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”.

Donald Trump’s Entire Presidency Was A Crime Scene

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.

United States v. Fred C. Trump, Donald Trump, and Trump Management, Inc. alleged that the firm had committed systemic violations of the Fair Housing Act of 1968 in their many complexes–39 buildings, between them containing over 14,000 apartments. The allegations included evidence from black and white “testers” who had sought to rent apartments; the white testers were told of vacancies; the black testers were not, or were steered to apartment complexes with a higher proportion of racial minorities. The complaint also alleged that Trump employees had placed codes next to housing applicant names to indicate if they were black.” The Trumps — for the record — were represented by Roy Cohn. Cohn, as we all know, preached a gospel of “Screw The Rule Of Law!” Whatever illegalities Fred Trump was guilty of, they paled in comparison to Donald’s.

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.

In June 2016, current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy walked into a meeting of the Republican leadership. This meeting was reported on a year afterward by the Washington Post — by a reporter (Adam Entous) who heard a recording of the meeting. Upon entering — the meeting was already in progress — McCarthy said: “There’s two people I think Putin pays — Rohrbacher and Trump”. When that got a ripple of nervous laughter, McCarthy added — because the room needed to know he was serious about this accusation — “Swear to God!” Think about it! Kevin McCarthy insisted to the GOP leadership that their about-to-be presidential candidate was COMPROMISED by Russia — a country every person there KNEW was hostile toward us, toward our democracy and democratic traditions.

Why the nervous laughter? Why didn’t anyone instead respond “Whaaaaaat? Kevin, dude — are you sure about this?” No one said “Hey, if this is even remotely true, we need to call the FBI!” No one, in fact, questioned it. Or denied that it was a fact of life. Hmmmmmmmm… a bunch of people describe an act of treason but decide — as then Speaker of The House insisted — that they keep this terrible secret a secret. “That’s how we know we’re family,” Speaker Ryan said.

It turns out — as we’ll learn — that Trump wasn’t the only Republican who Russia compromised or owned outright. As Kevin McCarthy noted — Republican Congressman Dana Rohrbacher has ALWAYS been a Team Russia guy. But, Russian money had flowed to many Republicans (mostly via their PACS). Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s biggest donor was Sheldon Adelson, not Len Blavatnik — as FactCheck pointed out back in 2019. But is “biggest donor” really the measure of treason? FactCheck acknowledges that “…it’s true that a major contributor to a PAC associated with McConnell has business ties to an oligarch whose businesses recently have been released from sanctions…” but lets that go, in essence, because Blavatnik wasn’t McConnell’s biggest donor.

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.

Let’s Talk About Dogma & American Journalism

On the “Faitheism Project Podcast” I do with my dear friend Randy Lovejoy — a Presbyterian Pastor — we draw a distinction between spirituality and religion. Everyone — atheist, theist or agnostic — experiences awe as we gaze up at the cosmos. We are all very much connected to this massively huge universe. That relationship between each of us and the universe — that’s our spirituality. Religion attempts to quantify and codify it: “Here’s how it’s done!” If you want to experience the promise the religion swears will be yours, first, you’re going to have to follow the rules. The religion’s rules. Want to be a good Catholic? Do these things we tell you to do — or we’ll adjudge you an apostate and deny you even exist. Dogma quickly overtakes the spirituality it’s supposed to service. The next thing you know, the dogma gets all the attention while the spiritual quest gets nada.

American journalism works the same way.

The Constitution mentions only one occupation that isn’t an employee of the US government: journalism. Journalists were imagined as the final check on power. The Peoples’ backstop. That’s the spiritual mandate journalism in America is supposed to follow. Occasionally, that dedication to the Truth produces transcendence like Woodward and Bernstein’s Watergate coverage or the 1619 Project. But, too often — way too often — American journalism surrenders its integrity in the name of “access”. That only happens during Republican admins by the way. The George W Bush White House got good at limiting access to “journalists” like the New York Times’ Judith Miller. Judith genuinely believed (still does) that she didn’t sell her soul to gain access to Dick Cheney. I’ve seen picture of Judith’s soul — sitting in solitary confinement. She sold it all right. Sold it all the way down the river.

Dogma naturally produces cynicism because it breaks the world down into them v us. Anyone not us — that’s a lot of people — is suspect. American politics are steeped in cynicism but not because “both sides do it”. Both sides are not cynical though Democrats should have been cynical about Republicans eons ago. That’s the Democrats’ recurring problem — like the news media, they keep giving the benefit of the doubt to a group of people not deserving it.

They do that because of the dogma that says “everyone’s opinion carries the same weight” or the one that says “the news media’s job is to remain eternally neutral”. Or the one that says “Republicans are better with money and the nation’s security”. Or “Republicans are the party of personal responsibility” or “The Party of Lincoln” or even just “honest actors”. Our news media has been telling us our story but through dogma’s lens. None of those dogmatic assumptions are even remotely true.

Donald Trump’s rise was entirely dogmatic. But then, everything the Republicans do is dogmatic because their end game demands it. You can’t get to permanent minority rule without rigidly adhering to a plan — and the state of permanent minority rule will be a whole rabbit hole of dogma. It became dogma that Trump’s hold on the GOP has everything to do with Trump’s base. It became dogma that a former Trump hater like Lindsey Graham “changed his mind about Trump more or less ‘just because’.” It became dogma that Trump was crafty — that’s how he avoided going to prison before this. That Trump was the “great businessman” and “negotiator” he said he was. That horse shit flavored dogma got invented by “The Apprentice”.

It became dogma that what Trump and the GOP were doing to America’s democracy was just their “opinion” being manifested as opposed to what it was and is: a criminal act being committed for a political purpose.

It became dogma that every time the Republicans did something for their political reason, the Democrats’ reaction was equally political. When Republicans suppressed Democratic voters, that was just Republicans “being political”. No. That’s them BEHAVING CRIMINALLY — denying other Americans their Constitutional right to vote.

It became dogma that we should stay in Afghanistan forever. That the lives we’d risk by staying there were just “the cost of doing business”. It became dogma that everything bad happening in and to Afghanistan more or less started the instant Joe Biden took the oath of office.

It remains dogma that Republicans are good actors — despite their relentless bad behavior. It remains dogma that “bi-partisanship” is a good thing and should be done at all costs. Just because it’s “bi-partisan”. It’s remains dogma therefore that making deals with the Devil are okie-dokie.

American journalism’s addiction to dogma over truth has brought us to this moment where we’re poised at the edge of a precipice. On one side is the very real promise of E Pluribus Unum — an America that lives up to both its potential and its true exceptionalism. On the other is the white people hell bent on destroying the greatest experiment ever in human self government because no one will vote for the America THEY want: the one back in 1850 where THEY had all the power.

