Why Treason Matters

Pull almost any thread on the various crises crippling America and (as it unravels the sweater that was the greatest experiment ever in human self-government), it will lead you to treason. The ongoing threat to our democracy – the Republican Party’s out-in-the-open embrace of authoritarianism – is an act of treason unto itself. But, the fact is, what set this monster free, what unleashed this treacherous kraken was the Republican Party hitching its wagon to Donald Trump despite KNOWING that Russia owned him. As this blog keeps reminding the world, it’s just a stone cold fact: the GOP leadership is on record knowing that Trump was a national security threat at least a month before nominating him in 2016. The instant GOP leaders like Paul Ryan and (current GOP Leader) Kevin McCarthy agreed to keep their terrible secret a secret – from We The People, from the press – even from the FBI – they formally became traitors.

For socialized creatures like humans, treason is about the highest crime imaginable. We rely upon the security, the health, and the sanctity of the group for our very survival. For our happiness. A democracy takes that reliance on the group and ups the ante: the people administering the group’s needs ARE the People, the members of the group itself. “L’etat c’est nous” might be how Louis XIV would penser of it. We need to trust that the people we’ve entrusted with our quotidian essentials aren’t working against us. Or working for people whose interests conflict with ours.

Why would someone turn on the group like that? We understand the dynamic tension between haves and have-nots within our culture. An awful lot of criminal behavior is just variations on greed. The lopsidedness we all feel – that’s because all the greed is getting squeezed into a smaller and smaller space – fewer haves. Let’s put aside the unfairness of it. Looking to get as much as you can with what ya got – that’s ordinary. It simply doesn’t compare to someone who – whatever issue they have with the group – goes directly to outsiders to find satisfaction.

That’s what Donald Trump has done. I think we can all agree that greed and nothing but motivates Donald Trump. Greed is what gets him out of bed in the morning. Personal enrichment is the only bottom line Trump has or recognizes. He registered as a Democrat in NY not because he embraced the Democratic Party’s values but because Trump, being cynical down to his mitochondria recognized that in order to get anything done in heavily Democratic NY, he had to be a Democrat. The reason he didn’t run for POTUS as a Democrat is because he knew he’d never win the nomination as a Democrat. If he had a shot, it’d be as a Republican.

Businesspeople are businesspeople, public servants are public servants. This, Democrats understand. It’s why Mike Bloomberg thinking he could win the Democratic nomination for president was “Never Gonna Happen!” stupid. Being entirely cynical, Trump knew he could play only to an equally cynical room – the Republican Party. The Never Trumpers in the GOP hate Trump and his methods. They don’t necessarily hate what Trump wants for the wealthy in America.

This is the petard on which the GOP will hoist itself – and, boy, is that gonna hurt!

Think of the “Good Germans” – the ones who disagreed vehemently with Hitler (including what he was doing right in front of them to the Jews) but who didn’t DO anything to change or stop it. At the end of the day, these folks were more German than “good”. Disagreeing was one thing, Actively disagreeing something else entirely. These Germans might call themselves “good”; I doubt their former Jewish neighbors – the ones who died in death camps – would concur. From a Jewish perspective, the pool of “Good Germans” is actually way smaller. It absolutely existed – but it wasn’t a “pool”; more like a puddle, Anyone NOT in that puddle collaborated even if in a small way to all those Jews – and Roma people and gay people and anyone else the Germans chose for execution – ending up in large piles of bodies or as ashes.

Evil isn’t a bond villain, it’s much more banal than that. It’s a bored Nazi guard at a death camp. It’s a Southern American sheriff stopping a Black driver just because they’re Black. It’s handing a shivering Native American a blanket you KNOW is infected with smallpox. It’s personally ordering a Japanese American family out of their home at gun point and sending them to a concentration camp just because they’re Japanese. None of these things had to happen. People did them. They refused to stand in evil’s way. They collaborated with it. They found common purpose with it.

What makes treason so particularly evil is its scope. That’s where the banal turns Bond Villain and evil gets its close up.

[NOTE: the illustration is from The Boston Globe. It’s genius.]

Quick Reminder – GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy Has Been Up To His Ass In Treason From The Get-Go!

Kevin McCarthy Rolls Over for Donald Trump, Like a Dog

“There’s two people I think Putin pays – Rohrbacher and Trump – swear to God!” That’s what current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy said as he entered a roomful of GOP leaders on June 25, 2016 in Washington, DC, a month before the Republican Party nominated Donald Trump to be their nominee for POTUS. This conversation was recorded and the recording played for Washington Post reporter Adam Entous. It happened in other words. It is a stone cold fact and it represents something indisputable: the Republican Party knew before they nominated Trump that he was an extreme national security risk. Just about everything terrible that’s happened to America ever since flows directly from that moment of betrayal.

Just before asserting this, McCarthy had left a meeting with then Ukrainian Prime Minister Vladi­mir Groysman, who had described a Kremlin tactic of financing populist politicians to undercut Eastern European democratic institutions. Something about that conversation put it in McCarthy’s head that the man they were now all in bed with was corrupt and owned not just by the head of a foreign government, but by the head of a foreign government that we know is bent on destroying us. Keep this context in mind as McCarthy says to his political fellow travelers that this same hostile foreign government literally OWNS their presidential nominee.

Did anyone in the room react with shock? Did anyone demand that McCarthy produce receipts? Did anyone insist that if what Kevin was saying was true, they owed it to the country and to their oaths of office to call the FBI?

Of course not.

Then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan (third in line to power) cut off any discussion. “Ryan instructed his Republican lieutenants to keep the conversation private, saying: “No leaks. . . . This is how we know we’re a real family here.”

Let’s reiterate what Paul Ryan and the rest of the Republican leadership were agreeing to keep secret – because they were a real family: the fact that their candidate was a traitor. The moment they all agreed to keep that secret a secret? They all became traitors, too.

That’s not hyperbole.

Their actions from that moment forward were the actions of guilty men. They kept their secret a secret. They did everything in their power to interfere with any sort of investigation into not just this incident but every instance of Donald Trump’s odd relationship with Putin.

Since then, to my knowledge, few other reporters have asked GOP Leader about this remarkable assertion of his. The one time a reporter did, McCarthy spit back the usual GOP response: “I was joking”.

Yeah… except McCarthy wasn’t joking. The reason he got nervous laughter in the room isn’t because McCarthy’s delivery of the set up was so scintillating. It’s because everyone in the room knew that what McCarthy had just asserted was not only possible but likely the absolute truth. That’s why everyone there went along with Speaker Ryan’s insistence that they they behave like a family – a mafia family.

One can connect dots from that moment all the way through the election to moments like “Moscow, if you’re listening!” (they were!) to Paul Manafort handing over all that proprietary polling data that came back as propagandized Facebook ads that tried to convince Black Democratic voters to stay home because Hillary was a racist on the down low. One can see Russia’s hand in the way Trump turned on NATO and slavishly stroked Putin every day of his presidency. The dots connect to the Mueller Report – its focus narrowed to a single tranche (Trump’s relationship with Wikileaks) where even there, Mueller couldn’t say for certain how criminal Trump had been with Russia because of the unceasing obstructive behaviors.

