Mitch McConnell Can Count Votes Too — So Long As They’re Corrupt

As we lurch toward a Republican-forced government shut-down on Thursday night, the media keeps reminding us how good Nancy Pelosi is at counting votes. She won’t put a bill on the floor that doesn’t have the votes to pass. If Joe Biden’s agenda doesn’t have the votes today, Speaker Pelosi will work her magic — it’s agreed she’s one of the best, savviest Speakers of the House in American history — and make that vote happen tomorrow. Bet against her at your peril. The news media — believing that “both sides do it” — also give Mitch McConnell mucho cred for being a great politician because he can count votes. But, the way Mitch counts votes — and the votes he’s counting — is entirely different from the way Speaker Pelosi works. Speaker Pelosi can only appeal to her caucus’ hearts. Public servants serving the public have hearts, ya see. And Democrats, by their nature (and by their hearts) are wild and unruly. Democrat Will Rogers said of us almost a hundred years ago “I’m not a member of any organized political party, I’m a Democrat”. By contrast to Speaker Pelosi, Mitch McConnell has a far, far easier time.

Mitch knows his caucus — to a man — doesn’t have a heart. Instead, they have greed. Greed runs everything in their personal and collective worlds. Their bottom line is enrichment and power. Getting richer than they already are and (since this is what it will require), holding onto political power forever in order to do it. For Mitch then, life is simple so long as it’s as corrupt as he is. You can always count on corruption to come through because you can always blackmail corrupt people into compliance. Try blackmailing an innocent person — it’s much, much harder.

We’ve seen — live — what happens when Mitch can count all his corrupt votes but can’t count on his un-corrupt ones. Remember this — the night Senator John McCain literally voted a thumbs down to Mitch’s attempt to kill the ACA?

I betcha Mitch still gets himself into a mighty treason-turtle snit every time he thinks of it. I bet — same token — an uncorrupted John McCain stood between Lindsey Graham’s anti-Trumpism and his remarkable flip into the Uber-Trumpism.

Can anyone name a higher purpose any Republican is fighting for other than power for power’s sake? Mitch McConnell certainly isn’t interested in serving the needs of most Americans since he’s only about servicing a teeny-tiny slice of really rich white men. Who are all Christians.

When he’s not servicing his Russian clients (Oleg Deripaska, for instance), Mitch is Charles Koch’s Bitch. Tasked with seizing the judiciary from any possible Democratic grasp — that was the point of denying Barrack Obama more than a hundred hearings for federal bench judgeships and, of course, Antonin Scalia’s seat. Our news media depicted Merrick Garland not getting a hearing as Mitch McConnell being a clever, skilled (Machiavellian) politician. No, actually that was Mitch McConnell putting himself between the point of electoral politics — the majority getting what they voted for — and Mitch and his cohorts getting what THEY want. Our news media — convinced that “both sides do it” — have it in their heads that anti-democratic behavior and acts is just some “political opinion” as opposed to what it is: an affront to democracy and to individual voters’ right to vote.

But, hey — so long as rich, Christian white guys are doing it? How can it be bad, right?

This is the corruption Mitch McConnell relies on. It’s his oxygen now same as it’s always been. Make no mistake: Mitch and corruption go way back.

Mitch has been a political hustler since grade school. Being naturally unlovable, Mitch saw political power — even at the public school level — as a way to make people love him. Or, at least not hate him because of who he was. And Mitch has deep issues with who he is. Mitch graduated with honors from the University of Louisville with a B.A. in poli sci in 1964. He was student body president. Three years later, he graduated from the University of Kentucky College of Law where was president of the student bar association.

Mind you, Mitch isn’t doing this to make anywhere he is a better place for him being there. He’s doing it because he adores political power and he’s figuring out how to get it and keep it. But then, Mitch’s perfect glide path goes awry.

He enlists in March or July 1967. But by August, Mitch has been discharged (honorably) for an eye condition that was treatable in 1967 with steroids. In other words, that was no basis for discharging Mitch. Mitch has been extremely closed-mouthed about the whole thing and his military records are now inaccessible if not destroyed — which only ever means one thing: Mitch is guilty of something. I have no idea whether the following is true but my sense is that were it libelous versus true, DKos would have taken it down. They’re not in the bullshit business. According to a sourced story, there’s a possible explanation for Mitch’s sudden exit from the military — and it has nothing to do with any eye infections. According to the story, Mitch was caught engaged in an act of sodomy and agreed to go away rather than face (what would have been an embarrassing for all) trial. Having political connections — as Mitch did — surely stood up for Mitch — out of corruption not because anyone cared about LGBTQ rights.

Plenty of people helped Mitch rise politically. Not all of them were as corrupt as Mitch — and came to regret backing Mitch later. In the New Yorker, Jane Mayer describes how John David Dyche, a conservative columnist, Louisville lawyer and former Mitch supporter, went from being an active Mitch supporter now sees Mitch’s standing by Donald Trump as proof that Mitch has “no ideology except his own political power”. In other words: corruption. Mitch’s former supporter looked back at Mitch’s political career — especially the part where despite the fact that he despised Trump, he stood by Trump — as proof that Mitch was and is corrupt. Per Mayer, even Mitch’s three daughters can’t stomach their father and his corruption.

Mitch sees Charles Koch (formerly the Koch Brothers) as his lord and master. The Kochs are the most powerful money in American politics. Charles Koch still intends to twist our democracy into something more pleasing to him and his needs — being a purveyor of dirty power and a climate terrorist. Koch thinks his money (which he inherited) makes him smarter than me or you. And Charles Koch thinks rich, white. Christian men should lead and everyone else should follow. The Kochs may be crooks but they aren’t stupid crooks. Charles and David (now just Charles) spent their dirty money wisely — buying pretty much every Republican and just enough Democrats (Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Krysten Sinema of Arizona) to stop Americans from ever getting the government (and government services) they keep voting for.

The Kochs recognized that the only reliable branch of government aside from the Senate (designed, like the Electoral College to empower racism and racists over urbanites and diversity) was the judiciary — the lifetime federal bench in particular and the SCOTUS especially. Control the judiciary, the Kochs realized and one can control the country — perhaps even force it to rewrite laws pushing America toward progressivism. One could even — by jiggering the law just so — cancel Roe v Wade without even actually canceling it.

We don’t know how deeply Russia has its hooks into Mitch McConnell, all we know is that every time Mitch burps, it tastes of stale rubles. We need to explore this with Mitch under oath — Benghazi-style. He needs to explain his relationship with Oleg Deripaska (the man to whom Paul Manafort passed proprietary polling data covering Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, three of which flipped unexpectedly in election 2016, throwing the election to Trump). Deripaska is Russian military intelligence and we KNOW that Russian military intelligence was actively engaged in throwing the 2016 election to Russia. Deripaska was sanctioned by our government for doing that — sanctions that Mitch got lifted so that Deripaska could drop $300 million into an aluminum factory in impoverished western Kentucky. That’s swell for those dirt poor Kentuckians, but awful otherwise for the rest of the country and our democracy.

