How WOULD America Act If Trump COULD Finish His Authoritarian Coup D’Etat?

We are living through the most jaw-dropping story no writer could possibly write (and get away with). But the rules of storytelling still apply — because storytelling rules are based on how human beings behave. When storytellers get human beings wrong? The people listening to their stories bail. The stories no longer make sense because “nobody acts like that”.

That Republicans backed Trump and Russia (knowing that Trump himself was backed by Russia) would seem strange until you see Republicans in their proper context: a shrinking demographic desperately trying to hang onto political power. Their history of suppressing Democratic voters speaks volumes — the modern GOP has never been “into” actual representative government. That’s why they gerrymander districts. One doesn’t gerrymander so as to better administer to the will of the people, one does it to circumvent their will.

As Donald Trump himself said out loud — when more Americans vote, it’s bad for Republicans. Right — because when more Americans vote, they vote for Democrats — who represent how those Americans want to be governed.

Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by at least 3,000,000 votes. Without the massive voter suppression aimed at HRC’s voters? That number’s bigger. By a lot. And I will believe Donald Trump won the Electoral College votes of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin & Michigan in 2016 fairly and squarely as soon as we’ve done some real, thorough and serious forensics on both machines (which were all susceptible to hacking) and the impact of Russian propaganda efforts in those states. Remember — we know already that Trump’s 2016 campaign manager handed Konstantin Kilimnik (he of the GRU — Russian Military Intelligence) proprietary polling data from four states (PA/WI/MI and Minnesota) which Russia turned into personalized Facebook ads that turned up on the personal Facebook pages of African American voters in those four states. Think propaganda doesn’t work? Then why do people & countries spend so much money on it?

It’s advertising. It works.

While Americans are slow to anger — it took three-and-a-half years (plus the 400 years before it) for white people to finally get it that enslaving black people is morally repugnant even if all you do is accept it — once we get angry, we stay angry. At least for a while. How long that while will be?

That’s the Undiscovered Country. Americans have never been “occupied” by a hostile foreign power — not since the Civil War anyway. When it happened then? It pissed Americans off. The South hated it when the North invaded and the North hated it when the South pushed as far North as Gettysburg. While the countries of Europe have a long history of being invaded, conquered and occupied (Except for Switzerland maybe) across a thousand years, America (a very new country by comparison) has no such history.

That matters. People in Belgium and parts of France have been run over by Germans or Prussians for hundreds of years. WWI and WWII weren’t unique experiences. The rest of Europe routinely invaded itself or, going back even further, was accustomed to being invaded by Huns or other hostile tribes from beyond the Rubicon.

Americans are used to being the invaders. We DO the conquering, not the other way around. It’s part of our mindset. It’s how we think of ourselves. Which means that what Donald Trump & Bill Barr are trying to pull off in Portland (and now Chicago, Kansas City and who knows what other cities) will come up against not just the peaceful protesters in the street but the idea in their heads that Americans do not get invaded or occupied.

Tear-gassing moms will not convince them otherwise. As happened in Portland — more moms turned out the next night. And more moms after that.

Trump has no choice BUT to try and finish the soft coup d’etat he and the GOP pulled off with extensive Russian help in 2016. In no way did Trump “win” the presidency freely or fairly. We don’t know yet how many Republicans knew this even as they ran for office themselves in 2016, but we do know that PLENTY OF THEM KNEW. “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump” is how current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy put it as he entered a room filled with Republican muckety-mucks. Then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan told everyone there they weren’t going to talk about that fact.

Note — Paul Ryan didn’t reply “What? Are you sure about that, Kev’? Quick, somebody, get the FBI on the phone — we have a problem!” No, instead Paul Ryan replied: “No leaks. . . . This is how we know we’re a real family here.”

The protesting in Portland has gone on for more than 50 days straight. If Trump tries to put his foot on New York City’s neck — or Chicago’s — or Albuquerque’s — or Oakland’s — or anywhere, he’ll find not just resistance but a citizenry ready to take him on. Even the Republicans see our handwriting on their wall. That’s the handwriting of We The People. The polling indicates no just an electoral blowout coming for the Republican Party but near electoral obliteration.

Even the Republicans who survive the maelstrom will still have to deal with a minimized presence, a wretched brand and an increasingly marginized base that will have been significantly culled by the coronavirus (and their refusal to take it seriously). They will have to deal with an ongoing series of trials that will spell out in graphic detail the extent of Republican corruption. Every bit of regressive legislation they try to push will die on the vine while more and more of their co-conspirators get sent off to prison for the rest of their lives. In the end, even those last few “proud Republicans” will have to re-brand.

The word “Republican” will have been that damaged that they’ll have no choice if they want to have any say whatsoever in our democratic process.