Our slow-witted news media still scratches its head when it ponders the nature of Trump’s hold on the Republican Party. Well, if you can’t see Trump for the traitor he is, seeing the rest of the GOP for the co-conspirators to commit treason that they are is beyond you. Hey, I’m old enough to remember when people like me blogging or tweeting about Trump’s relationship with Russia, his authoritarian bent or the Nazification of the GOP, I got eye rolls. I should have gotten a few “Amen, Brother’s!”‘.

Today was a good day on this front. A lot of us wanted an indication from the DoJ where it was in all this – was it even going to do anything? The answer seems to be yes. Putting down a sedition card – charging the leader of the Oath Keepers and nine others with “seditious conspiracy” – that answered the question. A bit. Sedition is a lot more serios than the “breaking and entering” most of the lower level foot soldiers have been nailed with. Sedition is serious. You have to think a moderate, details guy like Merrick Garland wouldn’t have charged a player like Stewart Rhodes with something as serious as sedition if he didn’t think he could bring it in for a landing.

It’s the “conspiracy” part though that’s most intriguing. One doesn’t have to be a plotter to be swept up in a conspiracy. One doesn’t even have to know anything about it. A suspicion or a reasonable awareness can turn you from a disinterested party into a participant. You can’t just walk away. You are obligated to do something. It’s called “citizenship”.

I used to think it was a matter of time before one of my posts screaming about this missing piece of inquiry got some reporter somewhere to ask Kevin McCarthy what he meant by “There’s two people I think Putin pays – Rorhbacher and Trump – swear to God!”. Now I think it’s a matter of not holding my breath.

You’d think the opportunity to make a scumbag like Kevin McCarthy squirm would appeal to all those journalists eager to make a name for themselves. But, maybe they’re afraid that if they tell the truth about Kevin, he won’t talk to them anymore. And so the next round of cover up begins.

The Bottom Line Explanation For EVERYTHING The Republicans Are Doing Is TREASON

It all starts with Russia.

Take Russia out of the Donald Trump Equation and Trump never wins anything. In fact, take Russian mob money away from Trump and his Atlantic City casinos fail even faster. Take Miss Universe in Moscow away from Trump and he has zero avenues available to try and launch a Trump Tower Moscow project. Take Russia away from Trump and he never gets to rescue himself; he ends up squandering daddy’s entire real estate fortune. Take Russia away from Donald Trump and not only was he never POTUS, he might be living on skid row himself – in one of the more squalid trash heaps. The Republican Party KNEW for a fact that Trump was compromised by Russia before they nominated him to be their candidate for POTUS. They KNEW that a Trump presidency would be a massive national security risk (and failure!) . Nothing about Trump surprised the Republican Party’s leadership from the moment he shoved his way into their tent.

They KNEW Trump was a traitor – and they stepped in line behind him regardless.

Some receipts… As the primaries got underway, the Marco Rubio-backing Washington Free Beacon funded some opposition research on Trump. They hired a commercial research and strategic intelligence-gathering firm called FUSION GPS to do the work that ultimately produced the Steele Dossier. Fusion had been co-founded by former Wall Street Journal writers Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch. When he was called before the Senate Judiciary Committee on August 22, 2017 (the then Republican controlled Senate was trying to squash all investigations into Trump and was especially focused on knocking down the Steele Dossier’s damaging implications), Simpson told the story about how we got a “Steele Dossier” to begin with. Before beginning its oppo research work in earnest, Simpson testified, Fusion did its “due diligence”: they got their hands on every piece of publicly available material they could on Trump – newspaper pieces, magazine articles, radio and TV appearances. They scoured Amazon. They went to actual bookstores. They watched and listened to a lot of video and audio tape.

What Fusion found there – in material anyone could find (including the rest of the news media) – took them aback. Simpson testified that the picture they had – even before beginning their real work – implicated Trump as a money launderer. And maybe worse. In order to bore down more deeply into the questions they now had about Trump and his odd relationship with Russia, Fusion sub-contracted that part of their research to another company – Orbis – which was owned and operated by the former head of the MI6’s vaunted Russia desk, the highly respected Christopher Steele. Steele WAS known and respected when Fusion engaged him; the FBI had relied on Steele and his integrity when they took down Sepp Blatter, the corrupt former head of FIFA.

By that point in the chronology, Marco Rubio’s presidential ambitions had been kicked to the curb. The Washington Free Beacon had stopped paying for the research but the ball was picked up by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and by the DNC. Quick note: Hillary Clinton has been 100% right about EVERYTHING regarding Donald Trump). Now, we all have to understand one simple thing: Steele is in the intelligence business. By its nature, this is a smoke and mirrors world. Very often, facts have to be discerned; they won’t necessarily present themselves. One must approach information with both caution and perspective. Our news media, being shallow and sensationalist, got it into their heads that the worst allegations about Trump had to do with hookers and a bed that Obama slept in. Perversely, the most titillating parts of the Dossier are its least problematic for Trump. There’s nothing inherently illegal in watching hookers piss on a bed.

There’s something inherently illegal however when you are on a foreign country’s payroll especially when that country is engaged in cyber war against us.

Another receipt: let’s visit the moment on June 25, 2016 when current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy entered a meeting of GOP leaders in Washington, DC. It’s a month BEFORE these very people will crown Donald Trump as their nominee. “There’s two people I think Putin pays,” Kevin says, “Rohrbacher and Trump – swear to God!” Let’s take “I was joking” off the table, please. It’s bullshit (and it was Kevin’s explanation the ONE TIME he was questioned about this moment). People with no sense of humor cannot kid, joke or be ironic. This is for real. Not every has a sense of humor because not everyone can laugh at themselves. Being able to laugh at oneself is the marker for having a sense of humor. People who can’t laugh at themselves laugh exclusively at others; they’re called “bullies”. When Kevin added “Swear to God” to his accusation, it was in answer to the ripple of nervous laughter his accusation had caused.

Let’s bore in here – and, for the record, this conversation among Republicans WAS RECORDED and that recording was played in 2017 for Washington Post reporter Adam Entous. Kevin McCarthy has just accused the man they’re all going to nominate of being corrupt. Not just corrupt – corrupt because a hostile foreign government is PAYING HIM. And the job they’re going to nominate this corrupted man for is the PRESIDENCY.

But, no one in the room seems surprised by Kevin’s damning accusation. No one says “Whaaaaat? Kevin, are you SURE about this? Do you have RECEIPTS for such a crazy idea?” Instead, as I said, there’s nervous laughter. That’s why McCarthy stammers “Swear to Go!” He wants the room to believe him. He’s not making it up. And no one present thinks he is. Least of all then Speaker Of The House of Representatives (and third in line to the presidency) Paul Ryan. Does Paul Ryan – the country’s national security apparatus two heartbeats away from his control – demand to know why Kevin thinks their soon-to-be nominee is a clear national security risk? No, he doesn’t!

