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.

Advertisements

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.

Dear America: We Are Living Through World War III And Don’t Even Know It

Anyone who thinks it takes bombs and bullets to win a war will lose every single war they ever wage going forward. Right now, that would be us — still thinking that Donald Trump is anything other than a literal weapon, fully loaded and pointed directly at our heads.

If Russia wanted to (hell, a bunch of countries could probably do this — Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Israel), they could shut down our electric grid today — and leave us in the dark, disconnected from the internet and social media and our lives. We’d sue for peace in a heartbeat. That’s a whole war waged — successfully — without a single shot being fired.

We know for a fact (it’s in the Mueller Report and it’s part of the reason he eats prison dinner every night) that Paul Manafort gave Oleg Deripaska (oligarch & “Pal O’ Putin”) proprietary polling data for Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan & Pennsylvania. We know for a fact that that polling data was processed inside the GRU (Russian Military Intelligence) then weaponized — and returned to those states (PA/WI/MI especially) in the form of highly personalized Facebook ads that showed up (especially) on the FB pages of African American voters.

The point of the exercise is voter suppression — the use of propaganda to dissuade a voter from voting. Every voter dissuaded from doing their duty as a citizen (think ANY of these voters vote Republican?) is as good as a vote for their opponent. The fact that such activities aren’t already massively illegal is a testament to how much Republican corruption we’ve already normalized and how deeply institutional racism runs.

Like the skilled cold warrior he is, Putin knows how to make big plays in the secret realm that, strangely, never get any attention.

I’m not the first or only person to see us living in a second Pearl Harbor — in the hour or so before 7:15 when the Japanese Imperial Navy arrived and started attacking us. That however is a painfully ironic description of where we are. Putin & Russia have attacked us from the worst possible direction — from within.

Being unable to beat us economically or technologically — or even ideologically (since Putin’s only ideology is greed, power & corruption), Putin, calling on his mad intelligence officer skills, has declared war on us in the only way available to him — via espionage: info war, cyber war.

We don’t know yet the full extent to which our very perceptions of election 2016 were colored by propaganda, misinformation and disinformation originating from outside the country (Russia but also Saudi Arabia, Israel and who knows where else). How much Hillary Hatred was actually Russia?

As its first act of open war on us, Vlad Putin took the truth out back and busted a cap in its head.

It’s incumbent on us — if we want our Democracy back — to finally see the war that’s been declared on us in secret for the war that it is. More important? We need to see all the Fifth Columnists & outright TRAITORS who’ve thrown in with our enemies — because they saw that as a cynical pathway to permanent power.

I’m talking to YOU, Moscow Mitch McConnell.

That’s the other painful irony — it isn’t just enemies from without who’ve declared war on us, there’s an enemy within. The Extreme Christian Right and its money — Kochs, Mercers et al — saw that the demographics were going to mean an eventual end to their hold on this country. They declared cultural & political war on the majority — and, using gerrymandering & voter suppression, have done everything they can to install permanent minority rule — THEY being the minority.

That, too is undeclared war. It doesn’t make it any less real — or its effects any more painful and permanent.

Yesterday’s Twist – Trump’s Deutsche Bank Loan Docs Were All Co-Signed By Russians – Makes a “President Pelosi” entirely possible.

A lot of us have eaten through our stomach linings waiting for Nancy Pelosi to come onboard with impeachment.

On the one hand, how many times does Donald Trump have to violate his oath of office to warrant being held accountable for it? On the other, this is virgin territory: a traitor president beholden to a very hostile foreign power and his equally treasonous political party obstructing justice because they’re complicit while the Main Stream News Media gawps at the whole mess, unable to make sense of it because they can’t imagine the very story they’re supposed to be reporting.

For all their years and experience, Nancy Pelosi nor any Democrat can claim to be relying on experience as they deal with the ongoing crisis that is Donald Trump. None of us has been here before. Anyone looking to the past for answers to this is an idiot. I suspect that what’s driven Madame Speaker’s reticence so far isn’t lack of desire to impeach or lack of will, it’s the stone, cold knowledge of what even beginning the impeachment process will unleash on us all.

