Quick Reminder — The GOP Knew During The 2016 Convention That Donald Trump Was Owned By Russia; They Kept It A Secret

This is from the Washington Post, May 17, 2017: “A month before Donald Trump clinched the Republican nomination, one of his closest allies in Congress — House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy — made a politically explosive assertion in a private conversation on Capitol Hill with his fellow GOP leaders: that Trump could be the beneficiary of payments from Russian President Vladimir Putin.” What current GOP Leader McCarthy said was “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump”. Then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan — one of the fellow GOP leaders present “…instructed his Republican lieutenants to keep the conversation private, saying: “No leaks. . . . This is how we know we’re a real family here.””

The Republican family behaved exactly like a mafia family. It was all about protecting “la cosa nostra” — this thing of ours.

I’m curious. Has ANY member of the American press corps EVER asked Kevin McCarthy, Paul Ryan or anyone who was in that room what they were thinking? Has any reporter or journalist stuck a microphone in their faces and asked “Why didn’t you call the FBI if you thought that?” Or “Why didn’t you call the FBI if you even SUSPECTED it?”

That was their obligation — to tell something. To DO something. Because they had more an an inkling that their presidential nominee was corrupt to his bone marrow. And not just corrupt — TREASONOUSLY corrupt. Perhaps Paul Ryan’s response — let’s keep it a secret — had more to do with all the Russian money they ALL had taken on the down low. Pull a thread on Trump’s Russian dalliance, you might as well pull threads on every one of their dalliances — and there were plenty.

As documented as the Republican knowledge that Trump was dirty is the knowledge that Putin had contemplated cyber war against us for years. Cyber war (or asymmetrical warfare if you prefer) is as much a war as an old fashioned “bombs ‘n bullets” war. If the Russians shut down our power grid today, we’d have to sue for peace tomorrow — on their terms. Hell, the Russians placed themselves inside the Oval Office without firing a shot. On a cost basis alone, Russia’s cyber war against us has been the greatest military victory of all time.

How much money flowed to Republican campaign coffers via the NRA? How much flowed via Russian emigrees whose Russian government pensions suddenly rose from enough money to live on to enough money to cash flow a political campaign? How many Russian contacts did the Trump campaign have — and how many have they worked overtime to hide from us? And why?

Our news media, incapable of aggregating the Donald Trump story, forgot apparently that Donald Trump was the first president EVER to run for re-election having BEEN IMPEACHED for CHEATING in the very election he was running in! And the cheating he was impeached over? It was a replay of the exact kind of “foreign government involvement” in our election as in the 2016 election. Even back in 2016, our news media couldn’t grasp how to report on Trump. They thought “but her emails” was far more important than “Mexicans are rapists”, “Pussy grabbing” and “What’s wrong with making nice to Vladimir Putin?”

It boggles the mind that journalists — still unable to tell the 2016 election story — would be just fine with Democrats “forgiving and forgetting” should the moderates somehow convince everyone else that letting criminals get away with the highest crime against We The People — stealing our votes and the intended political outcome our votes demanded — won’t have permanent, negative consequences. “Both sides do it” journalism has convinced journalists that they can never “judge” anything. Moral v immoral behavior — it’s not for them to say. The president only behaves treasonously in the minds of Democrats. And their accusation is purely political.

Oy.

This happened. This photo. At Helsinki. Way more than a thousand words are being spoken here.

I’m old enough to remember when lunatics like me would get rolled eyes from fellow progressives when we’d utter the word “treason” in reference to Trump. Now it’s part of the landscape. It should be a featured part of the landscape — the fact that the sitting POTUS is a stone cold traitor. It should also be part of the landscape that the entire Republican Party — everyone who’s known or suspected anything nefarious since 2016 — also are traitors. It kinda matters in a cyber war.

And an election.

America’s News Media Has Confused Being “Skeptical” (What They Should Be) With Being “Cynical” (What They Are)

Skepticism and cynicism are not the same thing. Don’t believe me — look em up. If I was being skeptical, I’d want to see proof of something before going along with it. If I was being cynical though? I wouldn’t care about any proof because I’ve already assumed the worst. A pox on everybody’s house — “both sides do it”. If I was cynical, I wouldn’t need proof that “both sides do it”. And if there was any sort of “proof”, it wouldn’t need to be equally distributed; most on one side and a little on the other is the same as fifty-fifty; it’s still a matter of “both sides do it”!

“Back that up or it’s bullshit!” would be a perfectly legitimate response to a politician saying something for which he has zero receipts. It’s appropriately skeptical. Are you telling the truth? Okay — prove it. By contrast, asking someone a “But, what if bullshit is true?” type questions — that’s not being skeptical at all. “What if bullshit were true?” is the quintessential cynical question.

The only place where bullshit can be true is in a completely cynical world. It can be true, it can be untrue, it doesn’t matter. The ending has already been decided. Everything sucks and there’ll be no changing it; we might as well all fold up our tents and go home. Seeing the world cynically means seeing the very worst in people no matter what. Even if they prove their worth, the cynical have an explanation ready to go. They’re not what they seem. Nothing is so don’t trust it. Assume the worst and you’ll never be disappointed.

You might not be disappointed, but you’ll never be happy either. And you’ll never see the truth or be able to discern it. There’s really no advantage to becoming cynical — unless you want to end your days living in a police state where survival is what matters. Cynicism assumes that the bad guy will get away with it in the end — that, on some level, everyone’s a bad guy, so what difference does it make who wins? Everyone’s motives are suspect. Everyone has a political agenda — even if they don’t think so.