We need to understand above all why Mitch refused to let We The People in on the Republican Party’s dirty little secret: that Russia wanted Trump to be president and they were actively engaged in making that happen. In September 2016, when Obama called a Gang of Eight meeting (four Democratic Congressional leaders and four republican leaders) to discuss telling America what Russia was doing on Trump’s (and the GOP’s) behalf, Mitch got up on his little treason turtle hind legs and insisted that if Obama did such a thing — told America the truth about Russia and Donald Trump — that he’d accuse Obama of “politicizing the intelligence”. Obama, unfortunately, caved.

I bet that if Obama had that moment to do over? He’d tell Mitch McConnell to go eff himself. But, first, he’d tell Mitch what he thought of Mitch’s corruption. Then he’d call Mitch a traitor.

And, of course, he’d be right.

Here’s a prediction. Some day — soon, I bet — Mitch McConnell’s name will replace Benedict Arnold’s as the epithet Americans use when they want to call someone a “traitor”.

Show Me A Republican, I’ll Show You A Koch Whore

Here’s a dirty, little secret: having money doesn’t make you smarter than anyone — even if your money bought you a first class education. Harvard and Yale graduate plenty of morons — most of them white — who got in on the strength of their name and connections, got graded on a curve because of donations and graduated because it was always a fait accompli. Being smart and having great ideas is incredibly important , the caveat being that different people are smart in different ways (we don’t value their smarts the same but that’s our failing, not theirs). But not even the greatest idea can get from idea to the idea’s profitable exploitation without plenty of other people making that exploitation possible via their direct contributions. There’s nothing inherently wrong with capitalism. There’s everything inherently wrong with crony capitalism. Our democracy is being threatened as much by crony capitalism as by racism (and racism is at the core of everything wrong with America). And atop the corruptest of the corrupt of crony capitalists, the capo di tutti capo himself is Charles Koch.

Corruption, thy name is Koch

Koch Industries — the engine that powered the Koch fortune — was started by Fred Koch who opened shop as an oil refinery and chemicals business. When Fred Koch died in 1967, his sons David and Charles INHERITED the business. The Koch Brothers expanded into other industries including pollution control equipment and technologies, polymers and fibers, minerals, fertilizers, commodity trading and services, forest and consumer products, and ranching. The businesses produce a wide variety of well-known brands, such as Stainmaster carpet, the Lycra brand of spandex fiber, Quilted Northern tissue, and Dixie Cup. Having been born into oil money, the Kochs have always been generous funders of think tanks that lobby to oppose environmental regulation. In a world that’s rapidly overheating because of all the carbon the Kochs’ businesses have put into the air, it’s beyond disgusting that Charles Koch continues to insist he’s entitled to do what he wants because he’s rich.

Charles and his brother are both libertarians. That means they think Ayn Rand can write — the first giveaway that they have terrible judgment. Libertarianism is all about stroking the individual’s ego. It’s not shocking that the overwhelming majority of libertarians are men. It is a profoundly selfish way of seeing the world. A profoundly self-delusional way too. The rugged individual is nothing more than an overgrown ten year old who thinks “freedom” is “you’re not the boss of me”. He wants all the benefits of freedom but has zero interest in any of the responsibilities.

That’s the thing most conservatives don’t want to talk about when it comes to freedom — the part of freedom that’s NOT free — the responsibilities. There will always be and must be dynamic tension between individual freedom and collective freedom. While the goal is to have as much individual freedom as possible, individual freedom must always be balanced with collective freedom. Too much collective freedom will harm personal freedom. But too much personal freedom will destroy collective freedom completely. That’s where “personal responsibility” comes in. Our freedoms rely on other people respecting ours. If we don’t respect theirs then ours are already compromised.

For the record, “owning” a gun is not an enumerated freedom. Citizens — per the Second Amendment — can “keep and bear” arms if the well-regulated militia says they can. If the militia says they can’t, they’re shit outta luck.

It is a stone cold fact that Koch money is making our environment uninhabitable. It’s killing wildlife and destroying ecosystems. It’s denying the very factors that are costing not just Americans but people all over the globe their property, their hopes and dreams, their lives. Environmental disasters are going to create a diaspora unlike any other humans have ever seen before or inflicted on each other.

And Charles Koch wouldn’t have it any other way. He’ll tell you he “knows better”. The basis for his knowing better (he thinks) is that he’s got more money in his bank account than you. It’s the only fact he’ll set down on the table. He thinks it makes his opinion more right than yours.

Too few people get into public service to make the world a better place. Too many get into it because they see it as the first stop of a money train. They see public service as a way for the public to service them. Ask yourself — how did public servant Mitch McConnell get to be such a wealthy man. Yeah, sure, his rich wife (Elayne Chao) brought plenty of dough to the marriage, but Mitch was a rich man before that happened and Mitch did not come from any kind of wealth. Mitch didn’t invent anything or come up with ideas that could go viral. Even Mitch’s military service was truncated (and why does mentioning Mitch’s military service record and the word “sodomy” make Mitch go quiet?) How did Mitch McConnell become wealthy enough that Elaine Chao didn’t pre-nup a wall around all her dough? The question stands exactly the same if Elaine did pre-nup that wall.

The Koch Brothers and the Mercers (Robert and daughter Rebekah) have always had it in for democracy. It’s simply too unreliable a vehicle for aspiring authoritarians and establishment white supremacists (and there most definitely IS a wide beam of quiet white supremacy in the Republican Party). Their preference is for politicians to choose their voters and not the other way around. As money does in a political system that gives money all the advantages, Koch money has always bought all the influence it needed. As big a problem as all that Koch money is, the much bigger problem by far is the willingness of all those Republicans and too many Democrats to stuff that money into their pockets.

We’re all clear, I hope, that every penny of that Koch money comes with strings if not ropes. It comes with greedy (albeit legal) expectations and none of them is concerned with the common good. They’re concerned with the Kochs getting their way — forever if possible. As the Reagan years waned, the right wing money saw a rapidly diversifying America which meant looming demographical extinction for white power. Being as pragmatic with their politics as they are with their money, the Kochs and their think tanks saw that the presidency was almost entirely beyond Republican reach. Minus Bush v Gore and Russia cheating on Trump’s behalf, the GOP couldn’t win a presidency if their lives depended on it — and that’s even WITH the Electoral College’s heavy tilt toward rural voters and away from urban voters. In the Legislative branch, the right wing money saw hope. The House is too mercurial what with having to run for office constantly. The Senate — also heavily weighted away from the majority of Americans (Senate Democrats represent 41.5 million more Americans than do Republican Senators) — would be easier to dominate. The Koch dollars have flowed accordingly — buying pretty much every Republican vote.

Ah, but Koch dollars — like the Koch Brothers — are very pragmatic. The Kochs always know which Democrats are approachable and which aren’t. Figuring it out isn’t rocket science. They’ve always seen Joe Manchin, despite the “D” beside Joe’s name, as one of “their guys”. As far as we know, Joe has never let his benefactors down. Joe has always behaved like the “Koch whore” the Kochs pay him to be.

“Drop down on all four, Joe! Now bark, bitch — and bark like ya mean it.”

Didja hear that barking sound?

