As anyone who’s ever been in a long term relationship knows, even the bad ones require work. The Constitution’s framers didn’t intend for there to be political parties but the rift between the Federalists and states’ rights supporters that arose at the framing — one way or the other — set our two party system in motion. And, while learning to compromise with a partner is essential to any couple’s, some compromises should never be made. For instance — compromises made with an abusive spouse or a serial cheater. The Democrats really are like a spouse in a long-running marriage who’s known all along how faithless their mate’s been. The Democrats KNOW the Republicans cheat. They KNOW Republicans don’t care one bit about any “relationship”. And now we know that our partner in this country’s governance, the Republicans, want pretty much all the Democrats dead.
On January 6, 2021, the Republican Party hired their angry, drunk friend to break into the House and try to kill the Democrats. They wanted their drunk friend to kill Mike Pence too because Pence had done the dishonorable thing: he stood up for the oath of office he took. Now, let’s not pat Mike on the back too quickly. Mike’s no boy scout. That’s why Paul Manafort brought him to the veep dance back in 2016. Remember: Manafort (then Trump’s campaign manager) was attempting a “make good” deal with Russian oligarch and intelligence agent Oleg Deripaska. He owed Deripaska over 17 million dollars (the kinda dough that’ll get you killed if you don’t start paying it off) and, so, was engaged in a scheme to make Deripaska whole. The LAST thing Manafort needed at that point was a veep candidate who’d rat them all out the second he got wind of the “Russian Secret”.
Everybody here is dirty. Everybody is corrupt. No one with an “R” next to their name EVER seems to do the right thing — not without being pressured into it.
I think of the Republicans sliding into bed with Vladimir Putin as clear cut evidence of treason. Why, that’s exactly like them cheating on us, isn’t it? Hey, Don, you adulterous asshole — what’s with the borscht & vodka on your breath?
As if Trump being disloyal with the Russian sleaze bag across the street wasn’t bad enough, then he goes and lies about it. He does everything he can to hide his actions. He’s called all his fancy-assed pals (the scumbags he philanders with) to tell them to cover for him. He’s used his other, “lesser” friends (people he doesn’t ever hang with and never would) to come after us to try and kill us. He came frighteningly close to doing it.
If we really were a couple, this marriage would be well and truly over. It would be inconceivable that we’d slide into bed ever again with the shit who tried to have us murdered — especially when he took so much friggin’ video of him doing it.
First of all, of course, we’d get ourselves the best lawyer we could — which, in fact, we’ve already done. We’d go after the bastard who did this, intent on taking him for everything he’s got. We’d insist, above all, that our mate take responsibility for their terrible actions if they really wanted our relationship to continue. They won’t. It’s not even a question.
That’s why, after we throw them out onto the street, we will proceed to prosecute the living snot out of them. We will not stop until they’re off the street and filling up many, many prison cells. That’s not political; it’s just crime & punishment working the way they’re supposed to.
The R’s have already started sniffing around for forgiveness. When they say “unity!” what they mean is “Hey, baby, you can forget I tried to have ya killed just this one time, now, can’t ya?” Um, no, assholes, we can’t. How about, instead, YOU find some deep, profound way to make it up to America?
When it comes to Donald Trump, NOT assuming the worst is foolish. Assuming you’ve seen Trump’s worst? Even more foolish. While Trump isn’t personally capable of thinking in grand strategic plans, he is capable of having one master plan that supersedes everything else: self-survival, damn the costs. Once Trump became POTUS (that is, once Russia MADE Trump POTUS — an important distinction), his NOT being POTUS became a personal impossibility. In addition to all of Trump’s other legal liabilities, he now had treason to ice them. Trump can’t resign. He cannot get pardoned for his crimes; that is, even if he WERE to resign in order to let Mike Pence pardon him (good luck with that scenario now that Trump put a literal hit on Pence), the fact that TREASON sits at the heart of Trump’s criminality — and no pardon will forgive TREASON especially when the point of the TREASON was to destroy the country from within — means Donald Trump’s choices are literally life v death.
Which do we think Trump will choose for himself and which do we think he’ll choose for the nation?
Like that’s a question.
Donald Trump has nothing to lose. Hey, once you’ve tried a seditious assault on the Capitol building — with all the legislators inside, intent on taking out the power structure beneath Trump (Mike Pence and Nancy Pelosi) — there’s nowhere to go back to, as hard as every Republican tries to convince us to forgive them now before we get “carried away” with wanting them to take ownership of their criminality. The Trump admin deliberately hamstrung the transition. Do we not think it a stone cold certainty that mountains of evidence have already been destroyed? Part of that info the Trumpanistas have withheld goes directly to the heart and nature of Team Trump’s abysmal response to the coronavirus.
Again — let’s not hamstring ourselves. From the moment Russia stole the 2016 election’s outcome on Trump’s behalf (we will closely examine the strange 77,000 vote win disparity Trump won by in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan in light of things we will learn about how certain internet-connected, Republican-owned electronic voting machine manufacturing companies have been altering election outcomes for years now), Trump has been winging it with the GOP, the Heritage Foundation, Fox News, the Koch Brothers and the Mercers all exerting control (or thinking they were) over a traitor who owned them far more than they owned him. Cynicism and greed have brought the Republicans here. They will reap what they have sown.