That’s rubbish. It’s stupid too. And offensive.

When a Republican suppresses a Democratic voter, the Republican is doing it for an entirely political reason: to win an election so as to put the power of government into his hands and not the Democrat’s hands. When the voter whose vote is being suppressed raises their hand to complain about what the Republican is doing to them? They’re NOT being political. They’re the victim of a crime. One of their rights has been taken from them and that needs to be addressed. Not for political reasons but for reasons of justice and free and fair elections.

If the news media had taken a more skeptical approach to Donald Trump than the cynical approach they took, things might have turned out better for them. They would have demanded to know WHY Trump thought “Mexicans are rapists” before moving on to “pussy-grabbing”. And a skeptical press would never have been content to let that slide. A skeptical (rather than a cynical) press would have handled “But her emails” a lot better. Rather than cynically assuming the worst about Hillary Clinton, the press would have taken a more moderated, evidence-based approach. They would have concluded – as they did – that there was no “there” there.

If you want to see rock solid journalistic skepticism hard at work, watch Nicolle Wallace’s Deadline Whitehouse on MSNBC. Watch Rachel Maddow and JoyAnn Reid. Watch Ali Velshi and Chris Matthews. Watch Lawrence O’Donnell.

If you want to see empty-headed cynicism, watch Chuck Todd. Chuck is the “dean” of “both sides do it” journalism. He has zero intellectual curiosity. Zero perspective. Zero critical thinking skill.

We’ve survived Trumpism. A rejuvenated Department of Justice is going to make the next few years a rolling smorgasboord of corruption prosecution. There’ll always be a dozen or so pots on the boil with a few more waiting in the wings. From the second he stops being POTUS, Trump will have legal problems that no amount of bullshit pardons can assuage. He’s not running in 2024. The only running Trump will do between now and then is, maybe, a run for the border. I suggest slashing the tires on the Trump jet to prevent that from happening.

America Is Divided But The MAJORITY Of Americans Were Not Divided About Donald Trump

Chicken Little — journalism degree in hand — dashes hither and thither squawking “the sky is falling!” or, as he now puts it, “America is hopelessly divided! What are we all to do?” Shhhh, calm down, Chicken Little. Stop believing your own hype. Stop believing that “both sides do it”. They don’t. That brand of “journalism” has destroyed your sense of perspective; it’s convinced you that you can’t possibly arbitrate between bullshit and truth for your audience; THEY’LL have to decide for themselves if bullshit can be truth and truth can be bullshit. Just for the record, no, it can’t and no, it can’t.

“Both sides to it” is bullshit. And bullshit can never be true. Cos it’s bullshit.

The gun-toting, Christo-fascist, liquored-to-their-bloodshot-eyeballs Trumpanistas do not care about representative democracy and never have. Let’s be generous and call them 30% of America. That’s the slice of America that still approved of Richard Nixon on the day he quit because of Watergate (actually it was 29% — I’m being even more generous!) The truth is, the hardcore-iest of the hardcore Trumpanistas are a thin slice of the larger half-baked tranche. When you stop and do the math — who they are vs who we are? It’s batshit crazy insane that “these people” hold the sway that they do.

I wonder if it’s because they’re all white (or white aspirational)?

The slow but steady attrition of gerrymandering, minority rule and elections stolen from the majority brought us to a place where that disempowered majority finally had enough. Donald Trump himself said the unspoken but true part out loud: when more Americans vote, they vote for Democrats. If too many Americans vote, Republicans would never win again.

Wow. Donald Trump got one right. He spoke a truth.

Why do you suppose Trump thinks that? If more Americans took part in the decision-making process, they would NOT struggle with their choice. They would choose a Democratic, PROGRESSIVE way forward over a Republican, REGRESSIVE way back to what we were: a country that compromised with SLAVERY. Seen as a trend line, a diversifying America is NOT divided on that subject and hasn’t been for a long, long time. That’s the MAJORITY I’m speaking of.

“Both sides do it” insists on giving equal weight to both sides of an argument regardless of any argument’s actual heft. That’s why climate science and climate denial got to share 50-50 screens on every single news network. Quick note to the news networks who apparently don’t understand how the visual medium works. Anything presented in a 50-50 screen is saying (even if unintentionally) “these two things are equal”. If it’s two people making diametrically opposite arguments? Those two arguments (climate science and climate denial) could BOTH be equally valid.

Just like that, NEWS NETWORKS gave credence to rubbish. They said, in the visual language, “this argument could be true”. Bullshit could be true.

Oy.

Once you’ve gone there, there’s not bottom. Mexicans “could be” rapists. Women might “like” being grabbed by their pussies. Children might prefer to grow up in cages, separated from their parents. Voters might not care if their president shoots them on Fifth Avenue — as a bizarre way to keep their vote. Once you chase a rabbit like this down its festering hole, you’re lost. That’s why our news media could never tell the Donald Trump story. It’s why they can’t today.

This story will happen IN SPITE OF our news media mostly and NOT because of it. The majority of heroic reporting on Trump has come from WITHOUT mainstream American journalism and not from within as it should have.

I watched MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhl report the other day how the spontaneous celebrations that broke out across America once Joe and Kamala’s election was a fully established fact that those celebrations weren’t about Donald Trump, they were about a hopeful return to normalcy. My response to Stephanie (through my TV — I don’t think she heard) was “What the HELL are you talking about? I was IN one of those spontaneous celebrations (masked and distanced — but needed see and feel the vibe). I know for a fact what and how WE were celebrating. I wasn’t an observer, ya see, I WAS A PARTICIPANT.

