Of Rabbit Holes & Republicans

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.

“Shut up” is even better.

The Majority Of Us Did Not Vote For Trump Or What He’s Doing. So, How Come He’s Doing It Anyway?

It’s strange to live in a democracy (well, a democratic republic) where the majority does not get its way. Apparently by design.

It’s kind of hard for a democracy to continue being a democracy when too few of its citizens take part in the very process that makes a democracy work: voting. The whole point is “self-government”. We do the work.

As I’ve argued here before, too many Americans (on the right) have a 5 year old’s notion of freedom. They think freedom means “You’re not the boss of me”. Everyone can do what they like. Since freedom comes with zero responsibilities or obligations, it doesn’t matter if your “freedom” infringes or obliterates somebody else’s. So long as your freedom “wins”? Who cares?

For starters, those whose freedoms are being infringed upon or ignored. They care.

But then, right-wing people only ever think of their own freedom when they think of that word. Everyone else’s freedom is secondary at best.

That includes their freedom to vote.

At its core, this election, this fight — it is about freedom: the group’s freedom over the individual’s freedom (to undermine the group’s freedom).

That’s what racism is — it’s the racist asserting that their rights supersede their victims’ rights. If their victims’ rights were automatically respected, the racist would lose instantly — because we’d “baked in” our intolerance of racism. But we’ve done the opposite — and baked in our tolerance of racism.

Racism exists because we let it exist — no other reason.

That changed. Americans are taking to the streets every single day to protest racism and all the terrible thing it’s done to specific people. But, also we’re protesting the fact that We The People tolerated it for so long. We allowed statues of racists and traitors to go up. We allowed them to remain in place. We accepted their “messaging” — that some peoples rights are better than other peoples’.

The times in my life when I’ve been proud to be an American had everything to do with accomplishments (the moon landing) and nothing to do with our “system”. I’ve been taught that our system is superior — with the words “freedom” and “liberty” being liberally tossed in — but never specifically “why” we were better.

I don’t know when Americans lost interest in our process or if we ever had any interest in it. Maybe the problem is democracy’s damned hard to pull off. You can’t ever take it for granted. You can’t just throw money at it.

Hmmmmm… maybe that’s another of our problems. We’ve confused money with democracy. The more money you have, the more “democracy” you have. That is, the more your vote counts.

The RW money — the Kochs, the Mercers — had a huge advantage going in to this. They had money of course. But they also had “passion”. They cared enough about what they wanted to do something. The Kochs have been behind gerrymandering and the hijacking of the judiciary. When people vote repeatedly but never get their way — or feel the ominous pressure of judges who disapprove of who they are (so, it doesn’t really matter what they’ve done) — they get cynical. They stop taking part in the process because what’s the point?

They stop voting.

They begin to act like victims expecting their victimization to go on forever.

Rapists rape because they don’t care about the word “no”. It means nothing to them. It’s not a coincidence that every sexual deviant in office (that we know of — to be fair) has an “R” next to their name. That’s why child molesters like Roy Moore can run as Republicans. They’re the “Rights Of The Rapist Over The Rights Of The Rapist’s Victim” party.

That’s the answer to “how come Trump’s doing it anyway?” He’s a rapist. Rapists do what they want. He’s gotten away with it because his party is complicit. And they are — for the moment — getting away with it because WE were complicit for so long — tolerating more and more of our rights being trampled (with the caveat that they were always being trampled).

Progressives want as many people as possible to thrive and flourish. E Pluribus Unum — out of many, one. The more there are in the “many”, the better the “one” will be. That is American Exceptionalism — our diversity. That is the majority that voted against Trump in 2016 and 2018 and who will again vote against Trump this year.

Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by around 3,000,000 votes. That were counted. I bet someone could do some research and come up with a more accurate number that included all those votes that DIDN’T get counted. Or got flipped by electronic voting machines. Or were denied at their polling place. Or were dissuaded from even showing up by propaganda that filled their Facebook pages (propaganda send specifically to them from Russia via Konstantin Kilimnik and Paul Manafort). Or were “taught” from early on that there was no point in their voting to begin with.

I bet a more accurate assessment of 2016 would have Hillary Clinton and We The People decimating Donald Trump. Take Russia out of the picture and Trump certainly does not win Pennsylvania, Michigan or Wisconsin — and therefore the Electoral College (a whole “institution” meant to limit the freedom of the voters to have their say and way).

What scares Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, Bill Barr, Mikes Pompeo, Flynn & Pence more than anything? Aside from how guilty they are, it’s how small a minority of Americans they represent. Seeing the majority suddenly rise up — taking to the streets every day — terrifies them.

I wonder if Donald Trump realized last night — as he gazed at all those empty blue seats in Tulsa — if the end was near. He’s gotten away with murder. Literally.

And that’s about to stop.

The majority has had enough.

Why Doesn’t Our Main Stream News Media Ever Ask The Most Important Question Of All: “WHY?”

The difference between good storytellers and bad storytellers is good storytellers know that a satisfying story will always answer the most important question of all about any character: WHY? Why did the character do what they did to propel the story forward?

Important distinction: “Just because” is not an adequate answer.

Funny thing? “Just because” is the answer 90% of our press seems to accept as “why” Donald Trump does what he does. Why does Donald Trump treat Vladimir Putin like a god? “Just because”.

Why do the Republicans let Donald Trump get away with dismantling the Constitution and the Rule Of Law right before our very eyes? “Just because”.