That’s how America will react when Trump attempts to put his jack boot upon us. It will be messy. Trump will do it (he has no choice) and we will not just resist but fight him off completely. We, too, have no choice.

It comes down to this. Trump has it right about what happens when too many Americans get involved in politics. They at least lean Democratic. Democrats are very different from Republicans. For one thing, we do not ever march in lockstep — ideologically. We’re still the unmanageable “rabble” Will Rogers was thinking of when he said “I’m not a member of any organized political party, I’m a Democrat”.

But threaten our rights and we get remarkably organized. Trump and his Republican co-conspirators will do everything they can to get away with this (“this” being election fraud, obstruction of justice and treason). They have no choice. The instant Trump stops being POTUS (and stops being protected by that ludicrous DoJ rule that supposedly says you can’t indict a sitting president), his legal problems will begin in earnest. He will never go another day of his life where he isn’t in legal trouble — or civil. The same goes for pretty much every single Republican.

“See something, say something” is how conspiracy works. Except, with conspirators, it’s “See something, say nothing“. That’s what makes them co-conspirators. Even if you suspect illegal shit is going on? You are obligated to say something otherwise it forces us to ask “why?” WHY did you not say anything about the crimes you suspected were happening?

Trump will not succeed. The Republican Party will not succeed. The best they can hope for is that 30% of the country backs them. Even among that 30%, it’s a pretty small number who will be willing to die for the Republican Party — especially as its callousness puts more Americans in desperate financial straits and the coronavirus’ deadly path.

Know who Trump’s going up against? This little girl. This fierce little girl.

See that fire in her eyes? That’s what’s burning inside a growing number of Americans who don’t want America to go back to how it was.

We want America to finally become the thing it always should have been.

The Rule Of Law Didn’t Let Us Down, We Let IT Down

Laws don’t enforce themselves. People have to do that for them. If people don’t enforce the rules they created for themselves, they shouldn’t be surprised when the rules stop being followed.

The Great Experiment that is the United States is its reliance upon law — not an individual ruler’s whims — as the basis for our co-existence with each other. In theory, the rule of law treats us as exactly equal before it. If I break a law, I will get treated the exact same as anyone else. The rule of law does not differentiate or make exceptions.

It’s the exceptions that ultimately kill the rule of law. The moment the rule of law treats one person differently, it opens the door to corruption. Others will want the same treatment. Some will get it. The rule of law is now broken.

Or is it? The rule of law hasn’t changed. It didn’t suddenly do something different that altered how it works. It didn’t slip out of gear or get a flat tire.

We stopped following it.

The fact that Donald Trump has never been punished for his overt criminality isn’t a proof that he can get away with anything because the rule of law doesn’t work, it’s proof that people let Trump get away with things because they refuse to enforce the rule of law against him. Not the same thing.

Trump thinks he can get away with shit because rich people, in general, get away with shit. Aside from Bernie Madoff — who got punished because he preyed on rich people — not many rich people ever have to pay for their criminal behavior. We made a terrible mistake allowing Gerald Ford to pardon Richard Nixon. Whatever short term “good feelings” were gained from an act of forgiveness were overshadowed by the even more criminal behavior of the former Nixonites who went to work for Trump: Paul Manafort and Roger Stone in particular.

If we had punished Nixon severely for his trespasses, would his sycohpants have been so quick to take up Nixon’s cause again? Yeah, guys like Haldeman and Ehrlichman went to prison, but Nixon didn’t — and that spoke louder to the Nixonites who managed to escape back into the shadows. The message wasn’t “don’t do it!”, it was “do it better so you don’t get caught!”

That was us letting the rule of law down. The rule of law’s still good, we said, except as it applies to Richard Nixon.

Nixon went on to rise from the ashes again. His reputation — which should have been stuck forever at “he IS a crook — saw him as a statesman again.

I guess it’s a white people thing — to let white people we perceive as “powerful” get away with anything they want. Cos “powerful”. And white.

We need to get it out of our heads that the rule of law stopped. It did not. We stopped following it — but the rule of law persisted. In order to win election 2016, Donald Trump & the GOP had to stop following the rule of law. That means a crime has gone unpunished, not that Trump is president.

Donald Trump & the Republican Party stole something very real in 2016. They stole the election’s real outcome. The fact that Trump, Russia and the GOP worked so hard to make that happen — that speaks to the nature of their conspiracy. Though it may not have been plotted out like in a movie — this fell together in pieces, jollied along by Russia as needed. Voter suppression, voter machine manipulation (we don’t know IF it happened but we don’t know it didn’t because no one has actually looked) and outright data theft: those stolen emails were first & foremost STOLEN.

It doesn’t matter what the emails said (in the end they said nothing). It matters only that they were stolen property being used nefariously by Russia. Every time the press danced along to “But her emails”, the press was buying into a bunch of thieves kicking their victim a little bit harder.

