Among All The Animals, Only Human Beings & Monkeys Are Capable Of Lying; Then There Are Republicans…

Some time before humans and apes went their separate ways, something fused into our hominid brains that — no matter how we split off and evolved — stayed with us, as hard wired into us as the impulse to breathe: lying.

Sure, sure — plenty of animals use deception. Blue Jays imitate other birds to scare off competitors, cowbirds put their eggs into other birds’ nests and eastern grey squirrels pretend to hide nuts to throw off nut thieves. There are lies involved in each but outside of those specific survival-based behaviors (breeding and food) — and a species-wide ability to lie in exactly the same way (like that specific lie was hard-wired into them) — do those animals lie in any other way?

No, they don’t. So — when I say “lie”, I mean the way humans genuinely understand the word: a falsehood told mostly for convenience.

Humans lie to get out of trouble — trouble they didn’t have to be in. They cheated on their mate. They stole from someone. They murdered in cold blood. They lied to avoid the punishment they deserved for breaking the group’s rules. Actual premeditation is important. A cowbird slipping its egg into another bird’s nest is not in any way the same thing as a rapist insisting his victim “wanted it”.

Dogs are incapable of lying (hunting as a group is one of those hard-wired survival-deceptions). Ever walked into a room where a dog just wrecked something they know they shouldn’t have wrecked? That’s pretty much half of YouTube. Cats are political as hell — with humans and other cats — but they do not dissemble. You always know where you stand with a cat. They can’t lie.

Only a human being will lie to you in order to sell you insurance or a burial plot or love. Only humans kill each other because other humans refuse to believe the made up stories they believe (that’s how important lies are to us). Only humans insist they want what’s best for everyone when what they clearly want is what’s best for them personally. Well, only Republicans do that last bit of lying.

We have a POTUS whose notoriety for lying is his brand. His official lie count lies somewhere north of 15,000 since he took office. And those are just the official lies. No one’s bothered (except anecdotally) with what he does on a golf course or in his marriage. We all accept that Donald Trump is a liar through and through.

Think about that — and what it says about how readily human beings accept and normalize lying. Think about how utterly Americans have accepted lying as part of our status quo.

Make that “some” Americans. A lot of us do not and will not accept lying as status quo. We’re never going to expunge lying from our DNA. But we absolutely can make lying — done to the collective — so expensive that it simply isn’t worth anyone’s while — even the richest of the rich.

The time to start down that road is right now. We need to normalize a zero tolerance for public lying.

Japan's Pearl Harbor Surprise Attack Wants To Teach Us A Lesson About Right Now; Will We Listen?

We think of WWII starting for Americans the moment the Japanese attacked our Naval base at Pearl Harbor. That’s not entirely accurate.

The Japanese arrived at Pearl Harbor and started bombing it — killing Americans & doing grave harm to our navy. But the Japanese didn’t just suddenly appear at Pearl Harbor. They had to plan their attack. They had to move assets into forward positions in order to launch it. Then they had to set off on the attack itself.

The Japanese arrived at Pearl Harbor at 7:55 a.m. Hawaii time. A Japanese dive bomber bearing the red symbol of the Rising Sun of Japan on its wings dove from the clouds above Oahu. But the Japanese task force that attacked Pearl Harbor — including six aircraft carriers, left Japan on November 26, 1941 — two weeks earlier. That’s really when Japan declared war on us — with the intention of attacking the base at Pearl Harbor.

In theory, a murder isn’t a murder until the victim dies. But, up to that moment, it’s still attempted murder. There’s still the plotting of a crime, too — both being criminal acts. The act of rearing back to throw a punch you intend to throw regardless is very much part of your attack. The instant you pull the trigger, the act is irreversible.

We’ll set the planning aside — too abstract.

But the moment the Japanese fleet left port — the attack was on. The only thing standing between the Japanese and carrying out the attack was time and distance. And then timing so as to arrive when the Americans living at Pearl Harbor would be least likely to expect anything — and most vulnerable to the attack’s intended outcome: the crippling of the American Pacific fleet.

We are under cyber attack. We’ve BEEN under cyber attack for nearly four years now. Donald Trump isn’t POTUS because he “won” election 2016 freely & fairly, he “won” because Russia launched the most successful intelligence operation in history — a CYBER WAR relying on, among other things, weaponized polling data and a steady stream of propaganda.