Why did Trump wait almost two months before doing a goddamned thing about the coronavirus pandemic coming at us? Why did he insist on America buying huge quanties of hydroxychloroquine even though we had no hard data that it was efficacious? “Just because”.

Weird, huh, that none of those “just bceauses” feels even remotely satisfying. Or true.

Take it from a professional storyteller — who relies on getting characters right because the instant we get a character wrong, the audience will bail — no one in the whole history of the world has ever done anything “just because”. They may not have been able to articulate what motivated them, but something motivated them. Even existential boredom — as a cause — shouts “motivation!”

There are myriad answers to WHY Donald Trump does what he does. None of it is a mystery. It is ludicrous that even now there are “journalists” who ask themselves, “Hmmm, I wonder why Trump did that?” as if a mountain range of data didn’t answer that question to a very fine point. Trump’s father and grandfather were unsavory men. Everything about Trump’s own personal history is redolent of bullshit and clumsy concoction.

Everyone in Manhattan knows the truth about Donald Trump — what he is (a con man) and what he isn’t (rich). FFS — as Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in August 2017 (when the Republicans in control were doing everything they could to undermine the Steele Dossier) — while doing their due diligence BEFORE BEGINNING their formal oppo research on Donald Trump (as they were hired to do by the Republican Washington Free Beacon), what they found in publicly available material (repeat — IN PUBLICLY AVAILABLE MATERIAL — accessible by anyone in the public and everyone in the news media) convinced them that Donald Trump had been laundering Russian mob money through his Atlantic City casinos.

Was anyone who watched Trump’s casinos GO bankrupt at the time thinking anything else? Of course not! We should ask (another time) — WHY did/does our main stream news media LET Donald Trump get away with so much obvious criminality over the course of his lifetime? What’s up with THAT? As I said — another time.

The answer to WHY? where Trump is concerned has always been there. It’s not hard. All one has to do is accept it (hell, Trump’s been confessing it all along!) Donald Trump is corrupt. Always has been. We don’t have to keep proving it. It’s as much a stone cold fact as “we are carbon-based life form”. Yes, we are. That is 100% correct.

Also 100% correct and 100% verifiable — Donald Trump has a long-standing relationship with Russia, Russian mobsters, Russian intelligence and Russian corruption. If we took what we have — in public — and took it to a civil trial (where all we need is the preponderance of the evidence — 51%), we’d win hands down. If we took it to a criminal trial — where we have to be dead certain?

Same result. We’ve got receipts. In our hands. We simply refuse to acknowledge that fact.

WHY, I wonder.

There’s not much the average citizen can do — even if they shout their heads off on Twitter to lots likes. We don’t have the kind of megaphone that MSNBC or CNN has. We don’t, most of us, have the followers that your average mediocre reporter does. Our voices simply don’t “broadcast” as wide as a working journalist’s does.

But, those journalists should know that We The People have deep concerns about how the Fourth Estate is failing to live up to its Constitutionally mandated obligation to be the final check on power and its abuse. Whether it’s lack of imagination, incompetence, lack of talent or curiosity, or just plain cowardice and corruption — they are failing us. And the tell is that strange refusal to ever ask “WHY?”

Why does Trump do what he does? Why did Mitch McConnell violate every “norm” imaginable to hijack the judiciary (oops — just answered my own question — silly me — Mitch did what he did TO HIJACK THE JUDICARY – for the very purpose he’s using it now!)

Why did Lindsey Graham do the strange back flips he did about Trump? Why does Devin Nunes behave the way he does? Why does Bill Barr regularly violate the spirit of the law like Brett Kavanaugh pumped up on beer at a frat party? Why did the Senate refuse to meet its obligation to America and convict Donald Trump of corruption?

“Just because”?

C’mon now. We all know the answers to these questions — even our main stream news media. When we turn off the cameras and get as up close and personal as social distancing allows — I betcha the overwhelming majority of them WILL say out loud what the rest of America has been screaming for years now: Donald Trump is a fully owned asset of Vladimir Putin & Russia.

And Saudi Arabia. And China. And the UAE. And Turkey. And Israel. And who knows who else.

We would have gotten to the end of this awful story we’re all living inside of eons ago if our news media had just asked “Why” and stuck to their guns about getting an answer before moving on to anything else. “WHY are Mexicans rapists?” “Why do you grab pussies?”

Hey, even ask WHY “but her emails” — especially now, in hindsight — with every member of the Trump family using private email servers just like they accused HRC of doing. Yes, please — ask “WHY?”

I’ll answer my own question — WHY does our main stream news media persist in doing this? Because “both sides do it” has distorted everything. If both sides do it, they both do it for the same reason: “politics”. See? Easy? No more worrying about the truth — the real WHY people do what they do.

What Will Americans Do If Trump Goes For Broke — And “Makes Us” An Authoritarian Shithole?

Remember back not so long ago when wacky people on the left said things like “Russia controls Trump!” and people would laugh at us? Remember back when people would, reluctantly, compare Trump & Republicans to Nazis and other people would lose their shit because “how dare you compare anyone to Nazis!”?

What Trump & the Republican Party are doing is (trying to) turn America into the authoritarian paradise they’ve always dreamed of. Conservatives want to conserve what is, remember. And what is is what remains of the past. Conservatives want to turn America back into the White Authoritarian Paradise of their dreams — a fondly remembered slave state circa 1850 where women couldn’t vote, black people were counted as 3/5 of a white person and owning other humans was justified by the gobbledygook in their 2500 year old book of supposed wisdom.