As Saint Ronnie Reagan would have put it, “There you go again”.

That was us letting the rule of law down — again.

The Democrats can’t “wait” till November — with a blowout in hand — to assert the rule of law’s return. They need to assert it’s return NOW. As Joe Biden did when he pointedly called out Russia for their intercessions in 2016 and now, We The people need to put Donald Trump & the GOP on notice: we see you openly committing crimes this very second — and we intend to prosecute you for it — starting with the crimes you committed on your way to stealing the presidency — and everything that came with that (judges especially).

The whole point of the Republican Party’s gambit was to undermine the rule of law. That deserves appropriate punishment. We owe it to the Republicans to tell them what’s coming — and then we owe it to ourselves and the rule of law to deliver it.

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.

Donald Trump Cheated To Become POTUS — Here’s How He Did It

It’s entirely possible that Donald Trump has lived his entire life without ever winning anything either fairly or squarely.

That includes the presidency. I wonder if that’s why he keeps projecting his illegitimacy.

We knew as the results came in election night 2016 that something wasn’t right. Yeah, losing always sucks. But election night 2016 transcended merely sucking. Something deep in our animal nature sensed it. It smelled off. Our animal nature was right.

Donald Trump cheated throughout the primaries and the general election. He had foreign help every step of the way: that’s illegal. It’s also not a question. The Mueller Report (contrary to Bill Barr’s lying) did not exonerate Trump, rather it damned him — and said it could damn him no further because of 1) a silly DoJ rule that says you can’t indict a sitting POTUS and 2) everyone around Trump perjured themselves and obstructed justice so relentlessly it was impossible to fully investigate whether or not Trump’s campaign had cooperated with Wikileaks — a known Russian player.

But, how did they DO it? How did they pull it off? Wasn’t it really “Hillary was a bad candidate?”

Yeah, Hillary Clinton had baggage. She also won by 3,000,000 more popular votes. She probably won by way more — but plenty of Democratic votes never got counted. Plenty of Democratic voters were stopped from voting or their votes were destroyed or not counted.

Let’s start with the voting machines. Nobody knows if voting machines were hacked, manipulated or altered; to my knowledge, no one’s ever done a forensics on the voting machines in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin — the three states that handed Trump the victory. We do know that any machine — voting or otherwise — that hooks up to the internet can be hacked.

It’s not a coincidence that all the major manufacturers of voting machines are republican-owned. That’s how Republicans think — it’s multi-dimensional cheating.

To my knowledge, no one’s ever done any forensics on any of the voting machines used in 2016. As far as I know, no one’s even thought of doing it — not in an official capacity that is. But we know that any machine that hooks to the internet is hackable. There are, essentially, three voting machine makers: ES&S. Dominion Voting Systems & Hart Intercivic.

All the voting machines those Republican-owned companies manufacture are as unregulated as the companies who make them. They eschew producing paper trails — you know, those things one could follow to assure oneself the voting machines haven’t been tampered with and their results altered. Why, one must ask, would one not want back up — if only to prove how reliable your voting machines are?

We also know from even recent experience, even if people can get through a five-hour line and vote, there’s no guarantee their vote will be counted.

We don’t know and can’t say whether or not Trump directly cheated by screwing with machines in any way. We do know that Trump cheats. We know that Trump has no compunction about cheating. We know that he cheated in myriad other ways in 2016. We know that all the machine makers are Trump backers — and anyone backing Trump is open to corruption — that’s just a stone cold fact.

We can’t say machines for sure, but we can feel damned good betting the ranch on it.

Second, there was that old school cheating method — voter suppression. We’ll note, going in, that Democrats never, ever, EVER even try to suppress Republicans from voting. It just never happens. Why’s that, do ya suppose? Republicans do everything they can short of a literal poll tax to keep Democratic voters from voting. If Republicans thought the terrified people fleeing north from American-caused drug wars in Central America were reliable Republican voters, they’d limo every last one of them across the border to the American city of their choice, stopping along the way to get them all well-paying jobs, passports and pensions.

Republicans have been suppressing Democratic votes for a long time now. Remember though that (per Heather Cox Richardson’s excellent book “To Make Men Free: A History Of The Republican Party”), Lincoln’s Republican Party is not the current Republican Party. The GOP’s mission statement and founding policy positions sound an awful lot philosophically like modern day Democrats. The modern Republicans are more connected to the Dixiecrats — the southern Democrats who harkened back to the Democrats who hated and opposed Lincoln.

Whether it’s picture ID laws or assigning too few voting machines to mostly African American or Latino voting places, Republicans regularly make it hard for Democrats to vote. They must know that virtually none of the voters they’re inconveniencing or preventing from voting entirely are voting Republican. Republicans are inept — except when it comes to getting away with shit.