That was Joe Manchin being the dog in the Koch Brothers Dog & Pony show. That was him being a dirty, little whore.

We The People Get The Government We Deserve

The giant, soul-sucking irony that’s haunted America since it became democracy’s Fuller Brush Man is how terrible we are at practicing the democracy we’re selling. In our defense, we dropped from the womb a great idea poorly executed. Just because this country’s founders founded a great nation doesn’t make them infallible. As “All men are created equal” proves, America’s founding fathers did not believe for two seconds that “all men are created equal” and by “all men”, they meant ALL MEN and only men. As I said — a great idea, poorly executed. In defense of the men who founded our government (if not necessarily our country), they did build in mechanisms for change. They recognized that democracy, by its nature, is dynamic. In time, that very dynamism expanded America’s idea of which “men are created equal”; then, finally, we understood “all men” to mean “every single damned one of us, women included”.

It only took us 134 years to apply democracy to more than half the population.

My dad (a surgeon) used to wish that the whole world was ruled by a benevolent dictator — and he’d be that benevolent dictator. He was a healer by nature so, of course, he could imagine a dictatorship that way. But, my dad was responding to how challenging it can be to live in a democratic republic. Winston Churchill agreed. “Democracy is the worst form of government except for all others” is how he put it. The very real problem with democracy is its core strength: its fungibility. Whatever the will of the people is, that’s where democracy will go. Well, that’s the theory anyway.

In a sense, the other real problem with democracy is that it’s a contact sport. That’s only a problem if you don’t know it’s a contact sport. It is a problem because too few Americans either don’t know that democracy’s a contact sport or don’t care. At least, that was how it’s been up till recent times. Ever since Andrew Johnson ended Reconstruction before it even really began, Black voter suppression has been an accepted political tactic here in America. No one can honestly say they didn’t know it was happening. That is, white people — with all of their rights intact including their right to vote — can’t say that they didn’t know that their fellow Black citizens were being deprived of their rights, especially their right to vote.

That’s 245 years (we’re still doing it today!) of white people knowing Black people (and brown people too) were being openly discouraged to vote. That is not how democracy works.

Let’s be brutally honest with ourselves, America — white people are the greatest hinderance to democracy in America. No other group thinks suppressing votes is kosher. No other group does it. Black people don’t do it to white people. Brown people don’t do it to white people. Asian people don’t do it to white people. Only white people do it — to others. My point: the root cause of anti-democratic behavior in America is RACISM. Pure and simple.

The Republican Party took to Trump because he was the logical end point of all their corruption. The Republican Party, for all its rhetoric, has evolved organically into the White Peoples’ Party. They are “the party of Lincoln” in name only (I refer you to Heather Cox Richardson’s brilliant “To Make Men Free: A History Of The Republican Party”). Think of them like a Four Seasons Hotel property that got taken over by slumlords. Just because it says “Four Seasons” outside doesn’t make a Four Seasons inside. It matters who owns the joint.

Hopefully, historians will be able to pinpoint a moment where the right wing money — the Koch Brothers in particular — saw the demographic handwriting on the wall. White hegemony was going to succumb to a rapidly diversifying American population much more rapidly than expected. A very real decision got made to do something about that. Ideas were formulated. Significant monies were spent for a very specific purpose: to extend minority white power as far into the future as possible,. Better yet, convert this minority power into permanent white minority rule. The one big obstacle: American democracy.

The RW money understands the world — at least America — in realpolitik terms. They have no ideology other than money and power. Whatever it takes to get and keep those two things, they will do. There are no messy emotions about it. No rules or laws to worry over — those can be steamrolled easily because white people are white people. Quick side note: To white people in America, only about a third of Americans truly qualify as “white people”. The rest of us — from whatever corner of Europe or the rest of the world we came from — we could only ever be “white adjacent” at best, “the other” at worst. And, to white people, being “the other” means you don’t deserve shit. That includes the right to vote. Back to business: the RW money, understanding America in their way, saw that the executive branch — even with the Electoral College’s perversely tilted playing field perversely tilted toward them — was gone. If not for “Bush v Gore” and overt, treasonous cheating, neither George W. Bush nor Donald Trump would have been president. Joe Biden beat Trump by more than seven million popular votes. Personally, I’d stick a pin in Trump’s vote tally. I want a full and thorough investigation into the ES&S and Diebold companies and their electronic voting machines BEFORE signing off on anything about election 2016.

The RW money knew the presidency was gone. They couldn’t ever count on the House of Representatives because of the two year churn. The House, by its nature, is mercurial and — in a Big Picture sense — unpredictable and impossible to control. The Senate, on the other hand — that, the RW money believed, could be made permanently Republican. Conservatives had already tilted the Senate far, far away from democracy by over-representing white, rural conservatives and under-representing diverse urbanites. Not especially democratic, that. Why do you suppose there are two Dakotas — cos there were too many Dakotans for one? Why do you think there are so many minimally populated western states (Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Montana) that all share the same political outlook? It’s the same reason Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and Washington, DC aren’t states.

The Georgia special election that put Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff in the Senate shocked the living crap out of the Republican Party. It should have been a wake up call; ironically, it was — just in the wrong direction. The Republicans didn’t like more Georgians turning out to vote. That’s why the first thing they did in response was to make that impossible. The Right Wing money’s gamble on the Senate may yet come a crapper.

The weapon the RW money planned to wield to get them past democracy to permanent minority rule was the judiciary. The RW money turned its lonely eyes to Mitch McConnell. To their credit, they couldn’t have chosen a better, more corrupt servant to do their anti-democratic bidding. Mitch denied Obama 128 lifetime federal bench appointments — the very same appointments Mitch then moved heaven and earth to fill with vile, racist, corrupt judges chosen by the Heritage Foundation. Chosen by the Kochs.

Mitch denied Merrick Garland so much as a hearing then slammed Amy Barrett down our throats with mere hours to go before Trump’s term ended.

Get the feeling America sucks at democracy?

The thing is, we don’t have to suck at it. There are Americans who understand how our democracy is supposed to work. Black women have suffered more at the hands of America’s bullshit version of democracy than any other group. And yet, as a group, they’ve maintained both a love for American ideals and a loyalty to what American democracy could be. We get to experience the flower of that love and loyalty every time a dynamic political force of nature like Stacey Abrams speaks. Or Maxine Waters. Or Kamala Harris. Black women have been the true keepers of American democracy’s flame. Their devotion has spread. It undergirds the very wokeness the American voting public feels and is feeling right now. And, indeed, more Americans are committed to what America should be than ever before.

More Americans are willing to engage in the contact sport that is American democracy.

But, as I said, this “thing of ours”, our democracy, it’s flawed because the men who wrote it up were flawed and we haven’t had time yet to fix all the flaws. Racism has built countless fail safes into the system — designed impediments to actual democracy. California is about to face one as we vote to recall Governor Gavin Newsome because Republicans are desperate to turn very blue California back into the very red California it used to be. Before it diversified so successfully. Hey — another side note — California’s diversity is key to its being the 6th largest economy in the world. The systemic flaws are what sustain systemic racism to to this day.

