Republicans Are Overgrown Schoolyard Bullies – On Steroids

It’s weird, isn’t it, how some of us never leave the schoolyard? In a sense, the schoolyard never leaves those people; the schoolyard was where they peaked emotionally. “Bullies” (which includes pretty much everyone with an “R” still next to their name) look back fondly at their days terrorizing a schoolyard. They achieved a kind of mastery of their subject matter. the Zen of cruelty. They learned who they can cow, who will carry their water for them and who they needn’t bother with – because people with integrity don’t give in to bullies (without plotting to end their bullying). Republicans gravitate toward other, bigger bullies. That is, their faces light up in a bigger bully’s presence. Look at how Trump’s face lights up when he sees Vladimir Putin —

Putin bullies Trump because Putin owns Trump – a fact the entire Republican Party leadership knew before they even nominated Trump. On June 25, 2016, upon entering a meeting of GOP leaders, current GOPP Leader Kevin McCarthy said: “There’s two people I think Putin pays – Rohrbacher and Trump – swear to god!” Obviously, this fact isn’t something Trump wants known – otherwise, he’d blast it: “Putin pays me – that’s how much he loves me!” Trump has done everything in his power to prevent the rest of us from learning just how true that is. The Republicans have co-conspired to obstruct justice because they could very easily have called the FBI on that day – and warned them that their potential nominee to be POTUS was a grave national security threat. They didn’t; instead, the Republican Leadership rallied around then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan’s direction that they not talk about the subject any further – and that they keep this secret of theirs a secret.

See how bullying works? One bully compromises another and then that bully compromises a bunch of other bullies – guys like Lindsey Graham who famously said that if the Republican Party made Trump their nominee, that they would be the cause of their own downfall. Lindsey’s the worst kind of bully; in a crowd of gutless wonders, Lindsey is the most gutless. Perhaps the stories about Lindsey Graham preferring his lovers on the young side is true. Something has to explain how Donald Trump turned Lindsey from an impediment to an ally over the course of one golf outing together. When you hear Lindsey speak about Trump after that? Lindsey sounds like a bully who’s being bullied.

I have a feeling that, in time, we’ll learn how many Republicans were compromised by similar kompromat of one kind or another. I bet that number will be shocking. Think of all the avenues and openings there were! Remember Russia’s Mata Hari, Maria Butina? We already know some of the silly Republican men she seduced into treason (either sexually or otherwise): Rick Santorum, Wayne LaPierre (head of the NRA), conservative activist Paul Erickson who was “slowly cultivating a back channel to the Kremlin for years”. And what do ya suppose Ron Johnson and the rest of the Moscow Eight had for dinner in Moscow the evening of July 4, 2018? My betting is the vodka was icy cold, the blinis were warm and the treason was served piping hot. Let’s add Senators Richard Shelby (AL), Steve Daines (MT), John Hoeven (ND), John Kennedy (LA), Jerry Moran (KS) and John Thune (SD) plus Texas Rep Kay Granger) to the pile of traitors and bullies.

Doesn’t the word “bully” flash across your mind when you hear that Marjory Taylor Greene’s name is trending somewhere? Doesn’t the smirk permanently stuck to Laurene Boebert’s mouth parts scream “I’m a bully!”

Matt Gaetz going after underage girls was a total “I’m a bully” move. And, Jim Jordan famously turned a blind eye to the sexual abuse going on while he was pretty much “in the room”. Pick a Republican and there will be a story or two or three or a hundred about something untoward surrounding them. Let’s not forget: the January 6 insurrection didn’t happen spontaneously. It was planned (as meticulously as a bunch of racist incompetents can plan a thing). It was deliberate and ambitious and it knew that what it wanted to do was absolutely illegal.

The good news is that bullies – being cowards who never stand for anything – are doomed to be bullies forever. They’re never hard to spot, easy to predict and reliable as hell. Their schtick is their schtick is their schtick. They shrink when threatened and puff up in the face of other people’s vulnerabilities. If they can’t kick someone when that someone is down, the bully isn’t kicking them/

Because the bullies victim could get up and kick the bully’s ass.

After Trump, There Won’t BE A Republican Party Anymore

A wise man (more like a wise guy actually) once tweeted ““If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed… and we will deserve it.” That was Lindsey Graham and he knew exactly what he was talking about. What Lindsey understood – deep down, it turns out – is that Trump both personified the Republican Party’s worst, greediest, most power mad instincts and gave them a vehicle with which to sell those instincts. Trump was and is the GOP’s id run amok. As much as the GOP establishment hated Trump – and KNEW he was so compromised by Russia that he’d be a national security threat the instant he took office – they hitched their wagons to his – and willingly allowed Trump to take over their political party top to bottom. Republicans have always known for a fact that Trump was a stone cold traitor. They knew for a fact that keeping it secret was imperative. They knew for a fact that Trump was their shot at forcing permanent minority rule down America’s throat.

As Trump himself pointed out – as always saying the quiet parts out loud – if more Americans vote, it’s bad for Republicans. Maybe if the Republicans hadn’t willed themselves to be a white nationalist party, that wouldn’t be the case.

What the Republicans are doing to America – trying in every way they can to undermine our democracy, the integrity of the vote and the entire American franchise – isn’t their “opinion”. It isn’t a “campaign strategy” or a “political approach”. It’s insurrection by nonviolent means – bloodless perhaps but no less deadly to our democracy. Same goes for The Big Lie. It’s not “one side of the argument”. The Big Lie is zero sides of the argument because it’s bullshit. Lies are not an alternative to the Truth. Alternative facts are not facts, they’re the opposite of facts: they’re feelings pretending to be facts – not the same damned thing!

If the Republicans want to blame someone for why there won’t be a GOP anymore after Trump? They should blame Gerald R. Ford. When Ford straight out pardoned Nixon – to spare America the pain of confronting a corrupt president, what he actually did was message the perps “Better luck next time, boys”. Plan better. Execute better. Win, don’t lose. Consequently, neither Nixon nor the Republican establishment expressed an ounce of contrition. But then, Nixonians like Roger Stone and Paul Manafort weren’t feeling contrite. They began licking their wounds and plotting.

That’s Paul Manafort on the left, Roger Stone in the middle and Republican political strategist Lee Atwater. Had Gerald Ford not stood in the way of justice, had he not had the political establishment’s back, had he allowed the nation to indict, prosecute and judge Nixon, it’s quite possible that we wouldn’t be in the fix we’re in now. Being nice to pirates never seems to work out for anyone except the pirates. An unpunished Nixon gave Paul Manafort the idea that he could betray America and get away with it. An unpunished Paul Manafort (Trump pardoned Manafort and sprang him from prison) gave the entire GOP the idea that corruption was still the business of America.

Corruption is certainly the business the Republican Party is in. Unfortunately for them, that’s not a product most Americans will continue to buy going forwards.

When the Department of Justice finally begins indicting elected Republicans over their roles in the January 6 insurrection, they may not stop until virtually every single Republican either is indicted or has a date with a Grand Jury for questioning. The insurrection, we’re now learning, was very well organized. Very well funded. Very much a product of the Republican Party and Donald Trump.

The thing about rich white people? They love their creature comforts. Prison dinner and a hard, metal bed are not something these criminals ever envisioned for themselves. That doesn’t mean they haven’t earned it. If we want to stop these criminals from criming, we’re going to need to drive it home to them that acting like a criminal is expensive, unsatisfying and not even remotely worthwhile.

I’ll be surprised if the Republicans are still viable enough to run a candidate for POTUS in 2024. It won’t be Trump and never was going to be Trump. For him, the whole point of running for president now is to sit on his bloated white backside and collect political donations. The instant Trump stops running for office, his cash machine breaks down and he’s going to need every bit of cash he can get his teeny-tiny hands on to stave off the inevitable.