There really are no coincidences. Not in Trump World anyway. Two criminal occurrences occurring at the same time aren’t a coincidence, they’re a conspiracy. His behavior toward Russia is directly connected to his obstruction of justice. His obstruction of justice is directly connected to his dismantling of the Federal government, the Justice Department in particular. That’s why Trump put Bill Barr back on the federal payroll: Barr wasn’t America’s Attorney General, he was Trump’s consigliere. Not the same thing.
As I stated above: Trump must remain in the White House to remain a free man. He KNOWS what he’s done is shockingly bad. That’s why he’ll fight to the literal death to resist paying for it though, ironically, it all comes to the same ending for Trump. I’m not sure that Trump immediately leapt to the realization that a nation weakened by a vicious virus might be easier to overthrow, but I bet at some point that thought DID occur to someone in Trump’s “brain trust”. This one feels especially “Stephen Miller”. It’s that cruel.
Hey, my little visit to Conspiracy World can be easily shot down. I have to produce proof. Without it, I’m as full of shit as they are. But, I bet there IS proof and plenty of it. I bet these arrogant pricks put it down in emails or texts or other social media — even if in code. And let’s not pooh-pooh accusing people of using code to spread hateful messages and associations…
It would be completely Trumpian — and completely Proud Boy — to communicate both tribal pride and tribal plans via visual signals.
In addition to bringing guns and Molotov cocktails and zip ties and other tools with them, the seditionists also brought an intent to murder — not just individual public servants (though I’m not sure Mike Pence fits that description, he’s just a rat the other rats got tired of) but the republic itself. That, really, was Trump’s target on Wednesday: he honestly believed he would end the American Democratic Experiment and install himself as boy king forever.
That’s what most of the GOP was counting on, too, apparently: their idiotic coup would succeed — and they’d never have to face the consequences their actions demanded. Donald Trump and the Republican Party really did have it in their heads for a while there that they were pulling it off. The lack of police resistance got them into the building and may even have steered them toward the places where the perps expected to find their political targets. How unfortunate for them that they tasted disappointment.
Their disappointment is about to grow bitter.
We just learned that, as they huddled together, under threat of physical violence from the insurrectionist mob, a number of the Republicans REFUSED to mask up. We don’t know yet — they haven’t told us — which of the people in the room is the “incubator” here. We need to know — were they innocently asymptomatic and unaware or were they aware they were carrying and (we’re talking about Republicans here), simply refused to tell anyone, figuring that if they infected anyone? “Mission accomplished”.
Republicans have proven they’ll do literally ANYTHING to win — including ally with a hostile foreign country — a traditional enemy — waging a CYBER WAR against us. Is it really that far-fetched that — to weaken us so as to never ever have to pay for their crime (of indeed ALLYING with that hostile foreign enemy) — the Republicans deliberately tried to infect us with coronavirus?
Shrug it off at your peril. I’m old enough to remember when saying out loud that Trump was a traitor was a reliable eye-roller.
Picture the scene — it really happened: a month before Donald Trump officially becomes their presidential nominee in 2016, the Republican Muckety Mucks all sit down to a meeting on Capitol Hill. Late to the meeting, current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy enters and says out loud “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump”. Per the Washington Post’s Adam Entous, “House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) immediately interjected, stopping the conversation from further exploring McCarthy’s assertion, and swore the Republicans present to secrecy.” Did ya catch that? Instead of saying something like “What, now, Kevin? You think WHAT? Jesus — WHY? What do you know? Quick, someone, GET THE FBI ON THE PHONE!” — which is what then Speaker Ryan SHOULD HAVE said next — he said “No leaks. . . . This is how we know we’re a real family here.”
I guess Speaker Ryan meant “a mafia family”.
It’s curious what wasn’t said or asked by anyone in that room filled with the Republican leadership. Things like “Do they KNOW they’re being paid or are they being duped?” or “How’s Russia doing it? How’s it putting money in their pockets — and what does Russia want in return?” It’s like all those Republicans already knew the answers to those questions. Because they do. Plenty of Republicans took plenty of Russian money into their campaign coffers. Traitors like Moscow Mitch did it a bit more “cleverly” — they took the Russian dosh in via PACS so as to (theoretically) distance themselves from the crime they were committing.
The reason no one picked up their phone and called the FBI is because they were all already co-conspirators.
Think of the calculation! Think of the furious process working overtime inside each Republican’s soft, mushy head, justifying treason. That is what it is.
Cyber War = War.
Undeclared Cyber War = War.
Undeclared Cyber War In Which We NEVER Fight Back (And Maybe NEVER Realize We’re Under Attack) = War.
The Americans living at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in the hours before Dawn on December 7, 1941 did not know that Japan had declared war on them — but, in fact, Japan had. A state of war existed (without the US government or anyone at Pearl Harbor knowing it) the instant the Japanese Imperial Navy set forth to attack Pearl Harbor weeks before the actual event. Remember — it takes time to move a naval strike force from its home base on one part of the globe to its attack positions on another part of the planet. The Japanese set sail absolutely determined to attack us whatever the consequences.