It will take a concerted, fully focused offense to overcome what Republicans are doing — last gasp Hail Mary that it is. Even as the GOP pushes America toward a Germanic, fascist authoritarianism (ironically, Hitler based his fascist vision on American racism), it faces an obstacle Hitler didn’t. In fact, the American right faces something no other authoritarian wannabe has had to deal with: DIVERSITY.

Though there were plenty of “good Germans” — the Nazi Party represented a minority of Germans — something in the German national character (and there is one — it’s the product of a thousand years of the various Germanic tribes fusing into “Germany”) wants to follow the rules even if they don’t like them. By the same token, the French Vichy government that ran France with Germany’s approval was no anomaly. French loyalties have flipped and flopped for a thousand years depending on which side was winning the war coming at them. The Swiss have always been icily neutral toward the rest of Europe.

Stalin could murder millions of Russians with impunity because mass murder by the political leadership was a longstanding tradition in Russia.

Here in America though, no one except Native Americans have any kind of extended history. We’re all recent arrivals relatively speaking. All those people arriving from all those different places have no history whatsoever with marching in lockstep with each other. Most of them? They couldn’t march in lockstep with people back home. People marching in lock step is why most of those people left home and came to America. It will be far, far harder to get a diverse American population to go along with minority rule authoritarianism than anyone imagines.

That is precisely why the right wing fights so hard to destroy any semblance of democracy.

Even if the right got every last bit of its current wet dream and every anti-democratic voting law stood, in time — and not much time — Americans would rise up and refuse to go along with this fascist bullshit. Let’s hope we don’t go down that road; we don’t have to.

We need to show up and vote, for one thing. Which we’ll do. But, we also need our elected leaders to stand up for democracy itself. To get themselves bloodied if that’s what it takes.

Because democracy is a contact sport.

Dear Democrats And The News Media: One Cannot Be “Bi-Partisan” With Pirates, Perverts And Traitors

Our news media’s absurd obsession with “bi-partisanship” is a direct outgrowth of their absurd obsession that “both sides do it”. Once you’ve convinced yourself that the only thing separating Democrats from Republicans is the letter affixed to their last names, you’ve already false equivalenced yourself into a corner. The problem with “both sides do it” brand journalism (other than the fact that it’s complete BS) is that, by its nature, it can’t aggregate information — including its own reporting. Our news media insists — in the face of its own reporting — that Republicans are entirely honest actors. In fact, it’s not at all unusual for our news media to turn from a story about how the Republican Party — as a whole — is doing everything it can to make voting hard as hell for everyone not white, not voting Republican to a story about the January 6 Commission and which Republicans should be on it — as if the Republicans GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy is considering as his five selections aren’t themselves guilty of helping PLOT the insurrection the Commission will be tasked with investigating. See the problem there? Good. Our news media doesn’t.

How much imagination does it take to connect dots like Missouri Senator Josh Hawley entering the Capitol building on January 6 with this particular salute —

— with what Trump was doing outside the White House (telling the crowd — some of whom had trained for and helped plan what they were about to do) that he would be “right there with them!”?

How much imagination does it take to connect all those Republican attempts to restrict voting rights after an election where the voting was as secure as it could be with the Republicans refusing to acknowledge that Joe Biden won the election fairly and squarely (unlike Donald Trump)? How could a treasonous, sexual-assault-enabling toadstool like Ohio’s Jim Jordan — who, as of this morning, has volunteered to sit on the Commission — sit on such a Commission when he insists that Trump is the actual POTUS? That’s not a guy with “a different opinion”, it’s a seditionist committing open acts of sedition when he should already be sitting in a prison cell BECAUSE he’s a seditionist. But then, it’s “funny” in America what white people get away with. Literally.

Every Republican politician who has taken money in any way, shape or form from Charles Koch, the Koch Brothers (when there was two of them still), or Koch Industries understands what’s being asked of them. Money in politics always comes with strings. Or, in the case of Republicans, rope.

What that means is that, on some level, every single Republican in Congress understands that their Party has now openly committed to seizing power and asserting permanent minority rule whatever it takes. There’s no grey here. One either IS or ISN’T faithful to our Constitution and the oath taken to defend it from all enemies foreign and domestic. Imagine what America would be like if we actually punished people when they took huge, steaming craps all over their oaths of office. The GOP might already be extinct.

Republicans knew at least a month before they nominated Trump in 2016 that he was compromised by Russia. Think about that. It matters. It also matters that our media — having reported this fact — has forgotten the fact that they reported it. To this day, not a journalist that I’m aware of (I keep Googling it!) has asked Kevin McCarthy what he meant when he said “There’s two people I think Putin pays — Rohrbacher and Trump — swear to God!” That statement was recorded and played back for the Washington Post reporter who reported the story. It’s verifiable, you see? Hell — other newspapers like The Guardian picked up the story because it passed the smell test.

Over the course of four hard years, Trump laid waste to the very structure of our government, harmed or destroyed vital alliances that even our own armed forced begged him not to do, cozied up with authoritarians and did everything just south of giving Vlad Putin a happy ending in public. And, really, not a single Republican tried to stop him. Or questioned the fact that it was happening. Really, how much imagination does it take to connect this dot?

There is no justification for any Democrat to push bi-partisanship. One cannot be bi-partisan with people actively working against your interests. It’s not how bi-partisanship works. Ever. The reason garbage like Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema push bi-partisanship is because they’re corrupt — owned by the very same money that owns the Republicans. One way or another, Koch money is doing both Manchin’s and Sinema’s talking.

We’ll know McCarthy’s “choices” shortly. Our news media insists that we’ll soon know McCarthy’s “intentions” going forward. Our news media are idiots because McCarthy’s intentions are crystal clear. Some of us have been aware of them for a long, long time — that’s because we actually read the news, (apparently) unlike most of the “journalists” cranking it out.

The GOP’s Ultimate Goal Is To Avoid Being Prosecuted As Traitors

Stone cold fact: we are in the midst of an undeclared cyber war, launched against us by Russia which, itself, is being aided and abetted by almost the entire Republican Party. Members of the GOP’s hierarchy suspected more than a month before they nominated Donald Trump that he was more than just corrupt, he was treasonously corrupt; they nominated him anyway. Walking into that strategy session, current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy said out loud (it was recorded and the recording was heard later by a Washington Post reporter): “There’s two people I think Putin pays, Rohrbacher and Trump!” When that got a few uncomfortable chuckles (as in “Dude — you’re not supposed to say it out loud!”), Kevin doubled down: “Swear to God,” he added. Hindsight tells us it wasn’t just idle banter. Kevin really thought something that made everyone present uncomfortable. Good thing then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan was there to keep them all in line. Their secret would not leave the room. “That’s how we know we’re family,” said Ryan.

This moment matters. Especially in light of the four years that followed. “Putin pays Trump” (never mind Rohrbacher). Yeah, I absolutely buy that — just based on this photo from Norway. Putin OWNS Trump.