Anyone who thinks you need bombs or bullets to win a war anymore will lose every war they ever fight going forward. Cyber war is cheap and just as effective — if not more effective. Fact: Russia (or perhaps various other bad actors) could shut down America’s power grid tomorrow — and we would be forced to sue for peace — losing the war.

We are under attack. Russia has already put its asset into the White House. They’re using that asset — Trump and everyone around him — to actively undermine every facet of American Democracy. If our Republic goes away, there will be no backstop to Russian hegemony. Putin will have his Greater Russia back. The world will have more authoritarianism, more corruption, more darkness.

Until we — our news media especially — embrace this Truth — that yes, indeedy, we ARE under attack — this very well could be World War Three we’re living through — we will not stop it from happening.

It seems like a no-brainer. Someone’s hitting you — hard. Either you demand that they stop hitting you or you return fire — and you force them to stop.

That’s where we are. It’s where we’ve been — in the not-all-that-distant past. Can we not repeat yet another historical mistake because we refused to take any lessons from it?

I Know Who I See Staring Back At Me In A Mirror… What Does A Republican See?

At some point, unless you’ve removed every reflective surface from your house, you WILL have to see your own face reflected back at you. I don’t know about the rest of you (cos none of us will EVER be in a bathroom ALONE with anyone else) but when I look at myself in the mirror, I look right into my own eyes.

In those moments, I bore in on “me”.

I see those moments as me getting to talk to ME. It’s me having a chance — if I choose to take it — to speak directly to myself — to that box of thoughts and traits and wild imaginings that I think of as “me”.

Now, let’s be clear — we all lie to ourselves. Mostly we tell small lives to us about us. Mostly it’s because we want to be “better” than we are: better friends, better spouses, better parents, better at our jobs, better at spelling, better at sex, better at getting what we need (vs what we think we want). Telling ourselves little lies is a survival skill.

Except we know we’re lying to ourselves even as we do it. Because it’s us doing it. To us.

We know what we know. We know when we’re bullshitting ourselves about it, too. Except… we are capable of keeping secrets from ourselves. Hell — I “kept one” from myself for 45 years (that I was sexually molested twice when I was 14 by the spiritual director at my family’s synagogue). I knew it happened. It rippled through my life every day; hell, it was the reason I tried to kill myself. That secret.

A part of me always knew it was there, waiting to be dealt with one way or another.

I make it a point now — my mental health depends on it — to be as honest as I can with myself. Lying has proved it’s no good for me. Honesty with myself to myself is where good mental health lives. That’s what makes watching Republicans lie so compelling to me.

Donald Trump is a text book sociopath. He has no conscience to speak of. He’s not capable of being honest with himself; lying — even to himself — is how he rolls. That doesn’t excuse the lies for two seconds. Most Republicans are quite capable of discerning truth from bullshit; they’re NOT sociopaths. The only good explanation for how Republicans behave these days is “guilt”. Knowledge of guilt.

Bill Barr may be a hard core Christian shill but he’s not an ignoramus. He KNOWS empirically that the bullshit he spewed the other day to the Federalist Society (like the bullshit he spewed at Notre Dame a few weeks before that) is rubbish on steroids. When you say things that are demonstrably untrue, it’s not because you believe the opposite is true; you NEED the opposite to be true because you’re a goddamned liar, a thief or a criminal.

My bet is most Republicans don’t see anyone staring back at them. They see a physical body. They see a face. They even see eyes. But there’s nothing behind the eyes — except fear maybe.

We know damned well they’ll never see an honest person staring back.

Integrity Is An All Or Nothing Proposition

What Zero Integrity looks like — en masse

Nothing is funnier than a Republican drawing himself up, having just been asked a serious question about his integrity. He knits his brows, purses his lips and goes all “earnest” with his voice.

Mitch McConnell talking “patriotism” — having just lifted the sanctions punishing Oleg Deripaska for changing the outcome of election 2016, say. That’d be Mitch insisting he’d done something great for the people of Kentucky (while betraying them and everyone else in the country).

Your average Republican thinks THAT’S “Integrity”. Acting like you have it.

When you have no integrity, acting like you have it is as close to having integrity as you’re ever going to get.

