barr – The Mueller Report = Republican Obstruction Of Justice
The thing about math that math averse people like me have a hard time with is the idea that math has one answer. And yet, where Republicans are concerned, I now see the beauty in the math. It’s as basic as one plus one equals two. Republicans Plus Power Equals Disaster For America. And just like all other math, it’s true today — as it was true yesterday — and as it will be true tomorrow. Nothing about Republicans or Republicanism adds up to anything except corruption.
The rule of law, unfortunately, cannot enforce itself. Granted, the rule of law itself is a human creation and so, flawed, but, for some reason, our inability to enforce the rule of law reveals far deeper flaws in our nature. Or in how we frame the rule of law. Racism remains built into our architecture. That’s because our founders (flawed human beings) had a great idea “All men are created equal” whose execution they bungled completely (“all men means only white, Christian, land-owning men” and no one else). Put a big, fat E for “error” down on the scorecard. That nod to racism (and slavery) still haunts us. Racism — especially when it deprives its victims of their rights — is CRIMINAL. Every single instance of it happening IS CRIMINAL. Not hyperbolic crime, REAL CRIME. “Rights crimes” may not be sexy enough for a podcast to follow, but their legal implications and ripple effects — have ya heard the recent news from Texas? All those new laws cropping up like weeds in red states — the ones restricting some voters’ right to vote — they’re all VIOLATING THE LAW as they try to become the law because they’re trampling on someone’s rights.
We are living the example of what happens when you fail to prosecute the rule of law equally and evenly.
While some Black Americans get punished for breaking arcane laws, white Americans can openly intimidate other Americans with impunity. Because they’re white. And, up until now, we have almost no history of prosecuting white people for lording their whiteness over everyone else. It’s gone to white peoples’ heads. Well, some white people. The white people to whom sharing political power (and the wealth that goes with it) is anathema have declared open war on the rest of us. They no longer hide the political nature of their actions — what they call “political”. But, by “political”, what the Republicans mean is “deliberate”. For a purpose. A political end: permanent minority rule. The problem is, every action to achieve that political end is, itself, a criminal act because 1) it violates other Americans’ rights in the present and 2) it seeks to overthrow the legitimate government of the United States (the one run by We The People) — an act that is absolutely illegal — as its goal. When a gang of thieves set out to rob a bank in the dead of night? Their criminal conspiracy is already a legal fact before they even arrive at the bank.
So — our base problem is framing. We must stop framing criminal acts as “political”. That’s where the Department of Justice steps in.
When corruption infiltrates law enforcement, society as a whole suffers terribly. Corruption at the top gains muscle. In America, policing began as a tool of slavery and that association between policing and racism has never gone away. How can we be shocked that America’s police departments are overflowing with racists when we have it in our heads that racists are the ideal hiring pool for cops? In the movie biz, casting is pretty much everything. If I cast Rob Schneider as Hamlet (when I really want Benedict Cumberbatch), I’m gonna get Rob Schneider making a hash of my movie — and it’s going to be my fault, not Rob’s. Eliminating the racism from America’s police departments one by one would be impossible. Eliminating racism from American Life — one racist incident at a time — equally impossible. That’s where the rule of law comes in — on a federal level!
From the instant Donald Trump got his corrupt hands on the Department of Justice, he set about turning America’s head lawyer and law enforcement official into his Roy Cohn. Racist elf Jeff Sessions failed in Trump’s eyes because he recused himself from the Trump-Russia investigations. Got it? Sessions feared crossing the line Trump insisted he cross — beyond ordinary corruption into TREASONOUS corruption. The fact that Jeff never went to the FBI with what he knew or even just suspected must haunt Jeff. Legally, I mean — it’s our obligation to put Jeff on the stand and grill him Benghazi-style about why, if he “saw something”, he didn’t “say something”? Silence in the face of crime is complicity. When that crime is treason?
What did the room ultimately do? They listened to then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan who insisted that this damaging piece of information remain their collective (as in conspiracy to obstruct justice) little secret. “That’s how we know we’re family”, said the Speaker Of The House, third in line to the presidency. Clearly, the family he had in mind was a mafia family.
Friends, that moment — right there? That’s a crime. That meeting was and remains a crime scene as yet uninvestigated. As far as I know, the FBI has NEVER questioned anyone who was present in the room. In retrospect, that meeting — and Kevin’s accusation — is far, FAR more than it seemed even in 2017 when the Washington Post reported on the meeting their reporter Adam Entous having heard the recording of the meeting himself. It’s not a coincidence that, even as he was being sworn in (and violating his oath of office to defend the Constitution), Trump was moving to cover up his crime. What made that tricky was that the crime was ongoing.
Bill Barr’s corruption is genetic. His dad Donald Barr ran the elite Dalton School in Manhattan that hired an unqualified Jeffrey Epstein to teach. Despite that association, Barr refused to recuse himself (like Jeff Sessions did). Barr had way more skin in the game apparently. The whole point of Barr being back at the DoJ was to stop any and all investigation into Trump’s corruption dead in its tracks. Barr kneecapped the Mueller Report, misdirecting our easily misdirected news media into thinking that Mueller’s narrowly focused investigation exonerated Trump when, in fact, it did nothing of the kind. It seems though that even a man as corrupt as Bill Barr had a line in the criminal sand. He wouldn’t join Team Trump in their insurrection attempt.
Still, Barr’s DoJ was openly hostile to enforcing the rule of law wherever it might apply to corrupt, rich white guys. Especially the treasonous ones. When the Democrats won back the House in 2018 and began the process of oversight into what Trump had done, they did so with a massive handicap: they had zero enforcement muscle. Any Trumpian refusing a Congressional subpoena had nothing to fear since the worst case scenario was the Congressional Sergeant At Arms handcuffing them and hauling them down to the basement somewhere to lock them in a closet or secure them to an old pipe. Without teeth to enforce itself, even a political investigation ain’t going anywhere.
That’s why Biden winning — and winning handily (7 million more voters equals handily; the Electoral College measures corruption’s reach more than it measures the will of the people) — mattered. The authority to govern finally flowed to the person to whom We The People wanted it to flow. Take this to the bank and plan to get rich: Donald Trump did not win office legitimately. That’s not a political fact, it’s a criminal justice fact — and it’s the one we’re going to have to arrive at as the basis for our thinking. But for Russia, Donald Trump would never have been POTUS. Without Russia’s help, Trump would never have gotten past the primaries; he might never have entered the race.