We already know from press reporting that Putin had his financial hooks into way more Republicans than just Donald Trump. Putin’s tried to get his hooks into a few Democrats, too. We know that he tried multiple times in multiple ways to compromise Bernie Sanders. Sanders (as far as we know) ultimately responded responsibly; he ended his associations with compromised individuals. The Republicans, on the other hand, have embraced those associations. Putin funneled money to Republicans via the NRA (and his brilliant, talented agent Maria Butina who, all by herself compromised countless Republicans), via Russian retirees living in America (they suddenly found their retirement accounts flooded with cash that they “donated” to Republican candidates, and via other benign-seeming entities who took advantage of Citizens United’s allowance for anonymity and poured money into who knows how many Republican PACS. Mitch McConnell could tell us all about it — under oath.

But for Putin, Trump would never have been president. That is the bottomest line of all. Russia MADE Trump president. Though the Republicans resisted Trump at first (the Steele Dossier exists because of the Republican money that started Fusion GPS on the oppo research that uncovered the likelihood that Trump had used his Atlantic City casinos to launder Russian mob money), when they ultimately did succumb to him, they succumbed willingly. The Kochs (both brothers were alive in 2016) KNEW that their goal to undermine our elections and Russia’s goal to do the same thing dovetailed neatly in Trump’s candidacy. That corruption would make both Russia and the Republican Party happy.

Cyber war IS war. Just because Russia hasn’t formally said “Hey, we’re at cyber war with you!” doesn’t mean they aren’t. Cyber war, by its nature, is quieter than normal “bombs-n-bullets” war. It’s way, way cheaper too. Its asymmetry levels the playing field; even little guys can knock out big guys. Putin uses both official channels (Russia’s various intelligence agencies and secretariats) and unofficial. All those malware attacks coming from Russia? They may not be official Russian government, but the Russian government thinks of them as “theirs”. Their work product is meant to support Putin’s work.

Bill Barr — we already know — deliberately lied to America about the Mueller Report’s conclusions. Team Mueller’s scope was deliberately limited. Acting AG Rod Rosenstein was responsible for that. He also was responsible for telling Team Mueller that the FBI was continuing the counter intelligence investigation into Trump’s relationship with Russia that had begun while Obama was POTUS. The FBI was doing no such thing. They believed that Team Mueller was picking up the counter intel investigation because that’s what Rosenstein told them. No more work on the counter intelligence investigation got done (as far as we know).

Guilty behavior is guilty behavior is guilty behavior. People unafraid of the truth are happy to shine a light on it. Criminals? Not so much. Criminals obstruct justice because it’s in their best interest. They KNOW they’re guilty of a crime but do NOT want to suffer any consequences. The longer they go unpunished, the more brazen they become. A Republican of one kind or another has interfered with We The People getting to the bottom of Trump-Russia from the get-go. That’s not a coincidence. It’s a clue.

I’m old enough to remember when associating the word “treason” with Trump was considered left wing craziness. Hell, I’m old enough to remember when invoking Russia got peoples eyes rolling at you. Or fascism. Remember when calling out Republicans for acting like Nazis was “no-go”? Yet, here we are. The same will go for “treason”. We WILL get there and maybe sooner than the GOP likes. The reason Republicans want no part of any January 6 Truth Commission is because they KNOW what some of that truth will be: that many, MANY Republican Congresspeople (and their staffs) had a hand in planning and executing the insurrection. People inside the White House also worked with the insurrectionists. Journalism professor and news media aggregator Seth Abrahamson has pointed to two meetings on January 5 that make it abundantly clear how deep Trumpian involvement was in the insurrection’s planning. Team Trump was intimately involved. So was Donald Trump himself.

And so was Russia. Hey, considering all the other ways Russia had its hooks set, it would be out of character for them to NOT involve themselves in the planning of an insurrection that — if it succeeded — would absolutely destroy American democracy for good? Of COURSE Russia’s fingerprints are all over January 6. While that’s not what scares the Republicans obstructing the investigations — they take it for granted — spotlighting Russia’s involvement will spotlight the GOP’s complicity in that involvement. Once that nut gets cracked (and it will be), expect the deluge to follow. Trump;s hard core followers won’t care that Trump betrayed the country. THEY are betraying the country. Just like the Kochs and their money, they’ve never been that “into” democracy since democracy’s never really been that in to them.

Our news media spends a lot of its days scratching its head over why Trump is/was so loyal to Putin and why the Republican Party is still so loyal to Trump. If you refuse to look out the window before walking outside, don’t be shocked if you get rained on. The information is out there; all anyone has to do is open their eyes. THEY reported Kevin McCarthy’s assertion about Putin paying Trump (and Rohrbacher) yet THEY seem incapable of taking in their own reporting and aggregating it into the larger narrative. The Republican Party’s treason shouldn’t be “Breaking News”. It’s been breaking the whole time Trump ran for POTUS, was POTUS and now seeks to be “reinstated” as POTUS.

The same goes for the GOP’s staggering corruption.

Our news media keeps telling itself — and its audience — that nothing criminal happened here. Have they cracked a law book to ascertain that or is that just the wind flowing from their asses? Treason is absolutely illegal. So’s conspiracy to commit treason.

“There’s two people I think Putin pays, Rohrbacher and Trump — swear to God!” should have been the end of Donald Trump’s presidential ambitions. In fact, THAT fact, was its starting point. If the treasonous shoe was on the other foot, the Republicans would already be howling for every Democrat’s head — and rightfully so. But then, Democrats aren’t as cynical as Republicans; Democrats are cynical but not the way Republicans are. Democrats are cynical because they fear Republicans always get away with everything — including treason.

That unbroken record ends now. Once We The People fully grasp not just THAT the Republicans are traitors but how many are traitors and how “creatively” they’ve betrayed us, the rage will build until every Republican gets what’s due them. In most cases, the cover up of the crime turns out to be worse than the crime itself. Treason will be the exception. Treason will fuel our rage. The Republicans know this. It truly scares them.

It should.

Conservatism And Corruption Have Always Been Fellow Travelers

No one ever seems to describe paradise as “just how things are, kid, sorry.” Perfection’s a high, high bar. We can accept the failure that occurs between aspiration and attempt, They gave it their best shot! It’s the failure that happens because of corruption that sticks in our craw. While the rest of us play by the rules — because there’s no other way to live successfully in a society — the corrupt always look for ways to cheat. And damned if their cheating and corruption don’t screw the pooch for everyone else. Corruption once it sets in begets cynicism. We can all feel corruption’s oily awfulness. We can smell it. Corruption’s knee jerk response when we go to eradicate it is to, like a cockroach caught on a kitchen counter when the light goes on, run for cover. Corruption wants to endure. That’s how conservatism works too.

Conservatism walks in the door with (what, to me,, is) a glaring problem: it wears its intentions on its sleeve and in its name. What does any conservative want? Why, he wants to conserve. Via legislation and judicial result, a conservative wants to conserve the status quo because right now contains as much of the future as any conservative wants and as much of the past as they can bear letting go of. What does any conservative long to conserve (considering as it’s impossible to conserve the future since it hasn’t happened)? They want to conserve the past, of course. The more conservative a conservative is, the more distant the past in their mind that they want to reproduce out here in reality. There are luddites who would happily take us all back to the stone age if they could.