Gerrymandering was just reaching its zenith in 2016. Wisconsin is so badly gerrymandered that in 2018, Republicans won just 46 percent of the overall popular vote for the U.S. House, but 63 percent of the seats — 5 out of 8. Get that? They won a MINORITY of the votes but got a MAJORITY of the seats? A minority position “became” a majority one — because of gerrymandering. That means the will of the majority won’t be met, it will be contradicted.

Why does that seem so “un-democratic”?

In 2016, old fashioned voter suppression met Facebook. It was love at first sight. Facebook, after all, owed its existence to Russian money. Putin has always had a warm place in his pocket for Zuck & his glorified girl-rating app.

Russia focused its efforts on three states — Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan — three guaranteed blue states with a combined 46 electoral college votes. After California, Texas, New York and Florida (55 electoral votes, 36 votes, 29 & 29) are the big three. Keep in mind — the Russian play involved lots of moving parts. It was happy to create utter chaos and mistrust in our elections. Scoring the White House was a bonus.

We know these things happened: Paul Manafort handed Konstantin Kilimnik proprietary polling data covering four states: Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan. We don’t know what came of the Minnesota data but there’s significant evidence that Kilimnik took that data back to the GRU where the data was “weaponized”. Meaning — it was turned into attack ads that — based on the voter data — went through Facebook directly to the pages of individual American voters — in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan.

That those voters happened to be primarily African American was not an accident. Again — proprietary polling data! They were the point of the exercise. The GRU inundated those Americans’ FB pages with tons of ads about how Hillary Clinton was a closet racist.

The majority of African American voters knew better. They may not have loved Hillary but they were going to vote for her. Except for the African American voters who — seeing the Facebook ads about Hillary being a racist on the down low — let their cynicism take over. Everyone’s a racist, they thought to themselves — and stayed home.

Voter successfully suppressed.

I bet if we did even a little bit of investigating, we could find at least one Democratic African American voter who was swayed by what Manafort & Kilimnik did — and threw up their hands in weary disgust. Why bother? Both sides do it.

Trump won those three states by a combined 77,000 votes.

If we could add back in the suppressed votes (we’ll let go of the machines for now), Trump doesn’t squeak out a win, he loses. Maybe it’s close, but he loses.

On election day 2016, if you recall, Donald Trump had moved to within the margin of error in plenty of places — having risen sharply in the polls after the release of the Comey Letter.

It’s a fact. The Comey letter cost Hillary Clinton the election. The three to four percentage points Clinton lost was all Russia needed to make its various other efforts exponentially more fruitful. The Comey Letter added to the voter suppression going on — and Russia capitalized — pushing toxic Facebook ads and other social media propaganda through to the very last day.

The Comey Letter, if you recall, was all bullshit. Comey naively hoped his letter would explain why a bunch of rogue, Clinton-hating FBI agents in the Bureau’s NYC office refused to answer his simple question posed throughout the summer: were the emails discovered on still another Anthony Weiner computer copies of emails or brand-new emails the Bureau had never laid eyes on?

The rogue FBI agents — all fans of Clinton Cash, the Breitbart-published “expose” about Bill & Hillary — knew the answer to the question (they were copies) but refused to tell Comey. They were waiting — and waited throughout the summer. Meanwhile, backstage, Rudy Giuliani was in contact with the rogue FBI agents. He and (then Utah Republican Congressman) Jason Chafetz began to exert pressure on Comey — to reveal the presence of these new, “possibly unseen” emails.

James Comey wrote his letter — 5 days before election 2016 — to try and head off what Giuliani was doing. Comey was out of his depth. He got steamrollered. So did Hillary Clinton. So did America.

The Comey Letter made every Russian play more viable. It made squeaking out a 77,000 vote victory in three blue states acceptable — if only as a possibility. The Comey letter minimized the amount of cheating required on election day to steal the election.

As we all know, it worked.

Nothing about Trump’s 2016 election was “pre-planned” per se. Russia probably didn’t think it could pull it off until the Comey letter began to hurt Clinton’s numbers.

We know from reporting that no one in the Trump camp expected to win. Melania was especially upset. Trump had assured her it was an impossibility. He must have done because — as we just learned — after the “win”, Melania re-negotiated her pre-nuptial before moving into the White House.

Now that Trump is POTUS, he needs to stay POTUS — from his perspective. He’s already “unindicted co-conspirator Number One” in the Michael Cohen legal case. You just know there are a shit-ton of other legal cases just waiting for Trump to NOT be POTUS any longer — and no longer protected by that ludicrous DoJ rule that says you can’t indict a sitting president. The instant Trump stops being president, his legal troubles begin in earnest — and they won’t stop.

It’s entirely possible — I know my fingers are crossed — that Trump could lose every building, every hotel, every golf course he owns and end up either living in a cardboard box on the street (sweet!) or a federal prison for the rest of his life (sweeter!) He deserves to lose everything. The pain from that experience should endure as long as Trump lives.