Donald Trump’s illegitimacy as POTUS is the organizing principle confronting the rule of law. The rule of law doesn’t recognize degrees of election fraud to punish. It doesn’t say “if less than ‘this number’ of Democratic voters have their votes suppressed by a foreign government’s deliberate, focused propaganda aimed at stopping them from voting for Hillary” then it’s okay, “But, over ‘this number’, it’s illegal!” By the same token, the rule of law is clear about how illegal it is for ANY American political candidate to accept ANY help from ANY foreign government hostile or otherwise. The fact that Trump OPENLY accepted so much help from a government we KNEW was at cyber war with us?
If we see Moscow Mitch McConnell’s actions through a longer lens — his grim determination to deny Barrack Obama lifetime federal judgeships including so much as a hearing for Merrick Garland plus his insistence at the White House during a Gang of Eight meeting in September 2016 that if Obama told America about Russia’s active intent to make Trump POTUS that he’d publicly accuse Obama of “politicizing the intelligence”, plus Mitch’s odd relationship with Oleg Deripaska — the man responsible for spreading Russian propaganda to Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, the three blue states that flipped red and made Trump POTUS ) — suddenly “innocent” acts (is my sarcasm font working?) don’t look so innocent. Mitch McConnell denying Obama judgeships that he shoved down America’s throat the second Trump became POTUS become part of the larger “undermine America’s democracy” narrative. It becomes part of the larger Republican effort to circumvent the will of the American People and impose permanent minority rule against their will — and against the law.
Because any attempt to violate any American’s rights is a crime.
It really is this simple: the Republican Party have not been behaving politically, they have been behaving criminally — for a political end. The end therefore becomes a detail — the “why” of the crime and the point of their co-conspiracy. That is what this ultimately is: a massive conspiracy to defraud Americans and America of their democracy.
To even think of doing such a thing — if it ain’t a crime now, we better make it one. Because this won’t stop until we prosecute the living shit out of it. The moment these perps realize what they’ve stepped in — as many of the insurrection’s foot soldiers are finding — they turn. For one thing, defending yourself against federal charges is massively expensive. This is as bad as getting cancer in its potential destructiveness to a family’s generational finances. When justice finally pierces the veil of Congressional involvement in the insurrection, the whole conversation’s going to change because we’ll have stopped treating what individual Congresspeople like Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene did as political (giving tours to demonstrate the building’s best entry points and where the tunnels are) and start seeing it for what it was and is: part of a criminal conspiracy to overthrow the United States of America.
What is Merrick Garland up to? Does he see this crime scene the way I do — the way (IMHO) we all need to — as a crime scene! There are hints he does. Frustratingly vague hints. The tricky thing about justice and the rule of law is that they must dot every “i” and cross every “t” to remain legitimate. For the rule of law to really work — and gain everyone’s trust — its integrity must remain at one hundred percent. That takes time. Cutting corners — especially legal ones — infringes on integrity. And — very important — the target (we hope) Merrick Garland’s DoJ (our DoJ also!) is sizing up, measuring and taking aim at is Donald J. Trump.
AG Garland — and We The People — will get one shot at this. One shot at making our case that Donald Trump was the biggest fraud in American history. And a traitor to boot.
Yesterday, Lawrence O’Donnell focused a segment of his show “The Last Word” on a tweet thread published by former Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times editor Mark Jacob. Having left the field of “official” journalism — the bubble in which most American journalists live, breathe and work — Jacob has come to see that the neutrality he thought was a hallmark of American journalism was actually a trap. Each and every time a reporter “balanced” something a Democrat said with something a Republican said, they weren’t actually presenting two equally valid points. The mistake “both sides do it” brand journalism makes automatically is in assuming that any two points of view — regardless of what they are — are equally valid even if one is based entirely on facts and the other entirely on feelings. It’s not for the journalist to judge validity, says the “both sides do it” school. That’s for their readers or viewers to decide!
Not a revelation: if you automatically give credence to bullshit, then bullshit instantly becomes credible when credible is the last thing bullshit is. But, if the news media is doing it, bullshit instantly gains at least a patina of Truth. So long as bullshit “could” be true, we’re all doomed. The moment you give bullshit the benefit of the doubt, doubt becomes the core operating principle and doubt is meat & potatoes to a fascist. Fascists, having created the doubt, step forward as its only real cure. That is precisely what the Republican Party is doing right here, right now.
For better or worse, Americans have short memories when it comes to history. At least, white Americans do. Our news media has always serviced white America’s short memory while insisting no other group’s memories (or stories) have equal validity or value. How many white Americans had ever heard of “Black Wall Street” before Black Lives Matter began to matter? Prior to the internet, the only people holding a megaphone were the media companies. They alone had the means to broadcast information far and wide. While there was less competition, at least most of the messages were relatively consistent and kept to a consistent narrative.
The advent of the twenty-four hour news cycle created both a new market for information and a monster. Filling that maw twenty-four-seven is a challenge. Or, at least it was until Donald Trump forced his way into the conversation and hijacked it. Our news media adore Trump. He’s driven their ratings to record levels. He’s made them richer than they were. And, as we all know, success teaches us only that our shit doesn’t stink when, in fact, it does. The word Jacob uses is “lazy”. Success makes people lazy. When you walk in the door lazy — as too many American journalists do, their laziness exacerbated by “both sides do it” thinking — you’re only going to get more lazy with time, as our news media has.
Donald Trump was demonstrably unethical in virtually everything he did and said. Hell, Trump’s projected most if not all of his criminality onto everyone else — a standard bully tactic. According to the Washington Post, Trump lied (or, in the WaPo’s softened version “mislead”) 30,573 times (as of January 24, 2021). You’d think after three or four times, journalists would “catch on” that Trump is “an unreliable witness” even to his own life. If you had even a modicum of analytical skills, surely you’d start connecting dots — adding verifiable information together to form a picture upon which you build an evolving narrative. After about five thousand lies, say, you’d stop giving this liar any sort of benefit of the doubt because the data says odds are, whatever just tumbled from Trump’s mouth, it’s not true. Rather than repeating everything Trump says verbatim — because he’s the POTUS — you’d contextualize this POTUS before any reporting began.
“While most presidents tell something like the truth most of the time, Donald Trump never tells the truth ever — even when confronted with it and — with that in mind — here’s what the liar-in-chief said today…”. Over the top, you think? Maybe in the olden days when Saint Ronnie Reagan was doing the lying. Today? It’s an understatement. Our news media set itself (and us) up for failure the moment they took up the “both sides do it” mantle. But it’s “both sides do it” thinking that caused our news media to quickly normalize “Mexicans are rapists” and “pussy-grabbing” because “But her emails!”