Power creates dogma, too. It’s the hardest dogma to break. Imagine if our news media both understood and relished the job they committed themselves to do — BE the last check on power instead of the ones preaching power’s dogma.

Things You Must Believe If You Want To Be A Practicing Conservative

For the longest time in this country, conservatives presented themselves as America’s perpetual adults in the room. That was the GOP’s wink to America at the end of the 2016 coup d’etat: “Don’t worry your pretty little selves about Donald Trump, America, whenever he tries to go too far, the “adults in the room” will reel him in!” Problem was (and is), the “adults in the room” were corrupt children who’d broken into the liquor cabinet, drained it dry, then set about burning the whole house down to cover up their liquor theft. The Republicans have NEVER been in control of Trump, rather they’ve been in his thrall and at his mercy. You can’t be in business with Trump without being compromised by him. Or stiffed by him. Or abused by him or betrayed by him. None of that is news to conservatives. They’ve always known who Trump was. They’ve always known he was corrupt. Some of them knew he was a traitor, too. And yet, that fact didn’t seem to change anything.

Why would anyone overlook Trump’s terrible, criminal behavior? Obviously, there must be something in it for them. How do you go from “believing” as Lindsey Graham did in 2016, that making Trump their nominee would be the end of the Republican party —

— to believing now (as Lindsey does) that without Trump, there is no Republican Party? That’s quite a swing — if you see only the swing. I have a feeling we’re going to understand exactly what made Lindsey swing like that: kompromat. I bet we’ll hear a story about how, one day, on the golf course (early in their relationship), Trump let Lindsey know what he and Russia had on him — and how hard they were willing to play that information. It must be way more than just embarrassing (surely Lindsey knows that if he’s worried about being outed, no one cares about that anymore). It must be downright criminal what Lindsey was photographed doing. Shame about his distaste for sexual partners with pubic hair.

Does Lindsey really believe it when he insists Trump was a great POTUS? Of course not. Lindsey doesn’t believe IN anything. He’s as cynical as he is crooked — and that’s a lot of crooked. So what does Lindsey or any Republican “believe”?

Being cynical, they assume everyone’s as big a scumbag as they are. Isn’t everyone heartless and greedy? Being white-entitled, they think they ‘re all gods. Heartless, greedy gods aren’t good for anyone who encounters them. Conservatives believe that “how the world was” is far better than how it is now and not even comparable to how might become if Progressives have their way. But, the name “conservative” itself does all the heavy lifting. It tells us clearly and transparently what conservatives want at the end of the day: they want to conserve. Okay — so, WHAT do they want to conserve?

Well, obviously one can’t “conserve” the future since it hasn’t happened. That leaves the present and the past. Conservatives would be perfectly happy if all progress stopped right now and the world was guaranteed that how things are now is how they’ll always be forever and ever. That, after outright living in the past, would be every conservative’s wet dream. What of the past does any conservative want to conserve? That’s the question. It can’t be the equality back then because there wasn’t any. Can it be how women’s rights were? Uh, no — women didn’t have rights either. Can it be because we treated the LGTBQ community better? Good one! Back then, we treated that community even worse! Back then, we used a religious manuscript to justify slavery. More recently the same people used their Bibles to justify anti-miscegenation laws.

The Bible is every conservative’s favorite book though they’ve only ever read it for the “good parts” — the parts that justified their terrible behavior. Most conservatives are also deeply religious — or, at least, they say they’re religious. Most of them are utterly phony. They will insist they believe in a higher power — a God who smiles upon them because they are righteous! Surely, considering their good fortune, God must be smiling upon them — so therefore God likes them! God sees how special they are and communicates that fact to them. And, ya know, God doesn’t do that with everyone. Most people don’t get the “special treatment” from God. But this guy does.

Imagine being so beloved by God — and knowing it! That’s the tell. “Knowing” they’re “loved by God”. Hey, God talks to them and through them, doesn’t He? When things happen, they know what God’s take is without even having to think about it — that’s how well they know God: they even think like him! Don’tcha know? They think like God because they ARE God. That is every uber-theist’s big secret: they don’t believe IN God, they believe they ARE God.

That’s what every conservative believes in the rock bottomest part of their blacker-than-coal hearts: they are God. They are the supreme power in the universe — and just you wait till all they start using the magic that apparently comes with the title. They will hurt us in ways that haven’t even been invented yet because that’s what Gods do.

That is the thing pretty much every conservative enters believing: in the beginning, there was them. THAT is what they want to “conserve”.

The Democrats Have Another Card Up Their Sleeve — Except It’s Not THEIR Card, It’s OURS – A Functioning Department Of Justice

The press loves a horse race more than anything because, in theory, horse races are easy to cover whereas covering the Republican Party’s attempt in plain sight to seize power forever? That would take perspective and the ability to aggregate a story — two things “Both Sides Do It” brand journalism just doesn’t “do”. Our news media is at least TWO YEARS behind in the storytelling we’re all living through. They still think Republicans are honest actors — even as more and more FORMER Republicans tell them — on their own air ffs! — that they AREN’T. If your storytelling (which is what news reporting is) mis-frames the story it’s covering at the jump? You’ll end up covering some other story while thinking it’s this one. Too bad for your “news” audience. Alas, our news media walks around with blinders on; thinking both sides do it because both sides are really the same is deeply cynical. And it’s wrong. That’s why the news media is already whipping us to a frenzy about the Republicans retaking the House, the Senate and who knows what else in the 2022 election. Yes, Republicans are passing legislation all over to restrict voting rights. They’re using the new Census data (which is worth a whole other conversation about how good its numbers actually are considering the influence of Trumpanistas on the process this time) to redistrict where they can — and to further the damage gerrymandering does to our representative democracy. They’re still contesting the last election’s outcome. That alone should tell our news media EVERYTHIING. Good thing (most of) the Democrats are actually there to hear it.

All that vote-restricting legislation — though it WILL impact EVERYONE — is aimed squarely at DEMOCRATIC voters. Republicans are doing this on the one hand because they’ve ALWAYS done this. As Trump himself said out loud, when more Americans vote, it’s bad for Republicans. We see voter suppression as a campaign tactic when, in fact, it’s a violation of civil rights. That IS the intent of any voter suppression effort. It’s not using ideas to sway voters, it’s using “other means”. Oh, they might not be “illegal” in and of themselves, but then, we ain’t talking about petty thievery where it’s obvious. We’re talking CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATIONS. Seen from THAT “altitude”, the GOP’s efforts take on a whole other dimension: a criminal one because it’s deliberately intent on violating other Americans’ rights.

