Our News Media, The Big Lie And Bullsh*t Kabuki

A few days ago, I blogged about “Republicans, The Big Lie And Bullshit Kabuki”. The whole notion of “A Big Lie” should stop us in our tracks. The fact that The Big Lie exists as a thing we all acknowledge — and acknowledge what it is and what it means — yet haven’t cut the legs out from under it — that’s a clue to us both how powerful Bullshit Kabuki is and how susceptible our news media is to it. The fact that Republican Congresspeople who six months ago decried the mob now want to forget there ever was one is a piece of Bullshit Kabuki all by itself.

Anyone’s who’s had kids knows what I’ mean by “Bullshit Kabuki”. You ask your kid a question where the answer’s going to be uncomfortable for them. You’ve caught them out but they refuse to give in. And, so, the theatrics begin — the kabuki. The words really don’t matter (it’s all bullshit, right?) because it’s all an improv based on a lie. At any moment, the details could change one hundred eighty degrees because the storyteller just bumped into a logic problem. Here’s where good parents ignore what’s being said and focus instead on the performer’s eyes. For starters, those eyes won’t meet yours except fleetingly — when they shoot a glance in your direction to see if you’re buying the crap they’re selling. If your kids are older — teenagers — they jump right to belligerence. They don’t care if you’re buying what they’re selling, that’s what they’re selling, take it or leave it.

Literally the entire Republican Party — minus Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger (who both enabled this vile behavior up to the point where even they couldn’t tolerate the bullshit anymore) — has committed one hundred percent to The Big Lie. That should be the end of all conversations. We should be grinding to a halt at the very notion of a “Big Lie” just as we should have ground to a halt at “Mexicans are rapists”. Think of how far this vile waste of carbon, Donald Trump, has pushed what should have been the envelope. With the GOP, it turns out, the envelope was always an illusion. Given the right stimulus, the conservative movement in America was always capable of what they’re doing — slowly rolling out a violent coup d’etat. To their credit, the Republicans are clever. If they can’t overthrow the last election (which they’re STILL trying to do), they’ll simply give themselves the means to overturn all future elections when the results don’t go their way.

If that’s the case — that any election result can be tossed because the losing party doesn’t like it — the losing party ALWAYS being the Republicans — then elections stop meaning anything since their results can always be “fixed”. For the record, this is not a problem that cuts both ways as both sides don’t think the same. It would never occur to Democrats to alter an election’s outcome because it went against them. That’s why they’re Democrats instead of Republicans because Democrats believe in democracy while Republicans don’t. That’s why Republicans gerrymander and suppress Democratic voters while Democrats don’t gerrymander (though they did in the past — to be fair) or ever even consider suppressing Republican voters. If every election’s results can be tossed for entirely political reasons then every election becomes a question mark rather than a statement.

To appreciate the GOP’s theatricality, you have to see the theater around them (as they do). Unfortunately, that’s beyond most of our news media. Our press remains determined that each and every Republican is an honest actor, there to tell the god’s honest truth. If they say they’re patriots, they must be patriots (because they say they are!) If they pooh-pooh the notion that they’re racist then, clearly, they can’t be racist. If they say the January 6 insurrection was a tourist event — or didn’t happen — then we have to consider the possibility that that could be true — because they said it.

Funny irony? Whenever our news media tries to quote the line “Well, who’re you gonna believe? Me or your own eyes?” they get it wrong. They don’t even get who SAID the line right (it’s Chico, not Groucho – from the movie “Duck Soup“).

It is absurd that more than six months after the Republican Party attempted but failed at a coup d’etat, our news media still can’t decide if anything actually happened. If I’m honest with myself, I understand them; I kept a secret from myself for 45 years that I’d been sexually molested (twice by the same man) when I was 14. I understand lying to oneself as an act of self defense. We don’t need that here; we need the truth!

As I’ve said here repeatedly, any framing of the GOP that doesn’t include the fact that they’ve always known Trump was a Russian military intelligence asset (as current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy put it upon entering a room filled with GOP leaders a month BEFORE the GOP nominated Trump in 2016, “There’s two people I think Putin pays – Rohrbacher and Trump, swear to God!”) is based on a lie. Per then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan’s advice to his collaborators at the time (that’s how he spoke to them), everyone there agreed to “keep it in the family”. You know, like a MAFIA FAMILY.

From the get-go, Trump has tried to hide the true nature of his relationship with Vlad Putin. Why, is not a mystery: the relationship’s true nature has always been clear and distinct. Putin is the alpha and Trump is the beta.

