We Live Inside A Giant False Narrative — That Donald Trump Is "Legitimate POTUS"

False narratives — creating them, living them, suffering the consequences of living them — it seems to go with being human. So, I’ll cut us some slack.

The unfortunate humans who live inside North Korea’s borders live inside a false narrative that Kim Jong-On isn’t a sociopathic madman at the helm of a hermitic dictatorship with nuclear weapons at his disposal. They think he’s a kind of god — just like his father and grandfather — because that’s what they’ve been told.

North Koreans have been deliberately fed a false narrative about how life and politics are. The point wasn’t to liberate them. One never creates a false narrative to do good things for people — despite what one tells oneself. You’re turning away from empirical truth — and choosing to walk toward fiction. Every step toward fiction is a step away from actual truth.

There may be lashings of truth IN your fiction — but, whereas facts won’t let you do with them what you want, with fiction? You can spin a story however you like. You’re bound by story logic — but not logic logic.

The biggest false narrative going, of course, is religion. The people who write religious texts — the Old Testament for instance — start out from a genuine place: they want to answer the big questions — what is life? How did we get here? Why are we here and what is the point of it all? Unless they’re wearing lab coats — with strict protocols for managing their experimentation — they’re going to pull the answers to those questions from their own heads. Or their asses.

If the men who wrote Genesis had access to the internet — if they had microscopes and telescopes available — if they knew about germ theory and plate tectonics — if they knew even that there were continents other than the one they lived on (they didn’t!) — would they have written the texts they wrote the way they wrote them? Of course not! Their worldview — even the questions themselves — would have been informed by their knowledge. They wouldn’t have written a Noah’s flood story they way they wrote it because the facts on the ground — literally — would have made such a story preposterous.

Sometimes — as with religion — the intention of the false narrative is to explain the world from the religion’s viewpoint. But, what if the starting viewpoint is wrong — or distorted. Or misinformed. What if monotheists are wrong and polytheists are right — there’s not one good, there are dozens, thousands, kajillions?

Who’s really to say? Got proof there’s only one “God”? Remind the class — who wrote that story? Oh, right — people who were “divinely inspired”. Another false narrative begins.

Even before he was sworn in, Donald Trump began signaling to us that he was not the legitimate president — that his win wasn’t what we thought it was. Take yourself back to election night 2016. Remember how it felt as Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin went red? The story was just believable enough — the press had taken the “But her emails” ball and run wild with it. Doubts about Clinton could have been the difference — 78,000 votes spread between three states. It was just plausible enough for us to allow “Well, maybe…”.

That’s all it took. The truth is, to this day, we don’t know what happened in those three states. We don’t. But the stone cold fact is Paul Manafort handed Oleg Deripaska PROPRIETARY POLLING DATA for four states (the three mentioned plus Minnesota). That’s not nothing. That’s very sensitive data about Americans, who they are and how they vote — being handed to a man with deep ties to Russian Military Intelligence.

Russian military intelligence (for those slow on the uptake) is especially good at creating, disseminating and benefiting from propaganda. They’ve gotten very good at using social media to — say it with me — create false narratives. In those three states — we know this happened — Democratic voters (African American voters especially) found their Facebook pages inundated with ads disparaging Hilary Clinton — accusing her of being a racist on the down low.

Sure, plenty of those African American voters ignored those ads. But — we also know — some stayed home. That’s no different from a stolen vote. It’s election fraud — PERIOD.

Also — no one in an official capacity has ever done any forensics on the voting machines in those three states. As we’re learning more and more — any voting machine hooked up to the internet in any way is hackable. Anyone who denies that fact wants machines that are hackable in our elections. WHY?

Any voting process that isn’t hand-marked with a complete paper trail is bullshit.

People who want free and fair elections have no problems with oversight. They welcome it because it guarantees free and fair elections. People who want shortcuts — who are willing to take what election machine vendors (almost all Republican owned companies by the way — yes, it matters) say at face value — aren’t interested in Democracy, they’re interested in undermining Democracy. Not the same thing.

If the Rule Of Law is alive and well, then you cannot cheat to become president of the United States. You cannot ASK a foreign country to help you and you cannot ACCEPT THEIR HELP when offered. But that’s exactly what Donald Trump did — repeatedly and out in the open. The Mueller Report did not exonerate Trump in any way. Quick Reminder — the Mueller Report was not the be-all & end-all of “Trump-Russia” involvements. It addressed ONE — the Trump campaign’s relationship with Wikileaks. And the report said that it couldn’t ANSWER whether or not the Trump campaign conspired with Russia because of (Mueller Report Part Two) ALL THE OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE the Trump campaign were perpetrating.

All those SDNY investigations that Bill Barr slowed or blocked or snuffed? They would have begun exploring all the other ways Donald Trump, his campaign — and the whole Republican Party ultimately — had fallen prey to Russian intelligence. Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate is a non-stop reminder of just how corrupt the Republican Party is. Their defense didn’t rise to the level of “silly” it was so bad.