The precedent to our problem was a decision made by the RW money — the Kochs, the Mercers — to USE their money to subvert America’s future to what THEY wanted it to be (the actual Will of the People be damned). The Koch’s saw demographic annihilation in their future and moved to do something about it. Since they couldn’t effectively stop America from becoming more diverse, they put their money into limiting any political power those diverse Americans might have for the foreseeable future.

That’s the whole point of Mitch McConnell’s mission to hijack the judiciary. To reject the Will Of The People in favor of the will of the Koch Bros.

So far, Mitch & the Republicans have managed to work in the extreme background. Now they’ve been dragged into the light. Mitch has said he won’t allow any more “rescue packages” for ordinary Americans. He wants to see Blue States all go bankrupt (never mind that it’s blue states that literally PAY FOR red states and, as we speak, red states are plunging into the very same economic chaos but without the capacity or dynamism afterwards to resurrect themselves).

Mitch will change his tune because he’ll have to or the people of Kentucky will come after him with torches and pitchforks. But even then, Mitch will try to limit the help ordinary Americans get. Mitch won’t have “socialism” in America — not unless it’s corporate socialism in which case — bring it!

The initial Republican coup d’etat relied on our reluctance to accept that the Republicans were capable of doing something so monstrous, evil and corrupt. That was just Democrats being hyperbolic and “political”. That was what the news media told us, remember? Both sides do it anyway, right?

Now we all see how corrupt Republicans are. And now that Bill Barr has stripped himself naked in front of us all, we can see just how nakedly corrupt Barr is — as is the whole Republican game plan to permanently install minority rule. Barr wiped his ass with the Rule of Law then pissed all over it for good measure. Barr just said that the history of this time will get written by the winners — meaning himself and his corrupt Republican co-conspirators.

Um, no, Bill. That won’t happen. The majority of Americans don’t want what you want. They want the opposite and have voted that way only to have their votes suppressed, blocked or not counted. While Americans are too, too slow to take to the streets, when pressed, we do and we will.

Want to know if we’re pressed enough yet? Wisconsinites risked sickness and death to vote in a primary that was mostly focused on keeping a conservative state supreme court justice on the Wisconsin Supreme Court bench. They didn’t just defeat this conservative shit, they blew him away with the turnout.

In order for Mitch McConnell to have his way, every single group Republicans, their racism, their misogyny, their bigotry, their cruelty, their greed, their ignorance, their parsimony, their incompetence, their treachery and their corruption have touched will have to lie down. That’s a lot of Americans.

It’s the majority of us, in fact. What separates an America from a Nazi Germany is that, even though most Germans did not, in fact, go along with what Hitler and the National Socialists were doing, all of those Germans were “German”. That’s a very powerful tribal connection and, being social creatures, the last thing any human wants is to be cast off from her tribe. To be ex-communicated from it.

Americans may feel kinship with other Americans but we’re also parts of many other tribes to which we feel deep connections. Now, more than ever, non-white tribes see themselves and their tribe’s particular relationship with America in stark relief. Californians feel kinship toward other Californians. Angelenos feel kinship toward other Agelenos.

Trump & his Republican co-conspirators can’t even count on the armed forces to back them up — should they push this to that level. Trump may be “commander-in-chief” but our soldiers have already face questions of whether or not they have to follow immoral orders. They don’t.

Making America’s voting entirely vote-by-mail will deprive Republicans of a significant device they’ve used to cheat — the vulnerability to the internet of voting systems. Only hand-marked ballots are completely unhackable (though a well-monitored vote-by-mail system comes in second).

The blue voting surges that started in 2018 and continued since have only increased in size and intensity. Again – despite (or maybe because of) dangerously partisan decisions by the SCOTUS (to force Wisconsinites to vote despite the pandemic), more Americans are voting. As Trump himself has said out loud: when more Americans vote, it’s bad for Republicans.

Donald and Mitch and Bill and Mike (Pompeo & Pence & Flynn) all expect America to just “give in” to this physical assault on our democratic republic. They’re going to be in for a very rude surprise. It simply will not go down that way.

African Americans aren’t going to just “go along with this”. Neither will Latino-Americans or Jewish Americans or Asian Americans or LGBTQ Americans or female Americans or ANY American who isn’t a die-hard, go-down-with-the-ship Trumpanista. Yes, yes, yes — Americans are quick to anger but slow to flash it in the streets (doing it on social media is so much easier). But everything’s changed now.

Everything.

We were NEVER going to be an authoritarian shithole except in the minds of authoritarian shitheads.

The country will split apart before surrendering to what Trump and the Republican Party are doing. That will be sad and tragic. But the blue states that reconstitute into an American-like entity will eventually survive. The red states — formed into a blob of white rage and stupidity — will almost overnight become failed states and experiments in how not to run a country. They’ll be lucky to make it past six months with functioning electricity or running water.

What will Americans do when Trump tosses his Hail Mary in hopes of staying in power forever (knowing, as he does, that the moment he stops being potus, his legal problems begin)? Easy. We’ll (finally) step up and say “Enough is enough”. Trump-Russia, unfortunately, was complicated. Too complicated for a headlines-only news media to either get its head around or report. Trump-Ukraine was simpler.

We can all grasp what a quid pro quo is.

Trump-coronavirus is easy to understand. Trump’s corruption cost tens of thousands (so far) of American lives. It’s probably destroyed the economy for a while to come. It’s hard to vote for the guy (and his party) who killed your relatives, gutted your wallet and turned your future into bleak nothingness.