Though this conversation was reported first by the Washington Post in 2017, virtually no one in the press has gone back to it — even with the perspective of everything that followed it (including Trump’s “odd” relationship with Putin). The one time the press did ask McCarthy about it, McCarthy issued the standard response: “I was joking”.
Take this to the bank and prepare to get rich: no, he wasn’t.
Not everyone has a sense of humor. That’s a fact. What marks the presence of a sense of humor in people is their ability to laugh at themselves. For real! If you can’t laugh at yourself (but can only laugh at others), that’s not having a “sense of humor”, it’s being a bully. Not the same thing, right? Bullies laugh plenty — but only at other people and at other peoples’ expense. Having no sense of humor, a person like Donald Trump can’t see irony. Literally. It’s like the rest of us trying to see x-ray and gamma ray light with our eyeballs — they’re not equipped to see those kinds of light. So, when a bully like Kevin McCarthy says “I was joking”, he’s not.
Ah, but when our news media assumes everyone’s doing it — and everyone has a sense of humor — then we get cruelty reported as “humor” in the interest of “fairness”. When our news media refuses to discern truth tellers from bullshit artists, we get the distorted view of ourselves the news media presents and calls “truth”.
How one frames a story IS the story. Journalism is storytelling in real time. It’s goal should be exactly the same: to get at the core “why” inside every human action. Even if someone can’t articulate why they do something, there is a very real “why”; no one ever does anything “just because”. Our news media — incapable of adding information to a narrative (especially if it contradicts “conventional wisdom”) keeps returning to a bizarre “square one” every day. Whereas the framing of the story we’re living through should START with Republican corruption front and center — with Donald Trump’s treasonous behavior in the middle of it — our news media starts each day scratching their heads about the perverse hold Trump has over the Republican Party.
Yeah, yeah — Trump’s base plays a part. But that’s only if you discount the possibility that people might do things for the right reasons and not the expedient ones. To understand Trump and his presidency, you must remove your “normalcy bias blinders”. You have to appreciate what Fusion GPS appreciated when — after doing their due diligence prior to beginning their oppo research on Trump (initially for the conservative owners of the Washington Free Beacon) — they became convinced that Trump had used his bankrupt Atlantic City casinos to launder Russian mob money (for which Trump was repeatedly fined!) That’s a crime!
Fusion subcontracted their research into Trump’s Russian connections out to Orbis, the company run by respected, former MI6 Russia Desk jockey Christopher Steele because Steele had solid connections inside Russia — the context being that we’re talking about the “secret world” where you have to discern any smoking guns through the fog of deception. If our news media had done the same due diligence Fusion did — if they had aggregated the Trump story (especially their own reporting!) — our picture of Trump would be entirely different from what it is right now. For sure we wouldn’t be asking if Trump’s a racist or a rapist — the facts say “yes, he absolutely is, stop asking about it!”
We wouldn’t wonder “is Trump corrupt?” or “Is the GOP?” We wouldn’t ask why Putin and Russia still have such a grip on Trump and the GOP. We wouldn’t ask “will Trump run in 2024?” like he was some “normal” presidential candidate. Instead — because our news media had been fulfilling its Constitutionally mandated role as our final check on power’s corrupting influence — we’d already be at the part where a treasonous POTUS and his equally treasonous political party were being called out for who and what they really are by our press, while our Department of Justice was actively prosecuting them for same — because what they’re doing is criminal (for a political purpose), not political.
In theory, in a democratic republic like ours, the authority to govern flows from the People. We The People elect other citizens to represent our interests in how we govern ourselves. People we don’t elect (the election’s losers) do NOT receive the authority to govern — or create laws or make alliances — or nominate judges for lifetime appointments to the federal bench (including the SCOTUS). For instance: Donald Trump lost election 2020 by more than seven million popular votes and he lost the Electoral College 306 to 232. That means we denied Trump the chance to continue what he was doing and, instead, voted our authority to govern us to Joe Biden. Trump refuses to accept the Will of The People. We’ll get to the why shortly. But, if we don’t understand WHERE the authority to govern comes from, we’ll miss the launching pad for Trump’s criminality: knowing he could never get the authority to govern freely and fairly, Trump (and the Republican Party) allied with Russia in order to “win” election in 2016. But for Russia, Donald Trump would NEVER have become POTUS. That cannot be. We The People cannot tolerate such a thing. Our democratic republic certainly can’t.
Donald Trump’s has behaved like a criminal almost the entirety of his adult life. Whether he was sexually assaulting women, cheating to get into institutions of higher education where he had no business matriculating or just enjoying the criminal liberties we permit rich white men to get away with, Trump has operated outside the rule of law as a matter of habit. That he’s never been made to pay for any of his crimes, that’s on us. We’ve always had the power to punish Trump. We’ve refused to pull the trigger.
Stone cold fact: Donald Trump sucks at literally everything except for being a grifter. Trump has always excelled at being a crook, a thief, a rapist, and a traitor. And the evidence of his criminality has always been there — in plain view — for anyone who wanted to shine a light on it and call it what it really was. Back in 2016, during the primary process, most of the Republican Party hated Trump. They even said so out loud. Guys like Lindsey Graham put it this way:
Got it? The GOP knew exactly who and what Trump was. They didn’t call him a criminal — that would have been a bridge too far and too honest. But they sure came close to calling Trump a criminal in public; just as well — they were openly discussing Trump’s criminality in private.
The problem is Blavatnik’s ties to ANY oligarch who’s been sanctioned or who in ANY way has ANY ties whatsoever to Putin or Russian military intelligence. Does anyone with half a brain really think former spy chief Vladimir Putin ever stopped being a spy chief? Spies remain spies all their lives so long as they keep any part of their spying secret. The brotherhood of Russian Spying has a long, illustrious and very successful history. They have recruited Westerners with consistent success — first as the Soviet Union and now as Greater Russia. The oligarch in question hers is Oleg Deripaska. FactCheck wants us to believe that despite his ties to a man we KNOW is an active Russian military intelligence player, Len Blavatnik’s money is 1) clean and 2) not enough to worry about since it’s not “the most”.
Any money that originated in Russia and ended up in any American politician’s campaign bank account arrived with strings attached. Take THAT to the bank and prepare to get rich.