Instead, Ryan goes in the OTHER direction – away from transparency! Away from patriotism. Away from doing the right thing. This terrible secret, Ryan tells them all, will remain their terrible secret. Nothing about this conversation, Ryan insists, will leave this room. “That’s how we know we’re family” is how he puts a bow on it.

I keep going back to this moment because it’s real. It is a fully documented, primary sourced instance of deliberate treason. There is absolutely no refuting it.

And everything that led to where we are today flowed directly from it: an act of treason.

Another receipt. September 2016. Barack Obama calls an urgent “Gang of Eight” meeting at the White House. He wants the intelligence community to present information they have that alarms them deeply: Russia is actively engaged in trying to throw the coming presidential election to Trump. They have proof and believe the American electorate deserves to know. But, then Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gets upon his treason turtle hind legs and insists that if Obama tries to warn America about what Russia is actively doing on Trump’s behalf, he, McConnell will tell America that this mighty NOT be true – that Obama is merely “politicizing the intelligence”.

That wasn’t the case of course. And do ya really think Mitch wasn’t as aware as anyone else with an R next to their name that “Putin pays Trump”?

Think about that. Mitch McConnell refused to let America know that Russia was actively engaged in making a man Mitch knew Russia was paying president. That’s a hell of a secret to keep from We The People, don’tcha think?

But if you appreciate that Mitch was just keeping the same secret Paul Ryan insisted they all keep – like a mafia family – then, suddenly, every last bit of Republican behavior makes absolute sense. Instead of endlessly scratching their heads as they wonder what hold Trump has on the GOP, our news media could 1) read what it’s already reported and 2) do a deeper dive into it especially in hindsight. The answer isn’t hard to find. :Hell – like almost everything that Trump did, it’s right there, out in the open! All any reporter really has to do is look at it and report honestly what they see.

There’s another element here that’s worked entirely to Trump’s benefit. Rich white people are loathe to prosecute other rich white people. It’s weird… like they all know where each others’ bodies are buried… It is remarkable what white men can get away with in America that no one else can even contemplate. Apparently, that includes treason.

At the end of the day, there will be a clear, simple explanation for everything that’s happened over the past five years. The January 6 insurrection didn’t just spontaneously “happen” regardless of what the Republican Party needs America to believe. The insurrection was planned and paid for by people who needed Trump to stay in power – up to and including Trump himself. Our news media will insist that Trump is merely being childish – he’s a grown man refusing to accept a humiliating electoral defeat. But that misses the point entirely. It misses what Trump actually is and what he’s actually guilty of.

The reason Trump needed to stay in power was less because Trump loves power than because without the power of the presidency, Trump is going to be prosecuted out the wazoo – and especially as a traitor. He was “golden” while protected by that silly Department of Justice directive that sitting presidents can’t be subpoenaed. But, now that any lawyer with a case can have a shot at him? He’s feeling the pain (though not the financial pain since Trump now has the RNC paying his legal bills).

But, consider that fact all by itself! Why would the Republican Party pay MILLIONS OF DOLLARS in legal fees for charges that have zero to do with Trump’s time in office? You can hear the question forming in our news media’s head already: “What ‘hold’ does Donald Trump sill maintain over the Republican Party?”

Hey, remember when using the word “treason” got you nothing but eye rolls? Remember when calling Trump a fascist cost you respect because you went “there” (regardless of how right you were)? Remember when we used to think that Republicans were ordinary, patriotic Americans just like Democrats?

Neither do I. Treason has blotted out everything.

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.

It’s A Good Time To Ask Conservatives: What Exactly Is It They Want To “Conserve”?

The Republican Party Needs To Be Razed and the Earth Salted Behind It –  Mother Jones

Ask me where I stand politically and I’ll tell you: I’m a Progressive. “Progress” perfectly describes what I want for my family, my community, my city, my state, my country and my whole world. I want them all to progress into the future the best way possible so that as many people as possible benefit, thrive and succeed. Yeah, I truly do believe that a rising tide will indeed float every single boat. That’s what I want. That’s what your average Progressive wants. Now, ask a conservative what they want and the world they’ll describe doesn’t look like the future. It looks exactly like the past. Or, more precisely, they’ll describe a world caught in amber where as much of the past as possible is frozen in place in the present. That is exactly what conservatives want to conserve: the past or whatever is left of it. If it was possible to literally halt progress and, instead, regress us collectively into the past, many (if not most) conservatives would absolutely do it.

What does a white supremacist want to conserve? What does a yahoo waving a Confederate flag want to conserve? What does Mitch McConnell want to conserve? What does Charles Koch or the Mercers want to conserve? What does Vladimir Putin want to conserve?

“Originalism” perfectly captures the entire conservative “ethic” in one, neat, bite-sized corruption McNugget. The concept is simple. America can only ever be what the white, Christian, land-and-slave-owning men who drew up its founding documents thought it could be at that time. Originalists (like Antonin Scalia) insist that we must accept that flawed version of “All men are created equal” where “All men” only referred to white men like them and only men. Fortunately the more progressive-minded founders reframed America’s founding principle in the Great Seal: “E Pluribus Unum”. Out of many, one. See how one way of thinking tugs us backward while the other propels us forward?

Why did our founders cut a deal with slavery? Because money. Take slavery’s stolen labor off the table and the Confederacy never rises. Maybe America never happens period. After all, slavery, to a degree, helped cash flow our Revolution. We’re still dealing with this Devil’s bargain. We compromised with evil except evil never actually compromises with us; all that happens is we become a little more evil. Or a lot more evil. The impulse to enslave is the same impulse to get anyone to work for nothing (or next-to-nothing). Good bosses recognize that good workers are worth more than bad workers because of what motivates them. Slaves don’t want to be there no matter how hard you whip them. But then, the whole point of a slave and slavery is pure, brute economics.

Want to know why conservatives hate the BBB? Because its core concept wants to empower virtually everyone. The whole point is to go as far as possible to actually level the American playing field so that, for once, everyone has the exact same shot at attaining the American Dream. That won’t just be good for them as individuals, it will be good for everyone. If it means rich people won’t be quite as rich, I can live with that. So can they.

The reason conservatives bristle at the thought of Critical Race Theory is because of that first word: “critical”. Conservatives and conservatism cannot stand up to criticism or critical thinking. They want to make slavery a museum display and nothing more as if the moment the Civil War stopped, all of slavery’s harm magically stopped. How ironic that such devoted Christians (conservatives cling to their Christianity almost as tightly as they cling to their guns) find contrition so objectionable. But then, conservatives don’t believe in a Jesus who preaches “Do unto others”, they believe in a church that commands “Do as I say — or else!”

Slavers, don’t forget, pointed to the Bible as a justification for slavery. But then, the Bible is just originalism’s founding document.