Never mind Trump’s base. It’s not about them and never was. This is about the rest of us — the Americans who genuinely care about America because we genuinely care about the wide variety of Americans with whom we share the country. At the end of the day, there simply is no conservative way out of this.

Trump may try to turn us into an authoritarian shithole — and, for a time, he may come close. But he will not succeed. There are simply too many of us and we’re waaaaay too angry.

What “Both Sides Do It” Journalism Gets Especially Wrong: Both Sides Don’t Always Act “Politically”

It’s a simple fact: American journalism has, by and large, failed America. The press is the only job mentioned in the constitution. It’s obligated there to be the final check on power. Too bad they abdicated that responsibility eons ago.

I’d love to know at which J-School this virus first started. “Both sides do it” is the basis for every false equivalence that brought us to this catastrophe. It replaces healthy skepticism with outright cynicism — a very conservative thing to do. The only outcome is a bad outcome (it says) — so assume the worst of everyone regardless of the truth.

“Both sides do it” says that Bernie Madoff is a thief. And, so is Jean Valjean (the hero in Les Miserables). Madoff stole billions because he’s greedy. Valjean stole bread to feed the hungry. But — under “Both Sides Do It”, both men are thieves. So — both sides do it. The difference in scale and context means nothing. All information has equal weight — regardless of whether it’s true or false.

That’s the framing our press insists on. Fortunately, they’ve stopped giving air time to climate deniers (though they put Trump on their air, so I take that back). But, when they put climate deniers on their air regularly, they always sat the denier next to a climate scientist in a 50-50 shot. In the visual language, that means those two points of view are equal.

It’s true. We interpret visual images in very distinct ways. If you present two points of view in a way that says they’re equal regardless of whether they are or not, your framing has already undermined the truth.

Same token — if you present anything Donald Trump says without the context that he’s probably lying, then YOU are lying to your audience. You’re implying via your silence on the matter that, of course, he’s telling the truth. When he says things that (you know) are outright lies and you DON’T correct them immediately? They BECOME the truth. How can they not? No one contradicted their UNtruthfulness.

Each time a “Both Sides Do It” journalist gives the benefit of the doubt to someone or something undeserving (MSNBC’s Stephanie Rhule is especially guilty of this), they give credence to something that had none. “Yeah, but what if total bullshit were true…?” is not “journalism”. It’s indulging liars, fabulists and frauds.

“Both Sides Do It” journalists get suckered by job titles. It’s as if the moment Trump became POTUS, he became “infallible” to some of the press. NBC’s awful Kelly O’Donnell comes to mind. She’ll quote anything Trump says without an ounce of context. The president said it, Kelly insists. She’s just there to report what he says.

I’m curious… if Trump (for shits n giggles one day) said “And I know for a fact that Kelly O’Donnell kills puppies and eats them for breakfast every day”, would Kelly O repeat those words without comment — words that SHE KNOWS are not true? Would she suddenly decide then to be a little less “neutral”?

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what Kelly O would do. She’s that terrible at being a journalist (hell, an open mic on a stand could do what she does).

When Mitch McConnell refused to give Merrick Garland so much as a hearing — THAT was a political act. Any Democrat reacting to Mitch’s abuse of his power is NOT acting politically. They’re pointing to an inappropriate political act.

Similarly — when Donald Trump violates the Constitution (say, by openly violating its emoluments clause every single day), it’s not a political act to point out that fact. It’s somewhere between law enforcement and patriotism. Similarly — when the Democrats called out the Republicans for working with the Russians to steal election 2016, that was not a political response.

It was a CRIME VICTIM trying to report that a CRIME had been committed — against them, against the American People, against democracy itself. FFS — it’s like a robbery victim calling the police — only to have them come and arrest HIM for being the crime’s victim.

That’s the most frustrating part of “Both Sides Do It” journalism. It constantly mischaracterizes what Democrats do, say and think.

Trust me, American Journalism, while my opposition to Donald Trump has a massive political element to it, another big element is purely patriotic. Both sides do not conspire with hostile foreign governments to undermine the integrity of an American election.

Both sides do not then cover up every aspect of that conspiracy in every way they can — out in the open even.

Both sides do not aspire to permanent minority rule.

Both sides do not — like the Kochs — intend to use their money to direct American politics how THEY want it to go.

Both sides do not think there are more important things (the economy) than living.

Both sides do not aspire to open up America’s economy — however many deaths it causes — because they need to win an election.

When this is all done and dusted — and we’ve buried the Republican Party alongside the Whigs — we must then turn our attention to the press.

We need to bury “Both Sides Do It” in the same cemetery.

Coronavirus Has Revealed All The Things America Sucks At — Health Care, Food Supply, Emergency Response; We Can Officially Add CAPITALISM To The List

The coronavirus pandemic has ripped the bandage off a thousand flaws in how Americans do things.

Health care was the first thing we were destined to slam into because we don’t HAVE a health CARE system, we have a health INSURANCE system. Not the same thing. As I’ve often said here, when people walk in the door of any part of our health system, the first question we ask isn’t “How can we fix you”, it’s “How’re you gonna pay for this?” Can’t pay? Sorry, pal.

That’s not health care speaking, it’s profit incentive. And while having profit incentive in our health care system may be profitable (the capitalism part), it was deadly to a staggering number of Americans before coronavirus. Think of all those Americans who couldn’t even think of getting tested — if they felt like shit — because they feared that if covid-19 didn’t kill them, the hospital bill surely would.