That’s the exact same reason why Donald Trump is the alpha in his relationship with the GOP and they are the out-and-out beta. It’s kind of mind-boggling that professional journalists can stare at something as evident as Putin’s literal control of Trump and — after five bloody years of it! — STILL not ask the obvious question: “what is UP with that?” Oh, sure, they ask that question — amongst themselves and on TV while scratching their heads. It wouldn’t be journalistically unethical to consider — merely as one of the possible explanations — that the reason Trump’s so beholden to Putin is that Trump’s a traitor to America and has been the whole time. One doesn’t have to present it as stone cold fact; like any good journalist, one is just asking a question. If the facts damn it then that’s what will happen. But, if the facts suggest it’s the right answer…

The problem is, our press loves bullshit kabuki. They crave it. While they happily make fun of the GOP’s Bullshit Kabuki, they also find it strangely compelling. They love Bullshit Kabuki’s rabbit hole nature.

Avoid the rabbit hole — that’s the trick. Bullshit Kabuki must be consumed in small doses; it’s surprisingly potent. One second you’re gazing at it dismissively, the next, you’re falling through space and time, the walls of the rabbit hole blurring as you plunge faster and faster.

Republicans, The Big Lie And Bullsh*t Kabuki

Anyone’s who’s had kids knows what I’m talking about. You ask your kid a question where the answer’s going to be uncomfortable for them. You’ve caught them out but they refuse to give in. And, so, the theatrics begin — the kabuki. The words really don’t matter (it’s all bullshit, right?) because it’s all an improv based on a lie. At any moment, the details could change one hundred eighty degrees because the storyteller just bumped into a logic problem. Here’s where good parents ignore what’s being said and focus instead on the performer’s eyes. For starters, those eyes won’t meet yours except fleetingly — when they shoot a glance in your direction to see if you’re buying the crap they’re selling. If your kids are older — teenagers — they jump right to belligerence. They don’t care if you’re buying what they’re selling, that’s what they’re selling, take it or leave it.

Literally the entire Republican Party — minus Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger (who both enabled this vile behavior up to the point where even they couldn’t tolerate the bullshit anymore) — has committed one hundred percent to The Big Lie. That should be the end of all conversations. We should be grinding to a halt at the very notion of a “Big Lie” just as we should have ground to a halt at “Mexicans are rapists”. Think of how far this vile waste of carbon, Donald Trump, has pushed what should have been the envelope. With the GOP, it turns out, the envelope was always an illusion. Given the right stimulus, the conservative movement in America was always capable of what they’re doing — slowly rolling out a violent coup d’etat. To their credit, the Republicans are clever. If they can’t overthrow the last election (which they’re STILL trying to do), they’ll simply give themselves to overturn all future elections when the results don’t go their way.

If that’s the case — that any election result can be tossed because the losing party doesn’t like it — the losing party ALWAYS being the Republicans — then elections stop meaning anything since their results can always be “fixed”. For the record, this is not a problem that cuts both ways as both sides don’t think the same. It would never occur to Democrats to alter an election’s outcome because it went against us. That’s why they’re Democrats instead of Republicans because Democrats believe in democracy while Republicans don’t. That’s why Republicans gerrymander and suppress Democratic voters while Democrats don’t gerrymander (though they did in the past — to be fair) or ever even consider suppressing Republican voters. If every election’s results can be tossed for entirely political reasons then every election becomes a question mark rather than a statement.

To appreciate the GOP’s theatricality, you have to see the theater around them (as they do). Unfortunately, that’s beyond most of our news media. Our press remains determined that each and every Republican is an honest actor, there to tell the god’s honest truth. If they say they’re patriots, they must be patriots (because they say they are!) If they pooh-pooh the notion that they’re racist then, clearly, they can’t be racist. If they say the January 6 insurrection was a tourist event — or didn’t happen — then we have to consider the possibility that that could be true — because they said it.

That’s our news media going toe to toe in a cynicism fight with the Republican Party. Who’s going to win? Maybe a better question is “can’t they both lose?”

It is absurd that more than six months after the Republican Party attempted but failed at a coup d’etat, our news media still can’t decide if anything actually happened. If I’m honest with myself, I understand them; I kept a secret from myself for 45 years that I’d been sexually molested (twice by the same man) when I was 14. I understand lying to oneself as an act of self defense. We don’t need that here; we need the truth!

As I’ve said here repeatedly, any framing of the GOP that doesn’t include the fact that they’ve always known Trump was a Russian military intelligence asset (as current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy put it upon entering a room filled with GOP leaders a month BEFORE the GOP nominated Trump in 2016, “There’s two people I think Putin pays – Rohrbacher and Trump, swear to God!”) is a lie. Per then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan’s advice to his collaborators at the time (that’s how he spoke to them), everyone there agreed to “keep it in the family”. You know, like a MAFIA FAMILY.

From the get-go, Trump has tried to hide the true nature of his relationship with Vlad Putin. Why, is not a mystery: the relationship’s true nature has always been clear and distinct. Putin is the alpha and Trump is the beta.