They don’t want to hear Bolton or any other witnesses because they KNOW what those witnesses will say. They KNOW what the evidence says — they’ve already heard what lots of it says. This is about keeping the truth about what happened out of the public record. WHY?

Most Republicans assume that once a lifetime judge is in place, he or she stays in place forever. Keep in mind — part of the point of this coup d’etat started years before the election. It took the form of Mitch McConnell hijacking the judiciary. He refused to let Obama appoint judges that he quickly filled once Trump was sworn in. He refused to grant Merrick Garland so much as a hearing. Hello, Neil Gorsuch.

But all that assumes we continue to accept the product of the false narrative Republicans created.

Let’s put this in terms even Donald Trump would understand. Let’s say the presidency was a beauty pageant. The winner gets lots of good things. They get to live in the White House. They get to tell the military what to do. They get to suggest and change laws. They get to appoint judges including Supreme Court judges.

That’s if they win — and they’re the Beauty Pageant WINNER.

But let’s say we find ample evidence that the Beauty Pageant Winner cheated. Let’s say the bribed judges — or threatened them. Let’s say the Winner conspired with people outside the pageant to pick a winner (outside the pageant’s rules). And let’s say these people succeeded. The Pageant’s real judges wanted Contestant X to win. That contestant reflected the Pageant’s values and hopes for the Pageant’s future.

But some of the judges, it turns out, were corrupt. The whole voting process, it turns out, was corrupted. When the judges voted — one of their votes was tallied the wrong way. Another judge went home sick and didn’t vote at all (food poisoning they think). From the moment the Winner was announced, lots of the judges — people in the audience, too — they knew something was wrong.

Okay — so the wrong person now wears the crown. They have all the power that comes with it — all the rights & privileges. But none of it actually belongs to them.

Now the Winner starts giving paying jobs to her friends. She fudges the books so no one can tell where the Pageant’s money is going. The Pageant starts co-branding with mobsters and criminals and all sorts of unsavory people the Pageant’s judges would never have agreed to. The Winner starts changing everything about the Pageant — despite the fact that they WEREN’T the actual winner and everything they’re doing goes directly AGAINST everything the judges ACTUALLY wanted and — this being democratic in theory — voted for.

But then, the judges discover evidence that PROVES the Winner cheated. They show it to the public because the public needs to know (while the Winner is doing things that directly impact them) — there’s a very good reason why the judges will now take away the Winner’s crown: it never belonged to them. EVER.

So — the Winner loses his crown. He can no longer claim to be the Winner because 1) he no longer is and 2) he never ever was.

Ah, but what of his “winnings”? What of the now-ex-Winner’s spoils? What of the laws they changed — though they had no authority to change them (only REAL winners have the LEGAL right to do that)? What of the lifetime judges they nominated THAT THEY HAD NO LEGAL AUTHORITY TO NOMINATE?

Remember all the judges Al Gore nominated? Exactly — he didn’t nominate any because he didn’t win — and was never given the authority. If he had tried to, we’d have laughed at him — “Dude, what’re you doing? You LOST. Losers don’t get to nominate anything.”

A cheater who’s been caught stops being “the winner”. A car thief has to give back the car he stole (provided it hasn’t been chop shopped into pieces already). He may have the memories of driving around in your ride, but all rights of ownership return to YOU, the rightful OWNER.

We The People “own” the outcomes of our elections. That is, we expect that our choice — if we’re in the majority — to be the basis for how our government will act. Provided our candidate followed all the laws in order to win the election, his or her actions are truly sanctioned by the electorate.

But, Donald Trump can’t say that about his “win”. He wasn’t sanctioned by he electorate. The majority of us voted not just FOR Hillary but AGAINST Trump and everything he stood for and wanted to do. We voted AGAINST destroying the government, AGAINST destroying our relationships with the world, AGAINST cozying up to Russia, AGAINST corruption in the extreme, AGAINST destroying the environment, AGAINST racism & misogyny & bigotry and judges who are FOR all those things.

The only reason Trump’s potus at all is because he manipulated the Electoral College. By literally STEALING Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania (for starters — we don’t know how pervasive the theft was), Trump robbed the American People of their actual choice. The victim of this crime is us, the American People.

What are we — crime victims in this — to do once the full depth of Trump (and the Republican Party’s) deep criminality gets revealed. Are we to shrug off the crime — and especially the part where the criminal gets to keep what he stole? Those judges — those laws — the dismantling of our system of checks and balances — that’s all stolen property. It belongs to US. It doesn’t belong to Donald Trump or the Republican Party.

They’re the car thief sitting in OUR CAR — in OUR DRIVEWAY — honking the horn at us at three in the morning.