The Trump Department of Justice famously refused to look into any real instances of civil rights violations — especially as they pertained to voting. That’s a key distinction by the way — Jeff Sessions may have been the Attorney General but the DoJ was Trump’s. That (we’re now learning) got even worse when Rod Rosenstein ran the DoJ for a while and then worse still when Bill Barr plopped his rotund ass down in the AG’s desk chair. The Department of Justice stopped being The Peoples’ Top Cops and, instead, became Donald Trump’s. As we’re also now learning, Bill Barr deliberately lied to Congress, to Judge Amy Berman Jackson and to We The People — on multiple occasions. Here’s where it gets good though. He did it for one reason. It’s the very same reason actual Republican members of Congress actively supported (and still support) the January 6 insurrection. It’s the very same reason Lindsey Graham insists the GOP can’t do anything without Trump. In a sense, Lindsey’s absolutely right. The GOP can’t do ANYTHING without Trump because they’re stuck to him. Stuck to each other.

Cos treason.

At the end of the day, this is a story about TREASON. But — you have to understand that THAT is what the “card game” we’re all playing in is actually about. Our news media, though it can see the treason and even cover the treason (“There’s two people I think Putin pays, Rohrbacher and Trump — swear to God!”) cannot put treason on its radar never mind into its imagination. If you can’t see treason, you can’t see the traitors. If you can’t see the traitors then you will be eternally baffled by the Republican Party’s continuing love affair with Trump — who their own internal polling says is driving them off an electoral cliff.

In that internal polling, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and virtually everything they’re doing is more popular than Donald Trump. That’s not going to improve. During four years in office, Trump achieved his ceiling. It’s begun to shrink — and it’s not going to stop shrinking before election 2022. If the GOP, as Lindsey Graham says, needs Donald Trump in order to “grow” then it’s facing a conundrum. It CAN’T grow. There’s nobody left in the population in which to grow — especially as you contract more and more into your reactionary whiteness. In an election — even WITH gerrymandering and voter suppression kicked up to “11” — you STILL have to advertise. You STILL have to have more voters (even GIVEN the likelihood of a “boost” from the Republican-run electronic voting machine company’s internet-connected back door) than the Democrats. What — even starting now — do the Republicans have to sell to anyone not already tribally committed to how they’ll vote?

Even if Mitch McConnell could stand in Joe Biden and the Democratic Party’s progressive agenda (which scares Mitch and the Koch money behind him because it’s “socialism”), the positives of having Democrats in power are already registering strongly in polling. Republicans taking away unemployment benefits because they’re closer to a living wage than the crap salary they got before (because of Republican policies) won’t win them any friends among all those workers. It WILL make them vengeful voters come election 2022. Anger motivates voting like nothing else — as we know from experience. But, Mitch himself is a walking-talking-turtle-tell.

Mitch is kinda the poster turtle for the horribleness that’s about to befall pretty much the entire Republican Party — because of the card sitting not in Joe Biden’s hand, but in ours — in We The Peoples’ hand. We now have a functioning Department of Justice. Sometimes I chuckle when I think of Merrick Garland’s moderate judicial temperament — how well it may have served Republicans from time to time had they allowed Garland the SCOTUS seat Mitch handed to Neil Gorsuch instead. That moderate approach — just the facts & the law — will make Garland a deeply problematic Attorney General for the Republicans — a fact they know; it’s why the Republicans slow walked not just Garland’s nomination but the nominations for every top DoJ position. The slow walking is now over — and, as one of its opening moves, a fair-minded, just the facts & the law DoJ reveals, Merrick Garland sees “his” DoJ as OURS.

Let me repeat that: Merrick Garland doesn’t see the DoJ as his, he sees it as OURS. And he’s already begun to approach the law — and the rule of law itself — with US and OUR needs in mind. So, when I say “Garland’s” DoJ, I mean OUR DoJ. That DoJ takes civil rights very, VERY seriously. They’ve demonstrated that by charging all four of the cops responsible for murdering George Floyd. They demonstrated that by charging Derrick Chauvin with violating the civil rights of a completely different young, Black citizen. That should be seen as a shot across the bow of every racist on every police force in America. If your racism motivates you to violate anyone’s civil rights — especially when you’re on duty as a cop — you’ve got a problem.

Side note? Defending yourself against federal charges costs a bomb and a half. Think any of those racist cops can afford it? Even with GoFundMe pages? Think they’ll be able to afford it if they’re competing with hundreds of other racist cops?

We all know that racism stands behind every bit of Republican-written vote-limiting legislation. That presents a problem now because, when challenged in court, none of it will stand because it so clearly violates civil rights, a cause the Justice Department itself now sees in criminal terms. And, hey — we’ve no idea WHEN indictments might start flying from Fulton County, Georgia where Trump’s coercive phone calls to Georgia’s attorney general are under intense scrutiny. Same goes for the SDNY and Manhattan where various bits of the legal machine are just revving up, liberated at last from Bill Barr’s corrupt oversight. And then there’s writer E. Jean Carroll’s civil suit against Trump and the discovery process yet to come!

As we stand here today, the Republican Party itself is lying to itself how bad the Trump Brand is — and how badly that brand is impacting the Republican Brand (such as it is). That brand is about to take a series of massive (repeat MASSIVE) hits. Donald Trump and the Legal Process can’t go anywhere near each other if Donald Trump is to survive. But that is precisely the thing that’s changed — and, though it’s taking longer than we want it to, it IS beginning to work in the only way it can: slowly but deliberately.

If we can see the connections between the January 6 insurrectionists and members of Congress, so, too, can the FBI and the DoJ (now that the DoJ is inclined to see). If we can see connections to the Trump White House, so can they. If Team Biden can see Russia’s malign influence on our elections enough to publicly warn them, then so can our DoJ — and the FBI it’s part of. Remember all the obstruction of justice that occurred during the Trump years — including INSIDE the DoJ? That’s not happening now. In fact, with Garland at its helm, the opposite is happening. The obstruction itself is now being examined under an electron microscope. Think Bill Barr’s sleeping well at night these days? Then you’re not paying attention.

Bill Barr arrogantly thought he could stay above all this. How wrong he’s already proven to be (thank you, Judge Amy Berman Jackson!) Once Merrick Garland starts pulling threads on Trumpian corruption (which is the exact same as Republican corruption), he won’t — by nature or law — be able to stop. And we all know what that corruption is knitted with: TREASON.

