That would mean that a successful voter suppression operation only had to stop 100 people from showing up across thousands of voting districts in order to accomplish its goal: changing the outcome of an election, not by selling better ideas but by tricking or lying voters into not voting.
In a close race — decided by fewer than 100 votes — each and every voter tricked into not voting is as good as a vote for the other guy. What part of that is either free or fair?
In 2016, Republicans, with Russia’s help, carried out the Mother of all voter suppression operations. What was Paul Manafort’s intention when he handed Oleg Deripaska proprietary polling data from Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota? Was it simply “Hey, Oleg, here’s some cool stuff you might want to peruse in your copious free time”? Or was it “Hey, Oleg, here’s proprietary American polling data. Weaponize it, please.
Next thing ya know? African Americans in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan are seeing ads on their Facebook pages raging about Hillary Clinton’s secret racist agenda. It’s absurd. But the point of the exercise isn’t swaying the great unwashed masses. Sway one voter — you COULD sway a whole election.
If Russia’s efforts changed one vote — just one — that means they could have changed that election’s entire outcome.
Either our elections are free and fair or they aren’t. There’s no middle ground. Elections — like integrity — are either 100% legit or they’re not legit at all. Ever meet someone with most of their integrity (say 95%)?
On the one hand, Watergate was merely a cover up of a second rate burglary, the cover up being the crime that brought Nixon down. But, on the other, Watergate was also a prosecution of the political culture that made the second rate burglary a viable political option – committing an actual crime to undermine your political opponents.
Fox News was created to foster the culture of Republican
political corruption. And Fox News had
an awful lot to do with the rise of Donald J. Trump.
Roger Stone, too, has never been shy about his love for Nixon. FFS, the bastard even got a tattoo of Nixon on his back.
The joke will be on Roger though. I bet inmates are already lining up to meet Roger when he becomes a federal prisoner; they all want bragging rights. They want to tell their pals that they looked Dick Nixon right in the eye while they shot a load.
The march toward impeachment during Watergate was much more
of a slog – took longer – than most people remember. Then, as now, Republicans dug in their heels,
determined to protect their president. It
wasn’t until the reveal that there were tapes – irrefutable evidence that Nixon
knew about everything and actively participated in the cover up – that Republicans
like Barry Goldwater marched dutifully to the White House to explain to Nixon
why he’d be resigning. Impeachment and
conviction were done deals.
We have “tapes” again now.
And, as before, it will be the cover up that brings a president
down. But that, pretty much, is where
the similarities end. Nixon and company
were covering up a burglary – committed for political purposes. Trump is covering up high crimes, misdemeanors
and outright treason. Whereas the rest
of the Republicans were pretty much innocent of complicity back during
Watergate (they may have suspected Nixon was guilty but they in no way
participated in what Nixon did), that’s not the case today.
The reason most Republicans will not – and cannot – turn on
Trump is because they themselves are completely complicit in all of the
Mitch McConnell has taken MILLIONS from Russia into his PAC.
Innocent on the surface perhaps (we need to change those laws pronto), not even
remotely innocent just below. Moscow Mitch made it his personal business to
lift the sanctions on Putin Pal & GRU Guy Oleg Deripaska – the very person to
whom Paul Manafort handed the proprietary polling data Russian military intelligence
weaponized and turned on Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan – the tree parts
of Hillary Clinton’s blue wall that Trump won by a combined 87,000 votes.
Deripaska was sanctioned BECAUSE he interfered in the 2016 election.
We also know now that Russia infiltrated the NRA. Using its skilled agent Maria Buttina, Russia
used the NRA to spread money and influence – and the NRA knew goddamned well
that that’s what Russia was doing.
Wayne LaPierre, too, is the right wing finishing what
It’s not a coincidence that the two most damaging assaults
on our whole political system came from the right – from conservatives – from Republicans. It’s not a coincidence because they’re
Anyone who thinks it takes bombs and bullets to win a war will lose every single war they ever wage going forward. Right now, that would be us — still thinking that Donald Trump is anything other than a literal weapon, fully loaded and pointed directly at our heads.
If Russia wanted to (hell, a bunch of countries could probably do this — Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Israel), they could shut down our electric grid today — and leave us in the dark, disconnected from the internet and social media and our lives. We’d sue for peace in a heartbeat. That’s a whole war waged — successfully — without a single shot being fired.