That’s the exact same reason why Donald Trump is the alpha in his relationship with the GOP and they are the out-and-out beta. It’s kind of mind-boggling that professional journalists can stare at something as evident as Putin’s literal control of Trump and — after five bloody years of it! — STILL not ask the obvious question: “what is UP with that?” Oh, sure, they ask that question — amongst themselves and on TV while scratching their heads. It wouldn’t be journalistically unethical to consider — merely as one of the possible explanations — that the reason Trump’s so beholden to Putin is that Trump’s a traitor to America and has been the whole time. One doesn’t have to present it as stone cold fact; like any good journalist, one is just asking a question. If the facts damn it then that’s what will happen. But, if the facts suggest it’s the right answer…

The problem is, our press likes bullshit kabuki. It’s easy for them to poke at and make fun of. Yet, also they find it strangely compelling. They love bullshit kabuki’s rabbit hole nature.

Avoid the rabbit hole — that’s the trick. Bullshit kabuki must be consumed in small doses; it’s surprisingly potent. One second you’re gazing at it dismissively, the next, you’re falling through space and time, the walls of the rabbit hole blurring as you plunge faster and faster.

Mitch McConnell’s Impeachment Calculus Has Everything To Do With MONEY And Nothing To Do With Politics

Dear Mitch McConnell: Karma is a stone cold bitch, no? She laughs at sad little treason turtles like you. I bet you can hear her laughing now. Five years ago, you sat atop your Yertl-like throne, unequaled view of the swamp, lots of that Koch money warming your cockles (your wife’s cockles actually, you haven’t any). Permanent minority rule wasn’t in sight yet, but if it ever DID come in sight, you’d be ready, the judiciary already tucked into your turtle shell via all the lifetime appointments you denied Obama but jammed through under Trump — including three undeserving SCOTUS judges. Those were the good ol’ days, weren’t they, Mitch? Flush with money and power, all your secrets safely hidden away. But, the lure of Donald Trump — or was it the trap you’d already stepped into?

That’s the great mystery that putting you under oath will answer one way or another: WHEN exactly, Mitch, did you first climb into bed with Russia? You’ve been taking Russian money into your various PACs for years — legally. Ah, but that was THEN and this is about to be NOW — when that money stops being innocent because TREASON. I know this is a sore subject, Mitch (considering the consequences), but you will need to answer questions — UNDER OATH — about your odd relationship with Oleg Deripaska. And, even innocent-seeming dollars flowing from guys like Len Blavatnik will need to be examined. We need to know where EVERY CENT came from.

Not everyone’s as hip to the scam as you, Mitch. Some people can be “useful idiots”. Then there’s Oleg…

Deripaska’s an oligarch. He has direct ties to the Russian GRU, its military intelligence agency. The only person dirtier in this scenario would be Vladimir Putin himself — a guy, I bet, Oleg can get on the phone and whose calls Putin absolutely will return. We know — there’s proof — that Oleg played a direct role in Trump “winning” the 2016 election. We KNOW (cos there’s proof) that Paul Manafort — Trump’s CAMPAIGN MANAGER — put into Deripaska’s hands proprietary polling data focused on four states: Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan. Already, we’re deep into CRIMINAL territory — handing polling data about Americans to a foreign intelligence agent. And one thing Manafort definitely knew about Deripaska? He was a FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE AGENT.

And — we also know — at this very same time, Russia is likely following the script for a CYBER WAR drawn up by Putin a few years before. Putin, don’t forget, is an intelligence agent by profession. He pretty much ran the KGB as the Soviet Union collapsed. It was Putin’s “insights” — gained from BEING a KGB agent — that gave him all the leverage he needed to take power in Russia. Putin comes from a “winner take all” world where losers usually get killed. He’s a Russian Nationalist whose wet dreamski is to restore “Greater Russia” to the world stage as a “playah!” That’s never going to happen.

This makes Putin nothing more than a schoolyard bully punching way above his weight. Take oil out of Russia’s economy and Putin goes broke. No money equals no power in Putin’s world. See? Even for Vlad Putin, it comes down to money.

Mitch’s goals are simple to understand. First, he needs to stay out of prison. That’s going to be out of his hands. Once a rejuvenated Department of Justice — running efficiently and in pursuit of Justice under Merrick Garland (such a deliciously ironic choice) — starts pulling threads on the vile Republican Corruption Sweater, people like Mitch are going to spend money on lawyers. Lots of money. The Republican Party is about to make a generation of lawyers fabulously wealthy from coast to coast.

All those seditionists the FBI’s now sweeping up? They have to LAWYER UP. Defending themselves against these charges will be staggeringly expensive — far, FAR more expensive than anything these yahoos have ever imagined. They’re about to be terrified by the words “billable hours” because they’re about to start piling them by the boatload. That will bankrupt their families for a generation at least. And even if they get through it all, scathed but not sentenced to prison? Think their job prospects are good? We’re going to learn things about them that most employers wouldn’t dare hire and wouldn’t want in their work forces anyway.