America has changed since Nixon was POTUS. We’ve gotten more diverse. Though still facing an unequal playing field, more and more Black, brown, Asian and LGBTQ Americans are finding their way to political power. Having been on corruption’s receiving end, they have zero tolerance for it. What Nixon got away with, Donald Trump will not. And once Trump’s day of reckoning begins, the GOP’s day of reckoning will roll right along with it.

I find it hard to believe that when all is done and said, when every last bit of the Republican Party’s power grab has been revealed for the criminal behavior it was that there will be enough Republicans not in prison to “be” a viable political party. And,, if the strands of this corrupt party were to resurrect themselves and present themselves to America as a going concern with ideas Americans could get behind, what the hell would they be selling anyway? Can one really say “Hey, we know we used to be the Party that hated you all, but that isn’t who we are now!”? Can a candidate pitch himself as the less authoritarian authoritarian?

It’s entirely possible that once the indictments start dropping that Republicans begin running for cover – and looking for deals. Don’t forget: this is about treason. The punishment for treason is death. And when more and more Republicans begin to grasp just how angry they’ve made a lot of Americans – and how unwilling more and more Americans are to show a bunch of traitors an ounce of mercy? They’ll begin ratting each other out like there’s no tomorrow. Shame for them – all the good deals will be gone by then. They’ll be getting the judicial scraps.

The people who will be responsible for ending the Republican Party are all Republicans. It cannot happen a microsecond too soon.

Not Every Issue Has Two Sides – Like The Question “Should American Democracy End?”

The “Both Sides Do It” brand of journalism – cynical all the way down to its mitochondria – gives all sides to a story equal weight because it refuses to judge anything, prizing “neutrality” above even the Truth. Pick a conflict between two people, two groups, two nations and both sides, BSDI journalism says, have equally valid arguments that journalists should never side with. That is pure crap. Let’s say my personal conflict is with a car thief. My point of view is “You stole my car and that’s wrong in every single way.” The car thief’s angle is “I stole your car from you because I wanted it”. Now, according to BSDI journalism rules, these two points (separate from points of view) are equally valid. As the car thief’s “alleged victim”, it’s just my opinion versus his. If the car thief says he didn’t do it, and until a court of law says otherwise, then it’s not for the press to “convict” the car thief even as he sits in my car outside my house, blaring the horn just to rub his thievery in my face. Even my victimhood is just “my opinion”.

The moment you give credence to bullshit, bullshit wins. Game over. That’s what our news media does every single day. It’s what they did from the instant Donald Trump stepped onto our political stage. In essence, Trump’s campaign should have ended the day it started. The moment he called Mexicans rapists, our news media should have recognized that a line had been crossed. Same goes for “pussy grabbing”. That, too, should have been an uncrossable line in the sand for ANY presidential candidate. But, our news media shrugged them both off when “But, her emails!” reared its head. In doing that, our news media false equivalanced Donald Trump telling everyone he was unqualified to be POTUS with a completely manufactured email scandal.

What, I’d like to know, are the “two sides” to Paul Manafort handing Oleg Deripaska the proprietary polling data on Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin that Russian military intelligence – Deripaska’s employer – turned into personalized Facebook ads that showed up on the Facebook pages of Black, Democratic voters in those three states, feeding them propaganda about Hillary Clinton’s quiet racism? The sheer act of giving Deripaska that information was a massive crime (for which Manafort went to jail and for which Trump pardoned him). What, I’d like to know, is the “other side” to any of this? We’re not speculating treason here, we’re outright talking about it!

To Trump’s credit, he understands our news media better than they understand themselves because he sees so much of himself in them. He also understands how to be a bully. And bullies don’t worry about the truth. They worry about “winning” at all costs. Is “winning at all costs (up to and including cheating)” the same as just “winning”? The end product may be the same but, surely, a win achieved through cheating and a win achieved through honesty are not! If that was the case, why would anyone bother doing things honestly when it’s the cheaters who always win?

That, too, is another question our news media never asks. Maybe they think cheating to win IS as good as not cheating to win.

The overwhelming majority of Americans – Democrats, independents and a few Republicans – don’t want America’s experiment with self government to end. We never even wanted it on the ballot. We never thought it was an issue.

Our news media – late to the party as ever – still can’t get it through their heads that a Republican suppressing a Democratic voter isn’t behaving politically; they’re behaving criminally (suppressing another American’s right to vote) FOR a political purpose. The Democratic voter whose right to vote has been suppressed (or gerrymandered) is NOT behaving “politically” when they insist they are the victim of a crime. They’re a crime victim reporting the crime that’s been perpetrated against their right to vote. See the difference?

Therefore the voter whose vote is being suppressed has a valid argument – their side – while those suppressing their right to vote DON’T have a valid argument. That’s two points of view but only one valid point. Our news media, alas, reports them both as if they both were valid. Just like that, Truth gets compromised because our news media has given credence to lies, corruption and bullshit.

The Real “Big Lie” Is That Donald Trump Won In 2016

Fact: Donald Trump projects everything that he is and that he’s doing – especially if it’s scummy, corrupt, perverse or treasonous – onto others. The GOP has made Trump’s corruption its own. That was why it was so easy for Republicans like Marco Rubio to insist that there was no way they were going to allow the party of Reagan to be taken over “by a con artist., That’s what Rubio called Trump on Good Morning America on February 6, 2016. Republican talk is always bargain basement cheap. By Summer’s end, Marco was showing everyone how good he was at giving Trump head in public.

Another fact: the Republican Party knew before they nominated Trump that he was 1) owned by Vladimir Putin and 2) therefore a national security threat. On June 25, 2016, current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy entered a meeting of GOP leadership and said loud (it was recorded): “There’s two people I think Putin pays – Rohrbacher and Trump – swear to God!” The correct response to such a statement should have been “Whaaaaaat? Kevin, are you kidding? Why would you say such a thing? More to the point, do you know something?”

That regular Americans have lost track of the entirety of Trump’s treasonous behavior is a testament to our news media’s inadequacy and incompetence. A hostile foreign government inserted itself into an American presidential election and literally altered its outcome. If they so much as altered one vote, that should be the end of the whole idea that Trump could ever have been or ever was POTUS. Never mind one vote not overcoming the 77,000 votes that Trump “won” between the three states that gave him his victory – Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. When Paul Manafort handed Konstantin Kilimnik the proprietary polling data that he passed on to Oleg Deripaska and Russian military intelligence (all so that Manafort could make-good on the $17 million he owed Deripaska), he committed treason.

That’s another fact.

While we “gave” Trump the victory in 2016, that doesn’t mean he “won” it. What kind of democracy has it that you can cheat to win election? A democracy with zero future. That’s what kind. Cheating is corruption. The moment you attempt to corrupt democracy, you’re committing a crime. Against our democracy. That we’ve been reluctant to prosecute such crime, that’s not a reflection on democracy, that’s a reflection us. More to the point, it’s been a reflection on the pasty old white men who’ve held onto power all this time in America. One cheats to win when one knows one’s ideas won’t get ‘er done.

Republicans know from experience: no one who isn’t already them wants to see America become the country Republicans want it to be. That would be Want to know why Mitch McConnell has already said that in election 2022, Republicans won’t be arguing for any particular policies – you know, like a political party that wants to govern? Because the only idea they’re selling is regression. To 1850.