We know for a fact (it’s in the Mueller Report and it’s part of the reason he eats prison dinner every night) that Paul Manafort gave Oleg Deripaska (oligarch & “Pal O’ Putin”) proprietary polling data for Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan & Pennsylvania. We know for a fact that that polling data was processed inside the GRU (Russian Military Intelligence) then weaponized — and returned to those states (PA/WI/MI especially) in the form of highly personalized Facebook ads that showed up (especially) on the FB pages of African American voters.
The point of the exercise is voter suppression — the use of propaganda to dissuade a voter from voting. Every voter dissuaded from doing their duty as a citizen (think ANY of these voters vote Republican?) is as good as a vote for their opponent. The fact that such activities aren’t already massively illegal is a testament to how much Republican corruption we’ve already normalized and how deeply institutional racism runs.
Like the skilled cold warrior he is, Putin knows how to make big plays in the secret realm that, strangely, never get any attention.
Being unable to beat us economically or technologically — or even ideologically (since Putin’s only ideology is greed, power & corruption), Putin, calling on his mad intelligence officer skills, has declared war on us in the only way available to him — via espionage: info war, cyber war.
We don’t know yet the full extent to which our very perceptions of election 2016 were colored by propaganda, misinformation and disinformation originating from outside the country (Russia but also Saudi Arabia, Israel and who knows where else). How much Hillary Hatred was actually Russia?
As its first act of open war on us, Vlad Putin took the truth out back and busted a cap in its head.
It’s incumbent on us — if we want our Democracy back — to finally see the war that’s been declared on us in secret for the war that it is. More important? We need to see all the Fifth Columnists & outright TRAITORS who’ve thrown in with our enemies — because they saw that as a cynical pathway to permanent power.
I’m talking to YOU, Moscow Mitch McConnell.
That’s the other painful irony — it isn’t just enemies from without who’ve declared war on us, there’s an enemy within. The Extreme Christian Right and its money — Kochs, Mercers et al — saw that the demographics were going to mean an eventual end to their hold on this country. They declared cultural & political war on the majority — and, using gerrymandering & voter suppression, have done everything they can to install permanent minority rule — THEY being the minority.
That, too is undeclared war. It doesn’t make it any less real — or its effects any more painful and permanent.
I know I am far from alone in hating you. I’m sure you learned long ago to ignore being hated — because so many people have hated you your whole life. Being an empath by nature, my impulse is to empathize with that version of you. I imagine you were bullied repeatedly in every schoolyard you ever stood in. You have that look…
This is hard to confess but I’m here to be honest — just like my blog says: No bullshit. If I had ever met you in a schoolyard, I would probably have bullied you, too. back in the day. I never physically bullied anyone — I was way too short to do that. I used sarcasm instead. I am not proud that I hurt people using that sarcasm. If I could go back in time, I would apologize to each and every person I did that to and ask if there was any way to make it up to them.
I would feel crushed if they said no. Crushed but deserving of that feeling. That’s why I feel okay about hating you, Mitch.
I think I’ve evolved from the short-of-stature, too-quick-to-open-fire-at-everyone schoolyard person I was. I’ve learned that hurting people is bad for them and bad for me, too. But there are exceptions — people who regularly hurt other people. I feel no obligation to be kind to their feelings whatsoever. I’m empathetic but a little pragmatic, too.
I believe in Justice.
And I believe, Mitch, that YOU have evaded Justice for far, far too long. If me being unkind can help to change that? I’m all in. So here we are…
I hate you, Mitch, first and foremost because of what you are actively doing to this country that I genuinely love. As flawed as my country is, I love being a citizen of it — because I believe that we can push it toward the better ideals on which it was founded (not all the ideals were good — we kept slavery alive and that terrible decision still haunts us). I hate you, Mitch because you epitomize conservative cynicism.
I hate you, Mitch, because you’re corrupt. I hate you because you’ve taken so much Russian oil money into your PAC — insisting it’s all legal; yes, it was legal, Mitch — but once the context changed to treason and election fraud, those donations became “extra-legal”, shall we say. The context forces us to question your loyalties, Mitch. We know you serve your Republican Money Lords (the Kochs). Do you also serve Moscow?