I bet Speaker Pelosi knows that a significant chunk of this country simply will not accept the truth about Donald Trump. Their fear of losing white cultural hegemony is so strong and so acute that they will almost certainly become openly seditious. It’s entirely possible that, anticipating this, Speaker Pelosi has sought to make her case to all those people in the fuzzy middle who always need extra convincing to do the right thing).

Or, maybe, alternatively, Speaker Pelosi — having access to more docs & secrets than we realize — has anticipated that timing how & when the big bombs drop could lead not only to Trump’s impeachment in the House, but actual conviction in the Republican-controlled senate. Either Republicans will have to (finally) do the right thing or stand in the glare of explaining their own treason-y attitudes.

I experienced a proud moment about a year ago. I was visiting the East Coast & got to spend some quality time w a niece who works for the government and has a security clearance. She pitched me an idea — how Nancy Pelosi could become POTUS — which I ten tweeted. That tweet, strangely, found its way onto MSNBC’s air as a nutty but cool “What if…?” tossed in at the end of an hour to close it out on a lighter note.

Pelosi’s path is simple and straightforward. Trump gets impeached & convicted and so does Mike Pence. There is no way in hell that Mike Pence becomes POTUS. Remember — Paul Manafort brought Mike Pence to the VP table. Manafort was a criminal working with Russian criminals in order to circumvent the voting will of the American people. Does anyone with the least bit of critical thinking skill not grasp that the LAST person a criminal like Manafort would want to bring into their very criminal tent would be a goody-two-shoes who’d rat them all out the instant he heard Russia was helping Trump win?

Mike Pence is compromised. Deeply. Madame Speaker already knows that, I bet. She may even be anticipating Pence trying to pardon Trump et al if ever he got to be POTUS. Mike Pence can get no closer to being president than his pecker ever gets to a woman (Mother especially). Any move to impeach Trump will have to also impeach Mike Pence.

As Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi is third in line of presidential succession. She knows that. She knows how angry a President Pelosi will make some crazy RW-ers. Angry and dangerous. She knows, too, I bet, that if she gets handed the presidency via impeachment and conviction, there will be a backlash — undeserved but inevitable.

We’ve still only just scratched the surface of this epic shit show. I hope our stomachs can take what’s coming.

Dear America — It Doesn’t Matter Whether We Know It Or Not — WE’RE AT WAR

We all know the story of December 7, 1941. At around 7:15 a.m. the Japanese Imperial Fleet attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Just like that — America was “at war”.

But, the Japanese had set their war machine in motion years before — designing it for just such a scenario. In advance of that date — December 7, the Japanese moved their war machine into place. We’re talking a naval fleet and a wide expanse of ocean. Then, once the order was given to attack, it still took the Japanese hours to reach Pearl Harbor so they could open the attack — and make the fact that they were at war with us “formal”.

Looking back at the timeline, December 7, 1941 didn’t just pop up out of nowhere. I wonder if anyone at Pearl Harbor asked themselves — as they ran for cover, the bombs exploding all around them — how was it they (we) were so horribly ill-prepared for a war they (we) should have seen coming…

Okay — the whole point of a surprise attack is that the guy getting attacked doesn’t see it coming. But, c’mon…

A deer happily walking through the forest thinks her life is going along just fine. If a hunter has her in his sights however, she’s fooling herself. Her life’s about to end abruptly. She’ll just be the last to know it.

America is a lot like that deer. We still have it in our heads that our Democracy works like it’s supposed to. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our voting systems are as compromised as a Trump because the makers of those systems are mostly Trump supporters. And one has to wonder why the makers of VOTING SYSTEMS don’t want to guarantee the INTEGRITY of their VOTING SYSTEMS by always creating a paper trail.

Quick Life Hack? Any time anyone tries to hide the truth — no matter the tap dancing they do? It means they’re lying. It means they’re a criminal violating both the public trust and (probably) the law.

Russia declared war on us eons ago. It has been their intention going back to at least the Cold War to compromise us or neutralize us. We used to be much better at fighting back. Republican greed — for money and power — seem to have warn down their “resistance”. Seeing demographic extinction in their future, the Republican Party (their money) made a conscious choice to hitch their wagon to Donald Trump — even though they KNEW, for a fact, that Trump was a traitor.

