The Bottom Line Will Always Be “Because Russia Made Us Do It”

Simple fact: any analysis of Donald Trump, the Republican Party and anything that’s happened to America between 2016 and today that doesn’t factor in Russia’s direct involvement in MAKING Trump POTUS is 100% masturbatory. Personally, I have better things to do than watch or listen to that. But for Russia, Donald Trump would NEVER have been president. Russia didn’t just “interfere with” or “attempt to interfere with” our election. They flat out INTERFERED with it. The moment any sort of interference whatsoever stepped onto the playing field, the whole game changed as it had to. Foreign countries simply are not allowed to do what Russia did. It is literally AGAINST THE LAW. That we still haven’t prosecuted anyone for this is a testament to the GOP’s terrifying success at normalizing treason.

Make no mistake: everything about Donald Trump’s presidency, how he got there, what the Republicans did every step of the way is steeped in treason. Trump repeatedly did things that were as treasonous at their core as they appeared on the surface. Everything about his relationship with Vlad Putin must be scrutinized. The Republicans knew even before they nominated Trump that Russia OWNED him. They said so out loud. On June 15, 2016 — a month or so before the GOP nominated Trump, current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy said as he entered a meeting of GOP leaders: “There’s two people I think Putin pays — Rohrbacher and Trump — swear to God!” No one in the room disputed Kevin. Quite the contrary. Everyone present agreed to do what then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan suggested — that they keep that terrible secret “in the family”.

From that moment forward, while the entire GOP did everything humanly possible to obstruct every single investigation into Trump’s relationship with Russia, Trump and most Republicans deepened their connections to Russia, making Russia’s success here THEIR success and their success Russia’s success. The Republicans know what they did is wrong, illegal and fraught with very real legal jeopardy. They know that a treason conviction carries the possibility of capital punishment. They know for a fact that what THEY did, what they’re still doing, is TREASON. That’s why they’ll do anything to stop the truth from getting out into the sunshine.

The Republican base doesn’t care what happens to American democracy. They’re one goal here is permanent minority rule. To them, Russia is like a white knight coming to rescue them. Literally — a knight who’s main attribute is his whiteness. They are happy to ignore the fact that Russia has been plotting to undermine our democracy forever (though it wasn’t that long ago when Republicans were the loudest anti-Russian voices) because our democracy has been their problem since the country’s founding. Keep in mind — what we call “Republicans” today used to go by other names in the past. The current GOP is NOT the “Party of Lincoln”. This version of Republicans began when Nixon pushed his Southern Strategy and finally got the Southern Democrats to finally come out of the closet as Republicans.

The Right Wing money — the Kochs, the Mercers — saw a generation ago that conservatism was headed for demographic extinction. The more diverse America becomes, the less political power white people will have. To white people, sharing power equals losing power. They’re not interested. They’d rather just seize power altogether and drive the bus cliffward from there. Permanent minority rule may condemn America to a future of mediocrity and decline but Republicans don’t care. So long as their bank accounts are fat, they’re good to go.

The good news is that Merrick Garland’s DoJ (and justice will always creep compared to corruption; it has little choice if it wants to maintain its integrity) is well down the road to prosecuting January 6 perps from both inside and outside Congress. They’ve already flipped lots of insurrectionists. There will be a paradigm shift when the very first sitting Congressperson suddenly has an indictment drop on their head. The very real threat of very real legal jeopardy will, of necessity, change the conversation. Those corrupt, treasonous, Republican Congressmembers will learn as the actual insurrectionists already have: defending yourself against federal charges is really, really expensive. Lose your house expensive. Bankrupt your whole family for a generation expensive.

When that fact thuds home, each and every perp will start looking for a deal. Except there won’t be any more deals.

Suddenly the rats will realize they’re all in it by themselves. The other rats have already flipped and scored all the best deals. Only confession will be left to the stragglers. And the deal will be “you confess. Or else”.

The Republicans don’t fear their base deserting them. They fear their base turning on them. Alas, as Republicans are about to learn, when you build a Frankenstein’s Monster out of spare parts, the parts don’t always do what you expect them to. The parts can have minds of their own. And, though the Republican base won’t care if the politicians repping them do the right thing, they will care deeply when/if the dots connect multiple instances of Republican behavior before and during January 6 to acts of outright treason.