What Republicans especially don’t seem to grasp — integrity while iron-clad at its core, is built of gossamer. It’s a soap bubble, easily punctured. And just like a soap bubble, once popped? It’s popped for good.

There’s a reason we don’t say things like “Ya know, that Kevin McCarthy — the GOP Leader — he may not have all his integrity, but 70%’s okay with me!” The moment Kevin slipped below 100%, that should have been the end of it. How can you trust someone almost completely but not completely? That means you DON’T trust them because even when you do, you really don’t.

That’s how integrity works. It is or it isn’t.

Can we all please, please, PLEASE agree? When it comes to integrity, if you still have an “R” next to your name? While Donald Trump’s a Republican? If you stand in any way, shape or form with him?

You can’t even spell “integrity”.

Dear MSM — No, It ISN’T About POLITICS

This picture is not political. It depicts a crime happening en flagrante. A CRIME against the Constitution & We The People.

The most insidious form of “Both Sides Do It” journalism is its insistence that, no matter what, it’s always about politics.

Democrats objecting to Republicans suppressing Democratic votes (they never do seem to suppress votes evenly between Republican voters and Democratic voters) is — in this view — political rather than legal. Those stolen votes are… what? Collateral damage? When a Democratic voter loses their right to vote — because a Republican TOOK it from them — the only politics being played are by the REPUBLICAN. The Democrat here is the VICTIM OF A CRIME.

That little analogy goes Big Time with Donald Trump. It’s the exact same deal. Trumpified.

What most Democrats objected to as Trump plowed his way through the Republican field back in 2016 was his racism, his misogyny, his corruption. We objected to hearing a presidential candidate say that “Mexicans are rapists”. Our objection, MSM, wasn’t POLITICAL, it was MORAL.

The fact that we were Democrats (while most Republicans stayed silent or quickly bought in) was relevant. Not because of our political affiliation but because of our morality. As usual, the MSM ate the icing and forgot that a cake even existed.

Even today, a cable news show could play thirty seconds of Trump talking about anything. The talking heads would get their shot — and the Democratic Congressperson on the panel will state the obvious: Trump lied, lied, LIED.

The news panel’s host will (with one or two exceptions) flip it to whatever Republican Talking Head is there — “Is that true? Did the president lie?”

The rest of the conversation is irrelevant. The Talking Head Host just assumed (on the audience’s behalf?) that the Democrat’s take wasn’t motivated by the truth, it was motivated by politics. To get to the truth? We need to hear the other side, too.

Both sides DO NOT DO THIS. Both sides do not commit treason to win elections. They don’t.

Both sides do not suppress the other side’s votes to win elections. They don’t.

Both sides do not wage political campaigns based on fear and outright hatred of the other to compel their voters. They don’t.

Both sides do not obstruct justice as easily as they breathe. They don’t.

Both sides do not put forward ludicrous explanations that couldn’t pass smell test in a shit factory. They don’t.

Both sides do not make excuses for a president who consistently behaves in ways that would get any other citizen arrested. They don’t.

Both sides do not have a relationship with Vladimir Putin that is so flagrantly, obviously, how-in-our-faces-does-it-have-to-be TREASONOUS that it boggles the mind we don’t call it TREASONOUS yet. Both sides absolutely, positively do not.

What the MSM cannot get through its titanium skull is that one can object to Donald Trump, to Republicans and their outright corruption, as a concerned citizen first and a Democrat second. It’s possible to think country over party. Why, we should be demanding, does our Main Stream News Media think every single American thinks like a goddamned Republican?

Both sides do not do it. Both sides do not always — ALWAYS — play politics.

And, while we’re at it – Chuck Todd is an idiot.

“Get over it” Is How Republicans Intend To Finish What They Started

Make no mistake – what the Republican Party pulled off election day 2016 was nothing less than a soft coup d’état. 

Recognizing that the nation’s demographics spelled certain political marginalization and doom, Republicans sought to impose permanent minority rule on America first by hijacking the judiciary (a mission Moscow Mitch McTreason started back when Obama was still POTUS.  Mitch did this by refusing to give Merrick Garland a hearing — and by refusing to let Obama fill most of the vacancies on the federal bench. With Trump in office, not only has Mitch scored two SCOTUS seats, he’s also jammed through horrible, deficient right wing candidates to fill all those seats Mitch previously refused to do anything about.