If anyone in America’s news media had bothered to (or was interested in bothering to now), they’d have bumped into what Fusion GPS bumped into when they were first hired to do oppo research on Trump by the owners of the conservative newspaper The Washington Free Beacon. When he testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on August 22, 2017, Fusion’s co-founder Glenn Simpson described how Fusion, before they began their oppo work, got ahold of every piece of publicly available material about Trump that they could. Every book or newspaper article. Every magazine piece and radio or TV appearance. What they found in publicly available material — information anyone could find and build into their understanding of Trump — convinced them that Trump was likely a criminal who’d been laundering Russian mob money through his bankrupt Atlantic City casinos. THAT is why Fusion sub-contracted the Russian research to a company called Orbis. Orbis was run by Christopher Steele who formerly ran the MI6’s vaunted Russia desk. No one outside Russia had better connections inside Russia.
Steele’s work product — The Steele Dossier — was a collection of raw intelligence gathered by an experienced hand. It goes without saying that our news media made an utter hash of it. But then, that’s what Russia wanted our media to do.
From the moment he became POTUS, Trump began to obstruct any investigation into how exactly he pulled of this “shocker”. The Mueller Report didn’t acquit Trump of anything. Quite the contrary! If not for Bill Barr’s deliberate obfuscation, our news media might have actually read the Mueller Report for itself and grasped that 1) Mueller’s purview was pared down to one basic question: did Team Trump conspire in any way with Wikileaks on the release of information damaging to Hillary Clinton? The Report says it couldn’t really answer the question because of Team Trump’s relentlessly obstructive behavior. All indications were however that yes, Team Trump DID conspire.
It is flatly against the law to conspire with a foreign government to win an American election. It’s not a question of “degree” or “number of times”. It’s an absolute “yes” or “no” and Team Trump relentlessly worked with Russia or people allied with Russia both to “win” election 2016 and to keep that alliance a secret. That’s a broken law and a cover up. Two crimes now. And all Trump’s done is “win” election. The real criming started the instant Trump was sworn in; he violated his oath of office even as he took the oath of office.
Not only was Trump NOT upholding and defending the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic, HE was one of the Constitution’s biggest domestic enemies ever.
Our “problem” alas isn’t Donald Trump’s criminality. If Trump’s criminal behavior was the exception, most of the rest of the GOP would have turned on him if only for survival’s sake. But, when the Republican Party shrugged off Trump’s treason and made him their standard bearer, they made treason part of their brand. The Republicans are afraid of Trump’s base — they’re nuts! But what really keeps them all in line is the terrible secret they agreed to keep way back in 2016: Donald Trump is a traitor.
See something, SAY something. See something, say nothing? We have to ask “why?” WHY say nothing in the face of overt criminality? WHY say nothing in the face of outright treason?
It ain’t rocket science or brain surgery. If you stand with racists, even if you don’t think you’re a racist, it means you ARE a racist. Same goes for traitors. The reason the Republican Party is now all in with Trump, his attempts to overturn election 2020 and the psychotic drive to impose permanent minority rule upon an angry, diverse majority is because the GOP is now Trump’s co-conspirator. His criminal co-conspirator. And — as every one of these Republicans knows — death remains a possible penalty for treason here in America. For context, Republicans aren’t bothered if America dies.
If indeed Trump’s victory was accomplished by cheating in ANY way, that’s a crime. Even if it’s minor. It’s a crime. If that crime involves a hostile foreign country? The minor incident is now treasonous.
And you know what they say about the cover up. It’s always worse than the crime. Considering as the crime here is treason?
We have to seriously re-think the entire Trump presidency and EVERYTHING it touched because Donald Trump NEVER had the authority that flows from a free & fair election. He never had the authority to sign legislation or tax cuts for the rich into law. HE never had the authority to nominate a cabinet or a single judge including SCOTUS judges. The authority to do all those things actually resided in Hillary Clinton — the election’s real winner.
“But we can’t change an election’s outcome!” No, we can’t change the past. But if the “outcome” of the election includes, say, JUDGES with lifetime appointments that were the whole POINT of the crime — to get those seats filled by conservative judges preferred by the conservative minority instead of by the more progressive MAJORITY who actually won the election and whose values should actually be reflected in the very judges the Republicans appointed instead.
If we go back to the very beginning of this crime, we find the right wing money facing a conundrum: a diversifying America slowly taking political power away from the white, Christian men who’d always held it. Instead of accepting that that’s how American democracy — American exceptionalism — works, the right wing money chose to put its money into denying the majority its will. They smartly went at power from the local level first — running for school boards and local offices Democrats looked past. This gives the appearance of a right wing lean when, really, it’s just good political organization. It’s NOT how the electorate actually thinks.
Here’s my bet: when Jan 6 Commission — with the Department of Justice’s backing — pierces the Congressional veil and connects the January 6 insurrection dot to the members of Congress and the Trump White House actively PLANNED the insurrection dot, there will be a radical shift in how we publicly think of the GOP, Donald Trump and what they’ve done. We’ll be well into criminal liability — planning an insurrection’s a crime, don’tcha know! — when we connect another essential dot: treason. Considering how active Russia was in putting Trump into the White House and keeping him there, it’d strain credulity to the breaking point to think Russia wasn’t deeply involved in the insurrection — either in its planning or financing.
If a hint of Russian involvement floats to the surface? We will have pierced that veil too.
It was foolishness to think our news media would step out from under the shadow of their terrible Trump years performance and spend the Biden years reminding themselves what journalism is. Alas, they’re still convinced that “both sides do it”. It’s painful and ironic that the White House Press Corps saved all their skepticism — which journalists should have on their tool belt — to spend on Joe Biden when they used virtually none during the Trump years. In fact, our journalistic and chattering classes allowed their cynicism to flower and flourish instead. They bought into and promulgated the idea that Donald Trump 1) was the new “normal” for presidents and “presidenting”, 2) that all his visible corruption, his non-stop lying about literally everything were all acceptable cos “normal”, 3) that the Democrats were acting just as politically in resisting Trump’s attempts to dismantle our democracy as Trump was in dismantling our democracy (against the majority’s will!), 4) that Trump’s hold over the Republican Party was all because of Trump’s rabid base and 5) that some other explanation other than TREASON explained Trump’s bizarrely obsequious behavior toward Vladimir Putin and Russia. Our news media — with a few exceptions — STILL can’t get Trump right because they refuse to extrapolate based on a ton of consistent evidence that screams who Donald Trump is and what exactly he’s doing to America and why.
It was inevitable that our news media would get Joe Biden wrong because they still can’t get Trump right.