What makes matters worse? Turns out the car thief has pals in the police department. Fact is, the thief knows the “chief of police”. That’s going to make prosecuting the car thief — and getting our car back — hard. But that doesn’t mean we don’t do it.

There’s a big “Come To Jesus” moment coming us by-and-by. We’re going to have to reconcile the false narrative we’ve been living in — that Trump’s the legitimate potus and everything he’s done is legit and inviolable — with the facts: Trump’s a criminal. He stole the outcome of election 2016 — and everything that goes with it.

Are we REALLY going to let him — and the Republican Party who benefited from it (that was the point, right?) continue to benefit when the benefits were never theirs to begin with?

If we do that — if we let thieves keep what they’ve stolen — we will not solve our problem. The criminals will continue to own us. They’ll continue to have a say in how we live our lives — and even run the Rule Of Law. If don’t recognize how stupid that will be?

We’ll deserve every bit of the horribleness that follows.

It’ll be “Slavery: The Sequel”.

You remember slavery, right? That’s the abomination we created a false narrative around — that it was acceptable for a Democratic Republic to have slavery.

Life In Trump's America: The Political Thriller Of Our Lifetimes Is Also Theater Of The Absurd

Our inner animals knew it instinctively even as the tide was turning election night 2016. We were being told something that every fiber of our being knew was untrue — or knew was truth complicated by layers of deception, deceit and treachery — that Trump had “won” the presidency.

Ever read the details on exactly what happened chronologically on election night in the Trump campaign — especially between Trump and his flotus to be? Trump wasn’t just “surprised” that he won, he was shocked. And not because he had “pulled it out”. Trump knew better than anyone that THAT was not what happened election night. Trump knew better than anyone that “The Boss” — Vlad Putin — had suppressed, propagandized or — via internet-connected-voting machines — literally stolen just enough votes in three key states (Pennsylvania, Wisconsin & Michigan, three states for which Oleg Deripaska had received proprietary polling data from Paul Manafort) to GIVE Trump the EC victory.

Melania wept openly. She raged at Trump — who, per Steve Bannon, morphed from a “disbelieving Trump into a horrified Trump”. That’s disbelieving he could win to being horrified that he HAD “won”. Winning wasn’t part of Trump’s plan. Using a presidential run to platform launch a Trump-branded news network was. Winning — once victory was gettable (via cheating) — was absolutely Vladimir Putin’s plan. Putin saw a way to put Trump in the White House — the greatest intelligence coup in the history of intelligence — and he took it.

Keep in mind — Putin had already compromised enough of the Republican Party that he knew he could keep them in line. Take Lindsey Graham, for example. You can practically see the Kompromat Vlad’s holding over Lindsey play in Lindsey’s mind’s eye every time he speaks.

That’s where it starts crossing over from John Le Carre territory into Becket — from George Smiley realpolitik into waiting for a Godot who will never, ever appear. Our spy movie as real life beats anything any writer could possibly imagine — or get away with if they did imagine.

We’ve got intrigue and treason and cyber war and actual war and murders out the wazoo. We’ve got a handful of heroes and scoundrels by the bucket. And we’ve got a Main Stream News Media that makes an unsatisfying hash of the whole damned thing. We’ve got liars lying, rapists raping and con artists conning.

The feeling, watching this madness rush by on a daily basis, is a lot like watching an English pantomime (a Christmastime tradition in England). Based on old chestnuts like “Puss In Boots” or “Cinderella”, panto’s are very much the groundlings having a good time at their local theater — talking back to the characters on stage as if a fourth wall never existed.

One of the moments every panto must have — the villain (upstage) creeps toward the hero who’s downstage — while the audience tries to warn the hero. Every time the hero looks toward where the audience points — the villain ducks or disappears — then reappears the moment the hero has turned away again. It’s absurd, of course, because the truth is so apparent — and yet so impossible to hold onto.

It is numbing — by design — how far from “normal” we’ve shifted. It’s inconceivable that Donald Trump’s presidential bid didn’t end the moment he started it by telling us all how Mexicans were rapists. More absurdity compounded by pussy grabbing — compounded exponentially when “Mexicans are rapists” and “pussy grabbing” went back seat to “her emails” sitting in the front seat of the news media’s Scooby van.

Looking back today at “But her emails” — even Ionesco at his most obtuse couldn’t touch the absurdity of our news media obsessing over an abstraction over constant evidence of dubious, devious behavior. Despite three years of this madness, of Trump’s lying, deceitfulness and cruelty, our news media still wants to give him the benefit of the doubt — as if “this time”, Trump “could be” telling the truth.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve shouted far too often at the news “professionals” on your TV set — “FFS, don’t be absurd!”

Is it really asking that much to have our political theater be one thing and our theater of the absurd be something else entirely? Apparently so…

It Really Is This Simple: By LAW, You Cannot CHEAT To Become POTUS; Therefore Donald Trump Has NEVER Been POTUS

Now, that’s just The Rule Of Law talking and what does The Rule Of Law know? That’s how Republicans think these days apparently.