Consider just how hard Donald Trump and the GOP have worked to obstruct justice and keep the truth about Trump and Russia or Trump and the pandemic or Trump and the January 6 insurrection from ever coming out. But, that front is failing. Already more than 300 witnesses have testified before the January 6 Committee. Most have spilled their guts because they can’t afford to play bullshit kabuki like Steve Bannon or Mark Meadows. On January 7, Trump must sit for a deposition compliments of NY’s AG Tish James. Fulton County, GA DA Fani Willis has already put her case against Trump’s attempt to skew Georgia’s election results his way before two separate Grand Juries.

Our hope, the cases against Trump achieve enough of a critical mass to make any possibility that the Republicans take back the House and Senate laughable.

It’s a big lie that Trump was ever legitimate POTUS. It’s a big lie that were he ever to be POTUS again, America would carry on as it is. That absolutely won’t happen. If Trump and/or the GOP “win”, America will lose and completely at that.

Is Waiting For Merrick Garland To Act Going To Be Like “Waiting For Godot”?

We seem to be experiencing what Yogi Berra called “deja vu all over again”. For five years now, Donald Trump has committed crimes out in the open. He’s been as overt a traitor as a traitor could be. What else would one call Trump’s relationship with Putin except treasonous? How much more obvious does it have to be? At a July 2016 news conference at his Doral property in Florida, Trump said: “Russia, if you’re listening — I hope you are able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let’s see if that happens.” Mere hours later, Russia responded — and made it happen. Keep in mind, this is the same Donald Trump that every GOP leader KNEW was compromised by Russia. On June 25, 2016, current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy entered a room in Washington, DC where the GOP leadership was meeting and said out loud (it was recorded): “There’s two people I think Putin pays – Rohrbacher and Trump – swear to God!” No one in that room questioned Kevin. No one doubted him either. That Trump was compromised by Russia seems to have been general knowledge. Everyone in the room agreed with then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan’s plan to keep their terrible secret “in the family”.

This really has been about treason all along. The GOP was so determined to impose permanent minority rule upon America – no matter how they did it – that they were/are even willing to commit treason in order to do it. These are all or nothing stakes. Once you commit treason? There is no going back. How on earth can anyone trust these pirates ever again (not that we had any business trusting them in the first place)? We understood what it meant when Lil Jeff Sessions ran the DoJ — that it was going to do only what that racist elf wanted. When Bill Barr’s name first came up as Lil Jeff’s eventual replacement, the news media played their “he’s an institutionalist!” card, insisting that this meant the adults in the room were in control.

Alas, there are no adults in the Republican room. There are only miscreants and angry white men. Only racists, misogynists and bigots. Authoritarians, fascists and feckless fools — useful idiots all. As we all know, had Kyle Rittenhouse been Black instead of privileged white, he would never have walked away from the scene, having shot three people. Between the racist cops and the actual racists, a Black Kyle would have been raked with so much gunfire that they’d have had to use a bucket and mop to clean up what was left of him. The Rittenhouse verdict empowered the right wing yahoos to shoot first and then concoct their “I was defending myself” defense later. It undermines the legitimacy of a legitimate self defense defense. But then, no one’s ever accused anti-democratic racists of thinking big.

Merrick Garland has insisted all along that he intends to follow the rule of law. And, in his defense, we must acknowledge that the country is experiencing something extraordinary. White power has declared culture war on the rest of us because the idea of sharing power with us – especially if we represent the majority – is simply untenable. But, something else happened back in 2016 that we have not addressed yet. Our free and fair election got hijacked. In place of a free and fair election, we got Russia’s relentless, multi-faceted meddling. Don’t forget: Trump’s campaign chair, Paul Manafort, handed Konstantin Kilimnik and Oleg Deripaska (two Russian intelligence officers and “Friends Of Putin”) the proprietary polling data for Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin that Russian intelligence repurposed and redirected back at us. Some of that work went to convincing Black Democratic voters to stay home – suggesting that Hillary Clinton was a racist on the down low. If just ONE Democratic voter succumbed (it’s easy enough to find out — all we have to do is ask them), that’s illegal. Not “little illegal”, big, “GIANT illegal”.

It is flat out against the law to win an American election by colluding with Russia (or any foreign government). Do that – collude to win – and you did not win. Donald Trump colluded with Russia in multiple ways in order to win. Problem is, we refused to acknowledge that collusion even as he was doing it! “Hey, Russia! — if you’re listening!” is pretty direct. And when Russia literally responded in mere hours? There are myriad reasons why Republicans don’t want to dig too deeply. And when deep digging IS going on around them? Republicans do everything in their power either to neutralize that digging or to undermine its integrity or the public’s faith in its integrity.

Bill Barr flattened the Mueller Report — telling America it concluded one thing (there’s no “there” there) when, in fact, there was plenty of there there. Bill Barr oversaw the murder of Jeffrey Epstein (probably not for anyone else than his dear old dad) and the purposeful politicization of the DoJ. The Republicans deliberately slow walked Garland’s nomination — a way to buy time. For Republicans, the game now must rely on running out the clock to the 2022 mid terms. IF the GOP can (via gerrymandering and voter suppression) limit Democratic voting, they could indeed take back the House and Senate — killing all investigations dead while they finish gutting every bit of our democracy.

Is Merrick Garland dawdling? Is he hemming and hawing while the nation lurches toward authoritarianism? Is he being cavalier toward democracy? Is he giving the white guys way too much latitude simply because they’re white guys?

Or, is Merrick Garland getting every last bit of evidence he can before applying the rule of law to its biggest scofflaw ever: Donald J Trump? I still want to believe that Garland HAS set his sites on Trump (and the entire GOP) but that he knows he will get one shot here — and it needs to be the coup de grace and nothing but. If Garland’s DoJ does the right thing (applying the rule of law evenly as he’s sworn he would), he will set off a fire storm of angry, white backlash. It will definitely get ugly. But, the longer Garland and the DoJ wait to begin punishing insurrectionists, the harder it will be to punish them.

To not punish would be to invite the guilty to attempt another violent coup. That won’t be a matter of speculation, merely time and timing. We need that punishment to happen. That punishment is our “Godot”.

Samuel Becket was an amazing writer and his classic play “Waiting For Godot is deservedly a classic. Spoiler Alert! Godot never shows up. The two guys who spend the play “Waiting For Godot” will end the play still waiting. That’s the point. If the performance is good, by the very end of the play, the audience finds itself in the very same shoes as Gogo and Didi, the two main characters. Whatever relief may come from Godot’s finally arriving on site is negated by the fact that Godot never comes. Wait for him now and you’ll wait for him forever. It’s pure existentialism.

We’re still smarting from the fact that the Mueller Report flopped. It didn’t really; it only really flopped in the news media’s eyes because they can’t get out of their own damned way. When Bill Barr interpreted Mueller’s findings, the press were obligated to read the damned thing for themselves not buy Barr’s bullshit rehashing. But the news media accepted Barr’s take (why would he lie — even though he lied in the exact same way about Iran-Contra?) That’s because our news media ALWAYS accepts Republican explanations as legit even when clearly they’re not.

Yeah, it sucks watching Republicans continue to undermine our democratic institutions with impunity. It seems entirely counter-intuitive to do nothing. In “Waiting For Godot”, Didi and Gogo will be cursed to return again tomorrow to the same forlorn landscape (its one feature that leafless tree). It’s as if today never happened. And neither will tomorrow. We need our Godot – our Garland – to show up and show up ready for work. We need our Godot on stage right now.

Put Up V Shut Up

Finally – the Department of Justice has INDICTED STEVE BANNON!