This is the work product of “both sides do it” brand journalism. It holds “neutrality” as the journalist’s ultimate creed. The Truth? It’s not for a journalist to say — even if the Truth screams from their own reporting. The thinking (such as it is) goes that the moment a journalist openly sides with the Truth (versus siding with bullshit), they will be seen to be “taking sides”. Since (in America) one side consistently makes shit up because they favor feelings over facts, it would appear that journalists keep taking the “other side’s side” — the side that prefers facts over feelings: the Democrats. Ironically, that’s exactly what our news media’s doing — and thankfully so — when they trumpet the science of vaccination over anti-vaxxing ooga-booga. The “side” pushing vaccination is the Democrats; the side pushing anti-vaxx bullshit for entirely political purposes is the GOP. Can we agree? Both sides aren’t doing the same thing.
Both sides do NOT “do it”.
The Republican Party — as a whole — is openly attempting to toss out the results of election 2020 — or, they’re trying to throw out the Donald Trump part. For the record, none of those Republicans screaming that Trump was cheated on HIS part of their ballots while none of the successful Republican candidates was cheated on THEIR part of the Trump voter’s ballot. This is not bullshit for bullshit’s sake. It’s bullshit for sedition’s sake. For insurrection’s sake.
For treason’s sake. What our poor, pathetic news media absolutely gets wrong is what this whole goddamned story is about: treason. Hey, look — I know that’s a big leap for professional news media to make. But, stone cold fact, amongst the realm of possible answers to “what’s really going on here?”, that is one of the possibilities. I can’t recall a single talking head segment involving journalists where — as they listed the possible explanations for Trump’s consistent obsequiousness toward Putin — “And, one of the explanations could be that Putin has compromised Trump — and therefore ‘owns’ him which would present a massive national security problem”. But, then, that SHOULD have been one of the explanations on the table — that Putin owned Trump because the news media itself REPORTED THAT VERY STORY!
So — a month before the GOP nominated Trump to be their candidate for President of the United States, they KNEW and discussed the fact that their candidate was compromised by a hostile foreign power who some of them knew for a fact was at cyber war with us. Cyber war IS war. Anyone who thinks “war” must involve bombs and bullets to be an official war is going to lose every war they ever fight going forwards. Russia spent pennies to put Donald Trump in the White House. More irony: we broke the Soviet Union in large part by making them fear “star wars”. They couldn’t afford to compete with us — even if it was all a chimera anyway. Putin — a man devoted to the idea of Old Russia becoming a player (third world country though it is) — got the last laugh by destroying American democracy and doing it with the couple of rubles in his pocket.
Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. Patriotism pouring from the mouths of traitors is treason on steroids. Donald Trump preaching patriotism — with Putin’s hand up his ass — demands more than our news media has delivered. Especially when that fact should be part of the architecture already!
Among its copious other fatal flaws, “both sides do it” brand journalism insists on NOT aggregating any of the stories it reports. Each instance of Trumpian corruption is seen as a news item unto itself, completely unconnected to all the other remarkably similar news items floating nearby. In our news media’s defense, they represent a very white corporate culture that, just walking in the door, accepts a ton of white collar corruption and institutional racism, bigotry and misogyny as “normal”. Their assumption that the playing field is level doesn’t make it level. It isn’t and never has been. Not even remotely. That’s how all those sexual assault and rape stories concerning Trump never add up to what it should add up to — the portrait of a privileged, white serial rapist. Our culture — still dominated by men — doesn’t want us to have an easy time prosecuting men for inappropriate, offensive and even outright criminal male behavior. Where sexual assault is concerned, male culture wants (us) to blame the sexually assaulted instead of them: “they made me do it.”
Imagine if our news media practiced basic storytelling technique and not only “added information” with their daily reporting but used that newly added info foundationally — not as extraneous detail maybe worth noting, maybe not, but as Core Truth that one must have firmly in mind in order to understand what’s happening NOW. If that had been the case, We The People would never have shrugged off Trump’s history of assaulting women the way our news media did. With Trump’s REPORTED history of racism, our news media would have incorporated that racism INTO their understanding of Trump each time they wrote about him. Result? They would NEVER have asked Trump if he was racist (which is stupid anyway because it’s not up to a racist to say if they’re racist, it’s up to the racist’s victim!) because they’d have KNOWN he was racist for a fact and would have reported Trump’s racism differently — as Trump continuing his racist behavior.
Imagine if our news media had read their own (respected) reporting. Imagine if reporters other than the Washington Post’s Adam Entous either read or (heavens!) LISTENED TO what actual Republicans said out loud about Trump behaving treasonously — especially in retrospect — and then questioned those very Republicans about what they said! The one time the news media questioned McCarthy about his own blatant co-conspiracy to commit treason and obstruct justice, his answer was “I was joking”.
Instead of beginning their reporting about McCarthy (who STILL refuses to acknowledge that Joe Biden’s the president) by framing him as a traitor (or even as someone whose motives are deeply, DEEPLY suspect because he KNEW Putin paid Trump), our news media is more likely to report McCarthy as a guy who likes a good joke.
It’s little wonder that, per usual, when Democrats are in power, the American news media suddenly relocates its skepticism. There’s nothing wrong with that except that their skepticism lacks all context. To them, Donald Trump is just a former president still hungering for political power (rather than a traitor terrified of being tried for treason), the Republican Party (despite openly lying about voter fraud and pretty much everything else) are honest actors, and the choice between continuing as a democratic republic (what the overwhelming majority of Americans want) and becoming an authoritarian shithole is a fifty-fifty toss up proposition. Our news media has it in its head that Joe Biden was handed a ship of state sailing smartly along thanks to Skipper Donald.
But, Skipper Donald had deliberately set about scuttling the Ship Of State — to deliberately harm Biden’s ability to govern America but also to prosecute Trump. If you don’t get that? You don’t get this story. You certainly aren’t reporting it — and America’s news media still isn’t. Their version of Trump isn’t the Trump in our faces. Their version of every obstructive, treasonous Republican isn’t the GOP actively assaulting our whole way of life. The most painful irony of all might be that our news media bought into Kellyanne Conway’s “alternative facts”.
There are no “alternative facts”. There’s Truth and there’s bullshit. Alternative facts aren’t “facts” in any way, shape or form. They’re bullshit. And the fact that our news media didn’t immediately stop talking to Kellyanne shouted volumes. It no longer mattered if they were reporting alternative facts to their news audience because (since “both sides do it”, alternative facts were now officially as good as facts
Being neutral, it’s not up to our news media to discern fact from alternative fact. That’s up to their news audience apparently.