We WILL get there and sooner than we think. Think Russia played no part in the January 6 insurrection? Really? Hey, what about Rudy G’s dance with Russian-backed Ukranians? What about the FBI warning Rudy he was being USED BY RUSSIA — and then Rudy ignoring them? Hmmmmmm… I bet our DoJ could get to the bottom of that. I bet OUR DoJ can AND WILL get to the bottom of a lot of things whose bottoms need “getting to”. Why DID current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy think Putin pays Rohrbacher and Trump? Why DIDN’T he contact the FBI (and don’t give me this “it was just idle chatter” bullshit — in that context, no, it was not “idle chatter”) ? Why did Kevin and the rest of the GOP leadership in that room go along with then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan’s admonition to “keep it in the family”?

From Bill Barr to Kevin McCarthy to Paul Ryan to Mitch McConnell — they all knew Russia owned Trump. They, too, were owned by Russia — or were willing to LET Russia own Trump even as they made him their nominee.

If I can see this, so, too, can Merrick Garland.

If I can see — and it’s all evidentiary — that but for Russia Donald Trump would NEVER have become POTUS than so can Merrick Garland. So can my — our — Department of Justice. If I can see countless Republicans have lied or perjured themselves to protect this fact (and one doesn’t have to know the whole plan to have conspired in it) then so can Merrick Garland. Say, what DID Donald Trump say to retiring Judge Anthony Kennedy that made him do this? Here’s a thought — let’s have OUR Department of Justice put everyone connected to this moment — including Kennedy’s son (who was Trump’s banker at Deutsche Bank) and Brett Kavanaugh (whose got his own perjury issues) under oath and ask them questions. If it were up to THIS citizen, he’d have HIS Department of Justice “Benghazi” every last one of these pirates.

The Democrats can’t count on this card in their calculus going forward. It’s not theirs to play. It’s ours. But, the fact is, we are now playing that card — and it will impact the game’s outcome absolutely.

The most delicious irony of all will be watching shits like Mitch McConnell quake in their loafers as they walk into the DoJ for questioning — knowing it’s Merrick Garland who’ll be questioning them (one way or another). Joe Biden would have picked a good person for this post regardless. He’d have chosen someone who understood — unlike Trump and the GOP — that the DoJ is OURS and it’s his job to respect that fact which he does. Imagine (with that context in mind) the scenes to come of every Republican who so much as suspected what his fellow travelers was up to but said nothing suddenly realizing the trap they’re in.

See something, SAY something is how a good citizen stays out of trouble. See something, say NOTHING is where co-conspiracy to commit treason begins.

Prosecuting Trump For His Coronavirus Failures First Might Be The Quickest Way To Nail Him For Betraying Us To Russia

Fact: Election Day 2016 was a crime scene more than it was an election. On that day, Russia pulled off the greatest intelligence coup of all time: they made their fully owned asset — Donald J. Trump — President of the United States. Assisting in that act of unmitigated treason from start to finish was the entire Republican Party. The GOP knew even before they nominated Trump that Russia owned him. A month before the nomination convention, current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy walked into a room of Republican muckety-mucks and said, out loud: “There’s two people I think Putin pays, Rohrbacher and Trump — swear to God!” No one gasped in surprise. Quite the contrary. Then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan — one of the highest ranking people in his political party — demanded omerta, gang loyalty. “We’re family”, is how he put it. You know — like a CRIME family?

As the results rolled in election night 2016, how many Republicans watched with a hand to their mouths — shocked by what their Russian co-conspirators had pulled off for their mutual benefit? How many Republicans — understanding what had just happened and why — also appreciated that this seizure of the American Peoples’ will that Russia was gifting to the GOP came with significant strings that, like it or not, now bound them together — Russia and the Republican Party. I bet more than a few understood completely. Take Lindsey Graham. A former anti-Trumper, suddenly — after a round of golf with Trump — Lindsey became Trump’s loyal fluffer. We all remember how the DNC and its emails were hacked. Well, the RNC got hacked too. They used a company called Smartech to handle their emails. Russia hacked Smartech — and you can bet the ranch and everything else you’ve got that Russia has used what they hacked to maximum effect.

The Republican Party will stand with Donald Trump to the bitter end. They have no choice. Having committed treason together, they know what their jeopardy is. If they’re lucky, they’ll end their days in federal prison. If they’re unlucky, they’ll face the death penalty (of which I’m no fan but, where they’re concerned, I’m open to making an exception). That is precisely why the Republicans will do literally anything to avoid being punished for what they did and why they’re so intent on destroying our election process.

The Republicans know The Big Lie is A Big Lie. Put under oath, each and every one of them would swear on a stack of Bibles (a book none of them have ever read) that of course Joe Biden won the election. The point of this exercise isn’t really to question the election’s actual outcome, it’s to change that outcome entirely because, if they don’t, they’ll lose everything. The stakes for pretty much every Republican is now all or nothing. This is why the Republicans have not only NOT refuted the Big Lie, they’ve been nurturing it. An Ipsos Poll published a few days ago found that “55% of Republicans believe his 2020 election loss resulted from illegal voting or election rigging.” 81% of Republicans — according to the poll — still view Trump favorably while 35% of them think that the January 6 insurrectionists were just there to be “peaceful”, it’s the violent left who caused all the death and destruction.

Merrick Garland as AG scares every Republican because he’s what they’re not: honest and fair. They know — it’s why they slow walked his nomination and hearings — the moment AG Garland begins pulling threads on the massive Republican corruption sweater in front of him, it’s just a matter of how quickly the whole rest of the sweater simply falls apart. The dots absolutely will connect the Proud Boys’ planning to Roger Stone and then in to Trump’s White House. Russia also will tie in. How could they not? But, the Russia tie-ins will take time. While we don’t know for certain that Merrick Garland re-started the counter-intelligence probes into Trump’s relationship with Russia that fill in AG Rod Rosenstein ended, we can make an informed guess that he did. .

The Republican Party has worked overtime to deny any connections between themselves and Russia though they all seem to have relationships with Russia. Plenty of Republicans received Russian money into their campaign coffers through various means including Russian retirees who receive monthly pensions from the Russian government — pensions that were plumped up by Mother Russia during the campaign. Or, more famously, lots of Republicans received cash from the NRA which, itself, had already been seduced by “Russian gun rights advocate” Maria Buttina. Know what they call a Russian “gun rights advocate” in Russia — especially one with her hooks deeply set into the NRA’s soft, white flesh? A spy. A good one, too. Working for Russia.

The GOP has known who Trump was all along.

This, for them is a literal death match. They have nothing to lose. Because our news media failed to disabuse Republicans of their dishonesty — granting even blatant lies as “one side (theirs) of the story” — a chunk of the country thinks Trump is a victim here rather than THE criminal. At the end of the day, we WILL make that stick. Russia will be a huge part of how we understand the Trump years: Russia took over America. It is damned tempting, I admit, to nail Trump and every single Republican for betraying us during a time of cyber war.