Considering how deeply involved Russia was in every other part of Trump’s White House, does it really pass the smell test that where the January 6 insurrection is concerned, Russia had zero involvement? Considering how much Russia had at stake and the toothlessness of the responses to all its prior actions, it would stretch credulity to imagine Russia had no part in the January 6 Insurrection. Russia was absolutely a player playing.

And Trump and the Republicans were happy to let Trump and Putin play them.

A Constituency Of One

“I alone can fix it” was a tell. For starters, it ain’t true. No one alone can fix anything. Donald Trump with an army of followers couldn’t fix a damned thing though, all credit to him, he and his army of trolls came damned close to “fixing” our democracy for good (and the bastards are still at it!) Trump walked in the door compromised (as everyone who was anyone in the GOP’s leadership knew even before they made Trump their presidential nominee in 2016. “There’s two people I think Putin pays,” said current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy as he entered a room filled with GOP leadership a month before they made Trump their official nominee for POTUS in 2016, Rohrbacher and Trump… swear to God!. The evangelical community forgave Trump — a man guilty of literally every mortal sin — because they saw a man as cravenly cynical as they are. The Right Wing money (the Kochs, the Mercers, Sheldon Adelstein and the lesser I Pillow acolytes) saw their last shot at installing a state of permanent minority rule under Trump’s tin pot authoritarianism — a country Trump indeed “fixed” (though not alone) — all in service of his true constituency, himself — his Constituency Of One.

What is this madness? Where does this mania — this conviction that one person is the sun, the moon, the stars, the alpha, the omega and everything in between — come from? It sure as hell doesn’t come from reality. And it sure as hell isn’t healthy (our current situation being the data set). Some people, to this day, ache to be ruled by a king chosen by God. By “God”, they mean the stern, unsmiling, unforgiving (except of them) voice in their head. Religious fervency is as big a tell as “I alone can fix it”. Scratch the surface of your average religious fanatic and you’ll realize: they don’t believe IN God, they believe they ARE God — that’s why God speaks through THEM. That’s why THEY understand God while almost no one else does. That’s why it’s incumbent on THEM to do God’s bidding here on Earth. If not them, who?

Manifest Destiny was this idea taken to its most horrible extreme. White people doing God’s bidding because (really) white people think they’re God. Bringing God and Jesus to the ignorant, unwashed natives whether they liked it or not. One person’s “enlightenment” is another person’s genocide.

A constituency of many probably wouldn’t go there. A diverse constituency definitely wouldn’t. A diverse constituency dedicated to the well-being of every part of it? It’d be an absolute impossibility. What that means is, the further away we can get from a constituency of one, the healthier we get collectively and personally.

Donald Trump epitomizes white, male greed. He’s unapologetically piggish. That’s why so many white men love him: he’s the alpha pig they wish they could be. They, too, wish they could have a constituency of one the way Trump does. Trump can do or say anything — and get away with it! They believe that if Trump is president forever, they, too, can get away with everything forever. They can get away with unspeakable greed but also unspeakable hatred. “Cancel Culture” is white peoples’ code for “Whattaya mean I can’t call Black people the “N-word”, Jews the “K-word” and everyone else whatever the most insulting ethnic reference is — that’s how I feel about them!’.

Libertarianism thinks “freedom” means “you’re not the boss of me”. What it really means is “no woman can ever be the boss of me”, “no Black person can ever be the boss of me” and “no Jew can ever be the boss of me”. Other white guys? They’ll make an exception. Libertarians want all the benefits of freedom but they don’t want to take any of the responsibilities that do come with those benefits. They want to be able to preach “do unto others” while raping and pillaging relentlessly. It all goes to serving the needs of the one, screw the many.

Personally, I blame monotheism. This absurd, fictitious concentration of all the world’s purpose and knowledge into one “mind”, alternately deeply mysterious yet just knowable enough to know what the deity hates. When such an all-powerful, all-knowing thing smiles upon you, who are you to deny that smile? Want to know who God is? Stand before your bathroom mirror and really look yourself in the eyes. Voila! You’re looking right into the eyes of God. Are you underwhelmed or overwhelmed by that?