That’s the crony part.

Watch Mitch McConnell. He is dead set against doing anything even remotely “socialistic” to save America. The idea of UBI is anathema to him — even if it means saving ordinary Americans from ruin. Mitch even thinks letting New York or California go broke is the way to go. Never mind the fact that states like NY & CA are the economic ENGINES of the economy. The consumers in those states — they POWER the consumer demand that fuels the engines. People with actual expertise in economics are already saying that what Mitch is thinking wouldn’t just drive us into an economic depression, it will plunge us there. What part of capitalism is that good for?

It turns out America is especially bad at capitalism. There’s nothing inherently wrong with capitalism in the abstract. If we accept the fact that — if humans are involved — there are no perfect ways of doing anything — then one can argue that compared to everything else humans have tried, capitalism can give more humans more opportunities to enjoy a decent standard of living. The “social democracy” brand — where the commonweal always has a good seat at the economic table — makes capitalism fairer (though never ever fair enough).

Crony capitalism — what America calls capitalism — is bad for everyone ultimately — as the coronavirus is demonstrating relentlessly. It set us up for failure and damn if we’re not failing.

While the pandemic was descending upon us, Donald Trump and Jared Kushner were selling OUR supplies for profit and cornering the market on everything that was left. Rather than taking profit out of the picture — because this is a national emergency — Trump made profiteering and even outright price gouging part of the process!

Trump and the Republican Party don’t care if opening the economy kills hundreds of thousands of Americans (so long as it’s not them — then they’ll care plenty). Their bottom line, as always, is the money. And the power.

They have no idea how much rage against them is building outside their bubble. It was already building because of three years of lawlessness and treason. Throwing a daily death list into the mix is not going to expand Trump’s base. In fact — because it’s mostly Trump voters who are refusing to social distance or in any way behave safely — two weeks from now, it will be Trump voters who start dying in droves.

And Trump — as I said — won’t be adding voters. He needs every voter he can get. Or keep from dying.

As we know, Donald Trump is a horrible president just like he was a horrible businessman, a horrible father, a horrible husband, a horrible son, a horrible friend, a horrible associate, a horrible citizen, a horrible human.

He’s also a horrible capitalist. Just like every other Republican.

It Turns Out Mitch McConnell Is An Even Bigger Villain Than We Knew

Mitch McConnell is Evil Personified As A Treason Turtle

If you haven’t read Jane Mayer’s piece on Mitch McConnell in the New Yorker, do. Read it. Familiarize yourself with Mitch’s story. Understand who Mitch McConnell is — what he wants and why. If you want to understand how we got into this fiasco — a corrupt president chosen by a hostile foreign power unchecked by “The World’s Greatest Deliberative Body” (which is busily installing judges hostile to the majority) — you have to understand Mitch.

Not that there’s much to understand. Mitch believes in nothing except money and power. That’s it. Early on, he learned that what you say while running for office need not have anything to do with what happens once you’re IN office. Cynicism is baked in to Mitch’s DNA — as is corruption. He genuinely believes that the end always justifies the means — regardless of how corrupt those means are.

At no point in his life or political career has McConnell ever Jones’d for democracy. He’s never held a lofty ideal about public service or the commonweal. He couldn’t give a rat’s ass about his Kentucky constituents because, to Mitch, the hardscrabble white trash he grew up part of means nothing to him. He needs their votes come election time (when he’ll deliver a goody — like a Russian owned aluminum factory that required the lifting of sanctions to pull off). But, otherwise, Mitch happily shrugs off some of the lowest approval numbers among anyone in the Senate.

Nobody loves Mitch McConnell. Literally NOBODY.

His first wife doesn’t love him. Neither does his second wife, Elaine Chao. She and Mitch may appreciate each other — enabling each other’s greed the way they do — but that’s not love of “each other”. That’s love of the corruption the other makes possible.

Mitch’s three daughters don’t love him. They detest his politics.

Mayer tells the story of the first time Mitch ever ran for office — as high school student council president. Then as now, Mitch lacked the charisma to pull it off. He knew (as he told his mother) that “I don’t have a single friend”. Wonder why that was…

I bet it has something to do with what Mitch wrote on the blackboard during a class he taught at the University of Louisville what he insisted were the three essentials in politics and running for office: “Money. Money. Money”.

Belief in anything — a reason to use the money — a common purpose the money could be used for — is absent from Professor McConnell’s list. That’s because Mitch does not believe in anything except the getting of money for the getting of money’s sake.

Multiple people (of both political persuasions), all with experience of Mitch, agree: Mitch is easily one of the most corrupt politicians to ever sully the American stage. That makes Mitch happy (he still says out loud how his proudest accomplishment was denying Merrick Garland (and therefore Barrack Obama) so much as a hearing. Before that, it would have been keeping Obama a one-term POTUS (despite his popularity with the majority of Americans).

Mitch isn’t interested in what the majority wants. In fact, he’s made it his life’s work to deny the majority its voice and force the (rich) white Christian voice of his moneyed overlords (the Kochs especially) down the majority’s unwilling throat. That means Mitch has literally dedicated his whole career to undermining democracy. As President Coronavirus-Lover said: “If everyone voted, it would be very bad for Republicans”. Mitch, too, lives by that principle.

Mayer’s piece isn’t the final statement on McConnell. Like all good journalism, it asks as many questions as it answers. We need to ask: how much corruption has Mitch McConnell gotten away with over the course of his political career?