I’d even be open to keeping Trump alive by whatever means possible — zapping his bloated orange chest with however many volts it takes to bring him back — just to keep in prison that much longer.

The good news is, Trump’s not having the easy time he had in 2016. Most of the American public grasps who Trump is now. More and more of us grasp that he’s not now — and has never been — the legitimate president of the United States.

We see him for the racist con artist and traitor that he is.

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.

For Republicans, It’s All Or Nothing Now — They Will Destroy The Republic Or Go Down In Flames Of Treason And Infamy

If there was any doubt as to what Republicans are really up to — and how extensive the corruption is inside the GOP — Chief Justice John Roberts made it explicit Monday evening when the SCOTUS (in a 5-4 conservatives v progressives decision) sided with the Wisconsin Republican Party and forced Wisconsin to holds its primary yesterday — despite the health threat it posed — and while refusing to extend any vote-by-mail deadlines (regardless of the fact that many Wisconsinites had not received their mail-in ballots). The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court gave Wisconsin permission to throw out THOUSANDS of legal votes — the most egregious act of voter suppression by a party who suppress Democratic votes the way most people breathe.

The Republican Money — the Kochs, the Mercers early on — saw demographic oblivion in their future and decided the only way to prevent it was to destroy American democracy. Relying on We The People was going to result in extinction. We The People had to be either removed from the equation or limited in our voice if we did remain in the equation. With Mitch McConnell walking point for them, the RW Money began hijacking the judiciary during the Obama presidency. There was real long-term purpose behind McConnell refusing Obama so many life-time appointments to the Federal bench.

The GOP didn’t love Trump. He compromised them. Played even dirtier than they did. Being cynical, greedy and power-mad, they hitched their wagon to the bigger bully — fully aware that that bully was himself deeply compromised by Vladimir Putin. Seems just enough Republicans were already compromised themselves (Mitch himself has taken MILLIONS into his campaign coffers that came from Russia). Russia poured lots of cash into other Republican campaigns via the NRA and a network of Russian retirees living in America, their small pensions suddenly brimming with cash intended for donation to Republicans. How convenient.

GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy famously said to then-Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan during the 2016 Republican convention “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump” to which Paul Ryan famously (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’.”

Meanwhile, remember, convicted felon Paul Manafort was handing Oleg Deripaska (he of the GRU — Russian military intelligence) proprietary polling data from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. That polling data was weaponized by Russia and sent back to Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania as propagandized Facebook ads that showed up — exclusively — on the personal Facebook pages of Democratic voters — many African American or other People of Color. The ads wanted their readers to believe that Hillary Clinton was a racist on the down low.

The point of the exercise — make voters decide to stay home instead of voting. It’s election fraud — carried out with the direct assistance of a hostile foreign government. And it’s entirely illegal.

The GOP may not have known how Russia was going to pull off their theft of election 2016, but once the “win” was Trump’s? They did nothing to address the eight thousand pound gorilla sitting in the room — the total incongruity of Trump’s “win”. There are myriad reasons Trump and the Republicans have resisited every attempt to investigate election 2016. They all have to do with culpability.

Fact: the entire Republican Party is as guilty of election fraud, obstruction of justice and treason as Trump is. They all knew or at the very least suspected what was happening. They were all obligated — legally — to say something. That they didn’t made them guilty of conspiracy.

That means every single Republican has a legal problem. And that’s where America’s problem begins.

For Trump, it’s a matter of staying president forever or probably going to prison forever — his list of crimes is that long and that bad. Robert Mueller — in his team’s report — pointed out their obligation to follow a DoJ “rule” (not a law) created while Spiro Agnew was veep (to keep him from pardoning Nixon — per “The Bagman” — the very good, very deep dive podcast by Rachel Maddow) that would not allow them to indict a sitting POTUS. That’s why the SDNY couldn’t indict Trump along with Michael Cohen for paying Stormy Daniels to keep quiet. As we sit here today, Trump remains “Unindicted Co-Conspirator #1”.

Trump knows: the instant he stops being POTUS, he’ll become INDICTED Co-Conspirator #1. And that will be just the start of his legal problems. And Trump also knows — his legal problems are so deep and so far-reaching, he could lose every single property he owns to seizure. And have we mentioned “treason”? Trump cannot stop being POTUS. That’s his bottom line.

Because it’s Trump’s bottom line — it’s the whole GOP’s bottom line too. If Trump’s crimes get exposed, theirs will get exposed too.

And everyone’s crimes have just gone nuclear because of our coronavirus response. Republican criminality has now KILLED thousands of Americans. Literally. Talk about criminal!