But Stephanie — an observer apparently who didn’t speak to ANY participants — adjudged our motives for us. We weren’t doing it for OUR reason, we were doing it for HERS.

She was “both sides doing it” it to us. The one time we WERE reacting politically, Stephanie (to whom the left is ALWAYS being political rather than reactive) had us being purely reactive.

Um, no, Ms. Ruhl. Everyone as far as I could see and hear at the street celebration I attended was there because of the relief we felt at RIDDING OURSELVES of Donald J. Trump. Please get that distinction. We had to do this OURSELVES because our news media couldn’t. Wouldn’t.

We have to look into this. We will. As badly as the news media has reported on Trump, they are reporting on us. They’re gravitating toward the most visible — the loudest, gun-totingest, bleary-eyed Trumpanistas — the ones with the most white, Christian male grievances to grieve over. Stories of angry white people are easier to tell than stories of everyone else — struggling to get into or stay in a game that remains entirely stacked against them and for the RICH, white, Christian men who are actually oppressing everyone.

Even Charles Koch now realizes how deeply he stepped in it. Charles isn’t being contrite as much as he’s being strategic. He’s seen the same handwriting on the wall that the 21st Century Fox Board of Directors did when they fired Bill O’Reilly on April 19, 2017. The handwriting was female. It belonged to America’s women. They make up most of the buying decisions in American households. If you lose them, you lose. And Bill O’Reilly — a sexual predator — had lost America’s women.

More precisely, Bill O’Reilly lost his advertisers. His show lost its advertisers because all of them saw they’d lose their clients — the companies that made the products being advertised. And those companies didn’t want to lose their customers — all those women making all those buying decisions. It was between Bill O’Reilly and staying in business. We all know who won. That victory should be shouting at us. It is — if only we’d listen to it.

I’ve written here about how I believe our view of the American electorate walks in the door skewed because of who owns most of the voting machine-making companies (and who’s on their boards and to whom they make healthy political campaign donations). Please don’t ask me or anyone to trust people with an aversion to transparency, a cash-paying love for an authoritarian fraud and vehement resistance to Americans using much more secure hand-marked paper ballots to vote. Something about them smells.

If I’m even half-right about Republicans padding their numbers, our perception of who we are and how we vote has been significantly perverted. They’re still as crazy as we think they are, but there are a lot fewer of them than we’ve been told.

That, ya see, is the point of the exercise. Republicans now are like an animal whose sole defense is to puff up its feathers. That “defense” is still just feathers. Republicans aren’t who they present themselves to be. They’re neither growers not show-ers.

We, on the other hand, are both growers AND show-ers. Our numbers grew (significantly) and we showed up — both on election day and after to celebrate.

Hey, Stephanie Ruhl — you’re a good reporter when you stick to matters financial. The moment you wander away from that beat, you lose your super powers. Completely. We’re in a forgiving mood though (with some people). We’ll blame your j-school education instead of you. We’ll assume you were sharp as a tack before “both sides do it” blunted your analytical skills. If you HAD wandered into one of those spontaneous celebrations BEFORE reporting on it and characterizing it, I feel certain your eyes and ears would not have betrayed you.

Four years ago, the MAJORITY of us (and had this many Americans voted, the disappointed majority would have been significantly larger) were shocked when the minority got to rule. We protested. We tore at our hair and ripped at our clothing. But we allowed Trump to take his place in the White House. We now know we were bamboozled. The whole country was — by a man who always favors”me” over “we”.

This past election day, We The People spoke clearly in the loudest, clearest, most steady voice a shitload of voter suppression allowed: “Ding dong, the witch is dead”.

Hear, bloody HEAR!

Can We Please, PLEASE Agree: “Cheating To Win” Does NOT Equal “Winning”

This shouldn’t need to be stated: Cheating to win is NOT “winning”. It’s “CHEATING”. The moment we make cheating one “way” to win, we’ve made cheating the ONLY way to win because only an idiot would play by rules while his opponent laughs at the rules — and wins every election. It’d be like playing Monopoly by the rules while the other guy starts the game with all the bank’s money and all the good properties already “hoteled up”. Free and fair elections demand genuinely level playing fields. If the playing field isn’t level because someone is cheating, we need to stop the game right there and at the very least call a red card foul.

For the record (or the scoresheet to beat the analogy to death), we’re not talking about the offenses to our sensibilities. Trump’s presidential bid should have ended at “Mexicans are rapists”. It should NEVER have made it as far as “pussy grabbing”. The onus is on us — on our news media since they’re the ones with the megaphone — for letting Trump get away with such egregiously unacceptable behavior from ANYONE in public life never mind a presidential candidate. All terrible, terrible behavior, but none of it criminal.

No, I’m talking about actual Class A Felonies. Geez, you’d think a few of the lawyers-turned-journalists would glom onto that and refuse to let go, visions of Pulitzers in their heads. I’ll reference here for what might have happened had our news media done the same due diligence on Donald Trump that Fusion GPS (founded by former Wall Street Journal reporters) did when they first got hired by the Republican-owned, Jeb-Bush-backing Washington Free Beacon to do oppo research. Fusion found so much evidence of Trump laundering money through his bankrupt Atlantic City casinos IN PUBLICLY AVAILABLE MATERIAL that they hired Chris Steele (former head of MI6’s vaunted Russia Desk) to check it all out.