I’ll go out on a limb here and predict that the turnout in November (via vote-by-mail) will be so massive that even the GOP’s stepped up cheating and voter suppression operations can’t stop it or mitigate it enough to change the outcome: the near elimination in many parts of the country of even the semblance of a Republican Party presence. Republicans didn’t just hitch their wagon to Trump (and therefore Vlad Putin), they co-branded with him from top to bottom.

Republicanism is Trumpism is Corruption & Treason.

And Mitch McConnell was the lynch pin that held it all together. Some of us have seen McConnell for the villain he is from way back. When he snubbed Merrick Garland and Obama, he was really snubbing We The People. Every time McConnell tried to kill the ACA, we saw his villainy. When McConnell led Trump’s acquittal in the Senate — without allowing a lick of evidence to mar the proceedings — he took his villainy to a new level.

Who knew Mitch had even more cruel malevolence in him. Apparently the coronavirus did. Mitch doesn’t care if his own constituents live or die. He definitely doesn’t care if any other Americans die. The quickest, surest, fairest and best way to help America and Americans during this crisis would have been to cash flow every single American – with minimal questions asked — for the duration. Stay home until it’s safe. Spend the money on food and what you need. Kinda like what other countries have done.

Mitch wouldn’t dream of proving to everyone how much better and more successful a progressive policy would be than his own greedy need to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. Remember — Mitch has no agenda other than serving his monied masters.

So, in addition to betraying every American by selling us out to his backers, Mitch has betrayed us by selling us out to Russia. And now he intends to starve us all.

When we get to the other side of this mess — when the Rule Of Law is back in force — when every single Republican is fighting the legal battle of their lives (and losing because their treachery and conspiracy are all well-evidenced already) — we will finally get to examine Mitch’s role. That won’t turn out well for Mitch. He’s guilty of a whole lot of wrong-doing. My bet is this: Mitch’s name will replace Benedict Arnold’s as what Americans call traitors.

For example: “Hey — you like Russia more than America, you Mitch McConnell!”

I’ve written here about my desire to see Mitch get all the rotten karma he deserves. Turns out, I was underestimating Mitch all along. He’s a villain all right. Just a bigger, badder, worse villain than even this storyteller could imagine.

How lucky for us that the one thing Republicans are good at is being corrupt.

Republicanism Is A Lethal Cocktail Of Smoke, Mirrors, Corruption & Bullshit

I’m old enough to remember when Republicans called themselves “the party of personal responsibility” without immediately laughing their asses off at the absurdity of calling themselves that. Even when they might have been personally responsible, there were always caveats. Republicans were responsible with everyone else’s lives, habits and sexual organs.

People who judge others so relentlessly are always hypocrites. Comes with the territory — and the DNA.

Republicans judge others because all those others aren’t Republicans. Even if they are “Republican” by political choice, the absolute truth is, if you ask a “real” Republican about “those” Republicans? They’re more “mascots” than “Republicans”. They’re what Republicans use to “sell” the idea that they’re diverse. The fact that there are so few of those “other” Republicans says a lot — about them. They’re not forward-thinkers, they’re sell-outs.

Republicans are the party of unmitigated, unrestrained, relentless greed. They’re greedy for money — but also power. The RW Money — the Koch Brothers especially — recognized a while ago that conservatism was facing demographic oblivion. A rapidly diversifying citizenry meant — over time — more power for the diverse citizenry and less power for the shrinking white minority.

White people were not going to let that happen without a fight. And here we are.

If Republicans are good at anything (and we know governing isn’t one them), it’s marketing. Being cynical shits who’d make Machiavelli blush at their soullessness, they have no compunction about lying to get a vote. In her excellent piece on Mitch McConnell in the New Yorker, Jane Mayer cites multiple examples of McConnell cynically telling voters he’d do one thing when he fully intended to do the diametric opposite. McConnell openly admitted to “pandering” for votes.

Republicans will say literally anything — not just to get elected, but to “stay” elected. If they thought they could get away with canceling the election right here, right now, they’d do it — because (as Trump himself said out loud) elections are bad for Republicans — especially when more Americans vote. If EVERY American voted as a habit, I bet Republicans would already be lying beside the Whigs in the graveyard of American History.

In 2016, Mitch McConnell knew he was serving America a bullshit cocktail. He KNEW for a fact what Russia was doing; he refused to let We The People in on the secret — that Russia was actively engaged in perverting the coming election in order to make Donald Trump and not Hillary Clinton POTUS. The Russians voted in our election — and McConnell knowingly let them.

To keep us in the dark, McConnell (and the rest of the Republicans — remember that even then Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and current Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy openly discussed their suspicion that Putin was paying California Congressman Dana Rohrbacher and Donald Trump) fed America a cocktail of lies. That was after McConnell had refused to allow President Obama — the guy who was elected and re-elected by significant margins — to nominate judges per his Constitutional responsibilities. “The American People should decide” was the bullshit McConnell topped up our drink with. But we ARE the People. And we had already decided. We voted for Obama.

Even as we teeter, McConnell continues to ply us with bullshit. Mayer points out that McConnell really believes in nothing other than money and power. Even his marriage to Elaine Chao is a cynical money grab (McConnell told an acquaintance after divorcing his first wife “One of the things I’ve got to do is marry a rich woman, like John Sherman Cooper did”.

Norman Ornstein — a political scientist at the conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute — puts it bluntly in Mayer’s piece: McConnell “will go down in history as one of the most significant people in destroying the fundamentals of our constitutional democracy… There isn’t anyone remotely close There’s nobody as corrupt, in terms of violating the norms of government.”