Norms have not mattered for a decade now to the GOP. Mitch McConnell destroyed every norm while Obama was POTUS. The Republican Senate destroyed Congressional oversight when it refused to convict Trump on impeachment. Now Trump is taking a sledgehammer to the IG’s and all possible oversight to how he doles out billions of tax-payer relief dollars. We already know that Trump himself is PROFITING from the very (unproven) cure — hydroxychloroquine — that he’s been pushing during his daily “coronavirus briefings” even as Dr. Fauchi shakes his head in alarmed disapproval.

The Republican Party is so far beyond corrupt they can’t even “corrupt” from their houses anymore.

It’s time for us — for the NEWS MEDIA especially — to stop treating Republicans as honest actors. It’s time to start treating them as what they are: CRIMINALS intent on building upon a criminal act — the stolen 2016 election — to shove permanent minority rule down the majority of Americans’ throats. It’s a rape fever dream by a Party that understands rape intrinsically. If you can vote for a rapist, it’s because you approve of the rapist — and you approve of his raping whoever he likes.

That’s who the Republican Party are — rapists. And they will destroy America rather than face the consequences of their crime.

Here’s the hopeful part. There’s more of us than them. Way more. Way, way, WAY more. As a percentage of the electorate, Trumpanistas are a mere 16%. Fact. And what Trump has steadily done to the military (undermining their purpose in Northern Syria, betraying our Kurdish ally — that doesn’t sit well with “brothers in arms”, firing Brett Crozier, the captain of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt who went public to save his crew from a rising coronavirus threat onboard their ship) will not get him the loyalty he’ll need to turn the military against the American People. It only takes having a few balk at the audacity of a full-on military coup d’etat to make the whole enterprise fall apart.

Trump will try to further rip apart the very voting procedure he always uses: vote-by-mail. But once the Post Office is spared — and we make sure EVERY American GETS their vote-by-mail ballot — the real day of reckoning will begin for Trump & the GOP. It’s way, WAAAAAAY harder to suppress voters when they vote by mail. And if We The People can make vote-by-mail how most Americans vote this November?

As Trump himself said (out loud) this week — the more people vote, the worse it is for Republicans. Agree, Don-Don. Agree completely.

Let’s make that a stone cold reality.

Of Course Trump’s Not Prepared To Deal With Coronavirus — He Never Planned To Be President!

Donald Trump & his Republican co-conspirators remind us every day: elections have consequences; stolen elections have even worse ones.

Donald Trump is not now nor has he ever been the legitimate POTUS. Painful as it may be, let’s revisit election night 2016.

What made a shocking night all the more perplexing was that even Trump and his campaign were so utterly surprised by the results — in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan — and then the Electoral College. 77,000 votes across three states.

Paul Manafort notoriously handed Oleg Deripaska proprietary polling data for 4 states: Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. That act, in and of itself, was illegal — receiving something of value from a foreign interest in an American election. The fact that that foreign interest was Russia — and Russia was actively engaged in a cyber war against us makes this all treason on steroids. No one working with Russia thought “But, hey — Russia just wants what’s best for America”. Even without knowing that Putin literally “had a plan for that” — for infiltrating and undermining us especially via our elections. Their short long-term goal — corrupt and undermine all American elections so as to permanently pervert our democracy. For shits n giggles they pushed Trump.

Enough Americans were so far beyond hope that Trump became viable. Then it came down to gaming the Electoral College. Our system was INVENTED to be gamed — by slavers. There’s no genius in using the EC to subvert the will of the majority. There’s only naked cynicism, corruption and a will to impose permanent minority rule on the majority.

July 21, 2016 – Washington, District of Columbia, U.S. – UNITED District of ColumbiaS – JULY 12: GOP nominee Donald Trump, flanked from left by campaign manager Paul Manafort, and daughter Ivanka Trump, checks the podium early Thursday afternoon in preparation for accepting the GOP nomination to be President at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio on Thursday July 21, 2016. (File Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) (Credit Image: © Bill Clark/Congressional Quarterly/Newscom via ZUMA Press)

The truth is we don’t know yet how profoundly Manafort’s gift impacted the outcomes in PA/WI/MI. We don’t know for a fact how many African American voters were dissuaded by the personalized Facebook ads that turned up on their Facebook pages every day — ads based on that proprietary polling data that was now weaponized into propaganda, misinformation and disinformation.

If the Rule Of Law was back in force, we’d have to draw the line at Zero Tolerance. In other words, if just ONE African American voter stayed home because of what Paul Manafort did? That’s election fraud — right there. As we know, one vote can change an election’s outcome. If we don’t know how many other African American voters were similarly dissuaded from carrying out their right to vote, then we cannot say how much voter fraud occurred other than “it happened”.