Come Monday morning, it would have been two weeks since Steve Bannon thumbed his gin blossomed nose at the January 6 Committee and refused to honor their subpoena. The Committee referred the case to Merrick Garland’s Department of Justice — a luxury the Democrats didn’t have when Bill Barr ran the joint. Our collective expectation was for a kind of “justice on tap” — a thing we have not gotten (and never would have, I fear). Instead we’re having a kind of “deja vu all over again” moment reminiscent of the high hopes many of us felt when Robert Mueller was named Special Counsel. Though we pre-packaged him as a hero (and deservedly so — the man served valiantly in Vietnam, ran the FBI and stood atop a mountain of indestructible integrity. But the Mueller Report wasn’t the “put up or shut up” moment We The People both needed and craved. Bill Barr saw to that. He told us what he needed us to think the Report said — that it more or less exonerated Trump (it absolutely did not!) — and our “news media” happily went along with Barr. Fortunately, Barr no longer runs the DoJ. Fortunately — or unfortunately — Merrick Garland does now.

The Trump administration was a criminal enterprise from start to finish (actually, it hasn’t “finished” yet). The Republican Party knew a month before they nominated Trump to be POTUS that Putin owned him. They even discussed it amongst themselves but decided to keep that terrible secret a secret. That was a “put up or shut up” moment. The GOP leadership could have caught itself behaving treasonously and stopped. Surely, as they sheepishly looked around at each other on June 25, 2016, one of them must have thought “We better call the FBI!” But, no one did. Instead, per then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan’s admonition, everyone in that room agreed to stay silent. “That’s how we know we’re family,” said Ryan.

Shut up, in this case, equaled treason.

It’s now five plus years later. Having not dealt with this overt act of treason, we continue to live in its lengthening shadow. Our news media — though they themselves reported this remarkable story — still fail to see what a staggering revelation it is! How much more smoke can pour from a gun? The one time the news media stuck a mic in Kevin’s treasonous face to ask what he meant, Kevin gave the pat Republican answer: “I was kidding”. Oh, is that the “Get Out Of Treason Jail Free” card now? Ignore my words (and the context in which I said them) because otherwise, I’m screwed? Every time Trump said something even Republicans couldn’t back, he’d haul out “I was joking!” Fun fact? Not everyone has a sense of humor. The first tell that you don’t have one is you can’t laugh at yourself. Bullies laugh plenty — but never, EVER at themselves. When they laugh, it’s always AT others, at their weaknesses and frailties. When someone without a sense of humor claims absolution because “kidding”? They’re not just humorless, they’re damned liars, too.

We sensed on election day that Trump’s victory wasn’t “right”. In his entire life, Trump has never done anything legally when doing it illegally was open to him. Why, ffs, would he start with the presidency? Is anyone truly shocked that, over his presidency, Trump lied north of 30,000 times? If anything, I’m shocked the number of lies isn’t significantly higher but then I have a lower tolerance for bullshit than our news media does.

We are slowly twisting in the purgatory between Justice and injustice. Injustice plays by no rules. It can do what it wants when it wants to whomever it wants. Justice — in the form of the rule of law — has no such luxury. Not if it’s to be “the rule of law”. Playing by the rules takes time. It demands rigor and and faithfulness to a higher principle over personal desires. Bill Barr did pretty much whatever Trump wanted Barr to do with the DoJ. Joe Biden won’t — can’t — do that. “Can’t” is Biden’s nature because he believes so ardently in our democracy and its organizing principles.

That means, regardless of all our public pressure — even if we think we want Biden to put his thumb on Merrick Garland — really, we don’t. Or do we?

Ah, there’ that painful, dynamic tension again.

This will end one way or the other. There isn’t any middle ground. Now that Garland has forced Bannon’s hand and a Grand Jury has indicted him, the floodgates will open. Bannon will probably think he can tough it out behind bars. He should give Paul Manafort a call to see how Paul enjoyed his 23 months of prison dinners. Sure, Paul got out way ahead of time courtesy of a Trump pardon (which needs to be re-examined as pardons may not be given for illegal activity and treason is definitely “illegal”), but Paul really had no choice in the matter. When you climb into bed with Russian mobsters — and Putin, Deripaska, Kilimnik and every other oligarch is a stone cold mobster — you have to live (or died) by their rules. If Paulie Polling Data had flipped and connected the Trump dot to the Russia dot for the FBI and DoJ? Even the best new identity and relocation wouldn’t save Manafort. Eventually, he knew, they’d find him. And when they did? Ouch.

Bannon never owed Deripaska (or any Russian mobster) $17 million. An uber-Christian in love with the exclusivity of its dogma, he’s never been beholden to Russia; he merely shares an orthodox vision of the “Holy Land” with its mob boss. For all the terrible things Bannon is, he’s not stupid. He knows exactly what he’s doing — and he knows it’s treasonous. That’s why he doesn’t want to be placed under oath. That’s why, even if he is eventually placed under oath, he’ll plead the fifth. That will be Bannon’s undoing.

The folks around Bannon (and beneath him), they don’t have Bannon’s certainty, his white guy’s swagger and braggadocio. But they will have a sense of vertigo when it hits them that they’ve set themselves up for the not just failure but prison. Congressional staff, recognizing that if they say nothing, they’ll be implicated in the bigger crime, won’t so much “spill their guts” as spew them.

So far, the insurrection has only sent the low level foot soldiers to jail. The next tier up are only just starting to realize how expensive it is defending yourself against federal charges. Not wanting to bankrupt their families for a generation, some of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers are pleading out already. Flipping. And other voices are popping up — pointing out all the “planning” sessions at the Willard “war room” in the days before the insurrection. Some, no doubt, are explaining where the money came from — to pay for the hotel and the food and the travel to get to DC.

When the flipping starts in earnest, all the good “deals” will dry up quickly. Then the perps will start looking for the best deals they can get and those will start to suck almost immediately. This is an organized crime carried out by organized criminals who have a political end in mind: permanent minority rule. The criminals now include pretty much the entire Republican Party (minus Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger). It ain’t rocket science connecting the Steve Bannon dot to the insurrection dot to the criminal conduct dot. The fun part will be when we connect the Russia dot to the Insurrection dot.

Does anyone really believe that, having succeeded in digging its hooks into Trump, would Russia really let a perfectly good insurrection go to waste?

The insurrection will lead us to a lot of things — treason especially. Not just “generic” treason but treason committed alongside a foreign enemy actively engaged in cyber war against us. Steve Bannon now has a much bigger problem than just prison dinner on his hands.

I’m All For Compromise But The Question Is Who Or What Are We Being Asked To Compromise With?

Relationships are all about compromise. No marriage can survive without copious amounts of it. The bottom line is incredibly simple: if you want any relationship to survive, be prepared to compromise pretty much everything. That means whoever (or whatever) you’re compromising with better we worth the compromise. You will be living with that compromise’s results for some time — for better or worse. Ideally, a great compromise makes no one happy because everyone had to give so much to get a piece of what they wanted. If that something is a successful marriage or business relationship, the compromise will (hopefully) be entirely worth whatever was sacrificed. But not all compromises work like that. Some compromises aren’t compromises at all because one of the two sides never had any intention of giving up anything to get what it wants.

Evil never compromises. Never, ever, EVER. That means when you negotiate with it? You’re the only one compromising. Evil will have remained where it is while you will have moved yourself a little closer to it. No compromise is a bad compromise (from the other side of the negotiating table’s point of view). Our news media, insisting that both sides do it because (presumably) both sides are exactly the same, insist that Democrats negotiate with (and, of course, compromise with) Republicans. In normal world, that makes sense because (at least on the surface) it’s always made sense. But the Republican Party of Saint Ronnie Reagan is deader than Lee Atwater’s soul (which is even deader than Lee Atwater – former business partner of Paul Manafort). The remaining Nixonians coalesced around Donald Trump as did the rest of the GOP as Trump slowly rolled them all up into a massive web of compromise.