McConnell long ago committed himself to bringing the Koch Brothers’ plan to take over America’s politics — that is how Mayer herself puts it — to fruition. To do that, once he achieved the power that Senate Majority Leader possesses, McConnell began to destroy the Senate as an institution, the judicary as a separate branch of government and America as the greatest experiment in self-government ever.

McConnell — and the Republican Party he effectively leads (Trump doesn’t lead the party) — have behave no differently than a rapist feeding a victim a roofie. Maybe that explains the strange, out-of-body feelings we’re all experiencing. Maybe that explains why we feel like we’re resisting as hard as we can yet nothing seems to stop the assault.

Time’s come to slap the drink from their hands.

What If Lying Were Physically Impossible? Could Donald Trump — Or Any Republican — Still Exist?

No one ever has to lie. That’s just by definition. A lie is something we do deliberately with the absolute intention of misleading whoever we tell it to.

You can argue whether a sociopath like Donald Trump knows he’s lying but the fact is he KNOWS there would be consequences to telling the truth — or letting the truth get out. Trump says whatever he has to say in any particular moment. He knows he does he does this. He knows why. He knows what the accumulated effect is on people. He knows he can lie repeatedly and get away with it because people now expect him to lie.

“What’d ya think Trump was gonna do — tell you the truth?”

But, what if a second virus broke out at the same time as coronavirus. While coronavirus causes Covid-19, what if this second virus causes a “disease” called “telling the truth about yourself”? What if it spread just as easily — and silently — as coronavirus does. But, unfortunately, while the majority of people who catch the coronavirus from other people remain asymptomatic and, at worst, experience mild, cold symptoms, EVERYONE who catches “telling the truth about yourself” can’t help but tell the truth about themselves.

Talk about a nasty pathogen.

Donald Trump would suddenly gush truth-telling like an ebola patient gushing vomit. “I’m the biggest liar in the world! No one lies more or bigger than me! THAT, I can PROVE!” You can hear Donald Trump shouting it, can’t you?

And you can hear the press finally doing what he’s always wanted — agreeing with him.

“You want to know if I laundered Russian money? Is the Pope Catholic? Of COURSE I laundered Russian money! I’m OWNED by the Russian mob!”

Okay, Donnie — we hear you.

“I’ve molested my daughter, too. A lot. Just like I more or less told Howard Stern that I did.”

Maybe, Don, you want to quarantine yourself a little here. You’re giving everything away — and apparently there’s a lot to give.

Imagine Mitch McConnell coming clean — because he can’t lie: “Well, of course I’m corrupt as shit! Of COURSE I’m owned lock, stock & turtle shell by the Kochs! Of COURSE I made it my purpose to circumvent the will of the majority of Americans to deny Merrick Garland so much as a hearing while shoving a RAPIST (Brett Kavanaugh) down the nation’s unwilling throat.”

“Oh,” Mitch would remind us — “Those stories about me and my army discharge? All true, I’m afraid. Sodomy was at the heart of it. I’ve lived a secret my whole life. I’m not just a turtle…”.

Imagine Bill Barr: “Yes, I lied to America about what the Mueller Report says — just like I lied all those years ago about Iran-Contra. Don’t you get it? I’m a fixer. I’m a straight Roy Cohn who believes the president has full and complete power — so long as he’s a Republican. I’m the guy who’ll make permanent minority rule a “thing”. That’s why I’m here.”

Imagine Ivanka Trump: “If you think my dad’s rotten to the core, you haven’t been paying attention to me. My dad thinks he’s going to stick it to me before I stick it to him. Boy is HE in for a nasty surprise.”

The fact is, pretty much every Republican HAS been telling us the truth all along. They haven’t been confessing — not out in the open. But their body language has confessed. Their silence has confessed. Their false patriotism, sanctimony and hypocrisy have all confessed on their behalf. As George W. Bush so famously put it: “There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.”

Yeah… what he said.

It’s This Simple: Every Single Judge Trump Nominated MUST Be Voided (SCOTUS Included): The Rule Of Law DEMANDS IT

The Rule Of Law is coming back — one way or another. The storyteller in me can’t see a storyline where an extreme (and extremist) minority party like the Republicans forces a state of permanent minority rule on America (and — most importantly — AMERICANS) and gets away with it. We’re way too independent for that. We’re way to diverse to tolerate it (not enough herd uniformity to get enough of us to just “go along” — our very cultures won’t let us do it).

What also mitigates seriously against the GOP getting away with this soft coup d’etat power grab — that’s what election 2016 was actually — is how woke America’s women have become. And that’s women of every color, culture and creed in America. African American voters have always been woke — especially African American women. Their wokeness — their righteous indignation — their unbreakable will to endure in the face of the worst injustice — is flowing out into the collective psyche. Its time has come and it will not sit down again.

The Rule Of Law cannot be compromised. We’ve now learned that lesson the hard way. It simply can’t tolerate us applying the Rule Of Law to some citizens but not others — especially when those others have money. The Rule Of Law must be applied equally. And when people break it, they must all be treated the same — from start to finish. The Rule Of Law says quite explicitly how one can and cannot run for office.