Expensive. Money. Hey, it’s America, right? YOUR America, Mitch…

And did you hear how corporate America is reacting to your party’s refusal to acknowledge that Joe Biden, the soon-to-be POTUS, won a free and fair election? I KNOW you know, Mitch. They’re fleeing you like passengers fleeing the Titanic as it sank. Trust me — no one’s climbing from their lifeboat BACK onto you. Your ship’s going down, Captain — and Karma’s riding shotgun — enjoying every moment.

Remember the agony you felt that night John McCain stopped you from ripping ACCESS to health care for MILLIONS OF AMERICANS (you weren’t ripping away their care, of course, because America doesn’t have a health CARE system thanks to greedy mf’s like you, we have a health INSURANCE system)? Sure ya do! I bet this is a kajillion times worse. And what makes it hurt even more? You know the spear tip has only scratched the surface. When Merrick Garland begins to wield that spear tip like a scalpel on your soft, treason-turtle underbelly?

Never mind all that corporate cash no longer filling Republican coffers, that corporate cash will stop filling YOUR coffers. Yeah, sure — Elaine’s got dough. But you don’t want to be a kept “man”, do ya, Mitch? Oh, you do… that’s right — you HAVE been kept up till now — mostly by all the corporate cash now abandoning your party because who in their right mind wants to co-brand with corruption, sedition and treason?

The following corporations have all formally announced that they will no longer give money to a political party living in a dream world — trying to force that dream world upon reality (where all the corporation’s customers live):

(The is list is non-exhaustive and was compiled using the committee’s publicly available IRS Form 8872s: 1-800 Contacts): 3M, Amazon, Anheuser-Busch, Autozone, Bank of America, Best Buy, Boeing, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Capital One, Charter Communications, Chevron, Citigroup, Coca-Cola, Comcast, ConocoPhillips, Deloitte, Dominion Energy, DraftKings, Ebay, Eli Lilly, ExxonMobil, Facebook, Farmer’s Group, FedEx, Freedom Financial, General Motors, GlaxoSmithKline, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Home Depot, Honeywell, iHeartMedia, Intuit, JPMorgan Chase, Juul, Kwik Trip, LegalZoom, LexisNexis, MasterCard, Microsoft, MillerCoors, Motorola, Mylan, Nationwide, Novo Nordisk, PayPal, PepsiCo, Pfizer, Raytheon, Reynolds American, Sheetz, SmileDirectClub, Square, Target, TIAA, T-Mobile, Tracfone, TruGreen, UnitedHealth, UPS, Visa, Volkswagen, Waffle House, Walgreens, Wal-Mart, Waste Management, Waymo, Wells Fargo, and Yum Brands.

Object lesson: Bill O’Reilly. Though The O’Reilly Factor generated more than $446 million in advertising revenues from 2014 through 2016 (according to one report), The 21st Century Fox board fired O’Reilly in April 2017, saying “After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the Company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel.” Those allegations had to do with sexual misconduct, predatory behavior and various forms of sexual abuse involving employees and co-workers — you know, stuff guys like Bill O’Reilly had gotten away with FOREVER!

But, as the Atlantic piece points out, the companies that advertised on O’Reilly’s show heard clearly from their customers — women mostly since women make the majority of buying decisions in American households — that they would no longer buy products advertised on O’Reilly’s show or in any way associated with O’Reilly. Regardless of how valuable O’Reilly was in the here-and-now, what corporations like Ford and Coca Cola understood was that O’Reilly’s value was about to plunge significantly. And, so, they bailed on Bill O’Reilly, the short term money be damned.

For corporations with long term strategies? This is how they MUST think in order to be around for any sort of “long term”. It’s just money.

What will Mitch do about trying Trump in the Senate? He needs to deflect some of the shitstorm coming his way. Should something else catastrophic happen now — when the power to remove Trump was in Mitch’s hands — that, too, will fall on Mitch. That will make it even harder for Mitch to ever, EVER convince corporate money to donate to him or his party EVER AGAIN. It’s just math. And money. And power.

Mitch also knows: to oppose Trump is to invite a literal threat of physical harm from absolute, flat-out lunatics. Bad enough Mitch is about to have the DoJ poking about his moldy, old turtle shell, he could also have loyal Trump soldiers out for his blood. The news media — always light years behind the story — still think Mitch is all about finding his way back to the majority leadership in 2022 in the usual mid-term slump for the ruling party. That is such pre-2016 thinking. That also forgets that after January 20, the DoJ will be functioning again and asking reluctant Republicans very hard questions under the glaring light of being under oath.

The tell? They’ll all start pleading the fifth — cos there’s soooooooooo much there with which to incriminate themselves.

And, hey — what about all those Republican legislators who CLEARLY have violated the oath they took to NOT take part in any seditious behavior. By their oaths and by the law they can no longer be part of any government anywhere in America. Ever again. Ask yourself — when Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley get EXPELLED from the Senate — doesn’t that mean THEY’RE NO LONGER SENATORS? Yes, it does. It also means the governors of those states will have to appoint temporary successors — which, in some states, also will initiate another election — in an environment where Democrats are surging and Republicans are losing — and more and more of them are literally going to jail.