As the conservative feel good vibes of Reaganism waned, the conservative money saw catastrophe on the horizon. America was diversifying at such a rapid pace that “thinkers” like Newt Gingrich grasped how perilous white conservatism’s grip on long term power already was. When Gingrich declared his culture war on the Democrats, he was declaring that war on actual Americans — all those diverse, not-white-like-Newty Americans who would soon enough usurp political power forever. That scared Newt and every conservative like him. The thought of losing power (of even having to share it!) was unacceptable. It made them feel bad and those “bad feelings” are behind literally every move conservatives had made since.

Gerrymandering isn’t meant to represent the majority’s will, it’s meant to circumvent it — to give the minority undue power and influence over the majority. And, if it’s done right? Gerrymandering will make that minority rule permanent. Just in case, conservatives also rely heavily on voter and voting suppression. Donald Trump himself said it out loud: when more people vote, Republicans lose. The presence of Donald Trump caused the GOP to step up its game however. Or, more accurately, Trump’s presence kompromised the entire GOP into submission. Though the Republicans may have resisted Trump at first (the Marco Rubio-backing Washington Free Beacon paid for the original oppo research on Trump that led to the Steele Dossier), Trump’s corruption became their corruption. A month before nominating Trump to be their candidate in 2016, the Republican leadership acknowledged amongst themselves that Trump was owned outright by Vladimir Putin.

There’s two people I think Putin pays — Rohrbacher and Trump — swear to God!” is now current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy as he walked into a room of GOP leaders. No one stood up and said “Whaaaat? Kevin — are you sure about this?” There was nervous laughter instead (the entire scene was recorded and the recording was played for Washington Post reporter Adam Entous). Then Speaker of the House Paul Ryan quickly corralled the room’s nervous anxiety. No one was going to talk about this fact that they all knew or suspected outside that room. They would all keep this national security threat a secret. “That’s how we know we’re family”, is the bow Ryan put on it.

Once you cross the line into treason? There’s no going back. What happened in that room was absolute treason and everything awful that’s happened to and in America since has flowed from that moment of treachery.

Maybe I need to tweak what it is that American conservatives want to conserve. The past they want to conserve is one where they aren’t serving a life term in a federal prison for committing treason. In that context, it ain’t hard to get what any conservative might want to “conserve”.

There’s A “Why” Behind “The Big Lie” That Our News Media Refuse To Ask

Donald Trump Committing Treason On The Hoof And In Real Time

Every last bit of the legitimate press agrees: Donald Trump’s claim that the 2020 election was “stolen from him” is monstrously untrue and he knows it. That makes Trump’s claim — by actual definition — a lie. We’ve gussied it up by calling it “big”. Donald Trump lost the election fairly and squarely and now he’s lying about it. Okay. WHY? Can we all please agree that this is not something “normal” presidents do after losing an election “by a landslide”? Even if Trump was merely deranged, this should make him “exceptional” in our thinking (just not in a good way). A president refusing to accept defeat — and claiming fraud — is not normal. Whatever is causing Trump to behave this way — nothing can be normal about that either. Same token: nothing can be normal about an entire political party staking their future (and their freedom) on a man they all agreed was owned by Russia even before they nominated him to be their presidential candidate. The news media seem content with the idea that Trump thinks the election was stolen from him “just because that’s how he is”. Trump has an unusual “opinion” about what happened and the rest of the GOP support his opinion. That, our news media thinks, explains why our democracy’s facing a moment of imminent demise.

That moment — reported on by the Washington Post (and then everyone else) — remains almost completely unexamined. When current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy’s insistence that “There’s two people I think Putin pays — Rohrbacher and Trump — swear to God!” finally made it to print (a year after it happened), the news media wrote down Kevin’s response (“I was joking”), having bought it completely. Problem: like Donald Trump, Kevin McCarthy has no sense of humor. For real. Not everyone has a sense of humor. Not everyone makes jokes. You have to be able to laugh at yourself to demonstrate a “sense of humor”. That’s the whole basis for having one — the ability to see one’s own failings and laugh at them. Laughing at ourselves lightens any laughter against others since we include ourselves among our targets. Humor becomes a bonding mechanism. Bullies can’t laugh at themselves; they can only laugh AT others — at their infirmities or disabilities or frailties. Only other bullies ever laugh at what bullies laugh at. They, too, use “humor” to bond.

Kevin McCarthy wasn’t kidding. He believed Donald Trump was not only corrupt but treasonously corrupt. He said so out loud and no one in the room contradicted what Kevin said In fact, Kevin’s “Swear to God!” was a reaction to the nervous laughter he’d caused. Nervous laughter? How come no one said something like “Whaaaaaat? Kevin, are you sure about that, dude? Man, where’d you hear that?” It’s a fact: no one in that room doubted what Kevin McCarthy said — that Donald Trump, the man they were going to nominate to be their presidential candidate a month later, was compromised by a hostile foreign government. Think about that! A month before nominating Trump, the entire GOP leadership KNEW that their candidate posed a very real national security threat.

Did anyone call the FBI? You kidding? No one even thought such a thing. Instead, they all quickly nodded along to then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan’s version of “leadership”. No one, the man third in line to the presidency said, was going to talk about Trump’s compromised situation outside that room. Their silence on the subject, Speaker Ryan said, was “How we know we’re family”.

How touching. “Family”. So are the Sopranos.

From the get-go, Donald Trump has both been bonded to Russia and determined to keep that bond hidden and secret. Here goes: “WHY?”

Because TREASON, that’s why. And because the GOP’s leadership knew they were committing treason both by supporting Trump and by helping him obstruct any and all investigations into Trump’s (and the GOP”s) treasonous relationship with Vladimir Putin. Our news media has scratched its collective head about this relationship as if it was inexplicable. They’ve entertained the possibility that it’s all completely “innocent”. They’ve dared not entertain anything else — regardless of how much the only other possibility stares at them. Either Trump is 100% innocent of conspiring with Russia to “win” election in 2016 (an illegal and treasonous act!) or he’s guilty. Even one percent of “not innocent” of this kind of behavior makes you 100% guilty. There are zero gradations of “treasonous”.

Trump’s hold on the Republican base counts for part of the hold — but only on a level that could exist in a world where the Republicans aren’t prosecuted and punished for being traitors. Trump’s base may go to war with the majority when Trump gets arrested, prosecuted and punished for being a traitor, they won’t lift a finger for a single one of Trump’s wannabe’s. Criminals have no loyalty except to themselves. And even then, it’s to whatever their need is in the moment.

If our democracy survives this threat to its survival, we will owe ourselves a complete post mortem of our news media and its behavior. “Both sides do it” brand journalism destroyed the news media’s ability to see perspective since, in their mind, one side is equally guilty of whatever the other side is guilty of. If Republicans are corrupt, Democrats are equally corrupt. If Republicans do things for entirely cynical, political reasons then so do the Democrats. This simply is not true. And, once you frame our story that way? You’re telling some other country’s story, not ours. Is it failure of imagination? Is it corruption? Is it some unholy marriage of the two? Do journalists really think Republicans they describe as “anti-democratic” one moment, can suddenly become “honest actors” the next?