That’s just stone, cold fact.

Russia declared Cyber War & Information War against us (they’ve certainly behaved as if they were at Cyber/Info War with us) and the Republican Party conspired with them as a means to impose permanent minority rule upon the majority.

Want to know why the GOP won’t say a thing to stop Trump when clearly Trump’s uvula is spackled with Vladimir Putin’s DNA? Their uvulas are all just as coated. They’ve all taken Russian money. They knew or suspected what was happening and said NOTHING. Why, even back during the 2016 convention Paul Ryan was telling Mike McCarthy to keep his suspicions that Russia was paying Dana Rohrbacher & Donald Trump “in the family”.

They knew we were under attack — THEY SAID SO OUT LOUD. Yet, did nothing. Didn’t call the FBI, for instance…

Wake up, America — please? Anyone who thinks you need bombs and bullets to wage or win a war will lose every war they ever fight going forward. Russia (or some other player) could shut down our electrical grid today and we’d be forced to sue for peace. Imagine: winning a war without firing a shot. It is absolutely possible.

The fact that we don’t KNOW — for a fact — that we’ve been under attack all this time is a tell that we’re living inside a giant FALSE NARRATIVE. Every time a TV talking head says about election 2016 that America voted for Trump, they’re spewing a false narrative. 1) the majority of Americans did NOT vote for Trump and 2) in the three states that put Trump over the top — Pennsylvania, Michigan & Wisconsin, Trump won by a combined 77,000 votes in states where Russia used proprietary polling data acquired from Paul Manafort (per the Mueller Report) to DIRECTLY IMPACT the voting in those states.

By the way, no one has ever done any forensics on any of the voting machines in those states. We don’t (may never) know what could have been done (easily by a committed actor) to those machines. Of course, if you don’t accept that you’re at war to begin with, you’d never think to look deeply at voting machines. You’d probably think it was absurd, over the top conspiracy thinking…

A spouse who’s being cheated on lives inside a false narrative that their marriage is secure. We live inside a similar false narrative — and marriage — with the Republican Party. They haven’t just cheated on us, they’ve sold the house out from under us.

Remember that deer I mentioned, the one being hunted? That’s us. Right here, right now. History is pretty consistent on this point. Being the last to know anything always works out badly.

How Many Republicans Does It Take To Screw In A Lightbulb? Zero — There’s No More House – They Burned It Down

I’m not the first person to compare Donald Trump to an arsonist who sets fires then calls the Fire Department — then does everything he can to get in the Fire Department’s way when they show up to put out the flames. Incompetence is bad. Malicious incompetence is worse.

Republicans going back to Lee Atwater — one-time head of the RNC, political consultant to Ronald Reagan and George H W Bush’s campaign manager — have taken not so much a Machiavellian approach to governing as the approach Sherman took to Atlanta — he burned down the idea of government for the people by the people of the people and put up instead a strategy based on culture war against the left and outright refusal to even compromise with anyone not a Republican.

WASHINGTON – MARCH 21: Paul Manafort, Roger Stone and Lee Atwater are young political operatives who have set up lobbying firms. (Photo By Harry Naltchayan/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

If you can measure a man by the company he keeps, measure Lee Atwater by the company he CO-FOUNDED — with Paul Manafort and Roger Stone.

Quick — If Lee Atwater, Paul Manafort or Roger Stone (or anyone in the Republican Party) had great ideas to sell, don’t you think they’d have sold them to us instead of always relying on cheating? The Chuck Todd’s of the world will insist that “both sides do it”. I dare anyone to point to a similar outfit that uses dirty tricks, deception & flagrant dishonesty to further Democratic Party ideals and goals. It doesn’t exist because it just isn’t how Democrats think.

Atwater wasn’t the first American political consultant to play dirty. We’ve done that since the Republic’s founding. Atwater however brought media savvy to the dirty. He made the dirty dirtier.

In his time, Atwater used racism to help elect George HW Bush (the Willie Horton ads) and the inference that House Speaker Jim Wright was gay. Atwater went after the voting rights act (cos isn’t that what Republicanism really is about?) and gave this honest answer to a journalist’s question about Atwater’s thinking (I’ve softened the language — taking out Atwater’s repeated use of “the N-word”)…

Y’all don’t quote me on this. You start out in 1954 by saying, “N-word, n-word, n-word”. By 1968 you can’t say “n-word”—that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busingstates’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me—because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this”, is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “N-word, n-word”. So, any way you look at it, race is coming on the backbone.”