But, we must act much faster than that will take. We desperately need to move now to mitigate Trump and the GOP’s betrayal. Fortunately, these same pirates left us multiple openings.

The Democratic Congresspeople who joined the civil suit against Trump — citing his actions and speech of January 6 as clear incitements to attack — will put Trump into a corner. He can’t negotiate his way out of this; he can’t settle. He’ll have to go through the “discovery” process — under oath. For Trump, just being “under oath” is filled with very real peril. He’s a walking-talking “perjury trap”. This could work well! But, there’s yet another story angle here with even less politics to it: Trump’s blatantly terrible handling of America’s Pandemic Response.

Team Trump didn’t just “get it wrong”. They didn’t just “plan badly” or underperform. In a sense, Team Trump over-performed, planned perfectly and got it absolutely right — from Russia’s point of view. If I’m wondering this, it’s a dead certainty others are wondering it too: how connected were Trump’s criminally inept pandemic responses and the idea that a nation sickened by a pandemic would be easier to roll over in a soft coup d’etat than a healthy population?

There will, no doubt, be layer upon layer of Trumpian criminality including in Trump’s response to the pandemic: hundreds of thousands of Americans are now dead because of Trump’s actions. As encouraging as the story’s trendline is, We The People need a little concrete beneath our feet. We need the punishment phase to become as real as the crime phase.

Dear Lindsey Graham: Believe It Or Not, The Truth WILL Set You Free

I’ll be honest with ya, Lindsey, I’ve never been a fan. That said, I’m still willing to reach across the aisle, as it were, and offer you a hand — but it comes with advice and you have to take the advice BEFORE you get the hand. You need to come clean, Lindsey — about everything that’s dirty about you — and, to judge by the world-weary, hang-dog, red-rimmed, haunted & hunted look in your beady, racist eyes, there’s even more rotten in the state of Lindsey Graham than there is in the state of Denmark. We can all speculate (and, I’ll confess, I have endlessly) on WHAT some of your secrets are. What is Donald Trump holding over you that caused you to flip from “I think he’s a kook!” to… well, geez, Lindsey, we can pretty much smell Trump’s DNA on your breath every time you exhale. Seriously, Lindsey, you keep taking shamelessness to bold new heights — every day.

That, stone cold truth, will NOT set you free.

No one has done the one-eighty you’ve done, Lindsey. Worse, no one’s been more head-scratchingly blatant about it with zero rational explanation to smooth it away. Considering as you’re a prominent member of a corrupt, criminal organization that used to do business as the Republican Party, we’ll have to assume it’s all part and parcel of the same clumsy attempt to overthrow the will of the American people and install permanent minority rule in place of democracy. I have to wonder what would happen if your old pal John McCain were to return from the dead and walk in the room. Never mind the miraculousness of it, you wouldn’t be able to look him in the eye because he knows the truth about who you are and what you’ve done.

Betcha we ain’t talking about you swimming naked in the Senate pool again, are we, pal?

Let’s get this “straight”, Lindsey: I could not care less what your sexual orientation is. Remember — I want the Truth to set you free. Whatever your true sexual nature is, you need to embrace it fully. You need to stop pretending that the thing you are is offensive to anyone — especially you. I contend that your terrible behavior flows directly from the hypocrisy you live every day simply by denying who you are. Now, perhaps the problem runs deeper than just your orientation. Perhaps your problem has to do with the “particulars” of what you require in a sexual partner.

Perhaps there’s an ideal “age” in your mind. An “innocence” you like to have “made less innocent”. Perhaps it’s just the sight of pubic hair on a sexual partner that disturbs you. I’ll be honest, Lindsey, something about your sexual pathology sets off the alarm bells in my head. But, hey — I’m a little hyper-sensitive that way. At 14, I was sexually molested twice by the religious director of the synagogue where my family belonged.

I denied that it happened to me for 45 years — denied it to myself. Once I did break down (literally — on the bathroom floor) and confess? The truth hurt. I’ll admit it.

The truth about what happened to me — and that I denied it for so long — and the emotional distance it put between me and the world hurt worse than almost any other psychological pain I’ve ever experienced. The secret eventually produced a decade-long depression that convinced me the world would be better off without me. That my family and children would ultimately see that too. That was bullshit but, then, depression robs you of perspective. Depression — caused by denial of the Truth — convinces you that bullshit could be true… that bullshit is true. Spoiler alert: bullshit is NEVER true. It’s bullshit!

We need YOU under oath, Lindsey. We need you spilling your guts. We need you offering up contrition like no one’s ever been contrite before. We need you whispering then choking back then agreeing and finally chanting the Truth about who and what you are like a mantra — “I’m guilty! Yes, I have done all these terrible things! I own every last one of them and deserve the punishment — whatever it is — coming to me!” Those words will hurt to say, Lindsey, no two ways about it!

But, in the aftermath, after the Trumpian dust settles, there will be a moment of absolute clarity for you, Lindsey. I promise. That moment is guaranteed. You may experience that absolute freedom from behind prison bars, but the freedom inside your head will transcend your physical location.

The Truth WILL set you free, Lindsey. So, please — be free. If you know what I really mean…

Dear Corporate America: Integrity Needs To Be Your New “Bottom Line”

Know who believes in democracy? Corporate America. They sort of believe in American democracy. But, the “democracy of the marketplace”? That, they believe in, unabashedly. Corporate America has to — they need consumers to “vote” with their wallets and pocketbooks as “early and often” as possible (like they supposedly used to vote in Chicago when the Democratic machine ran it). Remember New Coke? Remember how fast it disappeared from shelves when Americans resoundingly “voted against it”? Product launches are no different from candidate launches; candidates in American retail politics are no different from laundry detergent. Except some will destroy your clothing, wreck your marriage and burn your whole house down. There’s a reason Mitch McConnell fought so hard to keep Americans from getting financial support during the pandemic but insisted that companies never have to face any sort of liability for forcing their employees back to work, damn any and all risk to their lives.

Already, companies like Airbnb, Amazon, American Express and AT&T have cancelled all political contributions to any politician questioning the results of election 2020. And those are just a few of the “A’s”. They all know how easy — and likely — it is for their customers to turn on them should their customers suddenly find the companies’ political stances offensive. Remember Bill O’Reilly — Fox News’ one-time cash cow? The reason Bill doesn’t work for Fox anymore — despite how lucrative his bullshit was to the company — is because Bill lost all his advertisers. This was a boardroom decision! The 21st Century Fox board of directors were told, flat out, by the companies they needed to cash flow them that none of their customers would support their advertising on O’Reilly’s “The O’Reilly Factor” any longer because he was such a sexist, racist pig.