Like the unfortunate inhabitants of Pearl Harbor, just because you don’t know you’re in epic danger doesn’t mean you aren’t. And just because you didn’t mean to commit treason while launching your cut rate coup d’etat, it doesn’t mean you didn’t. The Republican Party took a big, reach-down-to-its-heels swing at permanent minority rule. To get as much on their swing as possible, they hitched their wagon to Donald Trump KNOWING not only that he was corrupt, but corrupt in partnership with a hostile foreign government.
Even the dumbest kid in class knows: corrupt people are easily compromised. A person as corrupt as Donald Trump must be compromised in remarkable, new ways. The same goes for the entire Republican Party.
Think of Mike Pence, for instance. For four years now, some people have had it in their heads that if Trump quit, we’d get Pence which would be bad but not quite as bad as Trump. That’s insane. Mike Pence is one of the most compromised people in the whole corrupt construction. Remember — it was Trump’s CAMPAIGN MANAGER Paul Manafort who brought Mike Pence to the Veep dance. Paul, at the time, was deep up to his corrupt neck in a criminal conspiracy; he needed to get $17 million into Oleg Deripaska’s hands or Deripaska would kill him. The last thing on earth a criminal like Manafort would want anywhere near him was a boy scout who’d freak out the second he heard all the Russia Secrets.
Manafort knew going in — with the Pence suggestion — that Pence would be properly deferential and compliant. He knew Pence would never even think about rocking the boat. Or calling the FBI.
So — Pence didn’t tell anyone what he knew. Neither did Manafort or Paul Ryan or Kevin McCarthy. Already, Republicans at the top of the food chain had embraced corruption on a scale they hadn’t quite before. In the days since the GOP — with their Russian friend’s help — stole election 2016, virtually no one (still) calling themselves a Republican has turned their back on their Republican fellow travelers — despite all obvious criminality.
It’s still like every Republican thinks they’re sitting in that room on Capitol Hill — and Kevin McCarthy has just walked in, with Paul Ryan eyeing him like he just infected them all with coronavirus. We’re not going to talk about that, Paul Ryan said.
In the aftermath of the event’s reporting, Kevin insisted (as all Republicans do when caught speaking actual truth about something): “I was just kidding!” Kevin, don’t ya know, has the reputation up on Capitol Hill of being THE Yuckmaster General. Suddenly a roomful of humorless white people become George Carlin or Richard Pryor. Funny thing about lots of Republicans — as it is with Donald Trump? They don’t HAVE any sort of “sense of humor”.
In order to have one, you must FIRST be able to laugh at yourself. It’s the first prerequisite. If you can’t laugh at yourself, you can’t do or see humor. You’re still capable of laughing — but only ever AT things or people. People with no sense of humor aren’t physically capable of laughing WITH anyone. Bullies — notoriously humorless — still get plenty of laughs from their crews — but those aren’t real laughs, are they? No one who hangs out around bullies has a sense of humor either.
In the years since they first actively conspired to commit treason, the GOP has done exactly nothing to change the course they’re on. They haven’t hemmed or hawed. They’re on this journey because they want to be. End of story.
It will be the end of the Republican Party, too.
Good thing Republicans can’t make irony part of their brand.
Want the inside dirt on Mike Pence? Come talk to the “guy” who’s “been there”. What will Mike Pence do in the waning days of the Trump presidency? Will he be made POTUS at the last second to give Donald Trump the pardon he’s too afraid to give himself? Will Mike become the GOP’s “standard-bearer” instead of Trump? Will Mike even have a future? It’s not a revelation that Donald Trump is a gold-plated fraud. It shouldn’t be a revelation that Mike Pence is equally fraudulent. Quick reminder: it was PAUL MANAFORT who brought Mike Pence to the table in 2016 and pitched him as the best possible veep for Trump. Paul-freakin’-MANAFORT.
Manafort, remember, then Trump’s campaign manager, was actively engaged in a treasonous criminal enterprise; he was trying to make things right with Oleg Deripaska, an oligarch and former employer to whom Manafort owed upwards of $17 million. The last thing on earth Paul Manafort would have wanted in a vice president was a choir boy who’d rat them all out the second he learned how deeply the whole Trump campaign was “indebted” to Russia. Manafort suggested Mike Pence because Manafort KNEW with absolute certainty that Mike would never betray them.
Manafort had to have known that Pence either was 1) already compromised or 2) easily compromised. Make no mistake about it: Mike Pence is as dirty as any and every other Republican.
If the Trump White House is a Rogue’s Gallery, VP Mike Pence is the Elmer Gantry character — without any of the charm or self-awareness of what a damnable con he really is. I dare you to conjure the words “hypocrite” or “sanctimonious shit” and NOT think of Mike Pence almost immediately.
There’s a way of speaking Evangelicals take on — PreacherSpeak, ya could call it. It’s got an oiliness to it — a big bright squirt of emotion but no substance beneath it so the emotion feels staged and phony. There’s a sing-songiness to it also — to distract, I suppose, from the complete & total lack of substance. And the compete & total lack of logic. It’s a vocal delivery that surfs giant waves of hubris and self-satisfaction like Kelly Slater. And if it needs to bring on the tears? Wait, wait — is that Noah I see, building another boat?