As I’ve also screamed and shouted here, alas — if the American news media could aggregate the Donald Trump story, it would have ended eons ago. The starting point for their daily reporting would be (worst case scenario): “Hey, news audience, guess what the corrupt-to-his-gills traitor and his corrupt-to-its-gills political party did and said today”. We’d have busted a cap in “both sides do it” journalism and stopped equating bullshit with truth.

Let’s go back to the sports analogy. Let’s stop equating scoring a legitimate goal with literally — with your hands — throwing the ball into the net and calling it a goal (a game-winning goal no less!) It’s not. It never was.

Offside is offside (we even have the VAR now to nail it by a shoelace). A hand ball is a hand ball (that bloody VAR again!) It’s all painful when it goes against you but it’s proof that the rule was violated. Putting emotions aside, we follow the rule. In the end, it will serve everyone better that way. If we want to adjust the rule, fine tune it and its application — that’s always open to us. But, if we had been following the rules — the ones that dictate how we play and don’t play this “game” — how this game played out would have been different.

Donald Trump buying Stormy Daniels’ silence, for instance. That, right there, was a red card foul that should have been whistled. Michael Cohen went to prison for his role in that bit of blatant criminality. Donald Trump inviting Russia’s assistance — OPENLY — was a red card foul that should have been whistled. “Hey, Russia, if you’re listening…” was an act of open TREASON. Especially when you consider what Russia literally did next: they DID SOMETHING. Russia ACTED ON Trump’s invitation — and Trump, rather than being appalled by Russia’s reaction, USED IT as part of his campaign.

Russia, mind you, was actively engaged in a CYBER WAR against us. Cyber. War.

Treason is treason is treason.

Cheating that’s also treasonous? We’d be insane to accept that in place of the results we actually voted for. I, for one, do not accept it. But then, I don’t accept cheating to win as winning — and neither should any other American.

Cheating to win is un-American. It’s immoral. It’s not winning.

The moment We The People make THAT our reaction to Trump’s cheating — to the entire Republican Party’s blatant abuse of the rules and the law — that anything accomplished via provable cheating will not stand — we will END the Republican Party’s reliance on cheating to win as their only means to win. Either they’ll adapt — and try selling their ideas instead — or they’ll die. Actually, if they adapt and try selling their ideas, they’ll die anyway — which they know — which is WHY they cheat.

Let’s stop indulging them. Let’s stop allowing their fatal flaw to be OUR fatal flaw. When they claim “We won!” the correct answer isn’t “Oh well, I guess they ‘won’ since they say they did”, it’s “NO, you didn’t”. And that’s it. The rules are quite clear. No, they did not win.

In our system of government, the authority to govern flows from US, We The People. If We The People know for a fact that our authority — it’s baked into our vote — has been not only questioned but attacked — then We The People have every right to respond accordingly (though within the law of course). Good thing the rule of law backs us here: demonstrable cheating to win is not winning.

All we have to do therefore is FOLLOW the rule of law and ENFORCE IT EQUALLY like we’re supposed to.

For starters, we’ll automatically be far healthier as a society because we’ll actually be living up to our ideals (or trying to a lot harder to anyway). Restoring justice to its rightful place — that will help a lot, too. But then the rule of law will demand that we deal with the criminality that drove us to the brink of authoritarianism — against the majority’s will. The rule of law will demand that we address every last nuance of criminality — and every last criminal. Got the stank on ya, Republicans? There’ll be no getting it off.

Gonna be a lot of old, rich, Christian white guys shouting “Out, out, damned spot!”

Maybe it’s time for a new “Scarlet Letter”. Let’s put aside the “A” for Adultery that Hester Prynne was forced to wear and, instead, repurpose those stupid red hats Trump’s sold all his dumber-than-a-rube-on-angel-dust followers by sticking a giant Gold “C” on them. That’s “C” for Cheater. By then, it should be understood that the “C” is interchangeable with a “T” — for “Trump”.

And for “Treason”.

Maybe it’s not a coincidence that the word “CHEAT” begins with a “C” for cheating — but ends in a “T” for “TRUMP”.

Indeed — let’s make it “end” in a “T” for Trump. Better still, let’s make it all end in a sentence.

Dear American News Media: America Needs YOU To Do Better

The last four years turned me from a news consumer into a news junkie. I bet I’m not alone. In fact, I know I’m not. But, let’s be clear: the fix I’m after isn’t “news”, it’s Truth. They aren’t necessarily the same thing. That, right there, is our problem. It’s why I watch the news so obsessively now — not because I need them updating me but because I feel compelled to point out every time they confound “spouting information” with telling truth. In the age of Trump, every piece of information spewing from people notorious for lying should be seen as suspect first and true only after rigorous examination.

And, by the way? Both sides don’t “do it”.

First problem? The apparent inability to AGGREGATE information the way storytellers are supposed to. Information from one scene gets added to what we know — and that information directs us toward more questions which, in turn, produce more information that adds to what we know. Except that process has broken down with our news media.

The moment Donald Trump insisted that “Mexicans are rapists”, the correct response from our news media shouldn’t have been “Oh, well — we guess he’s just a different kind of presidential candidate”, it should have been “Donald Trump is a bigot and a racist”. Everything they reported after that fact would have built upward from our FIRM KNOWLEDGE (based on Trump’s own words!) that Donald Trump is a racist.

Every story about Trump thereafter should have included the background that everything Trump said or says is in the context of “he’s a racist”. But, because we allow racists to decide whether or not they’re racist, Trump got to claim HE was the “least racist person in the whole world”. Oy.

See how we let a racist determine the context — to the detriment of the story and our ability to understand it? Imagine, if you will, how different a place we’d be in today if we WEREN’T still debating (if the news media wasn’t still debating) whether or not racist Donald Trump is a racist or not.