To be absolutely fair about it, they’re right. The Rule Of Law is a fiction that we invented for our mutual benefit. There are lots of places on Earth where the people don’t live by The Rule Of Law — so, The Rule Of Law is not some absolute, inviolable Law Of The Cosmos. The only thing actually keeping The Rule Of Law in place as our guiding principle as our faithfulness in maintaining it.

It’s like stamina, if you think about it. You can build your stamina. You can maintain it. But stop working on it and it goes away just like that. You can’t store it. Can’t bank it.

Part of our problem — here in America: we’ve taken The Rule Of Law for granted. Those following it always assumed that everyone was following it. Sure, sure — there are criminals outside The Rule Of Law but that’s why we HAVE a Rule Of Law — to isolate those people and handle them fairly but judiciously. We never imagined, We The People, that so many of those who swore an oath to defend The Rule Of Law (that’s what our Constitution is) were committed to overthrowing The Rule Of Law in a kind of soft white Christian male coup d’etat.

The Rule Of Law says foreign interests can have no say in American elections. The Republican Party violated the hell out of that throughout election 2016. Current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy FAMOUSLY said to a roomful of Republican muckety-mucks “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump”. Pays for what, someone in the room should have asked. “Pays for what purpose?” even. Instead, then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan (per the Washington Post) “…instructed his Republican lieutenants to keep the conversation private, saying: “No leaks. . . . This is how we know we’re a real family here.”

According to The Rule Of Law, Speaker Ryan’s response should have been more along the lines of “Holy shit! Guys — get the FBI on the phone pronto! We’ve got a huge PROBLEM on our hands!” But Speaker Ryan didn’t say that. No one in the room even thought anything like it. Hmmmmmmm…

The literal instant we stop following The Rule Of Law to the letter, we compromise it. When we follow it for some people but not so much for other people — that violates The Rule Of Law’s core principle. Speaker Ryan knew he was violating The Rule Of Law — that’s why they all had to agree to “keep it in the family”. Another group of criminals would call that agreement an OMERTA.

It’s the kind of agreement people do when they’ve abandoned The Rule Of Law for their own set of laws. They just haven’t had the decency to tell the rest of us. You know — THE MAJORITY.

We don’t know yet the full extent to which the entire Republican Party was compromised by Russia (and, perhaps, other countries or bad actors). We can only imagine the kompromat Russia is dangling over Lindsey Graham’s pervy head. Even before this though, the Republican Party displayed a disdainful cynicism toward The Rule Of Law. They applied its full pressure whenever they could — while ignoring all the ways they were violating the hell out of it at the very same time.

We know that the Republican Money Machine turned its back on The Rule Of Law a generation ago when it saw the demographic writing on the wall: America was not going to be a predominantly white country for much longer. By 2050, it’s estimated, white people will cease being the majority of the population. Think that doesn’t scare the snot out of conservative white people?

The hard right in this country turned its back on The Rule Of Law the instant they saw it was going to STOP being their instrument of destruction. I don’t know if they feared retribution, but they certainly feared losing absolute power (and the money that goes with it). The Republican Party morphed into The Trump Party — and The Trump Party works for Russia. Russia made Trump POTUS (he did NOT win Pennsylvania, Wisconsin or Michigan legitimately — he couldn’t have after Paul Manafort gave Oleg Deripaska proprietary polling data on those three states). Even Trump’s reported behavior on election night speaks to a kind of guilty behavior. Ever since, no one has obsessed more than Trump has on his presidency’s legitimacy. Why’s that?

IF we really do believe in The Rule Of Law then Donald Trump’s presidency violates it. The fact of his presidency violates it and stands OUTSIDE The Rule Of Law. Trump’s presidency and The Rule Of Law cannot exist at the same time and in the same place.

There is no precedent for what’s happening to us. We have to stop looking to the past for guidance. If Trump violated The Rule Of Law in order to BECOME president of the United States then, by law, he never was president. Not being president, he never had the authority to do anything he did. He never had the authority to negotiate on our behalf or nominate judges.

Let’s use a metaphor that even Donald Trump would understand: A Beauty Pageant. An American presidential election is a lot like a beauty pageant. If, it’s learned after a winner is announced, that the winner wasn’t honest with the judges (as, say, Vanessa Williams was about some mildly erotic photos she’d been part of), the judges can take away the winner’s crown and give it to someone MORE deserving. Someone, say, who followed the pageant’s rules about not doing things that might undermine the pageant’s “brand”.

Vanessa Williams lost her crown — and everything that went with it. If the judges had known before GIVING her the crown, they would never have crowned her, right? They would never have given her the rights & privileges that went with it. In their minds, they were lied to. Vanessa Williams mis-represented herself.