We were in a Constitutional Crisis the instant Trump took his oath of office while simultaneously violating it.  If swearing in a criminal – who KNOWINGLY betrayed the country even as he became its leader (under false pretense) – a criminal working for the country we’ve been at cold war with for 75 years – isn’t a Constitutional Crisis, nothing is.

Yesterday, Trump’s chief of staff Mick Mulvaney (a man who takes sycophancy to staggering new lows) gave one of the most amazing news conferences of all time.  He didn’t just confess (on behalf of Trump), he waved away any outrage We The People might feel with a brusque “Get over it”.

That’s rapist-speak.  “Get over” what I’ve just done to you.  What I’m doing to you still.  “Get over it”. Get over it why?  Because YOU don’t want to talk about it – or, worse, confess?

That’s what “get over it” really means.  I did it.  So what?

A rapist mid-rape couldn’t put it better.

That soft coup d’etat was a whole other kind of rape.  That was the Constitution being raped.  And the Rule Of Law.  It was the majority getting raped by the minority.

It was Republicanism and Trumpism sizing up the American electorate like Trump and Jeffrey Epstein taking in the pretty girls they ordered up for lunch. 

And when the girls say “no”, having agreed to one thing but nothing at all like this?  “Get over it” will be how Trump responds.  I’m having it anyway.  You might as well lie back and “enjoy it”. 

As if.

Republicans Are The “Mission Accomplished” Party; That’s Great Until You Realize What Their “Mission” Is…

Who can forget W aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, May 2, 2003 – proudly proclaiming just what the banner behind him said: “Mission Accomplished”.

That image haunted W’s presidency.  It haunts him to this day because nothing had actually been accomplished.  The only thing they’d succeeded at, mission-wise, up to that point was successfully hanging that banner without anyone getting hurt.

Like everything else Republicans say, “Mission Accomplished” was marketing, no more honest or genuine than Mitch McConnell insisting Merrick Garland couldn’t get a hearing because “the American people needed to make the SCOTUS choice, not the president who they’d overwhelmingly returned to office”. That WAS what Moscow Mitch said with as straight a face as he could muster.

And yet – when it comes to “Mission Accomplished”, Republicans have actually succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.  The America being torn apart right now is the America Republicans want.  We are living in their “Mission Accomplished” – or, to be accurate, “Mission NEARLY Accomplished”.  Republicans can see Permanent Minority Rule from their house now.  They ache to get there.

This is how close Republicans are now to accomplishing their mission –

  • PACK THE COURTS — Moscow Mitch denied Obama dozens of lifetime court appointments.  How strange that all those vacancies started filling the moment Trump became POTUS.
  • How strange that Merrick Garland couldn’t get a hearing while Brett Kavanaugh skated despite overwhelming evidence he was unworthy to hold the judgeship he already held.

  • PROHIBIT NON-WHITE IMMIGRATION – Children in cages, anyone?

  • DESTROY THE ENVIRONMENT – We left the Paris Accords.  Ryan Zinke.  The end of clean water, clean air, National Parks.  Life as we know it.
  • MAKE THE RICH RICHER & THE POOR POORER – Tax cuts for the rich, bullshit & lies for everyone else.
  • INSTITUTIONALIZE RACISM – “Decent people on both sides”.
  • MAKE GERRYMANDERING PERMANENT – Twice as many Democrats as Republicans have to vote in order for their majority to actually feel like a majority.  The whole point of gerrymandering is to CIRCUMVENT the Will Of The People.  Welcome to Republicanism.  Can’t win on the law, can’t win on procedure, so pound the table into sawdust instead.
  • ENFORCE PERMANENT MINORITY RULE – Remind the class – how many more votes did Hilary Clinton get over Trump?  3 million plus, was it?  Remember – that doesn’t include all the uncounted, provisional, suppressed, flipped & tossed in the trash ballots.  Think any of those were Republican votes?
  • DESTROY OUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH ALL ALLIES – The knife-wound in the Kurds’ back is still fresh enough we can watch it bleed.
  • MAKE AMERICA A RUSSIAN SATELLITE STATE – How about that: “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED”!