If you can’t aggregate simple, evidence-based information into a narrative, journalism (storytelling in general) baffles you. Find another line of work.

Once the news media started down the “He’s just a different kind of POTUS” path, they were lost. “He’s a different kind of…” is what a journalist says to affirm that they’ve normalized what should never be normalized.

They did the same thing with pussy-grabbing, preferring to chase “But, her emails” instead. Keep in mind the perspective: pussy-grabbing plus 20+ accusations of rape, sexual assault and indecent behavior. It’s what real storytellers call CONTEXT.

Quick reminder — when Fusion GPS’s Glenn Simpson testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on August 22, 2017 (the Republican-led committee was desperate to undermine the Steele Dossier’s integrity), he described Fusion’s process after they’d been hired by the conservative-run Washington Free Beacon to do oppo research on Trump. The very first thing Fusion did, Simpson testified, was their due diligence. They got their hands on every piece of publicly available information about or by Donald Trump — newspaper stories, magazine articles, Howard Stern appearances, TV interviews. They visited Amazon and used book stores. They even went to the public library looking for publicly available material.

What Fusion found — in publicly available material — convinced them that Trump had been involved with criminal behavior for years and that he’d likely laundered Russian mob money through his (now bankrupt) Atlantic City casinos. In other words, Fusion found enough evidence of criminal conduct that they felt compelled to do MORE research. By then, Jeb Bush (the Free Beacon’s choice) had dropped out and Democrats backing Hillary Clinton were paying Fusion’s fees. The whole reason Fusion sub-contracted the Russian part of the oppo research out to Christopher Steele is because he’d run MI6’s Moscow desk and had top tier contacts inside Russia.

Until Fusion hired Steele, they were doing something every news organization could have done on their own, by themselves: due diligence. Like Fusion, THEY could have gotten THEIR hands on every piece of publicly available material on Trump. Like Fusion, THEY could have met the minimal obligation before beginning their formal work of reporting on Donald Trump.

Except they didn’t.

Steele’s work product is raw intel — and needs to be understood that way. That’s just context. Take away the context and Steele’s product becomes “unverified” meaning “probably untrue”. But, raw intel is all about context. There’s rarely a smoking gun but there can be the preponderance of the evidence. Plenty of smoke flows from that.

Lacking context and convinced that “both sides do it”, our news media has spun a relentless false narrative flowing from the mis-reporting that “Trump won in 2016”. We will arrive at this conclusion: take away intense voter suppression in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin (the product of Paul Manafort handing Oleg Deripaska proprietary polling data from those three states plus Minnesota) and the Comey Letter 10 days before the 2016 election and Trump’s not close enough for the machine flipping operation.

Remember — Trump won by a combined 77,000 votes across those three states in order to secure the Electoral College votes. If Trump committed treason to win those three states (and win the election) then he did not “win”. Cheating to win can NEVER equal winning. Committing treason to win — that should go double. We KNOW for a fact that any voting machine that connects IN ANY WAY to the internet is hackable. We KNOW these systems have been hacked and are still being hacked. The reason vote-by-mail horrifies Trump and the Republicans in this election is because their whole cheating op is based on using disinformation to foster low turnout by disenchanted voters. Then, with the race inside the polled margin of error, the hacking op can flip or add just enough votes for the result to look dicey but within the margin of error and therefore “possible”.

Also remember — Trump asked repeatedly — OUT LOUD — for Russia to help him. Also remember — Trump was impeached for doing the exact same thing with the Ukraine except in THIS election. You know, the one he’s currently running in?

That fact alone seems not to have been aggregated: Donald Trump is the first (and only) president to EVER run for re-election having been IMPEACHED for cheating in the very election he’s running in. You’d think that fact alone would keep the news media actively engaged. You’d think an impeached president running for office — while STILL cheating — would be grist for plenty of great, Pulitzer-worthy reportage.

And yet…

None of us wants the news media to fail. On the contrary, we NEED the news media to succeed. That’s why it breaks our hearts when most of them continue to trip over themselves daily. It’s not just personal failure they’re courting as they try to disentangle themselves from themselves, it’s our collective failure they’re flirting with. Their inability to see the larger story is going to kill us.

The first trick with helping an alcoholic or a drug addict is getting them to SEE their own weakness. There’s nothing wrong with having weaknesses. It comes with being human. But we don’t have to be prisoners of our weakness. We CAN overcome them with a little, um, due diligence. The news media needs to acknowledge that it HAS a problem: a lack of perspective born of a failure of imagination.

Our news media still can’t “imagine” the enormity of Trump’s crime. Therefore they under-report and normalize what they see. A talking head round table might examine all the possible explanations for Trump’s behavior. They’ll ALWAYS include the possibility that there’s some innocent explanation (he’s just a “different” kind of POTUS). They’ll NEVER include the opposite possibility — that Trump is guilty of criminal behavior; he’s a “different” kind of POTUS all right, just not in a good way.

These are all fixable. But, like a good 12-step program, freedom from addiction starts with acknowledging that one HAS an addiction.

One last suggestion to help our news media (especially televised news media) be all they can be. Forget about primping before you go on air. Spend more time prepping instead. Got that? “Prepping Instead Of Primping”.