The truth about Donald Trump has always been (publicly) available to every last member of our news media. As Glenn Simpson testified on August 22, 2017 before the Senate Judiciary Committee (then Republican-run so they were trying to undermine Simpson’s integrity), before his company Fusion GPS began their oppo research work on Donald Trump for the owners of the Marco Rubio backing Washington Free Beacon, they did their “due diligence”. They got their hands on every last piece of publicly available material concerning Trump that they could. Every newspaper article or magazine piece. Every book by him or about him. Every radio interview, every TV appearance. They scoured the internet, dove deeply into Amazon, even went to the public library. What they found there — in material ANYONE could find — convinced them that Donald Trump was likely guilty of laundering Russian mob money through his bankrupt Atlantic City casinos (which, wouldn’t ya know it, had, in fact, been CITED on numerous occasions for seeming to launder Russian mob money).

The rule of law is a human invention. So’s the Constitution and the Magna Carta. So’s the entire Old and New Testament, the Koran, and the Hindu Vedas. That’s not a knock on them. They’re all magnificent creations. But they are creations. It is an invention that Donald Trump will get away with everything. The fact is, it remains to be seen.

If Trump and the GOP get away with what they’re doing then soon enough, America will come apart. I don’t believe a diverse majority will tolerate a racist, bigoted minority forcing authoritarianism down its throat. What worked in homogenous cultures like Nazi Germany won’t work in a diverse, multi-cultural, heterogeneous place like America.

It shouldn’t come to that. We can’t let it. Our news media can be persuaded as people without imaginations can be. If they won’t ask “why?” the Republicans are pushing the big lie, we need to make them ask. At the end of the day, every last journalist dreams of Woodward and Bernstein glory (even if getting it themselves is a virtual impossibility). The biggest, bestest book deal ever awaits the journalist who — like the kid who calls out the emperor’s nakedness — musters the moxie to pipe up with “WHY?”

Liars And Language — How Tongues Get “Forked”

Lying, by definition, is deliberate. That’s why liars choose their words carefully. They KNOW what they’ve done or aspire to do. They KNOW that, on some level, whatever it is, it’s absolutely wrong, immoral, unnecessary or illegal. If their aspiration was good for the commonweal, they’d crow it from the rooftops. Obviously, it’s not. Therefore the secret. Liars haven’t invented a “new language” to hide their deceit — that’d be too obvious. Instead, liars hang out their lies in plain sight, daring anyone to call it out.

Stone cold liars and sociopaths spew out and out lies as readily as they breathe. Take Donald Trump for instance. Trump’s inclination to lie is so deep-seated inside him — his connection to the truth so tenuous (because it’s so dangerous to him) — that it is possible that Trump “believes” his lies I’m not willing to give him a pass because of it — it’s just a curiosity worth noting is all. And it’s hard to give Trump a pass on anything when he’s so central to everything that’s happening to us. It beggars belief that he’s just an innocent authoritarian shithead caught up in events beyond his control. Trump’s lies are deliberate and big and deliberately big.

If at that very first moment where Trump — as an official candidate for the office of POTUS — rode down that gold escalator and insisted “Mexicans are rapists”, the news media had put down its foot and refused to move past this blatant, racist lie (most Mexicans are not, in fact, rapists — unlike Trump himself), Trump’s presidential campaign would probably have died right there. “Pussy grabbing” would have been the last nail in the coffin of Trump’s presidential aspirations. “But, her emails” would never have happened since the Kremlin wouldn’t have been involved anymore. without Russia’s active engagement to MAKE him POTUS, Trump would NEVER have gotten anywhere near the presidency.

The easiest lie — the one Republicans and Trump used and use constantly as a kind of bullshitty “Get Out Of Jail Free” card is “I was joking!” Donald Trump tries to wave off all kinds of awfulness with “It was a joke, can’t ya tell?” The problem is Trump has zero sense of humor. Not everyone has a sense of humor. The baseline requirement to have one is the ability to laugh at oneself. If you can’t laugh at your own foibles and flaws but can easily laugh at others’? That’s not “having a sense of humor”, it’s being a bully. Similarly, when current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy was asked about a recorded conversation of a meeting of GOP leaders on June 25, 2016 (a month before the GOP made Trump their presidential nominee) where Kevin, upon entering the meeting said out loud “There’s two people I think Putin pays — Rohrbacher and Trump — swear to God!”, Kevin insisted HE was “joking”. In retrospect — and with THIS picture taken during Trump’s presidency in your head — tell us again, Kevin, that you were “joking”.

Take this to the bank and prepare for it to rain bigly on you: at the very least, the Republican leadership knew Trump was owned by Russia. At the worst — they said nothing because Russia already owned them too. That’s why they “kept it in the family” as then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan directed them to do. That’s Paul Ryan THEN third in line to the presidency. From that moment onward — there are whole mountain ranges of receipts — the Republican Party (Donald Trump especially) has done everything in its power to obscure the connections between Trump and Putin. Between Trump and Russia’s corruption.

Oh, the hairs we have split to avoid calling Donald Trump and the GOP traitors — even in the face of bold-faced treachery. Our news media to this day scratches its head so hard they’ve made divots in all their scalps trying to come up with a good explanation for why the Republican Party remains sooooooo loyal to Trump. They put it all down to Trump’s base. No one wants to get primaried is how that story goes. These public servants worry mostly about their job security not providing any “constituent services”. No argument — that IS part of the matrix. But there’s way more matrix than that.

There’s proof — stone cold proof that our news media has reported on and published itself — that Trump has behaved criminally. There’s proof he behaved treasonously. And, while, in America, everyone (supposedly) gets their due process, there is such a thing as “preponderance of the evidence” and journalists are allowed to extrapolate in their questions (such as “Mr. Trump, do you see running for POTUS again as a chance to govern or as a chance to avoid being prosecuted for election fraud, obstruction of justice and treason?”

Our news media won’t do that however. During the Trump years, the White House Press Corps regularly put on a craptacular of “both sides do it” brand journalism that equated Republican criminality with Democratic reaction to it. Though the Republicans were behaving criminally for a political purpose, our news media insisted that every time a Democrat reacted to a Republican’s criminality, the Democrat was just “being political”.

We expect liars to lie. We don’t expect our news media to hold their beer while they do it. We can’t blame liars for lying. Lying is what liars are good at. We can and should blame the news media for enabling not just lying but The Big Lie. We would never have achieved a Big Lie’s criminal mass without a swarm of little lies fusing together beneath it. And those little lies would never have gained traction if our news media hadn’t normalized them.

How The Hell Did America Normalize Treason?