Going back to Newt Gingrich, the Republican Party made compromising with Democrats a non-starter. Mitch McConnell has raised being a recalcitrant shit to a high art. Mitch also has raised being a traitor to a high art (as we will learn soon enough when Merrick Garland puts Mitch under oath and grills his Treason Turtle ass about his weird relationship with OLEG DERIPASKA. Mitch is the Poster Turtle for conservatism and corruption. He’s been working for the libertarian Koch Bros who’ve made no secret of their intent to use their money to reshape American politics to their liking — the majority be damned. The Kochs (now just Charles since David died in 2019) are white hegemonists. They believe absolutely that white people (of their social class) know best and that democracy is, at best, cute. The world the Kochs (like the Mercers and all the rest of the right wing money) aspire to enshrine in perpetuity isn’t some progressive paradigm; it’s the opposite of course: it’s a state of permanent minority rule where white men get to do all the real decision-making.

Conservatism lives by absolutes. How can it not? The world must be exactly how it must be. The reason conservatives can’t abide by any change is because change begets more change and once the process of change sets in motion — there’s no stopping it. Better, thinks conservatism, avoid change altogether. Moderate whatever gets through, strangle the rest in its infancy. Call it socialism.

We’re hearing and seeing more and more stories about cops being, shooting, murdering Black people. It’s not that it’s happening more, we’re suddenly woke about it — and realizing there’s evidence of it aplenty. Conservatism’s hold can be narcotizing. Hell, in America, conservatism has continued to nurture racism and bigotry. Think it’s a coincidence that the most racist Americans are also the most conservative? It’s all the same defensive posture, the same terror at losing its grip on power because of demographics.

That is what happened here. In the post Reagan years, conservatives realized their future was bleak because America was diversifying so rapidly. Republicans may talk about having a wide tent, they don’t. They can’t — because their core-most value is the perpetuation of white hegemony. Any non-white they do coax into the tent? They’re there to be used cynically. They’re the Clarence Thomases and the Herman Cains. The bright, self-starters whose drive to succeed was turned against them. Clarence Thomas and integrity have probably never met. And Herman Cain died of covid-19 because he foolishly believed in Donald Trump’s lies.

Republicanism is Trumpism and Trumpism is proudly racist. That, with conservatism, is the bottomest line there is. They may want to conserve values but those values are all white values as practiced by white people.

Conservatives know they’re in a minority position. They can’t sell their ideas successfully at the polls. Too few voters (especially if there are more of them) are buying. So — if you can’t win at the polls (in other words, win LEGITIMATELY) but you want to hold onto power — what’s a conservative to do? There’s only one answer: cheat.

Corruption becomes the only way to hold onto power — and thus corruption breeds more corruption. That sick feeling we all experienced election day 2016 when Trump improbably “won” the presidency? That was us reacting to what we KNEW in our gut was corrupt. The four long years of Trump’s presidency stank of corruption. Everything the Trumpanistas did or said or even thought was corrupt.

Over the course of American history, conservative corruption has brought us the Confederacy, the end of Reconstruction, the Teapot Dome affair (that brought down Warren Harding’s administration), the Great Depression, McCarthyism, The Vietnam War, Watergate, Iran-Contra and Trumpism. The biggest scandal you can throw at Democrats (or a Democrat) is Bill Clinton getting a hummer then lying about it.

Yeah… “both sides ‘do it’.”

The Republican Party, conservative to its core, has a corruption problem. AG Merrick Garland has just started to pull at the threads of the massive Republican Corruption Sweater left behind from the Trump years. The Republicans want to make that sweater a permanent part of our wardrobe. Merrick Garland will see to it that doesn’t happen. As he pulls at those threads — as he is now — the whole foul garment will fall apart in his hands. It will start with Matt Gaetz’s indictment which should drop any moment.

Do You Suppose, Down Deep, Mitch McConnell Is “Glad” Donald Trump Just Lost The Presidency?

One thing about Mitch McConnell: he may suck as a human being but he’s a very talented politician. If we consider Mitch from the Koch Brothers’ point of view (a little tricky since David Koch’s now dead), Mitch isn’t merely a great functionary, he’s a great one. Charged with hijacking the judiciary, Mitch delivered 300 lifetime federal judiciary appointments and the SCOTUS seat that should have been Merrick Garland’s.

Mind you, while Mitch appeared to be delivering all this extreme right wing goodness to Trump, Mitch’s actual client was the Kochs. And the Mercers and the rest of the RW money. To a cynical waste of carbon like Mitch, Donald Trump was merely a means to an end. And, now that he’s achieved his end — making a nine-member court hopelessly conservative for a generation and packed the federal bench with unqualified idealogues, Mitch would like to relax a little, settle in and enjoy his ill-gotten gains.

Alas, Donald Trump keeps opening his mouth. Or, that is, he used to anyway. Donald Trump is now officially an ex-employee of We The People. He failed his performance review spectacularly. When the counting finally does stop — because all the votes have indeed been counted — Trump will be on the LOSING END of the exact same 304-227 drubbing that HE proclaimed a “landslide”.

Also — when the counting stops (and California’s full totals are added in), it’s likely that Biden will have crushed Trump by close to 6 million votes.

It’s over. Let’s stick a pin in what happens between now and January 20 when Trump “officially” officially stops being POTUS. Trump won’t concede; no one expects him too. The transition period is a question mark because Trump has no intention of peacefully transferring power. He simply can’t afford to. Legally.

Now let’s look at it from Moscow Mitch’s point of view. You’ve just held onto the Senate despite a number of races where the polling said the Senate would flip. The polling reflected the way Donald Trump was dragging down you and your whole Senate team. If only there was a way to get rid of Trump, say by way of him losing an election you seem to “win”.

Trump losing the election to fall from power works perfectly for Mitch. Let’s be quite real — there is no love lost between Mitch and Trump. Trump makes Mitch’s job exponentially harder. Everything comes with stuff said out loud that shouldn’t have been. And that brings reporters and questions and, when you’re as corrupt as Mitch is, reporters and their questions are anathema to you.

I bet Mitch and the Republican Senate leadership actually looked each other in the eye and openly decided to do whatever they had to to protect themselves this election cycle, screw Trump. The mandate for Mitch going into this election wasn’t to get Trump re-elected, it was to hold onto the Senate so that Joe Biden and the Democrats couldn’t shove their agenda down the Republicans’ throats in the same way the Republicans had been doing it to Democrats forever.

What did Moscow Mitch do to hold onto power? Was the polling “off” again? Or, like in 2016, is there another, better explanation than mysterious “Trump voters” who lie to pollsters to explain how literally ALL the polls “missed”? Yes, Trump got out his vote. But keep in mind who we’re talking about. There is literally nothing Trump and the Republicans won’t do to hold onto power up to and including cheating — because of the alternative. It’s not just being out of power, it’s being out of power and having legal problems. That’s the stick.

There was nothing Mitch did that Trump didn’t undermine. If Mitch wasn’t such a racist, treasonous scumbag, I might feel a little sorry for him. Mitch’s problem is of his own making. He wants Trumpism without the relentless “chazzerei” (that’s the technical term in Yiddish) that’s baked into Trump himself.