Just like that, Bill O’Reilly became expendable. And just like that, he was gone. The democracy of the marketplace is harsh. But fair.

American consumers don’t like giving their hard-earned dollars to companies that do not respect them. They like it even less when those companies are ripping them off or doing things that could literally hurt them by, say, polluting the air and water. And the airwaves. And companies that want to overthrow our government? We REALLY hate those guys. And we ain’t buying whatever they’re selling…

The Truth — literal, empirical, this-is-what-happened-NOT-that, replete-with-receipts Truth — is about to get its day in court (the court of public opinion which is what really matters in America). On one side are Republican sweethearts like Marjorie Taylor Greene — an affront to logic and decency every time she speaks. On the other are Democrats, the rule of law, the Constitution and the majority of Americans. When the Democrats announced they’d introduce witness testimony (under oath) before the Senate “jury” during Trump’s SECOND impeachment trial, Lindsey Graham threatened to have the FBI testify, too. The Democrats, frankly, would LOVE IT if the FBI showed up and testified. What’s the point of Lindsey’s bluff here? Bring the Truth, Lindsey! Make it rain Truth! The only person needing an umbrella if that happens is YOU — and every one of your Republican co-conspirators.

I still won’t shop at Home Depot because the company’s ownership was so vociferously pro-trump. My hardware store dollars have a choice where they go to be spent. I prefer to use my local hardware store. But, sometimes, they don’t have what I need. A big box hardware store is where I’ll have to go. Ah, but which one? My dollars will vote for ANYONE but Home Depot. If too many other curmudgeons follow my lead? Home Depot’s bottom line will suffer. Pinch, OUCH!

Mitch feels that “ouch” like a cannonball rolling around his Treason Turtle shell, flattening his guts. He’s worked his whole political career to service the Big Right Wing Money and its various political needs. He’ll let all of America down before he even thinks of letting his paymasters down. Hell, Mitch is so cynical, he bought into the whole Donald Trump-Russia connection without batting a bloodshot eye. Ya don’t think Mitch had heard — same as every other Republican in the loop in 2016 — that “There’s two people (I think) Putin pays, Rohrbacher and Trump”? When current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy posed that question to a roomful of GOP leadership (was Mitch there perhaps?) a month before the 2016 GOP convention, then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan made everyone present agree to keep this… suspicion/fact “in the family”. If Mitch wasn’t there, take it to the bank –he heard all about it.

Take this to the bank too. No one who heard that conversation live, took part in it or heard about it afterwards called the FBI as they absolutely should have done. This was the guy they were about to nominate as their candidate for POTUS. And they wondered about his loyalties and whether or not he might be compromised by a very hostile foreign enemy who we already knew were engaged in cyber war against us. The more we learn about this abomination — and we will once Merrick Garland punches the clock and a rejuvenated Department of Justice begins to behave like the defenders of the rule of law they’re supposed to be — the worse it will get for anyone still sporting that “R” next to their name.

That “R” will begin to stand more and more for RUSSIA.

Nobody wants that trademark next to their corporate image. Nobody wants their company to be co-branded in the buying public’s mind with traitors or treason or sedition or anything Marjorie Taylor Greene has to say. It always, always, ALWAYS comes down to money. And, for now, it’s money ironically that will keep corporate America from giving to their favorite enablers, the Republican Party. Whoever baked this irony cake knew just how long to keep it in the oven.

America is at the very beginning of a Great Moral Reckoning. We’ve needed this for a long, long time. As much of a treasonous shit as he is, on a certain level, we owe Trump a thank you — for causing the Republican Party membership to finally expose itself for the cynical, racist, authoritarians they all are. They’re the biggest, drunkest, angriest, whitest, stupidest frat party ever.

See those guys? Big companies don’t care what they want to buy. Not anymore. How long, do you suppose, will it take America’s news media to catch up with what its boardrooms figured out eons ago?

Whatever ya do, don’t bet on America’s news media. They still can’t even spell “integrity”.

The Biggest Question We Now Face About Trump’s Presidency Is What To Do About Its Very Real Illegitimacy

Donald Trump, true to his “Project-Everything-I’m-Guilty-Of-Onto-The-World” self, began projecting his own illegitimacy early in his presidency. The late Congressman John Lewis, a man who understood intrinsically what courage was, was the first member of Official Washington to state what everyone felt about Trump’s surprise victory — especially his remarkable win — by a total of 77,000 votes collectively — that delivered Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan’s Electoral College votes to Trump (0.057 percent of total voters cost Clinton the presidency). Fact: if Trump’s win had been legit, he’d have been one hundred percent behind an investigation because he KNEW his win would have been verified. But, Trump knew any investigation into how exactly he became POTUS would end with him going to prison forever: because TREASON.

Some things just seem obvious — or they should. Commit treason in order to become president? You are NOT president. Just break the law to become POTUS and you should be disallowed from being POTUS because that’s how the rule of law is supposed to work — ditto the Constitution. But, of course, in America, we’ve lived by two sets of rules from the get-go — one for white people and another for everyone else. That’s about to change. As we help the rule of law back onto its feet, we need to make damned sure we apply it EQUALLY this time. One of the reasons it failed so spectacularly is our inability to execute it. That’s not on the rule of law, it’s on us. WE need to do better. I have faith we will.

And one of the FIRST ways we can prove we’re doing better is by APPLYING the rule of law — finally and firmly — to Donald John Trump.

Plenty of very good journalists have applied themselves to this very question — IS (about to be WAS) Trump’s presidency “legitimate”? Academic papers have asked the same thing — with notes and sources. It’s not academic however. IF, indeed, Trump’s entire presidency was ILLEGITIMATE — what should we do about it?

The nature of our representative democracy is that rather than take active part in governing ourselves, we elect other people to do that for us. The understand is simple: if we elect you, we grant you the authority to work on our behalf. So long as that authority is legitimate, whatever you do theoretically has our blessing. But, if Donald Trump used Russia to gain the White House — which he most certainly did — right in front of us (“Russia, if you’re listening!”). Just because a guy commits a crime in broad daylight, that doesn’t make it any less of a crime.

We’re not going to debate the Mueller Report. Anyone who’s bothered to actually read it knows what it says. In the very narrow slice of the larger crime Trump committed — the thing Team Mueller was allowed to investigate — Team Mueller could not assert with enough certainty to convict in a court of law whether or not Team Trump had conspired with Wikileaks and Julian Assange to undermine the integrity of election 2016 because of so much obstruction of justice. The obstruction of justice, they felt, was real and very criminal. Team Mueller fretted about that Department of Justice rule — created to block Spiro Agnew pardoning Richard Nixon during Watergate — that said a sitting POTUS could not be indicted. Though the rule wasn’t meant to apply to Trump — no one imagined a POTUS as thoroughly corrupt as Trump — Team Mueller allowed the rule’s letter to win out over its spirit. Corruption beat truth and justice mostly because white people seem to hate prosecuting other white people for crimes they’d happily prosecute anyone else for committing.