That voice sounds like this (I enter, as evidence, Pence’s speech at the 2016 Republican Convention — a classic in the annals of complete & utter bullshit). In fact, Mike took sanctimony to bold new heights in this speech. It’s still feeling puke-y and vertiginous from being up so high.
Now, to be fair to Mike (as much as it pains me), I don’t know for a fact that Mike Pence is a closeted gay man. I’ve known many over my life. It’s not fun being them. They shouldn’t have to be “them”. Everyone should be free to express what their biochemistry makes them feel.
Religious faith and science are mutually exclusive propositions. That’s not true of spirituality, mind you. One can be spiritual and scientific without any conflicts. But religious? No. Religion seeks to codify spirituality. It wants to take something ethereal and highly personal and encase it in concrete — like a church or an institution.
One could, in fact, follow Jesus on a spiritual level (by doing unto others) while ignoring all the church’s dogmatism, mythmaking and ooga-booga. I’ve pointed out in other posts here how Jesus preached against the need for a “church”. THAT was his radical idea; “Do unto others” is an essential Jewish teaching; all Jews are obligated to make the world a better place — it’s part of our “creed”. Jesus taught you don’t need a temple (or a church) to “Do unto others”, you can do that all by yourself.
Accordingly, another big part of Jesus’ message was “speak directly to God, the father”. In other words, you don’t need the corrupt priests or their corrupt temple interceding on your behalf”. Because they’re corrupt. But then, Jesus never imagined such a thing as a “Christian church”. He never “imagined” Christianity. Paul did that. Paul was the one who, taking his version of Jesus out to the gentiles (who had no idea who Jesus really was or even if he really was), invented The Early Church by establishing a series of nascent Christian communities throughout Asia Minor.
The bulk of the NT is Paul writing to those far flung communities as he invents what we now call “Christianity”.
Mike Pence is a church-goer but he ain’t going there for Jesus. FFS, the last thing Mike Pence wants to do is “DO” unto others. Nope. Mike sees religion as a way to turn others into him. Like a god. The kind who says “Do what I say OR ELSE“.
That’s the dirty, dirty secret about the extremely religious — about every single televangelist — about Mike Pence himself. They all think THEY are “god”. Not “a” god — “God”. They may tell you that “God” speaks through them — they’re lying. No one or nothing is speaking through them. The “god” you hear spewing from their mouth parts is them, all them and nothing but them.
What makes these “gods” so much worse is that they’re all so screamingly ignorant. Why can’t these “gods” have a little knowledge in their pockets to go along with the sanctimony & judginess? I guess that would be too much to ask of men for whom sanctimony & judginess are their principle skill sets.
The moment Joe Biden started announcing cabinet choices, people on the winning side started sniping at each other, having immediately lost all perspective apparently. Perspective says this: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris whipped Donald Trump’s ass (Mike Pence doesn’t enter into it — nobody voted “for” Mike Pence except maybe Mike Pence). They beat them substantially with a coalition of voters covering everything from hard core Progressives like me to moderate (former) Republicans (everyone on the Lincoln Project for example). In politics, nothing is free. Ever.
Let me drop a word here: pragmatism. Have the vision. Keep the vision strong. But recognize that it’s still a process getting there. Obstacles remain. Problems will need to be solved. Emotional responses may feel good at first, but they’re unlikely to produce good, workable responses. And being slaves to theory — that, too, may feel good and justified but if you can’t get enough people to buy the theory, you won’t be getting there. One needs to 1) make the theory palatable (so understand who you’re selling to and how to sell to them), and 2) in the event you can’t sell the whole theory right this second? Go with the flow. Sell what you can today with the caveat that you’re coming back to finish the sale tomorrow. That’s pragmatism: sensible, realistic solutions based on practical rather than theoretical considerations.
Reality says there’s literally no conservative way out of this mess. It’s conservatism — its greed, it’s power lust — that put us here. They have no idea how to get us out of it. For starters, they don’t even want to. The majority of Americans now believe that without strong, continuing government assistance — cash infusions into their bank accounts — we’re toast. The reason Mitch McConnell and the RW Money stand steadfastly against giving suffering Americans a penny more than they have to is because if Americans saw how Universal Basic Income works (that’s what this government aid would amount to), they’d want it permanently.
That is, they’d understand that a supposedly “socialist” idea is actually just a productive use of THEIR TAX DOLLARS. Instead of using them to make rich guys richer, we’re using OUR TAX DOLLARS to help US. See how that works? That’s “socialism” in a nutshell.
And the RW Money machine is all about transferring the wealth of ordinary Americans into THEIR already full pockets. If Americans realized how simple it was to take BACK the wealth already stolen from them — and then create structures that guarantee they hold onto that wealth (for instance — by NOT going bankrupt just because they or someone in their family got sick), don’t you think they’d demand it? Especially since the money in question IS THEIRS.
As in OURS.