So, last night, I attended a fundraiser for Representative Adam Schiff at a friend’s home. Representative Schiff was awesome. He’s great in a room, as we know, and he did not disappoint last night. His message — geared toward fundraising for the 2022 election campaign — was hopeful but realistic. These are extraordinary times — and not in a good way. It will require extraordinary effort to get through this, a thing Rep Schiff believes firmly we can and will do. After Schiff finished speaking, he took questions for about twenty minutes. That’s when I realized how bad things are. Adam Schiff is doing his job and doing it well all things considered. We The People — the other side of the equation at the fundraiser — are failing miserably.

There was considerable money at this fundraiser; the buy in at the top was thousands and thousands of dollars. Even the cheap seats weren’t cheap. Also there was brain power there. Cal Tech was physically nearby. A few Cal Tech-ers were in (outside actually) the house. The questions were all smart, detailed and thoughtful. Great! But none of the questions seemed to grasp the most fundamental question facing America right this second: the outright criminal behavior of the entire Republican Party as they openly attempt to not only subvert democracy but end it.

Think about this — the Republican Party as a whole is actively engaged in various activities (legislating, propagandizing, co-conspiring to obstruct justice) that are, on their face, illegal. Their attempts to curtail voting aren’t just some “opinion” they have about our system of government, it’s an active attempt to deny millions of Americans their RIGHT TO VOTE. That is a violation of their civil rights. In fact, because these laws can’t differentiate between who they’re disenfranchising, these regressive, racist laws therefore have the potential to deny EVERY voter their right to vote. Every one of these “you can vote this way but you can’t vote that way” laws is really demanding that non-white voters guess h ow many imaginary jelly beans are in the imaginary jar inside every Republican’s head. A poll tax is a poll tax is a poll tax.

Hell, normalizing racism is what this country does better than anyone. Our founders may have written “All men are created equal” but most of them did not believe that. Never mind. We’re all here to fix those mistakes. And they are mistakes that demand fixing. Our news media still haven’t figured out that the LAST person you should ever ask “Are you racist?” is a racist. Unless they’re really hard core, they’ll insist that not only aren’t they racist, they’re probably the least racist person they know. That’s exactly how racists think. It’s why the racist is the LAST person you should ever ask “Are you racist?” The only person who really knows that truth? The racist’s victim.

While our system insists that everyone gets their day in court before being convicted, not every crime gets that kind of daylight shined on it. That’s part of our problem — the prevalence of terrible behavior coming from one particular part of the political class. The Republicans have abandoned any and all pretense that they’re into continuing American democracy as it has always been. The GOP’s intent is clear. Unable to win elections on the strength of their ideas, instead they’ve resorted to gerrymandering, voter suppression and outright treason as a means to win and keep winning elections. The whole point of taking power from elected officials and giving it to private actors is to benefit a few individuals over the commonweal.

We have already accepted massive amounts of corruption into our hard costs. There’s a flaw in our thinking that opens that door. It’s the flaw I saw on display last night at the Adam Schiff fundraiser: tacit acceptance of the corrupt status quo. We The People have allowed Republicans to operate corruptly for so long that the Republicans think that corruption is their entitlement. They still think slavery was their entitlement and they’re still insanely angry that we ever freed the slaves. Or, far worse, let them vote.

I marvel at the remarkable grace Black Americans maintain despite how horribly America has always treated them. It’s like this community — in the face of its relentless oppression — saw the inherent rightness of the democratic ideal and committed to doing everything in its power to make it happen no matter how long it took and despite endless white resistance. Those who must constantly fight to keep their rights have a whole different view of their rights than, say, an aggrieved white guy who takes his rights for granted. Hell, white people think they have rights they don’t in fact have. But, when you’ve been the dominant culture forever, when you’ve always been favored, always gotten first dibs on anything of value, always benefitted regardless of what happened to anyone else, you’re apt to assume a kind of “I can do whatever the hell I want!” kind of ‘tude.

How did America normalize treason? That’s how. White guys did it to protect their hold on power. They allied with a hostile foreign power to do it, knowing that they were all now compromised. On June 15, 2016, current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy walked into a room of GOP muckety-mucks. The meeting was recorded on audio tape and the tape was played — a year later — for a Washington Post reporter who printed a whole transcript of the conversation. As he enters, Kevin says out loud “There’s two people I think Putin pays — Rohrbacher and Trump! Swear to God!” Kevin added the “Swear to God” in the face of nervous laughter.

No one in the room suddenly regarded Kevin like he had three heads. No one asked whether Trump would really do such a terrible thing or if he’d already had done it. No one behaved as if an important member of their hierarchy had just told them that their likely nominee to be POTUS was a flat out traitor — compromised by a foreign government we KNEW wanted to undermine us. No one said “Holy shit, Kevin — let’s get the FBI on the phone! This sounds like it could be really, really bad!” Instead, then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan (third in line to the presidency) put an end to the conversation, insisting that the subject would not be discussed outside that room. “That’s how we know we’re family,” is how Ryan put it. Literally.

Right there, that room normalized treason. To them, a POTUS guilty of treason was not a problem. That made them ALL guilty of treason. That makes everyone who’s heard this story (on the inside) and did nothing about it is aiding and abetting traitors. That’s not hyperbole, it’s fact. Want to know what the strange hold Trump has over the GOP? That’s it. That’s the hold — even bigger than the fear of being primaried out of a job by a Trumpanista. Getting primaried means losing your job. Being prosecuted for treason? That could get you hung. Literally as capital punishment is still one of the ways America handles those who betray it the way Donald Trump and the entire Republican Party has betrayed America.

For all four years of Trump’s presidency, the GOP obstructed any attempt to investigate Trump’s odd relationship with Russia. That wasn’t just to protect their hold on power (the move they’re making now). That was to deny America the stone cold truth that but for Russia Donald Trump would NEVER have been POTUS. And, but for the Republican Party, that secret would already be prosecuted.

White America’s refusal to share power with non-white Americans lies at the heart of this catastrophe. The hard right was money was so determined to hold onto power that they willingly and knowingly cast their lot in with Russia to get Trump over the finish line. And, once they’d gotten him there — knowing that Russia was instrumental in MAKING Trump POTUS — they refused to divulge that secret because of the consequences that would surely befall them. The Republican Party isn’t just the Trump Party, it’s the Treason Party.

White corruption has been deeply entrenched since the country’s founding. How else can one see the statement “All men are created equal” being made by a country that also legalizes slavery? Great idea, too bad the execution was so awful; hey — leave it to all the non-white people to get the concept right! That’s what needs to happen here. White men need to take a back seat for the time being. They need to let everyone else take over the helm for the foreseeable future. That’s not to say that everyone else will absolutely get governing a democracy right, but it isn’t possible to screw up this amazing experiment in human self-government any more than the white men have. Really and truly, no one could do worse. Anything else would be a verifiable improvement.

The GOP’s partner in crime remains the news media — at least those who drank the “both sides do it” kool aid. Both sides do not and have never conspired with foreign enemies to take over the government after an election as the Republican Party is now doing. We have to assume that everything comes with Russia’s stamp of approval. Let’s be real — even if the Republicans succeeded in turning America from a democracy into an autocracy, Vlad Putin will expect his due. From each and every one of them.