See what happens when you screw with the rule of law and how you apply it?

We need to keep reminding ourselves: the rule of law is a fiction we invented so as to better self-govern. We made it up. It’s just a bunch of words that articulate an idea — a great idea — that should transcend our occasional inability to get the words right. We have to be more protective of any law’s spirit than how it got written. Trust me here — this country’s founders did NOT intend for a treasonous president to pardon his way out of legal peril. Trump is exactly the kind of demagogue the country’s founders most feared — and yet, here we are indulging that demagogue, his followers — and even his treason.

I repeat: one cannot commit TREASON in order to become POTUS. It may not be written that way in any of our laws, but it IS the spirit of the law. You can’t betray us in order to govern us.

Questions about Trump’s legitimacy scare the Republican Party even more than it scares Trump. Trump’s problem is prison for the rest of his life. Hey — that’s the GOP’s problem now, too. But they also fear losing political power — and never ever getting it back. The craven lust for political power, born of “white man’s greed” — that’s what causes Republican hearts to beat like a Sousa march. Ah, but the terrible concessions to self respect one must make to answer that craven lust…

I bet Lindsey Graham is just aching to stop being Trump’s bitch. I bet Lindsey would be more relieved than anyone to finally confess to every terrible thing he’s done. Yeah, prison won’t be fun — and Lindsey will spend the rest of his life in federal lock up — but, you can see the exhaustion in Lindsey’s red-rimmed eyes every time he gets in front of the cameras. He may not sleep comfortably in his prison cell (neither the mattress nor the thread count of his sheets will be what he’s used to), but he’ll sleep better than now.

Mitch McConnell, too, dreads a legitimate investigation into all HIS illegitimate activities. Mitch needs to explain — under oath — his relationship w Oleg Deripaska. Deripaska, you see, is HOW Trump “won” Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, taking the EC. During the 2016, Paul Manafort — then Trump’s campaign manager — famously handed Konstantin Kilimnik proprietary polling data for those three states plus Minnesota.

Manafort wanted Kilimnik to pass the polling data to Deripaska — an “associate” of his. Manafort’s problem was he owed Deripaska money — $17 million and was afraid of what Deripaska might do to him. Manafort hoped that by 1) becoming Trump’s campaign manager and 2) providing the proprietary polling data, he might cancel that debt and get himself out of peril. That’s just a hint at what that polling data was worth to Kilimnik, to Deripaska, to Vladimir Putin and to Russia. Kilimnik was known as being GRU — Russian military intelligence. Same goes for Deripaska. Both are oligarchs — and, in Russia, you don’t get to be or stay an oligarch without Putin’s explicit okay. Putin, let’s not forget, isn’t just the Russian head of state, he’s one of the biggest criminals on the planet.

Our IC concluded that the entire Russian operation against our 2016 election was ordered by President Vladimir Putin to help Trump’s campaign.

If we took Putin and Russia’s direct impact on the 2016 out of the equation, Donald Trump would never have gotten through the primaries. But Russia was behind Trump and pretty much every single Republican knew it. They chose to “keep it in the family”.

So — not only is Trump’s entire presidency illegitimate, so is the Republican Party’s response to Trump’s illegitimacy. They deliberately covered it up — benefitted from the illegitimacy — then tried to make that illegitimacy permanent. THAT evolved into the point of the exercise. No one — Trump included — expected Trump to win. Trump did not want to win, in fact; he was so certain he’d lose — needed it to happen so badly that he promised Melania he would lose. That’s what she was expecting.

That’s what most everyone was expecting. Oh, the things we’ll learn. The Comey Letter’s impact on the election was significant: it closed the polling gap between Clinton and Trump to within the margin of error in places like Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. And the Comey Letter itself — let’s remind ourselves — was caused by Rudy Giuliani, Jason Chaffee and the rogue New York City FBI office threatening to spew all sorts of nonsense they’d read in Clinton Cash, a book as truthful as the Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion. Comey had been asking the NYC FBI office about the notebook computer with the mysterious, possibly new Clinton emails (they were copies of old) for MONTHS but the rogue FBI agents — collaborating with Rudy Giuliani — refused to answer Comey’s question until late October — when they suddenly announced “We don’t KNOW about these emails — they COULD be new.”

Horse shit. The goal was “make noise”, distract, disillusion — on multiple fronts at the very same time.

Keep in mind — part of that relentless thump-thump-thump was directed at Black voters in those three states. That proprietary polling data? It showed up on their personal Facebook pages as ads directed directly at them that implied Hillary Clinton was a closet racist. The goal wasn’t to flip those votes, it was to suppress them — lie them into staying home election day instead of voting. Considering all the illegality surrounding it, every single suppressed vote is a crime against an individual voter and our system as a whole.

Once the race got close enough — brought there via the Comey Letter’s false premise of more dirt on Clinton and the constant thump-thump-thump of Russian propaganda filtered through Wikileaks and our own useful idiot news media — voting machine manipulation became an option. As we’ll eventually learn from what happened in 2020, if one has access to internet-connected electronic voting machines (because companies like ES&S and Diebold are owned by Republicans who donate heavily to Republicans and on whose boards of directors sit nothing but Republicans), one does not FLIP votes — that’s too risky! While it’s damned hard to verify an electronic machine that leaves no paper trail, it’s damned easy to pad vote totals without anyone catching on. Just for reference, as of 2019 ES&S claimed a U.S. market share of more than 60 percent in customer voting system installations. That’s a lot of the country that votes on machines with zero accountability.

You’d need three co-conspirators max. You need the guy running ES&S to open the back door every single machine has.

You’d need the guy writing the computer code that will enter voting machine or tabulator via that back door having gotten there via internet connectivity. The code says simply something like “For ever ten Republican votes, add one”. So, every ten Republican votes now becomes eleven. Twenty becomes twenty-two, thirty becomes thirty-three and so on. The machines have added ten percent. If you didn’t go back and compare the number of votes to the number of voters in order to see the discrepancy, you’d probably never find it. In this case, everyone would simply accept that Republican result — where they got a ten percent bump. If the race in question was within the margin of error, that ten percent bump could give an otherwise losing candidate the win.