The Rule Of Law says it can’t happen. Therefore any and all voter fraud has the same meaning. It’s illegal. Now let’s be real. It wasn’t just one African American voter. It was lots. And those Facebook ads weren’t the only game being played. Let’s be really real: the Trump campaign wasn’t just in bed with Russia, the Trump campaign was Russia’s sex slave — chained to a wall in the Kremlin basement — and loving it.

Lots of people bitched about Michael Wolff and his book “Fire and Fury: Inside Trump’s White House”, but no one’s contradicted what Wolff wrote. Per Newsweek: “A week before the election, Trump was sure he would lose the presidency. But still, according to Wolff’s book, he told Ailes that it was “bigger than I ever dreamed of. I don’t think about losing, because it isn’t losing. We’ve totally won.”

This is from New York Magazine’s excerpt of Wolff’s book (in their Intelligencer section):

“Not only would Trump not be president, almost everyone in the campaign agreed, he should probably not be. Conveniently, the former conviction meant nobody had to deal with the latter issue.”

It was as simple as THIS —

“Not only did Trump disregard the potential conflicts of his own business deals and real-estate holdings, he audaciously refused to release his tax returns. Why should he? Once he lost, Trump would be both insanely famous and a martyr to Crooked Hillary. His daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared would be international celebrities. Steve Bannon would become the de facto head of the tea-party movement. Kellyanne Conway would be a cable-news star. Melania Trump, who had been assured by her husband that he wouldn’t become president, could return to inconspicuously lunching. Losing would work out for everybody. Losing was winning.”

Which is why THIS —

Shortly after 8 p.m. on Election Night, when the unexpected trend — Trump might actually win — seemed confirmed, Don Jr. told a friend that his father, or DJT, as he calls him, looked as if he had seen a ghost. Melania was in tears — and not of joy.

And then THIS —

There was, in the space of little more than an hour, in Steve Bannon’s not unamused observation, a befuddled Trump morphing into a disbelieving Trump and then into a horrified Trump.

Becoming POTUS was not the point of the exercise. Creating Trump TV & more, bigger, better branding opportunities were.

But, once Trump won — once he realized what Vladimir Putin had done for him — he assumed the mantle of tin pot dictator. That’s tin pot dictator on a very short leash — about the length of that tin pot dictator’s ugly, badly-made, badly-tied tie.

Repeat — no one’s ever contradicted anything Michael Wolff said in his book. Liars denying a thing happened carries zero weight.

Every second that we refuse to put this on the table — own it all right goddamned now because pathogens like coronavirus don’t care about politics. We need full transparency right now. And once transparency begins for coronavirus? There’ll be no stopping it.

Suddenly all the other secrets Trump World has managed to hold onto will begin exploding into the light.

I blogged here about the similarities between HG Wells’ “War Of The Worlds” and our current situation — where a lowly pathogen could be the thing to take out a monster we mere Earthlings couldn’t lay a glove on. Even pundits who always get things wrong got this one right: at some point, a crisis will happen that Trump is ill-prepared to deal with.

All Trump’s other chaos has started with Trump and his innate corruption. He’s always been able to moderate the amount of insanity. He’s always been able to switch us to another outrage just as our outrage from the previous nonsense was waning. But, like a natural disaster, Trump can’t control coronavirus.

He got away with botching our response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. After all, Puerto Rico’s off shore. And it’s mostly brown people.

Coronavirus could come for any one of us. We’ll have as much skin in the game as we do coronavirus in our lungs and nasal passages. And if Donald Trump’s ineptitude, incompetence & corruption had anything to do with that (spoiler alert — it DID!), he may yet hold onto his most hard core devotees, but their numbers will be smaller than ever — and shrinking probably because they’re too damned stupid to protect themselves.

Trump may indeed have been able to shoot people on Fifth Avenue and not lose a single voter. He may NOT be able to infect people with coronavirus on Fifth Avenue and get away with that.

But, At The End Of The Day — It’s STILL A Damned Coup D’Etat!

Today is slated to be one of the very worst in American History. Today, the corrupt-to-its marrow Republican-controlled Senate will acquit the most corrupt POTUS in American History of charges he’s corrupting this year’s election.

Think about that. We stand poised at a Treason Trifecta — A treasonous president, a treasonous Senate and a judiciary MADE treasonous by the treasonous Senate. Keep in mind, We The People did not vote for this. We did not choose this. We did not want this. In fact, the majority of us voted AGAINST this. Our majority would have been significantly larger, of course, but for massive voter suppression efforts carried out by the GOP. Quick note — only one side EVER works to suppress the other side’s voters. That’s not a coincidence.

If not for Russia’s direct assistance, Donald Trump would not be president today. That is a stone cold fact. We don’t know yet exactly how impactful the proprietary polling data Paul Manafort handed to Oleg Deripaska was. Deripaska took that polling data — which should never EVER have been given to a foreign person let alone a foreign person with a well known background in spying & intelligence as Deripaska has — and converted it into propaganda that showed up as weaponized Facebook ads on individual Democratic voters’ Facebook pages. Especially African American Democratic voters. A lot of those ads spewed disinformation claiming Hillary Clinton was a closet racist.