While the RW money has never loved Trump, they hitched their wagon to him regardless — even though they KNEW that Trump was owned outright by Russia. As current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy put it back in 2016 a month before the GOP nominated Trump — as he strode into a meeting of Republican muckety-mucks: “There’s two people I think Putin pays — Rohrbacher and Trump — swear to God!” No one in a position of authority in the Republican Party can honestly say they had no idea Russia had compromised their presidential candidate. They discussed his being compromised openly. The conversation was recorded even (and heard by the Washington Post writer who wrote the piece!) It is inconceivable if not impossible that the Republican Party hierarchy did not know that Trump was being controlled by a hostile foreign government. If the Republican hierarchy knew then pretty much everyone at least suspected. Secrets of that kind don’t stay secret in DC no matter how hard some people try to “keep it in the family”.

One thing Republicans are good at that Democrats aren’t is marching in lock step. Like right now. Republicans are marching in lock step as they try to destroy our democracy. They march in lock step as they gerrymander and suppress Democratic voters because if they relied on selling their ideas to win elections, they’d lose every election. Republicans march in lock step as they strip away reproductive rights from every woman in Texas. They march in lock step as they rape the environment, ditch all regulation, make peace with COVID-19 and openly plot insurrection. They march in lock step as they try to shove permanent white minority rule down a rapidly diversifying America’s throat.

When our news media clicks its tongue at Democrats for refusing to be “bi-partisan”, what they’re saying is Democrats should negotiate with Republicans even if Republicans are terrorists, seditionists and traitors. Even if everything the Republicans are trying to accomplish was demonstrably evil (as it pretty much is).

In the Warsaw Ghetto — the German Army’s collecting point for trips to Auschwitz — a group of Jews insisted they could “negotiate” with the Nazis. The Judenrat — this council of traitors — took over the job of “governing” the ungovernable ghetto which meant 1) selecting who’d be collected from the ghetto and sent to the camps or 2) betraying any Jews inside the ghetto who were plotting against the Germans (because every time the Jewish resistance acted, killing German soldiers, the Germans retaliated). To the Judenrat, keeping the peace — compromising with absolute evil — was preferable to resistance even if both led to the same terrible conclusion.

I would not compromise with a Nazi, nor with a white supremacist, nor with a Republican. Those three things could all walk into a bar inside one person — and they frequently do.

At The End Of The Day, This Is A Story About Treason

The Republican Party is no longer behaving like a political party; they’re behaving like criminals with a political purpose: permanent minority rule. Make no mistake, the white people behind this are an extreme minority of white people but they are attempting to cage a diverse and woke majority. This will fail — and fail horribly for the perps — because they’ve crossed so many lines to get us here to this moment of crisis. What Texas Republicans just did to Roe v Wade — and every woman in America — crossed a thousand lines all in one fell swoop. Whatever else happens in 2022, Democratic engagement will not disengage or let up; you can’t TAKE AWAY rights (especially when you do it so dishonestly) and get away with it. You just can’t; America’s women simply won’t let the GOP do it to them. And, we have to remember: the entire abortion argument itself is a cynical repurposing of racism (just like the Republican Party’s perverse engagement with Russia — going back to before Trump was even nominated — was a cynical decision to collaborate with our literal enemy — during war time — in order to seize power). None of that is hyperbole. It all actually happened — is happening still.

The Republican Party stands outside the law now — defiantly — because they know the truth will NOT set them free. The Truth — once the American People learn it — will send almost the entire Republican Party to federal prison. That’s not hyperbole either — at least it shouldn’t be. Any country that allows insurrectionists, seditionists or traitors to get away with it won’t be a country for very much longer. If we don’t punish people bent on destroying our democracy, we are telling those people “better luck next time”; and we’ve guaranteed there will be a next time. One could argue that one of the reasons a Donald Trump could happen is because we never punished Richard Nixon. Sure, we punished many of those around him, but we never punished “Nixonism” — that particularly vile Republican belief that “if the president does it, it’s not illegal”.

That was the takeaway for Nixonians Roger Stone, Paul Manafort and Lee Atwater. Because Nixon “got away with it” (having to quit was not a punishment, it was a requirement), it invited the low level perps to begin plotting anew.

Conservatism in America is tied to whiteness because that’s what white conservatives want to conserve — America’s “whiteness”. America, as I’ve written before, remains a great idea poorly executed. Either “All men are created equal” actually means “everybody is created equal under the law” or we’re doing it wrong. The reason conservatives love originalism is because originalism wants us to believe that we should understand “All men are created equal” only the way the “founding fathers” understood it. Pretty convenient, huh?

The Southern states built their entire economy on the back of slave labor. Slave labor, above all, is STOLEN labor. While plantation owners had to bear the cost of housing, feeding and clothing their slaves (the cost of doing slave business), obviously that cost pennies compared to paying agricultural labor a fair wage. That, really, is the south’s argument. They couldn’t have existed economically without stolen labor. Slavery fed into the bullshit notion that “All men are created equal” meant only white men. It was a kind of bookkeeping trick to call slaves three-fifths of a man; it also deliberately undermined their humanity. It’s much easier to buy and sell human beings when you don’t see them as human.

At some point, as the Reagan years waned, the right wing money saw the demographic handwriting on the wall. America was diversifying more rapidly than white people were making white babies. While white people were reliable Republican voters, the same couldn’t be said of most non-whites. Democracy, ultimately, is a numbers game. The majority gets its way — except when they don’t. That’s what Republicans figured out as a survival instinct. The current GOP — though they share a name with The Party Of Lincoln, aren’t that party. I refer you to Heather Cox Richardson’s excellent “To Make Men Free: A History Of The Republican Party” to set you straight on that. Nixon cemented the swap when he incorporated the Dixiecrats into the Republican Party as his “southern strategy”. The Dixiecrats were all racist southern Democrats — leftovers from a Democratic Party that opposed Lincoln. In point of fact, in terms of their stated ideals, the Republican Party and the Democratic Party have completely swapped names and places since Lincoln was POTUS.

When Teddy Roosevelt left the Republican Party, all vestiges of progressivism went with him. The GOP quickly became the party of big business instead of big ideas. The extreme corruption of a Warren Harding erupted like Teapot Dome oil, spattering everything with its rot. That preference for profits over people persists because profits equal power.

Newt Gingrich understood that the majority of Americans were evolving into a more cohesive, diverse nation. He couldn’t tolerate that because of the political and power implications and so declared a culture war aimed at “the left”. If you consider that when more Americans vote they vote against Republicans? Newt really directed his culture war at the majority of Americans (per McKay Coppins in the Atlantic in November 2018) : “For their party to succeed, Gingrich went on, the next generation of Republicans would have to learn to “raise hell,” to stop being so “nice,” to realize that politics was, above all, a cutthroat “war for power”—and to start acting like it.”

“A cutthroat war for power”. Sound horrifyingly familiar? Yeah — the phone call IS coming from inside the house!

We have to ask: what were Republicans willing to do to wage that cutthroat war for power? Were they willing to cheat? Were they willing to lie to the American electorate? Were they willing to commit treason even?

Obviously the answer to all three questions is yes. That’s why we’re here. It started “innocently enough” with mere voter suppression — poll taxes and intimidation to keep Black voters from voting. While both sides have gerrymandered, only the Republicans have needed to as a matter of survival. Gerrymandering’s whole point is to draw district lines in such a way so as to circumvent the will of the majority by giving a minority undue power. In Wisconsin, for example, gerrymandered districts mean “Democrats need to out-perform the GOP by closer to 9 or 10 points statewide to have a good shot at winning an Assembly majority” — even though they are the majority of voters in Wisconsin! When is a majority not a majority? When a minority gets to control them.