Like the traitors they are and always will be.

The GOP Is A Party Of Bullies

Bullies: A ‘Class’ Photo

Bullies and bullying are a universal evil.  If bullying ended at the schoolyard gate, that would be bad enough but, as we all know, bullying doesn’t stop there.  The whole schoolyard follows us through life — with bullies getting to be bullies forever like Hook-ified versions of Peter Pan.  Donald Trump is the worst kind of schoolyard bully.  He’s the kind who never gets his well manicured, teeny-tiny hands dirty.  He gets other people to get THEIR hands dirty on Donald’s behalf.    That’s why, even though they despised Trump as he tore through their primary in 2016, the Republicans, deep down, not only admired Trump, they aspired to be him.  Not just a bully, an uber-bully.  And, let’s not forget, when the Republicans made Trump their nominee in 2016, they did it KNOWING that Trump was owned outright by ANOTHER mega-bully, Vladimir PutinCurrent GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy said so out loud a month before the nominating convention to a roomful of the Republican leadership.

Let’s stay in that room a few moments longer.  A person the whole room TRUSTS has just entered and announced that he suspects their presidential nominee is OWNED by the head of state of a hostile foreign government.  That really happened.  Yet no one IN that room seemed surprised — or overly bothered by its sheer illegality.  Or — worse yet — by the implications of nominating a person to the presidency who could be EVEN REMOTELY compromised by, of all countries, RUSSIA!  Let’s assume (for argument’s sake) that everyone in the room understood just HOW illegal this would be.  We’re talking treason.  Stone cold treason.  And yet, STILL, no one in the room objected to the direction they were all heading: toward nominating a foreign intelligence asset to be president.  What could possibly cause people to go there?  This isn’t just some cold political calculation, this is crawling into bed and snuggling up with a country we’ve been at war with (one way or another) for 100 years — ever since the Communists took control and turned Old Russia into the Soviet Union.

People who like authoritarians also like bullies.  They have no use for democracy because democracy is entirely unpredictable while authoritarianism isn’t.  They prefer leadership that tells rather than asks its constituency what’s going to happen.  They prefer it that politicians pick their electorate rather than the other — proper — way around.  Conservatism, by its nature, fosters bullying.  Most of us exist in a world that, while aspiring to equality and equity and all those good things, fails considerably.  We maintain those aspirations however; we demand them now.  We won’t rest until the playing field is certifiably level.  Conservatism on the other hand relies on the playing field remaining exactly as it is.  THAT is what conservatism wants to conserve — the status quo — and the status quo favors white people over everyone else.

Bullies then are the status quo’s “enforcers”.  While the rest of us recoil whenever we hear bullying, bullies hear a clarion call to bully more.  If people are complaining about being bullied, that can only mean a bully is succeeding somewhere at his objective.  By the same token, you really can’t bully people into progress.  It’s too vague a target.  Its goal is too antithetical to bullying; if you had to bully to get there, you can’t get there!

It’s like “cheating to win”.  If you cheat to win, then by the rules, you did not “win”.  How can one “win” without following the rules?  This is an argument America needs to have with itself if it wants to remain a democratic republic.  Either the rule of law is or it isn’t.  We’ve experimented with following it half-way and we very nearly went under.  We’re still in treacherous waters.  Cheating cannot be just another “campaign tactic” that campaigns run when their ideas aren’t selling.  The moment anyone steps outside the rules in order to win, both they and their “win” (if they succeeded in cheating) must be voided.  The cheater’s win is wiped off the books, the cheater gets prosecuted and everyone who helped the cheater cheat gets punished as well and — like the cheater — banned from ever participating in an American election ever again (except as a voter so long as they’re not actively doing time).  

But, our news media — always happy to oblige bullshit and give it maximum credence — insists that cheating to win IS just “another way to ‘win’ election” in America. 

This simply cannot be.  It’s a lie no country can live and survive — like saying “All men are created equal” out of one side of your mouth while bidding on slaves out the other side.  Holding two contrary thoughts in your head is one thing.  Having a country that tries to live them is, we keep learning, a recipe for disaster.  It leads to Civil War.  It leads to a country that STILL nurtures white supremacy even as it demonstrates the remarkable advantages and benefits of e pluribus unum.  America’s exceptionalism — and it really does exist — is its diversity.  Nowhere before among humans had a country formed (countries being relatively novel things) that, rather than being made up of one extensive national tribe was made up of ALL the various national tribes, all trying to make a go of it TOGETHER, not in their home countries but there — IN AMERICA. E pluribus unum — out of many, ONE.

In order to succeed as part of the many, one must be open-minded to who the “many” are and what each group’s particular habits are.  This is not an exact science.  There is no “book” on how to do it, we ARE the book.  We’re writing it in real time.  Because that’s how reality works. 

Bullies don’t care for reality.  Outside the schoolyard, justice lurks.  The really talented bullies bring the schoolyard with them wherever they go.  By sucking others into their schoolyard, they expand their schoolyard and thus their environment for bullying.  To his credit, Trump has a remarkable ability to expand his schoolyard.  Also to his credit, being a lesser bully, he recognizes that Vlad Putin is a class of bully he will never be.  Ah, but a bully like Trump can dream, can’t he?

Trump didn’t just admire every dictator on the planet, he wanted to be them.  As we’re now learning, toward the end of his presidency, Trump really and truly wanted to declare martial law.  He wanted to use the military (which, oh, the irony, the Republicans have now turned on) to prevent the peaceful transfer of power.  The ultimate act of bullying in a democratic society — the complete denial of the society’s right to govern itself.  THEY will govern.  They and their pals.

Bullies are especially good at screaming about being bullied when justice finally gets ahold of them. 

This is something the bullied need to learn about bullies.  They rely on our fairness.  They count on our sympathy.  Their goal is to NEVER take responsibility for what they’ve done — another kind of bullying.  In the same way, rapists behave like rapists in everything they do.  Inside their heads, they feel entitled to be anywhere they want — including inside your most personal space.  Rapists are just bullies with their dicks in their hands.  If they had any capacity to empathize, they would not be bullies to begin with.  We cannot appeal to their humanity as they have none.  What we can “appeal to” however is their wallet.  Heartless and soulless as every racist is, their wallet pumps with vital “life blood” — money.  Threaten even the hardiest racist’s wallet and he, too, will melt into a puddle of pure white Jello. 

At that meeting a month before the GOP nominated Trump in 2016, then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan corralled the room quickly.  Whatever unease some might have felt at the prospect of a hostile foreign government having a viable hold on a future POTUS, they agreed with Ryan’s admonition for them all to keep this secret — that none of them questioned — a secret among them.  “That’s how we  know we’re family,” said SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE Paul Ryan.

Know what kind of “families” talk like that?  Know what those families are “famous for”?  Hint-hint: it starts with the letter “B”.