If part of Vanessa Williams’ rights had been to negotiate branding deals on behalf of Miss America, the judges — the whole Miss America organization — would have voided every single one of them for the same reasons.

I know what I’m saying seems impossible to pull off. HOW would we undo the results of an American election? Well, as one of the wronged in this equation — as one of the MAJORITY whose rights are being threatened by a willful right wing minority — HOW CAN WE NOT? Why, I’d like to know, are we always fair beyond fair to conservatives while demanding Progressives explain themselves relentlessly. When did the press lose its mind demanding from conservatives how they were going to pay for Trump’s tax breaks for the rich?

There’s a stone cold reality staring us in the face: Donald Trump was never the legitimate president of the United States.

That fact ripples a thousand ways in a million different directions. We cannot simply ignore it. We can’t “agree to agree” to get past it. We won’t. It’s exactly like slavery — a gross insult to The Rule Of Law.

But then… The Rule Of Law is only what we say it is.

Ball’s in our court.

If Russian Efforts Changed ONE Vote, They Changed The WHOLE Election

That is a literal Truth. Think about it. If Russia changed ONE vote — caused an African American voter in Wisconsin, say, from showing up at the polls on election day 2016 because weaponized Facebook ads (based on stolen voter data) propagandized them into believing HRC was racist — and if the Trump Campaign KNEW that was happening or encouraged it or (worst but most likely) PARTICIPATED in it — then we cannot say that Election 2016 was truly “Free & Fair”.

And if we know that Russian interference prevented America from having a free and fair election, we have to look at the Americans who aided and abetted the Russians. And we have to ask “WHY?” Why aid and abet a country who would benefit from our diminishment?

We have to assume — since the Republicans are working so hard to obstruct Justice — that they, too, saw benefits from aiding and abetting a foreign enemy. Donald Trump — having not been punished for conspiring with Russia to steal election 2016, saw a chance to not only steal 2020 but blame Ukraine for 2016 — thereby taking the onus off Vlad Putin and Russia. So much gymnastics when all you have to do to win an election (in theory) is have better ideas than the other guy.

Trump has consistently relied on outside help. He’s done it in our faces. He relied on Russian interference in 2016 and he’s relying on it now — BECAUSE THAT’S HOW HE “WON”.

Fact: Paul Manafort handed Oleg Deripaska proprietary polling data for four states: Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Trump won Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — four Hillary states — by less than 77,000 votes combined. No one’s ever done an official forensics analysis on the machines or their results. Unofficial analysis has turned up curious anomalies (repetitive results district after district) that only an official analysis can clear up or explain (if they can be cleared up or legally explained).

Fact: Voter suppression in Wisconsin was already pervasive before election 2016; it was exacerbated by its then governor Scott Walker and by some pretty egregious gerrymandering. We don’t know how many Democratic voters were culled from the voter rolls. Strangely, it’s ALWAYS Democratic voters who get culled.

I bet if all those refugees streaming north from Central American drug wars caused by American drug lust were reliably Republican? They’d all get limo’d across the border, first stop being an employment office where they’d get handed some featherbedded job and a passport. Too bad for all those people they’re not corrupt. Better luck next time, I guess.

We have a massive day of reckoning ahead of us. We see now — in real time — how Trump’s use of outside influence to interfere with an election works. We see the quid pro quo’s. We see the staggering corruption.

Fact: Russian money flowed (through the NRA and through citizen Russian emigres doing the Kremlin’s bidding via contributions to Republicans by way of their Kremlin-cash-flowed retirement accounts to virtually every single Republican. I’m kinda suspicious where traitors are concerned. I’m more inclined to demand every Republican prove they WEREN’T financed by Russia than I am to assume they’re innocent or oblivious.

Russians do love their useful idiots.

Either Every Vote Counts Or No Votes Count

We need to make up our goddamned minds about voting. Personally, I believe that literally EVERY VOTE counts.

In election 2018, according to the Washington Post, in 133 races out of the 4,137 run that election cycle, the winner’s margin of victory was under 100 votes. That’s 3.2% of all races.

That would mean that a successful voter suppression operation only had to stop 100 people from showing up across thousands of voting districts in order to accomplish its goal: changing the outcome of an election, not by selling better ideas but by tricking or lying voters into not voting.

In a close race — decided by fewer than 100 votes — each and every voter tricked into not voting is as good as a vote for the other guy. What part of that is either free or fair?

In 2016, Republicans, with Russia’s help, carried out the Mother of all voter suppression operations. What was Paul Manafort’s intention when he handed Oleg Deripaska proprietary polling data from Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota? Was it simply “Hey, Oleg, here’s some cool stuff you might want to peruse in your copious free time”? Or was it “Hey, Oleg, here’s proprietary American polling data. Weaponize it, please.