We’re already learning how complicit Republican legislators were in the coup d’etat — literally giving them vital intel, some EVEN IN REAL TIME! Despite that fact — despite KNOWING that fact — 197 Republicans STILL voted not to impeach Trump. See where this is going? How are those Republicans going to pay for their next election campaigns? The RNC won’t be cash-flowing them — the RNC’s about to be broke with most of its members worried about legal bills.

Mitch must thread a needle here just to get from today to tomorrow. He really can’t strategize too much into the future because he has zero cards to play — and all the indications are, his hand won’t be improving.

What will you do, Mitch? My money’s on you “aspiring to conviction” without having to get your hands too dirty. I’ve noticed — you haven’t pushed for the whole Republican block to march in classical Republican Lock Step like you had them do during “Trump Impeachment Number One” because, well, you don’t wield anything like that power anymore. Because of Trump.

Also remember — to convict, one doesn’t need 60 votes, one needs 60% of the Senators present DURING the vote. If only 48 Democrats showed up while every Republican stayed home? The Democrats would only have to make sure that 60% of them voted to convict — which, of course, they would. These, too, are things you know, Mitch.

To your credit, Mitch, you’re an excellent politician. Can’t take that away from you — you know how to count. By tacitly allowing your people to “stay home” instead of voting? You could convict Trump without having done it yourself. In your mind anyway, Mitch, you would have a teensy bit of plausible deniability — the Republicans’ favorite operating principle. Considering your options? It’s all you have. I bet you take it.

Not that it will save you in the long run.

At the end of the day, Mitch, your “legacy” such as it is will be that your name will replace Benedict Arnold’s as the epithet Americans use when they want to call someone a “traitor”. In that way, Mitch, you will achieve the “immortality” you sought.

Just now the way ya pictured it.

When Magical Thinking Kills

That would be now. Officially. A member of the Capitol Police Department died this morning because one of the seditionist marauders attacking the US Capitol at Donald Trump’s command crushed his skull with a fire extinguisher. As we’re learning, many of these terrorists have now TURNED ON Trump because, last night, Trump was forced to make a robotic statement separating himself from the violence. They could have looked past Trump’s robotic speech; previously, they would have celebrated it — seeing the code that celebrated them embedded within. But, as Trump’s sedition army swarmed the US Congress, they BELIEVED that they were part of an actual PLAN. They believed something substantive was happening — and they were a vital part of it: the literal overthrow of the United States government.

Except Trump had no plan. He was using these mooks for a piece of self-serving Bullshit Kabuki. And they — they now realize — are being hung out to dry. Because there was no plan.

Never, ever, EVER.

The news media wants us to pity these fools the same way they wanted us to “understand” their racial hatred as economic concern. Damn, but it sucks to always be so far ahead of the news media. Apparently they’re on the same “inoculation schedule” with vaccinating us against bullshit as the Trump admin is with inoculating Americans against the coronavirus. They ARE the virus! And Donald Trump — and the rest of his Republican co-conspirators and enablers — they are the SUPER SPREADERS.

As we know from watching Americans succumb and die all around us, not wearing masks while standing in close proximity in closed, indoor spaces spreads this killer disease and yet, tens of thousands of Americans continue to do that very thing, believing nothing bad could possibly happen to them — because Magical Thinking will ward off the pathogen. Unh-unh. Viruses need our cells in order to make more viruses. They see us as cheap-ass sex motels. The more available we make the “rooms”, the more they like it — and the more they check in.

It takes no “magic” to understand the difference between a “glancing” blow” from the virus (walking past someone asymptomatic, both of you masked) and a full-on viral load — one maskless person spewing their infection right into your face because YOU are maskless. Not only will you probably get sick — unless you’re really, really lucky — you’re going to spread the virus to others until the second YOU start wearing a goddamned mask.

Magical thinking never makes anyone thinking it smarter. Take that to the bank.

Let’s be real, religion relies on magical thinking. That’s as opposed to spirituality which doesn’t. Just about every religion demands that its adherents believe at least a little bit of magic in order to make that religion’s explanations for the world make sense. Hard core Christianity relies on its adherents buying wholesale the idea that a deity can breed with a human to produce a “man-god” capable of dying for all of humanity’s “sins” — which, if they accept as absolute truth, will spare them from every dying. Christianity isn’t selling “Do unto others”. Who cares about that? Christianity’s sales pitch — its genius — is selling a way to beat death.

If you are willing to accept this mythology we’ve invented, the church says, we will guarantee you eternal life. BUT — you have to buy all the way in to get that eternal life. You can’t question any of the mythology, its rules, its logic, its bizarre inconsistencies, its factual history, its language even. If you do any of that, the magical “you won’t ever die” spell gets (magically) broken. And you’ll only ever have yourself to blame.