 

The GOP’s Ultimate Goal Is To Avoid Being Prosecuted As Traitors

Stone cold fact: we are in the midst of an undeclared cyber war, launched against us by Russia which, itself, is being aided and abetted by almost the entire Republican Party. Members of the GOP’s hierarchy suspected more than a month before they nominated Donald Trump that he was more than just corrupt, he was treasonously corrupt; they nominated him anyway. Walking into that strategy session, current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy said out loud (it was recorded and the recording was heard later by a Washington Post reporter): “There’s two people I think Putin pays, Rohrbacher and Trump!” When that got a few uncomfortable chuckles (as in “Dude — you’re not supposed to say it out loud!”), Kevin doubled down: “Swear to God,” he added. Hindsight tells us it wasn’t just idle banter. Kevin really thought something that made everyone present uncomfortable. Good thing then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan was there to keep them all in line. Their secret would not leave the room. “That’s how we know we’re family,” said Ryan.

This moment matters. Especially in light of the four years that followed. “Putin pays Trump” (never mind Rohrbacher). Yeah, I absolutely buy that — just based on this photo from Norway. Putin OWNS Trump.

We already know from press reporting that Putin had his financial hooks into way more Republicans than just Donald Trump. Putin’s tried to get his hooks into a few Democrats, too. We know that he tried multiple times in multiple ways to compromise Bernie Sanders. Sanders (as far as we know) ultimately responded responsibly; he ended his associations with compromised individuals. The Republicans, on the other hand, have embraced those associations. Putin funneled money to Republicans via the NRA (and his brilliant, talented agent Maria Butina who, all by herself compromised countless Republicans), via Russian retirees living in America (they suddenly found their retirement accounts flooded with cash that they “donated” to Republican candidates, and via other benign-seeming entities who took advantage of Citizens United’s allowance for anonymity and poured money into who knows how many Republican PACS. Mitch McConnell could tell us all about it — under oath.

But for Putin, Trump would never have been president. That is the bottomest line of all. Russia MADE Trump president. Though the Republicans resisted Trump at first (the Steele Dossier exists because of the Republican money that started Fusion GPS on the oppo research that uncovered the likelihood that Trump had used his Atlantic City casinos to launder Russian mob money), when they ultimately did succumb to him, they succumbed willingly. The Kochs (both brothers were alive in 2016) KNEW that their goal to undermine our elections and Russia’s goal to do the same thing dovetailed neatly in Trump’s candidacy. That corruption would make both Russia and the Republican Party happy.

Cyber war IS war. Just because Russia hasn’t formally said “Hey, we’re at cyber war with you!” doesn’t mean they aren’t. Cyber war, by its nature, is quieter than normal “bombs-n-bullets” war. It’s way, way cheaper too. Its asymmetry levels the playing field; even little guys can knock out big guys. Putin uses both official channels (Russia’s various intelligence agencies and secretariats) and unofficial. All those malware attacks coming from Russia? They may not be official Russian government, but the Russian government thinks of them as “theirs”. Their work product is meant to support Putin’s work.

Bill Barr — we already know — deliberately lied to America about the Mueller Report’s conclusions. Team Mueller’s scope was deliberately limited. Acting AG Rod Rosenstein was responsible for that. He also was responsible for telling Team Mueller that the FBI was continuing the counter intelligence investigation into Trump’s relationship with Russia that had begun while Obama was POTUS. The FBI was doing no such thing. They believed that Team Mueller was picking up the counter intel investigation because that’s what Rosenstein told them. No more work on the counter intelligence investigation got done (as far as we know).

Guilty behavior is guilty behavior is guilty behavior. People unafraid of the truth are happy to shine a light on it. Criminals? Not so much. Criminals obstruct justice because it’s in their best interest. They KNOW they’re guilty of a crime but do NOT want to suffer any consequences. The longer they go unpunished, the more brazen they become. A Republican of one kind or another has interfered with We The People getting to the bottom of Trump-Russia from the get-go. That’s not a coincidence. It’s a clue.

I’m old enough to remember when associating the word “treason” with Trump was considered left wing craziness. Hell, I’m old enough to remember when invoking Russia got peoples eyes rolling at you. Or fascism. Remember when calling out Republicans for acting like Nazis was “no-go”? Yet, here we are. The same will go for “treason”. We WILL get there and maybe sooner than the GOP likes. The reason Republicans want no part of any January 6 Truth Commission is because they KNOW what some of that truth will be: that many, MANY Republican Congresspeople (and their staffs) had a hand in planning and executing the insurrection. People inside the White House also worked with the insurrectionists. Journalism professor and news media aggregator Seth Abrahamson has pointed to two meetings on January 5 that make it abundantly clear how deep Trumpian involvement was in the insurrection’s planning. Team Trump was intimately involved. So was Donald Trump himself.

And so was Russia. Hey, considering all the other ways Russia had its hooks set, it would be out of character for them to NOT involve themselves in the planning of an insurrection that — if it succeeded — would absolutely destroy American democracy for good? Of COURSE Russia’s fingerprints are all over January 6. While that’s not what scares the Republicans obstructing the investigations — they take it for granted — spotlighting Russia’s involvement will spotlight the GOP’s complicity in that involvement. Once that nut gets cracked (and it will be), expect the deluge to follow. Trump;s hard core followers won’t care that Trump betrayed the country. THEY are betraying the country. Just like the Kochs and their money, they’ve never been that “into” democracy since democracy’s never really been that in to them.

Our news media spends a lot of its days scratching its head over why Trump is/was so loyal to Putin and why the Republican Party is still so loyal to Trump. If you refuse to look out the window before walking outside, don’t be shocked if you get rained on. The information is out there; all anyone has to do is open their eyes. THEY reported Kevin McCarthy’s assertion about Putin paying Trump (and Rohrbacher) yet THEY seem incapable of taking in their own reporting and aggregating it into the larger narrative. The Republican Party’s treason shouldn’t be “Breaking News”. It’s been breaking the whole time Trump ran for POTUS, was POTUS and now seeks to be “reinstated” as POTUS.

The same goes for the GOP’s staggering corruption.

Our news media keeps telling itself — and its audience — that nothing criminal happened here. Have they cracked a law book to ascertain that or is that just the wind flowing from their asses? Treason is absolutely illegal. So’s conspiracy to commit treason.

“There’s two people I think Putin pays, Rohrbacher and Trump — swear to God!” should have been the end of Donald Trump’s presidential ambitions. In fact, THAT fact, was its starting point. If the treasonous shoe was on the other foot, the Republicans would already be howling for every Democrat’s head — and rightfully so. But then, Democrats aren’t as cynical as Republicans; Democrats are cynical but not the way Republicans are. Democrats are cynical because they fear Republicans always get away with everything — including treason.

That unbroken record ends now. Once We The People fully grasp not just THAT the Republicans are traitors but how many are traitors and how “creatively” they’ve betrayed us, the rage will build until every Republican gets what’s due them. In most cases, the cover up of the crime turns out to be worse than the crime itself. Treason will be the exception. Treason will fuel our rage. The Republicans know this. It truly scares them.

It should.