What’s your size, American News Media? I’ll put it on a t-shirt for you…

In “War Of The Worlds”, A Pathogen Saved Us From Martians — Just Like A Pathogen Will Save Us From Donald J. Trump

It’s not hyperbole — Donald Trump is a democracy-destroying monster utterly resistant to normal reason and legal logic. In HG Wells’ “War Of The Worlds”, Martians take over Earth, easily crushing our feeble human armies. What saves our bacon in the end? Pathogens. Germs. Not even fancy ones. The monsters’ bodies succumb to the same ordinary Earth germs our immune systems handle with ease. Oh, what a delicious irony: Covid-19 is serving the same exact function right here, right now. Except the unstoppable monster this pathogen is saving us from is Donald J. Trump.

It’s weird how unstoppable Trump has been. His ability to avoid responsibility for a lifetime of criminal behavior is, well, otherworldly.

But then, so’s his monstrous destructiveness.

Trump the Monster has laid waste to our faith in the election process. He’s gobbled up money and trampled on rights like Godzilla trampling Tokyo. He’s incinerated our reputation abroad and, with a swing of his bloated orange tail, sent the rule of law flying.

Unlike in Wells’ story though, OUR news media has been slow to respond as this particular monster emerged from his pod. In Trump’s case, he rode down a gold escalator and roared how Mexicans are rapists and, if you’re famous, you can do anything to women — including grab their pussies — because “they’ll let ya”. Whereas our news media should have shot that right down — and kept firing until the monster was dead — instead they put down their weapons and followed the monster to the next part of town he wanted to destroy. Then watched him do it.

In a sense, our press is the equivalent of the Wells story’s military: our last line of defense was defenseless. Good thing we have coronavirus to save us.

Trick question: what kind of an idiot thinks he can “negotiate” with a pathogen? Anti-vaxxers and Trumpanistas all think they can outrun something they can’t even see.

As Donald Trump proved, no, ya can’t.

Donald Trump brought his Covid-19 infection upon himself. While he truly deserves whatever the pathogen does to him — having made himself (and so many other Americans) completely vulnerable to it — we need Trump to survive. We don’t need him to feel good at the end of the day, we just need him alive.

Donald Trump must absolutely face the music. He needs to be fully compis mentis while we fully investigate him (which we absolutely will), indict him (for ALL his crimes), try him, convict him, sentence him and punish him. Hell, I’d even vote for shocking the bastard back to life each time he flatlines. If we could keep Trump alive for a hundred years — just so we can keep him miserable and in prison — we should do it. It’s no less than he deserves.

According to one news source, Trump wondered aloud yesterday, Friday, before they transported him to Walter Reed if he was going to go out the same way his friend Stan Chera did — dying because of Covid-19. That’s not a guy experiencing “mild symptoms”.

That’s a man suddenly facing his own mortality.

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.

Dear American News Media — Just Because Donald Trump Likes Running Down Rabbit Holes Doesn’t Mean You Have To Follow Him There

Remember this image — Trump going down that golden escalator on the day he formally declared?

What we didn’t realize at the time — though we should have — it wasn’t the lobby of Trump Tower he was descending into, it was a goddamned rabbit hole. The first sign we had was “Mexicans are rapists”. The second sign that we were in a rabbit hole? Within a matter of moments, we shrugged off “Mexicans are rapists” as just “how Donald Trump is”. Normal world? No. Rabbit hole.

Every bizarre thing Trump says is a rabbit hole unto itself. It’s not so much an intention on Trump’s part — to get the press to chase him down each and every rabbit hole — as a hard-wired behavior. Trump lies to everyone — his family included. So, Trump is always trying to get someone to follow him down a rabbit hole because, it’s just a fact, at any given moment, Trump is lying to a stupefying number of people.

That’s why liars love rabbit holes. There’s no logic inside a rabbit hole. The normal rules of cause and effect stop working — or seem to — because a rabbit hole isn’t reality; it’s an ice core drilled into bullshit thicker than the earth’s crust. It’s a place of Magical Thinking, nonsense and drivel.

One would think that, after a time or two, one would weary of chasing liars down rabbit holes. Yes, chasing liars down rabbit holes is part of what journalism is, but journalists also must maintain perspective. Once they’ve ascertained that a liar will lie to them, they’d be stupid — as a person and a journalist — to give the liar a fair hearing each and every time the liar opened his mouth.

But, that’s what our news media does. Rather than build a narrative that says “Donald Trump’s whole ‘strategy’ is to tie us in knots with his lying”, our news media continues to assume Trump could be telling the truth this time — as preposterous as his lie sounds.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/trump-s-plane-loaded-thugs-rumor-matches-months-old-facebook-n1238962

“Planes Loaded With Thugs” is a rabbit hole. FFS, it even sounds like a rabbit hole! Why would anyone with a degree from a J-School follow someone down it?

Oh, right — because that J-School degree came with a heavy dose of cynical (rather than skeptical) “Both Sides Do It” journalism where everyone’s the same (regardless of how different they are) — with the same motives, the same tactics, the same everything. If one person does things for political reasons then everyone does things for political reasons — even (apparently) if they don’t know it. Therefore, a Republican suppressing Democratic voters is political but so is the suppressed Democratic voter — attempting only to practice their right to vote by calling the Republican out for suppressing them.

No, the suppressed voter is NOT behaving politically, they’re a crime victim. And so are we all when 1) naked politics dictate actions and 2) the press can’t tell the difference.

The solution is shockingly easy. It’s one word: “No”. As in “No, we will not follow you down that rabbit hole. You come out — then we’ll talk”. Or, put more simply (if a little less elegantly): “Back it up or it’s bullshit”.

The news media doesn’t have to accept what Trump says THEN scurry around to fact check him. That’s their choice. It’s their habit now because they’ve been completely re-active here.