So, you’ll go to hell.

The problem with this example isn’t so much “Christianity” as the people who hijacked Jesus’s message early on and then pretended that THEIR message was Jesus’s.

If we consider how many Christians Christianity has killed — because one group thinks the pope is infallible while the other thinks “what pope?” — it makes it hard to see how Jesus has influenced much of anyone’s “thinking”. Never mind their “doing unto others”. The church understood early on — as religious institutions had before and since — if you want to sell a religion, you need some serious sizzle. Even if it’s all sound effects — because there’s literally no steak — that works for religion. Smoke plus mirrors equals belief.

Meanwhile, here in the real world…

We could use way more doing unto others. There’s no magic to it. There’s just the doing of it which, frankly, can be hard.

Way harder than thinking magically. That thinking magic is real. That things happen “just because”.

On Wednesday, we experienced first hand, live on our televisions, how terrifying magical thinking can be when set loose on the rest of the unsuspecting world. That was magical thinking firing a shot across our bow. If we don’t respond — squashing that magical thinking — it will spread, as magical thinking does (Google the classic work “Extraordinary Popular Delusions And The Madness Of Crowds”). These Trumpanistas — former and current — see or have seen Trump as a literal man-god — it’s there in their social media.

While shaking our heads in disbelief, it’s not inappropriate to give these “useful idiots” a moment of pity — before moving forward with purpose to punish the shit out of them. Most everyone else resisted bullshit’s tug. They need to learn better how to resist. A prison cell may not be the best teacher but, for right now, it’s all we got.

We need to punish magical thinking when it oversteps its place — the heads of those thinking it. Belief in bullshit is, unfortunately, a protected thing. Practice of that bullshit in the public sphere however is NOT protected — especially when it kills other people.

That’s magical thinking’s bottom line: it’s bullshit. I understand how hard a habit bullshit is to break. My habit almost killed me.

We cannot let the bullshit habit of these magical thinkers to kill one more American.

Next: “When Dumbass Coup d’Etats Fail”…

Why Do Some Christians Hate Being Forced To Reap What They Sowed?

As an atheist, I wonder frequently why so few Christians follow Jesus. That is, they belong to a church — but their church sees Jesus the way McDonald’s sees Ronald. He’s a mascot. He’s the “Do Unto Others” bait that they switch with “Do What We Tell You To Do — Or Else!” Institutional Christianity has no use for Jesus beyond his being a mascot. Jesus didn’t invent Christianity after all, Paul did. If Jesus were to rise from the dead and see the violence (much of it anti-Semitic!) that has been attributed to him, supposedly “inspired” by him and belief in him? His head might literally explode.

Religion gets to make up its rules as it goes along — and change them when they become inconvenient. That’s not a criticism, it’s just a fact. If science could play by those rules, it probably would. But, it can’t. Science relies on rigor. It needs the math to add up and check out. Consistently. Science, for instance, understands that there’s no magic. The carbon we pour into the environment today won’t disappear just because that’d be more convenient for us. Pandemics don’t disappear just because we want them to either.

And, every time we meet with a friend — even with masks on — just because we’re convinced neither of us has or will give the coronavirus to each other? We’re gambling. We’re playing Russian Roulette (ironically) with a pathogen.

Our sister sight Mulligan Jesus, has suggested that lots of Christians (if inside their own minds) see their Bibles more as a smorgasbord line than a book on which to base their lives. How’s the adultery looking today? Fresh? I’ll overlook the fact that I shouldn’t do it then “because it’s so fresh!” How about greed or pride or any of the other sins that practicing Christianity is supposed to “cure one of”? All available. All waiting to be piled onto my plate. That’s why they adore their “Pick N Choose” Bibles — why pretend to follow rules you think are stupid — or that might could get in the way of you having a good time, doing whatever the hell you want, and getting whatever the hell YOU think you’re entitled to?

That’s the dirty, little secret every one of these Christians (as opposed to “followers of Jesus”) carries around in their tiny black hearts: they don’t believe IN God, they believe they ARE God. Gods, you see, don’t “do unto others” because no one — they believe — is good enough to “do unto them”. Gods do whatever the hell they want. Or, that is, they think they can.

With the Republicans coup attempt, we are witnessing this behavior writ large. Republicans long ago reimagined themselves as “The White Guy’s Party”. They cannot abide the idea of Black people, brown people or women having authority over them (never mind governing). And just as these Christians pick n choose what they “believe in” from their Bibles, they pick n choose what laws from our Constitution they want to follow (if for the moment). You know — like someone who thought they were “God” might do.