Next thing ya know? African Americans in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan are seeing ads on their Facebook pages raging about Hillary Clinton’s secret racist agenda. It’s absurd. But the point of the exercise isn’t swaying the great unwashed masses. Sway one voter — you COULD sway a whole election.

If Russia’s efforts changed one vote — just one — that means they could have changed that election’s entire outcome.

Either our elections are free and fair or they aren’t. There’s no middle ground. Elections — like integrity — are either 100% legit or they’re not legit at all. Ever meet someone with most of their integrity (say 95%)?

No, you haven’t. You have integrity or you don’t.

An election is free and fair or it isn’t.

Every vote counts — or none of them actually do.

WE Think Republicans Are Putting On A Crime; THEY Think They’re Putting On A “Show”

It’s the movie buff in me. I see classic movies playing out in real life all the time.  It struck me this morning that we’re staring at a perverse version of Babes In Arms, the Judy Garland-Mickey Rooney-MGM collaboration that gave us “Hey, Let’s Put On A Show!”

Here – sample this…

See what I mean?  Isn’t it awesome how Judy & Mickey get the kids together, they “borrow” some instruments and, using the Old Barn, they put on a damned show!

That’s exactly the movie we’re living through – except the Trumpified version.  It turns out, as the depth and breadth of the Trump-Russia Conspiracy begins to assume real shape and dimension, that this is a conspiracy in every sense of the word. 

These are the players (some of them) and their “plays”…

BETSY DEVOS – Never mind her task of dismantling America’s educational systems, Betsy HAD a seat at the table because she’d already paid her way there.  As we’ll learn more about – her DeVos Childrens Hospital computer network was used (knowingly) to transfer DATA PACKETS – that’s packets of STOLEN data, hacked from the DCCC (the Democratic National Committee), and several members of Hillary Clinton’s campaign

Think of stolen data as a stolen bike. Everyone who knowingly touches it, moves it, transports it, sells it or covers up its theft is guilty of a crime.  Just as a bike must be physically transported from point A to point B, so too does stolen information.  If it can’t be endlessly viewed where it is, it has to be copied & that copy moved to someplace “safe” where it can be viewed (by those not meant to view it remember).  The criminals must transport their stolen goods in order to benefit from them. 

In the case of stolen data, the benefit would only come once that information was transported out of the country to Russia – where the GRU (Russian military intelligence) was tasked with analyzing the data then weaponizing it and turning it back on America and – most importantly – individual Americans.  The Russians (with Cambridge Analytica’s help) had created a way to turn stolen voter data into fear-directed Facebook ads that would appear right on an individual voter’s Facebook page – stoking fears about, say, racism among Democrats that “could” induce an ambivalent African American voter to stay home on election day rather than go out and vote for Hillary.

Betsy DeVos provided the pipeline. Hey, Betsy — Lets put on a show! 

ERIK PRINCE – Erik is Betsy DeVos’ brother so, already, ya know he’s corrupt.  Erik founded a company called Blackwater that won big service contracts in the Iraq War theater – making them millions of dollars while they formed a private army for the benefit of their benefactors and electrocuted American service people when they showered (in Iraq) cos why not add incompetence to your resume of corruption?

Erik was part of the “Hey, look who I bumped into in a bar in the Seychelles if you believe in coincidences” bullshit that attempted to create a back channel through which information – and treason – could flow easily.  This back channel, by the way – the brain child of Steve Bannon.

Hey, Erik — Lets put on a show!

WILBUR ROSS – Known as “Trump’s MOST corrupt cabinet appointee (and that’s including Ryan Zinke FFS!) had lots of corrupt dealings with Russians and their laundered money while holding a board seat at the Bank of Cypress – a place where the banking laws encourage money laundering & money launderers like Wilbur Ross.

Lots of Russian money needed to be laundered then donated to every Republican on the ticket. 

Hey, Wilbur – Let’s put on a show!

PAUL MANAFORT – Gosh, GOP, why let Paul Manafort (a guy you all knew was dirtier than dirty) with Russian connections so deep he farts in Russian run your presidential nominee’s campaign.  Paul had one change – ONE – to your whole freakin’ platform: Support for Ukraine and sanctions.  No one “wondered” what that was all about?  Perhaps no one NEEDED to wonder because you already knew.

Then there’s Mike Pence.  Paul brought Mike to the dance.  We have to ask “WHY?”  Of all the gin joints in all the world, why did Paul invite Mike into his?

Remember (it’s important) – Paul wasn’t running an honest campaign.  He was running a dirty one.  He was trying to leverage his role as Trump’s campaign chief into forgiveness for $17 MILLION worth of debt to Oleg Deripaska, former client & a Russian oligarch not known for his largess or forgiveness (especially of massive debt which, also remember, Deripaska believed Manafort was trying to skip out on).  Paul was running a very criminal enterprise.