The most important thing that happened — the only thing that really mattered — was putting Joe Biden and Kamala Harris into the White House. Forget, for a moment, everything else — the Republicans possibly holding onto the Senate, the loss of House seats (making the Democratic majority uncomfortably slim), the prospect of Trumpism enduring — and focus on one thing: having the executive branch in our grasp means having the DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE in our grasp. It means the Department of Justice can now STOP being Trump’s consigliere and go back to being an actual Department of JUSTICE.
Joe Biden has said he wants to focus on healing the nation — as he should. He’s also said it won’t be up to him if a renewed, functional DoJ chooses to investigate anyone on Team Trump — or in the Republican Party. Of course Joe doesn’t want to see that. But, again, IT WON’T BE UP TO HIM. If you think the people in the DoJ who survived Trump won’t be out for blood? You’re not watching the same movie the rest of us are.
The second law ENFORCEMENT becomes the point of the DoJ, they’ll go at both the crimes Trump committed BEFORE he was POTUS and the crimes he committed while he was POTUS. That’s not speculation. Neal Katyal just said as much on Nicolle Wallace’s Deadline White House show. Imagine, for instance, if Sally Yates gets the top spot at Justice. Sally Yates was the person who ran around warning everyone about how dirty Michael Flynn was. How do you think Sally Yates views Trump pardoning Michael Flynn? Approvingly? Hell, no. She wants justice.
The drip-drip-drip of info coming from inside the White House is going to become a cascade the closer we get to Trump’s official sell-by date. And the instant everyone realizes that they have nothing to fear from any NDA they signed because Trump insisted? They’ll be no turning off the spigot. We are about to be deluged with even more detail about just how big a corrupt traitor Trump has been. Donald Trump is never going to have a “good day” for the rest of his stinking, corrupt, treasonous life.
Once the DoJ starts prosecuting Trump, other shoes will drop. Before too long, the DoJ will reinstate every single criminal investigation that Bill Barr hampered or kneecapped. The FBI will finally begin the counter-intelligence investigation that never happened (because Rod Rosenstein prevented it from happening). The SDNY and the Manhattan DA will expand their investigations not only into Trump but into his children. Without the cushy bubble of the presidency to spare him, Trump will quickly roll up into a bloated orange ball.
The prosecutions won’t just impact Trump and his crime family; they’ll; quickly draw the entire Republican Party into the conversation. If you think Republican corruption makes us feel sick now, just wait till we get the full draught of Republican criminal behaviors.
Six months from now, we won’t think of Republicans the way we do today. We’ll think of them as a bunch of criminals facing increased scrutiny. Guys like Devin Nunes, Ron Johnson and Kevin McCarthy — once placed under oath and grilled Benghazi style — will all become the picture definition of “soft, white underbelly”. Mitch McConnell? If he’s the Senate Majority Leader, he’s going to have legal problems to deal with; screwing with the Biden-Harris agenda won’t be quite as important to him as not dying in federal prison.
The biggest thing to impact how time and circumstance will strengthen the hands of Progressives is the pandemic. We’re about to get hammered. But the winter’s death toll will be placed in Donald Trump’s column not Joe Biden’s. When Spring comes — and the dying slows — and one or more vaccines have begun to circulate and we all feel a sense of order where previously there was chaos — that contrast will play as a victory for Team Biden-Harris. Competence will make for good marketing.
The pressure on Mitch and the Republicans to let Americans have their own tax dollars to keep from starving or becoming homeless will only increase — especially as more Americans starve and face homelessness because Republicans refuse to budge. As we learn more and more about Republican criminality — this won’t be defensible for them. Under assault from all sides, more and more Republicans will fold up their tents.
Universal Basic Income, health CARE (not health INSURANCE) and a paid-for public university college education or comparable job training for those who prefer that are not radical ideas anymore. The only “socialism” that’s been practiced in America has been corporate socialism. Socialism for the rich.
We Progressives deserve to have our vision put front and center. It’s the vision America has been heading toward for a generation at least. Circumstances in the form of a pathogen have flipped the world on its head. Just as the Black Death altered life in Medieval Europe — putting an end to feudalism as a social and economic system — so, too, will COVID-19 end how we do things and start something new.
It’s hard to trust that events will happen the way we think they will. It was inevitable that Trump and the Republicans would fail. There’s simply too many of us and not nearly enough of them to pull this off. One thing we CAN do to help ourselves feel less squirrely as events unfold (albeit too slowly for our liking) is to stop being cynical. When we assume the worst will happen regardless of what we do, we surrender the future to the bad guys. A better answer when shitheads do shitty things? Reply “no”. “No, you are not doing that.” Or “No, you are not getting away with that.” or “No, an immoral shit like you doesn’t deserve to walk around free with the rest of us.”
Remember — it’s part of the Trumpian dynamic to instill panic. But, if the panic is purely an invention then it would behoove us to ignore it and focus instead on the entirely real. Now’s a good time to take another deep breath.
And another. We beat him. We beat them. They know it — that’s why they’re fighting so hard to stop what’s coming next. You see, they know what’s coming. That’s how guilty minds work.
William Butler Yeats’ “The Second Coming” rings in my ears every day. He was describing the chaotic aftermath of WWI as it rippled through Europe. He also was thinking about the Spanish Flu epidemic that nearly killed his pregnant wife.