They could absolutely do this the other way round — and they should. When dealing with a known liar, you have to assume that they’re lying to you. Therefore you demand that they back up everything they say FIRST. “Put the receipts on the table”, point to the relevant facts (facts, not bullshit) THEN we’ll entertain having a discussion with you on this topic. Can’t back it up right off the bat? We’re not talking about it — we’re certainly not broadcasting it over our air to our NEWS audience.

If Donald Trump thought he had achieved dictator status, he wouldn’t be running for re-election. He’d have cancelled it already and made all his legal troubles go away.

He hasn’t. That means that Donald’s Republican friends also acknowledge that they can’t impose permanent minority rule on us quite yet. It seems we’re likely to protest. Loudly. And we outnumber them by a lot.

Authoritarians know one thing: their authoritarian rule probably won’t end with them dying peacefully in their beds, old and ready. It will come far sooner and be way more violent. That’s why authoritarians don’t ever do that “peaceful transfer of power” thing. They can’t. They’re criminals and losing power means legal problems, prison or worse.

That’s why Trump spews rabbit holes. Lying and obfuscation are the only path he has to “win” this election. But then, Trump didn’t actually “win” his last election. Cheating to win (especially when the cheating involves treason) isn’t actually winning — in the legal sense. Legally speaking, you can’t cheat to win. Hey — that’s just the rule of law talking, not me.

Trump is the first impeached POTUS to ever run for re-election — in the very election he was impeached over: because he cheated! You wouldn’t know that from the way our NEWS MEDIA reports this story. They still treat it like a normal election where previous polling describes what’s happening now. No, Steve Kornacki, you nitwit — it isn’t! Look, I’m sure Kornacki’s a lovely guy — and he does have real insight into his numbers. But he has no perspective whatsoever about the larger context his numbers take place inside of.

Steve NEVER accounts for Russia’s vote in 2016 for example. He NEVER accounts for the impact voter suppression (and probably vote flipping) could have had. Steve insists that his flawed numbers tell the story of what happened then (they absolutely do not!) and therefore what will happen now. No — they absolutely will not!

Oh, sure — there are conscientious journalists working this beat. At Kornacki’s very own MSNBC Nicolle Wallace, Rachel Maddow, Joy-Ann Reid, Ali Velshi consistently frame the story we’re all living in correctly — as a house completely afire. But the rest — the Kornackis, the Chuck Todds, the Kelly O’Donnells… what a bunch of amateurs.

You’d have to be an amateur to keep making the same rookie mistake, right? If you can’t figure out how NOT to chase a rabbit down an obvious rabbit hole then you should probably quit chasing rabbits. Give up on journalism. Try something you’re good at. Let’s hope there is something.

In The Midst Of The Coronavirus Crisis, A Reminder: Donald Trump & The GOP Are STILL All TRAITORS

I’m old enough to remember how quickly our Main Stream News Media got over their jaw-on-the-floor outrage at Donald Trump’s “Mexicans are rapists” announcement (on Day One of his presidential campaign no less). Yes, they shrugged off Trump’s racism because “Pussy Grabbing” was now part of our political discussion, but by shrugging off one outrage to go be outraged by another, the press established a behavior pattern they haven’t changed since.

After three years of hopping blithely from one Trump-created crisis to another, the American press is now stuck on how poorly Trump is responding to a pandemic he did everything he humanly could to UNprepare us for. They keep waiting for Trump to “pivot” in some fashion. Then, it was toward being “presidential”. Now, it’s toward pulling the trigger on the Defense Production Act which would give Trump the power to order factories to produce the ventilators and masks we need right this second.

Trump won’t do it because Jared Kushner is whispering in his ears (America’s “captains of industry apparently whispering into his) that nationalizing industry would be bad for business — and piss off the captains of industry Trump’s relying on to get re-elected It always comes down to bullshit and self-service in Trump world. It always comes down to corruption.

Despite the fact that for a week now, Trump has gotten up in front of the American People in a time of crisis and lied to us, CNN, MSNBC & big chunks of the news media still insist on broadcasting Trump’s daily coronavirus updates as “news” instead of the “campaign rallies” they actually are. Even as their studio hosts (now broadcasting from their homes mostly) rage at the fusillade of lies, even as every expert with an ounce of actual expertise points at how insanely dangerous Trump is being, even as Trump accuses the reporters spaced around the WH Briefing Room of being liars and haters, the news networks STILL not only broadcast Trump’s lies live, they can’t seem to find it in themselves to stand up FOR EACH OTHER.

Why are they not either 1) demanding that Trump answer questions (and refuse to let him move on without answering) or 2) broadcasting these bullshit sessions on tape delay so that every bit of Trump’s misinformation, disinformation & outright bullshit can be fact checked BEFORE it goes out over the air. Apparently it’s a thing — once bullshit sets in peoples’ minds? It’s damned hard to root it out. That Trump’s approval ratings is up a few ticks reflects the press’s inability to report even the most blatant example of Trump’s inability to carry out his duties — never mind the eight thousand pound gorilla that’s drooling over everything: the fact that Trump is a traitor.

Our crisis has been made exponentially worse BECAUSE Donald Trump is POTUS — and the only reason Trump is POTUS is because Russia MADE him POTUS.

Russia was able to MAKE Trump POTUS because Russia had compromised nearly the entire Republican Party — (illegally) pouring money into their campaign coffers, creating Kompromat on them (think that doesn’t explain Lindsey Graham?) and who knows what else? Trump took a sledgehammer to our government (my bet) in large part at Putin’s instigation. It benefits Putin & only Putin every time America loses the ability to take care of itself and tend to its place in the world — as the counter balance to horrible actors like Vladimir Putin.