So, ask yourself, why would a criminal want a boy scout as Veep?  Why would a criminal position a cop right where the criminal needed to go?  Paul didn’t want anyone blowing the whistle on him – we’re all clear on that, right?  Paul wanted – NEEDED – a veep who HE KNEW FOR A FACT was compliant and trustworthy enough to keep their big secret SECRET: Russia was running the show.

Last point about Paul. He wasn’t flying solo.  He wasn’t a lucky conman who’d figured out a way to save his ass (and save his family – for now – from a brutal end).  Paul knew that Trump was dirty and Trump knew that Paul was dirty.  Remember – no one can put their cards on the table because then everyone would see those cards spell treason.  Though these criminals surround themselves with other criminals, they’re entering a system with checks and balances bent on stopping people like them.

That’s where BILL BARR fits in.  Hey, Paul – Let’s put on a show!

MIKE PENCE — Mike is a sanctimonious fraud so unloved by the people of Indiana that compromising what was left of his soul to sell out to Trump and Russia was a no brainer.  Mike had nowhere else to go except total corruption. 

Mike’s an opportunistic con man adept at speaking preacher-ese to the yokels who salivate like Pavolv’s dog when they hear it.  These soulless cretins wouldn’t know Jesus if they stopped mid-way through nailing Jesus to a cross to spit in his eye. 

I betcha Paul Manafort knew lots about Mike Pence and his deep, dark secrets.  Let’s be honest – Mike Pence’s relationship with women – and his wife – is bizarre.  It’s beyond unhealthy, it’s fraudulent.  Karen Pence’s nickname shouldn’t be “Mother”, it should be “Beard”.

I wonder… when Mike eventually goes away for Life, will “Mother” change her nickname to “Available”?

STEVE BANNON – Steve’s the guru of darkness (while Stephen Miller is merely its court jester).  Steve’s religious faith runs deep.  His ooga-booga is better than your ooga-booga – that’s the basis for everything Steve believes.  He’s so determined to save the world from YOUR ooga-booga in fact that he’s willing to torpedo the greatest experiment in human self government ever.

Steve has never stopped being philosophically connected the Trump’s ultimate purpose – destruction of America as a Democratic Republic. Well, to be fair, that’s not Trump’s ultimate purpose (he couldn’t give a shit – he just wants to be richer than he already supposedly is), it’s Vladimir Putin’s.

And let’s be real – this is mostly Putin’s deal.  The Saudi’s, the Chinese, the Israelis and Erdogan may be trying to horn in on it but they’re strictly back seat passengers.  Putin’s joe sits in the Oval Office.

Hey, Steve — Let’s put on a show!

THE NRA – Conspiracies cannot live by bad intent alone.  They need money, too, because traitors are  notoriously greedy. Money always comes with strings.  Don’t do what the strings want?  Forget about the money.  Back in the day, the NRA was primarily a gun safety organization.

Then the gun manufacturers took over.  Gun sales became the point of the exercise.  The gun lobby rewrote the second amendment in its own image and used the NRA to sell it. A gun control amendment became an amendment justifying mass murder because how dare you come for our guns?  Putin saw a golden opening and took it.  The more guns in American hands, the more gun violence there would be.  The more Putin pushed the “more guns more places” meme, the more divided he could make America seem.  Hell, using the NRA, Putin has managed to create situations where stores have to beg their customers NOT to come armed to the teeth.

That’s not normal, people. That’s screwed up.

As we’ve learned – Russia sent a very skilled agent named Maria Butina to play the NRA.  She made the NRA a useful conduit for Russian money.  It wasn’t Russia contributing (illegally) to all those Republican campaigns all around the country, it was THE NRA.  Get it?

Russia stays within the letter of the law while raping its spirit senseless.

Hey, NRA – Let’s put on a show!

ROGER STONE – conduit & con man.  Connoisseur and creep.  The man so dedicated to Richard Nixon, he got a tattoo of Nixon on his back.  Former business partner of Paul Manafort and Lee Atwater (who personally started the Culture & Political War that the Right (un)declared on the Left.  Roger via the weasels immediately around him (Jerome Corsi, Sam Nunberg, Randy Credico) was the conduit between Wikileaks and the Trump campaign.

Hey, Roger, let’s put on a show! 

WIKILEAKS – That we EVER thought Julian Assange was a hero is a testament to our own collective failure of imagination.  A guy accused of sexual assault should instantly get our collective attention.  Yes, yes – we need to hear the whole story and all – but honest people face their accusers.  Weasels weasel out and stink up foreign embassies.

Hey, Julian — Let’s put on a show!

THE MERCERS & CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA – Again – pipelines.  But also the design.  Robert Mercer’s a brilliant computer guy with a twisted political vision that’s tied to even more twisted Dominionist religious tripe. What could possibly go wrong? Rebekka is just as nuts but a little less on the spectrum. That’s what makes her dangerous.