As for lying to the American electorate — what else can we call a political party attempting to re-cast an insurrection as a heroic act of patriotism? Sorry, Republicans, but you can sharpie “patriotism” all over what happened on January 6. What happened that day was a massive crime that we’ve only just begun to prosecute (starting at the bottom where every good Rico prosecution should begin).

Allying with Russia — now, that was an innovation. That was the Republican Party thinking “outside the box”. I’m willing to accept that plenty of professional Republicans — Lindsey Graham, for example — were every bit as “anti-Trump” as guys like Lindsey Graham said they were —

And yet, like Lindsey, these anti-Trumpers became the most pro-Trump. In a corrupt environment when you know (from experience) that the Republican-owned electronic voting machine makers can be relied upon for help (in the form of ballot padding), it doesn’t pass the smell test that long-time pros like Lindsey really worry about voters. Lindsey didn’t suddenly become pro-Trump because he suddenly saw the light. If Lindsey saw anything, it was more likely the Kompromat Russia was holding. I do not know for certain if Lindsey has any sexual peccadilloes that a hostile, kompromat-loving foreign power could exploit, but I would bet cash money that Lindsey does and Russia has.

We know — because the Washington Post reported it — that current GOP leader Kevin McCarthy himself KNEW (okay, to be fair, he “suspected”) that Russia had compromised Donald Trump. As he entered a meeting of GOP leadership in June 2016 (a month before the GOP nominated Trump to be POTUS), Kevin said out loud (it was recorded and the Post reporter heard the recording) “There’s two people I think Putin pays — Rohrbacher and Trump — swear to God!” Strangely, no one in the room reacted with horror. No one said “Whaaaat? Kevin, dude, are you sure about that?” No one called the FBI to voice their concerns.

Instead, then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan counseled his fellow Republicans to keep this terrible secret a secret. “That’s how we know we’re family”, is how he put it. I guess by “family, Ryan meant “mafia family”.

While this was happening, Russia was flooding the GOP with money. They used the NRA (and their very talented agent Maria Buttina). They poured money into Republican PACS using various means (including Russian retirees living in America whose monthly benefits from Russia suddenly increased significantly). That money went to Republican candidates. And, as we also know, Russia also was working very hard behind the scenes to undermine America’s faith not just in our democracy but in the truth itself.Let’s add one more element to this mix: the news media’s inability to see, understand or report the true nature of Donald Trump’s takeover of the GOP. That happened (is still happening) because the news media — for reasons we’ll have to investigate — refuses to aggregate the Trump story. They refuse to even speak the truth about him which is weird because so much of the truth about Trump is already in the public domain. Remember Fusion GPS — the company that got hired by the Washington Free Beacon’s owners during the 2016 Republican primaries (they were Marco Rubio supporters) — to do oppo research on Trump? When he testified before Congress about how and why Fusion hired Chris Steele to look into Trump’s Russia connections, Fusion’s co-founder Glenn Simpson explained how they began the assignment by doing their due diligence.

Fusion, Simpson testified, got ahold of every piece of publicly available material they could on Trump — newspaper and magazine articles, radio and TV appearances, books and legal documents. What they saw there — in information ANYONE could put together — convinced them that Trump had been laundering Russian mob money in his now bankrupt Atlantic City casinos. THAT was why they hired Steele — he had the best Russian contacts of anyone outside Russia, having run the MI6’s respected Russia desk. Steele’s dossier was raw intel and needed to be understood as such — something far beyond our news media’s capabilities. Still, even that raw intel painted a vivid picture of Russian intelligence planting their hooks deeply into Donald J. Trump.

It’s no wonder the Republicans have obstructed justice every way they could to shield Trump’s relationship with Russia from any real examination. The second any sort of real investigation begins — like the counter intelligence investigation into Trump’s relationship with Russia that Rod Rosenstein killed — we see patterns of obstructive behavior exclusively from Republicans. It doesn’t take a weatherman to see which way this wind’s blowing. The Republicans may not have started out bent on betraying America, but they did — and they knew, as they were doing it, WHAT they were doing it — and why.

Regardless of what you call it, Russia has been actively engaged with us in cyber war for a long time with a stated intention to undermine liberal democracies — NATO in particular — as a doctrinal goal. This is not make-believe war. People have died. Democratic countries have seen their democracies undermined (which means the war’s objectives are being met). Considering what cyber war costs compared to a bombs n bullets war, Russia is getting way more bang for its buck this way. No wonder they’re waging cyber war (information war, if you like) so vociferously.

Anyone who thinks you need bombs and bullets to win a war any more is going to lose every war they fight going forward into the future. Bombs and bullets aren’t terribly effective anyway against insurgent combatants — as Afghanistan proved. And as to cyber war’s undeclared nature? That’s one of its great advantages — the cyber warrior can wage cyber war against an opponent who doesn’t realize he’s at war. The cyber war’s victim may realize she’s being attacked but — if she doesn’t see the larger war coming at her? That war’s already over and she lost it badly. If Russia were to shut down our electrical grid tomorrow, we’d sue for peace — as the losers.

Treason doesn’t require a state of war. It requires that the traitor attempt to overthrow the government. That is now the Republican Party’s avowed purpose. To overthrow the results of a free and fair election because you don’t like the results (having lost), is an act of treason because elections are the life blood of any democracy. If the people betraying our democracy weren’t white people, we would have criminalized this behavior eons ago.

That’s the final tell. Ours isn’t just a story about treason, it’s about the thing that motivated the treasonous behavior. That, unequivocally, was and is racism.

Cyber War IS War And WE Have Been Under A Cyber War Attack For Five Years Now

It sucks to be the second person to discover that you’re in a fight. Better to be the first. Especially when the first has attacked the second unexpectedly. Ask the folks who lived at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on the morning of December 7, 1941. As far as they knew — as they slept in on a Sunday morning or peacefully started their day — America (having so far successfully navigated the rest of the world’s growing hostilities) wasn’t at war with anyone. The idea that a modern armada was coming, the tip of its deadly spear pointed directly at them, would have seemed absurd paranoia. And then the zeroes plunged from the clouds and rained death and destruction on the naval base at Pearl Harbor, killing 2,403 U.S. personnel (including 68 civilians) and destroying or damaging 19 U.S. Navy ships, including 8 battleships. From the Japanese perspective? A state of war existed. From ours? It didn’t. Alas, our point of view became meaningless; the Japanese argument won. The next day, President Franklin Roosevelt told the country what the residents of Pearl Harbor, HI already knew: we were at war.

During World War II, if one country wanted to spy on another — or turn off its power supply — it had to do it practically. It would have to send actual humans into enemy territory, risking their lives against terrible odds. These days? A roomful of computer hackers can break into our power grid and put us in the dark unless we pay them ransom. The various Russian actors who’ve held our petroleum, meat processing, Information tech and transportation industries hostage may not “officially” be the Russian government, but that’s a nicety — “official”. Anyone operating a business larger than a borscht-n-perogy stand in Russia needs Vlad Putin’s approval. The smoking gun that Putin runs them is the fact that they exist.

Putin, let’s not forget, is a spy by profession. And a good one. He plays by intelligence agency rules where black and white really don’t exist. The end justifies all means including murder. Including mass murder. Think Putin doesn’t have a significant say in EVERYTHING that happens inside Syria? Putin has troops in Russia. He has air force bases. He has a naval base. The last one’s huge: Putin has a NAVAL BASE on the Mediterranean. Take that away? He’s still stuck in the Black Sea. Putin doesn’t think of Syria as “the country Syria”, he thinks of it as “Russia-South” with his pawn Assad minding the store. If Assad poisons or gasses his own people? It’s with Putin’s full and complete approval.