How shall we measure success as a culture? Surely, you can’t look at where we are — so much wealth yet so much poverty, sometimes pretty much right in the same place — and think we’ve done something special here. The happiest countries on earth just so happen to be the most socialized, too. Yes, the citizens of those countries pay more in taxes but they, they GET more — and expect more. America is about to get a big taste of how effective UBI (universal basic income) is at getting an economy back up onto its feet — and keeping it there. A consumer economy like ours relies on as many consumers as possible having as much money as possible in their pockets. The more those consumers spend, on goods and services provided by other consumers, the healthier the economy will become because all that consumption will create even more demand for still more goods and services. Success will breed more success.

It works. There’s data that says so whereas with “trickle down” economics, there isn’t any such data. There’s just the guy at the top saying trickle down works while he trickles down nothing but waste products.

A constituency of one strikes again.

Donald Trump will learn the hard way where a constituency of one leads. So will every Republican who co-conspired with him. Don’t think so? Let’s revisit a few months from now, AFTER Merrick Garland’s been at the newly refurbished Department of Justice for a while. No one wants Garland to do anything other than enforce the rule of law equally. If that’s ALL he does, if justice for its own sake motivates him then once he pulls the first thread of the January 6 conspiracy to commit insurrection, he won’t stop until the entire garment is gone. The insurrection threads will lead right to Donald Trump. But then, so will all the Russia threads that Merrick Garland’s team will begin tugging on. At the end of the day, everything about Donald Trump’s corrupt tenure in the White House will lead to Russia one way or another.

Russia, Russia, RUSSIA. Take that to the bank and prepare to be the richest person you know.

There are few things more dangerous to the group than a member who only sees a constituency of one. That person does not see the group except as an impediment to them getting what they want. It’s a damnably male behavior, an outgrowth of having a “squirt ‘n go’ sexuality. The human male at his sexual peak is designed to spread his seed as many places as possible with little regard for what happens after he’s spread that seed. A woman doesn’t have that luxury. Any time a male squirts inside of her and goes — especially if she’s fertile (and even if she’s on birth control) — there’s the possibility that a child will result. As the excellent Gabrielle Blair has written on Twitter, women can orgasm without causing reproduction to possibly occur. Men, can’t. All the pregnancy risk literally comes from men.

A woman would never say “I alone can fix it” because women know biochemically that it’s bullshit. One could certainly try to bear and raise a child on on one’s own but it’s almost certainly doomed to fail. As Hillary Clinton pointed out, it does “take a village” to raise a child. For starters, it’s just way easier to have help birthing a baby — then keeping both baby and mother fed in the baby’s first days. It takes a village to educate a child and coach it through soccer or gym practices. Women can tell you that anything of value demands a village’s input.

American diversity is proof positive of what a village can do when it works together, benefitting from all the knowledge all that diversity organically brings. That IS American Exceptionalism — the fact of our diversity and its output. Hell, we even put the idea of diversity’s benefits on our Great Seal: E Pluribus Unum — out of many, one. That’s the only “one” here that has a shot at fixing anything — the one that is the sum of us, not the relentlessly egomaniacal neuroses of the hopelessly deluded, mediocre-to-its-core one of us.

Success relies on many people working together. Failure really can flow from one person. Hell, the Coronavirus Pandemic started with ONE PERSON. Though a Hitler or a Pol Pot or a Donald Trump rely on the madness of crowds to do their dirtiest work, it still begins with that one person’s ability to bamboozle other people into thinking they’re special — anointed by the divine, in fact. Surely a deity clever enough to create literally everything wouldn’t be this painfully neurotic about one of his creations (even if it is his “favorite”). Surely, such a powerful creature wouldn’t lose his mind just because one of his creations either doesn’t “believe in him” or “sanctify him” to his liking. Seriously, what kind of third-rate deity is that?

That, too, is the end product of any “constituency of one”: mediocrity. Gods can’t be judged since there’s no one up to the task. That means a god can get away with anything — as gods do.

Or did…

Trump’s constituency of one is about to crash into the Will Of The People and its constituency. Each greedy Republican — and their “constituency of one” — also will crash and burn. In their darkest moments, I sure hope the words “I alone can fix it!” flashes across their minds, suffusing their anguish with a self-loathing glow. Slowly, but surely, each and every Trumpian or Republican constituency of one will morph into a constituency of done.