“The Party Of Personal Responsibility” is always first to avoid it. Quick thought experiment — if Barack Obama (or anyone in his administration) had said what Michael Flynn said last night, inciting sedition against a winning Republican presidential candidate, what do you think would have happened to him? Kinda makes one think the whole “Party of Personal Responsibility” thing was always horse shit. Ain’t that shocking…

The Catholic Church protecting child molesters didn’t exactly surprise anyone — except for the extent of child abuse and its acceptance within the church. And is anyone truly caught off guard when scumbags like Jerry Falwell, Jr. get outed for the frauds they are? We all recognize that religiosity breeds deceit because it breeds judgment. If you perceive yourself to be more “God-like” in your behavior while others are “demonic”, you’re probably going to cast all your actions in the best possible light (regardless of the truth).

The reason so many “devout Christians” hate to reap what they sow is because they never intended to reap it. They expected someone else to get suck with their diseased crops. You know — like the man they think God “made” president — Donald Trump — always does.

I bet if Trump spoke the words “Do unto others”, he’d actually burst into flames — or melt like the Nazi at the end of “Raiders Of The Lost Ark”. That’s why he’d say — under his breath to protect himself: “…before they do unto you.” That’s the Trumpist’s creed.

Can America Ever Forgive The Republican Party For What It’s Done?

I’m all for kissing and making up. But, kissing and making up for the sake of kissing and making up usually ends badly. The compromises made just to get along aren’t genuine or satisfying. They were entirely situation and now that the situation’s changed? Up until now, America — well, the Democrats — have been relentlessly pressured to forgive the Republicans their trespasses. That’s pressured by the news media — who, the “both sides do it” kool-aid pumping through them, only ever want progressives to kowtow before conservatives and never the other way around. Even now — with Republicans revealing themselves as outright SEDITIONISTS, no reporter has (to my knowledge) stuck a mic in a Republican’s face and demanded “But aren’t you afraid of what Democrats will think of you?”

For some reason, what Republicans think matters more than what anyone else thinks — even though what Republicans “think” is authoritarian, anti-Democratic and corrupt.

As usual, the news media is miles behind the story curve. Hell, most of our news media hasn’t figured out how to aggregate a story so that the story they’re reporting reflects the most up-to-date understanding of what WE KNOW NOW instead of what little THEY knew when they started reporting the story. Too much of our news media (looking at YOU, MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle!) asks “Yeah, but what if…?” questions (“Yeah, but what if there’s nothing wrong with authoritarianism?”) that give credence to bullshit. “Yeah, but what if…?” is the modern version of “When did you stop beating your wife?” The only way to answer is to ask the questioner what’s in THEIR head. Why are THEY so determined to run down a rabbit hole?

If our news media could just connect a few of the visible dots — impeached POTUS with a strange connection to Russia and myriad instances of secretive behavior with Vladimir Putin and Russia launching a massive cyber attack against us as Trump’s presidency draws to a close while Trump and the Republicans REFUSE to acknowledge that Trump lost in a landslide — maybe, just maybe, they’d stop asking themselves WHY the Republicans STILL refuse to abandon Trump and Trumpism. What, they wonder, is Trump’s Svengali-like hold on these people?

It ain’t cowardice. It’s kind of the opposite — a boldness. These people are behaving TREASONOUSLY. They’re behaving like criminals and co-conspirators determined to stop any and all investigations into what happened to get us here. What they’re doing — trying to deny We The People our voice and choice — is sedition. It’s a deliberate attempt to destroy not only the greatest experiment ever in human self-government but those of us who want to continue that experiment and improve upon it.

We stand at a literal crossroads. We will go one way or the other. There can be no compromise between democracy and authoritarianism. We chose democracy. So, the question is: what do we do about the authoritarians in our midst? Do we kiss and make up with them?

Ask a hard question. That one’s easy: NO! No, no, no, no, N O ! It simply is not possible. You can compromise with evil all you like. Evil will never compromise with YOU. Likewise, you cannot “forgive” evil. Evil never thinks it’s done anything that needs forgiveness. It thinks you’re an idiot for thinking that way. Having no integrity, evil will happily tell you whatever you want to hear — just so you’ll compromise with it. How “Mitch McConnell” does THAT sound?

Which of these corrupt, treasonous faces, I wonder, does our news media want Democrats to look into and say “I forgive you!”

Mitch’s?

Bill Barr’s?

Mike Pence’s?

Matt Gaetz’s?

Jim Jordan’s?

Devin Nunes’?

Ron Johnson’s?

Stephen Miller’s?

Donald Trump’s?

Okay — I’ll keep an open mind for two seconds. Is there ANY way I’d forgive ANY of these corrupt, racist, treasonous rat bastards? Maybe. But, first, they’d have to show significant contrition.

Not “kiss and make up” contrition, REAL contrition; real “come-to-Jesus”, “Do unto others” brand, mea culpa contrition where the “contritionist” literally throws themselves at our feet, begging for the mercy they KNOW they do not deserve. They have to be THINKING the song “Amazing Grace” because they ARE the “wretch” once lost, now found, once blind, now able to see.