Putin famously drew up cyber war plans against us. We know who he is and we know what he wants. He’s a Russian nationalist who dreams of Greater Russia’s “glory days”. Though he was raised a “God-less Communist”, Putin’s connection to his Russian nationalism ran directly through a latent Russian Church Orthodoxy. As Steve Bannon can tell you, Putin is a religious man. That is, he believes in magic when it suits him (especially when it justifies or enables his criminality). He believes in Christian mythology just enough to see himself as a modern day crusader bent on re-taking the Holy Land from the infidels.

Anyone who thinks you need bombs and bullets flying in order for a real “state of war” to exist is going to lose every single war they ever fight going forward. While they wait to step onto a battlefield somewhere, the cyber warrior will have eaten their lunch, taken all their weapons and left them standing by a road side somewhere bare-assed naked. Building armies costs a bomb. Sic-ing a dozen computer nerds on another country’s power grid costs virtually nothing. If Russia were to do that? Shut off our power while threatening to keep it off indefinitely? We’d be forced to sue for peace — as the LOSERS — in a quick, cheap, nasty CYBER WAR.

If we think of Donald Trump as a Russian intelligence asset (you might as well — that’s what he is), then the mission he’s on has been staggeringly successful: easily the most successful intelligence mission ever in the whole history of the world. The biggest anti-democratic country managed to place its intelligence asset atop the biggest democratic country’s democracy with the express purpose of WRECKING it. Which that intelligence asset did with remarkable success! Trump repeatedly betrayed America’s interests out in the open — with Vladimir Putin visibly on the receiving end!

Trump has projected his guilt from the get-go. He’s told us he works for Putin with his words and demonstrated his fealty with his actions. Or lack of actions. Everyone knew Paul Manafort was dirty when Trump hired him to be his campaign manager in 2016. Those who really knew Manafort understood how craven he was: he owed Russian oligarch, Putin pal and Russian military intelligence agent Oleg Deripaska $17 – $20 million from a business deal that went sour. Manafort knew that he couldn’t outrun Deripaska forever and found a way to square things with his former client. Having manipulated his way into running Trump’s presidential campaign, he now had multiple ways to “pay back” what he owed Deripaska. Rather than money, Manafort offered something Deripaska could take to Putin and look like a hero: proprietary polling data from four blue states (Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania) that Russia’s military intelligence could turn into effective propaganda that they could focus with laser-like intensity on individual Democratic voters.

We don’t know whether or not Putin tried to do in Minnesota what he did in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, but in those three states, in the weeks leading up to the 2016 election, Putin’s military intelligence turned the valuable information Manafort had provided (ILLEGALLY!) into weaponized Facebook ads that popped up on the Facebook pages of actual Black Democratic voters. The ads painted Hilary Clinton as a closet racist who didn’t deserve any Black Democrat’s vote. Don’t lose sight of this key fact: THIS IS ILLEGAL. This action violates a ton of US law. If these criminal efforts resulted in just ONE Black voter staying home? It’s a crime. It doesn’t take a “certain number” of voters to be impacted by voter suppression tactics launched by a hostile foreign government aided and abetted by Americans to “become a crime”. One does it. And, we know, there was way more than one.

Betcha we could find those Black voters today — and interview them under oath. Betcha we could convince them to walk into a court of law and state unequivocally that the end result of Paul Manafort handing Oleg Deripaska (via Konstantin Kilimnik) proprietary polling data was them staying home instead of exercising their right. If you’re trying to blame the voter here for staying home? You’re already playing for the enemy. Stop.

Before the Republican Party even nominated Trump to be their presidential candidate, the Republican Party KNEW for a fact that Russia owned him. They talked about it OUT LOUD at a meeting a month before their convention. As reported (a year after the fact) in the Washington Post, current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy walked into a room of Republican leaders and said, “There’s two people I think Putin pays, Rohrbacher and Trump — swear to God!” No one in that roomful of GOP leaders reacted with surprise. No one said, “Whaaaaat? Kevin, dude — are you SURE about that? Jesus, what would make you say such a crazy thing?” We know this because the whole conversation WAS RECORDED and played for the Washington Post reporter.

Not only didn’t anyone wonder if it was true that Putin owned the man they were about to nominate to be their presidential candidate, no one thought to do anything about it. No one rushed from the room to call the FBI. No one slinked from the room later to do that either. Instead, everyone present — GOP leadership, don’t forget — agreed with then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan to keep this terrible secret to themselves. “That’s how we know we’re family,” Ryan said. “Family” as in “crime family”.

Even before that, Trump’s criminality and his vulnerability to being compromised by Vladimir Putin was a publicly available fact. Remember the Steele Dossier? Remember why a Steele Dossier even exists? During the 2016 primaries, the conservative Washington Free Beacon’s backers hired a company called Fusion GPS to do oppo research. Backing Marco Rubio, they wanted to get their hands on any information they could that would damage Trump. Nothing new about that in American politics. Fusion was started by two former Wall Street Journal reporters, Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch. On Tuesday August 22, 2017, Simpson testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee (then run by the Republicans who had the majority) that the first thing Fusion did upon being hired was their “due diligence”. Simpson was called to testify because the Republicans on the committee — at Trump’s behest — were doing everything in their power to undermine Fusion and the research they did.

As part of their due diligence, Simpson testified, Fusion got their hands on every piece of publicly available material about Donald Trump that they could. They got ahold of every book, magazine article or newspaper piece about Trump. They watched every video, listened to every radio broadcast. They went to physical book stores looking for it, and to the library even. They visited Amazon and every other web site that had anything whatsoever about Trump, his world, his businesses. What Fusion found, Simpson testified, gave them pause. There, in publicly available source material, was clear evidence that Donald Trump likely used his (now bankrupt) Atlantic City casinos to launder Russian mob money.

Wanting to pursue that lead further — but not having the Russia chops themselves — Fusion hired the best person in the world to answer those questions for them: an English company called Orbis which was run by a former British spy named Christopher Steele. Steele’s bona fides in the intelligence world were rock solid. Not only did Steele work for MI6, Britain’s equivalent of our CIA (their MI5 is like our FBI), he ran its Russia desk because no one outside of Russia had better contacts inside Russia. When the FBI, a few years prior, had gone after corruption at FIFA, they hired Chris Steele. Though by the time Steele got hired the Free Beacon was no longer paying for Fusion’s work (the tab had been picked up by Hilary Clinton supporters), Steele had no idea whatsoever who he was really working for. He was, really, a former intelligence player suddenly made aware of the biggest intelligence event of his life — the ongoing attempt by Russia to seize control of America’s government.

Cyber war doesn’t look like bombs n bullets war. It looks more like a TV show. It’s no less deadly to a democracy. But for Russia, Trump would never have become POTUS. That’s a stone cold fact. It’s the very bottom line to this story. Russia made Trump president. He knows it. Every single Republican (on some level) knows it. The important part is they ACCEPTED IT. Even though (to be kind) they “suspected” Trump was owned by a long-time enemy, they went along with it because they could merge their desired end result — permanent minority rule — with Putin’s — an America diminished.

Does it really matter if Putin never fired a shot to achieve his war’s objectives?

This fact sits at the core of everything the Republican Party has done in the “Age Of Trump”. This has always been about treason. Oh, sure — all along the way, each Republican, as they fell in line, probably wasn’t thinking “Well, here I go committing treason!” They had power in mind. How they got their hands on power or kept power — those were mere details. The bottom line is treason, treason, TREASON.