White Perspective Is A Bully’s Perspective

We get it — the idea of power sharing horrifies you; it always has. That’s why you’ve worked ceaselessly — regardless of whether you went by the label “Dixiecrat” or “Southern Democrat” or “Republican” — to prevent anyone NOT white from participating in American democracy — a thing you yourselves abhor. The problem with democracy — from an autocratic point of view — is that you can’t trust voters to vote for you and your ideas; they probably get that you’re a power mad fraud. Democracy is a marketplace of ideas. As we all know, crony capitalists don’t want a free market for you, they want a free market for THEM. Hell, conservatives (the political wing of crony capitalists) now openly admit that they MUST cheat in order to win elections which is WHY Republicans suppress Democratic voters but Democrats NEVER even think of suppressing Republican voters. Democrats don’t have to do that — because their ideas sell just fine in the marketplace.

The right wing money understood a while ago that the more America diversified, the quicker their hegemony would end. The more Black people voted — the quicker white hegemony would end. It’s not as if Black voters are insanely liberal as a group. They’re not. To begin with, they’re not monolithic. No group is — including white people. But there’s a difference. Because they’ve been the ones holding all the political power and wealth in America, white group-think has far greater real world (realpolitik) weight than anyone else’s. We do not now stand on a level playing field. We never have and every time we treat it like it is, we’re grossly mis-representing reality.

White perspective (born of white culture) always assumes it’s superiority over everyone else. For instance, white perspective tells itself it “discovered” America. That assumes that prior to white, Christian Europeans arriving on these shores that the America was a virgin land, filled with darkness, ignorance and savagery — all waiting to be saved by them. No, actually, it wasn’t. As historian Charles C. Mann points out in his excellent “1491: New Revelations Of The Americas Before Columbus”, “… the pre-Columbian Indians were not sparsely settled in a pristine wilderness; rather, there were huge numbers of Indians who actively molded and influenced the land around them. The astonishing Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan had running water and immaculately clean streets, and was larger than any contemporary European city. Mexican cultures created corn in a specialized breeding process that has been called man’s first feat of genetic engineering. Indeed, Indians were not living lightly on the land but were landscaping and manipulating their world in ways that we are only now beginning to understand.” Native Americans founded, lived and thrived in actual cities in North America while Paris and London festered in the mud, struggling to rise above their humble beginnings.

Historian Jared Diamond brilliantly summed up European “superiority” as “Guns, Germs & Steel” (the title of his excellent history of how the white man’s germs, mostly, reduced North America’s native population so completely that defeating the survivors militarily was remarkably easy. That wasn’t the Europeans plan — not at first; in time they’d realize how effective blankets infected with smallpox can be in controlling Indian population size. It is what happened however.

For what it’s worth, the Indians did pass syphilis — one of their native infections — to the white man.

The first thing every schoolyard bully does is reduce whoever he’s bullying to something less than a human. Bullies can’t bully their equals (they’re all afraid they’d lose) and they certainly can’t bully their superiors. That leaves people the bully feels superior to. And off they go! Bullies see everyone not them as one kind of cockroach or another. Once you’ve stopped seeing other people as people? Bullying them is easy. Who cares if you “hurt their feelings” — to the bully, the bullied’s feelings are there TO be hurt. That’s why bullies bully — hurting other people gets them hot.

Another thing that happens when you reduce other people to “less-than-people” status. You negate their history. White people denied the value of Native American history before they introduced Christianity to them. Who cared what savages thought? Who cared where savages came from or why they had the traditions they had. Cockroaches don’t have “traditions”. White Americans have also negated Black history. That’s why some white Americans think they should be free to “opt out” of Black History Month.

Negating a peoples’ history also negates their wealth. White America’s greatest crime against Black America is slavery of course. But, slavery, remember, is first and foremost STOLEN LABOR. That’s the point. You can’t amass wealth if you can’t acquire it to begin with. And you can’t acquire wealth if you never get paid for your labor — the thing you have to sell.

In the American south, slave owners justified slavery by saying they couldn’t profitably engage in growing rice, sugar or cotton if they had to pay the labor needed to PICK those crops a living wage. Or any wage whatsoever. The costs of buying, housing, clothing and feeding slaves was understood as the “costs of doing business”. In fact, slavery was NEVER a good economic model for those businesses. But then, white people will believe anything if it involves denigrating Black people.