Hmmmmm… what if Mitch figured out a way to “protect” himself and his own re-election along with the re-elections of all his most valuable (and vulnerable) foot soldiers: Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham, Tom Tillis? Keep in mind, Trump told his faithful NOT to vote by mail but to vote on the day via a voting machine. Now, from Trump’s point of view (assuming Trump was this smart), that would create the illusion of a red mirage — as all the live votes got counted while we waited for the more Biden-friendly early votes and mail-ins to get counted. The mirage, of course, was just a mirage once ALL the votes got counted. Still — Trump’s point of view is all chaos is good.

But, the problem with relying on voters to do your dirty work is they’re notoriously unreliable. Unpredictable, too — and if you need to “win” regardless of how the people vote, it helps to have friends who own companies that make voting machines (like Diebold, ESS, the McCarthy Group — companies in which you own an equity stake!) The only completely unhackable voting system is a paper, hand-marked ballot. The second any voting system connects to a phone or the internet, it becomes hackable. If it’s got programmable elements, those elements can be re-programmed and made to change or even transmit the votes it’s supposed to be tabulating as a neutral third party.

How hard would it be, Mitch must have wondered, to drop a little code into the the machines in, say Maine where Susan Collins was polling behind Sara Gideon or North Carolina where Thom Tillis was polling well behind Cal Cunningham. What if that code instructed the voting machine to add a second Republican vote to every fifth vote it counted. That way, every five Republican votes becomes six. Ten becomes twelve, fifteen becomes eighteen. Before long, a surprise wave of Trump voters has shown up — where none actually did.

And no one — unless they do forensics on the machine before its data can be wiped — would ever be the wiser. There would literally be no proof that a crime had been committed.

Would Mitch McConnell think such a thing about such an imperative? Do Treason Turtles shit wherever Treason Turtles shit? You’re damned right they do!

Here’s my bet: no one was happier to see Trump lose the election — while also being as duplicitous as Trump.

When Justice comes for Mitch, it might even stop for a moment to chuckle with Mitch at what he pulled off. Then it will pronounce judgment on Mitch and that will be that.

Men Who Think They’re God

We all know one. Or two or three. Men who’ve got it in their heads that they’re deities. They sure think their junk is. But I’m talking about a small subset of that set — the Bill Barrs of the world. The assholes di tutti assholes.

Bill Barr has made his religious views known. He’s not ashamed of his bizarre brand of Catholicism that is as far removed from Jesus as I am from getting a dinner invite from Donald Trump. Catholicism is just Bill Barr’s beard anyway. Bill doesn’t believe in Catholicism’s god. Bill doesn’t believe IN God at all.

Bill Barr believes he IS God.

Watch Barr’s performance before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. Watch his body language. Even a well-rehearsed liar like Bill Barr can’t control his body’s autonomous responses to stimuli.

Barr started the hearing his usual, arrogant self. It was there, gleaming in his eyes. But then the Democrats began to frustrate Barr. Every time Barr went to digress (his strategy — eat as much of the questioner’s five minutes as possible), the Democrats cut him off: “I’m reclaiming my time!”

Bill cannot tolerate being questioned. He hates being challenged especially by women

how he dodged. Deal with it. Except that didn’t happen today. Today, the Democrats weren’t so much asking Barr questions as telling him what he’s done.

Telling We The People what Bill Barr has done on Donald Trump’s behalf to dismantle the country the rest of us live in.

Bill Barr’s hardly the only Republican who honestly thinks he’s not just “a” deity but “the” deity.

Mike Pompeo is famously religious. He’s big into the end of days cos he thinks the Book Of Revelation should be taken literally. Mike’s proof that Karl Marx was wrong. Religion isn’t the opiate of the masses, it’s the angel dust. It doesn’t narcotize, it causes psychosis.

Mike Pence might be one of the phoniest Christians ever. He wouldn’t know Jesus if he stopped midway through nailing Jesus to a cross to spit in Jesus’s eye — which he absolutely would do. Mike comes by his sanctimony honestly — he really is sanctimonious. And make no mistake — when Mike Pence imagines the face of God? He sees himself.

Mitch McConnell doesn’t see himself as God, he sees himself as a dark Turtle Lord serving the Kochs. To Mitch McConnell, THEY are God.

Then there’s Donald Trump — except Trump’s the exception to the rule. Trump doesn’t see himself as God — he can’t imagine anything bigger than himself — except money. To Trump, money is God and Trump is its Jesus.

You’ll notice — all of these God wannabes aspire to be God. Not a one of them aspires to be Jesus. It’s like they see no advantage or gain in dying for anyone else’s sins.

Since “Republican” Is Now Toxic, What Should “New” Republicans Call Themselves?

From a purely branding point of view, it really sucks to be Republicans right now.

If you’re still a card-carrying member of the GOP, think of all the awful things your brand is now co-branded with — joined at the hip and head like the most freakish conjoined twins ever: overt racism, religious extremism, self-destructive intolerance, backwoods misogyny, Bond Villain corruption and the worst kind of treason — purely cynical treason without an ounce of ideology.

Wow. Pick a side of history and it’s guaranteed the Republicans will run toward the wrong side. That’s also the Republican Brand now: being wrong about everything. But then, this isn’t news to the GOP. Whenever it was that the Koch Brothers decided to use their money to alter American politics — the Will Of The People be damned — that’s really when 2016’s coup d’etat formally began. The extreme Right Wing Money saw demographic extinction on the horizon — white guys would become such a minority that even rich guys and their money couldn’t stop them from losing power. Rich white guys weren’t having it. They got the poor white guys riled up against all those “others”.

Been there, done this. Again and again and again.

The “Republican Party” is about to check into the sarcophagus in the History Of American Political Parties Graveyard right next to the Whigs’ moldy pavilion. I hear the view sucks.

It’s a “Republican Party” as a brand is finished. Its luster won’t improve between now and November 3. In fact, I’ll wager, the worst is yet to come.

Plenty of people with living, breathing consciences have shredded their Republican Party membership cards. In the media, there’s Nicolle Wallace, David Jolley, Steve Schmidt and Jennifer Ruben among others. They’ve all vocally disassociated themselves. They, somehow, can’t comfort themselves with the tax breaks they’ve gotten while the rest of the country is betrayed.

As much as those on the left might love to have a free ride here — where everything we want becomes a wish granted — that’s as unhealthy as letting the right run riot. We know what that feels like. This isn’t a question of compromising with lunatics. We’re talking to reasonable people after all. Even when we disagreed with them vehemently, they were still reasonable people.

This blog is called “How To Live Bullshit Free”. The trick to living bullshit free is understanding that each and every one of us has a mountain of our own bullshit to deal with before we even think about looking at anyone else’s. Some of us have whole mountain ranges of bullshit in front of us. And dealing with your own bullshit isn’t a “one n done” proposition. Bullshit’s like zombies: damned hard to kill. But if you don’t deal with your bullshit, your bullshit will deal with you.