The Rule Of Law spells out what corruption is — and what we MUST do at the least hint of it. If we see election 2016 from the Rule Of Law’s point of view, we do not see a free & fair election. We see massive voter suppression. We see a massive Russian incursion into the election at virtually every level. We see massive amounts of Russian money being poured into Republican campaign coffers — and every kopek of that Russian money comes with strings — or kompromat. We see the Trump campaign working hand in glove with Russia to coordinate the release of damaging stolen emails. We see Paul Manafort handing Oleg Deripaska proprietary polling data focused on MN/PA/WI/MI (an illegal act all by itself). Deripaska handed that polling data to the GRU who (skillfully — they really are good at this) turned it into weaponized Facebook ads. Personalized propaganda that showed up on the individual Facebook pages of actual Democratic voters (who the ads knew to go after because of the proprietary polling data) — almost all of them African American. The purpose? Dissuade them from voting by giving them the idea that Hillary Clinton was a closet racist.

That’s voter suppression. It’s illegal. The Rule Of Law says so. It’s not a question of “did the Trump campaign break the law?” Yes. They did. Then the Trump campaign broke more laws — by receiving something of value from Russia (who they aren’t allowed to accept anything of value from PERIOD) — campaign help in the form of advertising consultation & creation. And I bet we can prove — unequivocally — that the Trump campaign & the whole GOP also broke another law — outright election fraud. If one African American voter stayed home because of any of those Facebook ads? That — according to the Rule Of Law — is VOTER FRAUD.

We know for a fact that one vote can change the outcome of an election. The Rule Of Law does not draw a distinction about how close a race was in order to be applied. ANY violation is the same as a thousand violations. If we can prove it happened? Then the punishment phase of the Rule Of Law must be applied.

The Rule Of Law says you cannot violate it in order to win an election. The moment you DO violate the Rule Of Law? Your campaign stops being legitimate. For real. You are no longer a political campaign. From the Rule Of Law’s perspective, you’re now a criminal enterprise — throw in conspiracy if more than one person knows what’s happening. And anyone who even suspects something rotten is afoot? The Rule Of Law says they are OBLIGATED to say something or they, too, must answer to the Rule Of Law.

Russia set out to put Donald Trump in the White House. They set out to compromise the Republicans — and to use their own desire to destroy our democratic system in the name of permanent minority rule for their own purposes. This wasn’t a “plan” the way we might dramatize it in a feature film or TV series. There were — still are — a thousand moving parts. Putin would have been satisfied just causing all the chaos he caused. I wonder if he thought we’d catch how he literally STOLE the outcomes of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin (three blue states that Trump “won” — no one’s ever done any official analysis of any machines here — and we know now how very vulnerable just about every internet-connected voting machine is).

We need to press Paul Manafort way harder than we already have. He can tell us just how successful Russia was at flipping those three states red.

The Rule Of Law says we must question every single Republican campaign. Can they prove that Russian money DIDN’T flow to them? Can they explain why they said nothing despite their suspicions? Despite what they heard from other Republicans? For instance — when current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy told then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan during the 2016 Republican convention “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump”, “Ryan swore the Republicans present to secrecy”. The Rule Of Law says both men should have been on the phone to the FBI to report their fears & suspicions & knowledge.

Instead, Ryan swore everyone to secrecy. Why’s that?

This is treason. Very real treason. We know that Putin created a literal DOCTRINE to go after us via our elections. Whether acting as useful idiots or — per what they knew was happening — something more, something darker and more nefarious — the Republican Party — AS A POLITICAL PARTY — committed election fraud, treason & obstruction of justice.

The Rule Of Law says your presidential campaign — hell, EVERY CAMPAIGN YOU’RE RUNNING is no longer LEGAL. You must stop what you’re doing — because you no longer have LEGITIMACY. Your win cannot possibly BE legal anymore — since you clearly achieved it via ILLEGAL means.

That means Donald Trump was never elected legitimately. That means he never legally had the authority vested in him by We The People to do ANYTHING — propose laws, nominate judges, even live in the damned White House. It would be no different from one of us stealing some CEO’s identity and then making executive decisions with legal ramifications for their corporation. How can anyone be bound to the end result of fraud when we know it was fraud?

If a guy steals your car — then sits in it outside your house and honks the horn — he may say “It’s my car now!” as he speeds off, but per the Rule Of Law (and who holds the vehicle’s title — you), that just ain’t true. The car may not be in your possession anymore but it’s legally yours.

That’s how the majority of Americans feel. The car — our Democracy — belongs to us. But Donald Trump, his Russian pal & his Republican gang have hot-wired it, plowed through the garage door and taken the country out for a greedy joy ride toward a cliff. It is no more theirs today than it was before the election.

There’s tons of “paperwork” to back up our claim of ownership here. To back up our claim that a crime — multiple violations of the Rule Of Law — has been committed here.

The Rule Of Law doesn’t care what anyone’s political party is. It doesn’t care what color you are, what faith you believe in or don’t. It doesn’t care how much money you make or whether you vote even. It just cares that we follow it. To the letter.

When we put characters like Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy, Bill Barr, Mike Pompeo et al under oath — without the cover of corruption to shield them — we will learn just how pervasive and far-reaching this conspiracy goes. The Koch Brothers knew what they were doing. Same goes for the Mercers. They know what Cambridge Analytica — their damned company! — was doing. Facing demographic extinction, the RW money threw in with Donald Trump and Russia because all their corrupt efforts dove-tailed so nicely together.

The way the Rule Of Law works — if we catch the guy who stole our car? We get our car back. The thief never gets to KEEP what he STOLE.

As Republicans love to bray — “Elections have consequence!” Indeed they do. Stolen elections, we keep learning, have even worse consequences.

The Rule of Law demands we DO something about it.