We all know what the Trump insurrectionists were thinking. They told us. We know what they wanted — and still want. Being the ultimate bully, Donald Trump can’t conceive of losing. But, Trump’s bullying has an extra dimension to it: treason. This is no secret to Trump’s republican co-bullies. Current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy famously told a roomful of Republican leaders a month BEFORE they nominated Trump to be their POTUS candidate “There’s two people I think Putin pays, Rohrbacher and Trump… swear to God!” The reason the entire Republican Party has gone along with this insanity is because they’re all guilty of treason.

White people need to step back for a bit. If they don’t do it of their own accord, their stepping back will be done for them and probably not nicely. No one likes being bullied. Especially not bullies.

Ironically, when it comes to being bullied? Bullies hate being bullied more than anyone.

The SCOTUS Should Look Like America, Not Just Repressive, White, Christian Men And Their Handmaiden

Fact: the Republican Party is, as we speak, hijacking the judiciary. What began as Mitch McConnell’s secret mission — begun the day Barack Obama became POTUS — became clear the day Trump assumed the office he stole as Mitch began filling the federal bench with lifetime appointments — each and every one a right wing hack put there to carry out a very specific right wing agenda — the majority of America (not right wing) be damned. By hijacking the judiciary, McConnell and the Right Wing Money (the Kochs, the Mercers, etc) hope to stave off the political extinction rushing toward them.

Hey, Mitch — no, it won’t. In fact, this coup d’etat will have hastened not only your extinction but the end of your freedom, too. You will all end up in prison. That’s not political revenge — and you know it. It’s the rule of law reasserting itself. It’s oversight. It’s the Constitution. It’s Justice (with a capital “J”). And, by the way — all those judges you shoved down our throats? By the time we’re finished, every last one of them will be gone one way or another. Most (Brett Kavanaugh especially) will have to answer for committing perjury during their confirmation hearings. As Brett Kavanaugh did repeatedly.

The whole gambit will die right there, Mitch. Your six-to-three majority will shrink to a five to four again. But that won’t matter after the Democrats — having the Senate now and even more of the House under their control (and with the Progressive crazies running rampant!) — increase the SCOTUS to 15 or 17 seats so that it better represents a diverse America and not just a coterie of rich, white, Christian men. And their brand new literal handmaiden Amy Coney Barrett.

Will the Democrats pack the bench? You better believe it. But then, the Democrats won’t do it like pigs at a trough — like Republicans. Remember Merrick Garland — Obama’s nominee in an election year? The whole thing about Garland was his moderation. He was chosen as a reasonable reach-across-the-aisle to the GOP, someone whose moderation even they could embrace. Except Mitch McConnell had a hijacking on his mind. He even said so.

Mitch’s whole Life’s Work was seizing the judiciary for his monied overlords. As he rots in prison (and we should do everything we can to keep Mitch alive for as long as possible), Mitch will watch that Life’s Work get razed — right alongside that Russian aluminum factory he got in exchange for lifting the sanctions on Oleg Deripaska — who, in 2016, received the proprietary polling data for Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania (from Paul Manafort) that turned into a three-state, 77,000 combined electoral college “win”. Mitch isn’t just a traitor, he’s an uber traitor.

His name will replace Benedict Arnold’s as the epithet Americans use when they want to call someone a “traitor”.

Ah, but that’s not even the best part!

The whole point of Mitch’s gambit — stealing the judiciary for his RW Monied Overlords — was to create a state of permanent minority rule instead of the far more socialized America a diversifying population in an increasingly complex world would push it toward being. The right wants to kill Obamacare because it’s the first step toward “socialized medicine”. THAT’S what scares the right more than anything. Are they all that heavily invested in for-profit medicine?

As America settles into the security of knowing their essential health CARE (not the insurance) is PAID FOR — in other words, they can never go broke or lose their home because the got ill — we won’t thank Mitch and his wannabe slave masters, but we will chuckle. And, as we think of them — eating prison dinner for the rest of their lives — that chuckle will probably become full on laughter.

Yeah, there’ll be a touch of meanness to it. I’ll apologize in advance. But, for the most part? That laughter will be joyous — and righteous as hell.