The Republican Party wants to force feed permanent minority rule down America’s throat. They couldn’t care less what this will do to America, American democracy or the majority of Americans. The only thing that matters to them is separating every non-white American from their right to vote — like a chef separating an egg yolk from the egg white. This chef has no use for the yolk because it’s “colored”. In fact, if the Republican Party were to publish a cookbook, it’s a guaranteed fact that every recipe in it would be made entirely from inorganic, artificial ingredients that taste like crap, have zero nutritional value and work on our body politic like poison. Every last recipe would be toxic.
The meal the GOP wants to serve up America is a meal America does not want. We don’t want its hatred, its ignorance, its determination to politicize everything or its treachery anywhere near us. We despise how Republicans cook our books and think only white ingredients count. Here then, is a sampling of the Republican “Cookbook For America”, their “recipes” for our future. If ever there was a good reason to stick one’s finger down one’s throat and puke something back up, this is it.
Mitch McConnell’s Southern Fried SCOTUS Hash
When is a SCOTUS seat too fresh to fill? Is it when there’s a year left in a president’ term (as Barack Obama had when he tried to nominate Merrick Garland to fill Antonin Scalia’s seat) or can you fill a SCOTUS seat whenever — even if it’s mere weeks before the newly elected (by a landslide) POTUS takes over? Is it Kosher to shop only judges recommended by the Heritage Foundation when, clearly, those judges couldn’t pass a smell test?
Republicans love turning everything possible into hash. Democracy, for instance, makes a fine hash. So does religion. What makes Mitch’s version of SCOTUS hash especially noteworthy is its distinct Treason Turtle overtones. Some day, Mitch’s name will replace Benedict Arnold’s as the epithet Americans use when they want to call someone a “traitor”.
Kevin McCarthy’s Treason Tidbits
From all reports, Kevin McCarthy wasn’t automatically a fan of Donald Trump’s Treason Platter when he walked in the door and announced to a meeting of other Republican leaders that “There’s two people I think Putin pays — Rohrbacher and Trump — swear to God!” Clearly, Kevin wasn’t entirely sure what he was serving up. Did the rest of the Republican leadership have the same warm feelings toward treason as Kevin did?
To Kevin’s delight, it turned out EVERYONE IN THE ROOM loved Trumpian treason just as much as he did. In fact, then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan insisted that in order to keep the treason tidbits coming, they would have to collectively agree not to talk about their tidbits outside that room. “That’s how we know we’re family,” said the Speaker Of The House, apparently unaware how strong the treason was on his breath.
Kevin’s not alone among Republicans in his adoration for treason tidbits. Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson famously went to Moscow with seven other Congressional Republicans and had dinner there July 4, 2018. Apparently it was an awesome meal! The vodka was iced cold, the borscht was incredibly fresh and the treason was piping hot. It all went down perfectly for every Republican there, dining. They they returned to America and began to shit out the poison — all over the rest of us.
Think of Kevin’s dish as a pu-pu platter made of actual poo.
This Trump-inspired recipe doesn’t require any preparation, any ingredients or any even a serving dish to put it in. The whole point of Republican rig-atoni is to insist even before an election’s taken place (as with the Republican-inspired recall in California) that the election was “rigged”. By insisting that every election is rigged — even the ones they win — Republicans hope to create an environment where the flavor of mistrust dominates.
Republican rig-atoni goes perfectly with a rich bullshit sauce.
Barbecued Rights, Texas Style
There’s nothing a Texan loves more than barbecue and there’s nothing a conservative Texan loves more than barbecuing other Texans’ rights — especially if those Texans are other than white, male and Christian. Texan Republicans have had trouble however getting some of their barbecued rights out of the kitchen. “Lib-tard” judges keep sending it back cos it’s not even half-baked.
Ah, but leave it to Texans to get creative about barbecue. They cleverly took “official” judges out of the mix (because official judges can get sued in court and stopped) and made ordinary people not only the “judges here but, in a way, the jury and executioners too. A few other states — having sampled what Texas did — are trying to open their own “barbecued rights” stands.
The goal is overcook everything. Flame it past the point of recognizability. Or logic. Or law.
David Koch’s Overly Rich Vanilla Sauce
David and his brother Charles used to run the biggest, most well-funded conservative kitchen of all then Charles croaked and now it’s just David overseeing the Koch Industries Corruption Kitchen. The Kochs borrowed most of their recipes from Ayn Rand. That’s a problem because not only couldn’t Ayn Rand cook, she couldn’t write either. I bet even her typing sucked. But conservatives love Rand’s cooking because it’s so old fashioned. A good batch of libertarianism smells of smug, white self-satisfaction. You’ll smack your lips as you eat it, thinking “Hey, you’re not the boss of me!”
Vanilla sauce is all about its whiteness. Step one — remove all color except white. Whisk in more whiteness than let it settle. Whiteness doesn’t like to be shaken or stirred (though it loves erupting violently). It just wants everyone to be exactly how they were back in the 1850’s — when whiteness dominated America, when “All men are created equal” meant just white (Christian, land-owning) men. Republicans dream of the day when they can coat everything forever in vanilla.
The reason Republicans have to rely on gerrymandering, voter suppression and terrible legislation to win elections is because nobody except them will vote for their ideas. To be clear, the only problem Republicans see looming in America’s future is diversity and the loss of political power that diversity will cost them. They see a loss of political power as a “cost” rather than as what must happen if America is ever going to live up to its full E Pluribus Unum potential as the greatest experiment ever in human self government. The fact is, conservative America doesn’t want America to live up to that potential. They want “All men are created equal” to mean what it meant to the country’s white, Christian, land-owning founders — just them and only them. That is originalism. A very bad idea (because it’s bullshit). Originalism isn’t the idea itself, originalism is the bad idea’s manifestation out here in reality. The idea is a toxic cocktail of racism, bigotry, misogyny, magical thinking and outright bullying. Want to know what happens to someone who swallows this idea?
Look around. You can practically smell the cancer.
This awful idea — that America is some white peoples’ homeland (aside from the Native American population white peoples’ pathogens obliterated) — flies in the face of reality. Europe is white, Christian America’s homeland. And, while the organizing principles that knitted themselves into our Constitution flowed from the French Enlightenment, some of those principles also flowed from pure, unadulterated greed. The entire southern economy was built on stolen labor — slavery. That is what slavery is ultimately, stolen labor. A slaver wants a slave to work for zero pay. Sure, the slaver will have to feed, clothe and house the slave, but (the fact that slavery thrived in America proves the point), those costs must have been negligible compared to the profit one could make off the actual slaves themselves.