The last co-conspirator would be the politician pulling the trigger on such a theft of the voters’ intent. Plenty of journalists are beginning to wonder if Mitch McConnell is just such a politician. On paper, Mitch shouldn’t be able to get elected turtle catcher in Kentucky yet there he is — unbeatable (in a state with more registered Democrats than Republicans!) Want to know why it doesn’t seem to add up? Because it doesn’t.

In the case of 2016, all one would have need to have done was send code like that to far flung voting machines in the hinterlands of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Vote totals in the cities, they hoped, were already dinged by propaganda. By now adding just enough votes electronically (hoping ya got the percentages right), one could close a seemingly impossible deal, capturing three blue states for candidate red. It was all done illegally — with full on criminal intent — the only question is will We The People ever get to ask it.

Well, now, we are getting to ask it.

If the answer comes back “Trump was elected illegitimately via illegal means and as an act of treason, then we will have two possible paths to travel. Path One — we do nothing. We shrug our shoulders and say “We’ll do better next time, we hope”. We literally allow a traitor to pardon his own treason — making it crystal clear: want to betray America? Run for president — and get away with it! Any country that lets that happen to them won’t be a country for very much longer.

If Trump had run in one of his bullshit beauty pageants and they’d learned that the winner had bamboozled them all? Do you really think the phony would get to keep her title, her crown, her loot? Of course she wouldn’t! Same goes for a guy who steals your car. Just because he’s sitting in it outside your house at three a.m., honking the horn, that doesn’t make him the car’s owner. And when we catch up to him? He won’t get to keep the car. If it’s still in one piece, he’ll have to give it back. The rule of law never lets thieves keep what they stole after they’ve been caught. The rule of law doesn’t let murderers get away with murder, polluters get away with polluting or traitors get away with betraying us. We may do that to ourselves, the rule of law does not.

It’s just a stone cold fact — Donald Trump NEVER had the legitimate authority that flows from We The People and, sociopath that he is, Donald Trump recognized that fact himself. He said as much out loud repeatedly.

Since he never had the authority vested in him, he didn’t have the authority or right to nominate a single judge, SCOTUS judges included. Throw in the deliberate intent behind Mitch McConnell’s blocking of most every Obama judicial nominee. Not allowing Merrick Garland so much as a hearing might not have been technically illegal, when re-framed from the perspective of McConnell’s treasonous relationship w Oleg Deripaska and Konstantin Kilimnik, the connected dots make Mitch’s intent look a lot more sinister. Mitch and the GOP want permanent minority rule. While they’d made great strides to get there prior to Trump’s presidency, Trump presented not just the darkly charismatic figurehead they needed, he also provided a partner in crime who, the Republicans now realized, had already seduced them into useful idiot-hood.

They’d all, like Rohrbacher, taken copious amounts of money from Russia. That money was not “free”. As most money does, it came with strings. More like rope actually. The Russians wanted something for their investment. When Trump sewed up the Republican nomination, Russia became the central driver of all things Republican, all things Trump.

If we do this right — and we’d be insane to do it otherwise — literally everything Trump did gets voided. All those judges? They’re gone. They have to be — Trump never had the authority to nominate them. That goes for EVERY judge Trump nominated, his three SCOTUS judges included. In point of fact, the authority to nominate those three judges belonged to Hillary Clinton, the rightful winner of the 2016 election.

The crime victim here, ya see, is We The People. Our CHOICE was stolen from us in 2016. When we elected Hillary by more than three million popular votes (and, minus all the criminality via the EC, too), we gave her the authority to create legislation and nominate judges whose values reflected ours. We did NOT give Trump any such authority. He TOOK IT. He STOLE IT. And then, like a car thief, he drove around in it, speeding, recklessly changing lanes and tossing garbage out the window.

The Good Cops will be back in power starting tomorrow. Merrick Garland — the moderate judge Obama chose for SCOTUS who Mitch wouldn’t even give a hearing to — will take over at the DoJ. Oh, the irony… Merrick Garland will be the guy who brings Mitch McConnell down. And then the entire GOP. These are not brave people. They’re all criminal co-conspirators. It won’t take more than a few gentle tugs on this ugly-as-sin, corrupt Christmas sweater for it to completely fall apart. It’s that ugly, it’s that badly made.

And, like any badly made sweater that we did not want, we should return it from whence it came. Return to sender. Forget you ever knew us.

It Isn’t Just That A Trump Second Term Would Destroy American Democracy Forever, A Trump Second Term Would Finish Turning Us Into Him

Former Republican Rick Wilson got it so right: everything Trump touches dies. There are no exceptions to that rule.

Like a virus, Donald Trump can’t survive without a host. In our case, us. If he can’t infect us, he can’t reproduce his toxicity in sufficient quantity to survive. The best he can do is infect those around him and make more feckless, corrupt, ugly children.

Trump craves adoration because if he can get you to adore him, he can get you to do anything for him. Including die. Trumpism reproduces inside its adherents, zombifying them until they’re permanently cut off from reason, logic, facts, truth.

Just like that, a Trump follower’s needs are Trump’s needs.

There should never have been a first term of this disease. Take Russia out of the Trump equation and he never runs for office. He’s already broke and living on the street because no one was there to step in and rescue his bankrupt casinos or pay him a tidy $54 million profit on a white elephant house in Florida.

During his first term, Trump finished turning the entirety of the Republican Party into him. Take Lindsey Graham — a man who at one point said out loud that if the Republican Party followed Donald Trump, they’d deserve the certain destruction he’d cause them. Lindsey also said he’d never go along with naming a SCOTUS judge in an election year. I bet, when we finally get him under oath, Lindsey tells a long, complex, sordid tale about how exactly a person gets that corrupt and that vulnerable to corruption.

We don’t need Donald Trump to tell us that story because he’s already told it himself. He’s lived a life of corruption and — staggeringly — gotten away with it.

Our news media can’t seem to remember that Donald Trump is the first president ever to be impeached and then run for re-election — having been impeached for CHEATING in the very election he’s running in. That’s an amazing amount of normalization of stuff that should never be normalized. Then again, our news media oversaw the normalization of “Mexicans are rapists” and “pussy grabbing” and “Both sides are good people” and “15 cases will go to zero” and “fake news” and “our military are all suckers and losers” and on and on and on.

Normalization works exactly like an infection. It’s essential to Trumpism. We are the frog thinking the pool’s a little warmer than usual today — when, in fact, it’s boiling hot and we’re about to be frog soup.

There’s one answer to this: No.

The Republican Party is gambling everything on muscling the majority of Americans into submission. They’re slave masters after all, with a whip in their hand.

Oh, the surprise they’re all in for. We’ve taken the last whipping from them. We’ll have that whip — and rather than just turn it on them, we’ll subject them to the rule of law. They’ll wish we’d used the whip instead.