We know — we’ve witnessed it — one vote can change an election’s outcome. ONE VOTE. That means EVERY VOTE COUNTS. You screw with one vote — you screw with the election’s outcome. The tolerance therefore for voter manipulation of any kind is ONE VOTE.

We know — because there’s reporting — at least one Democratic African American voter stayed home, successfully dissuaded from voting because of the propaganda. That means voter fraud happened. That voter fraud was part of a larger, coordinated effort to cheat the election. That voter fraud was a clear collaboration between Trump’s campaign & Russia.

You cannot cheat to become POTUS. It’s the law. Therefore, if you DO cheat to become POTUS, you are NOT POTUS. How can you be if you broke one of the basic rules of “how to become POTUS”? That means Donald Trump has never been the legitimate president. He’s been aware of that fact from the start; he’s projected it regularly — as he’s projected every last bit of his guilt. His party has known it all along, too. That’s why they’ve worked so hard to COVER UP THE TRUTH about how exactly Trump “won” — who was behind the “win” and what’s happened since to keep all that ugly Truth from seeing the sunlight.

This didn’t just “happen”. To a degree — but only a degree — it was planned. Mitch McConnell certainly had a plan. He’s been slowly hijacking the judiciary — denying Barack Obama lifetime appointments including Merrick Garland’s seat on the SCOTUS and then using his Senate majority to cram young RW nitwits & scumbags down our throats. Mitch has taken gobs of Russian money into his campaign accounts for years.

No doubt — because it was Mitch’s PAC and because the money all got laundered one way or another — it all seemed perfectly legal at the time. Ah, but context… We now know WHY Mitch was so open to Russian money. He saw Russia as an ally in his (and the RW Money’s) plan to deny the coming demographic Republican apocalypse. By partnering with Russia, Mitch & the RW money saw a way to keep from going the way of the Whigs into extinction — at least for a little while.

Mitch wasn’t the only one hip to the game. There’s that famous moment at the Republican convention in 2016 when now Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy walked into a meeting of GOP Muckety-Mucks and announced “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.” Then Speaker of the House Paul Ryan “…immediately interjected, stopping the conversation from further exploring McCarthy’s assertion, and swore the Republicans present to secrecy.”

In theory, Paul Ryan’s response should have been “You think WHAT? Have you got any proof of that? Holy shit — somebody call the freakin’ FBI!” But, Paul Ryan didn’t say that. Instead, he swore everyone to SECRECY — as if there was a SECRET that needed keeping.

Hmmmmmm… A SECRET, ya say…

I’m willing to give the GOP this — rotten intentions aside, a lot of what’s happened over the last 3 years has been “seat of the pants”. The Republicans knew what they were involved with but they had no idea their Russian partner could pull off what they managed to pull off. As surprising as I’m sure it was to the Republicans — to find themselves the winners of an election even they were certain they’d lose — it was equally confounding. Their nominee had “won” the White House. The problem — the Republicans had just committed TREASON.

We can document that Mitch McConnell knew as early as September 2016 when Obama called a Gang Of Eight meeting so that our Intelligence Community could brief the rest of our political leadership about the very real, very grave threat that Russia was posing to the INTEGRITY OF OUR ELECTIONS. McConnell flat out refused to let Obama tell We The People that OUR election system was under threat.

Now, WHY, I wonder, would Mitch McConnell do that?

The instant Trump “won”, if Mitch McConnell — or ANY Republican — had had an inkling that Trump’s win might be tainted — by Russian influence FFS! — they should have said something. They did not. WHY?

Yeah, okay — it’s a loaded question. We know why. Mitch & Paul & Kevin were all playing ball with Russia. They’d been compromised already — each of them — and there was no way to stop what was now in motion — an illegal attempt to change the outcome of an American election. To deny the American electorate its will.

That’s the bet the Republican Party made — that they could get away with corrupting our elections permanently — to seize power and to hold onto power. That, by definition, is a coup d’etat. The illegal seizure of power. Most coups are military. Ours was special that way. The Republicans didn’t need the military — they needed the press. And the press — by not seeing what the Republicans were doing — spread bullshit legitimacy over clear corruption.

Today the Senate Republicans will deny evidence & witnesses to clear criminality — all bent on further subverting the will of the American People.

If Americans — and our news media — didn’t grasp how very real a coup d’etat this was, this must serve as their (and our) wake up call. Never mind Nancy Pelosi tearing up a copy of Trump’s lie-filled SOTU address. Trump’s whole SOTU was him shredding the Constitution.

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…