To this day, people will argue — thinking it’s a good argument — that, without slavery, the south could never have had an economy and thus neither could Early America. First, that means America can only happen with slavery in the picture. Bullshit. Most of Europe got rid of slavery and built their economies just fine without it. They may have enslaved the lower classes indirectly and in a thousand other ways, but, at least they quit buying and selling humans in public. Republicans don’t want Americans learning Critical Race Theory because, being conservatives, they want America to live in the past but they don’t want America to examine the past (because then they wouldn’t want to live in it). If conservatives really believed that getting all Americans to live in the past was a good thing, they’d package it that way.
Conservatives are very good at packaging things. Being cynical, they understand how to direct message. The world is black and (especially) white to them. Whatever they feel matters more than any fact ever could. Therefore, the Truth is whatever they say It is. If, they say “Mission Accomplished” then whatever the mission is, as far as the Republicans are concerned, that mission is as “accomplished” as it’s ever going to be. Of course, the mission wasn’t accomplished. We should never have invaded Iraq — another awful idea. We should never have changed our objectives on the fly in Afghanistan.
Bad ideas flow from Republicans like pus from a wound. Trickle down economics? Bad idea. Tax cuts for the wealthy? Bad idea. Refusal to admit climate change is real and it’s being sped up by human activity? Bad idea. Making church and state the same thing? Bad idea. Poll taxes? Bad idea. Separate But Equal? Bad idea. Slavery itself? Horrible idea! Segregation? Bad idea. Refusing women the vote? Bad idea. Citizens Unlimited? Bad idea. Making Donald Trump their 2016 nominee despite knowing Russia owned him (as GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy himself put it: “There’s two people I think Putin pays — Rohrbacher and Trump — swear to God!”) Bad idea. Obstructing justice on Trump’s behalf? Bad idea. Taking part in the January 6 insurrection? Bad idea.
I could go on… and on… and on.
As the Reagan years waned, the Right Wing Money saw diversity’s handwriting on the wall of America’s future. That terrified them because it meant that after 200 years of bamboozling the rest of America into believing that “All men are created equal” referred only to them, the rest of America was done with being bamboozled. America has always been a great idea poorly executed because white people selfishly held America back. Fortunately, that bad idea has run its course.
The only real idea conservatives and Republicans have in their heads is permanent minority rule. That would be originalism’s natural, organic conclusion: the “originals” get to run America forever just because they say so. Talk about a crap idea! That is what has been metastasizing all along in real time. Unable to get the Constitution itself to go along with their bullying, Republicans in Texas devised a way for ordinary citizens to do the hard work of keeping women in their place. Republicans in the rest of America have already seized on this cancerous idea and begun to metastasize it even further. They want to make this cancer even more cancerous still.
What makes this idea even worse — from the conservative perspective — is that the short term gains (putting women in their place) will be superseded by electoral oblivion when those same women show up en masse to vote out every Republican they can. It is a very bad idea to take away anyone’s rights; they’re not going to take it well — or take it PERIOD. The Republicans probably expect to slowly squeeze the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness out of America but they’re going to be shocked by what America does.
In all the places where authoritarianism and fascism succeeded, it did so in homogenous environments like Germany where everyone (fascists and non fascists) were German. Their families were German (or proto-German) for a millennium at least. Their whole culture was homogenous. Same goes for any place where authoritarian power ruthlessly asserted itself: it’s always done so in a relatively homogenous culture. That’s not the case in America. For the first time ever in human history, a nation has been slowly building itself using other nations to supply the people. That’s the whole point of America and the American dream: anyone from anywhere can come here and — provided they’re willing to put in the sweat equity — reinvent themselves and their futures. In America, the past is NOT prologue.
The world has flocked to America — bringing its great ideas with it. America is what happens when great ideas flourish. But, our present is what happens when a bad idea — permanent minority rule — tries to bully a good one: diversity. The best way to deal with a cancer is to either radiate it out of existence or excise it outright as soon as possible. That is exactly what America must do.
No one ever does anything “just because”. Trust me on this. It’s something storytellers know about human nature because we have to draw on human nature to create believable characters that ring true both inside and out. What’s worse than a character you’ve come to love who suddenly acts “out of character” — not because their author has crafted some ingenious (if convoluted) storyline for them, but because their author has flat out betrayed them. Or, more accurately, the author has betrayed how the rest of us understand human nature. Someone behaving badly may not be able to articulate their motivation, but, even if it’s because their brain chemistry’s funky, they’re doing it for a reason. Our news media quickly made the decision that Donald Trump did what he did and said what he said because “that’s how he is”. In other words, Trump behaved/behaves like he does “just because”.
That was the news media’s explanation for Trump having his head so firmly stuck up Vladimir Putin’s ass: “it’s just how Trump ‘is’.” That was why Trump said “Mexicans are rapists” and “pussy grabbing is okay!” — because that’s how he is. Ummmm, no, actually. Trump said “Mexicans are rapists” because he’s a racist and he bragged about “pussy grabbing” because he’s a misogynist pig and (like his imaginary Mexicans) a rapist. But, our news media didn’t really care about that because “but — her emails” apparently was more “newsworthy” to them.
To this day, our news media won’t call Donald Trump a racist. Well, a few of them will but most wouldn’t dare. They think it’s logical to ask a racist if they’re a racist — as if the racist had the least bit of perspective with which to answer such a question. Racism — like beauty — is in the eye of the beholder, not the object itself. Want to know if someone’s racist or not? Ask their victims. As the people who could have been subjected to the racist’s racism. They’ll know. They’ll happily tell you who is and who isn’t racist.
But, if you’re willing to let a racist tell you he’s not racist, you’re already willing to give bullshit credence. And every Republican knows it. All they have to ever do to make the American news media compliant is to draw them into that vast Republican Rabbit Hole where truth and patriotism and human decency all go to die. And our news media happily leaps right in. Suddenly, rabbit hole logic takes over. Up is down and down is up and both are sideways. It really doesn’t matter what the rule of law actually says since the Republican imperative is to violate its spirit regardless. And news events — even damning ones! — they lose all context. Acts of stone cold treason become minor details in forgotten stories.
As Paul Ryan himself put it: “That’s how we know we’re family”.