But, alas, they won’t. That’s one of the most prominent features of these criminals: THEY’RE CRIMINALS. By choice. And, if you don’t know what happens when you give criminals a “pass” — because you’ve forgotten or forgiven what they’ve done — allow me to welcome you into the ranks of America’s journalists.

You’re now ready for your close up.

What If We Told Our Story Backwards, Starting With: “Donald Trump Is A Corrupt Traitor”?

If I had a ranch, I’d bet it: we will establish beyond all doubt that Donald Trump did not “win” the 2016 election. It was STOLEN for him in large part by Russia who OWN Trump to the tune of $422 million or so — a loan that’s about to come due. We know Trump owes someone — and whoever it is, it poses an existential threat to our democracy. But, our problem’s bigger than that — bigger than just Trump. We need to know who the whole Republican Party is indebted to. We need to know how they thought they could get away with pulling off a coup d’etat.

That’s where this story will land and IS landing: the Republican Party, recognizing they faced demographic and therefore political extinction, hitched their wagon to Donald Trump despite the fact that (they knew) he was compromised, owned flat out by Russian military intelligence. If we think of what we’re experiencing as a story rather than real life, there’s going to be an ending where questions get answered and most of the loose ends get neatly tied. The villains of the piece will get fingered. Most will get punished as they deserve. A few will seem to get away but a further tidying up as the credits roll will tell us that they, too, came to terrible ends.

On that day — when our story gets fully revealed — our news media will stand astride this monster like THEY brought it down. Don’t be fooled. We The People will have saved ourselves from doom. We’ll have done it despite our news media making it nearly impossible — because they never saw the ending coming.

Even with all we already know about how Russia “influenced” the 2016 — that’s according to the news media’s own reporting — our news media still persists in saying that Donald Trump “won” election. No, those are mutually exclusive propositions. A foreign country can’t legally “influence” ANY American election. The whole idea that Russia “influenced” our election should send shockwaves and flares rumbling and flying in every direction.

There’s a famous and apocryphal story from the 2016 GOP convention. Current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy walks into a meeting of Republican muckety-mucks and announces “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump”. Kevin was so convinced, he threw in a “Swear to God”. “House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) immediately interjected, stopping the conversation from further exploring McCarthy’s assertion, and swore the Republicans present to secrecy.”

“No leaks,” the Speaker famously replied, “This is how we know we’re a real family here.”

The correct response should have been “Whaaaaat? Kevin, dude — are you SURE about this?”

“Swear to God,” says Kevin.

“Somebody — quick — get the FBI on the phone,” Paul should have said, “We have a patriotic duty here as citizens and leaders”.

They didn’t.

We know why. Let me repeat that WE KNOW WHY. We KNOW THE ENDING.

Donald Trump and the Republican Party have betrayed America, betrayed We The People and betrayed everything we stand for. They’ve betrayed our future and our children’s future. These are true now — as our news media finally feels secure enough to report them — as when the crimes were being freshly committed. Meaning — the Republicans in that room with Kevin McCarthy and Paul Ryan were as guilty THEN of committing criminal acts as they will be on the day the news media finally reports the fact.

The only problem — four years have elapsed between the act and the reporting of it as a crime. The fact was reported on in May 2017, nearly a year after it happened. That is, a year after it became a KNOWN fact. It was a FACT long before that. In other words — a crime was being committed long before anyone recognized that fact. It doesn’t change the fact that a crime was being committed. Our lack of knowledge of that crime doesn’t excuse the crime.

Harold Pinter’s play (and then feature film) “Betrayal” literally tells its story backwards — in reverse chronology. It’s about how an affair destroys a relationship. The story begins with the aftermath of the destroyed relationship. We see the wreckage. Then we march backward through time, scene by scene. Whereas normal storytelling relies on adding information learned in the previous scene, in “Betrayal”, we see instead where that information came from. At the end, we see the moment when the affair began — the spark that preceded the affair — and how that spark smoldered then suddenly ignited a blaze that burned through everything.

What if we told the Donald Trump Destroyed America story that same way? What if our news media began with all the facts laid out neatly then deconstructed the story, scene-by-scene, detail-by-detail back to the very moment (or moments) where this crisis really began. For one thing, we’d get to see the story in context — in its proper context. We’d understand from that context that Donald Trump is not (and never was, as the news media kept reporting) a “different kind of POTUS”. In fact, he’s always been a criminal, guilty of laundering Russian mob money in exchange for solvency.

He’s also guilty of tax fraud and election fraud and treason.

We don’t have our ending yet. It’s our saving grace. It’s still to be written. But our ending will include all those facts because they ARE facts. Donald Trump and, now, the entire Republican Party are guilty of treason. The sooner our news media starts reporting these facts AS FACTS — as established parts of the narrative — the sooner we’ll stop this charade of an election. The sooner we’ll start solving our problem instead of exacerbating it.