Want to know why the Republicans won’t abandon Trump? They can’t — because of treason. Because they’re all traitors and they know it. Donald Trump (and, by association Vlad Putin) remind them of this fact every single day.

On This Memorial Day: Let’s Consider What Treason Is Doing Before Treason Gives Us More Memorials

I’m old enough to remember when calling someone a “traitor” in public discourse was as frowned upon as invoking Nazis when describing “the other side”. I’m also old enough to remember how — during the early years of Trump’s presidency — people rolled their eyes at you when you tried to connect Donald Trump to Russia or, for an even bigger eyeroll, when you insisted that Trump and the Republican Party not only had to pay for their crimes but were going to. Now, at least, more people are fully on board with the idea that Trump really is a criminal who really does deserve to go to prison and (miracle of miracles!) just actually might. But, right this second, the crime(s) Trump could realistically do time for are 1) state crimes and 2) financial crimes having to do with things Trump and his business did BEFORE he became POTUS. That’s good but it’s not nearly good enough. Trump needs to be fully investigated, tried, convicted and punished for every last crime he perpetrated against and upon We The People. Were this just Trump, our problem would have been solved long ago. THAT is the problem. It isn’t just Trump and never was.

The entire Republican Party can now be accused either of treason or conspiracy to commit treason.

It’s simple: “see something, SAY something; see something, say NOTHING?” We have to ask “why?” WHY say nothing — especially in the face of clear, evident treason? Why protect treason when you should be protecting America? The GOP’s leadership knew at least a month before they nominated Trump in 2016 that Putin owned him. They said so OUT LOUD! Current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy walked into a room of GOP leaders a month before the nominating convention and said OUT LOUD: “There’s two people I think Putin pays, Rohrbacher and Trump — swear to God!” No one in the room — the whole conversation was recorded and that recording was played for reporters a year later) — either contested McCarthy’s claim or asked how such an outrageous idea got into his head in the first place. In fact, they seem to have understood that it was possible if not likely. Then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan’s concern wasn’t that their about-to-be nominee might be owned by a hostile foreign government, it was that their collective knowledge of that fact needed to remain a secret. “That’s how we know we’re family,” Ryan said.

Committing treason is a Rubicon you can never un-cross. The traitor needs to know it and We The People need to know it. Traitors can never, EVER be trusted ever again. Certainly not with access to political power.

Our news media, utterly incapable of either doing their due diligence or of aggregating the very information they’re reporting into an evolving, cohesive hole, scratch their heads every day as they contemplate the continuing Republican devotion to Donald Trump — who lost them the White House, the House AND the Senate. Trump never came close to winning a popular vote and, as we’ll see soon enough, even his one Electoral College win in 2016 is likely a mirage achieved by a democracy-destroying tag team of Russian propaganda and the Republican-owned and controlled electronic voting machines made by ES&S — the paper trail-less, internet accessible, backdoor vulnerable e-voting machines most of the country uses .

The sequence in 2016 went like this: Rudy Giuliani, the FBI’s Trump-loving NYC bureau and then Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz from Utah make “The Comey Letter” happen. The rogue FBI agents in NYC know there’s a laptop computer with emails on it; they know the emails are copies of “but her emails” they’ve already exploited (though they came to nothing). Their boss, James Comey, has asked them a question: are these NEW “but, her emails” or copies of old that the FBI had already seen? The answer was “old” but the rogue agents in the NYC bureau — under Rudy G’s guiding hand — managed to keep that question alive throughout the summer and into the fall. When they finally replied “We don’t know, let’s pop the top!” it was October. Everything about the Comey letter was bullshit. The point of the exercise was to create a huge moment of doubt at the last moment.

The Comey Letter cost Hillary Clinton significant polling points. She went from a safe lead outside the margin of error to an unsafe lead within the margin of error — especially in the key battleground states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. At the same time, throughout the fall, Russia had been inundating the personal Facebook pages of individual Black Democratic voters with ads insisting that Hillary Clinton was a raging racist on the downlow. How did Russia know to target these very voters? That’s where Paul Manafort comes in.

As we know — he went to prison for it (though he was pardoned) — Manafort handed Konstantin Kilimnik proprietary polling data for four states: Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Consider that Trump won the EC by winning Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania by a combined 77,000 votes. It is flatly against the law, what Manafort did. Considering his motives (he owed Kilimnik’s boss Oleg Deripaska seventeen million dollars and was desperate to pay him back or risk physical violence to his family!), it’s impossible not to see Manafort’s actions as treasonous. That dot connects directly to the “Russia pays Trump” dot.

Not only did the Republican Party know that Trump was a Russian asset, they deliberately covered it up every step of the way. Bill Barr could just as easily have told the truth about what he read in the Mueller Report. Except he never read it because he KNEW what it said: Team Trump and the entire Republican party were all traitors. Instead, Barr lied about Mueller’s work product. He completely misrepresented it. We’ve also learned recently that in addition to quashing the counter-intelligence investigation into Trump begun under the Obama admin, then acting AG Rod Rosenstein lied to Team Mueller when he told them not to wander into a counter-intel investigation because the FBI was doing; he told the FBI not to bother with it because Team Mueller was doing it. In the confusion (and because everyone trusted Rod Rosenstein to be an honest actor), the counter intel investigation never happened — and no one ever asked about it. Until recently.

Treason is behind every terrible thing the Republican Party is doing. Fearing demographic extinction, the RW money (the Kochs, the Mercers etc) hitched their wagons to Russia and Putin. Guys like Steve Bannon — who’s a religious zealot aching for the rapture — saw common purpose with Putin whose Russian nationalism is tied deeply to the Russian Orthodox Church. Republicans saw so much common purpose with Russia that on July 4, 2018 EIGHT Republican Congresspeople (Sens. Richard C. Shelby of AL, Steve Daines (MT), John Hoeven (ND), John Neely Kennedy (LA.), Jerry Moran (KS.), John Thune (SD) and Ron Johnson (WI), plus Rep. Kay Granger (TX.) flew to Moscow for DINNER. On a date when they should have been strutting their patriotic bona fides back home, these eight were being wined and dined by Vladimir Putin. We need to know what marching orders Putin gave them all that night. What did he demand of these useful idiots? What did he threaten them with if they dared deny him?

Our news media goes to work every day, the biggest story of their lifetimes in front of them and yet most of them, though they know the story’s big, can’t get anywhere close to wrapping their minds around it. It’s bigness defies their limited imaginations. As they contemplate all the reasons Republicans might be so crazy loyal to Trump, they’re quite happy to go with “just because”. They apparently believe that Republicans are loyal to Trump “just because” but not because they might all be guilty of conspiracy to commit treason. They don’t have to accept it as the explanation until it passes all journalistic muster but, once it does? They’ll have to accept it.

These same journalists, convinced that “both sides do it”, have also convinced themselves that “bi-partisanship, no matter how you achieve it, is worth more than anything — even if that “bi-partisanship” completely undermines the nation’s integrity. Even if the “bi-partisanship” in question exists everywhere except the Senate chamber. Even if the people the media want Democrats to be bi-partisan with are flat out traitors. For some reason, the news media can report one second how Republicans are trying to undermine democracy by passing vile, anti-democratic new voter suppression laws then demand to know why Democrats aren’t trying hard to “work with” those very same Republicans.

They want to know why Democrats are so reluctant to “bi-partisan” with out-and-out TRAITORS.

Let’s also remember, this Memorial Day, those soldiers who were killed by Afghanis promised cash for shooting American soldiers. That, too, was another Russian instigation.

There is no middle ground here. Either you stand with treason or you stand against it. We know how progressives feel about treason. We also know how conservatives feel about it.