Just as Moscow Mitch McConnell hijacked the judicary, Bill Barr hijacked the Department of Justice. The point of the exercise — permanent minority rule.

America is sicker than ever — not just because of the coronavirus but because white power is trying to keep its hooks in us forever.

While compromising with these traitors will, unfortunately, be necessitated by the enormity of the crisis overwhelming us, we must remember: when the Rule Of Law becomes “a thing” again here in America, it will DEMAND that we turn our eye on these here times because illegal behavior of any kind must be prosecuted and, if found guilty, punished.

Trump’s coronavirus betrayals are just extensions of all his Russia betrayals. The bottom line will not change: we are living in war time — not just against the coronavirus — but against Russia. We’ve GOT to keep our eye on that ball despite getting hammered by a nasty pathogen.

Why Does Our MSM STILL Tolerate Being Lied To By Republicans? Because They Still Think “Both Sides Do It”…

Among the false narratives we have to negotiate daily — the rubbish that we start with any sort of “level playing field”. Bullshit.

Keep in mind — we’ve already normalized “Mexicans are rapists” and “pussy-grabbing”. We’ve got it in our heads now that you can say what should be career-ending hate like that and “get away with it” because that’s exactly what’s happened. It isn’t the public that ultimately shrugged off those things. Mexicans didn’t — I assure you.

And women have absolutely not forgotten — or shrugged off “pussy-grabbing”. Did you see what happened in 2018? The sentiments that motivated the massive swing in the House that finally returned oversight to the tool kit has not diminished. It’s gotten stronger in fact. The Democrats didn’t shrug off such hatefulness.

America’s news media did. They LET THEMSELVES be seduced. They stopped asking about Mexicans being rapists and pussy-grabbing and simply went on to the next outrage — accepting that the outrage they HAD BEEN outraged about was now just part of our collective past — how it was… how it now IS? No — no, that’s not how it is — it’s how “is” is being portrayed by a lazy news media who care more about access than they do the Truth.

By all rights, we shouldn’t be starting each news day from some “neutral” position where Republicans are behaving as honest actors. They haven’t been honest actors since they cast their lot in with Trump. It wasn’t just ideology that bound them to a man they all KNEW was a career criminal. FFS — our press keeps asking the same stupid question: “Why, do ya think, the GOP stays so loyal to Trump” — even in the face of 80% of the country wanting witnesses and evidence at Trump’s impeachment trial?

The bulk of our press insists on seeing EVERYTHING through a political lens first. That corrupts their whole view. They appoint political motive where it isn’t. A Democrat reacting to a Republican violating the Rule Of Law & the Constitution isn’t reacting politically. They’re reacting as a citizen — alarmed that another citizen is VIOLATING THE LAW. That ain’t politics, it’s patriotism.

But if you see the victim of a crime (and the Democrats most definitely are the victims of a crime) as somehow “guilty” of the crime just because they were “part of” the crime — as in, “well, it could be the victim’s fault — what were they wearing?” — then, yeah, to you, both sides will always “do it”. Too bad that’s 100% wrong.

If the news media were half-way competent, they’d be aggregating the information they learn every day into the narrative as a whole. It’s called “adding information”. It’s how storytelling works. You don’t keep going back to “In the beginning…” because we’re already at the part where Moses just parted the Red Sea. We know all the stuff that got us here — start from THERE ffs!

Consequently — because our press can’t keep track of what they already KNOW — despite the fact that it’s been repeated to them so many times and despite how much effin’ evidence that’s out in public already — we end up acting like we don’t know what we DO know. We keep asking “Why, do ya think, Republicans are sooooooo loyal to Trump?” and “Why, do ya think, Republicans are soooooooo afraid of hearing witnesses and seeing actual evidence at a Senate Impeachment Trial?

We should NOT be scratching our heads here.

We should NOT be staring at a connect-the-dots picture of Treason — with all but a few of the dots connected — like it was a picture of nothing but unconnected dots. The aggregated story says Republicans are all compromised. How many times can “journalists” ask “Gosh, what do ya suppose happened to Lindsey Graham?” If they had any instincts as storytellers — or journalists even — they’d be pushing Lindsey so hard, he’d have given up already. But our press has bought Lindsey’s bizarre flip-flop as “normal”. It’s just how Lindsey is. It’s just how Lindsey is about Trump (regardless of everything he ever said about Trump in the past). It’s just Lindsey acting in a way that defies all logic, all reason — unless we see dark motives.

The only way you don’t see a dark motive in Lindsey Graham (for example — Mitch McConnell fits the bill even better) is if we equate dark behavior with normalcy. Again — We The People don’t do that. We don’t report the news. We don’t have any sort of Big Megaphone the way the News Media does. Most of what we “know” flows from them. If they don’t equate dark behavior with dark behavior — and report dark behavior as NORMAL behavior instead — the news-consuming public will, in no time, begin to equate dark behavior with “normal”.

Both sides do not suppress the other sides voters. Both sides do not do everything in their power to LIMIT Democracy in America. Both sides do not reach out to hostile foreign powers for help winning elections. Both sides don’t gerrymander their way into permanent minority rule. Only one side does this — does it in public — and does it repeatedly. It ain’t the Democrats.

The only way you can think both sides do what the Republican Party is doing to America is if you equate truth and lies. If you honestly believe Democrats — in power — would even think of doing the same thing? You also think our playing field is level.