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
“Things fall apart; the center cannot hold”. That sounds exactly like now, doesn’t it? There is no centre. There hasn’t been for a while — we just didn’t realize it. The Democrats, to their detriment, have played to that centre more than they played toward their Progressive base. The Republicans on the other hand, have played to their base exclusively. The result — as Yeats put it —
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world
Yeah — our world feels full of anarchy. Worse — it feels like
The best lack all conviction while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Boy, is that us. There are some whose gaze is fixed on what’s happening. There are journalists — citizen & otherwise — who’ve grasped the Truth and shouted it as loudly as they could. But, like Yeats wrote. “The best lack all conviction”. You can’t beat evil without conviction.
And we are absolutely fighting evil.
Here’s where I break ranks a little with Yeats. Well, I break ranks with the chronology. Yeats’ magnificent poem famously ends like this —
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
We aren’t heading towards that moment where the rough beast comes round at last, we’re already in it.
Donald Trump IS the rough beast.
Though he wrote the poem in 1919, Yeats has been credited with anticipating the rise of fascism that was already beginning to percolate in Europe. Whether or not Yeats actually anticipated it, the rough beast was definitely present — as he is now, here in America.
That’s the bad news. It’s also the good news.
Just as Yeats’ poem falls apart without a rough beast toward which the whole enterprise is pointed, the Republican coup d’etat that began on election day 2016 would collapse in on itself were Donald Trump to suddenly vanish from the stage.
Were Trump to, say, succumb to one of the myriad illnesses stalking him (you think if he were truly healthy he’d be hiding his health info from us?), there is no “Plan B” in place. Within Trump’s family, there’s no succession plan. Trump wouldn’t dare create one because he knows his “beloved” children would instantly begin plotting how to carry it out. Because that’s exactly what HE did.
As Mary Trump spelled out in her excellent memoir about her experience growing up the niece of this horrible man, Trump has plotted against everyone in his family to get his hands on as much of daddy’s money as he could. Even in a nest of Trumpian vipers, Donald is the viper-iest.
Ivanka thinks she’s the golden child — probably because daddy’s told her things when he “wanted” things. Don Junior apparently believes he’s the political successor to his dad’s political empire. Oy. Eric may not be quite as stupid as everyone things, but then, he might be.
If Donald Trump were to suddenly succumb to a stroke or heart attack — even if he were merely incapacitated — all hell would break loose. The centre would not hold.
Within Trump’s family, they’d all go rogue against each other — maybe not to their faces — but behind their backs?
What about the world outside the Trumps though? After all, that’s where all the compromise has gone down. Everyone gets that Trumps stay loyal to Trumps because they’re Trumps. And while everyone also gets that Republicans stay loyal to other Republicans because they’re Republicans, that doesn’t play quite the same way with Trump. Because Trump isn’t and never was a Republican.
Trump never was a Democrat either. He’s always been a Trump. That’s his party — and he turned the Republican Party into him.
The Republican Party may hate Trump but they saw a way to achieve their end through him. They want permanent minority rule. If Donald Trump & Russia are how they achieve it? So what.
The Republicans have no succession plan either. If Trump suddenly couldn’t serve as POTUS, Mike Pence would become president. But Mike Pence can’t hold this gang together like Trump can because Mike isn’t a boss, he’s a foot soldier. No one currently beholden to Trump (for whatever reason) is beholden to Pence which is why Trump disappearing from the stage would be a “get out of Trump jail free” card.
A political party based on the idea of “every man for himself” would suffer the fate it deserves as the rats all climb over each other to try and escape. Mike Pence is very definitely just such a rat.
Remember — Paul Manafort brought Mike to the dance. Paul needed a compliant vice president who absolutely would not balk when he learned certain ugly secrets about Trump’s campaign — like it’s deep association with Russia. Apparently Mike fit that bill.
That’s what happened on election night 2016: Russia pushed Trump over the finish line, helping the Republicans seal their coup d’etat with a victory stolen from the American people. We will come to see Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan through a very different lens. Trump didn’t pull off a surprise victory to snatch the Electoral College from Hillary Clinton. Russia first softened the environment by pounding it with propaganda borne of the proprietary polling data Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort handed to Russian Intelligence Officer Konstantin Kilimnik. When enough targeted Black voters were polling their reluctance to vote for Hillary (now that they were thinking she might be a closet racist thanks to all those ads showing up on their Facebook pages), Russia knew it could hit the voting machines — flipping just enough to make a Trump win believable.
That’s 77,000 votes across three blue states.
We don’t know for certain yet that that happened because no one — despite everything we know — has ever done any forensics on all those machines. Those machines — we now know — are incredibly vulnerable. Hacking into them — via the internet — isn’t even challenging. That’s probably by design. The majority of machines are manufactured by companies owned by Republicans — who’ve made their allegiance to Republican politics known. Considering how corrupt & corruptible people are in general — and Republicans are in particular — bet the ranch on those voting machines being part of the corruption.