When, a year later, one intrepid reporter — having read the story in the Washington Post — asked McCarthy about his comment, McCarthy replied that he’d been “joking”. Quick side note: people with no sense of humor (people who can’t laugh at themselves) cannot make jokes. That is, they can’t make jokes that aren’t at someone else’s expense. Kevin McCarthy was not joking when he said he thought Putin pays Trump. That response was flat out bullshit. It was a lie — but, per usual, the “journalist” let it go — because that’s how bullshit and lies get normalized into the kind of toxic propaganda our news media can’t discern from news stories.
But, telling truth from bullshit isn’t really that hard. It’s no harder than separating feelings from facts.
When someone who’s based their point of view on facts gets challenged, they lay their facts on the table. Emotions may validate but they don’t elucidate. If anything, emotions cloud our thinking. That’s why our news media can only see the tragedy unfolding in front of us in Afghanistan. It IS a tragedy. But if you want to report it truthfully, you have to report the whole story — how we got to the tragedy part and not just the tragedy part. Joe Biden didn’t enter his presidency in a normal fashion because his predecessor 1) is still trying to hold onto power, 2) pre-surrendered Afghanistan to the Taliban before Biden even was sworn in, 3) denied Team Biden any sort of transition so that they could see this fiasco coming at them, and 4) are all stone cold traitors to begin with. To report this story as “And then Joe Biden screwed it all up!” is insulting not just to Joe Biden but to America and Afghanistan, too.
The truth is, we set Afghanistan up for failure when we walked in the door. We set the hook firmly when we changed our mission from “Get bin Laden” to “Turn Afghanistan into the democratic picture book American could never be”. Joe Biden did not suddenly change his mind about nation building in Afghanistan, he’s ALWAYS opposed the idea. It sucks being the only adult in a room filled with juveniles and their enablers but that’s Biden’s situation vis a vis both Republicans and the news media. From our news media’s point of view however, all those juveniles and their enablers have integrity equal to Joe Biden’s. Their feeling, in other words, have the same weight as Joe Biden’s facts.
No good can come of this.
Want to know why every Republican explanation for even the simplest things sounds like utter bullshit being invented right on the spot? That’s because it’s utter bullshit — being invented right on the spot.
A great day of reckoning awaits the entire Republican Party — at least it better. If America, Americans, the rule of law and the Constitution don’t punish every single Republican who in any way co-conspired to end the greatest experiment in human self government ever then that experiment will absolutely end. Bullshit will win the day.
When that happens, we can prepare for the worst because the worst will happen. Bullshit will finally have superseded truth as our baseline common experience. Betcha Republicans are already drooling at the thought.
Simple fact: any analysis of Donald Trump, the Republican Party and anything that’s happened to America between 2016 and today that doesn’t factor in Russia’s direct involvement in MAKING Trump POTUS is 100% masturbatory. Personally, I have better things to do than watch or listen to that. But for Russia, Donald Trump would NEVER have been president. Russia didn’t just “interfere with” or “attempt to interfere with” our election. They flat out INTERFERED with it. The moment any sort of interference whatsoever stepped onto the playing field, the whole game changed as it had to. Foreign countries simply are not allowed to do what Russia did. It is literally AGAINST THE LAW. That we still haven’t prosecuted anyone for this is a testament to the GOP’s terrifying success at normalizing treason.
From that moment forward, while the entire GOP did everything humanly possible to obstruct every single investigation into Trump’s relationship with Russia, Trump and most Republicans deepened their connections to Russia, making Russia’s success here THEIR success and their success Russia’s success. The Republicans know what they did is wrong, illegal and fraught with very real legal jeopardy. They know that a treason conviction carries the possibility of capital punishment. They know for a fact that what THEY did, what they’re still doing, is TREASON. That’s why they’ll do anything to stop the truth from getting out into the sunshine.
The Republican base doesn’t care what happens to American democracy. They’re one goal here is permanent minority rule. To them, Russia is like a white knight coming to rescue them. Literally — a knight who’s main attribute is his whiteness. They are happy to ignore the fact that Russia has been plotting to undermine our democracy forever (though it wasn’t that long ago when Republicans were the loudest anti-Russian voices) because our democracy has been their problem since the country’s founding. Keep in mind — what we call “Republicans” today used to go by other names in the past. The current GOP is NOT the “Party of Lincoln”. This version of Republicans began when Nixon pushed his Southern Strategy and finally got the Southern Democrats to finally come out of the closet as Republicans.
The Right Wing money — the Kochs, the Mercers — saw a generation ago that conservatism was headed for demographic extinction. The more diverse America becomes, the less political power white people will have. To white people, sharing power equals losing power. They’re not interested. They’d rather just seize power altogether and drive the bus cliffward from there. Permanent minority rule may condemn America to a future of mediocrity and decline but Republicans don’t care. So long as their bank accounts are fat, they’re good to go.
The good news is that Merrick Garland’s DoJ (and justice will always creep compared to corruption; it has little choice if it wants to maintain its integrity) is well down the road to prosecuting January 6 perps from both inside and outside Congress. They’ve already flipped lots of insurrectionists. There will be a paradigm shift when the very first sitting Congressperson suddenly has an indictment drop on their head. The very real threat of very real legal jeopardy will, of necessity, change the conversation. Those corrupt, treasonous, Republican Congressmembers will learn as the actual insurrectionists already have: defending yourself against federal charges is really, really expensive. Lose your house expensive. Bankrupt your whole family for a generation expensive.
When that fact thuds home, each and every perp will start looking for a deal. Except there won’t be any more deals.
Suddenly the rats will realize they’re all in it by themselves. The other rats have already flipped and scored all the best deals. Only confession will be left to the stragglers. And the deal will be “you confess. Or else”.
The Republicans don’t fear their base deserting them. They fear their base turning on them. Alas, as Republicans are about to learn, when you build a Frankenstein’s Monster out of spare parts, the parts don’t always do what you expect them to. The parts can have minds of their own. And, though the Republican base won’t care if the politicians repping them do the right thing, they will care deeply when/if the dots connect multiple instances of Republican behavior before and during January 6 to acts of outright treason.
Considering how deeply involved Russia was in every other part of Trump’s White House, does it really pass the smell test that where the January 6 insurrection is concerned, Russia had zero involvement? Considering how much Russia had at stake and the toothlessness of the responses to all its prior actions, it would stretch credulity to imagine Russia had no part in the January 6 Insurrection. Russia was absolutely a player playing.
And Trump and the Republicans were happy to let Trump and Putin play them.