In A Fight Against Evil — Like Now — You HAVE TO Take A Side

In a time as immoral as ours, moral choices matter. MSNBC is about to broadcast an interview with a “non-voter”. That’s a strange concept in an environment as morally clear as this one. Even if you don’t love Joe Biden, the other choice — Donald Trump — has taken the country to a moment of genuine existential peril. That is not hyperbole. The choice isn’t so much between two men as it is between two diametrically different directions for the country to go in. This isn’t between two variations of beige paint for the living room walls. It’s actual life and death. Who the hell is STILL having a tug-of-war in their heads about which one they’d prefer?

The non-committed voter is not being careful, they’re being indecisive. It’s not the same thing. Where a careful person is weighing the information, the indecisive person is weighing their own fear of being wrong. They have no moral convictions to guide them. Their compass reacts to how the group perceives them. The last thing on earth they want is to be unpopular. They need to be accepted and they’ll do ANYTHING to be accepted — like change their mind. Or make their mind your mind.

If being accepted means hating Black people or Jews (even if on the quiet), they’ll do it even if Blacks and Jews mean nothing to them. Even if they actually like Blacks and Jews. The undecided are utterly spineless. Utterly empty.

And yet MSNBC just made the case — by “yeah, but what if-ing” a “case” for the undecided: “Yeah, but what if the undecided are right and there isn’t a clear case between Biden and Trump?” Yeah, but what if there isn’t a clear case between Hitler and whoever is running against him? What if there isn’t a clear case between throwing children in cages or separating them from their parents forever and not doing those criminal things? What if there isn’t a clear case between protecting the nation from the pandemic and NOT doing it?

It’s not just a stupid question, in the current context, MSNBC, it’s offensive. And journalistically irresponsible.

It’s the kind of question a practitioner of “both sides do it” journalism would ask because that kind of journalism, steeped in cynicism (instead of skepticism), assumes the worst of everyone. It assumes that everyone does what they do for the exact same reasons. The thief and his victim, the murderer and the murdered, the rapist and his victim. In a both sides do it world, no one is truly innocent because everyone is guilty of something. We just don’t know what.

That’s how a Donald Trump can get away with literally everything — including rape, treason and murder. He says “Don’t blame me — blame the other guy!” — his version of both sides do it. The “both sides do it” press hears the dog whistle and falls right in line. “Yeah, but what if THIS TIME Trump’s telling the truth?” they think in their heads — and they give Trump the benefit of the doubt he long ago stopped deserving.

If America’s news media were capable of aggregating the Donald Trump story, he’d already be in a federal prison — along with his whole family and the entire Republican Party. Oh, we WILL get there. We absolutely will. It’s the only place this country can go if they ever want to get healed. First things first: wrongs must be undone as much as they can be. What Donald Trump and the Republicans have done — in order to hold onto power indefinitely — must be UNdone. Or changed completely.

The big irony of our story is that the RW Money, in their desperate attempt to establish a state of permanent minority rule, will have caused America to go the very socialized places they most feared. Socialized medicine. Socialized secondary education. Universal Basic Income. Higher taxes for the wealthy (heading back toward the 1950’s when America’s economy boomed) and a bigger, broader, more compassionate social safety net. The fact is, we have no choice. There are no conservative ways out of this. They simply do not exist.

The pandemic has driven one point home: it always starts with ONE PERSON. Patient Zero. We are all susceptible because one person can infect all humanity. Therefore we must be able to treat every single person inside our borders for our own collective good. If we charge them money for it, it may be an obstacle to them seeking the care they need and we need them to seek. It would be self-destructive therefore to charge money for something essential both to each individual and to us as a society. We can only ever be as healthy as the least healthy among us.

Freedom works the exact same way. We can only really be as free as the least free among us. Freedom can’t be “everything”. That’s how children think. Freedom in a free society is weighted — the individual vs the group. Too much freedom for any individual that infringes on the group’s freedom — say, to not get shot while going to school — cannot be. One person’s perceived freedom (to own all the guns they want and fire them at will) cannot cancel another person’s freedom to live securely within their own body. Something has to give. Guess who?

I hope that’s not a hard decision. If it is — and choosing between obvious good and obvious evil — challenges you, it just so happens MSNBC just did a segment about you.