The past 4 years have opened our eyes kinda like Alex’s eyes were opened in “A Clockwork Orange” — they’ve been pried open, giving us no way to not see every bit of the Trump Shit Show. That show though includes a lot of harsh truths about America’s failings. Racism has always been our fatal flaw — not because we were or are racist (tribalism is hard wired into us) but because rather than resisting our inherent racism, we indulged it. We allowed it to tell us that though “All men are created equal”, if those men are Black or brown or anything other than white, they aren’t equal.
Donald Trump didn’t invent American racism of course, he merely gave it permission to speak its vileness out loud. He didn’t invent corruption, he merely excelled at it (like he’s excelled at nothing else). He didn’t invent treason, he merely used it to get elected.
Living in America has never felt so perilous — or so filled with a need for change. Yet, as terrifying and exhausting and frustrating and insane as it feels, there’s also some very real hopefulness in the mix. If we can accomplish the systemic change that needs to happen? We will make America a more fair place where more people have the very real possibility of living their dreams.
I look forward to proving F. Scott Fitzgerald wrong when he wrote “There are no second acts in American lives”. We Americans definitely have a second act in us and probably a third and a fourth. We can’t get there though until we send this bloated orange rough beast to prison for the rest of his life.
While Republicans have dreamed forever about achieving permanent minority rule, it wasn’t until Donald Trump arrived that they found a way to pull it off. Trump compromises everyone. He makes everyone around him complicit. That’s really his one talent.
Take Russia out of the equation and Trump never becomes POTUS. Everything flows from that fact. Trump’s power doesn’t flow from him, it flows from all the people who can blackmail him — because those are the same people blackmailing the rest of the GOP. The machine relies on Trump to be the organizing principle around which all the other corruption revolves. But, what if Trump suddenly disappeared.
Donald Trump is not a healthy man. We can see it and hear it. I bet up close you can smell it too. It’s the outrageous story twist that still hasn’t happened. But it very well could. At some point, it absolutely will: Trump will die or become incapacitated. What happens then?
If it happens before the election, all hell will break loose. How can it not? Suddenly all those people afraid of Trump coming after them if they tell the truth will have nothing to fear. Trump’s family may vow to pick up the mantle but each and every one of them is about to have their own legal problems. The Republican Party won’t suddenly come to Jesus and realize the error of its ways. They, too, will have legal problems.
Without Trump, Bill Barr’s efforts become harder to defend. Mike Pence calling those shots wont have the same impact that Trump calling them does. No one’s beholden to Mike Pence; in fact, Mike Pence is as beholden as pretty much anyone.
With Trump out of the picture, more secrets will pour from the shadows but without Trump’s presence to reassure his villainous co-conspirators that nothing will happen to them. Aside from Trump, who among the Republicans can in any way assure the rest of them they they’ll get away with this?
No one. Because no one can assure them.
If Trump were to succumb before the election, the entire Republican election effort will fall apart. Who would his followers glom onto instead? Mike Pence? Ha! Ted Cruz? Not even Ted’s family likes Ted. Nikki Haley? Do not hold your breath. The answer is no one.
If Trump were to cheat his way into “re-election” then succumb after his second stolen election, pretty much the same thing would happen. Trump is the corrupt heart at the corrupt core of Republicanism. Without Trump, all those corrupt Republicans will turn on each other like sharks in a feeding frenzy. They’re all criminals after all. They know what everyone else holds over them — and they hate them for it.
Without Trump mitigating all that mistrust? The mistrust will explode. The Republicans will turn on each other with bloodthirsty abandon. Take it to the bank. They’re Republicans. It’s what they do.
The end of Donald Trump will be the end of the Republican coup d’etat and, shortly thereafter, the Republican Party itself.
Extinction couldn’t happen to a better bunch of pirates.
We all know one. Or two or three. Men who’ve got it in their heads that they’re deities. They sure think their junk is. But I’m talking about a small subset of that set — the Bill Barrs of the world. The assholes di tutti assholes.
Bill Barr has made his religious views known. He’s not ashamed of his bizarre brand of Catholicism that is as far removed from Jesus as I am from getting a dinner invite from Donald Trump. Catholicism is just Bill Barr’s beard anyway. Bill doesn’t believe in Catholicism’s god. Bill doesn’t believe IN God at all.
Bill Barr believes he IS God.
Watch Barr’s performance before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. Watch his body language. Even a well-rehearsed liar like Bill Barr can’t control his body’s autonomous responses to stimuli.
Barr started the hearing his usual, arrogant self. It was there, gleaming in his eyes. But then the Democrats began to frustrate Barr. Every time Barr went to digress (his strategy — eat as much of the questioner’s five minutes as possible), the Democrats cut him off: “I’m reclaiming my time!”
Bill cannot tolerate being questioned. He hates being challenged especially by women
how he dodged. Deal with it. Except that didn’t happen today. Today, the Democrats weren’t so much asking Barr questions as telling him what he’s done.
Telling We The People what Bill Barr has done on Donald Trump’s behalf to dismantle the country the rest of us live in.
Bill Barr’s hardly the only Republican who honestly thinks he’s not just “a” deity but “the” deity.
Mike Pompeo is famously religious. He’s big into the end of days cos he thinks the Book Of Revelation should be taken literally. Mike’s proof that Karl Marx was wrong. Religion isn’t the opiate of the masses, it’s the angel dust. It doesn’t narcotize, it causes psychosis.