Cambridge took a “benign” product meant to profile potential terrorists and turned it on America – using its powerful insights to gin up right wing conspiracy theorists while helping to carry out a crime – the total undermining of the United States Constitution.

Hey, Mercer’s — Let’s put on a show!

BILL BARR — Having saved the Republican Party once from the punishment it deserved (Iran-Contra) b making the crime go away & the evidence disappear, Bill Barr was perfectly positioned to be Donald Trump & the GOP’s ultimate Bag Man. So far, he’s LIED about the Mueller Report. Lied about the Whistleblower. Lied about Ukraine. Tried to seduce other governments into helping Trump in 2020. It’s all in a day’s work for Bill.

Hey, Bill — let’s put on a show!

MITCH MCCONNELL — I’ve spent plenty of time on Mitch here. Mitch is a traitor but he started his life as a mere culture warrior. Apparently Mitch loves it when people walk right up to his turtle face and scream “SODOMY” at the top of their lungs.

It brings back memories of his time in the military apparently. You’ll have to ask Mitch. Better yet — scream “SODOMY” in Moscow Mitch’s face at the top of your lungs.

Hey, Mitch — Let’s put on a show!

Vladimir Putin – For a guy running a shitty country with a shitty economy and a shitty future, he’s done very well for himself.

It’s incumbent on US to fix it.

Better yet — Let’s put on a show.

Donald Trump Isn’t Just “Worse Than Watergate”, He’s Watergate’s “Unfinished Business”

On the one hand, Watergate was merely a cover up of a second rate burglary, the cover up being the crime that brought Nixon down.  But, on the other, Watergate was also a prosecution of the political culture that made the second rate burglary a viable political option – committing an actual crime to undermine your political opponents.

Paul Manafort, Roger Stone & Lee Atwater — in business together in 1980

That “Do ANYTHING To Win” mentality didn’t die with Watergate.  Guys like Roger Stone, Paul Manafort and Lee Atwater kept it very much alive.  So did Roger Ailes.  Ailes openly said that he created Fox News as a mechanism to prevent any future Watergates – that is, prevent the press from STOPPING the dark, authoritarian politics behind Watergate because the press (well, Fox News anyway) would be stoking the flames that made Watergate possible. 

Fox News was created to foster the culture of Republican political corruption.  And Fox News had an awful lot to do with the rise of Donald J. Trump.

Roger Stone, too, has never been shy about his love for Nixon.  FFS, the bastard even got a tattoo of Nixon on his back. 

The joke will be on Roger though.  I bet inmates are already lining up to meet Roger when he becomes a federal prisoner; they all want bragging rights.  They want to tell their pals that they looked Dick Nixon right in the eye while they shot a load.

The march toward impeachment during Watergate was much more of a slog – took longer – than most people remember.  Then, as now, Republicans dug in their heels, determined to protect their president.  It wasn’t until the reveal that there were tapes – irrefutable evidence that Nixon knew about everything and actively participated in the cover up – that Republicans like Barry Goldwater marched dutifully to the White House to explain to Nixon why he’d be resigning.  Impeachment and conviction were done deals.

We have “tapes” again now.  And, as before, it will be the cover up that brings a president down.  But that, pretty much, is where the similarities end.  Nixon and company were covering up a burglary – committed for political purposes.  Trump is covering up high crimes, misdemeanors and outright treason.  Whereas the rest of the Republicans were pretty much innocent of complicity back during Watergate (they may have suspected Nixon was guilty but they in no way participated in what Nixon did), that’s not the case today.

The reason most Republicans will not – and cannot – turn on Trump is because they themselves are completely complicit in all of the underlying crimes. 

All of the Republican leadership – Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy – knew or suspected that Russia was way up their ass during the 2016 campaign.  Kevin McCarthy famously entered a meeting during the 2016 convention and voiced his concern that “Russia is paying Dana Rohrbacher and Trump”.  Paul Ryan responded: “Let’s keep it in the family”.

Mitch McConnell has taken MILLIONS from Russia into his PAC. Innocent on the surface perhaps (we need to change those laws pronto), not even remotely innocent just below. Moscow Mitch made it his personal business to lift the sanctions on Putin Pal & GRU Guy Oleg Deripaska – the very person to whom Paul Manafort handed the proprietary polling data Russian military intelligence weaponized and turned on Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan – the tree parts of Hillary Clinton’s blue wall that Trump won by a combined 87,000 votes. Deripaska was sanctioned BECAUSE he interfered in the 2016 election.

We also know now that Russia infiltrated the NRA.  Using its skilled agent Maria Buttina, Russia used the NRA to spread money and influence – and the NRA knew goddamned well that that’s what Russia was doing.

Wayne LaPierre, too, is the right wing finishing what Watergate started.

It’s not a coincidence that the two most damaging assaults on our whole political system came from the right – from conservatives – from Republicans.  It’s not a coincidence because they’re connected.