I think you do, Mitch. It makes me hate you even more.
I hate what you did to Merrick Garland. I hate the bullshit reason you gave — drivel to the effect of “the American people deserve to make this choice…” despite the fact that Barack Obama WAS popularly elected and by a significant majority. He was operating within the guidelines of his job — as mandated by the Constitution. I hate the fact that no one in our news media grilled your testicles to a crisp over that.
I hate that you held up every single Obama judicial nominee because you were on a mission to stack the judicial deck against the majority of Americans. I hate that you want to shitcan the ACA. On a personal note — having a history of bi-polarity and depression, your actions there directly affect me, my healthcare, my future.
I hate the sound of your voice, Mitch. I hate the fact that you get to stand there at the Senate lectern spewing the worst kind of lies.
I hate that you think you will get away with betraying this country. Molesting our Democracy… It brings back memories. Horrible ones.
I have come to understand the man who molested me when I was 14. I am not at peace with what he did to me on two separate occasions, but I see him in his context. I believe he was sexually molested as a kid and he was simply paying that molestation forward onto me as sexual molestation victims sometimes do. I believe I was being sexually assaulted, in essence, by the boys who regularly sexually assaulted my molester.
Context is everything. Your context defies explanation. Well, it defies reasonable explanation. Your context is pure, unadulterated, long-time corruption.
That’s why I hate the fact that you’re a hypocrite. I hate that you were probably discharged from the military over an act of SODOMY that YOU have been covering up. I hate that your wife’s as corrupt as you are and that she “…designated a special liaison to help with grant applications and other priorities from her husband Mitch McConnell’s state of Kentucky, paving the way for grants totaling at least $78 million for favored projects as McConnell prepared to campaign for reelection.”
I hate that you worked your ass off to lift sanctions against Oleg Deripaska — a “…powerful oligarch and close ally of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. Deripaska had been a major client of Manafort but had sued him over a failed business deal in Ukraine and was seeking to recoup almost $25m.” I hate that you worked your ass off to lift sanctions against him. I hate that Deripaska then took that proprietary polling data, turned it over to the GRU who weaponized it and turned it on the voters in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. I hate that THAT direct influence on specific voters effectively suppressed enough Democratic voters that Trump “won” by a combined 77,000 votes across three states (Michigan, Wisconsin & Pennsylvania).
I hate that at the meeting Barack Obama called at the White House in September 2016, BEFORE the election, YOU stood up — after our IC and the FBI presented hard evidence to you that Russia was going all in to try and elect Trump — and insisted YOU would label any attempt to inform We The People that Russia was cyber-attacking our election as “politicizing the intelligence”. I hate you, Mitch, because YOU wanted We The People kept in the dark.
Why was that, Mitch? Don’t bother answering. I know it’ll be a lie and I’ll just end up hating you more for it.
I hate you, Mitch for what you’ve already done to this country and our whole system of government. I hate that you destroyed comity in the Senate probably forever… well, it will be destroyed so long as Republicans sit in the Senate. I hate that you are the Senate Majority Leader.
I hate that you are alive, Mitch. I hate that you breathe. I hate that you ever experience a moment of pleasure or joy. I hate that I feel that way about you. I hate that you have made HATE so present in my heart and mind, Mitch.
I hate you for bringing me down to YOUR level.
Now let me tell you why, in spite of all that, I “love you”, Mitch. I love the fact that — as much as I make cruel (okay — bullying) jokes about how turtle-like you are, at the end of the day, you’re “human”. You’ll die. I love that fact about you. What I love even more — if I can manage to outlive you, I will get the chance to piss on your grave.
That’s how much I hate you, Mitch — and it pains me. I hate you so much that I actively dream of defiling your resting place.
For the moment, unfortunately, that means you’re winning. You’re more present in my head than I am in yours.
I hate that.
But there’s solace. This morning former Republican congressman & MSNBC host Joe Scarborough coined (or caused to go viral) “MOSCOW MITCH” which, as I write this, is trending big time on Twitter.
The world is on to Mitch. Finally. My hope — Mitch finds himself back in the worst schoolyard he ever had to negotiate. And a life of stolen privilege is about to get taken out of his soft turtle hide.