No one wants to be at bullshit’s mercy. It has none. I don’t want to be at yours and, believe me, you do not want to be at the mercy of mine.

I wouldn’t recommend “conservative” because, like “Republican”, the brand’s been destroyed by the people who swore by it. We get it — as their name says, conservatives want to conserve. The problem is what conservatives want to conserve — America circa 1850 when white Christian men (especially those with money) did what they wanted to anyone they wanted.

We’re back to the America Republicans want us to be. Sucks that it’s an America the overwhelming majority of Americans reject out of hand. Throw in a stolen election and this is why even “Conservative Party” would just result in good people dealing with bad marketing when they should be defending their ideas and ideals.

What should these good people call themselves? Normally, I’d be brimming with “helpful suggestions”. Something about this assignment fails to inspire. “Moderate Party”? Sounds dull as dishwater — like a party that hates enthusiasm about anything. “Heal America Party”? Sounds too sanctimonious already — and the moment they craft a platform, they’ll contradict themselves because someone won’t feel “healed”.

What does one call modern “people without a country”? Immigrants.

Mmmmmm… Not seeing “The Immigrant Party”. Not that there shouldn’t be one — and not that such a party (if it really spoke from the heart of the immigrant experience) wouldn’t be a welcome addition as we attempt to make our politics more reflective of us. And it’s not to say that this new party couldn’t speak to or represent people wanting to come here and be new Americans.

This new party is more diverse than that. I bet guys like Michael Steele would join it (he used to run the RNC). If it was moderate enough, I bet a fair number of conservative Democrats would check it out — and feel a fair amount of camaraderie.

The truth is, plenty of older African American voters are “conservative”. That is, they’re skeptical first. They want change but they want to make sure it’s the right change; they’re willing to be patient. They, too, might like this new party.

The same is true of Latinos and Chinese Americans and pretty much every group I can think of. It’s this diversity thing. Politics wouldn’t divide along racial lines if racism hadn’t been one of the country’s founding principles. Not that we can ever completely vent racism’s stink, but now that we’re all staring at it, we stand a better chance of not succumbing to its poison.

You see what I’m seeing here? A party as diverse on the “right” as we’ll have on the “left”.

But I still haven’t answered the question I started with: what to call them?

Maybe it’s not on us to name them. Maybe that’s something they need to do for themselves — pick a word, a short phrase, an icon — that tells us who they are. That speaks from their hearts to ours.

That’s what they’re going to need above all — the capacity to speak to the rest of us because they relate to the rest of us. This new party, I suspect, will better understand that all Americans (minus the 30% – 40% who are Trumpian) understand that we’re pulling the cart in the same direction. The differences are far less than everything we have in common.

And often, our differences are more like “framing” issues. Perspective helps those.

Whatever this new party calls itself — whatever their mission statement — I look forward to sitting down with them and getting down to the hard, serious business of fixing what Donald Trump and the Republican Party did to America.

We’ve got a mountain ahead of us.

We Need To Make Corruption Public Enemy #1

We take “integrity” for granted. We take our own for granted — that’s for sure. We shouldn’t. Instead, we should be protecting our integrity like a mother protecting her babies. Integrity is the only thing standing between us and corruption.

Integrity and corruption are literal opposites. They gave literally nothing in common. The moment integrity even looks in corruption’s direction — as if to consider it? Can we really look at integrity the same way again, knowing that it was tempted? What about next time (when we’re not watching)? Will the lure be just enough to compromise integrity — even if just a little?

See the problem? There is no “just a little” where compromising one’s integrity is concerned. Integrity is an all or nothing proposition. You got it or you don’t.

I defy anyone to name a Republican with integrity.

You can’t. Now ask “why?”

The GOP’s integrity problem didn’t start with Donald Trump. In “Both Sides Do It” world, Democrats are just as capable of being corrupt. And Democrats have been and are now corrupt. But let’s talk scale.

Bernie Madoff is a thief. So is the character Jean Valjean from Les Miserables. One stole billions (albeit from billionaires) while the other stole bread to feed hungry people. Both Sides Do It, see? And yet, they don’t.

We’re talking minnows versus whale sharks. Let’s stop wasting our time, okay? Republican corruption goes deeper than just ordinary greed. The Republican money — the Kochs, the Mercers — made a calculated decision to control America’s politics so as to prevent it from reflecting who America really is and what America really wants. Their goal is permanent minority rule — make no mistake. To achieve this, with their hold on the Senate and a willing lieutenant in Mitch McConnell, the RW money (prior to 2016) set out to hijack the judiciary. They denied Barack Obama more than a hundred lifetime federal judge appointments, even denying Merrick Garland so much as a hearing.

Mitch wanted “the American People” to “choose the next SCOTUS judge while refusing to let the POTUS We The People overwhelming elected to do that very thing. This was bullshit. This was a power grab. And as we learned in Jane Mayer’s excellent piece on Mitch McConnell in the New Yorker, Mitch KNEW that lots of foreign players were actively engaged in altering the outcome of the 2016 election.

Mitch, don’t forget, refused to let Barack Obama tell We The People the truth in September 2016 about what Russia was up to. Mitch threatened to go nuclear, screeching about how Obama was “politicizing the intelligence”. No, Mitch, what Obama wanted to do was tell America the truth. What YOU wanted to do was be corrupt.

Now, here’s the deal — and we have to stick to it — but we have to acknowledge, going in, that it’s going to be hard. The Rule Of Law is or it isn’t. It plays by the same “rules” as Integrity. The instant we make an exception to the Rule Of Law (invariably for someone rich or powerful), it’s just a matter of time (and continuing corruption — because it follows as naturally as water running down a hill) before the whole structure collapses. Again.

No exceptions. For anyone Period.

That means the moment anyone tries to take advantage of anyone else or of the system itself, we investigate them, prosecute them (as warranted), sentence them, punish them and (if it’s in the cards) rehabilitate them — all fairly.

In the case of the Republican Party — all those people without an ounce of integrity — that’s going to hurt. A lot. Considering what they’ve done and the fact that every last one of them has at least something to answer for (even Mitt Romney has “inklings” of what Mitch McConnell is really up to and has not gone to the FBI or other “proper authorities”), the return of the Rule Of Law will dictate the end of the Republican Party.

Well, either it will be the “end” of the GOP or it will a null set as a political party — a party with literally no one in it.

Who would want to run for office as a Republican when the Republican Brand is the Corruption Brand? Going forward, it’s going to be hard enough finding Republicans who aren’t either dead or knocked down a few pegs by coronavirus. We all know what the investigations of the Trump response will turn up: a miasma of personal financial gain being used to leverage American foreign policy for even more personal financial gain — all in the middle of a catastrophe. And we all know that the Republican Party has enabled every last bit of it.

Just like integrity is all or nothing, so is corruption. Donald Trump may be the most corrupt human in history. That’s hyperbole. There’ve been plenty of corrupt assholes to equal Donald Trump. Our problem is none of those assholes ever stole the American presidency.

There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain from making “Anti-Corruption” one of the central themes of the Democratic Party’s 2020 campaign. Aside from the corrupt, no one wants corruption.