Mike Pence might be one of the phoniest Christians ever. He wouldn’t know Jesus if he stopped midway through nailing Jesus to a cross to spit in Jesus’s eye — which he absolutely would do. Mike comes by his sanctimony honestly — he really is sanctimonious. And make no mistake — when Mike Pence imagines the face of God? He sees himself.
Mitch McConnell doesn’t see himself as God, he sees himself as a dark Turtle Lord serving the Kochs. To Mitch McConnell, THEY are God.
Then there’s Donald Trump — except Trump’s the exception to the rule. Trump doesn’t see himself as God — he can’t imagine anything bigger than himself — except money. To Trump, money is God and Trump is its Jesus.
You’ll notice — all of these God wannabes aspire to be God. Not a one of them aspires to be Jesus. It’s like they see no advantage or gain in dying for anyone else’s sins.
The downside to this technology — in the episode — was that the skill set couldn’t be in two places at once. If it was being implanted into someone else, it’s because it no longer existed in its original host. In the episode, the character “Mad” Joe Dell’s legendary jazz chops could be removed from Joe Dell and given to someone who’d bought them — from the company that took them from Joe Dell.
Joe Dell (and most of his family), thought Joe was moving into a retirement community. There was no explanation for his rapid decline into total dementia — and then his death. But Joe hadn’t actually died. He’d been warehoused — until every last drop of his jazz chops could be squeezed from him.
The episode ended happily. Joe’s teenaged grandson Ronnie catches on to the monstrous scam being pulled and gets his grandfather back — legendary jazz chops mostly complete. So, here’s my storyteller’s sighed “What if…?”
What if we could transplant John Lewis’ legendary humanity, his empathy and humility into the heads of every single Republican?
But the “skill set” we’re talking about isn’t like jazz talent. It doesn’t require all the micro-skills being a jazz legend demands. All this skill set requires is that we care about other people at least as much as we care about ourselves. Ya know — “Do unto others” and all that.
What if we could get Republicans to “Do unto others” like it was a super power? Or a normal human capacity…
Imagine if Mitch McConnell forgot how to be a cynical treason turtle and, instead, cared about America and every human living within its borders.
Imagine if Bill Barr put down his perverse Dominionism and, instead took up Jesus’ message.
Imagine if Mike Pence’s sanctimony suddenly morphed into love of something other than Donald Trump’s ass.
Imagine if every single Republican who thought Jesus wanted them to be rich vs decent suddenly realized, “NO! HE WANTS US TO BE DECENT!”
We won’t bother imagining any scenario where Donald Trump suddenly acquires humanity. Mary Trump’s book spelled it out clearly and emphatically: Trump has no capacity for humanity and probably never did. He’s a sociopath just like his daddy. Indecency is hard-wired into Trump’s corrupt DNA.
But, if everyone else suddenly acquired John Lewis’ innate decency — if every Republican who’s enabled Trump (in other words, every Republican who still proudly calls themselves “Republican”) — then we wouldn’t have a problem with Trump. Our collective decency would not tolerate his presence.
He’d be gone already and no longer a clear & present danger.
I know — that’s why stories are stories and reality is reality.
Donald Trump counts on what Steve Bannon called “flooding the zone with shit”. It’s the “How To Make A Rabbit Hole” playbook.
Obfuscation and distraction are the point. While we spin our wheels in consternation at the latest outrage, Trump is busily thieving somewhere else in the environment or laying the groundwork for an even bigger score somewhere down the line.
Each Trumpian lie is a rabbit hole. The danger — and our press simply can’t keep out of it — is that you’ll follow Trump down whichever one he’s braying from. There’s never a good outcome.
“It’s a hoax” is a rabbit hole. Whatever Trump calls a “hoax” is guaranteed to be one hundred percent true. Nothing hoax about. The only correct answer is “No, it’s not”. Any scratching of the head and wondering “Wow, does he really think it’s a hoax?” is the rabbit hole reaching up to grab you and pull you into it.
No, of course Trump doesn’t think it’s a hoax. He knows better. But now that he’s got you asking questions about it, it might as well be real because here we all are talking about it. The rabbit hole just became real.
Mike Pence also loves a good rabbit hole. Ever watch him answer a question?
Yesterday — in the face of record-setting infection numbers, Mike Pence announced how proud he was of our efforts to stop the coronavirus from spreading. Proud? Of what? Of the fact that we’re pretty much the only country in the world getting its ass kicked like this — because we insist on denying science? If you ask Mike the obvious question — “Mike, what the hell are you talking about?”, Mike’s answer will be pure rabbit hole.
Ask Mitch McConnell about Merrick Garland. Or Oleg Deripaska. Or how much money he’s personally taken from Russia over the years. Or why he participated in the coup d’etat that put a Russian intelligence asset in power.
Moscow Mitch will hummina-hummina at you with his beady, red-rimmed Treason Turtle eyes all while leading you down a rabbit hole.
As I said — it’s all about obfuscation.
The trick? Don’t go there. Refuse to follow them. You know the argument’s going to be specious anyway. “Thanks anyway” is a perfectly good way to let them know you won’t be joining them down in bullshitland.