Whatever ya say, Lee, whatever ya say… Newt Gingrich picked up the mantle when Atwater was gone — cut down at 40 by a grade 3 astrocytoma — an aggressive form of brain cancer. Gingrich turned a hose running lighter fluid onto what Atwater had started. We’re still living in the ashes.

To Atwater’s credit, when an aggressive brain cancer cut his life short, Atwater had an actual “Come To Jesus” moment. He saw (most of) the error in his ways. He realized how greed (for money and power) had skewed his values — and, in the pages of Life Magazine, Atwater repented:

“My illness helped me to see that what was missing in society is what was missing in me: a little heart, a lot of brotherhood. The 1980s were about acquiring – acquiring wealth, power, prestige. I know. I acquired more wealth, power, and prestige than most. But you can acquire all you want and still feel empty. What power wouldn’t I trade for a little more time with my family? What price wouldn’t I pay for an evening with friends? It took a deadly illness to put me eye to eye with that truth, but it is a truth that the country, caught up in its ruthless ambitions and moral decay, can learn on my dime. I don’t know who will lead us through the ’90s, but they must be made to speak to this spiritual vacuum at the heart of American society, this tumor of the soul.”

That “tumor of the soul” metastasized into Donald Trump. That sound you hear are the last embers of what was our Democracy flickering out.

Living Inside A False Narrative Is Stupid… So Why Do We Persist In Doing It?

A woman who doesn’t know the man she loves is cheating on her lives inside a false narrative — that her relationship is on solid ground.

A man unaware that a tumor is metastasizing inside of him is living a false narrative that he’s healthy and not doomed.

As they slept in their beds at 6:45, the morning of December 7, 1941, the citizens of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii were living inside a false narrative that our country was at peace with Japan and that war couldn’t possibly impact their lives. You don’t have to know the bullet is coming to get killed by it.

Christianity tries to sell a false narrative that the man who first uttered “Do Unto Others” lived a miraculous life — having a deity for a father and a virgin for a mother. Anyone who believes this actually happened and lives their life as if it did — they’re living inside a false narrative. You don’t have to believe the false narrative, by the way, to follow Jesus. Jesus never invented a false narrative (Paul did that), he just preached “Do Unto Others”.

We live inside the false narrative that Donald Trump “won” his election back in 2016 (even though he’s projected his own illegitimacy from the get-go because the secret that Russia won the election for him was too hard for him to keep).

We know for a fact that election 2016 wasn’t normal. We knew the night of the election — as reliably blue states began going inexplicably to Trump — that this election smelled. It wasn’t just losing that stunk. It was losing to such an obvious cheat.

Nothing we’ve learned since the election has disproven that conjecture. Take Russia out of the equation and Donald Trump doesn’t come close. And Russia dominated every bit of that equation. Russia received proprietary voter data from Paul Manafort; they weaponized it, turning it back on us as individualized Facebook ads that landed in the targeted voter’s Facebook feed. If these ads caused ONE voter to stay home — that’s one too many in my opinion. We know for a fact it was more than one.

Those voters were given a false narrative — about Hillary Clinton or the Democrats. It worked. Hillary won by more than 3 million popular votes — a victory by any real standard — the Electoral College being a throwback to slavery that, by design, overvalues rural voters while radically undervaluing urban voters. But we keep telling herself “she lost”. It’s insane to equate gaming the Electoral College with giving American voters what they voted for. The majority of us (not even including suppressed votes) voted for the exact opposite of what Donald Trump and the republican party have done.

But then, that was the point. Maintaining the false narrative that Trump won — that’s also the point. As is maintaining the false narrative the Mueller Report in any way exonerated him from either conspiracy with the Russians or egregious attempts to not only obstruct justice but circumvent it too.

Every time a journalist ascribes Trump’s victory in 2016 to anything other than Russia– they’re pitching a false narrative.

They’re pitching bullshit.